Today’s Lesson

Wabash, IN to Royal Center, IN

This is my fourth long tour and sixth overall … seventh if you include the round trip between Kitchener and Philadelphia in 2017 – which I guess should count since it was longer than my first ever tours in BC (2010) and New Zealand (2013) – both of which were under 1,000 km. ANYWAY, after all that time on the road I think I may be learning a thing or two.

For instance, yesterday I felt a bit guilty for my short day on the road when, really, there was no reason for guilt. I decided to make it a short day. Period. And it was a good day – which is kind of the point after all. Today, I had another short day on the agenda so, again, I was feeling a bit guilty over my lack of distance-ual (SO not a word) accomplishments. However, that guilt was VERY short-lived as today turned out to be a really memorable day – even though only 70 km were covered.

My destination for the day was Royal Center, Indiana and, as just mentioned, it was only 70 km away. As noted in my previous post, today would be the first day I would be setting up my tent on this trip. Admittedly, as much as I’ve enjoyed my bedded accommodation thus far, I was actually looking forward to tenting out. Even though I would be camping, it was still going to be a Warm Showers experience … except that my host (Frances) wouldn’t be there. Despite her absence, she said I was welcome to camp on her farm property, as her profile reads, “in the middle of nowhere”. So that was my plan.

Jason and Amy

For the most part the plan went off without a hitch. Prior to hitting the road, there was a great breakfast courtesy of my hosts Jason and Amy to start the morning. There were sunny skies and not-brutal winds from the southwest to accompany me on my ride. And a few times along the way there were rows of trees on the left side of the road which were very effective in reducing the effect of the aforementioned southwest winds. The only problem on the road came about halfway along the route. Before I get to that though, I’ll mention that up until a couple of weeks ago Indiana has been getting a LOT of rain. So much so that pretty much everyone I’ve talked to in Indiana has mentioned it – granted, I don’t talk to that many people but you get the idea. Bottom line, signs that read, “High Water” aren’t always to be dismissed.

Sign not to be taken lightly

As I dismissed the “High Water” sign along my route, I kept merrily pedalling my way west. Ok, maybe not “merrily” but, again, you get the idea. That merriment became significantly less merry when the road ahead of me had a BIT of a puddle on it. This was not a puddle to be taken lightly. For the record, I certainly could’ve pedalled through it – the question was, “How wet would my panniers get?” More often than not, I’m glad I chose the panniers I have; however, every now and then I see the benefit of TRULY waterproof bags. Given the amount of electronics I’m carrying, I opted to head back about 2 km to the previous intersection and seek out a drier route. Spoiler Alert: Despite the backtracking, it was an excellent plan.

Sign taken lightly

With the puddle being the only real obstacle on the day, I arrived at my destination before 1:00 PM and part of me considered continuing on as it really was a nice day for a ride. However, those considerations quickly disappeared when I saw the property on which I’d be camping. For starters, there was a large green space complete with playground and swings and a picnic table. And there was a large “tool shed” in which I was told I could sleep should the weather not cooperate. Just to be clear, this “tool shed” was more than a little large. Personally, I’m more inclined to call it a barn … so that’s what I’ll be calling it from now on.

The other amenity (which I didn’t initially notice) was a basketball hoop. Here I was, in rural Indiana, staring at a basketball hoop. Of course, if you haven’t seen the movie “Hoosiers” then this setting likely won’t mean anything to you. I HAVE seen “Hoosiers” (multiple times) and this setting was clearly not lost on me. All I needed was a basketball. Fortunately, the aforementioned barn was able to oblige.

Being in the middle of nowhere meant that I had to fend for myself for supper. I did. I won’t pretend that today’s supper was the best of the trip so far … it was undoubtedly the worst. Although, part of that is because I’ve been fortunate enough to have some incredible meals at Warm Showers hosts along the way. That said, I always get a kick out of cooking up pasta in my small camping pot. As such, a kick was had tonight.

With dinner and my Indiana basketball experience taken care of, there was just one thing left to finish off what had become a great day. I figured, “What better way to end this day than to actually watch “Hoosiers”?” Of course, my plan for the screening wasn’t that simple (it usually isn’t with me!). I needed to wait for the sun to set. This was to be an outdoor screening.

The wait for the sunset ended up being a couple of hours so by then I was very happy to see darkness starting to fall. Just as that was happening, I actually ended up meeting one of my host’s sons. He had stopped by the house briefly and we ended up talking about, well … a wide range of things. Bottom line, it was really too bad I didn’t get to meet his mom, Frances. She sounds like a great host (and person).

When that conversation ended, I was once again left to my own devices … and one of those devices was particularly crucial for my outdoor screening.

Is it wrong that I’m travelling with a mini-projector?
After this experience I can clearly state, “No!”

I never really thought of shooting hoops on a farm in Indiana as being one of those things I’d ever have the opportunity to do. Combine that with an outdoor screening of “Hoosiers” on the wall of a barn in Indiana and, well … today was quite the “Indiana” experience. At least, stereotypically anyway.

So, getting back to the title of this blog … what did I learn today? Well, for starters, a good day isn’t necessarily dependent upon the number of kilometres pedalled. As a wise man once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.” I’m SO glad I didn’t miss this opportunity.

Today’s totals:
Distance: 70.71 km
Ride time: 3:21:21
Average speed: 21.07 km/h
Maximum speed: 35.88 km/h

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One Comment to Today’s Lesson

Wabash, IN to Royal Center, IN

  1. Robyn says:

    I love everything about this. Seize every opportunity. As the kids say, “yolo”.

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