Monday, March 12, 2018

Day Trip to Northern Indiana, and the silly things I see

4:50 PM 3/12/2018

I took a day Trip to Northern Indiana to visit my cousins. Of course, I forgot to take any photos with them, because I was too busy enjoying my time and having great conversations! But... this post is about other things.

Whenever I leave the house, I make it goal in life to pay attention to the fun and funny little things
I encounter, and not to let them pass by without note, as is so easily done with moments of delight

Sometimes its billboards that make me laugh (like the "Tripple X 'Family' restaurant", and a sign that said "SPACE AVAILABLE" next to a picture of a Saturn. *cackle*) And other times its the unusual pieces I find in rest areas and towns.

The first thing I encounter is the mysterious water pump at the rest area.
A hot pink questionmark demands answers, but only results in more questions.
Why is it there? Why is the sidewalk rusty? Are they renovaing the rest area? Is the question mark code for something specific?
I'm assuming its part of a renovation project, as there were several other hot pink sprayed dashes and exes throughout the property, and a shiny new pipe ready to go in the ground, as well as little pink flags in the dead grass warning of underground pipework.

Before getting on the road, I checked the internet where I chuckled about a MEME questioning whether doritos are merely a 'tiny' version of some larger more legendary "DORO" snack.
2 minutes later I was on the road again and encountered some of those legendary DOROs myself on the side of the FIRST SEMI I SEE: a dorito truck! Serendipity!

So I'm driving along on my total 2.5 hour trek (destined to be longer due to my relaxed attitude at pit stops and food runs) I have about 20 minutes left and my bladder is starting to whine at me. I *could* hold it, but I'd rather be comfortable. I decide to stop at the next exit with a gas station. I'll grab some skittles and go to the loo. I see a sign for Speedway and take the exit.
Suddenly I find myself in the ghetto. My luck has led me into Gary, IN. I know this because there was a (possibly abandoned) Gary Library building on this road.
I drove about 3 blocks but did not see any Speedway gas stations. I saw 2 sore and broken looking gas stations. Almost every sign on this road was hand written, and when I took a side street to go around the block and turn back, I saw that ALL the buildings on this block were burned out and broken down. I took a few quick snapshots because these things fascinate me.

I proceed to have a conversation with myself.
"Maaaybe I shouldn't pee here. It could be dangerous."
"Dude, am I really too good to pee in Gary? Surely I can relieve myself here and not get in trouble. Don't be swayed by the negative stigma!"
"But... this is Gary. And all those gas stations looked really scary"
"Check the ones on the other side. If they look as bad, lets move on."
(I drive past the exit)
"There - look at that gas station, its not so bad."
(looks at gas station. Its not as bad as the others, but its still pretty bad)
"Look, your home in Indy sorta ghetto, this is nothing."
"You're right! What the hell. Lets go pee."

I park. Some nice gentleman holds the door for me. Ok, so far so good.
I walk around. There are some workmen drilling into under a counter fixing something. I smell sawdust in the air. I find skittles but I do not see a bathroom. I ask the clerk as I buy the skittles and he points behind me. There, half hidden by shelves is the magical white door to the toilet.
Inside its a combo between storage and bathroom. Its unisex and there is a dingy un-flushed urinal. Yuck.  The toilet looks similar and *doesn't flush, but I'm at the point of no return now so I do my thing and go to wash my hands. NO WATER.
Of course. * The workmen. *  They must have shut off the water. I look for hand sanitizer to buy, but there is none. >_> Thankfully I had my own water in the car and was able to wash my hands.

So, there is my March 2018 experience of Gary. However, I would not take it back, for without that little detour, I would have missed out on the best ever hand written mural advertising this car wash as....

The Best Hand Job in Town!

And finally, on the way home, I thought I had fallen into an alternate space dimension.
I stopped at a rest area that looked almost exactly like the one from earlier, down to the pink flags and new pipe waiting to be interred into the ground.
Remember that questionable pump earlier in my post? Yeah. There was another one.

I got back on the road hoping I was going in the right direction, and eventually made it home safe and sound.