Kokomo highlights

After the vacation part of the trip, we stopped in Kokomo for Dan's 40th reunion.  We flew into Indianapolis and drove the hour north to Kokomo, getting in Friday late afternoon.  First stop was the old high school which is now a middle school - it was locked up.  But across the street was the gym where Dan played all his high school ball and it was open, so we went in and took a couple of pics.

Saturday we had breakfast with some childhood friends then went on a trip down memory lane, visiting the house he grew up in, the park in the middle of town, etc.  Lots of changes - "where did XYZ go?", "that used to be ....", etc.  Kokomo is a town of about 44,000 which is only a little bigger than greater Kingman but felt MUCH bigger - there were lots more restaurants and shopping.  Friends told us it's probably because it serves as the service/shopping town for many smaller nearby towns whereas there was nothing near Kingman.

We drove by his house and he said, "What happened to our house? Where are the trees? I helped plant those trees.  Where are the trees?"  He must have said that 10 times!  Apparently the house used to have shutters and two big trees out front - all the other houses in the neighborhood had trees so this one stuck out as the plain jane house!

The reunion event was that night and we had a great time catching up with everyone and meeting new folks (me).  Sunday morning we had breakfast with friends again then took off to Rockfield which is where Dan's mom grew up on the family farm.  It's about an hour away in a town of a couple hundred people.

Here's the farmstead.  The garage on the right was added - that used to be where the big family garden was.  The cornfields were behind the farmhouse.

There used to be a big tree with a swing in it in this side yard - I have a photo of Adam swinging in it.

Wait, here it is! :)  That's Dan's dad in the background.

Dan peeked in and apparently they just use the barn as a place to throw junk.  Then he went up to the porch to ask permission to walk down their property to the bluff.  No one was home but the porch was crawling with kittens!

Cute, huh?

As we walked around the side of the house we saw .........

progress!  They "paved over paradise and put up a parking lot" - well not a parking lot, an interstate!  You can see the farmhouse on the left.  Yikes!

From here we headed to Indianapolis - although I've been to the Indy 500, I don't think we went through downtown because I don't remember it.  It's really a pretty town.  They've got a huge park/memorial area that covers several blocks with lots of open space but also some huge dramatic memorials.

Of course no trip to Indianapolis is complete without a visit to the Speedway, so Monday morning before heading home we drove over and took the tour.  It was filled with interesting facts and though the track was pretty plain and austere, I'm sure it's much more colorful and energetic filled with cars, people and banners everywhere.

Dan's demonstrating the tradition of kissing the bricks - these bricks are at the start line and from the original track laid in 1909.  The track was originally tar and gravel but it was quickly discovered that wasn't firm enough.  Over 3 million bricks of 9.5 lbs each were brought in to pave the track which is where it gets the name Brick Yard.  Since then it's been covered with asphalt many times but the bricks are still in place - it would be like peeling back layers of wallpaper to discover the original wall.

I wish I'd remembered the way these posts work - this should actually have been the last one if I was trying for chronological story telling.  But I started with bridges, consequently it's the last post in this series.  Ah well, I'm sure you can all follow along and get the general gist of the trip.  Next is our trip to Montreal which actually came in the middle of the week....

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