Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day 25 Indiana Heat and Hills Vincennes – New Albany, IN 118 miles

Friday August 28th was a tough, tough day. There is a theme here: heat
and hills make for hard work on a bike. This was the third day the
forecasts called for it to be about 10 degrees cooler than it really was.

East of Vincennes I took US Route 50 for 25 miles. What a great road, I
thought, wide shoulders, smooth, I was just going to turn my mind off and
pedal straight into Louisville and meet my wonderful girlfriend Paula at
the airport on that city.

About noon the plan changed abruptly. Route 50 went to 2 lanes and zero
shoulder. A desperate phone call on the side of the road to find
alternate routes turned into a lesson how to use a cel phone when one can
hear and feel trucks rumbling by. Where do all the Illinois and Indiana
18-wheeled trucks come from? – I feel like they are morphing out of the
corn. Suddenly, the sheer volume of trucks was apparent to me when I lost
my shoulder.

The long afternoon featured a detour along pleasant but shoulder-less
roads – roads that at least had somewhat lighter traffic volume and
generally courteous drivers. I am now near the home of the famous Dan Patch, an Indiana horse that became at the turn of the twentienth century. At one point in the afternoon, I stopped to great some horses which distracted me from the pain I was feeling.

Southern Indiana gets hilly! I cut right
through the Hoosier National Forest and negotiated some short but very
sharp hills. One hill out of Celestine was 10 percent grade. With air at
95 degrees and humidity to match, wow, that was a challenge. All day and
every hill I tried to wrap my mind around the fact that the previous 48
hours had been some of my flattest days of the trip. That was over and I
suppose will be until I pedal somewhere east of the North Carolina
Triangle. I reached New Albany just as dark covered the sky.

There is still a lot of pedaling to go to get to Atlantic Beach. This
weekend’s plans include another trip to the bike shop, eating, sleeping,
and eating some more. The challenges start anew on Monday. Kentucky is a
populated state with a lot of traffic. The adventure continues and the
legs will have had their time off the pedals.

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