Bicycling 4,174 Miles Across the United States

July 29th and 30th: Monticello to Wabash, IN and Rest Day in Wabash

Prichard Family Get-Together in Wabash:  Left to right – Steve; Brother Tom and wife Judy; Jonny (in front), son of Wendy; Brother Paul; Brian (in back) friend of Wendy; Keith, son of Paul; and Wendy, daughter of Paul.

July 28th Statistics – Monticello to Wabash, IN:

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 62.4 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 15.7 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 4.0 hours
  • Today Ascent – 1,068 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 37
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 2,858.7 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 77.3 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 79,152 feet

Today’s ride had its challenges and rewards for me.  About mile 35, I missed a turn and didn’t realize it.  After some miles, the road I was on suddenly turned into a very rough gravel road.  As Nancy knows, I always resist going backwards, so I continued on the gravel road thinking it was the right road and that I had just encountered a short gravel area – wrong.  After three miles of very difficult riding I intersected a paved road and turned in the direction of the planned route.  Somehow, I again missed the intersection with the planned route  (so much for being bright and having a GPS).  I continued south until I intersected Route 16 which I knew would take me back to the planned route.  However, Route 16 had a barrier saying “Closed”.  Now the reward – I ignored the sign and began riding on Route 16.  It turned out that Route 16 had just been repaved and the only remaining task was to paint the lines.  I had 13 miles of Route 16 to myself and made great time on a perfect road surface.  When I eventually arrived in Wabash, I found that my route for the day was 5 miles shorter than the route taken by everybody else (dumb luck).  Along the way today I biked through Sitka, Denver, Chili, Metea, and Twelve Mile, Indiana, cities I don’t remember from my Indiana growing up days.

Upon arriving in Wabash, the Charley Creek Inn (see photos) was everything Dale and Diane had described – clearly the best lodging of the entire tour so far, maybe the entire trip.  I have not been in Wabash for probably 50 years, so I didn’t remember or recognize it.  The town is trying to remake itself as are so many similar small midwestern towns (like Anderson) which have lost their way over the years.  While I was very impressed with the effort in Wabash (the Honeywell Center, Charley Creek Inn, Wabash River Walking Path, cleanliness, and museums (closed both days I was there), it was still hard to ignore the fact that few people were around.

However, the highlight of Wabash was a visit from family.  My brother Tom and his wife Judy drove several hours from Nashville, Indiana to visit.  My brother Paul flew up from Saint Petersburg, Florida and combined a visit with his children who live in central Indiana with a family reunion in Wabash.  Joining Paul in Wabash was his son Keith (who is a junior at Ball State University studying social work), his daughter Wendy (who graduated from Ball State in medical technology several years ago, has been extremely successful in her career, and and is starting her MBA at Ball State this fall), Wendy’s son Jonny and Wendy’s friend Brian.  We ended the day with an outstanding dinner at the Charley Creek Inn restaurant, Twenty, and desert at their ice cream/candy parlor.  It was great to see everyone and start the planning for a complete Prichard family reunion next year, all brothers and spouses, children and spouses, and grandchildren.  It just occurred to me that I need to preference the term spouses with the word current.

Tom and Judy brought a special item – boxes of family photos, photo albums, movies, and negatives they found at our father’s home when they were cleaning it out after he died.  The boxes included special items from our grandparent’s photo studio, i.e. antique glass and regular negatives (from the late 1800’s) and numerous photos of our ancestors (many not identified yet) and Anderson, Indiana from the late 1800s to the 1980s.  We decided to split the items up and assign each brother a task of converting different items to an electronic version that can be shared by all.   I look forward to seeing them all again soon when I return to Anderson for my 45th high school reunion at the end of September.

Mile 0:  Best Western Plus, lodging in Monticello, IN – Great facilities.

Mile 12:  Unexpected hill encountered outside Buffalo, IN.  Turns out it is a landfill with several new hills being built.  Very clean, well planted, and no smell.

Mile 20:  Two fellow cross-country travelers (east to west tour) we met on a quiet country road in Indiana.  Unfortunately, I can’t find the piece of paper I had with their names, but I can tell you that he is from Germany on a vacation biking across the United States.  She is from Boston and is relocating to Seattle to start graduate school.  They did not know each other until they met on the road.  Yesterday, we met another traveler riding, Dick, who appeared to be similar in age to our group.  Dick was riding from Bar Harbor, ME to his home in Des Moines, IA.  Last year he road from Seattle to his home, so this summer he was completing the other half of the tour.  Several years ago he completed a different transamerica ride from the southeast US to the northeast US.  I estimate that we have met several dozen bikers riding cross country since we began out tour.

Mile 24: At the intersection of County Road 900N (our route) and Indiana State Road 35, we unexpectedly crossed the “Panhandle Pathway”, a 21mile hiking/biking trail in central/north Indiana.

Mile 50: Interesting descriptive street sign in Chili, IN.

Charley Creek Inn: The Charley Creek Inn is without a doubt the best lodging of the entire trip so far. It is a completely restored hotel with an art galley, fine wine store, ice cream and candy parlor, and gourmet restaurant off the lobby.

Charley Creek Inn: Bathroom of my room – beautiful and high quality.

Wabash, Indiana – Mural

Wabash, Indiana – Paradise Spring Historical Park, Officer Cabin from the 1820s.

Brother Tom and spouse, Judy on the Wabash River Walking Path

Wabash, Indiana: Historical Marker – Modoc the Elephant.

Wabash, Indiana:  Historical Marker – First Electrically Lighted City in the World, 1880.

2 responses

  1. Jim

    Steve,
    Loved the family reunion comments and photos. Look forward to seeing you in Ticonderoga, NY when you cross into Vermont. Stay safe and keep on pedaling.
    Jim & Nini

    July 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm

  2. Keith Prichard

    Uncle Steve,

    Was wonderful to see you in Wabash and wish you continuing success in your journey! Be safe and keep “rocking” that yellow like only you can.

    Keith

    August 1, 2012 at 11:38 pm

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