The Luckiest Day of the Century?
Once every 100 years a date comes along that draws the attention of people. For about a month, everyone had been talking abut today, 7-7-7. Lucky Sevens day meant people would flock to casinos, lottery vendors, and the alter!!
Not wanting to be an exception, the Indianapolis chapter of Cruiser Club, USA was heading for a Casino. Indiana's latest, a "riverboat" at French Lick.
It would be a 250 mile day, and since Nina expressed interest in coming along, and most of the RSVP's I got were older guys, I had programed breaks about every 40 miles. We left the house at 8:15 in the morning, yeah I remember it is a weekend! We started west on Washington Street, then ramped to Shadeland Avenue South. Shadeland blends into 465, and would round the east and south sides of the capital city on this beltway.
We left the highway at Kentucky Avenue, which is also SR 67. There is a McDonald's and BP Combo there that is a popular meeting point for our rides. I pulled up to a pump, and Nina hopped off, and went inside. I filled the tank, and watched as Carl pulled in. I topped off the tank, and rode over to the other bikes parked there, Mr. Wade and Ernie's Goldwing was lined up next to Tony's GSR and my father's BMW.
We grouped up around 9am, and mounted the steeds, and headed south on SR 67. We would take it for quite a while to SR 231 merges into the other state highway. It weaves it way around and into Spencer, Indiana. We pulled into the McDonald's, the most popular place in town, and parked the bikes. We had gone about 40 miles, and it was time for a little break.
After watching the Town Marshall chase down a kid with a loud radio, we headed east out of town for SR 43. The intersection is just past the entrance of McCormick's Creek State Park. Flanked by two yellow signs with black letters, saying NO TRUCKS, Steep Grades, Sharp Turns, it may has well been a hand crafted invitation!! The next sign would mark 11 miles to Whitehall, and one of the best views in the whole state!
It isn't long before the straight road gives away to rolling hills, and weaving turns. In and out of tree lined areas that felt nice and cool. Each time we re-emerged into the sun, the rays felt warmer and warmer. It was going to be a hot one alright! We took SR 43 through Solsberry, and connected to SR 56. The snaking pavement continued.
So far, I had been on all these roads, but soon, pavement unknown was ahead. The first section of county roads had some rough pavement, but also had some great scenery, tree lined curves, and pretty smooth pavement. The whole way, the older guys were joking about when we would get to the gravel road. Well, since they wished it, it finally happened!
The road ahead got more and more broken up until it was gravel, and no longer pavement. It was a shame too, as it was a scenic road, and only a couple of miles from another state highway. While turning around, I almost dumped the bike, and had it not been for a quick dismount by Nina, it might had been laid over!
We returned to a state highway, and headed toward Bedford, Indiana. We stopped at a gas station for a break, Nina got an Ice Cream Bar, and potty breaks were made. We left the station, and headed out on SR 450. Now, every road in this area that has 50 in it is a good road!! 50, 150, 250, 450, no matter,it winds through tree lined and rolling hill country! We went through Williams, and past a damn, and then into Dover Hill. This town is built diagonally. There are a series of right followed by left ninety degree turns. Maybe to keep people driving slow through town, who knows, but it is a fun town to ride through!
SR 450 come to an end at 150/50, and we head back east for about 15 miles until we arrive at West Baden Springs. Named the Carlsbad of the west, this town had been negelected in the past 30 years. Now, the main hotel, featuring a large domed atrium, built in the early 1900's, and the largest domed structure until the Astro Dome, had been renovated, and was back open as a hotel! We rode past, and into a parking lot for lunch.
Lunch took way too long to serve, and the food was okay. We pulled out of the place, and went down to see the new Casino. The parking lot was packed, and we rode through a couple of time, and I decided to get gas where I could take a couple of pictures. Didn't care too much about the inside, and everyone wanted to see the West Baden anyway.
After fueling up, I took a couple of pictures of the "Riverboat" Casino. Indiana has some thing that gambling is okay on water? This boat goes no where, is attached to the building, and I am pretty sure is sitting on the ground with water around it!
After getting fuel, we headed back north to the West Baden Hotel. We pulled up the brick drive, and parked the bikes. There were four exotic cars under the overhang, and we took a look, and noticed some people wearing Automobile Magazine Shirts. Apparently there was some sort of car tour going on.
The day was eroding away, and we need to start the journey back home. We headed east on 150 to the town of Paoli, Indiana. Here, we would head north on SR 37 nearly all the way home. About forty miles from West Baden, we stopped north of Bloomington at a gas station. By this time, there was only three bikes left, Ernie had left for home in West Baden after lunch, Carl and Wade continued at the last gas stop up on SR 37.
After some water, and a little conversation, we took off back up north on SR 37. My father had a stop south of Martinsville, and peeled off there. Tony took SR 39 a short time later to head for home. It was just Nina and I, and every stop light in Martinsville!! When I want to stop in this town, I get all green, when I have just stopped 15 miles south, I hit every red light!!
Near 465, SR 37 was under construction, so part of this road is always under construction! We made it up the ramp to 465, and immediately began to be rained on by gravel! I powered up, and went around the truck kicking up the debris. We made our way around the city, and to Washington Street. It had been a while since we stopped, so I dropped Nina off at the house, and headed down the street to re-fill the tank one more time today.
I returned home, and pulled the bike into the stable for the night.