Village or City? - America's Most Naive Bike Tourist Rides From MN to MA - CycleBlaze

June 12, 2014

Village or City?

Rensselaer, Indiana

I took what I call a "bandana-bath" this morning since this campground (with $8.00 sites) doesn't provide showers.  "You have to go to the park's other campground if you want a shower," said the campground host last night.  "Those sites are 25 dollars." 

"Ha, ha, ha," I thought to myself, "for $17 I have no problem wiping myself with well water and a bandana."  And I meant it.

A bike path led me through this very big state park.  I even got to see the other campground--the one where the fancy campers get to take showers.

I had to slam on the brakes when I rounded a curve on the bike path. Yes, I carried The Reckless Mr. Bing Bong and its load through the mess.
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Ten miles later, I got a little taste of urban riding as I passed through the crusty heart of the Bourbonnais/Kankakee metro area.  I found it curious that Bourbonnais calls itself a "village."  To me, a village is a tiny little town with maybe 100 people, a church, and two or three mom & pop stores.  Bourbonnais has a population of nearly 20,000.  It has many churches and a KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Pizza This, Pizza That, House of Fried Fat, Barforama, etc.

Anyway, if Bourbonnais is a village, it is only about 50 miles from the village of Chicago.  Yet Kankakee, at 27,000, calls itself a "city" according to the sign at its border.  What the hell?

I entered the state of Indiana on a sketchy backroad.  There was no sign to greet me, only a clearly-defined change in road surface.  I must say, the Illinois side had better pavement--which isn't saying much.

My first town in Indiana was Morocco and I was amused by the sign on the edge of town.  There it was:  "Welcome to Morocco," written in genuine Moroccan font.  After Morocco, the truck traffic was almost unbearable.  There was a steady stream of the bastards going both ways from the Newton County Landfill and a big gravel pit, all the way to I-65.  Incredibly, this particular stretch of Indiana highway was worse than any road Illinois had to offer.  Four times in ten miles I had to flee the highway onto the treacherous shoulder which was composed of nothing but sand and loose gravel.  I am happy to be alive.

Today's ride: 56 miles (90 km)
Total: 587 miles (945 km)

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