August 4 I had a “free day” during the NABA Convention, for which I’m here to take photos for the magazine I edit and lay out for the organization (National Association Breweriana Advertising). I got up early to take a bike ride along the famed Monon Trail, a completely paved Rails-to-Trails conversion that is quite popular around here, and which links up with many additional urban, suburban, and municipal trails to add onto a cyclist’s exploration. The Monon extends beyond the “multi-use only” part, at both ends, entering into urban riding through the cities at each end. I only rode the 8-ish miles of the non-urban riding part, and had a great time.
I also had the great pleasure to link up with someone I knew only “virtually” through the FaceBook Altoistes group (a place where about 800 North American Safari Condo Alto owners and owners-to-be gather to exchange ideas about our trailers). Jennifer, who lives here in Carmel, read my last blog entry and realized we’re in her “neck of the woods” and reached out to see if she and I might be able to get together. Very quickly, we arranged a lunch and she took me to Upland Brewery here in Carmel, only a short drive from her home of 25+ years.
I cannot express how much fun I had with someone who moments before had been a total stranger, except for the name. I have to say it: among each and every of the Altoistes we have had the pleasure of meeting, I have enjoyed a connection that goes far beyond ownership of a similar travel trailer. I cannot wait until next year’s Alto Rally, which is going to be held close enough to Virginia for us to make it a weekend, where we will meet so many additional Altoistes, and I hope I’ll be able to meet up with Jennifer again and meet her husband.
Not long after our lunch, I had the truly extraordinary opportunity to meet up with a long-ago (nearly 30 years) next-door-neighbor. Jack had remembered that Lisa and Bob had moved away from our cul-de-sac in Houston, TX, and back to their home stomping grounds of north Indianapolis. He said he thought it might be Carmel, in fact.
We did a little Internet “stalking” trying to find their names and Lo! We found a link, followed it to a business and sent a somewhat random email. On the return was a very sensible “test” to see if I was really who I said I was and not just some phisher. Once we passed the test, Lisa responded and we set up an after-work sit down for an adult beverage or two, at my hotel. As it happens, her office was nearby.
It did take two beverages and a lot of Q&A and descriptions of our lives to catch up over these 30 years, but it was tremendous fun. She remembered things that I never thought about until she mentioned them, and I remembered others that she laughed about, too. It was a remarkable connection, and I hope we can maintain it into the future significantly better than we have done during the intervening years. And, I hope we can get together with Bob (he was working out of the area and was unable to join us this time) and Jack too.
I’m writing this post on Saturday, the last day of my Convention, and on a day I was able to take another bike ride. Cooler today than it ended up being on Thursday, and I went back to the Monon Greenway/Trail again, to see if I could do somewhat less meandering and somewhat more heart-exercise. Again I had a great time, and was gratified to see so many weekend users of the trail/greenway. Unlike Thursday, I attempted to take one of those spur trails to add some miles, but I got lost, then found myself in a seriously busy shopping mall/strip center area, trying to figure out where I was supposed to go to follow the trail amongst typical metro traffic on a Saturday in the summer. On the upside, I found a Panera’s and ate lunch there.
There was a small fair going on near the Theater Arts Center, and another mass of folks strolling along the road in the Arts and Design District, so I was really glad I took photos of the wondrous sculptures by an artist named J. Seward Johnson, Jr., known around here as “The Normal Rockwell of sculpture.” The pieces are highly realistic, and depict people going about their everyday lives, and there are many many of them along the roads in the Arts and Design District.
I tried to take photos of most of them, but I became a bit worried about my bicycle. It seems that it’s been called a “hot bike” so frequently, it’s gotten a big head. It kept photobombing my pix. But I got a lot of the sculptures on digital film — I’m afraid you’ll just have to excuse the silliness of the bike in the photos below.
Tomorrow Jack comes to pick me up in the early AM, and we will return to the Hoosier National Forest and prep Roomba to hit the road again, heading back east to Breaks Interstate Park to meet up with friends as early as we can manage on Monday. ROAD TRIP!