I stayed in Milwaukee with my friends Bob and Sue for four days and, on Thursday evening, Bob drove me and my bike down to Valpariso Indiana. I had originally planned to go across to Michigan on the ferry at Manitowoc and ride down through Michigan to Indiana, but now I wanted to get home by the most direct route. Riding along the lake shore by Chicago and Gary Indiana seemed unpleasant and possibly dangerous, so I cheated and got a ride through Illinois to a good place to restart my tour. Thanks Bob! Valpariso is a nice town, but it doesn't have any cheap motels. I paid $53 for my 12 hours there. The next day I found that 8 miles east of Valpariso there are two inexpensive motels at the intersection of 30 and 421.
My next, and now final, place to visit was Cleveland Ohio, so I decided to ride from Valpariso to Fort Wayne in order to be able to join AC's Iowa to Maine bicycle route which passes west of Fort Wayne and, later, south of Cleveland. I rode on highway 30. Unlike the highways I rode in Wisconsin and Minnesota, highway 30's shoulders didn't go away. They did get pretty rough in places. Other than a sore left ear from the din of the traffic on this four lane divided highway, I had a pretty easy day until I reached Fort Wayne. Northern Indiana is almost as flat as the Willamette Valley and the wind was from the southwest at 10 mph, so riding east was pretty easy.
I stopped in Grovertown for a snack, in Plymouth (lots of RVs about - a popular recreational area, although I'm not quite sure why) for lunch, and in Pierceton for desert. The desert was quite good, apricot pie, and Pierceton was worth the mile or so off route. Riding was easy, if noisy, for the first 75 miles on 30, but things went downhill (not the slope of the road, but the quality) as I approached Fort Wayne. I stopped at a rest stop near Fort Wayne to rest and get ready for my ride into town. As I neared town, the shoulder deteriorated further and, when I actually entered Fort Wayne, there was a very busy place just after I-69 where the shoulder simply disappeared into a pothole.
I had a coke at a Subway in Fort Wayne and tried to figure out a good way through town. The staff was remarkably ignorant of their own town! I had an Indiana State Map which had a small map of Fort Wayne showing the major streets and bridges and the staff was able to help me locate where we were on that map. From there I guessed at how I could get through town and out heading east towards Payne, Ohio. My guessing got me through, but the route turned out to have problems.
I rode diagonally down to State St. and then east across town on State. I had to ride this rather busy street because it was one of the few streets that had a bridge across the St Joseph river. State was OK at first, then became pretty bad near the river and only got better when I was able to use the sidewalks that were setup for bicycling. When State intersected highway 30, I headed south on a four lane with moderate traffic. There was one bridge left (Fort Wayne has two rivers, this one is the Maumee) and the bridge was under construction. A polite driver (thank you!) followed me at a safe distance as I rode as fast as possible through the construction area. There was no way for a car to safely pass me.
I stopped for the night just outside Fort Wayne in New Haven. This is the last place with motels before the end of the metro area. I found a nice, reasonably priced room, and it had the weather channel. What more could I want? A place to eat. There was a Wendys next door. 116 miles.
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