Thursday, 17 March 2005

Trip to Indianapolis - Day 3

Today was the trip back home.

After a relaxing morning which included Corbin sleeping in till 8:30 am and Tina and Adam munching on some things from the Continental Breakfast and various snacks we had, we headed out to Greenville, Ohio, about one and a half hours east of Indianapolis via US36. Around Noon, we arrived at the KitchenAid Experience in downtown Greenville. Tina was overwhelmed - an entire store dedicated to KitchenAid appliances, accessories and cooking lessons. Adam gave Tina a KitchenAid stand mixer as a Christmas gift and she simply loves it. Almost purchased a coffee grinder; next time maybe? Instead, Tina purchased some accessories and we headed back home.

Originally, we were going take US36 to I75, but Adam decided to take US127 north to SR224 west and eventually to I75. It was a more relaxed drive on some decent two-lane roads. Corbin listened - and sang - to the mix CD Adam made in his portable CD player. It was amusing at times. There was not much traffic to deal with. We had a late lunch at Burger King in Ottawa and then drove to I75 and joined the driving masses. The trip up to the Ambassador Bridge was uneventful. Fuel was running low, but the warning light did not come on, so Adam pushed on. At the Bridge we paid our toll, fueled up on some tax and duty free unleaded gasoline and crossed back into Canada. No issues at the border. Just one quick stop at Tim Horton's to satisfy Tina's desire for coffee. 15 minutes later we were home. An awesome trip.

Wednesday, 16 March 2005

Trip to Indianapolis - Day 2

The day began with a trip to the hotel's continental breakfast. Nothing special. In fact, it was a below average continental breakfast. At 8 am, the only fruits left were apples - no bananas or other choices. There were few danishes and some plain bagels. Adam passed on the coffee, whereas Tina found it ok. They did have make-your-own waffles - a nice touch.

After breakfast we headed out to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, just outside downtown Indianapolis. Unfortunately, some roads were renumbered. According to the map from the Children's Museum web site, we were to follow SR37 south to 30th Street. We headed out on I69 and followed the sign that said 37 south. This took us onto I465 - a loop road. This was not right. We got off at the next interchange and headed west. Eventually, we made it to the museum. We will email them about their map.

A larger parking garage is located directly across from the museum. Plenty of parking at 10:30 am. The best part: parking was free. Yes. Free. Score one in the For column. A bridge takes you from the garage to the main entrance of the museum. Admission was reasonable. For the three of us it was US$31. This includes admission to a planetarium and theatre - though you have to get tickets from the admission counter for both venues. We did not go to the planetarium or theater. The museum has 5 floors of exhibits ranging from science, games, dinosaurs, the world, and so on. Many exhibits are hand on. There is a large cafeteria with McDonald's, Pizza Hut and other restaurants. We spent about 4 1/2 hours exploring. Corbin loved the place. He ran from exhibit to exhibit showing no signs of fatigue. Mom and Dad on the other hand were dead tired. It was a good time. Highly recommended.

We headed back to the hotel and went for a swim. After drying off and relaxing, it was time to eat. We ended up at Olive Garden, The service was excellent - the server played a couple games of tic-tac-toe with Corbin. The food was served quickly and hot. Refills came without asking. Next was shopping at a nearby mall. It was more or less a browse and walk session. Back to the hotel for much needed sleep.

Tuesday, 15 March 2005

Trip to Indianapolis - Day 1

Left Windsor shortly after 10:00 am. Stopped by CAA office to get maps of Ohio and Indiana and the back for some American money. Crossed over Ambassador Bridge and arrived at Customs only to find out the light for the lane we were in changed to red. Customs officer scolded me but processed us and said good day.

Good driving from Detroit to Toledo. Took I75 to I475 to US24. US24 is primarily a two lane road except for a couple of sections of 4 lane expressway in Napoleon and Defiance. Part of US24 follows the Maumee River which provided some great views. It is a busy road - lots of trucks (used as a shortcut from I69 in Indiana to I75 in Toledo) - but traffic moved at a constant speed. A refreshing pace of change. There were maybe 3 or 4 traffic lights total between I75 and I69. Stopped in Napoleon for lunch at Wendy's and filled up the van with gas. Traffic dropped off a bit when we took I469 southbound at Fort Wayne but picked up again when we merged with I69.

The drive down I69 reminded us of Highway 401 between London and Windsor: Flat, two lanes each way and lots of trucks. Stopped at a rest stop for a bathroom break.
Traffic started to increase the closer we got to Indianapolis. We arrived at the Comfort Suites shortly after 3:30 pm. Checked in and took a breather in our room. Changed in to swimwear and took a relaxing dip in the heated pool - one of the warmest we have ever been in. Dried off and headed out in search of food.

Lots of restaurants to choose from. A mind boggling array. We settled on Tony Roma's American Rib House. Tina ordered a half rack of baby back ribs, baked potato and veggies; Adam settled on a full rack of baby back ribs, a loaded baked potato and coleslaw. Corbin took the obvious route: hamburger and fries. The food was served quickly and was hot and cooked. The ribs were great.

Took a trip down a major street. Lots of commercial development and activity, but unlike some commercial developments in Canada, there were no portable signs to be seen, and landscaping appeared to be mandatory. Most developments had larger stores (Wal-Mart, Kroegers, Home Depot, etc) at back and smaller stores in plaza type development closer to the road. Traffic moves smoothly due to the liberal use of left turn (double left turns at some intersections) and right turn lanes. Most left turn lanes had either an advanced or delayed green which gave everyone a chance to turn. Lots of townhouse and apartment development.

Sunday, 13 March 2005

March Break

It is obvious that March Break was invented by the travel industry. Who else would come up with the bright idea of taking a week off with your kids? Don't get us wrong, we love our son, but this concept of planning a weeks worth of activities is crazy. During a typical school week, most kids spend around 7 hours at school. That is 7 hours of structured activities (aka contained mayhem). Kids may hate it, but parents love it.

With March Break, the ball is in the parent's court. We have to plan activities, which in some cases involves a vacation to some sunny spot such as Disney World, but that involves packing, traveling, eating out, and all sorts of other stresses.

Sure, as parents, we have the ability to not make plans, to go with the flow, but that lasts about, oh, two or three hours. On paper March Break looks good, but in reality it can be a much different experience.