The "Hill Climb" is an annual event held in the very small town of Newport Indiana.
Population is around 600, until the hill climb event swells it to several thousand, numbers I've heard are in the 10 thousand range.
It is an event in which vintage cars are tested on a long steep hill that starts in the town square, and ends at the top. The run is 1800 feet long, and the hill is 140 feet high. The cars run the hill one at a time, attempting to beat the clock. The fastest time wins.
It was started in 1909 as a pastime to test the ability of the early cars to get to the top, and continues today, as owners of antique cars are still very competitive.
It is interesting to watch the antiques in motion. Most of the cars are 20's and 30's vintage; though there are usually a few much older cars that still have what it takes!
This is a steam car;
Rare race cars from the Indy 500's early history, steam cars, and last of their kind examples are not only brought out of storage for display, but actually run the hill!
I've "climbed the hill" in several different cars over the years, and had a great time, but since becoming involved in vintage trailers, I've discovered ways to enjoy both at the same time. I've stopped entering the competition due to the large volume of cars (no fun sitting in line for hours just to spend a minute going up the hill) but really enjoy the cars and the carnival atmosphere of the town with its hundreds of vendors, swap meet stalls, and tasty food.
The town being so small has no lodging, and the nearest nice places are 40-50 miles away. For years I'd drive over, spend the day and then drive home.
Then, a few years back, I discovered that there was a small group of vintage trailer people who brought their teardrop trailers, and camped out in the middle of all the excitement!
After getting to know the people, I was invited to join their little club. Now I bring my little trailer, and am able to spend several days enjoying this unique event!
The 10 or so trailers that fit in the provided space are arranged in a rough circle, like a wagon train, to offer a line of defense against the curious masses, with a healthy campfire in the center.
It is pretty hard for the spectators to miss seeing the curious little trailers, and so they come to inspect them rather like is done with the cars. Most leave the doors and galley hatches open so all can see inside. It can be a pleasant time visiting.
But now, to get back to the story; the hill climb is the main attraction, but far from the only one.
The event is held on the first weekend in October, here in the Midwest, the signaling of the change of seasons, and harvest. Generally this is my last fling with the fading summer.
So, I try to take full advantage by taking an extra day or two off work so I can enjoy the nearly vacant campgrounds and State parks during the work week.
Though I enjoy my wife and or daughters company on these special trips, work and school for them, at least currently, is more important, and going alone holds its own special rewards for me!
I'm an outdoor person.I work outside most every day of the year, and enjoy it...
When I have time off, I like to walk/hike and enjoy the woods and river bottom areas. (Mountains and canyons are high on my list too, but are pretty scarce in Illinois/Indiana)
This trip brought me to a county forest preserve,
where I climbed a fire/observation tower to see the beginning of the fall color change from the tree tops.
At the same park, a hike to the river found me searching for pretty stones for my collection and flat rocks to skip across the slowly moving water.
Plenty of pretty things in the parks if you just look.
After my hike, which lasted until mid day, I took my time criusing through the countryside in a light rain. After the rain ended, a cold front came through and turned the sky a neat shade of purple.
This power plant caught my eye, with the sun illuminating the escaping steam and smoke.
Later in the day, I pulled into my camping space at Turkey Run State Park in Indiana, my favorite in the Midwest.
After rounding up enough firewood for several hours of old fashioned camping entertainment, I enjoyed a good dinner, then retired to my little trailer.
While some people like to play Daniel Boone and feel the only "real" camping is roughing it, I prefer to enjoy the outdoors on my terms, in comfort.
Having your own clean, private restroom, hot shower, and weather tight quarters are more important to me than impressing others with whatever outdoor skills they hold in such high esteem.
For just such times as these, I've installed a nice flat screen television and DVD player. Being able to watch a good movie in complete silence without interruption is a real treat!
The next morning found me making coffee in my vintage 1940's stovetop coffee maker...on my vintage 40's stove.I like old stuff!
After enjoying the results, I packed up and drove into the hiking area.I carefully loaded my old Boy Scout backpack (no, I only made it as far as cub scouts) with provisions, and set out.
My favorite trail route takes me down 70 steps then across Sugar Creek on a suspension bridge, to the entrance of a beautiful canyon filled with ferns.
The light that morning was very intense, though muted by the hazy cloud cover, pretty good for pictures!
The trail follows a creek bed, which has just enough water flowing to make it pretty, and enough dry ground on either side to keep your shoes from becoming too wet.
After climbing through the prettiest parts of the canyon, I veer off onto a trail that appears, from down in the canyon, to be dull and boring...just a lot of trees...So, while everyone else continues through the canyon, anticipating what lies beyond the next bend, my path takes me through virgin forest, free of pesky tourists and noisy children and pets.
A short way in and far enough to be assured of peaceful enjoyment, I sit down and remove the carefully packed full breakfast I'd placed in my back pack. In the company of the creatures that call this place home, I enjoy my feast!
The wild turkeys clucked back and forth from their vantage point on the ridges, a large Pileated woodpecker drummed against an ancient tree, and the squirrels chattered among themselves.
Very pleasant company they were!
After making sure all traces of my passing were removed, I continued on though the virgin forest, up and down over the ridges, and across the small streams busy creating bigger canyons.
After a while, the trail led me to a high ridge above the river, and then delivered me back down to an overhang just feet above the water, where the bridge waited to carry me back to the reality of my modern world…
Off to the hill climb then, where I can close my eyes and step just a little ways back in time…