Road Trips, Stories Told

A 360-degree view

I began exploring Indiana’s state highways in 1988 when I first had a car and routinely drove it from my South Bend home to Terre Haute, where I went to school. Using a state map, I plotted a course that left US 31 at Rochester, following State Road 25 to Lafayette and then a series of other roads to Terre Haute. I was not yet in touch with my inner road geek and I had never heard of the Michigan Road and knew very little about the Dixie Highway, both old names for this stretch of highway between Rochester and Logansport. I was only trying to find a more interesting route than boring old US 31.

Fulton is the first town south of US 31 on State Road 25. It was once a railroad town, but the tracks that bisect it have long since been removed.

One of the first times I entered Fulton southbound, a light rain had just started to fall. I had just passed the Speed Limit 35 sign on the edge of town, but had not yet slowed down, when a little old lady stepped into the road in front of me. I jerked the wheel to the left to avoid killing her, but found myself in the path of oncoming traffic. So I jerked the wheel to the right to avoid killing myself – and started to spin. My car spun around and around, Fulton passing nauseatingly by in my windshield, until it came to rest about three blocks later, my car’s nose pointing toward this building. A brand new Thunderbird was parked before that window, my front bumper about six inches from its door.

Resting place

Feeling very embarrassed, I immediately righted my car in its lane and zipped out of town, hoping nobody had seen me. The gravity of what had just happened didn’t hit me until I reached the Cass County line, where I started to shake. I pulled over in front of a school and sat there for a good twenty minutes until I calmed down and could drive again.

That day Fulton’s speed limit earned my tremendous respect, and since then I am always sure to have slowed down before entering town. But in the hundred times I’ve driven through Fulton since, that little old lady is the only person I’ve ever seen on the street.

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4 thoughts on “A 360-degree view

  1. Lone Primate says:

    That’s some story. Why is she the only person on the street, by the way? It makes it sound like south Detroit or something. :)

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  2. LP, Fulton’s glory days are long behind it, but it doesn’t seem to be decaying any more as the years go by. Things get painted from time to time, and a few years ago big new “Welcome to Fulton” signs went up on either end of town. It’s a mystery to me why I’ve seen only that old lady on the street in all these years.

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  3. teddy821 says:

    The ‘original’ Dixie Bee Highway, in Illinois, is present-day IL-1. Before US Highway designations and for a very short while.

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  4. Teddy, the Dixie Bee did indeed run in IL near the IN line and then, I think, switched over to IN near Vincennes. The non-Bee Dixie Highway’s “midwest connector,” however, followed a South Bend – Plymouth – Rochester – Logansport – Indianapolis path.

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