After our rainy night day 2 started reasonably straightforward. Ian decided to take to head back to the barn for some pack planning for the next outing. Did I mention that he packed a lot? We rode together for a brief spell and he bade us adieu, only to meet up with him later at the end of Chicken Run Rd.
|Clifty Falls in the distance|
The pic below shows a Paul's Thumbie with some strange contraptions holding it together. Those are called "zip-ties", and I had to use both mine and Ian's to keep my shifter together. I was loosening it to change the angle when the bolt sheared off. Ian's zip-ties were thicker than mine, so a combo of 3 held it together nicely. Thanks Ian!! We bade him adieu again, he turning south back home and us turning north and then west towards our next destination, Spring Mill State Park.
|Words can't really describe how ugly this is.|
|W366N (I'm pretty sure), a nice respite of shade amid thick trees. It provided a good snack spot.|
|Hardy Lake S.P., which may provide future camping options.|
|Muscutatuck River. The areas around this low-lying creek provide many gravel opportunities.|
After seeing Hardy Lake, the dog, and the river we stopped in Crothersville for lunch, finally eating at a Subway after looking at some local options. The AC and drink refills were appreciated. I even stopped by the local store and bought some soap and the cashier gave me a free mini-roll of duct tape since they didn't have any electrical tape for sale. Nice. What wasn't nice was the mileage after the lunch stop, at least for me. We faced a 20m stretch of very flat riding directly into a steady 15mph headwind, not epic, but not much fun either. Frankly I disliked this stretch pretty intensely.
|Wow! We were downwind of this for a while and, boy, what it foul! or is that, fowl!?|
By the time we reached the shaded little oasis at Vallonia Nursery I need a quick nap in the grass. A quickie did the trick and we continued, crossing 135 and immediately noticing that the terrain was becoming a bit more rolling- for me more interesting- and the wind less of an issue. Even better, Dave's route had us turn onto some of my beloved gravel. Heart! I was certainly the most prepared of us three- Asher with a 23/25 combo and Dave on 40s on the 'bent- and I took advantage to casually push the pace out a bit. Ironically, this area became the apex of my form for the day. We turned right onto another gravel road, and after playing hopscotch with some farm vehicles, I pushed it out again and noticed a nice river with some gravel getting chunkier by the minute, at least through the turn. My mind thought as to how interesting it was that this turn was so similar that one we went through last August on a gravel ride out of Mitchell, the day I had the best for of my life. Lo and behold! It was the same stretch, only from a different direction! And if last August I was leading the pack, this day by the time we reached Medora, I began drifting back and Asher was the one taking up the pace.
|The wife laughed at yet another Heron pic. I like Herons.|
|Troll against the backdrop of old muddy and 'Stefani'.|
|Gravel panda, with a sprinkling of suffer face|
|The "tunnel" of Tunnelton?|
At some point we hit the hills, doing a series of half-mile-ish climbs towards our destination. I took advantage of my mountain bike gearing and cleared the Tunnelton Road climb, but that was it; I had sapped the legs for good. Asher distanced himself on the next Lawrenceport climb, while I walked (I won't speak for Dave), the opposite of what took place last summer. We crawled into camp only to find that our entrance road was closed, so we added a few more miles to the official entrance- manned by some rather slow dudes- and descended into the campground to find Timothy already set up. He had left much earlier and arrived much earlier, giving himself time for a swim. We had an amazing amount of room with a relatively empty camp- although one much less nice than the one at Clifty.
The night turned a bit more interesting around 1.00a.m.- same time as the rains the previous night- when our camp was invaded by either a racoon or two of them. Dave did some of the early work, and I joined in in an effort to fend them off. They had originally stolen a jar of peanuts, which I then retrieved, much to the dismay of the offender, who at first approached me to get me peanuts back. Codger! Dave and I secured what we could and went to bed hoping that they would leave us alone. I went to sleep and assume they did.