Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blasting away at Southern IN

Sunday, June 24. Madison, IN to Corydon, IN. 82 miles of riding in 6:08 hrs of riding.

(I added pics from yesterday to the Saturday blog: wifi was too slow)

Good and bad on this day. More on that later. Stayed in this little 35-dollar-a-night place last night, and considering the price, it was just fine. Turns out all our neighbors there were residents, not overnights, so this place sees few “there and gone” folks like us. Grilled out on their picnic table in 90-degree heat last evening, then hit the hay at about 10 PM
Got up at 5:30 AM to figure out this God forsaken ADT route on my computer. Now the bad part of it is the fact that it’s just so tough to stay with the ADT what with all the twists and turns. There really are zero markings along the way here, as I saw none today and almost none yesterday, so forget that. What I did is purchase the text directions download for the portion of the route that pretty much paralleled my tentative route up to the Katy Trail in MO. I had decided to use this route as a back-up to what I’d come up with on my mapping. And as I’d said well before the trip, finding dirt roads is just brutally tough to do, even with all the software and maps I’ve purchased for this. So in the end it is what it is.
Anyway, I used good old Google Earth to go over each and every twist and turn in today’s ADT route just to double check their info.. And I did indeed come up with two questionable areas that I kind of corrected as I rewrote the directions down on a piece of scrap paper. My backup was a couple of sets of RR tracks that darn near paralleled the route for today – this I had done months ago on my own. So I spent a good 2 hrs today doing this route recon on the computer out to like 80+ miles. Then I put together three meeting spots for Jude and directions to get to each. I just don’t’ want her driving on some of these little roads, especially when you can’t get vehicles down some of them due to unsafe conditions and or road closures.
So we got all that done and loaded up and got me dropped going at 8 AM. Rode to Hanover and then did some jibbing and jagging and was suddenly on this road that just kind of ended at a sign that said: “Road closed, travel at your own risk.” Ok, onward and upward. So I kept it rolling. The road deteriorated into a little gravel road, and then into a highly rutted gravel road, and then into a 4-wheel drive gravel road. There were sections where the dry stream beds were actually switchbacks in the road. I was super happy to be on what I had wanted to do so much of, and to make it even nicer was the fact that this little track was right along the Ohio River. Rode for a bit and then had to do a climb up this unmarked road called “Ten Cent Rd.” The only way I knew to take this turn was because of the recon I’d done on the computer this morning. No way would I have known other than with the coordinates on a GPS.
Now Ten Cent road was just a total witch. I mean it just hammered me right from the start up this massively steep bluff on the side of the river. The pup was like one very thin lane wide, and just crazily pitched up. Got to the top and eventually back on asphalt. The rest of the ride was on pavement over rollers on roads that are so small that some of them don’t even show up on my DeLorme IN Gazetteer. Only when you use Google maps and zoom down to about 2000 feet = 1 inch can you even see the names of these roads. Many of them are on my digitized 7.5 min usgs quads, but again, no designation as to paved or unpaved. So it’s a surprise every time you make a turn onto another road. Well, that turned out to be my only stretch of gravel today, unfortunately. The rest of the first stretch to Henryville was on the township and county roads that were rolling to flat. Met Jude with zero problems and got a chicken salad, bologna sandwich and an ice cold coke in, and I was off for the second stretch to New Albany.
Did a nasty stretch down IN 31 with tons of traffic. And there was my RR line I had mapped months ago right next to the road. So I did a little jog over to the easy to check it out for ridability. But I was pretty bummed to find that this thing was rarely used so there were big gaps with no gravel between most all of the ties. And couple that with the fact that the tracks were raised up on the giant crown of ballast, so that I’d have to ride on the gravel at like a 30-degree angle. There was no little access track alongside it like you find on many RR lines – this for the maintenance vehicles to use for track repair. So that was just a total no-go. Back to IN 31 for traffic hell. Got off that in about 3 miles and back to small chip-seal township routes meandered on the outskirts of Clark State Forest to the west. This was pretty nice, and traffic was down to about one vehicle every 10 min or so. Then back to a state route – IN 111. More traffic hell all the way to New Albany where I was to meet Jude.
This is a river town nearly right across from Louisville, KY on the Ohio River. So it was pretty urban. Met Jude downtown after we did a few phone conversations to nail down where she was parked and where I was at. This time I gobbled down two bologna sandwiches and an ice cold coke. Looked at my directions for the last section of the day – New Albany to Corydon – and got it rolling again. Had to endure another 4-5 miles along the Ohio on this freaking busy Rt 111 south. Seemed like I was on that thing forever. Finally I began to wonder if I’d screwed up and missed a turn, so I flaged down this chick and asked her about the whereabouts of Doolittle Hill Rd. Thankfully I hadn’t passed it. Kept rolling down past this cheesy Horseshoe Casino on the river and there it was, like the proverbial “Stairway To Heaven.” It was that bloody steep, like Oak Hill X 30 lengths long steep.
By this time the temp was in the 90’s, and as soon as I got on that sucker, I was just like a leaking bag of water, sweat just dripping off of all appendages, down the nose, off the handlebars, down my back. I was just soaked at the top of this thing. Got out the sweat rag to dry off my face and continued. Have to say that this last section was about the toughest of the day, with nothing but power climbing all the way, mile after mile of shifting big ring to middle ring to little ring, over and over. But I’ll tell you what, doing those lunch breaks as we did today, I really felt full of energy. Gee…imagine that, eating and drinking properly to feel better when I’m riding long on hard terrain in hot weather. What a novel concept!! No cramping and no bonking. Felt really good.
Made it to Corydon with my longest day of the trip – 82 miles. Now that’s totally because of all the pavement of the day. Those 8-10 miles of gravel today was just a taster, but great to have nonetheless. Can’t really do anything about it. So I’m just going with the flow here, one day at a time. Now I will say, with pavement or without, Southern IN is just one hilly place. Reminds me of Southern OH – same terrain, same geology, same long, steep climbing down along the Ohio River. Nice to check out somewhere totally different that the routes I’ve done in the past. So we’ll keep it rolling in S. IN.
Got a hotel in Corydon – Comfort Inn. Jude’s been working her butt off for me, so this is the very least I can do. They have a pool and workout room here, and she’s down there right now as I finish this up and then get rolling with my usual computer work. Well, until tomorrow - Pete

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