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Camp Atterbury USO

June 6, 2013

Indiana – Thursday, May 30

Part of the reason I headed toward Indianapolis yesterday was because of the donation I’d be making today. But first I wanted to get some walking in. So I headed back to Columbus, which had been a good walking town, and went to a couple of their parks with trails. Tula walked with me for a little over 2 miles in Noblitt Park and seemed ready to do a bit more, but I’m still going to take it easy with her. She is at least tolerating the Lyme disease medication with no ill effects, so that’s a good thing! Then I drove a short ways to Mill Race Park and walked nearly 2 more miles. There were lots of school groups out – tis the time of year for class picnics and field trips! So I was half done with my walking before moving on to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is the location for Camp Atterbury, which is a training base for the Indiana National Guard, and has also been a place for training for thousands of soldiers who were later deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The local USO was located in one of the buildings, so that was my destination. I had a little trouble finding the correct entrance, but when I got to the right spot, I had to stop at the visitor center first to get a day pass. As usual, they needed to see my license, registration and insurance. Then I drove onto the base, and thanks to the directions a volunteer at the USO gave me, I didn’t have trouble finding the USO building. This is a big “camp”, with dozens and dozens – probably hundreds – of buildings and barracks, and many of them are identical. Everyone is in uniform, whether walking down the street, or driving tank-like vehicles around. I went into the USO and there were more soldiers enjoying some time in there than I’ve seen at some other USOs. They were playing ping-pong, or watching TV, or working on computers, or just hanging out. There was a big counter full of snacks and beverages and it just seemed to have a comfortable air about it as a place to come relax a bit. I gave them my donation and was happy to be able to help out in a small way.

Then Tula and I headed for a park outside of town and took a short walk on an old railroad bed that ended abruptly at the river. I thought it was going to be a longer trail! It was pretty hot out, so I left Tula in the car with the a/c while I walked nearly 2 1/2 miles through the town of Edinburgh, and out into adjoining neighborhoods. One of the buildings I passed in town was the place where soldiers go to get their deployment meds – I don’t often think about all the shots and vaccines and stuff they must need as they’re deployed to the far reaches of the world. And there was also a sign saying Edinburgh was the “Black Walnut Veneer Capital of the World”! I wonder who thinks of these things?!?!

By then I was nearly done with my walking for the day, but I stopped in Franklin, the next town down the road, and Tula and I did another mile and a quarter before calling it a day – giving me an extra 1/2 mile for the day. I now have 4 1/2 extra miles to go with the stormy forecasts for the next couple of days.

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