Indinois and the two Bloomingtons

As it turns out, there are two Bloomington’s. That’s a lie. Actually, there are quite a few Bloomington’s, maybe even hundreds. I’d hazard a guess at just how many, but my estimations tend to be quite hazardous.

Anyway, there is more than one Bloomington. And in today’s episode of It Turns Out We Don’t Really Know That Much About Geography Despite How Much We Love Maps, starring Occasionally McDumb and Slightly O’Stupid, this tidbit is crux of our drama.

We’ve been fortunate enough to have our call for shelter answered so enthusiastically that we’ve needed to turn people down. We only have time to spend a night — a bit of a nap, really — most places (read: every place). Metropolitan areas tend to be the trickiest. For example, we have about 237 (rough estimate) connections in Chicago, and, unfortunately, not enough time to do the rounds. There are huge swaths of the country where we know no one, so when someone mentions they live in Nebraska or Montana, this is big news.

Bloomington was one of those locations.

“You mean to say you know someone who lives out in the middle of almost nowhere Indiana? And we could *stay* with them?!”

These kinds of tips are immediately logged into our book as IMPORTANT and COULD SAVE US FROM POSSIBLE STARVATION and WILL ADD PURPOSE TO THIS LEG OF THE TRIP.

To add a little anecdotal drama to the story: I had ordered a ton of film for the first part of our expedition, but too late. It arrived the same day that we left PA, but about 5 hours after we’d already put Newtown in our rearview mirror. My super helpful and resourceful photo assistant (read: Dad) offered to mail this film along to Bloomington. I’d given him the address I’d received and thought nothing of it.

The next couple of days found mentions of Bloomington, as the conversation would inevitably lead to The Trip. It is –honestly– the only topic we’ve talked about this whole time (except for those two hours that we fought about what art is and who determines what can be considered art). Every time Bloomington came up I had to catch myself because I kept wanting to say: “BloomingtonIndiana” even though I *KNEW* we were head to “BloomingtonIllinois”.


At this point you may be thinking, “wait, I thought she said she had a sweet shelter hookup in Indiana?” You would be correct, so if you wouldn’t mind calling/texting/emailing/etc me about 48hrs earlier than RIGHTNOW, it would be much appreciated. I should’ve clued into my mental/speech block preventing me from accepting Illinois as our next destination, but I didn’t. It took calling my dad in a musty bookstore in Milwaukee to comment on the seemingly sad windswept affairs of Wisconsin in order for me to set things straight.

Like any good father, he casually instilled fear into my heart. This time, it was by saying he mailed all of the film I needed to INDIANA, not ILLINOIS.

Like any good daughter, I thought he had royally, and foolishly, screwed up by sending my stuff to the wrong state.

Lucky for all parties involved, especially all that unused film, the fear burrowed and blossomed in my ribcage and I checked the address of our next shelter.

He was right.

Or actually…I was right, originally anyway.


This tacked almost a whole two hours onto our trip, not including all of the unpredictable photo making stops. We were frantic. We sped on impossibly straight back roads down from Milwaukee, around Chicago and Gary to Bloomington, INDIANA. Or, as I like to call it, TheRightBloomington. –Please pause to note the crafty reference to relative geographical location.– we sped so swiftly on these roads meant for speeding that we didn’t even notice the cop hiding behind the corn – CORN! – until we’d already passed him at 20+ miles over the speed limit. We then noted, with alarm, that there must be a serious speeding problem in backwoods Indiana because the cop didn’t even flinch.

This unexpected change of plans took us through the largest grouping of wind turbines we’ve ever seen and taught us the necessity for renaming Illinois and Indiana as East and West Indinois, respectively. Hey, it worked for the Carolinas and the Dakotas. Maybe it will even inspire a whole trend of kid naming, because I don’t see Illinois or Indiana catching on anytime soon.

-X I N A-