January 4, 2020

Michigan City, Indiana.

My husband and I are out for a drive today. Normally when we embark on this activity we tend to head south or west out onto the Illinois Prairie, once in a while we’ll head north up into Wisconsin. Today we are hugging the Lake Michigan shoreline as we wind our way through the south side of Chicago, into Indiana, and probably a bit into Michigan before we turn around and figure out how we’re getting home.

We are stopped at Panera in Michigan City, Indiana at the moment. Earl is perusing his business on the iPad he received from Santa a couple of weeks ago; I have my trusty iPad Pro with keyboard that I tend to take with me everywhere I go. Remember when we used to use laptops? Remember when we used desktops? Mainframes? Punch cards?

Oh my god.

Previously to this journey the only time we’d been in Michigan City is when we would stop at the Culver’s just off the Indiana Toll Road on our way to Chicago. This is before we moved to the area. We’d always rejoice over being in the Central Time Zone with a delicious Butter Burger from the incomparable Culver’s.

I was planning on flying today, in fact, I had a solo cross-country flight planned to Dubuque, Iowa and back. I’ve been watching the weather for the past two days and I had a feeling I was going to have to cancel. The ceiling is just too low for my tastes. I don’t mind a high ceiling as it’s usually very smooth up there when there’s a solid cloud cover that is well out of the way of my intended attitude, but when clouds are lingering at 2500′-3000′ AGL (above ground level), it’s a little too close to the ground for my comfort. Even when flying over the prairies and plains of Illinois, which tends to offer a bunch of emergency landing spots should I ever need it.

I was surprised to see a huge cooling tower in the middle of the Michigan City. I’ve always associated cooling towers of this nature with nuclear power plants, but this cooling tower is at a coal and natural gas power plant. Hence the reason we could drive so close to it. I grew up not too far from a group of three nuclear power plants. The road to the complex mentioned the use of deadly force if you ventured down that road without a reason to do so.

To think back in the 1980s, when they were building the third plant, my dad and I would fly right over the plant in the 1940 Piper J-5A. I can remember looking down into the cooling tower from 3000-feet.

How times have changed.