July 21, 1999 - Day 42 - Rochester to Bluffton, Indiana
70 miles - 2777 total miles -Trip odometer not working/other data not available
96 degrees, 2000 percent humidity
I saw the weather report tonight. It was 91 in Chicago. I hope you all enjoyed your cool day.
TAILWIND!!!! Straight out of the west. It was marvelous, so why only 70 miles today?
I really wanted to get across the border into Ohio, but I ran into a BIG guy on a BIG Honda pulling a BIG trailer in Huntington. He said he was going to the big Honda-owners gathering in St. Mary's, Ohio. He said every motel for miles around was booked; he was going to camp.
St. Mary's was my destination, about 15 miles into Ohio. I just couldn't take the chance of biking there and then getting shut out.
Why not camp out? Two reasons. The most important one: I dropped my tent and cookware at home, lightening my load by about 10 pounds. I kept the sleeping bag and foam pad in case I want to roll out somewhere.
Second, have you ever climbed into a tent after exercising all day long in 97 percent humidity? No, camping is for the West at any time of year. In the East, only spring, fall and sometimes winter, thank you.
Rebecca Daly, doing it the REAL way
I left Rochester about 10:30, after unsuccessfully fooling around with my odometer. I had travelled about six miles when I saw a fully loaded touring bike leaning against the wall at a gas station. Here was the first touring bike going my way since John Reisenberg (June 18 and 19). Cool.
Meet Rebecca Daly. Rebecca left Seattle June 7 with a biking partner, headed for somewhere on the east coast, probably New Jersey (now changed to Connecticut). She was a bike messenger in Seattle. When she gets to the east coast, her sister is picking her up and driving her back to live in San Francisco.
Her partner hit some sand on the shoulder in Montana(?), couldn't get out of her clips and crashed, needing stitches "in a place where you don't want stitches" as Rebecca put it. End of trip.
Decision time for Rebecca. She was scared to go alone, but determined to go on. And so she did, and is having a great trip. She had never been east of Montana in her life. What a way to see the country for the first time, eh? She's loving her trip.
I say she's doing it the REAL way because she's camping almost every night and does most of her own cooking. She's carrying about 90 pounds (bike plus gear). She has had many offers of places to stay, either indoors or in people's yards. In St. Paul, she hooked on with the AIDS ride 550 miles to Chicago.
Rebecca and I rode east together for about 25 miles, swapping info and stories, before parting ways. She was going straight into Ohio and then up to northeast Ohio. I headed southeast to get down on a level with Pittsburgh.
Indiana is known for its covered bridges and I'm glad we found this one in North Manchester. This is much more of what I would like to remember Indiana by.
What I can't remember is, why did they cover them? What function did the cover provide? Was it something about the horses not getting spooked while crossing the river? Did it protect the planks from the elements? Write in, folks.
Huntington, home of the Lady Vikings
I varied my originally-planned route to a more east-southeasterly oriented one because of the strength of the tailwinds today.
That put me through Huntington, home of the Lady Vikings... and, oh yeah, Dan Quail. If the size of the hometown signs is any indication, I think Dan ought to hold off on those 2000 campaign plans.
I passed on the "Dan Quayle Museum", but to be fair, I also passed on the "Huntington County Democrat Headquarters".
On another note, I have wondered about communities that call their girls' athletic teams the "Lady" something-or-others. I suspect that the message behind the message is, "Let's not forget who the REAL Vikings are." If it's going to be Lady Vikings, shouldn't there then be Gentlemen Vikings as well? That's stupid, right? So why isn't Lady Vikings just as stupid? (OK, sociology students - what paradigm of sociology is the above an example of?)*
Did I mention it was hot? About ten miles south of Huntington was a little town where everything was closed. But... Ice Cold Pepsi!!!!
The machine took coins only. I had plenty of money, but not quite enough change. I actually spent ten minutes looking around in the gravel: somebody MUST have dropped a nickel, right?
Wrong. Back to drinking my hot water.
Florence, Italy or Bluffton, Indiana?
I have seen some of the most wonderful county courthouses in Indiana. Bluffton is the county seat of Wells County. Because of my route change, there is no student web site on Wells County.
Tomorrow I should pass through Blackford County. Dave Hankamp did an outstanding job on that web site, and I recommend a look at it.
All in all, this day was certainly a lot better than yesterday.
The heat and humidity are apparently here for at least the rest of the week. Deal with it.
*Social Conflict, of course, Mr. Marx.
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