Day 49 Sturgis Michigan to Warren Indiana

Riding south on Indiana 9 - pretty

I left my motel at 9:30 and, five miles south, had breakfast before 9! Indiana has weird daylight savings so I 'gained' an hour at the border.

The Indiana border - not pretty

Riding today was nice, for the most part, but slow because of a strong wind from the east. When I was riding west, I could cruise in the high teens to low twenties. When I was riding east, I had to work to maintain 10 mph. Riding south, which is what I was doing most of the time, I could do about 12 mph, slowing to 11 mph when the wind gusted. The wind abated somewhat during the day, and my all day average speed for 85 miles was 12.5 mph. With yesterday's wind conditions, I could have done 100 miles in the time it took me to do 85 today. Ah well, the riding really was pretty good despite the cross wind. The worst effect of the wind wasn't to slow me down, but was to increase the air blast from trucks, and there were a lot of them, coming the other way.

Amish tracks - wheel and droppings - and the cross wind

The first part of the ride, from Sturgis to LaGrange, was definitely Amish country. Then, from US 6 down to US 30, the wide shoulders with Amish tracks returned. I had breakfast at Howe, which is the first town on IN 9, and, after breakfast, the waitress kidded my about the dangers of being run down by Amish buggies. Then she said she had been visiting family in LA and was very happy to be back with the buggies instead of multilane freeways.

Riding through Lagrange - that is a big flag in the center

I followed IN 9 to Huntington, about 70 miles, and then, stopped for supper, and, after riding around a bit in what seems to been Dan Quayle's home town - sticker on a car - "Proud to part of the vast right wing conspiracy!" - rode IN 5 down to Warren, or really the motels on I-69, two miles north of Warren. I had planned to go another twenty mile today, but my body just didn't want to do it with the wind slowing me down. I used my computer during supper to look for motels nearer than Hartford City, my original destination, but Mappoint.2000 didn't have any in its database. Fortunately, I stopped at a gas station in south Huntington and was told about the three motels at that interstate intesection.

When I got to my motel, it had no power. There is construction on the freeway near here and, I'm guessing that they cut something they shouldn't have. I was still able to register and get into my room, but it was at least an hour before the power came back on. I used my headlight in the shower - Cateye Micro Halogen II - but it was a cold shower since those fancy fast response water heaters depend on heating the water as you use it. That was invigorating <grin>. The room, at a Super 8, is very nice and only $40. I could have managed without power all night, but I might have had to cut my ride report / web page short to get it done before my laptop's battery ran down. I did the report from Lake Louise on batteries.

A farm surrounded by a corn field

Much of my riding today was through farming areas, and the most common crop was corn. Riding through cornfields is boring after a few miles, especially when the corn is tall enough to block most of the view. The farther I ride south, the taller the corn gets. I remember that from my first cross country trip, where the corn went from ankle high to head high during my ride. Today I crossed US 30, about 20 miles west of Fort Wayne. I rode across the top of Indiana on US 30 in '96, and learned that I needed a left ear plug to avoid hearing damage on that kind of road! This is the third time on this tour that I've ridden places I ridden on earlier tours. The other two were the Oregon Coast in '96 and UP Michigan in '99. I'll ride old routes again for the fourth time in Tennessee on my way home.

I stopped for a map and a snack in Wollcotville, lunch in Albion, for a milkshake in Columbia, and, as I mentioned earlier, for supper in Huntington. I also stopped along the road to take pictures and drink some cola, and once for a minor repair, but not for rest breaks. This country is really so populated that the distance between services is reasonable without needing a side of the road break. The twenty miles from Columbia to Huntington was the longest stretch without services.

IN 9 south of Columbia

Although there was too much traffic to listen to the birds and insects most of today, with the exception of the last fifteen miles, there wasn't too much traffic for the shoulder. If I hadn't had to deal with wind gusts from trucks and half a dozen very wide manufactured homes being transported north of US-30, I could have ridden with almost no stress. The truck wind blast were more of a problem south of US-30 where there was a narrower, but still good, shoulder and more truck traffic, most of it agricultural in nature. I had to bail out once, near New Rome, when a truck hauling a 16 foot wide home section came around a corner behind me, wouldn't slow down enough for me to get to a good place to pull out, and there was traffic coming in the other lane. I rode into the weeds at 10 mph or so as he swerved, pedal to the floor, around me. I didn't fall over and I don't think he would have hit me if I hadn't bailed out, but it might have been close. I ran into a lot of those wide loads yesterday and today, and that was the only one that was irresponsibly driven.

This is pretty much the state of IN 5 all the way to I-69

I left IN 9 in Huntington and took IN 5 towards IN 3. IN 5, which is signed as a bike route <grin>, has no shoulders. I only have a few miles to go on IN 5 tomorrow and then I'll see how IN 3 looks. If I don't like IN 3 , I can go back over to IN 9 later tomorrow, which will add only about twenty miles to the distance I have to ride. Another option would be to go over to one of the many smaller roads that parallel the roads I am riding. I haven't felt the need for that, but, it is nice to have that option. Interestingly, riding on the shoulderless IN 5, which has way too much traffic for its 'shoulders', was where I got horn beeps and hand waves of support from drivers. There was only one 'bad' incident while I was on that road, and that one was not threatening to me, just rude to the traffic coming the other way. Otherwise, the behavior of the drivers was exemplary, i.e. just as good as drivers in Canada.

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