Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour
Day 53 - Thursday, August 9, 2001
Indiana has a network of farm roads similar to Iowa's. They're on a grid, starting from a reference point (either the county seat or the geographical center of the county, I'm not sure which) - an east-west road one mile north is called 100N, two miles north is 200N, you get the idea.
Yesterday I got a little lost because a road on the county line can have two numbers - I was in an area where three counties intersected. I did better today by also remembering to keep track of which county I was in.
So the Adventure Cycling maps do a good job of navigating the quiet paved country roads in the area, with directions like "turn left on 1000N" and "turn right on 200W". This would have been impossible to do with any other map, as the grid is not always complete and the roads not always paved.
The drawback to using the Adventure Cycling maps is that they seem to use traffic as the *only* criteria for routing, so they often avoid nearby small towns with services. When it's hot out I like to stop at a mini-mart every 10-15 miles for a cold drink - certainly something that *could* be done in a state like Indiana, but not with the selected routing. They don't tell you the country roads that go to the towns off the main route, so you're left with using the main highways anyway if you want to get to the town.
So that meant that lunch had to wait until I got to Denver, about 48 miles into the ride. Good thing I got an early start. The cafe had a "Bikers' Book", where you could sign the book and see who else passed through. I guess that would be one of the advantages of following a "standard" route.
The forecast was for severe thunderstorms at night, so I stayed in a hotel off-route in Wabash instead of camping. I thought the Holiday Inn "Express" chain was meant to be more on the lower end (compared to the regular Holiday Inn name), but this one had an indoor pool, meeting room, fitness center, and guest laundry, as well as a higher rate to reflect all that. The days of dirt cheap hotels on this tour are gone, now that I'm in the east.
The receptionist said they get a few bike tourists once in a while, and I was surprised when she asked if I wanted a ground floor room so I could roll my bike into the room. I prefer bringing the bike into the room, but I'm used to a "don't ask, don't tell" policy - if you ask permission to bring it inside you risk a "no" answer, but if you go ahead and just roll it in I've never had any objections.