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Traveling Around - Southern Indiana - Chihuly, Atterbury-Bakalar Aviation Museum, and a casino stop

Updated on August 18, 2016


Unlike other reports I've written, I've tried to include all the stops in one report. There are several activities mixed together. You may prefer to skip through them, looking at the subtitles and reading only those of interest.

A Travel Day

Got up early (5 AM) Monday morning and on the road by 7. Drove south from central Michigan, stopping for breakfast at a McDonald's. Stopped and got my sister in northwest Ohio about 1 PM and continued south. Arrived in Cincinnati about 4 PM.

Plans were to stay overnight with my brother before venturing over into Indiana on Tuesday. Couldn't resist SkyLine Chili and the four of us visited a nearby restaurant. Spent the evening reliving old times and watching Rio Summer Olympics.

On Tuesday, we set up the Garmin GPS and were on our way, headed for Columbus, IN. The Visitor's Center is located in central Columbus and reasonably easy to access.

Columbus, IN, Visitors' Center
Columbus, IN, Visitors' Center | Source
Moore Sculpture, Columbus, IN
Moore Sculpture, Columbus, IN | Source

The Columbus,Indiana, Visitors' Center

The view in the picture is the front of the center and the rear opens onto The Library Plaza that contains the public library. The library was designed by I. M. Pei. Construction began in 1969 and it was dedicated in 1971.

The plaza area was most important in the design and has been used over the years for many large civic gatherings which have included "Popfest" which existed for 29 years and in its heyday drew more than 7,000 people. Mr. Pei asked sculptor Henry Moore to create a statue for the entrance and the statue "Large Arch" was created and is near the entrance. Major funding for the library and the statue came from Cummins Engine Foundation and J. Irwin and Xenia Miller. The largesse of Xenia Miller was extended to the Visitors' Center when she donated the Chihuly creation of Yellow Neon Chandelier to be put on permanent display at the Center.

Yellow Neon Chandelier by Chihuly, Columbus, IN
Yellow Neon Chandelier by Chihuly, Columbus, IN | Source

Chihuly Glass Sculpture

This major work by Chihuly is display in a windowed alcove that allows the exterior light to filter through the more than 900 glass petals. It was donated by Xenia Miller and has made the Visitors' Center a registered dealer in Chihuly Glass.

There are several exhibits throughout the center and there are several glass items of significance that are for sale. Foremost are several bowl in a bowl pieces such as the one pictured below. A multi-step process leads to this sculpture.

There are also smaller pieces and some lithographs and prints for sale in the gift shop.

Chihuly Sculpture
Chihuly Sculpture | Source

The Travel Center also sponsors a daily architectural tour that begins in the Center at 10 AM. There is a charge for this 2 hour tour that uses a bus where space is limited.

Atterbury-Bakalar Aviation Museum

About 4 miles directly north of the Travel Center is the Atterbury-Bakalar Aviation Museum. It is open from 10 AM to 4PM Tuesday through Saturday and is closed on Sunday and Monday. There is no admission charge.

Camp Atterbury and Atterbury Army Air Field were both constructed in 1942 and named after General Atterbury. He was born and raised in New Albany, IN, and was active in WW I in the rail movements in Europe. John Bakalar was a 1st lieutenant pilot in WW II that was shot down and killed in France in 1942. The base was renamed Bakalar Air Force Base in 1954.

The base and camp were active during WW II and into 1970 when it was closed and ownership transferred to the city of Columbus for use as a municipal airport.

Atterbury - Bakalar Aviation Museum
Atterbury - Bakalar Aviation Museum | Source
Suspended Models of WW II Aircraft
Suspended Models of WW II Aircraft | Source

To the left of the entryway is the museum and to the right is the Media Center. There is expansion currently being planned to increase the size of the exhibit floor.

Suspended from the ceiling is a series of models of World War II vintage planes. Created by a local craftsman, they are 1/8 scale models of the real aircraft.

The contributions of the local men to the world effort are illustrated through exhibits of memorabilia in glass cases.

At the rear of the exhibit area is an actual size model of the barracks at Camp Atterbury. They were built in the 1940's and expected to last for 5 years. They were still in use in the late 1960's. There is also a mockup of the cockpit of a glider that was used in the War. It was pulled - two at a time - at 120 miles per hour and released behind the enemy lines in the European conflict. The glider had the capability of soaring for 20 miles if it could avoid the artillery barrage that tried to find it. The glider could hold 17 men or a variety of equipment including jeeps and howitzers.

The gliders were constructed in Iron Mountain, MI, and 7 different sections were constructed and then assembled. Prior to shipping they were disassembled and 7 different pieces were shipped. The containers that were used to ship the parts for each glider contained enough construction materials to build a four bedroom home. After shipping and reassembly at their destination the containers were salvaged and reused as lumber.

After the war, the surplus gliders and parts were sold to the public. Several were purchased and used as hunting cabins in northern Michigan.

An 8 minute video in the media center shows the construction process and the training of troops in the usage of the gliders.

In the field outside the museum is an F-4 Phantom Jet.

Aircraft at Atterbury-Bakalar Aviation Museum
Aircraft at Atterbury-Bakalar Aviation Museum | Source

There is much information about the men of the space program that were in some way affiliated with Indiana. From their education at Purdue University in Lafayette, IN, to their growing up in small town Indiana, honor is paid to them on the Indiana Aviation Hall of Fame..

On To The Casino

We stopped for lunch in Columbus and should comment that the town struck us as being a clean and vibrant community. It is possible that we saw only the good areas but what we saw implied at least that Cummins Diesel Engine and Columbus, Ohio, are a great team.

As we left that Columbus we could see clouds in the distance and when we got off the relatively straight road of US-50 and onto a windy, curvy minor road that would lead us to Rising Sun, it decided to start sprinkling. By the time we reached the casino, it was a downpour. I thought both my wife and I (staying in the Lodge) and my sister (staying in the main building) could check in at the Lodge and she could ride the shuttle across the parking lot. I was right and we got settled pretty quickly once we got organized in the inundation of rain. It was really heavy.

I didn't spend much time dawdling in the room but got myself around and over to the casino.

Rising Star Casino, Rising Sun, IN
Rising Star Casino, Rising Sun, IN | Source

I had heard that there was a Dream Card Video Poker Game at Rising Star and I really wanted to experiment with it, so I wandered around till I found it. I expected it to be a quarter machine but I was prepared to play a few hands just so I could see how it worked. I knew it was going to be 5 + 5 coins for a total of 10 coins per hand, but was surprised when I realized that I could have played 9 hands but that would have been $22.50 a hand. That was way beyond my budget. I looked it over and was delighted when I found that it was a .02 machine and 9 lines would only cost $2.70. That was more my style. I could even play 3 lines for 30 cents and that was right down my alley..

Dream Card Hand, Rising Star Casino
Dream Card Hand, Rising Star Casino | Source

About 10 plays into the game, I hit the attached. I know - only a $20 hit but I was only playing 30 cents. Very happy with the experience I played for another half an hour and cashed it out. One thing that I didn't care for about the game is that playing the extra coins didn't guarantee you a dream card. I understand that "chance" enters into casino games but it's a little shaky when you get 3 to a royal and a dream card isn't offered. Or even, 3 deuces on the deal without a dream card being offered.

Played around with some other deuces wild machines but quickly ran out of steam and headed back to the room (up about $20 - my win on the four deuces hand).

Met my sister for dinner at the buffet. We usually avoid the restaurants in the casino because it appears that with their captive crowd of hungry people, they've tacked on some amounts to the prices. However, on this particular day of the week, seniors were half price, making it a more reasonable amount (besides my sister treated us). It was t-bone steak night and I had a steak that was at least 10 inches in circumference and about 1/4 inch thick. Really different looking but very good. Sis had mostly prime rib and Sharon had some ribs. Desserts topped it off and everyone was stuffed and happy.

Sis decided that she was tired and went to her room. Sharon and I headed to the casino where she lasted about 20 minutes before she lost interest. I stuck exclusively with nickel deuces wild and when, after about 3 hours of play, I had lost the $20 from earlier, I quit and went looking for my bottle of champagne that I usually try to have to top off a day at the casino.

Last Day is Travel Day

On Wednesday, got the car packed and people ensconced and on the road by about 8 AM. Dropped sis off in northwestern Ohio about 11 and headed north. Was home by around 4.

Seems like a quick trip. Saw several things. Could have easily used some more time in Columbus and another day in Rising Sun. As I get older I find that I need someplace to just sit down and rest for a bit so would probably need to stay over in some of the towns. There's almost always a next time to plan and think about - probably dream up a trip in October..


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      3 inch circumference is the size of a small hamburger patty


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