June 15, 2006
The phone rang in my hotel room at 6am. I lifted it, said “thank you,” and hung up. It was the first time in my life I’d ever ordered a wake up call. I raided the continental breakfast, having at least one of everything, and was on the road by 8.
Riding today was mostly uneventful, again partially because I’m off of the official TransAmerica Trail. I just stuck to roads that would take me the best way to Bloomington, as far as I could see by the state road map.
I knew I had a long ride ahead of me today, so I took advantage of the cool morning hours, forgiving terrain, and loads of coffee and sugar pumping through my veins… and put in 40 miles by noon. When I was ready for lunch I came upon the town of Salem, Indiana, and saw a billboard two miles before I hit town that I couldn’t resist:
KFC ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET
So I had a great stop there – biscuits, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, baked beans… the works. I was hoping the manager would kick me out so I’d have a funny story to write here in the journal, but it never happened. Such a shame because I had it all planned out…
“I’m sorry sir, but we’re going to have to ask you to leave. You’ve had enough to eat.”
“Okay, but may I take your picture first? Try and look angry for me…”
The sun was high and the heat was full force by the time I pulled myself away from the buffet. I was now in the open Indiana farmland, with nothing to see and no shade, like a wide green desert. Good practice for riding through Kansas, I thought.
I started to dehydrate as the KFC buffet came back to haunt me. At Medora, the next town (A quaint little place), I drank two quarts of Powerade… and made three separate trips to the gas station bathroom. A sign in there read, “We aim to please, so you aim too, please.” Cute.
Andy had previously sent me an email that said something like, “Be warned, Southern Indiana isn’t the flat, agrarian paradise of the north, and is actually quite hilly.” From Medora I sent him an email that said, “Nothing but flat, agrarian paradise so far.”
So of course it got hilly when I left town. And the heat climbed even more. The farms gave way to rolling woods as I entered the Hoosier National Forest. I crossed Hoosier Lake, and finally made my way into Bloomington – and Andy’s house – at about 6:30pm. It was a 100-mile day, my first of the tour.
He was there waiting for me, and after a nice greeting, I immediately had myself a good shower. He had a lasagne in the oven, and his wife Katie arrived home from work just after it was ready. They treated me to a great dinner, apple pie for dessert, and a fun evening of hanging out and reminiscing of old times. We all went to bed by midnight – I was exhausted.
Life is good.