Monday, October 25, 2021

Ice Cream, Hamburgers, and Jug Rock

I guess one thing that the pandemic has reminded me of is how to travel small. I very much miss all the big trips that I haven't taken, especially the missed opportunities to travel with my kids while I still have them, but these tiny travels make memories, too, and are very easily done during that one day a week when no kid has ballet or community college class or a horseback riding lesson or work or volunteer obligations.

We've been using the Southern Indiana Ice Cream Trail as a chance to travel small. Matt plans out one or two stops whenever we've got a completely free day, and I figure out a nearby random tourist activity.

Like Jug Rock! It apparently has its own mascot!

Jug Rock is a freestanding rock formation made of sandstone, and is apparently the tallest of its kind east of the Mississippi:

Clamber all around it so you can work up an appetite, then head over to Bo Mac's Drive-In for ice cream!

I had possibly the most delicious ice cream of my life: a peanut butter crunch blizzard:

Luna seems to have also quite enjoyed the last lick of Will's blueberry blizzard:

Syd, though, chose not just an ice cream but also a "red cream soda," a new-to-her beverage with a charming name and delightful color. I didn't remember ever having tasted red cream soda before, either, so I tasted hers... and found myself suddenly very small, sitting in the Fellowship Hall of Midland Heights United Methodist Church, drinking red cream soda from a bottle while I waited for Mammaw to get out of Bible Study.

I guess Big Red is the flavor of my childhood!

Matt loves the ice cream trail so much that the kids and I made him a DIY hamburger trail, with all the best burgers the southern half of Indiana has to offer. After our ice cream breakfast, then, we drove to another small town, picnicked on take-out hamburgers in the park, then did some more small town sightseeing:

Luna hilariously did not know what to think of this giant water wheel:

We walked along the river, found an old-school playground with both a teeter-totter and spring riders, all of which have long been removed from all our local playgrounds. 

If only we'd found a metal slide and a merry-go-round, we'd have been in vintage playground heaven!

I was chilling on a metal glider, digesting my hamburger and lazily watching the kids teeter-totter, feeling sleepy and dreading the hike back to the car, when Matt, who always has too much energy, came back from walking further down the river path and told me that there was a cemetery off in the distance.

I got my energy back!

Jasper, this little town with the hamburgers and the water wheel, has a large population of people with German heritage, and so Will and I had a fabulous time wandering around this cemetery overlooking the river and finding all the old headstones written in German:

Afterwards, we walked back to the car, where I declared that this time I really was tired, but THEN we drove by a labyrinth so Syd and I jumped out of the car and walked that, and she found a hat, and then we finally drove home while listening to horror movie retellings on my newest favorite podcast--

--because it's October!

Ice cream for breakfast, hamburgers for lunch, an unusual rock formation, a working water wheel, an old-school playground, an even older cemetery, driving practice for both the teenagers, the unlocking of a core memory, new family memories added to the collection, and home before dark: it was a perfect day of small travel!

P.S. Here's another cool Indiana trail if that's a thing you, too, like to do.

P.P.S. Check out my Craft Knife Facebook page for more photos of Luna eating ice cream!

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