Yesterday was an incredible day. The weather was great here in Indiana, sunshine all day and record highs for the date (80° F), and if only I’d had a convertible for driving around , it would have been perfect.
I decided that it was time to basically finish off the northern half of the state by taking a westward swing again, south of the Newton County/Jasper County line I’d hit last week. I started off by cruising down U.S. 40 out of Plainfield, then taking the S.R. 240 shortcut into Greencastle to the Putnam County Library, where my long-time friend Margot works. It was fun to see her again, and after a little catching up and after debating what to use as the background for photo (we selected art), we asked her co-worker to take the picture. Here’s the library and Margot and me with the envelope. Margot, by the way, already has the library Facebook page encouraging their patrons to learn about the contest and enter on April 15th. Putnam County wants to win, so I think other counties better watch out!
After that I headed up U.S. 231 to U.S. 36, and took it west into Rockville. This area of the state, while it still has plenty of farmland, also has some gentle hills and woodlands, so it’s a nice drive. I got into Rockville and went straight to the Rockville Public Library in Parke County. There I visited with Cindy, the library director, who has me booked for a talk in June. I gave her the envelope with the contest materials in it, and they got out a copy of my last book, Angels Whisper, and we took some promotional photographs for my talk and the contest. Here’s the Rockville Library and Cindy and me:
From there I took U.S. 41 north. As I passed Turkey Run State Park, I couldn’t help but think of all the good memories I have from there, of childhood trips with Mom and Dad, and later many family reunions. Some of the earliest pictures of my paternal grandma and the man I knew as my grandpa (my dad’s actual father had died when Dad was only eight) are from that park. So l spent some reflective moments as I headed up toward Fountain County.
Once you get into Fountain County, the land really levels out. This is where Indiana gets its reputation as a farm state. For as far as the eye can see in all directions, it’s farmland. My original plan called for only stopping in Attica, which is at the north end of the county, but as I went by Veedersburg, on a whim I drove into town to see if they had a library. I was really glad I did! Veedersburg is a cute little town, still very much a farmtown, and its small town center recalls long-ago times. I found the public library and went in and visited with Gale and Dale. I’m serious–that’s who they are. They even joked about it with me. Gale is their library director, and Dale handles circulation. I don’t think very many authors stop by Veedersburg, and it was enjoyable getting to know them. I hope their mystery enthusiasts want to enter the contest. Here is a photo of their Alpine-looking library and Dale and Gale with the envelope:
I went back to U.S. 41 and continued into Attica, buoyed by the nice reception I had in Veedersburg.
Attica is quite a picturesque place, too, and larger than Veedersburg. Attica has this well-preserved, historic downtown district that reminds me of the one in Madison, Indiana, along the Ohio River. Their library (which is not located downtown, by the way) is also very historic. When you walk in, it’s like walking into the library as it when when it was constructed, with pillars and real crown molding and an old circulation desk. Behind that first room, however, is a modern addition. From the outside, the architecture blends wonderfully. There, I met Lisa, the assistant librarian, and Norma, their library director of 32 years. It was great to meet them both, and Lisa had been expecting me, so I received another warm reception. Here’s a photo of their library (which was being landscaped that day) and Lisa holding the contest materials.
From there it was a quick trip across the Wabash over to Williamsport in Warren County. Lisa had told me that the Williamsport Library had burned down sometime ago, and that they had built a new library there. It was right on S.R. 28 as you head into the town, and easy to spot. I went in and me with Chris, their director. Chris has a remarkable collection of action figures in his office. It’s his homage to the fact that comic books led him to become a reader. There were action figures everywhere, covering a huge variety of comics, and we discovered that we had both been fans of DC Comics when we were young (as opposed to Marvel Comics), though both of us enjoyed certain Marvel heroes, too. Chris thought my 30-day adventure was a creative approach to introducing librarians to my mystery series. Here’s the Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library and Chris holding the envelope. (Side note: as I headed out of Warren County, I realized I should have taken the photo of Chris in front of his action figures collection. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it then.)
I continued up U.S. 41 into Benton County, and almost as soon as I reached the Benton County line, I saw the wind turbines in the distance. They’re a dull gray color, and they appear almost ghostly rising up out of the land. I guess the electric company set up this wind generation station because the land is so flat and Benton County is located in an area that gets a lot of air flow. Anyway, here’s a photo taken along U.S. 41.
U.S. 41 takes you right through this field. It’s fascinating to see them up close.
I cut across S.R. 18 to get to Fowler and the Benton County Public Library. I went in and discovered that I had just missed Sandy, their library director, who had left for the day. So I spoke with Sandi at the circulation desk, explained about my book, the 30-day adventure and the contest. Sandy took the envelope and told me she would be sure to get it to their director. Here’s the library, and Sandi (with an ‘i’) holding the envelope.
From there I went south on S.R. 52 toward Tippecanoe County. This route took me back through the field of wind turbines which stretches quite a ways through the county. Still fascinated, I stopped and took a close up photo of the massive turbines.
I headed into Lafayette along U.S. 52, knowing that I would eventually recognize where I was because my younger daughter goes to Purdue and when we go to visit her, we come from the south on 52. But I didn’t find the library and had to stop at a CVS and ask directions. (Some of you are thinking…Tony, by now you should recognize the need for that GPS unit.) Anyway, I found the Tippecanoe Library branch that serves as the library for IVY Tech in Tippecanoe County. I stopped at that branch because I had met Sarah, their reference librarian, at Bouchercon in Indianapolis several months ago. But, alas, Sarah was not in, and I left the envelope with Kathy at the circulation desk. Here’s a photo of the library.
Lesser people might have called it quits for the day, but not this intrepid adventurer. I was determined to fit in Crawfordsville before heading home. So I fought the Lafayette/West Lafayette traffic over to U.S. 231, and took that road south into Montgomery County. Crawfordsville is a college town (Wabash College is located there), and together with its population, is a sizable place. I wasn’t surprised to find they have a large library. For some reason, I also wasn’t surprised to find that the librarian who serves as a readers’ advisory librarian, Angela, wasn’t there. But I explained who I was to the assistant manager, Bill, told him about the adventure and the contest, and gave him the materials. I wasn’t able to take a photo of him with the envelope, and so I resorted to something I hadn’t tried before–I held it myself in their library and took a photo. Also, I realized I hadn’t done the “here’s me in front of the library” photo in a couple of days, so this is what I have from Crawfordsville. (The sign next to me testifies to the fact that it’s the Crawfordsville Library, though it’s difficult to read.)
From Crawfordsville I took I-74 east to the Brownsburg exit and then took S.R. 267 back home to Plainfield. Another fun but exhausting day…and I’m now fully over the half-way mark, both in terms of days remaining (14) and in counties (53 down, 39 to go) and libraries (39–one in each county left–is all I’ll need to make my goal of over 100). Still, I worry about how I’m going to fit all this in! More next week…