Hopelessly Midwestern


Operation Bandicoot, Day 10, July 19.

Now if you’re favorite stretch of highway is flat and straight…

With the Chicagoland portion of our trip complete, this road trip was winding down. But we still had one major stop to make. So, we said our good-byes and left Crystal Lake around 9AM. Our goal for this day was Dublin, Ohio.

Our travel route followed a more direct northern route than the trip out. The side trip to Dayton took us slightly further south than a direct route would have, especially in Indiana. The GPS package was putting us on what looked liked secondary roads for much of this leg of the trip. I was a little concerned about that until I looked at satellite images. Most of them were US highways with two lanes of near Interstate quality, so my worries were groundless.

The travel itself was easy and smooth. At least it was when it wasn’t raining! Somewhere between Gary and Fort Wayne, we found ourselves in the middle of a thunderstorm that rivaled the ones I’ve seen in Louisiana or Florida! For some reason, the Midwest tends to get nasty thunderstorms during the early to mid afternoon during the summer months. Lisa refuses to book airline flights that depart or land during summer afternoons because these frequent storms translate into frequent delays and cancellations. She and Caitlin once got stuck in Charlotte (North Carolina) for almost two days because of this.

It was along US-30 that we saw row after row of huge, wind turbines. Apparently wind power generates a lot of electricity for this region. Does it generate enough to power every house and business in central and eastern Indiana? Unlikely, but I’m sure it helps. Some people find these huge turbines a serious eyesore, and don’t like them. Personally, I didn’t find them any worse than the massive grain elevators that peppered the landscape. And besides, renewable energy sources are a good thing. Right?

The photo above is very similar to what we saw. This particular photograph was actually snagged from Google Maps. According to them, it was taken by a one Chad Elly, in May of 2015. These turbines are along US-30, near Townley, Indiana, just a stone’s throw from the Ohio state line. Mr. Elly had far better weather than we did. When we went through it was overcast and drizzly, thanks to the recent deluge. But these are the same turbines, and the same cornfields, that we saw in July.

And speaking of cornfields, I was reminded of a passage I overheard in an audio book Lisa got from the library. It involved a faerie, or some other supernatural type of man, who was teleporting around this very area, trying to avoid capture. That’s all I remember of the scenario, having not listened to the entire book. But the passage went something like this:

“Cornfield. Shift. Railroad track. Shift. Grocery store. Keep moving. Shift. Roof of a house. Shift. Cornfield. Shift. Church steeple. Ouch. Shift. Cornfield. Shift. Cornfield. Shift. Cornfield. Damn the Midwest! Shift.”

Until this day, I didn’t fully appreciate the joke.

Anyway, we reached Dublin around five in the afternoon, had a quiet dinner, and settled into our hotel for the night. Once again Michael was more interested in exploring the hotel than sleeping, but such is the way of things. Fortunately we all got some good sleep, because the next day was bound to be a busy one.

Next: Ohio wild life

The opening quote is a line from the Joel Mabus song, Hopelessly Midwestern.

The paraphrase from the audio book is from a novel by Karen Marie Moning, though I don’t recall which one, and since Lisa is asleep I can’t ask her right now.

  • Operation Bandicoot
  • Operation Bandicoot

    July 10 – July 21, 2015


    In July of 2015, the Culpeper Pugh’s took another major road trip, and as with the previous trip, it was given a silly name. The name “Operation Bullfrog” was dropped in favor of a more exotic animal.

    The focus of this trip was the formal wedding of one of Lisa’s cousins from the Chicago area. Most of her extended family planned to arrive about a week before.

    The itinerary includes:

    • Dayton, Ohio, where we will visit two family graves and an ailing uncle.
    • Crystal Lake, Illinois, where Lisa has some family. This would be our local base of operations.
    • Chicago, Illinois. Several side trips are planned.
    • A visit to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on the return trip.


    As with some previous trips, Dr. Watson was going to be staying at the Blue Ridge Pet Resort in nearby Rapidan. Weather and travel conditions looked favorable for the entire week, and I didn’t receive any dire news, so things looked positive.