Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 6: Civil War Monuments, All the Rage

Bloody Lane.

Bloody Lane, a former dirt road for local farmers, where 5500 men died in 3½ hours of combat. At left, a Pennsylvania Infantry monument.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

September 17, 1862: fourteen months before President Abraham Lincoln would deliver the momentous Gettysburg Address, a one-day clash between Union and Confederate troops near the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland, would end with nearly 23,000 dead, wounded, or missing. The Battle of Antietam went down as the most horrendous battle of our Civil War, the deadliest single day on American soil in all of history.

155 years later, Antietam National Battlefield is now owned, operated, placed in context, and fully annotated by our National Parks Service. Shortly after we entered Maryland from the west, Anne and I showed up in our comfy rental car in search of local tourism, historical backdrops, and names and sights she recognized from her knowledge of the subject. Along the paths were a series of markers commemorating where various regiments and battalions made their stands and paid their prices for their beliefs. We had no idea that a month later, Civil War monuments would become a trending topic on social media. In that spirit, here some are.

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Indiana State Fair 2017 Photos #5: Last Call for Food, Non-Eating Division

Chinese Dragon!

I’m not sure this Chinese dragon is meant specifically to be Mushu from Disney’s Mulan, but we can pretend anyway.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians that other people love, and farm animals competing for cash prizes and herd bragging rights. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. Usually we’re all about the food.

…though not all the foods on hand were meant for immediate consumption. In particular, the Agriculture-Horticulture Building is one of the fairground’s premier showcases for produce competitions. Fruits, veggies, bee honey, and other locally grown fare face off for bragging rights of size, quality, and creativity. None of them is showier than the annual can sculpture contest, which we find ourselves photographing year-in-year-out and finding that while some shapes are readily apparent, some are harder to discern till we squash them down to screen size…like so.

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Our 2005 Road Trip, Part 9 of 10: Oklahoma!

Buffalo Bill!

Leonard McMurry’s “Buffalo Bill” welcomes you to the wonderful world of the wild, wild West!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Welcome to the first installment of another special MCC miniseries, representing the original travelogue from our 2005 drive from Indianapolis to San Antonio, Texas, and back again in far too short a time…

State #5 on our seven-day, eight-state journey had its pros and cons, but at least we can say we crossed it off our list of states to visit. To its credit, unlike our home state of Indiana, it’s had its own famous musical. We haven’t watched it yet, but I expect we’ll get to it someday and develop a deeper appreciation for the Sooner State, or at least understand a few more pop culture references. I’m assuming it generated some, anyway. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a famous musical if everyone forgot the songs ten minutes later, right?

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Our 2003 Road Trip, Part 5 of 7: From the White House to Vietnam

Anne and White House!

When we showed our photos to family and friends later, we realized Anne had taken so many of them that this shot was one of the very few that proved she was actually there.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: our fifth annual road trip became our first family road trip as we jettisoned our convention plans and took my son to scenic Washington DC to learn history and significance and architecture and so forth. We took a handful of photos using ye olde 35mm film when we weren’t busy corralling and entertaining the boy.

Day Five: Thursday, July 10, 2003. Our last full day in DC would once again be spent walking and walking and walking. We had more memorials and museums to check off, and only so much time to hit them all. We made the most of our options while we still had any energy remaining, and for as long as our feet would hold out after the previous two days’ calisthenics. As we would later find with our two New York City trips in 2011 and 2016, there are some major cities with too many attractions to cover in a single road trip no matter how many days you set aside for it. So we prioritized the number one attraction in the DC area and headed there first.

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Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 4 of 5: The Meijer Art Department

American Horse!

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, unless it threatens your life perforce…

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: a flashback to our fourth annual road trip, a meetup in Grand Rapids with fellow Star Wars fans for opening day of Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones. Before and after the movie, we spent our first time in Michigan hitting a few key tourist attractions in the vicinity.

In Part 3 we walked you through the scenic greenery at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, years before a series of subsequent expansions turned it into one of Grand Rapids’ largest attractions. But as the name implies, we saw more than just gardens. Assorted sculptures are on display for the art lovers curious to see human creations in the natural mix. The largest piece by far is Nina Akamu’s 1999 The American Horse, which would be quite the destroyer if magic ever brought it to life.

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The Art of the Indiana State House

Indiana State House Dome!

The State House is shaped like a cross. The center is a rotunda with this magnificent glass ceiling four stories overhead.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

On October 15th, downtown Indianapolis hosted a very special convention of sorts. The “Hoosier Homecoming” was a celebration held at the Indiana State House in honor of Indiana’s 200th birthday, with a host of well-known local faces in attendance, an opportunity for self-guided tours of the State House, and the closing ceremonies to the Indiana Torch Relay, a 37-day event in which a specially lit torch — not unlike the Olympics’ own, but inspired by the torch on our state flag — traveled through all 92 Indiana counties by various transportation methods until its final stop in Marion County at the Homecoming.

We’ve seen the capitol domes of several states on the road trips we’ve taken throughout the years. Longtime MCC readers so far have seen examples we’ve shared from Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Someday we’ll get around to representing our capitol dome photo from West Virginia, as well as the capitol in Washington DC, to say nothing of capitol domes we might catch on future travels. Last weekend we added to the photo collection and got a closer look at Indiana’s own.

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