Friday, April 22, 2011

Greetings From Lafayette

We woke up early in Chillicothe, had breakfast at the hotel buffet, and went to Hopewell Culture National Park, which has been reconstructed from the days when Camp Sherman trained World War I soldiers and leveled most of the ancient earthworks of the Mound City. The park has a museum with a short film about prehistoric Native American lives -- no one is really sure why some of the mounds were built, though several were burial sites and some appear to be aligned to be a seasonal calendar -- containing some of the copper figures, pipes, and arrowheads found in the mounds. Visitors can walk among the mounds in part of the park, though there is another area a few miles away that isn't open to the public. The Hopewell earthworks feel more like Stonehenge than America's Stonehenge in New Hampshire, which seems far more touristy-manufactured; also, every time I've been at Stonehenge it's been a glorious sunny spring day like today, so even the light looked familiar.

After stopping for lunch right near the Indiana border -- we saw less flooding than in Ohio, though there are warnings about rivers bursting their banks all over this state, too -- we drove to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and visited the Indianapolis 500 Hall of Fame, which consists largely of cars and trophies. There are nearly 100 vehicles on display, including many winning race cars and historic vehicles dating back to the 1910s, plus a reproduction of a racing garage and many photos and souvenirs of champion drivers. I cannot pretend that cars are remotely my area of expertise, but it was fun listening to other visitors who were all excited to see the winning cars and trophies. From there we headed to Lafayette, where we had dinner, played miniature golf, and ate Dairy Queen for dessert. On Friday we get to see Purdue and Bloomington! Here are some touristy photos, nicer ones later:

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