Sixth 100-Mile Ride, First 200-Kilometer Ride of 2024 - "Vibes" - CycleBlaze

From "Vibes"

By Jeff Lee

Sixth 100-Mile Ride, First 200-Kilometer Ride of 2024

I was a little bored with riding the same roads around home, so on Sunday, May 12th, I got up at 4:30, quickly got things together, and drove across the river to my wife's employer, the University of Southern Indiana, parked there, unloaded my bike, and was riding north by the time the sun was barely up.

It was nice and cool. No one was on the roads this early on a Sunday morning. I'd decided the night before that I'd try for my first 200 km ride of the year today. Hence my super early start.

I was on the Fargo, although not completely unloaded this time: I had the handlebar bag, which contained my Canon DSLR as well as snacks. I felt like using my real camera for a change. The camera on my Google Pixel phone is pretty good, but I miss having a viewfinder.

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Karen PoretScale shot!
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2 months ago
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I entered the first of several gravel roads through this much less populated part of the state as I headed toward Illinois.

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I arrived in Owensville, populate 1,342. The downtown was slightly decrepit, but there was a modest store open, where I bought a Little Debbie pecan pie. The shelves in the place were pretty bare. A slightly odd man walked in, appraised me in my cycling get-up (or "costume" as he described it) and asked "Where did you start? Where are you going"?) I wasn't in the mood for a prolonged discussion this morning, so I cut short my visit to the store, in the process leaving my helmet behind. Fortunately I remembered it a few minutes later, and sheepishly went back and retrieved it.

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I left Owensville and rode several miles on gravel roads through mining operations.

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Rich FrasierNot super impressive there, Joe.
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2 months ago

Soon after exiting the mining area, I rode across the wide-shouldered bridge over the Wabash River into Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

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I'm definitely not in Indiana anymore.
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I spent some time looking around Mt. Carmel's old downtown.

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Karen PoretGlad you made it to the forest to “see through the trees”..;)
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2 months ago
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Karen PoretToo bad that beautiful arch is not well cared for..
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2 months ago
Jeff LeeTo Karen PoretYes, I thought the same thing.
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2 months ago
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Back on the road, it had warmed up. The sun was out. Perfect riding conditions. I was heading to St. Francisville, where I hoped to cross the Wabash River again - "Hoped" because I wasn't 100% certain the old bridge there was open.

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This wasn't my first time in St. Francisville (population  541). Joy and I had spent a memorably uncomfortable night camping in town twelve years ago. I decided not to spend time exploring the place again, and instead headed for the Wabash Cannonball Bridge.

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Back in 2012, Joy and I had ridden across the old repurposed railroad bridge. It had seemed extremely decrepit then. It did not seem any better now.

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The bridge was surprisingly busy. I was halfway across when I met an oncoming car, and had to get off the bike and walk it, squeezing past.

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Back in Indiana, on the other side of the Wabash River, I followed a series of smooth paved backroads, fighting a mild headwind. 

I crisscrossed big, busy US-41 several times, sometimes riding on country roads, sometimes riding on "Old 41", which had nice shady sections, and was completely empty.

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Karen PoretToo bad this sign is so worn out you probably would have to stop to actually read it.. However, this is the point.. S… L…O…W Down 😬
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2 months ago

I was hungry and thirsty when I arrived in Princeton, population 8,367. I stopped at a Dairy Queen, but it was not a very pleasant experience: Way too busy, with many loud, large patrons milling around inside. I engaged in my usual habit of people-watching, but watching these people was  depressing.  I suppose it's a symptom of my status as a cranky old man, but I don't get why people go out in public in such unattractive attire, with ugly hairstyles, piercings, and tattoos.

Of course, I was no prize myself, with my ancient, sun-faded bike jersey sporting the name of a long-defunct Spanish pro cycling team, a mismatched, fraying cycling cap, and a face encrusted with salt and gravel dust.

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Mark BinghamWhat are we looking at? Twins, both born in 1918? With the birth date on the right instead of the left? And no last names?
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2 months ago
Karen Poret Mark..they were huge CHIcago Cubs fans..
Trevor Watt was 19 years old, born January 6, 1999 and died in an automobile accident on September 1, 2018.
James Gasaway was 20 years old, born February 24, 1998 and died on same day as Trevor. Most likely they were in the same vehicle.
They were best friends.
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2 months ago
Jeff LeeTo Karen PoretI looked it up just now. They were rear-ended by a woman driving under under the influence of alcohol and meth, at a high rate of speed.

She was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
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2 months ago
Karen PoretTo Jeff LeeThank you for furthering this sad story, Jeff. At first glance, their ages and incorrect assumptions presume you to believe it was their fault of reckless driving, when they actually were victims of their young ages, as innocents..
Two grieving families for sad behaviors people don’t wake up enough to actually change.
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2 months ago
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Karen PoretSpeed kills..read previous post..:(
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2 months ago

Back on the road, I continued into the wind. I was pretty tired by now. I stopped again in a much smaller town at around mile 105, and filled up on Gatorade and Propel at a gas station. I purchased some "Doritos" flavored cheese crackers there, but found them absolutely inedible, with such a disgusting taste that I tossed them in the trash after eating only part of one cracker. I briefly imagined that I had COVID again, but it was probably just the unfortunate combination of the multiple flavors of sports drinks and the artificial flavoring of the crackers.

The sports drinks revived me, and, with a "third wind", I sped toward my car. I was in a hurry now, and didn't take time for photos. Except for this one:

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As I write this the next day, I feel pretty good. I'm slowly getting back into touring shape. I hope so, anyway. I have about a month to go before the start of the trip.

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Mark BinghamImpressive mileage!
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2 months ago
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John EganI did the St. Francisville bridge on my first X-USA in 1987.
By the way, you are a mileage madman.
And I called Betty Ford about your Little Debbie habit.
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2 months ago