Lake Katherine In Spring

Lake Katherine State Nature Preserve has become one of my favorite places on earth. I had hiked there a few times over the years but it was always in the dead of winter or on sweltering Indian Summer days and always with someone else.

Last year I had a chance to explore solo and saw the place with new eyes.

The trails aren’t too long or too difficult for most hikers. But you can piece together a few trails for a longer experience. Each of them offers something outstanding to enjoy.

I stopped by after work one night earlier this month and was struck by how beautiful it is everywhere you turn. I was a little sad that I didn’t pack my camera that day because I saw a ton of birds, butterflies and dragonflies that my iPhone simply couldn’t manage. One dragonfly seemed to stick with me, providing unexpected company for several minutes.

It was a delightful end to a work day and much needed respite from life’s chaos. We all need that sometimes, don’t we? Remember this- there’s not much that can’t be fixed by fresh air in your lungs and dirt beneath your feet.

Here’s something I wrote about Lake Katherine last fall. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed composing it from the trail.

Indiana’s Garfield Trail

Garfield creator Jim Davis was born in Marion, Indiana and grew up in Fairmount. Educated at Ball State University, Davis had a career in advertising before creating Garfield in 1978.

His native Grant County honors Davis and his famous feline with large statues located around the county. These fiberglass statues are about five feet tall and depict Garfield in all kinds of fun outfits.

They’re pretty spread out so seeing them all in a day would be challenging. Still, I saw a few!

This one in Gas City honors the history of the gas and glass blowing industries of the area. It’s outside the Carnegie Library.

This one is located inside the Marion Library. It was one of my favorites.

This gardening Garfield is actually located at Minnetrista in Muncie.

Want to drive the Garfield trail? Click here!

Spring In The Country

This picture was made possible by a wrong turn. Luckily, it was a pretty Spring day in Ohio and we had some time to kill. Isn’t this a beautiful country view?

If this were a scratch ‘n sniff picture, it would smell like seasonal allergies or, more specifically, like cut grass.

Remember, you’re never really lost if you know where you are. Hint: you are here. No matter where you turn up, odds are you can find a place to turn around and retrace your steps. So don’t be afraid to see what’s around the next bend.

Just use some common sense, be careful to stay off private property and you’ll be fine. Oh, and don’t forget to slow down and enjoy the journey. Smell the grass, feel the wind on your face, study your surroundings and drink it all in!

Tin Man of Muncie

Meet the Tin Man of Muncie, Indiana.

There’s no yellow brick road here but there is Kilgore Avenue that takes you right to Delbert M. Dawson and Sons Metal Fabricating where this guy stands sentinel.

He’s larger than life and kind of a neat thing to see if you’re in the neighborhood. Roadside oddities and attractions are remnants of days gone by when road trips ruled and before kids had iPads to keep them entertained on long trips.

Weird as it may sound, this is the kind of thing I live for. Anything different like unique architecture, a classic car, an interesting statue, a covered bridge and yes, a man made of sheet metal, are the things that make road-trips fun and keep you engaged with your surroundings.

You never know what’s around the next corner and that’s an amazing realization.

So how about it? Is there a roadside attraction you enjoy?

Happiness Is….

Happiness is spotting a quality vintage sign. It’s even better when it’s in good shape and a brand you know.

When Arby’s first opened in Boardman, Ohio, in 1964, the neon ten-gallon hat was a big part of their brand. The company used it as their logo until the mid-seventies and these signs have steadily disappeared from the American streetscape ever since.

I read once that there are about a hundred of them left and I’ve seen a few including one in a town along Route 23 in Kentucky. That was several years ago but I do hope it still exists.

These old signs are costly to maintain and many are grandfathered in to local codes. In other words, many cities won’t allow signs this big or flashy to be installed but they allow existing signs to stay.

I also suspect that the chain makes franchise owners pitch the signs if they demolish and rebuild. The neon mid-century style doesn’t fit well with the new Arby’s brand and the boxy buildings that seem to make up the modern fast food world.

Personally, I’m a fan of character and of things that stand out to let you know where you are. You can spot the trademark red roof and wood siding of an old school Pizza Hut from a mile away. Yet the sleek, modern design reminds me of the box my toaster came in and they just melt into the background. These towns that demand everything be brick and that signs be white rectangles that fit in the same brick box used by everyone else are not my kind of towns.

Give me places like Muncie, Indiana where character and pizazz rule the street. These are the places that make me happy!

Here’s another vintage sign that still exists in Muncie!

Gardens of Memory Covered Bridge

It isn’t every day that you find a covered bridge at a cemetery but the day I located this covered bridge wasn’t just any day. It was an adventure day.

When I left Muncie that Saturday morning, I was headed toward Fairmount via Route 3 so I could swing by this bridge. It was a gorgeous morning and the warm glow of the sun made it even prettier after the previous day’s gloom.

Gardens of Memory Funeral Home and Cemetery have served the Muncie area since 1954, according to their website.

Their covered bridge spans a small stream between the funeral home and cemetery so that the deceased will be carried over the bridge to their final resting place. The very idea pleased me for some reason. I suppose it’s just lovely to think of a bridge being part of that transition from the world of the living to the land of the deceased.

There’s a plaque dedicated to Ray Parsons. Can you read it?

It says “In grateful recognition of Ray L. Parsons 1954-1988. We wish to say thank you for your insight and help with the dream of our founders for Gardens of Memory Cemetery.”

You know I wasn’t about to let that go. So I Googled Mr Parsons and learned that he was a well known local businessman who owned several businesses including a successful construction company. The father of five and grandfather of nineteen grandchildren and great grandchildren had already buried his wife when he passed away in 2018.

Along the way, I also located an obituary for his brother Charles who had passed away four years before. Incidentally, Charles died on Thursday, December 4, 2014 and Ray passed on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

Don’t ask why I think that’s interesting. It just is.

Anyway, Charles’ obituary notes that he worked on the design and construction of this bridge and said he was proud of it.

I hope they were both proud of it as it’s a nice bridge and well done with the partially open sides that allow light to stream through. Combined with the peaceful cemetery and adjacent fields, this bridge is picturesque.

If you go, you’ll find it at 10501 IN-3, Muncie.