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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Loogootee....what?

As adventures go this past week and weekend rate up there as one of the best. Perhaps a little mild kind of adventure as adventures go. 

In my travels, I meet a lot of people and make a lot of friends.  Now that I am Road-Tripping the USA, I visit friends along the way.  A friend that I made in Arizona this past fall, invited me to visit his 'life' for a few days.  After leaving Beaver Lake Dam, Arkansas we met up outside of Saint Louis, in Pontoon Beach, Illinois. I got to see inside of his trucks semi cab and even watched WWE Wrestling in a truckers lounge. We met up again a couple days later in his tiny hometown to participate in their annual Summer Fest. 

While traveling from Pontoon Beach through Illinois, my tablet kept beeping weather warnings.  After spending almost two months in Arkansas with threats of Severe Thunderstorms and Tornados, I have a healthy respect for weather alert beeps.  I also have a bit of leftover trauma from mountain top hail and lightening storms that I hiked through while on the Appalachian Trail.  Most of the warnings in Illinois were flood warnings and I drove past some very high rivers.  Then I saw the wall of rain ahead of me and coming closer, as the drops began to fall, I reached to turn on the windshield wipers and oh my gosh nothing happened....I mean nothing, Momentarily my heart beat stopped, then the downpour hit with full force as motorcycles pulled off and trucks wizzed past.  I pulled under a overpass and decided it was best to just sit out the rain.  I checked everything I could think of and came up empty.  So about half an hour later I carefully pulled by onto the highway amidst drizzels and made my way to the first gas station where there was this really strange black cloud swirling really fast....I ducked into a parking lot and went inside the building.  Sfter the storm passed, I made my way to the local Wallyworld and spent the night.  The next day I got directions to a repair shop.Luckly and oddly, the motor that lives just above my gas pedal (I never would have looked there) had come loose. Back on the road and on to...

Loogootee
What?  Where?

Loogootee, Indiana is truely small town USA!   This is a place where the parade has more participants than it does spectators.  Where proud 80+ year old men show off their prize tractors from the 1940's and 1950's.  Little red haired freckled 3 year old boys just say hello and show off their new shoes to a lady they've never seen before.  Where the mussel cars line up with the model t and 1960 chevy trucks .  The menonite and amish famillies mill around at same time as young teens in short shorts and cowboy boots.  The 2 block long food and vendor stands busy with neighborly visits, lots of lemonaide and fried everything even candy bars.

Ice cream socials, crafty women and youngsters keeping thier hands busy with knitting and crocheting scarves, making cute doorstops out of dressed up bricks.  Creating light weight 'cast iron' decorations out of cardboard. Jennifer can't stop taking pictures so she found a way to make these kewl magnets.  People here do what they love - Theresa organizes, Deno makes footlong corn dogs and funnel cakes and helped to make this year, especially memorable by getting carnival rides for the first time.  Complete with raffles for a 50" flat screened TV and a motorcycle run held by the local VFW to support a local program for disabled vets.   Other raffles were set up to help raise money for the community pool fund, to raise money for a women's shelter, another raffle for a Vera Bradley bag (that I won!) And a handmade scarf.

Entertainment came in many forms, 2 young girls (16 &17) made up the Sad Sam Blues Jam...wow! Look them up online.  And Terry Lee, an English Harry Conick Jr kind of act complete with local swing dancers - what fun to watch. Wish I could dance like that. I can't recall listening to so much oldies music in a very long time. Oh yeah and the fire department set up a fire safety program and gave out some really nice fire exstinguishers and fire alarms as door prices.  The parade was so old school and the little miss princesses and current as well as past years queens made up a large part of the parade on saturday, riding on the convertables from the car show. 

Between washing my van and doing laundry this morning and enjoying helping out a little at the Route 50 Cruisers car show, my friend and I decided to have lunch at the local chinese restaurant.  The China Wok is a very clean buffet style chinese restaurant.  I needed to order a specially prepared lunch because of my food allergies. But, perhaps the funniest entertainment we had was being waited on by a slim young waitress wearing a lot of eye make-up and streaky blonde hair....omgosh she was so funny but I will save that review for my Trip Advisor restaurant reviews.

I seem to have made a couple friends, people are just very friendly in this town.  I enjoyed myself tremendously. There were these two young boys, perhaps around 5 years old that were so cute trying to play air guitar and act like head bangers.  I wish I had gotten a picture of that. We played and laughed with them.  I sure hope that their Mother gets video of them before they get too old.  That will be a good tease as they get older.

The festival wound up with a performance by the Linda Smith Band.  Linda has so much energy and is a wonderfully possitive and playful performer.  She often came off the stage to dance with children and walk through the crowd.  Just a lovely and fun ending to yet another good day spent here.  The Mayor was pleasant and available and gave an update to the towns goal of upgrading their swimming pool.   The town has some major fund raising and grant writing to accomplish this goal.  The festival ended with a bang - literally!  As the first fireworks display jumped most in the crowd.

Sundays in Loogootee are quiet church and family days.  The festival will be a memory to be shared at dinner tables tomorrow as I say my final 'farewells' and head East on Route 64.

If you are in the area in July, I hear that they have a local Catfish Festival which I can only imagine will be a great time.