Saturday, March 20, 2010

Catching up - "Back home agaaaaiiinnnn..."

Wednesday AM is a bridge crossing at Owensboro into Indiana.  The Ohio is looking pretty angry right now.  Lots of logs and debris blasting by under the bridge, and some flooding on the uninhabited Indiana bank.  Also cool to ride over top of a tug pushing six barges of coal up-river against the muddy torrent.  Was very optimistic about the ride today, knowing that areas around the Ohio river provide superior road topography than most other locales in the Midwest.  Also, knowing that the ride would end with family and no hotel!  Set out for IN-66 east out of Tell City and into Hoosier National Forest.  This was the best road on the trip, as it had some serious combinations of elevation and directional change.  Pavement was in good enough shape and there didn't seem to be much sand.  Also, once in the forest the tree canopy was quite nice, and I can only imagine what it'd be like in the fall.  And there were no other vehicles!  Great!  What could be better?  Well, I soon found the reason I was the only one on IN-66 that morning when it returned to the bank of the river at Rome:

I suppose I probably should have made a better interpretation of this sign fifteen miles back:

Oh well, there were far worse things than running that stretch a second time in the opposite direction.  And it gave me a chance to experience IN-145 north from Tell City to Birdseye which was nearly as good a road.  It didn't quite have the dare-devil hills that the river road had but it did have fantastic pavement, no traffic and great 40-60mph twisties.  And no floods!  Followed that road north along to the resort town of French Lick.  I was hoping for some Larry Bird -commemorative stuff to photograph in French Lick, as that is what I always thought the appeal of this town was.  But it turns out it's a cute little resort town.  Whatever.  Sun is out beautifully now, so I can shed some layers and continue on toward Bloomington.  I try for some very minor roads out of French Lick which require me to slow way down in spots when gravel covers the road, and I did get a little lost, but the payoff is some nice southern Indiana scenery.

Anyway, I find highway 37 near Orleans and make tracks on the slab north since I'm running late.  I do make a quick stop in Bloomington to see the IU campus again on this beautiful day.  Couldn't take enough time to find a good photo spot of all the great limestone in the sun, so I had to settle for the law school right off the main gate and Kirkwood Ave.  It was Spring Break, btw.

Now just a quick ride to Bill's house in Spencer.  Thursday morning was another late start, as the clear night put a coat of frost on the bike in the morning!  But again the sun was out and things warmed up nice.  The ride on Thursday across Central and Northeast Indiana was not much to write about.  The whole way north on IN-13 was a battle with a steady 20mph crosswind.  I learned riding on the leeward side of the road that this is where semi-trucks have their most unsettling aerodynamic impact on the bike.  When they blast by the other way and cut the crosswind, it can be a little scary.  And if Indiana has a lot of something, it's wide-open corn fields and semi trucks.

Ended up the day riding through Amish country and Shipshewana, where I caught peak rush hour for the buggies.  East finally with the wind at my back on good old IN-120 to Lake George.  Here's the only ride picture from Thursday, the ubiquitous Indiana county-seat courthouse.  This one is in Wabash.

View Spring Break 2010 - Day 12 in a larger map

View Spring Break 2010 - Day 13 in a larger map

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