I was in Indianapolis for work, but took the opportunity–after sitting in an authentic Indy racecar, participating in a 4000+ member thumb-wrestling tournament at the Hoosier Dome (I lost), riding a mechanical bull (I won), and having a portrait of my butt sketched–to drive east to the state’s highpoint.
It had, surprisingly, snowed on us unsuspecting and underdressed Arizonans the day before in Indianapolis, but the eastern part of the state was just damp shades of brown and grey. Late-winter dead trees scraped cloudy holes in the sky above choppily mown cornfields spotted with the dark sheen of frozen-over puddles.
Just off the highway, the narrow road to the highpoint is ten miles of the most fun roller-coaster hills of all time. I sped past clapboard farmhouses and on bridges over silent creeks in sheer joy, my stomach dropping over and over on the swoopy little hills.
I did as much of a hike as was possible to the high point. The short path was thick with mud and smelled of firewood and cows and that strange sort of diesel tang that seems to permeate all of Indiana.
The point itself is just a picnic table and a granite marker set in a modest clearing not perceptively higher than the surrounding fields, but the brown grass rippled in the neverending blustery wind and the spindly trees cut jagged streaks all around me, and I drink my beer in the monochromatic stillness and think of how I wouldn’t have liked this nearly so much in the summertime.
About the beer:
I’d stopped at the well-stocked Stoney’s Liquor Store on the “Beastside” of Indianapolis on my way out of town and was kindly guided by the avuncular droopy-eyed fella behind the counter (Stoney himself?!) to his very last sixer of my favorite American Pale Ale, the phenomenal 3 Floyds Zombie Dust. Three Floyds doesn’t distribute west of the Mississippi and it took a fair amount of self-control to not pop one open right there in Stoney’s parking lot. It’s just a perfectly balanced brew, a bite of hops that’s sharp without being bitter measured with a malt that’s sweet without being cloying. Incredibly smooth and smartly complex, I wanted to savor every sip but couldn’t wait to take another. Reason alone to visit Indiana again.
plus the label matches my nails.