Thursday, July 28, 2011
The camera slowly pans to an empty basketball court somewhere in rural Indiana. The net sways in the breeze as the narrator wonders wistfully where Larry Bird has gone.
ESPN cheese I know, but there is no doubting the basketball tradition in the state of Indiana. "Hoosiers" high school Milan's dream run to a state title, the last undefeated squad at Indiana in 1976, Notre Dame's amazing upset of UCLA's juggernaut, Valparaiso guard Bryce Drew's dramatic buzzer beater, and Butler's back-to-back final runs are just a few examples of the state's hardwood history.
While pondering the career of the last great white hope, I trod down Highway 10 in the Hoosier state towards Roselawn. The town boasts two nudist resorts, the Sun Aura and the Ponderosa. The Ponderosa is considered "family friendly" which I guess means you get to bring your naked dog and naked children too.
In the old days the most famous of the Roselawn nudist getaways was Naked City. The restaurant there included glass top tables and the waiters wore only an apron. Unfortunately, legal trouble for the owner, appropriately named Dick, led to Naked City's closing in 1986.
Seeing as it was too early in the day to drop my pack and my pants I continued on several more miles to Lake Village. A less flashy place, everyone I met seemed to be wearing something called clothing.
I inquired at the library what this strange attire might be and wondered also if there was a church whose property I could lay my head upon for the evening. Sandy, the librarian, made some calls and was unable to locate anyone from the Presbyterian church next door. Ever resourceful, she had a plan B and contacted the fire department, who agreed to allow me to set up in the park next door to their offices. Just as I was settling down there I got a phone call from Alyssa, whom I had also met earlier at the biblioteca (Spanish word which means place where one dances with books).
Alyssa and her husband Gus invited me over to their place for a delicious dinner. Also present at table was Rob, a co-worker of theirs who had done a lot of section hiking on the Appalachian Trail. All three work for the local nature conservancy, which has purchased old farm land and restored the original prairie habitat on property just south of Lake Village. Why the ADT runs north of here along the same old corn and soybean fields rather than passing the conservancy and showing off a bit of the state's diversity is anyone's guess.
Gus and Alyssa are also practitioners of the DIY ethos, working to be self-sufficient whenever possible. Our meal included succulent honey, bread, potatoes, and kale all produced on their property. I think many of us will wish we possessed their skill set when the American economy collapses. Not like that could ever happen.
18 miles/1112 total miles