Indiana Finds A Way Into My Heart - America's Most Naive Bike Tourist Rides From MN to MA - CycleBlaze

June 14, 2014

Indiana Finds A Way Into My Heart

North Manchester, Indiana

Holy mackerel!  It got down to 44 degrees last night.  That's about all I have to say in this paragraph.

While taking down my camp this morning, no fewer than ten people stopped by to ask me about my trip.  One guy asked me to pose for a picture with his two sons like I was some kind of rock star or something.  The sons had both been riding their bikes all over the campground.  I was getting so much praise and so many wishes for safe travels that I was seriously humbled.  As a result of that attention I didn't get out of the campground until about 10:00 a.m.

Sadly, Jim the Tent didn't get the same respect that I did.  One person asked, "How do you sleep in that little thing?"  Another referred to it as a "pup tent."  Little did those people, who were probably sleeping in 40' RVs, know that Jim (God-given name: Mountain Hardware Room With a View) is a veteran of many backcountry wilderness trips over a dozen years.  It's tough, reliable, easy to set up and, of somewhat less importance, quite handsome.  It's a little on the heavy side, but I love the thing because it handles bad weather even better than I do.  It is NOT a pup tent.  That's like calling a prize-winning Jack Russell terrier a mutt or a cur.

I am growing rather fond of Indiana and I sure didn't expect that.  I don't know why, I just didn't.  The main highways have been in good condition with reasonable 3-foot shoulders, and the backroads are great.  Little roads that would be gravel in any state west of here are all paved.

Today I took some of those small roads that paralleled the Tippecanoe River.  They added a few miles onto my day, but I was rewarded by a route that twisted and turned amidst some forest land and some hills.  I had almost forgotten what a hill looked like.  I also got some close up views of several fat vultures feeding on the numerous carcasses of roadkill raccoons and opossums.  I had one very feeble dog chase, hardly worth mentioning really, but just another reminder that maybe I should reconsider my thoughts on pepper spray.

The city of Rochester was having some kind of festival in its downtown area complete with carnival rides, deep-fat fried foods, cotton candy, etc.  I felt obligated to buy some fried cheese curds.  So delicious.  So greasy.  So healthy.  They rested uneasily in my stomach for the next 25 miles.

Today's ride: 51 miles (82 km)
Total: 683 miles (1,099 km)

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