Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)

Descartes was an idiot.

How anyone could spend any time around dogs and believe that they are purely mechanistic beings, with no emotions, is incomprehensible.

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Clearly Descartes never drove down the road, racing a dog who was running for the pure joy of it.

Last weekend I met this farm dog after taking one of my many detours: first, to chase a hilly road (see the sign below) and then to take a gravel road, where she lived.

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Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)

She jogged out into the road as if to invite me to a race, and after I slowed down to make sure I didn’t hit her, she took off running. Clever dog.

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So of course I obliged. She ran like the wind; I was doing about 20, and she had no problem staying ahead of me. (For the curious, 45mph, give or take, is the top land speed for a dog.)

Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
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She finally wore down a bit, and jogged out into the road again. I came to a stop, and she wandered over to the passenger side. I kept waiting for her to appear in a mirror so I would know it was safe to continue, but finally had to get out to find her.

She was waiting for someone to emerge from the passenger side door, but seemed willing to settle for me. Very, very friendly dog.

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She got a second wind, and while I encouraged her to go back home, she wanted to race some more. As we approached a real road, I gunned the Jeep to leave her behind, so she’d turn around; she did, after stumbling in an adorable fashion as she tried to accelerate to match me. Shame I’ll never know her name.


I defy anyone to not get inspired by a sign like this.
I defy anyone to not get inspired by a sign like this.
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This is a sign that I had remembered from previous visits to the area, and wanted to capture, because I knew it would appeal to many an Oppo heart. And once I had made the turn to get this shot, I knew I had to keep going.

The sign, and the dog, are both pretty much in the middle of nowhere; a recurring theme in my road trip posts, I know. The nearest “town” is an unincorporated community named Dewberry, and almost as close is another unincorporated community you’ve never heard of, Friendship.

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(Unless you’re a member of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, of course. They are based in Friendship and have two national competitions in town, and believe it or not, they’re pretty big events. I’ve happened to drive through town during one of them in previous years, and the place is packed.)

Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
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Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)

North of Friendship is another unincorporated community, barely a speck on the map, but with a lovely Catholic church that’s now closed: St. Maurice. Despite being closed for 7 years, everything looks to be in great shape, so I assume someone else moved in; if not, and you’re in the market for a new house...

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I eventually made my way to Versailles State Park, which was my nominal excuse for the trip, since Indiana state parks are explicitly open for visitors despite the state-wide lockdown that’s starting to unlock itself today.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this covered bridge before, because it’s at the end of a lovely back road from Versailles (the town) to Versailles (the park). (The town and park are pronounced “ver-sails”, despite being named after the Palace, go figure.)

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Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)

Past this point, you’ll just have to read the captions, because this has gone on long enough.

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Not pictured:

  • A beaver (or muskrat) that started to cross a busy highway right in front of me before realizing its mistake, thankfully.
  • Quite a few old trucks with lots of character (aka “patina”) I wish I would have captured for your appreciation.
  • Any of my favorite water crossings, because I was feeling guilty enough about breaking the spirit of the shelter-in-place order.
  • Clifty Falls, the waterfalls inside the eponymous state park, because those trails were closed because people don’t understand social distancing and we’re doomed because PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND SOCIAL DISTANCING.
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Versailles Lake
Versailles Lake
Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
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Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
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Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
This is “Fire Pink”, a native wildflower that a few years ago was a dark horse to be named the new state flower of Indiana, once someone discovered that Peonies are not in fact local. Why we have a state flower from China is a fact lost to history (or, I’m just too lazy to look it up).
This is “Fire Pink”, a native wildflower that a few years ago was a dark horse to be named the new state flower of Indiana, once someone discovered that Peonies are not in fact local. Why we have a state flower from China is a fact lost to history (or, I’m just too lazy to look it up).
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This is Solomon’s Seal, another native wildflower. It is often confused with False Solomon’s Seal; the easiest way to distinguish them is that the “fake” wildflower has its flowers and seeds above the stem, whereas you can see the tiny seed pods hanging below here.
This is Solomon’s Seal, another native wildflower. It is often confused with False Solomon’s Seal; the easiest way to distinguish them is that the “fake” wildflower has its flowers and seeds above the stem, whereas you can see the tiny seed pods hanging below here.
Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
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Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
This bridge lacked signage indicating its height, but I’m sure one or two bro-dozers has at least bumped an antenna against it.
This bridge lacked signage indicating its height, but I’m sure one or two bro-dozers has at least bumped an antenna against it.
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Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
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Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
This driveway is what’s known to those in my line of work as a “tease”. You come up a hill, around the corner, and think the road is turning into a hilly dirt road...but no
This driveway is what’s known to those in my line of work as a “tease”. You come up a hill, around the corner, and think the road is turning into a hilly dirt road...but no
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Mamaw & Papaw live on Knigga Road
Mamaw & Papaw live on Knigga Road
Curiously enough, there were no road signs to be found...
Curiously enough, there were no road signs to be found...
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An actual service station. Who knew?
An actual service station. Who knew?
I interrupted this cow’s ruminations
I interrupted this cow’s ruminations
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Illustration for article titled Good doggo! (and other ruminations from a long road trip)
One of the more famous waterfalls in Indiana, this one is directly adjacent to a state highway, and sometimes floods the road. It’s along a steep descent into Madison, and I assume the water doesn’t stick around long enough to significantly disrupt traffic, but I’ve not been fortunate enough to see it at full strength.
One of the more famous waterfalls in Indiana, this one is directly adjacent to a state highway, and sometimes floods the road. It’s along a steep descent into Madison, and I assume the water doesn’t stick around long enough to significantly disrupt traffic, but I’ve not been fortunate enough to see it at full strength.

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