Indiana – Hoosier Hill

Spanky Proudly Posing

A slight departure from the typical summit narrative – a couple of road stories first. And……….not necessarily in chronological sequence, maybe not even relevant, but…….hopefully entertaining, humorous, and educational (that’s a stretch!). Here we go.

By the way, we did do Hoosier Hill in Indiana but we’ll talk about that later. So me and the Spankster are leaving Atlanta, actually Roswell (just north of the city) last week. We waited till around 10 a.m. to try and avoid the morning rush hour (didn’t work). Alright, so I stop to get a little petrol for the truck, get done fueling it up, go into the convenience store to buy cup of joe, out I come and this guy in a caddy stops in front of me, rolls down the passenger side window and yells, “Hey, who’s Spanky?”

I retort, “Spanky is my dog. He’s over there looking out the window of my truck.” Our new friend says, “No s___! My name is Spanky!” He obviously had read “The Adventures of Spanky and Rein” sign on the truck. I shake the man’s hand, “Glad to meet you, Spanky!” and tell the dude all about what the hell we are doing. The guy says, “Man you guys are just living life, ain’t you!” “Yep, that we are”. Mr. Spanky was obviously on his way to work and had to take off, but our brief little encounter was thoroughly enjoyable and we are glad to know that there is at least one more Spanky out there. Hope to see ya again someday, Spanky!

Going backward in double declining, reverse, chronological order (if you can figure that out please let me know), there we were back in Ohio. I have a little history with Cincinnati – so I hope you don’t mind if I share just a little of it. Back in the early 90’s I spent several years working in Cincinnati. As we pulled into town a whole bunches of memories flooded back into the old brain. Generally speaking, it was a great time. Most importantly, I met a whole bunch of folks from all over the country (on the Procter & Gamble consulting gig) that I have become long term friends with.

A couple of anecdotes come to mind. On the Procter & Gamble job, this guy named Wayne (client dude) announces one day that his wife took all his power tools away from him. What??? The story is that he was having a “few” beers with some friends one night, they order pizza, and his wife comes home to find Wayne further dissecting the pizza with his circular saw on the kitchen table – immediate removal of power tools by the wife! This is the same guy that took his family to the Grand Canyon, by car from Cincy, without the benefit of any maps. Wayne figured, “How hard can it be to find the world’s biggest hole in the ground?”

Then there were a couple of my fellow consultants, they’ll remain nameless for this exercise, who’s computers I would regularly turn on in the morning so it looked like they had actually come into work on time. A frequent excuse, I think they actually thought of it more as a valid reason for not arriving in a timely fashion was, “We tried to drink all the scotch in Cincinnati last night.”

On the down side, maybe only a few weeks after I’d landed the job, I was out jogging one night close to my apartment and a cop car, lights a flashing, pulls up next to me. Could this be real? Am I actually getting pulled over for jogging? The answer, sorry to say, is yes. Turns out, as was explained to me in great detail, by the bleach blond, crew cut, female, officer of the peace, there are “No Pedestrians” signs posted on the road. Folks, I run against traffic so I can see what the hell is gonna run over my sorry ass before it happens. The signs faced traffic so I did not see em. And……I’m running on the grass off the road anyway. So I thought the whole thing a little extreme – especially the lights on the cop car. Fortunately the officer did not find it necessary to incarcerate me but she did tell me to, “Walk, not run!” back home.

I’ll bet that you don’t know anyone else that has been pulled over by a cop for “illegal” jogging!

Fast forward back to now. Spanks and I were so comfortable with our friends Keith and Barri in Cincinnati that we took a day off from the summit thing. On Sunday we spent a beautiful spring afternoon watching little league baseball. K & B’s son Aidan, broke his batting slump with a double – good job! I never knew Spanky liked baseball – or maybe it was all the attention that he got from the spectators. Either way we really enjoyed hanging out with a bunch of kids and their parents actively engaged in America’s favorite pastime.

On Monday, April 23rd, 2007 we got back to the task at hand and went on our merry way to grab another one – Hoosier Hill, Indiana. I’m not going to bore everyone (including Spanky and me) with great detail about this one. Suffice it to say that it was an easy drive from Cincinnati up to Dayton, west for a bit, and just a hop, skip, and a jump across the Indiana state line.

Hoosier Hill, as you might guess is not that high. It edges up, ever so slightly, above the surrounding corn fields to 1,257 ft. It’s an easy shot up a few country roads that pass through humble little hamlets like Middleboro and Whitewater. Just a few houses, maybe a gas station, small farm towns, insignificant vs the hustle and bustle of the big city but home to many Middle Americans.

It’s a darn good thing that Hoosier Hill is marked with a roadside sign. You wouldn’t even think to look just driving by. According to a few sources that I read, the Indiana Summit site was a Boy Scout project. They have put up a summit sign, there’s a stone cairn, a picnic table, a cleared out path in the woods, all in a little patch of trees above the surrounding fields. Doesn’t look like the place gets a lot of traffic but it sure would be a nice place for, let’s say, a family picnic.

After our little jaunt up Hoosier Hill I realized, with horror, that we were fresh out of beef jerky! What will I give Spanky for his post summit snack? Not to worry. We had to stop for gas and as luck would have it the gas station had a convenience store with a White Castle integrated into the same structure. Spanky quickly scarfed up a couple of White Castle’s finest square little burgers and with his hunger sated and another summit accomplished he proceeded to contentedly fall asleep on the passenger seat.

So that’s all our summits for the time being. Basically, in three months time, me and the Spankster have nailed fifteen of the fifty state highpoints. That’s 30% where I come from. Only thirty-five more to go! I don’t know about you but I really didn’t think we’d get this far, this fast.

Let’s hop back momentarily to where I started this particular dialogue, Atlanta. As you know, we live in Florida. Travel to and from just about anywhere out of the southeast requires going through Atlanta. The old joke being, “If you die in the southeast you have to go through Atlanta to get buried.”

Me and Spanky dug up another old friend of mine, Tom. For you poor souls that had to suffer through the Adventures of Great White (my tales of skiing out west) years ago, you may remember Tom as the guy who I used to freeload off of in Reno, Nevada while I skied Lake Tahoe. I figured that I have not hit him up for years for a free nights lodging so there’s no time better than now.

Seriously though folks, I’ve known Tom since my Price Waterhouse (whatever the hell they are called now) days in Tampa – late 80’s. We’ve been friends for quite a while and it was great to see him again albeit for a short visit. Spanky, Tom and I spent an evening catching up on what’s going with all the people that we worked with. We’ve lost track of some but we still know where all the crazy ones are – watch out! Thanks for the hospitality, Tom!
See for a couple of pics.

A quick note to my ex-wife, Helje, who just happens to live in Atlanta also. It won’t be long before we cruise on through Georgia again. Spanky and I may just get to your neck of the woods and pull off an actual visit. Be prepared!

After 4,402 hard miles, approximately a month on the road, with ten more summits, and massive amounts of beef jerky and coffee consumed, Spanky and I made it back to warm, sunny, Florida and our home in Saint Petersburg. I’m not just making this up, it was obvious that Spanky was excited to be back. I opened up the truck door and the little lad ran straight for our back gate – familiar territory, home, his personal turf. One of our neighbors, Sarah, actually had made a chalkboard sign, “Welcome Home! Spanky and Rein”. She also treated us to some of her spectacular home made soup – thank you! Another neighbor, Justin (eleven yrs old) came over immediately to play with Spanks. They had good homecoming romp in the backyard.

Damned nice to be back home!

As was the deal last time around, we’ve got a bunch of catching up to do down here in Florida (truck and trailer maintenance, a minor legal issue to deal with, bills, yard maintenance, life crap in general). But…………we’ll get tired of being home soon enough. The big plan is to head up to New England for the summer. Should be some really excellent camping, hiking, climbing, not to mention pleasant summer weather in store for us. We look forward to it!

Ad Astra Per Alia Porci!

Spanks in a Dandelion Covered Field

Hoosier Hill View

Another Angle


Anonymous said...

Hey Spanky-
Sounds like a perfect trip. I like combining highpointing with baseball. Seattle Mariners game after Mt. Rainier, Plattsburgh Cardinals game before Mt. Washington and Mt. Mansfield. Spring training in Arizona before hiking the Grand Canyon and Sedona. Go Brewers!

Spanky and Rein said...

Dear Anon,

Hmmm, I'll have to keep that in mind for future trip planning. Problem is getting Spanky into a stadium - might be difficult.

Ken said...

It sounds like another fun trip. You probably talked to more people in the last two months than you have in the last two years. I'll bet your neighbors were happy to see you! You forgot to mention that the 'welcome home' sign included, "Now get out there and cut your grass:) Looking forward to the next big adventure! Don't forget to stock up on more jerky!!

Spanky and Rein said...


Walmart is our preferred jerky vendor - one pound bags - cheap!

Anonymous said...

Dude! We really did drink all the scotch in Cincinnati once or twice . . .

Spanky and Rein said...

Dear Anon Dude,

I think you guys actually may have!

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