3 days in Indiana

Indiana is a very narrow state. I’ll be leaving it bright and early tomorrow morning, shortly after pulling out of Monroeville. I could have crossed Indiana in two days, had the weather and my body cooperated. But the culmination of my bodily neglect shortly after crossing the state line, coupled with an absurd four-day East to West headwind, provided me three days to take in and contemplate this narrow little state.

It’s a mixed bag. In contrast to my Illinois experience: I’ve heard a lot more absurd rightwing radio rehash; I had fewer friendly waves; experienced far more wreckless highspeed, narrow country road drivebys; heard vaguely racist remarks on more than one occasion; and heard people refer to certain of their fellow Indianans as hillbillies.

Could just be sheer luck of the draw, but in these and other respects Indiana reminded me more of sweet home Missouri than Illinois.

On the other hand, I’ve also met some remarkably nice people here. For instance, a slightly inebriated gentleman named Jack just bought me dinner and rambled beautifully about life and history while I ate it. And he thanked ME for taking my trip and stopping by to visit as we said goodbye.

And last night I camped in a really beautiful spot, on the shore of a small lake–no wider than the Mississippi River at it’s widest spot–called Fletcher’s Lake with lilly pads and bull frogs, and dozens of domesticated rabbits running around and lulling about with the cats and dogs that also live there. Like some little Garden of Eden! It was really fantastic.

I’m leaving out a lot–the ex-trucker in the bar in Buffalo, Larry, also known as Nut, who traded road stories with me and sincerely warned me to watch out for drunk drivers in the area as he ordered another pitcher; and the couple living in a little bungalow at Fletcher’s Lake, who gave me a beer and told me how fascinated they’d become with the cyclists who come through, and had me sign their journal; and on, and on–but I think the point is that, like Missouri, Indiana exhibits a tough exterior. It’s a silly, pointless, somewhat obnoxious habit of posturing and demonstrating its independence. It’s misleading, and in Missouri, I’ve seen it form prejudices in good people who didn’t know any better. But, at heart, I think Indiana’s a pretty great state.

I’ve grown fond of it, anyway.

[Background info: I’ve only ever visited Indiana once before, but I wrote a somewhat mocking recap of the incident that had, up ’til now, remained my sole impression of the state. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to expand upon, and at least partly refute that impression.]

Oh, and for the record: Today, I covered 97.5 miles. Yesterday, I only did 51. Yesterday’s winds came almost directly from the East, and were pretty consistently in the 15 to 20 mph range. Today’s started in the East, but shifted to the South by noon, 5 to 10 mph range.

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2 Responses to “3 days in Indiana”

  1. been there Says:

    Never go to Indiana on Sunday

  2. Patty Hardesty Says:

    Hey, Derrick,
    Following you on you blog. Thanks for mentioning Fletcher’s Lake. Take Care and thanks for stopping by…

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