Surviving Indianapolis: Day Two

Hello there! This is Matthew, checking in from Indianapolis.

If you followed along with Valeri’s post from yesterday, you’ll remember that we did a lot of driving followed by a lot of walking with a bit of eating in between.  Today is a bit different.

As is our standard procedure for these trips, the first stop was for coffee and a spot of breakfast. Today’s offering was from a shop called Monon Coffee Company, which is seated in one of Indianapolis’ many neighborhoods, Broad Ripple.

Our last few trips have really demonstrated how truly awful we are at getting up and going at a decent time. Fortunately, this morning wasn’t like that. We were up and away at our planned time of 08:00. 

Yep, it was too perfect. Cue the catastrophe.

Alright, that last bit was just a touch of the dramatic to draw you in.  Now that I have you, though, you might as well keep reading.
As we left the Airbnb we were affronted with a bone-chilling wind. We had hoped that by the time we left Monon the chill in the air would take its leave and the wind would’ve called it quits … but neither did.


Considering the weather, we quickly decided to alter a few plans. Instead of exploring Broad Ripple, we headed to one of tomorrow’s events — the home of the Brickyard 400 and the Indianapolis 500 — the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this. It’s basically a big ring that people drive quickly on.  As it turns out, I was right about both of those things … but on a much larger scale than I had originally thought.

Here’s a bit of perspective for you:
The “big ring” is a massive (2.5 miles) brick and asphalt track that sports four 9.2-degree banked turns … oh and the “drive quickly” is something to the tune of 237 mph.

Yeah. Underestimate much? I know I did.

At one of the attendant’s prompting, we decided to go on a guided tour of the track. Definitely a good idea, as it added a lot of neat information to what was already on display in the museum.  If you’re familiar with the Indianapolis 500, you’re surely aware of the interesting traditions that some of the drivers follow. Well, against all my better judgement, I partook of one of these traditions.

Yes, I kissed the bricks.

I would like to state that I’m not a germaphobe.
I would also like the record to state that I was pressured into this, and I wouldn’t normally do something like this … because it just seems ill-advised.

First off, you’re placing your lips on the ground. That’s probably something your mother — in all her sage wisdom — told you not to do. If we’re honest, it was probably more about her not wanting to clean the dirt off of your face after you had done so, but she was probably also concerned with your well-being.

My second hesitation is building on the first. Initially, you think “I’m kissing the same bricks that Mario Andreotti must have!” If that is your thing, neat … but let’s think a little longer about this. How many tours do you suppose the Motorway hosts per day?
Two? Three? Four maybe? 
The specifics are unimportant.
My point (which I’m sure you’ve reasoned out for yourself by this point) is that your pal Mario is only one of about 7 bazillion others who have pressed their grimy lips to those sacred stones. Not to mention whatever caustic chemicals are dripping from beneath the high performance cars that scream through that thoroughfare on a regular basis.

“It builds up your immune system.”
“A little dirt never killed anyone.”
“Why is Matthew such a sissy?”
Yeah, I can hear you saying all of those thing as I type this. Well, you might be right, but I’m probably a little bit right as well.  
I’m not a medical professional, so I’ll leave this decision to you.
Go ahead, dear reader … kiss those bricks.


Anyway, enough about racing. Let’s talk about food!
Food is probably one of my favorite elements of a trip. I love to see food, look at food, smell food … and yes, I love to eat food. Lunch today was brought to us by the vendors of the bustling City Market.


My wife is not what you would call an adventurous eater. Most entrees she orders require that the word “plain” be appended.
Enter Valeri’s most frequent order: the common cheeseburger.
Her justification for the habit of ordering  boring  the same food every time is that if a restaurant can cook anything well, it’s going to be a burger. I kind of get where she’s coming from, but not enough to merit using that  excuse  reasoning.

In a culinary sense, Valeri has actually come a long way in the seven years we’ve been married.  I’d like to take 100% of the credit for that, but I’m sure at least 2% was her.
Seriously, though, I’m proud of her for branching out and trying new things.

My mother instilled a love for the classic Philly Cheese Steak in me when I was young, so on our “discovery lap” of the market I made note of where that stand was located. After purveying all of the other goods, I made my return, and I’m quite happy that I did. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to capture a photo of my meal, so the only evidence I have to present is an empty tray and the smile on my face.


After filling the void in our stomachs, we headed to explore the city — specifically the Indiana state Capitol. We ran into a slight hiccup here, but it was completely self-inflicted.
For some reason or another, I’ve fallen into the habit of carrying the smallest of pocket knives in my hip pocket. I find it super handy at work — opening equipment boxes — but the kind attendants at the security check didn’t find it quite as handy. They gave me the option to surrender the knife (with no hope of return) or exit the building.
It’s a Gerber — and I’m stubborn — so I chose the latter, leaving Valeri to explore while I wandered off by myself.
I walked down the street to the Sailors and Soldiers Monument in the City Center, which has a gift shop in the base. Upon entering, I spotted several shelves of useless, poorly made trinkets and, more interestingly, an elevator to the observation deck.
Next to said elevator was a sign that said something like “Buy elevator tickets in the office or take the stairs for free.” Naturally, I took the free option because I’m cheap, and taking the stairs is always better, right?

Ten stories later, I was beginning to rethink my life decisions.
Fifteen stories in, I was contemplating laying down for a nap on the next landing.

As it turns out, this thing is the equivalent of a 20-story building. That’s a lot of stairs.
When you get to the top, you seriously consider throwing yourself from said top as an alternative to having to walk back down, but you go back down because it would be weird to just take up residence in there … right? Wait — is that allowed?

Something I would like to add here:
As I was verifying statistics for my information about the Monument, I saw the price listing for the elevator I mentioned.

Are you ready for this?

Two stinking dollars.  I nearly killed myself for $2.


After meeting back up with Valeri at the base of the monument, we headed back to the car to put my “deadly weapon” away so I, too, could experience the wonder of the Capitol. It is a huge building, but the adornments aren’t really all that exciting. I found myself thinking “Missouri’s Capitol is so much cooler than this” on several occasions — which surprised me. We wandered around here for a bit, exploring all of the marble-clad hallways and corridors we could before tiring of it and moving on.

This led us to The Commissary.
Gentlemen readers: Have you ever found yourself in line to get your morning coffee and thought, “You know, I could really use a haircut”?
No? Well, if that ever does happen, I hope you’re in line at The Commissary. As strange a combination as it sounds, they’ve done it. The barber shop and cafe have been joined at the hip in a very neat building. There is reclaimed wood counters, dramatic lighting in and around brick archways, and beanie-wearing hipsters around every corner … but in a way, it kind of works. The coffee is good, the styling is very attractive and the clientele seems pleasant.


Guess what is next? MORE FOOD!
This time, we headed to a little shop on Market Street called Soupremacy. It was a great choice. There was a slight mistake made in the ordering process, but it resulted in me having some of the best broccoli cheddar soup I’ve ever had. Valeri had a chicken noodle that was also exceptional. Upon this establishment, we now bestow the highest of all accolades an eatery could ever hope to receive: the Pearon Stamp of Approval (PSoP for those in the know).


After the warming effect of the soup set in, we returned to the chilly streets.
A few streets later and we found our way into a multi-story mall. Pretty standard shopping venue, so not much to report on that front,  but it did act as home to something we hadn’t had the chance to experience — a comedy club!
We happened to be there on Open Mic night, so the $5 admission made it seem like a neat way to kill a bit of time.
We quickly learned “Open Mic” translates to “The worst jokes you’ve ever heard.”
This place gave each comic (there were 20 of them, evidently) about three minutes each before shuffling them off stage in time for the next to step up. For the majority of the comics, the three minutes of cringing was more than enough; but for a couple, it wasn’t nearly enough time. The entertainment was definitely worth $5, but not much more.

That’s how we ended the night. All things considered, we had a pretty good day!
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Tune in again tomorrow to see how we fare on our last day in Indianapolis.

Indy is my home. It’s part of me; it’s in my DNA.
– Robert Mathis

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