After a nice Thanksgiving in South Bend, I drove home Friday evening. I always start my trip on US 31, but I like to exit at Rochester and follow the old Dixie Highway back to Indianapolis. The Dixie follows State Road 25 to Logansport and exits on old State Road 29, which is then a straight shot to Indy. This night I decided to try something new and stay on US 31 past Rochester to US 24, and then take US 24 to Logansport where I’d join the Dixie.
US 24 has been heavily rerouted through Indiana over the years. The new road is a four-lane slab, but the old two-lane road always winds along nearby. I meant to follow the slab to Logansport, but in the dark and drizzle I made a wrong turn and found myself on old US 24. I was ahead of schedule so I decided to go along for the ride. The sixteen miles zipped pleasantly by.
Soon I entered Logansport in a part of town I’d never seen before. I passed through a retail district on the edge of town and then I entered a residential area. Trying to recognize landmarks in the dark, I made a turn onto what I thought was the Dixie, but that road ended two blocks later. I tried to find my way in stop-and-go traffic, something I had never seen in little Logansport. I soon found downtown, but no matter which way I turned, I found the streets closed. I kept backing up, turning around, driving a block, finding a barrier, backing up, turning around, and finding another barrier.
I spotted a police officer, so I got out of my car and explained my plight. “I’m just passing through and with all these barricades I’m pretty lost! I’m just trying to get to State Road 29.” I hoped he knew what I meant, because State Road 29 hasn’t actually run through Logansport in years. I’d driven through Logansport on the Dixie a hundred times, but because I had never paid attention to local street names, I couldn’t say which street I was looking for! He smiled at my story and opened the barrier so I could drive down the closed street. “Turn at 3rd St. That’s 29.” Or, it was State Road 29 once, but I think he knew that. I won’t soon forget, at any rate, that old State Road 29 is 3rd St. in downtown Logansport! I passed through the opened barrier and was on my way.
As I drove out of town on the Dixie searching for a radio station, I happened upon one that was broadcasting live from downtown Logansport for the annual Light Up Logansport parade. That sure explained the traffic and the barricades! If I hadn’t used up all of my extra time being lost in Logansport, I might have turned around to see!
No matter where I drive, I find more interesting things to see and do, more life, on the two-lane highway.