A Thousand Bloomin' Miles (USA Day 26)
There are some things you just don’t think will ever happen, even if you’ve planned them. Something will get in the way, some disaster will occur, some unforeseen challenge will arise. Well. We’ve just cycled a thousand miles. New York to Indianapolis, not remotely in a straight line, through peaks and troughs and lefts and rights, we’ve done something really significant.
Today was excellent. The wind died down overnight and with it the rain, despite depositing huge quantities of the good stuff all over Ohio overnight, as if it needed more. We were safe enough in our tent, and those of us with mattresses that stayed inflated slept great. The other half awoke multiple times on bare concrete, but this isn’t a brand review. (I’m definitely getting my refund. Don’t worry.)
Our route was straight west until we hit Indianapolis, down country roads through bucolic scenes of cows and enormous bullet-like grain silos, past countless flooded fields whose corn crop had either been spoiled or will never be planted. This is the twelfth rainiest month in recorded history for the Midwest, and it’s June. Many dogs had a pop at us today, but most stopped at their garden boundaries. We only felt threatened by one frothy fella, a big black barking mongrel that remained angry long after we’d climbed off our bikes. He did stop eventually (after I called him stupid) and we escaped unchewed. Later, an enthusiastic yet tiny yapper sprung out of his porch and nearly reached us, but then spun in such tight excited circles that he lost us and focused therein mainly on the circle-spinning. Good boy.
Twenty miles before the big one-thou, I got my first puncture, but so pleasant was our shady tree pit stop, so tasty was the Chex-Mix snack selection, so jolly were the previous fifty-five miles, that I fixed it and got us back on the road without a single grunt. The only thing to ruin the mood was the slight panic having a butterfly flutter into my helmet and forget the route back out.
The big moment occurred on the horribly-busy Highway 40 on the way into Indianapolis. We’d avoided it all day, despite its direct route straight into town, but were forced onto it for a brief period towards the end of the day, during which time the mileage ticked over into four figures, so we whooped at some passing cars and I celebrated by getting some grit under my contact lens.
Of course the rain came down, as it tends to do, but by that point we were only a few miles from our destination and well into the dull urban depths of Indianapolis, which definitely would have been cheered up by a little sun. On arrival at our WarmShowers host’s beautiful house, I removed my helmet to unveil a sweaty, dazed butterfly who’d ridden into town on a face. So, one step closer to Chigaco, where the dogs don’t chase you and the afternoons don’t rain on you. I imagine. I actually haven’t checked.
Today: 87 Miles
Total: 1012 Miles