Monday, September 03, 2007

Road Trip Destination: Indianapolis, Indiana

It was time to continue onward on our road trip so we drove up through Northern Kentucky to drop off Jason home in Florence, KY. We were close to Cincinnati so we decided to stop by to try some famous Cincinnati Chili. It was okay. Then we moved on to Indianapolis, IN to see a fellow GCN'er, Haskle, who showed us around his city.

So we were there from August 27th - 28th and we saw some cool sites, a museum of fast cars, sampled fine pizza, took some fun pics (see link below), and got stopped by the Indy State Troopers - aka, the Speed Nazi's . . . .

The drive through Northern Kentucky and Indiana was quite nice actually. I loved seeing the trees and farmland. Northern Kentucky is a bit more hilly so that was cool to see too. It was a very nice drive.

We got to the Indianapolis area and found our hotel. We discovered why it's a good idea to suspect why a particular hotel is significantly cheaper than all the others. The Econo Lodge. It was near the freeway, near a gas station, and near a XXX adult video store frequented by truckers. The pool of the hotel was full of water - green and blue, crusty with critters. The hotel lobby and hall ways had the fresh aroma of cigarette smoke with every door and window marked with a no smoking sign. The carpet was gringy and I could feel the floor cling to my sandals with every step I took. The free internet was available in the lobby only and the work out gym was a small room with some rusted bike machines, dumb bells, and a bench.

But it was a roof over our head, a bed to sleep on, and most importantly, we had internet access.

After checking in to our hotel, we located Bazbeax Pizza, which I saw on the internet somewhere that they were rated #1 best pizza in Indy. So we entered them into our Pizza Wars and will include them in our Mid West Pizza Review. Stay tuned as we will be posting our reviews next week!

The next day, we made our way to Haskle's place to meet him for the first time. He's a fellow GCN'er and apparently the only one in the area that we knew of. Then it happened.

I was in the left lane and traveling a little SLOWER than the flow of traffic. Actually, I was driving at 65 MPH so I thought I was doing just fine. That's the speed limit in Southern California and who even follows that? I passed by an Indiana State Trooper who was parked in the left shoulder and an internal flag went up.

Uh oh, did he see me? Uh oh, he's starting to move. Let's try to hide by changing lanes and going slower.

I squeezed between two small cars to pretend like I was going the right speed - same as everyone else. But our big red SUV between two small compact cars made us stick out like a sore thumb. I watched the trooper begin to gain speed in the left hand lane. Then he approached our location. All the other cars around us slowed to legal speed and started distancing themselves away from us like we passed gas or something as if to point their fingers and say, 'THEY DID IT!'

Sell outs.

The trooper changed lanes and positioned himself behind us. Oh great! Then there was that split second of hope that maybe he was just driving along and he just happened to drive behind us. Then it happened. Hope was shattered as his red and blue lights started flashing.

Darn!

Michael and I stayed calm. I pulled over to the side of the road, stopped the engine and put the keys on the dashboard. I got my driver's license while Michael found the car rental information. I watched in my rear view mirror as one trooper climbed out of the car like he was dismounting his horse and the other trooper stayed inside his air conditioned vehicle to keep an eye on us. The trooper put on his cowboy-looking light brown and gray state trooper hat and began to waddle toward us side to side with every step imbalanced from the weight of his utility belt fully equipped with gun, hand cuffs, mag-light, baton, tazer, pepper spray, light saber, rope and black berry.

He walked up to the passenger side window next to Michael and I hit the switch to roll down the window. 'Howdy. Y'all know how fast you were going?'

'65', I replied somewhat confidently. What could possibly be wrong with going 65 MPH on the freeway (I thought to myself)?

'The speed limit is 55 miles per hour all throughout the state of Indiana', he said with a drawl.

'Oh', I said with a genuine look of surprise while I heard the wooshing wizz's of cars from the Interstate passing by at 75 MPH laughing at me.

We gave him my driver license and the car rental information. Great. I had a California driver license in a rented car with Texas license plates. What are these two asian bandits running from?

I continued watching in my rear view mirror as he climbed back into his car. By now, i'm sure his partner Tonto ran our plates. They called in our information to do a complete background check - you know, the standard criminal history, credit history, academic history. I think they even checked with my past employers and called my references.

It took them quite a while to do the research so I figured that they were going to write a ticket. If they were going to let me go with a warning, they'd have told us by now. Plus, I saw trooper Adams writing something as Trooper Tonto assisted by holding the eraser. The sucky part is remembering a sign that said something about a $1000 fine for speeding and jail time for reckless driving. Oy vey!

I guessed that they decided not to call for back up because Trooper Adams climbed back off his horse and returned to Michael's window. He handed us a green slip of paper and informed us that he was going to let us off with a warning, that there would be no court fees and no jail time. He also told us that the speed limit is 55 MPH state wide (which is not true) and that we ought to be careful as we re-enter the Interstate to rejoin the flow of law-abiding Indiana drivers.

Whew and thanks and yes sirs were given.

So I continued on down the freeway with my cruise control set to 55 MPH as EVERY single car wooshed by us waving their fists at the slow and crazy asian driver. Sigh. I don't care. I'd rather piss people off by going slow on the freeway instead of paying $1000 fine for speeding because I ignored the grace of a warning and got caught driving too fast a second time. The funny thing is that I saw Troopers Adams and Tonto approaching again, drove right along side our slow butts, flashed the red and blues and pulled over another car. Whoa! They totally would have caught us a second time had we been speeding.

So we laughed at the next guy they pulled over.

We finally made it to Haskle's home and it was great to meet him. He had the day off from work (sort of - we went in with him at the end of the day) so he took the whole day to show us around. Thanks Haskle! We went to the Indianapolis Speedway and Museum. That was hilariously fitting after just receiving the warning from the Speed Nazi's.

We also drove around Monument Circle and took pics of the center of town where this huge structure is located to commemorate the city's war history.

For lunch, we went to Fazoli's which I had never heard of. It was awesome! It's like a fast-food Italian restaurant chain. I've never seen that before. Once they make it to the West Coast, I think they'll bank big time.

Then we made our way to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It was funny because right when we walked through the door, one of the museum staff started talking to us about this fun and interesting piece of art that we could actually touch and that it's an amazing experience. So we ran up to the third floor in search of the exhibit only to discover that the staff guy and the exhibit was "full of air". We walked around and looked at some of the other stuff.

I'm not exactly an art-guy. I don't look at a painting or a sculpture and evaluate it's texture and color and blah blah blah. For me, I like art for what it makes me feel or for how it affects me. I'm looking for something that brings out an emotion from me. So when I go to a museum, i'll walk around hopping from piece to piece and i'll stop if the artwork itself makes me stop. Nevertheless, it was fun to look around, joke around with Michael and Haskle, and move on.

For dinner, we went to Weber Grill. It was nice enough. Haskle and I both fawned over our server and we convinced Haskle to leave a note for him. Yeah, he was pretty cute. He was the one who took this photo of us. You can bet how tempted we were to tell him, 'great, thanks for the photo, now YOUR turn!'

Haskle filled out the customer feedback card and told "Adam" thanks for the great service. Then he bolted out the door before our server returned to see that it was Haskle that left him the lil' secret admirer note. He's silly. Ah, to be in junior high school again!

It was really good to meet Haskle and to get to know him more. I think he and I have a similar sense of humor. I enjoyed connecting with him and hearing more of his story. As we trek through parts of the Mid West, it's awesome to see a common thread in each of our lives - this journey of figuring out what to do with the realization that we are gay but are also very much in love with God. We're not all that different - nor alone.

I've got tons more pictures of our time in Indianapolis. Be sure to check them out here at my facebook album!

Next stop - Grand Rapids, Michigan!

5 comments:

Steve said...

Eric,

When you guys get to Grand Rapids, if you get a chance, see the Meijer Botanical Gardens. It's a nice place and has a sculpture garden, I think.

The Gerald Ford Museum is there too, I think. It's worth checking out if you like that kinda stuff.

GR is a nice city. Have loved following your trip!

Angel said...

I'm SO sorry, but I snorked out loud when I saw that picture of you with the green slip!! BAHAHAHAHA

I know, not funny, but you are such a ham it made me laugh (and God knows I need it this week).

You speed-demon, you ;)

howie said...

Welcome back!!!

The part about the Speed Nazi's is just fantastic!!!

Anonymous said...

Fazoli's is my favorite:) Matt's favorite too:)

Love ya

Becky O

Haskle said...

funny what you find when you google your own name... lol I loved that you guys visited me, I really wished we all lived closer and could get together once a month. But never the less, I am glad I had the chance to meet you guys and show you around Indy. and again...sorry about the hotel. lol

Haskle