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Saturday 3 June 2006

Lexington, Kentucky, just waking up — have no idea what time it is, but the sun is brightly streaming thru the hotel room window — after a long and somewhat busy day yesterday.

My bus was out of downtown at 0900 but with the requirement that I be there an hour beforehand; I woke up in my usual range of time, around 4, with the idea I was going to finish proofing Kendall ha‑ha: 3 chapters still to go. Instead, the safest thing was to scan the 60 or so pages remaining so the book might be returned to the library if it had to be while I'm gone. Then a mildly celebratory breakfast with James — fairly decent little croissants, nicely warmed, coffee; I made James's sammich pack like I always do, then had a whole 20 minutes to shower, dress, pack. Amazing I didn't forget more. I let Pliny out since he wasn't going to get a morning walk.

Anyway, out at about 0650; playing it safe, I finally opted for a cab, far less expensive than last trip to Jenkins when I had to go all the way to Midway Airport. Bus station about twenty minutes before eight, and sat and waited, reading Tacitus, been years since I've read him thru — if ever, I can't remember either way.

We left 20 minutes late; bus driver from the start lay down the law on smoking: saying that if you smoke — it's the law — he'd leave you out on a highway somewhere. Nearest neighbor a young man behind me, chatty at first but quickly dozed off, from Spartansburg SC and returning there after a two-month stay in Missoula MT where a girlfriend thing hadn't worked out.

Doubts on taking photographs thru the bus window on the zoom — after all it's not like I'm visiting Indiana — but finally did take one or two, beauti­ful landscape if flat, once past Merrillville; mostly looked out the window, never did read any more Tacitus after the morning wait in the station. Among the sights, a Progressive Funeral Home on Stony Island; the Industrial Canal complex, which looks like it might be an interesting excursion some day this summer, although the best vantage points are from the very raised highway, where pedestrians aren't allowed; a greeting painted on a water tank, welcoming me to Gary, IN — in the middle of their sewage treatment ponds, which just reinforced the town's image! Merrillville High School, with four baseball diamonds — and then the country starts, quickly settling in to very flat farmland dotted with corn silos and farmhouses, and the occasional line of trees or near a pond, trees and scenery at one point straight out of a Corot: flat as it was, very pretty countryside, although if I were on foot, it'd be awfully dull.

Lunch at 11:00 Chicago time at a cluster of fast-food joints about 3 miles NW of Rensselaer just off Interstate 65, the route we followed almost all the way from Chicago to Indianapolis. We stopped in the parking lot of a McDonald's; I was the only guy on the bus (about 25 people on a standard 44‑pax bus)​a that didn't troop sheepwise into the Arches, instead opting for a neighboring Arbie's, where they had a huge wall map of Indiana showing where we were and offering the additional information that Jasper County (on the very W fringe of which we were, and where Rensselaer is) was named after a guy who got killed at Savannah.

[image ALT: missingALT.]
A neat semi at the Rensselaer road stop.

More unevent­ful scenery thru to Indianapolis under worsening weather, skies getting leaden; Tippecanoe County crossed, of the battle (they have a museum or battlefield site there). A few "creeks" — always wonder what Europeans make of our huge country, many of them larger than the Chiascio, the Nera or even the Tiber in Umbria — also wonder where they got their names, as for example Sugar Creek and a few miles later Wildcat Creek; obviously someone saw a wildcat (and then again maybe not, "wildcat" might mean suddenly flooding), but I'm a sucker for a good story and it'd be nice to know.

[image ALT: A wide expanse of flat land planted with corn, about 15 cm tall because at the beginning of the growing season; in the middle distance, a group of four or five barns and sheds and three trees. It is a farm on the west side of Interstate Highway 65 in White County, Indiana.]
Typical central Indiana farmland, about ten minutes south of Rensselaer.

Indy not a place for reflection, we was hustled off our bus onto the one immediately next, luggage being transferred, and off we went in less than ten minutes, I think. Poorish weather, dirty window: I fell asleep almost immediately, awaking just before Cincinnati.

Now among the panic of the morning, I'd found I'd failed to bring camera batteries and my battery charger, and had just the battery in my camera, and it was on low. Much worry, even some palavering with James over the phone who suggested Amazon with FedEx delivery to Jenkins (but I didn't have battery enough to get me thru Bluegrass Country, let alone a few days more, the time to order and deliver; plus Susan's new house still in the uproar of moving and I'm none too sure her Internet connection works yet). But by the greatest good fortune, as our bus navigated Cincy, on 7th Street, a big camera shop; since I'd been worrying whether any'd be open, and how to find it, etc. this was a godsend: though not too far from the bus station, I played it safe and took a cab.

Batteries, charger, lens caps and compressed air while I was at it, and $200 later I felt much better, and off I went to explore Cincinnati, since I had a 4½‑hour layover.

[image ALT: The street window of a camera shop, cluttered with all kinds of photograph supplies. It is the Provident Camera Shop at 18 West 7th Street in Cincinnati, Ohio.]

The appropriately named Provident Camera Shop
at 18 West 7th Street in downtown Cincinnati.

Worse yet among the morning house-departure panic, I'd called Pliny to say good-bye, and he didn't come, didn't come; I was worked up and tore out of the house — it turned out, I mentioned it to James on the phone, he got the idea, that I'd left him locked out in the back yard. James called Crafty rousting him out of bed, who let him back in, finding him sitting disconsolately at the door, waiting. I felt terrible, still do; my poor sweet puppy didn't deserve that, gotta get my nerves under control —

Later Note:

a mistake in the diary; Greyhound's buses seat 55 passengers.

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Page updated: 7 Dec 20