It was a bittersweet morning. Hidalgo was all cleaned and tuned, with a brand new set of tires and a working bike computer. I spent time yesterday at home doing both bike and some home maintenance. The tires probably could have finished the trip, but while I was home, I decided to put on new tires while I was generally cleaning and lubing Hidalgo. Becky had a list of things for me to do at home, including running the weadeater, cleaning gutters, and reviewing some important mail. For only the 3rd time during the course of the trip, my laundry was done properly. I was rested, Hidalgo was ready, but now I needed to leave. Up until now, I had not only been riding to the Atlantic, I had been riding home to Becky as well. Now, I was on the final leg to the Atlantic, but going away from Becky.
The first 10 miles were over very familiar territory. I used to make rides to downtown Indy part of my Sunday morning routine.
I headed south on College Ave. to 30th street and turned east. Eventually, I headed a little further south and stayed parallel to US 40 along a county road until I was at the edge of Greenfield. There was a strong breeze out of the south most of the way and the skies were overcast. There was a 40 to 50% chance of rain for most of the ride. Greenfield was a great stopping point. It was almost 11 and the Lincoln Square Pancake house was giving its siren call of second breakfast.
With my stomach and water bottles filled, I was ready to head east on US 40, the Historic National Highway. The pavement was a little rough, but the shoulder was wide to adequate all the way. Traffic was light enough on this Saturday afternoon, that vehicles could easily maneuver around me.
I passed through several towns that seemed to be snapshots of a previous time when the National Highway had greater significance before I 70 overtook it’s place as the main artery of commerce and transportation. Some of the snapshots had aged better than others.
Greenfield seemed to be holding its own, while others seemed to be left with nothing more than a few antique shops. It was a reflection of the rest of the town. It was still interesting to pass through and imagine what some of these towns might have been like in their heyday. Just before entering Lewisville, I needed to take a bio break. I leaned Hidalgo on a plastic reflective road marker and went down into a gully with tall grass to water the lawn. As I was riding through Lewisville, a man in a pickup truck pulls next to me while I’m riding and yells out his window “Are you OK?” I was constantly fused because I couldn’t think of why he might believe that I was in trouble. Then he yells, “I thought I saw your bike back there. I even turned around to see if you were there…” Hidalgo had fallen over, so I guess I understand why he thought there might have been a problem. At any rate, I let him know that I was fine and had just needed to make a quick bio break. It was another act of kindness from strangers.
After satisfying my ice cream fix along the way, I still made it to Richmond and my Warm Showers hosts, Amy and Kurt Ritchie. They have the most amazing home – built in 1852, it was one of the first homes in Richmond, known as the old farm house. Originally owned by Quakers, it has lots of room for guests and I felt lucky to stay in such a neat and historic place with such fascinating hosts. As I write this early in the evening, they are expecting a couple from Quebec City, who will also be biking here. They have come from the north and are heading south. I made it in before some light rain hit. They probably got wet along the way.
I was well fed and even got a beer. What a great finish to another day of the adventure.
The Lone Rider