We’re on the road again – this time heading from Collingwood, Ontario toward Tucson, Arizona.
Our first day consisted of a 7 hour drive, crossing the border between Canada and the U.S. at Sarnia/Port Huron and settling at day’s end into the Holiday Inn Express in Bowling Green, Ohio (a lovely town of about 31,000, home to Bowling Green State University and picturesque main street reminiscent of Collingwood). Taking the advice of seasoned travellers and new friends Lynne and John, the rest of the journey will consist of a 3-4 hour morning drive each day, followed by a half day exploration of the city to which that takes us, a leisurely dinner and an overnight stay. There is no doubt we could do the 34 hour drive in 3 days instead of the 9 we actually have planned, but why not enjoy the sights along the way?
Day 2 took us as far as Indianapolis, Indiana. The scenery on our drive was flat, flat, flat: true midwestern farmland, but made beautiful by the dusting of snow on the fields and farmhouses. The roads were clear, but everything else looked like it had been sprinkled with icing sugar. I had planned for the excellent zoo complex in Indianapolis to be our afternoon walk. Well-run zoos, along with nature preserves, are some of my favourite places and have more than once been the reason “we” chose to visit a particular city (San Diego being a prime example). This zoo, like the nearby Indiana University campus, is very modern, with clean concrete lines. Also like the campus, it is quite beautiful. Whoever designed it found a way to make it inviting, when it could easily have been cold and sterile looking.
Many of the animals were wintered indoors already, but we still got to see tigers, lions, cheetahs, zebras, ostriches, seals, walruses, brown bears, red pandas, elephants and lemurs outdoors, and the orangutans indoors. The zoo also has a small aquarium, a dolphin viewing dome, penguins (!) and a desert pavilion with some gorgeous snakes and meerkats with serious attitude.
And how do you attract folks to the zoo in cold weather? With a Christmas light wonderland of course! I got to pretend for a minute or two that I had magnificent plumage before heading off for dinner. St Louis tomorrow!