Day 09, Tour 10 Bedford to Vincennes, IN

A pretty country club near Cannelburg
Ironically, an Amish fellow I visited with in Loogootee, used this as a reference point to tell me where his farm was

I managed a nearly full day of riding today with 74 miles on the road in about 61/2 hours of actual pedalling. I could have, and maybe should have, gone on into Illinois, but Google only knew of one motel over there and I might have had to ride back here to find a place to stay. As it worked out, I tried to find a cheap motel here, using my GPS, and failed - I found what was left of it - after a long and quite enjoyable ride through town, so I took the nearest place, a not cheap but quite nice Best Western. It is well located for going over to Illinois tomorrow on the old bridge in the south part of Vincennes. If I had gone over tonight, it would have been on the new bridge and, frankly, I was tired of riding on the expressway with rumble stripped shoulders that 50 had become in Washington, IN.

This what US 50 looked like leaving Bedford at 7:30 AM

This what US 50 looked like after it turned west about 7 miles from Bedford
The fog had cleared up in the hour and fifteen minutes ;-{ it took me to ride 7 miles and fix a flat tire

I had restless night in Bedford. My cheap room - Motel MarkIII - was OK and I enjoyed supper a the restaurant where I enjoyed lunch, but I was quite upset by the news about the Israeli attack on the Gaza Peace ships. I got up a bit after 6, fixed breakfast from my supplies, and was out of the door about 7:15. I visited withh the Indian owner of the motel for a while before leaving. It was a cool, foggy morning. I rode south from town on a section of 50 that was an expressway combining IN 37 and US 50, then turned west on a more pleasant, two lane, US 50, and had to stop to fix a rear wheel flat I got from truck tire debris on the expressway shoulder.

I found the wire, removed it from the tire, and patched the tube without removing the rear wheel and I pumped it up. Of course, I had to remove everything from the bike and unpack my repair stuff. The repair seemed to be OK, so I cleaned up and put everything back together, but the patch leaked ;-{. I took everything apart again, removed the wheel and then the old tube and put in a new tube. I have a second spare tube, so I can wait a while to repatch that one.

A slightly foggy view of honeysuckle covered fence and beautiful farms before the serious climbing starts

US 50 near Shoals.
A beautiful area, but heavy truck traffic begins at the top of this hill

The ride to Shoals was great. It was also very hilly, but the hills weren't as steep as yesterday. Since I knew what was coming today, I paced my self better. It was also more fun to climb in the relatively cool morning, It was a beautiful ride through some really lovely country.

Three and a half miles before Shoals there is a sign warning about trucks entering the highway. There must be huge quarries because there are a LOT of very big trucks coming onto / going off of US 50 at that point. As a result, US 50 is very noisy, and sometimes exciting, riding for the next 20 miles. Many of these trucks are similar of the coal trucks in easter Kentucky. They are well driven, but huge and flat sided so that the air blasts from their passing can make life hard on a bicycle.

I stopped in Shoales to eat a second breakfast at the local dinner. It was over priced and not very good ;-{. Then I cranked up yet another big hill getting out of town and then zoomed - 35 mph - down a big hill in the company of a bunch of big trucks. It was another seven hilly miles to Loogootee, so I stopped there for a DQ milkshake. Most of the customers in the DQ were Amish men. They were friendly and approved of my being on a bike. Interestingly, the only one of them without a full beard seemed to act as the groups interface with me. We had a nice visit. I also visited with an older man who was equally nice and not Amish. This part of the world is not famous for being friendly, but that sure was a friendly DQ.

The view across a river near Washington, IN

US 50 after Washington, IN
Note the rumble strips that cover the shoulder about every 50 feet

After Loogootee, US 50 leaves the hill country - 2000 feet of climbing in the first 30 miles today, but only 500 feet or so in the next 40 miles. Now wind was a bigger factor than grade in my speed and riding was much faster. When I got to Washington, I decided I needed a long break. I found a McDs - it was scandalous that their AC wasn't working! - and ate a couple of their little burgers and a couple of their hot apple pies while I browsed the web and took it easy for an hour. I resisted having coffee which would have made the rest of my ride easier, but is not good for my tummy.

Then I got back to US 50 - that wasn't easy - and was saddened to find that it was lousy riding to Vincennes because the shoulders were crossed with annoying rumble strips every 50 feet or so. Traffic was light, so I usually rode in the regular lane and only got over on the shoulder when I needed to. The problem with this was that I really had to keep focused on what was behind me and I couldn't just relax and enjoy the ride. Speaking of relax, when I got near Vincennes, I got off onto old 50 and used my GPS to route me to a Relax Inn ;-}. The Inn wasn't there, but the ride from that point really was relaxing ;-}.

Tomorrow I plan to ride to Salem, Ill on US 50, but I'll change my routing is US 50 doesn't go back to nice riding!

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