Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Day 39 - Indianapolis, IN to Richmond, IN
"Welcome to Indiana basketball." —Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) Hoosiers
After a great rest day in Indianapolis, we were on the road again. Today, our destination was Richmond, IN and on our way we would pass through Knightstown, IN, famous for the shooting location of Hoosiers starring Gene Hackman. But first, a little more about our rest day in Indy.
I needed that day of rest. I slept in until 9:45 a.m. That's notable because for 37 days straight, minus the three preceding rest days, I had been getting up at 5:30 a.m. So, I must have been tired if I didn't wake until mid-morning. Since I had missed breakfast, I headed to a nearby Starbucks to blog, drink coffee, and send some emails. Afterwards, I had lunch at a White Castle. Hmmm. I can cross that off my list. I expected more. It was unremarkable. But, I'll remark on it anyway. Yucky. Soggy. Mushy. You get the picture. I spent the afternoon walking around Indy, exploring the downtown, walking along the Central Canal, and just enjoying a day off the bike. In the evening, my high school friend and neighbor from Williamsburg Drive in Avon Lake, Karin (Potts) Pinto and her husband Rob drove down from Kokomo, IN to join me for dinner (pictured with me.) They have two adorable kids, Anna (4-1/2) and Chris (8). They are rambunctious—like kids that age ought to be—talkative, and super fun. We had a nice dinner and ice cream. It was great to visit with them and meet Karin and Rob's kids. This next leg through Ohio I'll have the opportunity to visit with four more high school friends as well as my former Scoutmaster and his wife. In fact, when I arrive in Erie, PA for our final rest day, my friend Lori has offered to take me back to Avon Lake, OH, my hometown! I can't wait! Now, back to today's ride...
Our route out of Indianapolis took us east past the Lucas Oil Stadium, through the center of downtown, east past Conseco Fieldhouse—home of the Pacers, then through historic Irvington and further east along US40. U.S. Route 40 is known as "Old National Road." The National Road was one of the first major improved highways in the United States, built by the federal government beginning in 1811. We followed US40 all the way into Richmond.
The Old National Road runs through cornfields and countryside occasionally, but a steady stream of historic towns dot the way. Towns like Philadelphia, Greenfield, Charlottesville, and of course, Knightstown. I am reluctant to confess that I've not yet seen Hoosiers. It's one of those 80s classics that somehow slipped by. I'm not a basketball fan, but I like Gene Hackman and any of those "coming of age" flicks. It's on my list now. Might even download it in iTunes tonight. The gym where Hoosiers was filmed is now a community center, but it's obvious that it's mostly a Hoosiers shrine and tourist attraction. The community has kept it simple and it appears much like it did in the 50s. You feel like you're walking into an old high school gym. A "Go Hickory" banner hangs behind one of the baskets. Movie posters and Hoosiers paraphernalia hang in the foyer. Our assignment from Gerard, our ride leader, was to take some free throws. I made it on the first shot. Okay, truthfully, I took two dozen "warm-up" throws.
Our SAG stop was a few miles away. As we left the Hoosiers gym, it began to rain. When we arrived at the SAG stop, Tom the Mechanic had configured a blue tarp from the van to the ground to provide shelter. Problem was, Tom is about 5'2" and he configured it for his height. When Hans the Swiss tried to walk under it with his 6'3" frame, he almost had to get on his knees. I waited out the rain as long as I could, then bit the bullet and got wet for the next handful of miles.
Two things I noticed and really appreciated about the homes on the Old National Road—they all have front porches with chairs or loveseats. A few homes had folks sitting outside, but I could easily imagine riding along here on a hot summer's evening with neighbors on their porch sipping iced tea and sharing stories. It's the kind of middle-America we too often disregard and label as "flyover country." The other observation I made was how many homes and businesses were still flying the American flag nearly two weeks after July Fourth. These Americans are proud to the core of their country. It shows.
Further along, I decided to stop in Cambridge City when I spotted a cafe/antique store. The coffee wasn't the best, but it was nice to get out of the rain. When I left, the sun was out and I could move on down dry streets. In Richmond, our route bypassed the main center of town, primarily to get us off the busiest streets. So, we rode through residentials areas. First, past older, less cared-for homes, then past nicer homes that reminded me of some of the streets in Avon Lake, OH where I grew up: manicured lawns, brick or wood-sided homes, big trees, long driveways. When I got near our hotel, I decided there was more of Richmond to see. So, I tacked on another 10 miles by riding through the historic neighborhoods.
Here I saw a wide disparity of homes. All of them were a century old, but for each one that was being restored, another was falling apart. These once-regal structures were now in disrepair: faded exteriors, chipped paint, sunken porches, broken windows. While riding through downtown, I found a newly-opened bike shop. I stopped in and purchased a new rear tire and a few bags of Sport Beans. The Tour de France was on, so I didn't mind the wait while the shop clerk replaced my tire and rang up my purchase. That was my final stop of the day and it was time to get to the hotel, change, relax, swim, then attend Route Rap and dinner. At the Holiday Inn, I discovered another misspelling. Why do so many folks misspell "bicycle"? The sign read, "TOWELS FOR AMERICA BY BYCYCLE." Sheesh. Proofread folks, proofread. (I hope I did!)
On tomorrow's ride, we will enter my home state of OHIO! I haven't been back to Ohio since 1988. My family moved to Seattle, WA in 1987 after I graduated from High School, so this will be a fun homecoming. We'll have our first of four long days: 105 miles. But, from what I hear from Chris, our Columbus rider, Ohio roads are among the best!
For more photos from my rest day in Indianapolis, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2#100415
For more photos from today's ride, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2#100405
For more about the Ride for Impact, visit http://www.rideforimpact.org
Cumulative Miles: 2,928
Cumulative Flats: 5
Elev Gain: 1,714 ft.
Max Elev: 1,186 ft.
Avg Climb: 1%
Max Climb: 4%