Friday, August 10, 2012

Bike America Day 55: An Old Friend and a Dog Friend

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day's distance: 69.15 miles
Overall distance: 2,739 miles

On Monday morning, my dad drove us back to the corner by a cornfield where we stopped on Thursday and my mom and I resumed riding. Unlike after our break for the Chicago wedding, I felt like I hadn’t had any time off my bike. I was fresh and ready to go. On our ride I told me mom all about Charleston and Sarah and Breck and we had fun fantasizing about my future wedding. We talked about bridesmaids dresses, invitations, fall d├ęcor and other fun things like that.

We had one stretch on a busy road which was nothing compared to the mountain passes in Washington but we’d been so spoiled by the empty county roads that this seemed scary. For the first time, the adventure cycling map actually made a note on this stretch that read “heavy truck traffic”. We finally got to our turn toward safety and the road seemed sketchy and unrideable. There were open fences with road closed signs and there was a dirt hill in the distance that we thought might be part of a landfill. We decided to head down it anyway but didn’t make it far before it became clear the road went nowhere but right up to this pile of dirt. So we turned around, spent an extra mile on our busy roud, and then turned north to meet the route.

At mile 39, we met up with the car and stopped on the side of the road for lunch. I had a hummus and goat cheese sandwich with an apple and leftover honey mustard pretzels. Then my dad and I rode away. We passed a house with two dogs barking wildly at us and one of them ran out into the road beside our bikes. He ran and ran, panting wildly beside us. He slowed when we slowed and sped up when we sped up. I started to get worried that he’d never find his way home but my dad said not to worry. Eventually, I made us both stop and shoo the guy home. He was a cutie and I would have gladly had him as a companion the rest of the way to DC but I thought he’d be missed by his owners if we didn’t send him back.

As we continued on down one of our thin roads, we saw two massive vehicles obstructing our route in the distance. As we approached, we realized that it was a processing tractor shooting corn into a semi truck. Luckily, our turn came right at the intersection where it was stopped so we could maneuver our way around. It was quite a sight and definitely not something you see every day, unless maybe you're the guy sitting on the back of the semi truck in the second picture below.

Around another bend, we arrived in Fletcher, IN. In discussing food and grocery options that morning, my mom had said that the map showed Fletcher having a coke machine. When we arrived and saw that the town, quite literally, had only a coke machine, I had to get a picture of it. I find there to be something a little unnerving about a town with no people in it and this was one of them. There was a radio coming from someone’s garage but no soul to be seen. That always feels like something out of a horror film to me. Clearly I watch too many movies.

Our original plan was to spend the night in the Denver city park. That is Denver, IN not Denver, CO in case you were confused. The one in Indiana is a little smaller than the one in Colorado and my mom couldn’t even find a person in town who would give us approval to stay there. After riding the lovely bike trail the final four miles into town, and chatting with the girl working at the pizza place, we decided to ride on and stay a few miles outside of the much larger town of Peru, which was a little bit off route.

My dad and I rode another 12 and my mom picked us up to drive to the campground. We checked in and showered and then went into town to meet an old friend of my mom’s. I noted that this has really been a year of reunions with old friends for my mom. This one, Anne, was a good friend in college who she hadn’t seen in 20 years and I had met only once as a baby. Anne lives in Indianapolis and drove the two hours north to chat with us over cheap beer and Mexican food. It was fun to meet her and to see how easy it can be to catch up with someone even after so much time has passed.

We then said our goodbyes and went back to camp. I was sleeping in my parents tent because my mom had called the campground “sketchy” and asked if I wanted to just sleep in there for the night “to make things easier in the morning”. I took her up on it, knowing that wasn’t the real reason she was offering. My dad made fun of me the next morning and said “I find it dear that my little girl still wants to sleep in our bed when she gets scared.” First of all, it wasn’t my idea. Second of all, it wasn’t a bed but a tent. Still, though, even grown people can get spooked by some dark, scary woods. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. And it’s fun to have a slumber party sometimes, even if it’s with your parents. 

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