Sunday, 20 September 2015

Indiana Jones and the Car Drivers of Doom

Location: Danville, IN, USA
Morning came to Kickapoo State Park heralded with the sound of continual thunder, but no rain or visible lightning. These both arrived as we set off and we were soon pretty soaked, grateful for the slight decrease in temperature this brought and happy in the knowledge we had a roof over our heads that night. We rode on some pretty miserable, busy roads in clouds of spray; me getting extra drenched by the fountain created by Tom's back tyre, throwing not just puddle water but grit and other road debris into my face and everything below it. We arrive into Danville and decide to find the library so we could contact our host for the night. Stood on the sidewalk, trying to find the library on our map, we witness a woman screech into a parking lot, run to the door of the store on the lot and then repeatedly thump and bang and beat on the door as the store was not open. She then ran back to her car and starts violently honking the horn and shouting. It's about 8:30am and the store is a liquor store. Danville is pretty run down. Tom commented "er when did we become extras in The Wire?" But, we located the library, which was lovely and well frequented and passed some nice looking murals so maybe Danville is on the up. After the library we went for pancakes and then got back on the road. The weather improved a little and then there it was - Welcome to Indiana.

Plus as a bonus an Illinois sign too, which since we'd not got one coming in from Iowa we were happy to snap.

The weather finally dried up, but unlike after we have a thunderstorm in the UK, the humidity was still crazy high and we were back to riding in a sauna. We passed through a number of small towns and by many more miles of corn and soy, but something had changed. Turns out Indiana drivers are the absolute, hands down worst drivers we've encountered in all 14 states and 5 provinces. In that one afternoon we had more near misses and scary 'what the hell are you thinking' moments than in all the previous 6 months. Impatient, erratic, reckless drivers on a mission to get to their destinations as quick as possible and be damned if anything will slow them down. Not sure what everyone in Indiana does that makes them so important and their time so precious it's worth more than our lives but they certainly feel that way.

Thankfully we made it onto some quiet back roads again and stopped fearing for our lives. We arrived at Paul and Kathy's and were met by them snapping photos of us as we arrived, which was a real treat as we have so few photos of us riding together. We hit it off quickly and had a great evening with them the highlight of which was a feast of a meal followed by a fun game. In the morning they made lovely waffles and Paul helped me tweak my saddle position with a fancy laser spirit measure.

More back roads took us to the edge of Indianapolis and we decided to call in at the REI as we had time to kill before meeting up with Tim and April that evening. The ride to REI was on busy, city roads and not a lot of fun, but we had a great time chatting with the staff once we got there taking advantage of their water fountain, toilets and wifi before continuing east towards the bright lights of New Castle. We've known Tim since 2007 when he came to do his masters at Bradford Uni and joined the Ultimate Frisbee club we were both in. Five years ago we came to Columbus to Tim and April's wedding and we were stoked when we rejigged our route and realised we could swing by their place. Then even more stoked when they offered to come pick us up somewhere to knock a couple of days cycling off and give us more time to hang out together, hence the rendezvous in New Castle. 

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