Into Indiana and Ohio We Go
Weather 60 -70 degrees, sunny with a slight headwind
We got up and had breakfast at the hotel and then headed out by 8:00am for our long day on the bike. We decided to go the 92 miles to Shipshewana because there was not many or any other places to stay along the route. We needed to get back on route from Hastings and headed 4 miles down County Road 179 to get back on route. The route today was very nice with the roads traveling adjacent to several lakes and natural areas. One area on the map near Yorkville looked like it would be beautiful because it appeared the road was adjacent to Gull Lake, but Tracy was disappointed because you could not even see the lake past all the huge house located adjacent to the lake. Tracy was wondering if there was even public access to the lake – it would be a shame if there was not. We then traveled down to Galesburg for lunch at a nice local restaurant and a stop at the local Bicycle Shop – Billy’s Bicycle Shop – (yes that really is the name) The owner an older gentleman has owned the shop forever and had lots of wonderful stories about professional and amateur cyclists he had worked with. He loaned us his floor pump so we were able to top off our tires. We also have been having trouble with our bicycle computer (it has been working on and off) and need to purchase a new one, unfortunately he did not have any in his shop – oh well we will just have to make due with what we have.
The next town along the route was the town of Scotts in Michigan and the last town in Michigan – Centerville. Down the road 18 miles later we entered Indiana – yea another state. We were only about five miles into Indiana at the end of the day. We were planning to stay at Shipshewana Campground and Amish Log Cabins in Shipshewana, IN. Tracy decide to stay in the cabin when the campground manager told her for $30.00 more we could get a Amish Camp Cabin with beds for four, heat, air conditioning and lights – again it was easy to makes the choice to the cabin. The cabin was beautiful and built by the local Amish, we were the only ones in the camp cabins and had the restrooms and showers all to ourselves.
Day 49- July 19, 2014, Shipshewana Campground and Amish Log Cabins – Shipshewana, IN to Monroeville, IN – 88 miles (total miles 3049)
Weather – mid 70, sunny, winds calm, beautiful day
Today we got going a little later than usual due to the fact that Tracy was so comfortable in the cabin and did not want to get out of bed. We had breakfast and took off to experience Indiana. The weather was beautiful and so was the ride. We were bicycling thru Northern Indiana and what was predominately Amish country, we thoroughly enjoyed bicycling thru the area with almost all non motorized vehicles, it was us, other bicyclists mainly Amish and many Amish buggies. We have never seen so many buggies going down the road – I think due to the fact that it was Saturday many Amish families were headed to town or visiting. It was interesting traveling down roads with very few or no cars – it was much quieter and calmer due to the lack of motor vehicles – Peter and I liked it!! The Amish people were very friendly and were always ready with a wave or a hello. I think our tandem bicycle was intriguing to them and as we bicycled past their homes, buggies or bicycles there was frequent waves and hellos.
This area of Indiana is truly beautiful and the Amish farms definitely add to the beauty with their simple life and well maintained homes, gardens and yards. All to soon we were out of Amish country and wished we would have spent more time and went in to some of the towns in the area. Shipshewana had a lot of cool shops and restaurants which would have been fun to check out. We did stop in LaGrange (a town located on the edge of the Amish area) for lunch. There were some buggies and Amish people in town but I am sure nothing like you see in Shipshewana. We will have to come back someday to further explore the area.
After lunch we finished the last 60 miles to Monroeville. The ride was a tough one with lots of little hills that tend to wear out your legs. By the time we got in we were definitely ready to be done. Plans for lodging for the night were to stay in the Monroeville Community Center but we were not sure if we had a place to stay or not – Tracy left two messages for the contact for the facility and we did not get a call back. We figured we would figure it out when we got there.
We should not have worried – when we pulled into the City Park an older gentle man was walking down the sidewalk and waved and said welcome to Monroeville Tracy and Peter. Warren is the volunteer who takes care of the facility and welcomes and gets the bicycles settled in. He took us into the community center and went thru everything with us – in the building there was a full kitchen, private bathroom with shower, washer and dryer, cots for sleeping and an entertainment cart with a TV, games, videos etc. The facility was free for Cross Country Cyclists to use. To say the least it was great – we were the only guests that evening so we had the whole place to ourselves – nice!!
On a side note – Warren and Monroeville, IN received an award from Adventure Cycling for their unbelievable hospitality a few years ago. The award is truly deserved and they continue to welcome cyclists into their community and provide them with everything they need at no cost – we were very lucky to be able to take advantage of their hospitality.
Day 50 – July 20, 2014 Monroeville, IN – Bowling Green, OH – 91 miles (total miles 3140)
Weather – 80- 85 degrees, foggy in the morning, clear and sunny, calm winds with a very slight headwind
We started our day at the Community Center in Monroeville, after cleaning up and signing in the guest book we headed to the Blueberry Pancake House for breakfast. Yes the blueberry pancakes were to die for -yum!! Great way to start the day. We biked into the fog – pretty thick for awhile – thank goodness Jeff from JB Cycle had given us a set of lights to attach to the bike when we were in Green Bay – we had them on so anyone within a mile radius could see us!! – Thanks Jeff(and Matt too). Five miles down the road we entered Ohio and the first Ohio city – Payne. The majority of our ride today will be on the Ohio Byway which is located adjacent to several different rivers – including the Maumee River. The byway is a great ride, low traffic volume, flat, beautiful views and evenly spaced towns to visit. We even encountered our first Towpath along our route. It was an alternate which we did not take – directions on map – “Walk your bike on this unimproved towpath trail for 2.5 miles” To push a fully loaded tandem for 2.5 miles is just not going to happen.
In Napoleon we stopped for lunch at Subway – first time on this trip – we have not been near many it was nice to have the option especially since Peter had been craving a Subway Sub. The young ladies working the counter were very excited about our trip and asked lots of questions. We gave them our card with the blog and face book on it and they immediately pulled the site up and were looking at the posts -we were the only customers in the place.
Just before Bowling Green we met up with a cross country cyclist who was going east to west. His name was Julio and he was from Columbia South America. He had started in New York and was headed to San Francisco. He was stopped at a gas station having a snack. He was a bit down because his knee had been hurting him all day and he was worried about it. Before we took off our separate directions he said he was feeling better and not so down and thanked us for cheering him up. We hope his knees holds up and he completes and enjoys his trip.
Too funny earlier in the day we saw another cross country cyclist going west and stopped to chat – he said “keep going” in his very British accent and waved us along. We just laughed and decided he was either sick of the American’s who always wanted to talk or in witness protection and did not want us to get a good look at him.
From Napoleon we headed the last 30 miles to Bowling Green – when we arrived in town we decided to get a coffee at Starbucks. We must have stood outside for a half hour talking with people about our trip. The first young man was a musician from Nashville- he was very intrigued with our trip and we talked with him for a long time. He had just been in Travis City, MI playing at a wedding and was heading home. Nice young man and obviously very talented. Then we had a father and his two boys (16 and 17 year olds) who were on a motorcycle trip – the youngest boy was driving a car with all their supplies and dad and the older boy were riding the motorcycles. They were from Detroit and were heading back home after a three day trip. They were having a great time and seemed like they were truly enjoying their time together. They had lots of questions and were fun to talk with. Finally a young couple from Ohio (marathoners) came up and talked about the trip and were asking us to compare it to running a marathon – work load etc. They are getting married in six weeks. Maybe the musician from Nashville can play for their wedding!!!
But we really needed to choose a hotel get a much needed shower and eat dinner. Tomorrow is our day off – we will relax and restock, do laundry, clean and repair the bike etc.
One more Act of Kindness to relate – we are at the laundry mat in Bowling Green and the attendant came up to Tracy and asked if we were hiking or biking. She then said I see your small laundry soap bottle is empty can I fill that back up for you and is there anything else you need. Very simple for her but huge for us – we were planning to purchase more laundry soap later today.
More to come in a couple of days – our next big city will be Cleveland – we may be doing a presentation for the local advocacy group – Bike Cleveland. Peter is working on setting it up with Jacob from Bike Cleveland, Jacob was Peter’s contact when he taught a law enforcement class in the spring – hopefully it will all work out.