Day 3: Fort Wayne, IN to Home!

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Greetings from home sweet home! I decided to hoof it through yesterday, and arrived home at around 1:30am. I couldn't justify spending $150 on a hotel in St. Louis, especially when it's only 4.5 hours from home. So, I slapped myself a few times, sprinkled water on my forehead, and toughed it out.

Let's look back at Thursday and see how things played out...


First things first - I had to leave the Fort Wayne, Indiana Hyatt Place. I can't say enough good things about this hotel - it was absolutely fabulous.

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From there, I drove about 20 miles north, back to Auburn, Indiana so that I could check out the museum and car show. Auburn is a beautiful little town, with a picturesque downtown area. As I was driving through, I noticed a lone car sitting near a diner, so I pulled in behind it and snapped a picture.

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I chatted with the owner of the car for a bit, and then headed for the musuem, which was starting to get busy with folks. I flashed one of my old press badges, got in for free (hehe), and had free reign of whatever I wanted to take pictures of. Suckers... :-)

Here are a few of the cooler pieces that were on display at the museum, which is the old showroom for Auburn-Cord. The showroom has been restored to reflect what it looked like in the 30's - art deco and all. It was really a beautiful place.

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These cars were truly impressive, and were "top of the line" back in there day. In a time when the average teacher's salary was $1,100 and the average government executive made $1,700 a year, these cars cost between $4,000 - $10,000. They really were beautiful, and I felt bad about stiffing them on the admission, so I made a donation before I left.

I also vowed not to take any interstate roads on the way home. It was going to be all backroads from here on out... and while on my way out of town, via Main Street, I spotted this cool sign on the backside of one of the old Auburn assembly buildings:

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From then on, it was corn, corn, and more corn. I encountered the occasional tractor and farmhouse, but other than that, the scenery was rather drab.

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After spending 4+ hours on backroads, making my way to Indianapolis (which would've been 1.5 hours by interstate from Auburn), I stumbled across an AMAZING find - a Culver's Restaurant, just outside of Indy in a city called "Carmel" (which, by the way is an awesome city). I ordered some cheese curds, a cheeseburger, and a concrete. It was delightful!

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From there, I motored over to the Indianapolis 500 Speedway and took a run through the musuem. I've been there before, but when you're so close to it, you just have to stop in and say "hi." My old press badge was useless here, so I forked over the $3 to get in.

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I only spent about 20 minutes at the museum, as I was trying to get to St. Louis in time to meet my friend for dinner. It was already 4pm, and St. Louis was a good 4 hours away by interstate, so I had no choice but to hop onto the old 4-lane and crank it up a bit.

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You can see my little Garmin GPS - I love that thing. It was spot on for the entire trip. I was also averaging 46-mpg while going 75-ish... not bad...

Just outside of St. Louis, I had to stop for my 2nd round of fuel. I went 650 miles on the last tank and put in just a tad over 13 gallons of diesel. Not bad!

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I rolled into St. Louis at about 8:30pm, but Forrest was already busy, so he took a raincheck on the meal. I decided to stop in at O'Connells anyway and enjoy a burger and fries. They have fantastic burgers and are located in this tiny little building downtown. The place seats about 40 people and is always packed. I grabbed a seat at the bar and watched the Rams/Chiefs game while I munched away at my burger.

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From there, I hit the highway and drove home. Snuck into bed at around 1:30am, and just woke up. I'll probably wash the car, then go for a run... Oh, and in case you're curious - the trip was 1,612 miles, and I used 33.1 gallons of diesel, for an average of 48.7 mpg. I filled-up twice, and still have a 3/4-full tank of fuel. :-) I love it!

Hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did!

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