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Up until now the places we’ve stayed on our journey from Key West to Alaska have been new to us. This week was a little different. We spent the week in one of America’s heartland states, Indiana. It’s the place where I grew up and where the majority of my family still lives. Our mission this week was to spend quality time with family and to see at least two new things in the area. We wanted to show our kids that you can find always find adventure near or far.

Our extended family is close, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still like our own space and our own beds. We are easy guests because we bring our own guesthouse! Thanks to the RV, we were able to enjoy time with family without having to figure out the logistics of where everyone would sleep.

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My sister recently moved to a farmhouse out in the country, and it was a perfect place to park the RV. Each morning we stepped outside to the serene beauty of green fields and the earthy smell of countryside.

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It was peaceful and beautiful but best of all, our family was right out our door. The boys could walk outside and visit with their cousins.

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Our nieces and nephews loved exploring and hanging out in the RV.

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It was wonderful to spend time with family and everyone was thrilled to meet Baby Nomad.

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My grandpa, who Baby Nomad is named after, got to meet him for the first time. And no, my grandpa’s name is not Nomad. 😉

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I spent 18 years of my life in the Indianapolis area but there are still places to new to me. After a little research, we decided to head off the beaten path and over to the Indiana Medical History Museum.

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A visit to the Indiana Medical History Museum is like stepping back in time. Once a part of Central Indiana’s Central Hospital for the Insane, the museum is the oldest surviving and best preserved pathology laboratory in the United States. Not much has changed since the laboratory shut its doors in the 1960s.

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Books, test tubes, microscopes, and even brains (yes they are real) sit on the shelves and tables as they did 80 years ago. A fascinating place for sure.

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Our second place of discovery was not quite as inconspicuous as the Indiana Medical History Museum. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum is located on the infield of the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Yes, despite living almost 19 years of my life in Indiana, I had never visited! The museum celebrates the history of the track and its stars — the cars and their drivers.

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The highlight of our visit was a lap around the track.

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A bus may be a far cry from a racecar but there was still a moment of exhilaration when we crossed over the brick finish line.

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A visit back home wouldn’t be the same without seeing some of our old favorites like the Indianapolis Zoo or the City Market.

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The boys had to pose in front of the flamingos.

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Thing 1 pretending to be a flamingo.

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The penguins are one of my personal favorites. It’s a lot of fun to use funny voices and make up dialogues between the penguins.

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The Indianapolis City Market opened in 1886 as place to to buy and sell fresh meats and produce. Today the City Market not only hosts a seasonal outdoor farmer’s market, but is a foodie’s emporium where you can find everything from Middle Eastern fare to Philly cheesesteaks.

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Monument Circle is located just a few blocks from City Market. Monument Circle is the center of downtown Indianapolis and is the home of restaurants, the Indianapolis Symphony, and many businesses. In the center is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the largest outdoor monument in Indiana.

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Well, we are 1,400 miles into our journey to Alaska. It was wonderful to get to spend time with family, discover new places and revisit old favorites this week, but now it’s time to cover some miles. Next stop is the Madison, Wisconsin area and then Twin Cities before heading through North Dakota and up through Montana into Canada.

Do you ever #GoRVing at a family member or friend’s house? What sort of hidden or not-so-hidden gems have you discovered near your home?