Sunday, July 12, 2009
Day 36 - Champaign, IL to Crawfordsville, IN
Leaving the Land of Lincoln and Entering the Crossroads of America! Today we departed Illinois and entered Indiana. We've crossed into the Eastern Time Zone. Since there aren't any more time zones east of us (in the U.S.) that must mean we're getting closer to the East Coast! Our route out of Champaign took us through it's neighbor city, Urbana. It was a quiet Sunday morning as we headed out onto more rural roads. We rode in a large bunch this morning and enjoyed conversing with each other. We caught Carole and formed a leisurely-paced double pace line with Carole at the front. For a woman usually riding at the back of the pack, she relished being at the front of the line!
To add some more fun to the morning, since we were all riding together, Chuck called us to a stop and then gathered us into a unique photo op. We called it "corneography." I guess since I took the photo, that makes me the corneographer. We took a couple more shots afterwards. Chris and I stood in the corn with bikes overhead. I lifted my bike overhead, but Chris wasn't quite ready. So... I stood there with my bike in the air while I explained to Chris that I've lost all of my arm muscle mass on this ride. Tyrannosaurus Rex disorder... Great big legs. Little itty bitty arms.
Shortly after leaving our cornfield photo session, we arrived at our first SAG stop in Oakwood. In Oakwood, I was finally able to locate the elusive Illinois magnet I needed and couldn't find yesterday at the Mall. For the record, go to the Truck Stops. Truckers are proud of the states they pass through and there you can always find a shot glass, playing cards, or bottle opener emblazoned with a state name. After the SAG stop, which was again oddly located next to a cemetery, we quickly covered the remaining 14 miles to the Illinois / Indiana border.
We rode through Danville, IL—which appeared a bit economically depressed—, passed the Danville Correctional Center, and then saw the Indiana border. Before officially passing into Indiana, we stopped for photos at the Illinois sign. When we crossed the Mississippi River a few days ago, we never saw a "Welcome to Illinois" sign. Today was our chance to fill in the missing photo. A few cyclists enjoyed taking the photo with the Danville Correctional Center in the background. Nothing says, "Welcome to Illinois" like a prison right on the state line. After the Illinois sign photo op, we moved to the Indiana sign. I pointed out the corn and said, "Hey guys! See the difference between the Indiana corn and the Illinois corn?" "No," everyone replied. "Yeah, neither do I."
Our ride through Indiana was actually really pleasant. Just enough corn to remind us where we are, but nicely interrupted by interesting communities like Covington, Veedersburg, and Hillsboro as well as the Wabash River. In Veedersburg, IN we had our second SAG stop but the preferred refilling locale was at the Bus Stop Cafe. To see it from the exterior, you'd pass it up as either closed or a dive. But inside, it was packed with the after-church crowd. Waitresses briskly worked the tables and I was fortunate to find an empty seat between a middle-aged couple from nearby Hillsboro and the rest of our group.
If you watch the Food Network, you might be familiar with Guy Fieri's show, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." This was his kind of place. I expected to see him walking around or tasting the food. My grilled cheese sandwich, fries, and Diet Pepsi hit the spot and it was only $4. The couple next to us intensely interviewed us with all kinds of questions about our ride. We love it when we have an audience, so we were happy to fill them in. When it was time to go, I began filling my water bottles with the leftover bottled water I was given. (Veedersburg's local water apparently wasn't potable so they handed out bottled water.) The lady next to me offered her half-full bottle which she had been pouring into a glass. "No thanks, I'll get more at our van down the street," I explained. She pushed it back and said, "Well, I didn't spit in it, if that's what you're afraid of!" I smiled back and gladly took it for fear of offending the locals!
While eating, this couple had tipped us off that there would be a funny sign we would see when we entered Hillsboro. Sure enough, there it was: "WELCOME TO HILLSBORO! THE HOME OF 600 HAPPY PEOPLE AND A FEW OLD SOREHEADS." I had to laugh and wonder who the old soreheads are. Moreover, if the old soreheads know they're the ones to whom the sign refers!
After Hillsboro, we got into a paceline of four and kicked it into high gear for the final miles into Crawfordsville. Our route to the hotel bypassed downtown, but our breakfast tomorrow morning will be in the town center so we'll have an opportunity to see Crawfordsville up close.
Our ride tomorrow will be a fun one. We're riding a short 62 miles to Indianapolis but have a variety of touristy stops along the way. We'll visit the Roark Bike Factory, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Major Taylor Velodrome. I'll elaborate in tomorrow's blog on each. Then we have our fourth and penultimate rest day. Everyone is agreed that we are ready for it.
For more photos from today's ride out of the corn and into the Crossroads of America, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2#100390
For more about the Ride for Impact, visit http://www.rideforimpact.org
Cumulative Miles: 2,770
Cumulative Flats: 5
Elev Gain: 1,454 ft.
Max Elev: 789 ft.
Avg Climb: 1%
Max Climb: 7% (although when I lifted the bike over my head, it registered as a 22% cllimb!)