Second Ride of 2005
From the last day that you go for a ride, when you live in a area with a riding season, you start thinking about the first ride of the next season, and as the calendar winds down to end of another year, you wonder when that next ride might be. So with a forecast of sunny skies and temperatures near 60 Degrees, it doesn't long for spring fever to get to me. On the invitation of Ron, extended to all of Reed's Eaters, I embarked on the second ride of the year. Reed's Eaters is a underground name for the group of riders who gather every Sunday, usually at Shapiro's in downtown Indianapolis. Mr. Reed is in charge of the e-mail list, so he gets the name, but not the naming rights.
I was the first to arrive at Dreyer Honda, a Motorcycle Shop located on the West Side of Indianapolis. I believe the West Washington Street Dealership is the oldest in the United States. I got there early to pick up some Honda Spray Cleaner. I do mention the cleanerr by name, as a shameless plug. It's good stuff, and will clean shine up darn near anything on your bike, even other bikes others than Hondas. I know a lot of people who use it on other bikes. Ron was second to show up, and we strolled around the shop, looking at mostly used bikes, until Larry rode in. We thought that would be it, but fast Tony came flying in at nearly the last minute.
Our goal was to head down to Lynhurst Road, take it south to Kentucky Avenue, and head south west past when it becomes SR 67 and continue into Mooresville. A Bar-B-Que Restaurant, aptly named "Squealers" was the destination for lunch. Two other riders were to be there waiting for us. When we arrived, we noticed that only one made the trip, Dave. Dave is retired from being a city cop, and has more stories than I could ever think up. I think he enjoys telling them more than he did living them. He is a great guy to ride with, as I have shared the road with a him a couple of times.
After lunch, I led Ron and Larry, as Dave and Tony had other plans, down further southwest on SR 67. I had planned on taking a road I had not been on before, but was wondering about some conflicting information. Streets & Trips showed as a through road, but the GPS showed it as a dead end. When we arrived at the turn, there was a Dead End Sign, but not a "No Outlet" sign. I cruised down the road, but could tell it was not a well traveled path. It was very wet from the recent snow melt, covered with sand, dropped for traction, blanketed the pavement. If there was pavement under there. It could have been compacted, broken up road. We decided to continue on further south, and turn off on Observatory Road, a street I knew to be paved.
I have been all up and down on this stretch of SR 67, and a few times ago, I was alone, and had the time, so I took this road just to see if there really was a Observatory, or at least a good view. It starts out with a sharp right turn, then a steep incline, and ends with a left hander. From that point, you weave along tree lined roads. There are a lot of tree lined roads along the western side of this state highway. When the trees break, it is because of a pond, lake, creek, or because you are up high enough to get a beautiful vista. It is hard to believe that this located merely 30 miles from downtown Indianapolis. In the city, the concrete rules. Out here nature has control, and does four shows a year. I hadn't been in lot of this area during the winter, and I can't say it beats the autumn, but is different, and picturesque in its own way.
Observatory Road was no different then the rest of the roads in the area, tinted brown from the covering of sand, that had not yet been washed away. With the first good spring rain, all the pavement will be clear, and I would be able to concentrate more on the scenery, than balance and slick spots. Eventually, we wind past what else, an Observatory. The first time I road along here is was mid-summer, the trees were full, and it was hard to catch site of the white domed structure. This time it was plainly visible through the naked trees.
We rode on, eventually running out of Observatory Road, and then we went zig-zagging through more of the back country roads in the area. At one point, I could see the road was very wet. So wet, that it looked like the water was moving! I guess the rush of an early thaw had damned up a couple of the drainage pipes with debris that usually let a creek flow under the road. The creek was now flowing over the pavement. I could see well enough that it was not much more that an inch deep, so I shifted down, got to a steady pace and direction, and plowed through. Larry and Ron followed without much effort. I thought to myself that this would have been a great photo opportunity. Had I been alone I would have been quite the shutter bug. Actually, if I stopped and took pictures of all I wanted, I would be lucky to cover about 100 miles a day!
Eventually, we would come out to the infamous SR 39, a road a lot of motorcyclists in the area know well. I can still remember the first time I rode this stretch. Larry needed to tend to his mother, and primp himself for a hot date, so he took off to the north, heading back to Indy. Ron and I headed south. Usually, I would take SR 39 to Rob Hill Road, but today I had a different route in mind, and it was programmed into the GPS. We turned at Beech Grove Road. This comes out on Rob Hill, not too far East of SR 39, but it winds around, and takes longer, and that is the point, if you have figured that out yet. The longer it takes from point "A" to point "B", is the longer I can ride. Again, there were some interesting points that I would have loved to snap a few photos, but with Ron in tow, I decided to push on.
Rob Hill Road is a discovery I made the year before this ride. I was with my father coming back from a sister chapter of Cruiser Club, USA in Terre Haute, and their annual bike fair. Before getting to this point, we had run into several detours along SR 44. We had to travel a little stretch down gravel! I had a little longer loop along a few other twisty roads in the area, including one of my favorites, Little Hurricane Road. It is as scenic as it is treacherous sounding. After a brief discussion, Ron and decided to head east on Rob Hill Road. Besides my Iced Tea at lunch had been processed, and was ready for output. I will always say, when they named it Tea, they missed it by a few letters.
Rob Hill is certainly not robbed of its hills, or it twists and turns, or its natural scenery. The really cool part of this leg was the numerous ponds still frozen over. Since it is so tree heavy, there were still small mounds of snow near the road. This road features on of my favorites kinds of patterns, spiraling down into a wooded area. The twisting, and decline down into the woods is just such a thrill for me. I think it reminds me of good roller coasters. I also know that Rob Hill Road ends at SR 67, and a Gas Station. I have filled up the bike here numerous times, and emptied my bladder as well. I was surprised when Ron pulled in behind me, as I thought he would continue on his way home.
After using the facilities, I bought a bottled water, and Ron and I began talking. A guy on sport bike was filling up with gas, and when he was finished he came over and we all talked for while, mostly about the roads in the area. We would jaw longer than we needed to, but eventually fired the bikes back up, and headed north on SR 67.
At SR 144, I turned east, Ron had already left me earlier on SR 67, and I was on my way to Mann Road. I heard a couple other of the riders at lunch discuss riding this road today. This is another stretch of asphalt I found out about only a year or so earlier, but based on the number of bikes I passed today, it is no secret that this is a good road. From Mann, I headed east on Southport Road, spotting three other bikes, all Honda VTX's. I was working my way to connect with Pleasant Run Parkway. A great, leisurely stroll through Indianapolis. There are parts of it I often miss, and some of them I decided to turn around, and get back on the right road this time. My GPS Bread crumb trail will have a lot of little circles in it. Pleasant Run leads near to the house. The final stretches are 10th street and Kitley Avenue are neighborhood streets, and not that exciting. Trees are sparse, with homes taking the place, and I am usually too busy looking out for all the traffic. All in all, I was amazed at the number of people outside enjoying the weather. I guess we all get spring fever in different forms. From golfers, to softball players, to guys in shorts and tank tops playing basketball. However, the ones in shorts and tank tops seem to have summer fever, and might be rushing things.
I know this was a great day, and great trip. Why? Because I didn't want it to end, in fact, I was ready to turn around and ride it all again. Perhaps the next time I wouldn't consume so much iced tea, but I would definitely get a picture of that creek flowing over the road.