Furlough Tour: Day Two

There were far fewer tweets today, you might have noticed. That's because everything went by plan! Sorta....

I slept in, gloriously. I didn't realize how little sleep I'd gotten this week, and the best thing about a hotel room with two beds and just me is having all the pillows on my side. All the pillows! Oh, the sleep was wonderful.

Almost too wonderful, as I barely made the lunch event on time. SoHo Cafe in Carmel, Ind. is a really nifty place, with an art gallery and outside patio as well as the funky main coffeehouse. Unfortunately, I must not have gotten the word out enough, as drop-by's were light. Still, it was a very pleasant place, the staff was wonderful and the next time I'm in Indianapolis I would definitely return to SoHo.

I can't say as much for the highway system, as attempting to get on the highway was an ordeal of nearly forty minutes. The Apple Maps were no help, as they kept directing me to on-ramps that were blocked or no longer existed. I'm all for construction and development, but a SIGN or two instructing out-of-towners how to get on the blessed highway would be nice. This is the gentle, non-profane version of what I was ranting inside Falkor while poor Jimmy listened patiently.

(Before you yell: Falkor's neatest feature is a Bluetooth connection to my phone, which allows me to talk to Jimmy as though he were in the car, completely hands-free. So there.)

The highway from Indianapolis to South Bend is not fast, but it's beautiful. So many times I cursed my limited time, because the view was just lovely. I'm about two weeks too early for the real foliage; the leaves are just starting to turn. But the tree-lined highway gave way from time to time to farmhouse vistas, the classic American farm scene with amber waves of... corn... backed by glorious forests and blue skies. I wanted to take about sixteen photos. Darn time.

Due to the clusterfuck that was Indiana state highways, I couldn't make it to South Bend in time to have dinner, and went straight to the Chocolate Cafe... which is the neatest place ever. Think Willy Wonka's chocolate factory if it wasn't manned by creepy orange dwarves. There's a kids' playground with a candy theme; a giant candy shop like something out of an old movie, a wonderful cafe with tasty salads and sandwiches; a chocolatier counter to rival the one inside the Bellagio; and a nice coffehouse cafe. All in one. If you're ever in South Bend, Ind. you must check out the Chocolate Cafe.

Today's proof of life: Re-enacting King Kong! He's just a friend, Jimmy, I swear.

Moose and Author! With bonus toxic waste!

I had a nice setup there in a central location that let me set up the full rack (shaddup) and photo array. Finally, success! Several people stopped by, including the nice lady who is hosting me for this stop and some other folks who had encountered my work at Dragoncon and were thrilled that I was coming to South Bend, where they live. Apparently authors go to Chicago (two hours away) all the time, but not so much to South Bend.

Gratuitous book photo. With bonus Yorick.

I gave away some more Infinity copies, sold some books, sold some photos, had some nice conversations and generally a good time was had by all. I picked up some yummy chocolates, as well. Seriously, folks: check this place out. They were really nice to me, too.

Now I have a tough choice to make. Tomorrow I'm scheduled for a noon stop in Fort Wayne. But we haven't gotten a confirmation from the coffeehouse, and more importantly, I haven't heard from anyone that they're looking to see me in Fort Wayne. If I skip Fort Wayne, I can spare the time tomorrow to pop over to Notre Dame and get some photos. I've been told the basilica and gardens are stunning (and there's something called "Touchdown Jesus" that is supposedly required viewing).

At this point, I'm inclined to cancel Fort Wayne for the photo shoot. But if you were looking to see me in Fort Wayne, please tell me now. I am happy to stop anyway, meet with you and sign whatever you've got. I will make the time, I swear. But if nobody's there, I might as well get the photos.

Tomorrow is Columbus, tentatively set for Cup o' Joe. We haven't gotten their final confirmation, so if I can't get them on the phone tomorrow morning, it may be a StarbucksStop. That's me with my laptop and a sign next to me, a box of books on the floor. Come say hi! I will be there about 6 p.m., but I'll be honest, folks: I'm not going to be able to stay very long. My hotel is in Pittsburgh, so that's another three hours by car after Columbus. This touring stuff ain't for the weak. *gruff womanly sound*

Missed opportunity of the day: The covered bridges of western Indiana are apparently so gorgeous I'm kicking myself for sleeping in and not exploring them. Fortunately I'm still relatively close-ish to home, so it might be worth a weekend sometime to come out and photograph them. I love covered bridges, with or without ghosts.

Thanks: To Samantha Macumber, who convinced me to come to South Bend, helped me find the Chocolate Cafe and told everybody in town I was coming, then offered me her guest room for the night. Not only that, but while I'm typing this, she's cooking pancakes and bacon and pouring wild berry margaritas. That's a special level of awesome.


  1. Bummer about the bridges. I bet they are lovely and less haunted this time of year.


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