May 27: Celina to Monroeville, Indiana - The Great North American Sticky Bun Hunt - CycleBlaze

May 27: Celina to Monroeville, Indiana

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WE HAD our pictures taken in Monroeville. It was for the local paper. Not the same league as being in the Wal-mart staff magazine I agree but, you know, we glitzy media types take our recognition anywhere, with a swagger and a smile...

The happy trio makes its way to Monroeville, even if the world seems to have tilted sideways a little...
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How did it happen? Because we were having coffee across the road from the Monroeville News, a weekly paper that sells as many copies as there are people in the town - 1,200 a week - and which has been edited for decades by a tiny, bubbly woman who hurried across the road to incite our cooperation with the gift of a refrigerator sticker in the shape of Indiana.

Lois Ternet: editor and sole employee of Monroeville's local paper
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"We just cover weddings and funerals and stuff like that," Lois Ternat, the editor and sole employee told us. "Cyclists passing through, we add their pictures to the wallboard here and we put them in the paper." I looked at the wallboard and several dozen tired cyclists looked back at me.

The board of glory at Monroeville's newspaper office.
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A lot of bikies stay in Monroeville because its welcome for cyclists is legendary. Since the original Bikecentennial year the city has

Indeed it is, indeed it is...
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offered its park and the hall that stands in it for the free use of bike travellers. There are no records of how many passed through in the first years but around 1,300 have stayed since 1990. We are the second group this year, Steph, Hans and I, just behind two Belgians.

Monroeville and America bid you welcome, fellow cyclists.
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I say we were the second but it is a joint title. We arrived here in early afternoon after a flat ride from Celina, avoiding thunderstorms by an arm's length. We were lounging around when two other riders wheeled in, also heading west. It wasn't obvious they were getting on. In fact it was clear they weren't. There were civilities but not a lot else. They'd met, it seemed, on a group ride some time earlier, "but when you're two of 14 you don't know each other like when there's just the two of you." Next morning one continued and the other called his daughter for a lift home, officially to sort out domestic problems.

Old-time Monroeville, when the trams still ran.
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It's a sweet place, Monroeville. The guest book at the park and another in the cafe opposite the newspaper office make the same point over and over: this is small-town America as it used to be, or as you think it used to be. It's certainly friendly. We were just setting off from the newspaper office when a slim, elderly woman with blond hair and bright eyes and impeccable diction said: "Strangers in town! Well, welcome!"

Farewell, Hans... here's to the next time!
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This was the morning we bade goodbye to Hans. We'll miss his friendship, his dry humour and his insights into American life. I shall drink in memory of a happy encounter. If Hans feels it went equally well, he will drink beer as well. Although, to be honest, he'll drink beer anyway!

AMERICAN FLAGS SEEN: 197

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