Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Zionsville, IN to Lancaster, OH: How strange, it's sunny...

The format of this update will be different than usual: I’ll do a drier, more event-oriented post first to give some context, then shortly after, a post with a little more musing.

After recharging in Zionsville for a day and being treated to my host’s excellent hospitality (10/10 would Warmshowers again!), it was time again to embark. This was Friday, 5/5/17 and something was different from the past few days...

Hint: it was sunny.

Sun, a tailwind, and rolling hills… it seemed karma, if there is such a thing, was finally catching up to me. Or I was catching up to it? You know what I mean.

I had 85 miles until my place to stay for the night, but given the 20 mph tailwind, I thought it was prime time to try out interval shooting on my camera for the first time. I think I did pretty good:

Something pretty cool also happened to my odometer that day:

I decided to celebrate by giving Louisa (my bike) a hug, but the winning photo ended up being an unplanned one -- the camera started shooting before I was even in position, and the result was a Newsie-esque photo of me going round the pole I head leaned her against.

Happy 1000 mile dance party? Open the gates and seize the day...

Otherwise, it was a pretty standard day. Rural Indiana, turns out, is much like rural Illinois. I did have the pleasure of having Bob and his wife Carolyn for hosts that evening, who have done many cycling trips of their own and had many stories to share. The evening including, but wasn’t limited to, curry chicken, a hike in the woods, discussing digital nomading with their son, dessert, dog petting, fresh eggs in the morning from the chickens down the road, and staying in a home built in the 1850s… there were some pictures taken, but I’m going to keep them to myself for now.

The next day (Sunday, 5/7/17) also had a bit of a landmark:

It feels like just yesterday I rained into Raindiana.

Again, a tailwind, and pretty nice roads for the first 30 miles or so. But it got hillier and hillier and the margins got narrower until I wondered if I would ever make it out alive. The last five miles, however, redeemed the rest of the day:

Again, I had a wonderful host that night, some friends of my mom’s from way back when. One of them was even kind enough to try and meet me on the road to ride in with me, but he was just 15 minutes or so too early. As a result, everybody was looking at me funny on the way in -- “is that who the other guy was looking for?”

Another evening with fantastic hosts, a bit of a throwback to my days as a swimmer back in elementary school…

I didn't even know they still made these.

...and off again, back onto the trail, which I would spend the rest of the day on.

Interval shooting +1.

It was nice not to have to worry about any cars, but since it was during the day on a Monday, I didn’t see much of anyone. There was lots of pedaling on straight, flat pavement, and as nice as that can be, for hours on end you start to wish for hills…

My goal for the day was London, OH, 70 miles from where I started. I didn’t have a host, so I planned to get water, then look for stealth camping just outside of town. Lo and behold, London has free camping, and it was actually pretty decent.

I registered with the local PD, then went into town for dinner. When I returned, I found a couple sharing the camp, Chris and Christine. They had both quit their jobs to drive around the country, visiting national parks and deciding where they wanted to live next. We were, quite clearly, kindred spirits, so we spent some time getting to know each other and playing cards (by which I mean I beat them at Gin… shots fired).

As much as I wanted to see them again in the morning, I realized, upon waking up, that I would have a chance to see the sunrise if I pedaled hard enough out of town. I waited as long as I dared, hoping I could ambush them with a hug if they left for an impromptu bathroom visit, but the sky never stopped getting brighter. To the Chrisses… if you’re reading this, know that it was you or a sunrise. No hard feelings. Also, I totally found a place for you to stay tomorrow night, so you’d better legit e-mail me (why didn’t I just give you my number?).

I stopped at a gas station to pick up some biscuits, then pedaled and pedaled out of town, looking for a farm with a view… as I pedaled, the sky and woods around the trail changed color constantly: first they were black from the night, then grey, then green as the light gave them color, then everything would shift to red, orange, and purple… just in time, I found a spot to sit, have breakfast, and watch the sun rise.

The rest of today was, for better or worse, pretty non-eventful. Having left so early in the morning (I was pedaling by 6), I made it into the town where my host is by 12:30, so I’m spending the next few hours updating the blog and making sure people know I’m not dead (please note, however, that five days between updates will likely not be unusual!).

Now, let’s see if I can crank out one more before it’s time to head out of town and meet my host for the night.


  1. Wonderful photos...great post. It's so nice to see the sun! Love you, Mom

  2. Love the 1000 mile dance party!