A Milestone Beginning

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Today, we start off on a long day of riding. But before we hit the road, I need to mention the reason for the title. For those of you who have been waiting since reading the last post, I will not hold the suspense any longer. Well, maybe a little longer, until I get the picture, which I took on the site, or mention, that I will be posting a picture. Now, I feel cheesy for leading you on. When I parked my Honda Steed in the garage last night, the odometer sat at 25,000 miles. Two years, one month, and three days after I took her out into the cool Illinois Rain, she turned this milestone. I have been to North Carolina, through Deal's Gap, and out to Carlsbad, New Mexico, and along the Rio Grande. Three months after the Texas Trip, I road along the northern water boarder, kissing the coast of Lake Superior. Sometimes, I can remember every single mile that I have ridden this bike. Every mile with a smile.

Title Two: Confusion and Covered Bridges

So now that I am off the sentimental journey, it is time to ride. We took off on Washington Street, heading back towards downtown. We would be meeting on the west side of Indianapolis, at least most of us would. We past the zoo parking lot, and there were people out picking up the trash that remained from the night's before celebration. We continued on Washington Street, not seeing much activity, as it was Sunday, and a cool early morning. I could see Elmore and Wade's bikes sitting at the gas station we agreed to meet. Nina and I pulled in, and I fueled up. Nina went over to talk to Elmore and Wade.

My father, Easyrider Jim, and Carl were also supposed to show up, and we waited, but they were not appearing. I was about to call my parent's house, when my cell phone rang. It was Carl, and they were at a Gas Station on EAST Washington Street!! They were about 20 minutes on the other side of town, taking the interstate, and we needed to leave now, to get to Terre Haute on time, and be able to take a break along the way. After some planning, it was decided that they would hit I-70, and catch up to us at US 40 and SR 231.

We mounted up, and headed out of Indy, and into Plainfield along the National Road, US 40. Once through Plainfield, we were set fairly loose of signal lights, and could cruise out at 55 miles per hour. It didn't seem to take long to cover the 40 miles to SR 231. We could only take about a 5 minute break, so I called Carl's phone to leave a voice mail with directions, in case we needed to take off, and hold the Terre Haute group until they arrived. I was ready to mount up when they pulled in. Easyrider Jim fueled up, and we continued along US 40 west toward the edge of the 19th state.

We were the last to arrive at Demming Park. After a short break, the group of about 20 to 25 bikes, pulled out, heading toward a fuel stop. Our official first stop would be Rosedale, where we would pick up some more members, including the leader of the ride.

I have traveled Parke County a little, but this guy has lived their for quite some time, and knew I roads that I was not familiar. We passed along a couple of covered bridges before pulling into Bridgeton. I was just here last Monday, watching them crane the new section into place. The bridge was arsoned about a year and half ago. They had made some great progress, with some of the arch work, and roof going on. We stayed along the northside of the river bank for a little while, maybe a little too long, but how often to do you get to see a covered bridge in progress? Before we took off, Wade mentioned that he, Jim and Carl were taking off. I must admit that I was completely bewildered? Did we stop too long? Did they think they whole ride was going to be stops? I actually thought we would make more than the usual stops to study these old structures, so I wondered what they expected? Plus, I figured you could at least give the ride a chance until lunch.

They peeled off, and the rest of the group continued to the Neet Covered Bridge, was has a park like area, as it is off on its own, still straddling the creek it was built to cross, but hidden by growth that has sprouted up between it and the new concrete bridge that has taken it's service. We were there only about half the time at Bridgeton, and then went back to riding.

We took a very nice, curvy route up to SR 47. It was here I began feeling sorry for the guys who bailed out so early. They are missing a really great ride, and I doubt if it is even half over, yet! We pulled into a restaurant that is tied into a Golf Course. They had a buffet, and that was what most of us went for. While sitting down, eating my first plate, I saw for motorcycles go by, sure it enough, it was the guys who bailed out. I am sure they didn't have the enjoyable ride we had. They must have stopped for lunch, and were heading back home. Surely they saw the bikes. They could have re-joined the group, and I could have told them what they are missing!

After the pit stop for the riders, we made one for the rides, and hit a small gas station a little further east on SR 47. We then returned back west on SR 47 to pick up on SR 234, a great sceninc road that has a wonderful mix of wide open spots, and a meandering road through trees. The road boarders Shades State Park.

From this point, I was pretty much lost, but the GPS was making tracks, so I will have to download them to find were all the great roads they led us are located. We stopped at two more bridges, and in a town called Montezuma for Ice Cream, just outside the Tasty Freeze.

Eventually, we returned to Rockville, and headed a little south to our hosts home for a cook out. I made my way around, trying to mingle with several people, many I had never met before. My father took off about 6:30pm, heading home alone. I had hoped Wade would have stuck around for the cookout, and he would have a riding partner. At one point, I had thought about camping her tonight, but those plans were changed, and Nina and I had about 100 more miles to make it to Jasper, Indiana.

Gravel, Sunset, and Communication

Nina and I took off at about 7:30pm. We had at best, an hour of sun lit riding left. The first thing we hit was a gravel road. Many of the roads in Parke County are still gravel, but most only in stretches. This stretch would be about 2 to 3 miles, so we started out not making very good time. Eventually, pavement would return, and we were just north of Bridgeton. Since I was more familiar with this area, I knew where to stay on pavement, and more importantly, onto a state highway. There was some new chip and seal on one road, but the hard pack below was worn through, so we got good traction. Once on SR 59, we headed south to Brazil, not the one in South America, but the one in Indiana, that is located on US 40 and I-70. We fueled up, and headed back on the road. The sun sunk below the horizon, and the darkness also brought cooler air.

We stayed on SR 59 until it linked us up with SR 231. We would be on SR 231 for the duration of the trip. I was hoping for more traffic, and was on a constant vigil for deer. We spent a lot of time on open farm and tree lined stretches, perfect areas for wildlife to wonder out on the road. We wondered through Bloomfield, and wondered if Nina was ready for stop. The wire for her headset got pinched, so she had not been plugged in. There was a gas station on the edge of town, but she made no comment when it came into view, and had said nothing, so I figured she would be okay to Loogootee, about 12 miles further along the road. Just as I pulled into the ramp, she mentioned she wanted to stop. With the darkness, and the increase in on coming traffic, I could see that we could get turned around and into the gas station. Maybe there was something just up the road? The darkness would kill my view, and we had to hoof it to Loogootee until we stopped. Apparently, Nina was not in good shape. Another mis-communication.

After stretching, and a assurance that we only had about 25 miles left, we boarded the bike, and headed for the Jasper Police Post to pick up some tickets from a another biker friend who is also a trooper. From the post, it would be about 3 miles to the hotel. We pulled in at about 9:30 their time, as we had changed to the central time zone, even though we traveled some east, with our south travel. Leave it to Indiana to screw up the time thing even more. It did feel comfortable to be back in the correct time zone for Indiana, though.


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