Thursday, May 21, 2009

Road Trip, Part 4

(Lantz House proprietor Marcia Hoyt making quiche for breakfast)

From the journal:
After Columbus, the road became straight and flat, and we rolled through the monochrome landscape – made even more colorless by the cloudiness of the sky – almost alone on the highway.

We stopped for lunch in Lafayette at the Red Brick Inn, an historic tavern where the atmosphere is pleasant and the food simple and good.
How far is it from here to the Indiana state line?” I asked our waitress.
“Indiana? I don’t have any idea,” she said. No one ever uses this road to go there. It’s, like, real far. Three or four hours, maybe.
In fact, it took us less than two hours to reach Indiana, and 30 minutes later, we were in Centerville, where we planned to spend the night we had made a reservation at the Historic Lantz House, one of the town’s treasures, now run as a bed and breakfast.

Built in 1835, it was the home and shop of wagon-builder Daniel Lantz. Lantz built the Conestoga wagons that carried pioneers westward. During the Gold Rush, Centerville was awash in travelers. Their tales of riches for the taking finally became to much for Lantz, who at the age of 47 abandoned his business, wife and five children to join the company headed for California.
Poor Dan Lantz never made it. Along the arduous trail, he contracted dysentery and died in southwestern Wyoming, not too far from the Great Salt Lake. The fact that I, then also at the age of 47, had embarked on a foolish journey west to the Great Salt Lake and was sleeping in this man’s house and following in his footsteps sent a shiver up my spine.
But what was I worrying about? If Dan Lantz had a recreational vehicle and 2,000 miles of pavement in front of him, he would have lived to write about his trip, too.

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