Fall Colors

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I know, every state proclaims there is nothing like it in the fall, and all the colors. I have not been in many other states in the autumn, but I have spent a lot of time riding through the amazing colors of Indiana. I have to say, there is nothing like the color in Indiana. Like a slow motion grand finale of a fireworks display, the trees burst with color.

If you live in Indiana, and it is Fall, then Brown County State Park is on the tip of your tongue, and the fold of your map. Well, we are about to embark on a trip to this famous state park. Your first thought may be to head right down State Road 135, and yes it is a beautiful way to get from the capital city to the rolling hills of this preserve. However, I look at State Road 135 as the "super slab", or Highway Path to Nashville, Indiana and its adjacent scenery. Notice I don't even mention Interstate 65.

We are going to start today's trip outside the circle city, fueling up before the journey in Franklin, Indiana, at the intersection of US 31 and State Road (SR) 44. We begin by heading south on US 31, but only for a short jaunt, less than a mile.

The road will be marked as County Road (CR) 200 East, but is more well known as Nineveh Road, foreshadowing a town that we will soon visit. This road winds through a suburb of Franklin. Then makes a turn to the south, and becomes CR South 100 East.

There is a jog in this road, but for the most part, it is straight south to the town of Nineveh. To the east is Camp Atterbury, and some days you can see A-10 Warthogs Flying, and hear Artillery Shells booming. So be aware if you hear something that sounds like you have wondered into a war zone.

Nineveh is small town Indiana at its best, and if you need a break, or some provisions, stop into the corner market, stocked well with bait and ammunition. But the best part of this area is the winding, tree lined roads, marked by one of my favorite signs.

The next two and half miles are a curvy trip into more and more woods. When you turn onto a road called Beech Tree Lane, you know you are headed into some scenery. This road hardly has a straight section to it, and it is hard to spy the hills through the trees, but if you take it slow and comfortable, you can sneak a peak. The road is not heavily traveled, so you can even stop to take a picture.

Beech Tree Lane is one of those roads that we motorcyclists wish would go on forever! The turns get you into a rhythm, and the pavement becomes a song as you make your way. This is a short and sweet tune, and after less than two miles, a turn is needed onto Peoga Ridge Road.

Peoga Ridge makes it way through rural Indiana, dotted by old farm houses, cabins, and mobile homes of those who want to get away from it all. Maybe it was the turns on Beech Tree, but I always start noticing the road rising and falling here.

Make sure you veer off to the left, and onto Sweetwater Trail. Turning right always seems to lead me to a gravel road somewhere along the way. In case you don't know, riding on gravel with two wheels can be like driving on ice. Many of us gauge these roads with the term "pucker factor".

Sweetwater comes to an end at the metropolis of Gatesville, Indiana. What, you have never heard of this Hoosier Town? Maybe because it is one of those places where if you blink, you can miss it. For me, it was worth a stop to snap off a photograph.

I will be re-adding the picture soon!
It is the sign for the Town, it reads
Entering Leaving

Take a left here, and head south on Sand Creek Road. It won't be long before you are out of the "city" and back into wooded country roads. Sand Creek features thick woods, mixed with wide open vistas of Indiana Farms. Before you know it, you have emerged from the shade of the canopy above, and arrive at SR 46.

The colors had not yet fully changed here, so traffic is moving along this state highway. The cross traffic is going 55 miles per hour, so be careful pulling out. A gas station at the corner is good place to take break, and fuel up either your ride, or yourself with a snack. Turn right on SR 46 to head west, the entrance to Brown County State Park will come up shortly, unless the leaves are in full color, and traffic may make it slow going.

If you have the chance, and the appetite, allow me to suggest a few great places to sate yourself. The Nashville Inn is the first place you will see, on the south side of SR 46, just before it meets SR 135. Up north on SR 135 a bit is the Hob Nob Corner, another eatery I wouldn't miss.


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