Arriving in Indiana
I awoke to the thud of our tiny airplane landing on the runway in Fort Wayne, Indiana. A bit groggy from a not-so-restful sleep on the redeye through Chicago, all I really observed was the overcast morning sky and blue tinted windows of the airport terminal. After taxiing to our gate, I slowly walked off the plane and into FWA.
There were a few surprises about the Fort Wayne airport. It was a lot smaller than I had anticipated with only two baggage claim carousels, a few food vendors, and a seating area for what looked like 20 people. Perhaps more surprising though is that each arrival is greeting with someone handing out FWA cookies.
In any case, I continued through the airport, passing the mini arcade room (maybe Indiana was more into gaming than I had realized?) and grabbed my suitcase at baggage claim. Stepping out on the curbside waiting for my ride, I soaked in a breath of the 50 degree air. I had arrived.
Kassi picked me up from the airport and the next few hours of the day were filled with tours and learning about the local region. We drove out from Fort Wayne to Warsaw. Warsaw, while historically known as the orthopedic capital of the US, is probably now better known for being the hometown of Ben Higgins, the most recent Bachelor on ABC’s reality show. (Watching the “hometown date” episode is definitely on my list of things to-do.) It’s a small town scattered with a number of strip malls, auto dealerships, and other retail shops. Behind these buildings, you get glimpses of some of the surrounding lakes, which are beautiful, and some of the more residential areas of Warsaw.
As a town with a population of 14K, Warsaw definitely felt “rural”. Yet, after touring around the town, we drove even further away from civilization to the smaller town of Leesburg, where I would be staying for the next 2.5 weeks. On the main brick-lined road in Leesburg, there’s a small post office, a bar (“Keg” whose facade looks like a barrel), a corner store, an insurance brokerage, and a church. There wasn’t much there, but I guess enough to justify its own zip code.
Driving past the main street and through the adjacent neighborhood, we wound through a few fields and towards Tippecanoe Lake. The surrounding area was a nature preserve so there was a nice tranquility and serenity about the location. It was the kind of retreat that people in big cities dream of — something peaceful, relaxing, and away from all the noise.
After a long day of travel, I was relieved to have arrived at my final destination for the day: the Tom residence, where I was greeted a most adorable Bernese Mountain Dog, Berra. I settled in, got my bearings, and prepared myself for the adventure ahead…