We’re visiting family in northwest Indiana today, and my 14 year old daughter said she wanted to go for a ride – to go on an adventure. We were trying to find the shore of Lake Michigan, and ended up driving through downtown Gary, Indiana.
We got turned around on the highway after trying to follow a live gps map and got off at the nearest exit. As we started heading up the road, driving through the broken down edges of another population center, I looked down the road and said “Cool, big brick buildings. That’s a good sign.”
This was not a good sign.
We drove further north into block after block of utter devastation. Building after building, story after story with no windows, no facades, nothing metal or wood left attached… It was like a scene from some post-apocalyptic movie. I expected to be swarmed at any moment by a ravenous pack of zombies.
This wasn’t just some little abandoned strip mall on the edge of town, this was the heart of a major downtown area. Ten story tall buildings, utterly uninhabitable. Not a sign of life anywhere – no liquor stores, no storefront preachers, not a single soul shambling around.
My shit was well and truly freaked out.
We hooked a right turn as soon as I saw one on the map leading to a major highway and got out of there. As I’m driving, the daughter stops taking pictures and pulls up a browser on her phone. “Hmm… ‘Gary, Indiana, America’s ghost town…’ ‘Gary, Indiana, the most dangerous city in The country…'”
Like I said, an adventure.
And yes, we did eventually find Lake Michigan. We couldn’t find anywhere to park so we could dip our toes in the southern end of the lake (we already did that with the northern end at the Mackinac Bridge), but we did get a nice look at the water from someone’s hillside driveway. And we got back in one piece, establishing on the ride back that if I ever want to go in a getting-lost sort of adventure, I need to take my daughter. She had a blast.