Day 12: Northeast Indiana

I was running really, really late last night.  Then, I had internet hook-up problems.  So I gave up and went to bed.  Let me see if I can’t sneak in a quick post before the sun comes up.

The dogs got by with fields and ponds and rivers today.  No official dog parks.  Nik did something to his foot or his leg at a pond.  It was shallow and he was running back and forth for ballie. Then all of a sudden just stopped & froze.  Finally, he got the toy and came to me on three legs.  I checked and there was a little blood between two toes but nothing major.  Possibly pulled something?  I had him do various stretching exercises while reaching for cheese, turning, little hops.  Couldn’t have been a tear or he’d have been in more pain.  Luckily, he seems fine today.  I’ll try to keep the exercise to a minimum and use squeaky toys that he prefers to suck on rather than chase.

Weather was kinda crummy a good part of the day.  No rain but grey.  A few hours of nice clouds again.

I don’t think I’d been to Richmond before.  At least not downtown.  There were some nice old Main Street shop storefronts such as these:

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And these neat tiles (?) between the brick sidewalk and the street.  Anybody know what these are?

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This cute owl waved at me in Muncie.  From the sign style, the general shape of the building, and the size of the parking lot, I’m assuming this was a supermarket.

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This sign was also in Muncie.  Why are mannequins so creepy?

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Another one in Cammack at a replica or overly spruced up gas station.  Obviously, this is a Mayberry RFD TV show themed car — and I guess that’s supposed to be Andy?

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This long-closed drive-in was in Muncie.  This shot is from the backside.  The front had windows filled with junk — not sure if it was previously (or still) an “antiques” shop or someone’s private home.  So this side made for better presentation and had better sun anyway.  The rooftop fins appeared all jumbly no matter where you looked at them from.

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A ghost sign from Anderson.  It looks to be “real” (vintage not some modern repro-y thing).  I love all the different font sizes.

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I must’ve shot at least a half dozen Pizza King neon signs today.  I decided to pay tribute by getting a “small” (this was their smallest).  I’m not big on pizza — testimony that I’m not a native New Yorker I guess so it was hard to impress me.  I got my usual toppings here of olives and mushrooms.  It was about a B I guess.  But what was most interesting was the crust unlike any I’ve had before.  It was thin and crunchy and tasted just like matzoh.  For those of you that don’t know what that is, think unsalted Saltine cracker.

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And lastly, a new phenomenon that I witnessed at a gas station.  At least I’m unfamilar with it anyway.  Or maybe they’re just not street legal in NY.  These kids had these mini motorcycles.  Sounded just like the real thing.  Or like loud lawnmowers at least.

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Sun’s up — I’m outta here!

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14 thoughts on “Day 12: Northeast Indiana

    • Thanks! My dogs are far easier to travel with than another human being I think. They are mostly entertaining and only sometimes annoying. But I’ve reached the point in the trip now where I just laugh when they go off. In Northeast Indiana today there were lots of Amish horse buggies on the road and my guys were BALLISTIC! I do see their point — yes, horses should NOT be in the road fer chrissake.

      • Right – the reversed sign panel does read Savin’s — but that can never be trusted. Sometimes sign shops remove the original panels and put in reverse “dummies” until a new tenant is found.

        I have since found out that that sign originally advertised for Wise Food Market. It was sold to Ross Supermarkets and later Marsh Supermarkets. Savin’s was the last use.

  1. Those star-patterned things in Richmond that you thought were tiles are actually bricks. I think they may be left over from the street’s short time as a pedestrian promenade. There are similar bricks with a bulls-eye pattern.

    • Did I say tiles? I meant bricks! That’s the problem with writing at 1am after a nutso day of driving. God knows what I’ve been saying. So they blocked the street to traffic and bricked over the whole thing? And these bricks are what remain after removing the whole thing? Sounds like a major fiasco for such a small town.

  2. First off, I’ve been a fan of your site for several years. Thanks for all the cool photos of roadside stuff! As for the blog, I like to check in every few months to see what’s new. Thanks for all your great photos and commentary! It’s kept me entertained for many hours over time.

    Regarding Richmond, IN: My favorite aunt & uncle lived there for almost their entire lives, and as a child (and into adulthood) I visited the place at least once a year or so. The downtown was turned into a pedestrian mall in the mid-1970s. At one time a very prosperous manufacturing city, Richmond was suffering from the same exodus of businesses to the suburbs and green-field malls that lots of other places were also experiencing. Consequently, the city fathers felt that making downtown a pedestrian mall was a way to bring shoppers back into the city. I think they were following the most avant-garde ideas which were also being implemented in places like Boston and Copenhagen at about the same time. Small Midwestern cities like Richmond always feel it important to keep up with whatever the latest trends are, regardless of whether they make sense in the Midwestern context.

    I won’t elaborate on the wisdom of their decision, but I do remember that my aunt was very upset and angry that the outdoor furniture installed was all very ugly and made of plastic. Richmond’s downtown is largely built in the classic architectural styles of the 1880 — 1920 period; the pedestrian mall was done in the most awful 1970s mod styles. I recall that there were large white plastic mushrooms all over the place which were supposed to serve as sun/rain shields. I was too young to know any better at the time, but thinking about it now I can imagine that it was god-awful ugly, particularly after several months of dirt and dust covered everything.

    In any event, the pedestrian mall did not revive the downtown. The economic forces eroding Richmond’s economy were more fundamental than could be overcome by freshening up the downtown. Richmond is a rust-belt city.

    My aunt and uncle have long since passed away. I stopped in Richmond on the way to somewhere else a couple of years ago just to see what it was like from the perspective of an adult. The place is clearly less than it once was. The manufacturers who used to provide income to the city are all gone. The downtown pedestrian mall is gone, but lots of stores are either underused, or host businesses like tattoo parlors.

    Meanwhile, a large strip-mall retail area sporting all the usual national chains thrives to the north of the traditional downtown area. The strip malls are every bit as ugly as the downtown ped mall was, but people seem to accept the ugliness. Maybe it’s because you don’t care what things look like as long as you’re inside your car? I dunno. It’s very sad, but also a common story in the Midwest. Be happy you live in NYC.

    • Thanks — it’s always nice to know that folks are enjoying my website and blog. Thanks also for the description of Richmond’s recent history. I really developed a fondness for the place in the short time I was there. Yes, I have seen a lot of Midwest towns on this trip that seem to be suffering from the same fate. Main Streets everywhere have to find ways to attract customers away from the malls — and that’s not easy! Everybody wants the parking, the convenience, the familiar it seems. Downtowns that seem to be surviving have to create lots of local family entertainment and find “hooks” for tourists. NYC really has nothing interesting for me — midcentury and neon pretty much all gone. It, too, has been overrun with chain stores and Disneyfied “clean up” efforts. Sure brings in money from tourists but it has no character without anything old or grimey.

  3. The Jungle Park Pit Stop sign refers to / is related to Jungle Park which is located nearby. It’s just S of the Sugar Creek bridge on the E side of 41, and has a notable entrance gate that you might have seen. Jungle Park was once a very popular dirt oval racetrack. The physical track is still discernible, but the place is now a canoe rental business.

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