A Reason to Give Thanks

Sunday, November 26, 2006

With the weather that Indiana has been having lately, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to write about riding in 2006 again!! When it was warmer, it rained, when it was dry, it was too cold, besides that, there were also days I just didn't have the time to ride. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday all fit into the last category, as Indian Summer had arrived on Thanksgiving Day! As the sun poured over the landscape, I sat inside with family, celebrating the fall holiday.

Friday, I hoped, there would time to get the bike out, and do a little run. When that didn't happen, I felt sure Saturday would hold the promise of miles on two wheels. Nothin' doin', I was spending my time erecting a greenhouse for Nina. Since the directions were so terrible, I feel like I have put two greenhouses together with one kit!! By late Saturday, with the sun dropping behind clouds, it appeared that Sunday would be the day, I was taking it all for myself!

As with most Sunday's, they start out at Shapiro's at 8:30 am. I was really surprised when I didn't see another bike in the lot? I could recognize cars, though. I was hoping a few of the guys would want to take a trip with me and get lost for the afternoon. I need to find a younger group of guys, me thinks.

After breakfast, we all poured out of the restaurant. I suited up, and programmed the GPS for the first stop, Star Financial Bank. I went East on McCarty, then north on Delaware to Massachusetts Avenue. Mass Ave would take me north and east, and after becoming Pendleton Pike, I would veer to the north on Post Road. The bank was near the corner of Post and 56th Street.

I admit, I tried to plug my destination into the GPS, but it came up with cities of the same name from all the surrounding states. I decided to just get back on Pendleton Pike, and continue heading north and east. The Pike is also SR 67, and SR 38. I knew that SR 38 would eventually head straight east, so I decided that would be the road I would take. It would take me to of all places, Pendleton, Indiana

I have been on this stretch before, and it is a strange journey out of the city that doesn't want to let go of its grip. The neighborhoods stretch out even further, and the commercialism has even surrounded the prison area. It is getting harder and harder to tell the difference from Indianapolis, the small towns, and eventually, Pendleton.

I headed east on SR 38, normally, I think I have taken SR 234 to SR 34, but today was a different day. It wasn't long before I was out in the open of newly harvested fields. Corn Stalks were cut down just above the ground, bean fields lay barren, and the trees were now webs made of bare branches, that would gently sway in the breeze. Everything looked lifeless. The only hope is that in a few more months, the rebirth will begin. I remember to early in the year, those times I rode shortly after the new year. Then, the worst to come seemed so close, but now, snow and ice seem so distance, but nature is ready. The broken off, golden stalks looked like the desert area of Texas, when I traveled there in April. I remember that cotton had blown along the edge of the road in the brush, and it made me feel cool, as for a moment, my body thought it was snow. I may as well have not be able to see more than 200 feet in front of me, like when I was in Upper Michigan, in a cold fog brewed by Lake Superior.

New Castle would be a break in the farm fields. There were other breaks, but the towns are so small, that before you realize you are away from the farms, you are back into them. I got stopped at several lights, most marked with a no left turn sign for 7 pm to 1 am. I could only imagine that is to prevent cruising.

More miles of the lifelessness would roll on. The next big town would Hagarstown. Before entering, life returned. Some streams rolled through the landscape, giving some lushness to the environment. Maybe it was the time, but there were also many people walking around downtown. I felt refreshed after miles of flat farmland. I was close to Ohio, and while certainly not in Mountain Country, I don't think I would even it call it Hill Country, more like Undulating Country.

At the edge of town, I turned south on SR 1. My vision would be restricted by the the rolling mounds, then revealed, and I could see why out, almost like I could spy Indianapolis! Back down again, and trees line the valley. I rise up again, and a wide vista.

At I-70, I stop for fuel. My next town would be Connersville, and I want to make sure that I can get on SR 121, and nice little twisty road. Connersville is a more of an industrial town, and the railroad tracks illustrate that. I passed through town, and was stopped by the familiar orange rectangular sign with six terrible letters, DETOUR. SR 121 was closed! I circled around, got on SR 44, and began to pick up more detour signs, leading the way around. My fear was that it would lead me down SR 1 all the way to SR 52. Luckily it didn't, and I was able to get on to SR 121, without missing the best parts.

SR 121 dances back and fourth with a set of railroad tracks. The tracks remain straight, but the road weaves, sometimes kissing the the tracks, sometimes out of sight of them. A couple of times the tracks cross the road. I also had a couple of times to wave at fellow bikers going the other way.

Eventually, I would arrive at US 52. I turned east to head toward Metamora, Indiana. Metamora is one of those tourist traps town along US 52 with loads of arts and crafts. I was looking for food. I also wanted to see if there was anymore information, and get a picture of the area's covered aqueduct. Believed to be one of only two in the world, and the only one in the US still in operation.

After walking around, and helping the local Lion's Club by purchasing a chili dog from them, I headed back out on the road. I took a back road to US 52, but not for long. I saw a little side road called Canyon Road, the name appealed to me. It was off of SR 229, a road that warns truckers to turn around, and take another route. Got to love that!

Canyon Road was a narrow, twisty road through a heavy wooded area. Some of the edges of the road dropped off so fast I could not see the were the slope ended. I felt like this would be a good primer for roads in Colorado I have heard about. It ended with me returning to to SR 229, which I took back up to US 52.

US 52 would lead all the way back to Indy. It was about a 50 mile journey, and I would pass through lots of small towns. I love to cruise through these little burgs, and just try to suck up a little less complicated, slower pace life. At the edge of town, the muffler would roar, and I would be back up to highway speed. I would make it back home by 3 in the afternoon, still some time to get something done around the house.
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