Off to the Pontoon Races

Greetings from Indianapolis! Home of, of, of…I’ll take suggestions. Actually it is home to my sister, her husband and their two kids. It’s a lovely town with a bit of a crime problem. Coming from St. Louis I can’t be too uppity. I’m on the west side of Indy, on a man-made lake with very nice homes, boat docks, and pontoon boats. More on the pontoon boat later.

I arrive in Indiana, allowing for the time zone change, around 6 PM local time. Indiana has joined the temporally civilized and added daylight savings time to their collective lists of spring chores. I never got the hang of Indiana time and I’m sure my sister will be glad to no longer hear me ask “What time is it now in Indiana?”

Parting thoughts on Springfield: highly recommended. Nice people that seem to manage real life in a historical setting. The Illinois State Museum was a pleasant surprise. Dedicated to all things Illinois, the Musuem has recently open an interactive exhibit on geological, ecological, and biological change of time beginnng 500 million years ago. Illinois like many parts of the US midwest lack fossils from the Jurassic period, the time of the big dinosaurs. Due primarily to tremendous geoligical activity after the big beasties bought it in the Yucatan rock incident 65 million years ago, the Museum none the less had an exceptional display of Pennsylvanian era fossils, a coal and peat making display, and great stuff from the last Ice Age (blamed appropriately, I think, on Wisconsin).

In a rather small area, the “Changes” exhibit packs interactive Q&A, touchie-feelie stuff the the kids (yeah, okay, I felt up the beaver pelt too), and life size staff 2-D models that gave a very personal feel to the instruction. And, if you fail to look up you will miss 20% of the exhibit. Overhead, a giant “ribbon of life” documents physically the time scale of the evolution of life on earth. Much cooler than the usual “time-line” although they did utilize a “thermometer”type of time marker for all the the exhibits to help you stay in the proper moment. And there were dozens of native artifacts, including an extensive collection of tools essential to the once thriving economic life of the Illinois River tribes. A really great exhibit that will require future visits.

I wonder what I’ll find in Petersburg?

Anyway, I won’t  leave you in suspense any longer about the pontoon boat. I got to my sister’s house just in time to aid my brother-in-law in a minor crisis. They have decided to sell their 24 foot pontoon excusion boat to concentrate on the speedier stuff in the family collection (paddle boat, tubes, jet ski). Unfortunately, the boat developed a starter problem while at the marina about five miles from the family dock. The only option was to take one of the other boats, head off to the marina, lasso the crippled pontoon boat, and tow it home. As the cliche goes…easier said than done.

The ride to the marina was pleasant, the weather cooling and breezy. It struck me that it was the second time in 4 days that I was out on the water. That equals the number of times I’ve spent one a boat in the last 20 years! Hooking up with the pontoon boat took some serous creativety with knots and nooses. No one ended up in the drink fortunately and the tow back to the home cove went surprisingly well considering…considering the constant vigilance for oncoming wakes of speed boats and skiers. In spite of the rocking and rolling, the cruise went well. I’m thinking of adding First Mate to my list of career options!

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