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Erik Trautman

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
-- Pablo Picasso


The day I left Glasgow, another chain of storms had begun tearing its way through the upper midwest. The weather forecast for Indianapolis showed trouble brewing in the afternoon so I headed out with the sun still low in the morning sky and only a gentle humid warmth hanging in the air. Louisville, KY is the most “city-like” place in Kentucky, and the ride north on I-65 through its surroundings was understandably less picturesque than the horse farms of Lexington had been.

Indiana continued that sorry trend. I passed the loose blend of farming, housing, and industry of lower Indiana, through the relatively uninspiring downtown of Indianapolis (that’s not just because I’m a Patriots fan) and headed west past a lot of industrial areas to the racing mecca of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At this point the temperature approached triple digits and the clouds hung ominously in the sky but I figured that I couldn’t pass through without seeing such a storied facility.

I wasn’t disappointed — they were doing some sort of time trials for the NASCAR Brickyard 400 inside and I managed to find my way in through a side door. I’m certainly not much of a NASCAR fan, but as I made my way past the vendors setting up for the weekend races, I could hear the announcers noting the progress of Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick and others whose names I’d actually heard before. I really can’t imagine having visited at a more perfect day for the casual non-fan.

I ride a motorcycle and I grew up going to rock concerts so I’m pretty good with loud noises. The first thing that hit me when I climbed the stairs and breached the entrance to the grandstands is how extraordinarily LOUD those cars are. The sheer volume of noise coming off the track as the stock cars flew down the straightaway and ripped around turn one was a pure assault on the senses. It only took a few of these monster roars for my ears to begin ringing so I snapped a few photos around the track and moved on.

I’d planned to grab a hotel and head downtown for the evening but my phone died on me again and I couldn’t locate it so I just kept going east towards Columbus. Before long, the entire span of the horizon ahead of me had blackened with an almost epic mass of storm clouds and I was forced to seek a roadside hotel.

I found an EconoLodge that had previously been a Motel 6 and before that might have been a WWI barracks. I think the AC units were from the 60’s. I settled in, careful to avoid the least sanitary parts of the room, and headed across the street to one of those local wing bars that doesn’t even have a sign out at the main road. That can be either a good or bad omen, but this time the wings were hot as hell and the specials were great so I stuck around for a while, learning about how boring people thought life was in small town Indiana. After several warnings about how I should be careful in my hotel, I actually barricaded the door shut before going to sleep.