Five hundred miles of Indiana's byways featuring transportation heritage, motor sports and nostalgic dining spots are highlighted on a new tourism trip idea that launches May 11 during the state's Visit Indiana Week. The project - a collaboration between the Association of Indiana Convention and Visitors Bureaus (AICVB) and an immersive learning class at Ball State University - will annually identify a suggested Indiana 500 Tour travel route throughout the state that highlights a special theme. The 2010 theme, Transportation, features a circle of travel opportunities that include Hamilton County, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Kokomo, South Bend, Fort Wayne, Muncie and Richmond. While the 2010 theme will focus on the parts of Indiana that have most of the Hoosier state's automotive heritage, northern and central Indiana, the 2011 theme will focus on Indiana's early history and highlight primarily southern Indiana. Each year's tour suggestion will stay on the Indiana500Tour.com web site and give Hoosiers and out-of-state visitors new trip ideas. Eventually, travelers to Indiana can go to the site and find a number of themes and itineraries. The tour officially launches 2 p.m., Tuesday, May 11 (with receptions beginning at 1:30 p.m.) at five locations throughout the state that are on the tour: Elkhart County (Amish Acres, Nappanee); Kokomo/Howard County (Automotive Heritage Museum, Kokomo); Lafayette-West Lafayette (John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge, Lafayette); and Richmond/Wayne County (Old National Road State Welcome Center). Those who travel parts of the Indiana 500 Tour can tweet about their experiences using the hashtag #in500tour, or follow a blog contributed by fellow travelers who travel the tour, in500tour.tumblr.com. Also, if you are on Twitter, follow me as I live tweet from Kokomo during the launch - Twitter.com/8greatTowns. The creative materials, logo, creative, web site, GIS mapping and social media sites were developed by a team of 14 Ball State students from various majors. This immersive learning experience provided the students with a real-world opportunity to help shape a tourism economic development program. In addition to faculty mentors, various convention and visitors bureaus throughout the state, which formed a steering committee on the project, provided professional guidance. For more information on the Hamilton County locations visit: 8greattowns.com/content/view/116/204/.