Day 24 – Madison to Georgetown IN

I Love Madison

It felt good to get an early start today. But I was sad to leave Madison IN. It’s such a cool little town – they seem to really value the traditional architecture of the area and they’ve built a thriving town out of it. Such a contrast to other places that I’ve seen where downtown is dead and empty and all the trade is at the Walmart on the edge of town. And the people there were super friendly to me. On my way out of town more than one person told me good morning and to have a great ride. Nice.

Downtown Madison
Love the details on some of these old buildings.
I’ve seen a lot of signs like this one – each one seems different (they had them in KY too). Usually they’re on barns. I asked a local guy about them and he said they were to ward of hexes. Hmmm. Didn’t know that was a problem. Must be working.

And I love the Riverboat Inn – if you’re ever in Madison, it’s your go-to spot. The owners have gone to trouble to give the place a homey, eclectic feel. The huge back area overlooks the Ohio river and you can sit out there and have a beer and listen to live music.

Last night from the Riverboat Inn’s back porch.
Nice take on a Honda. That would be fast and loud. I con’t resolve my attraction for motorcycles and my competing environmental awareness. It’s a quandary that only an electric motorcycle can solve…

The only thing I didn’t like about Madison is the big power plant on the edge of town. I stopped to take pictures and noticed that a guy up on a catwalk was watching me closely. I waved to him and he half raised his hand in a wave, almost like it was automatic but then he realized maybe he shouldn’t. Then he got on his radio, while still looking a me so I started wondering if the security was going to show up. Oh well, I was done anyway but I would kind of liked to talk to them anyway. I couldn’t tell at a glance what the plant was burning but with a stack that clean it’s probably natural gas.

Looks like water vapor and probably tons and tons of CO2. Kind of beautiful, and a classic fluid flow pattern – see the two plumes that spin in opposite directions?. But we need to stopp burning stuff. That would be a pretty good good worldlike air policy; stop burning stuff. It fouls the air and heats up the earth. Isn’t that obvious?

Wrong Turn

It was bound to happen but today I took a serious wrong turn and ended up with an extra 10 miles and 800 feet of climbing. I’ll be watching my map more closely next time. It really slows you down to have to stop and navigate a bunch of turns but if you try to remember too many steps you screw up. It’s especially easy because I can’t tell you how many River Streets I followed, how many times I’ve turned right on Main Street and then left on Elm. Was that Right, Left, Right or Left, Right, Left. Silver Street or Spring?

Near Paynesville. Another used-to-be someone’s everything.

I had a bad feeling when I started down this big hill but didn’t thing much about it. Zoom! Freedom! Wheee! Until I got to Bethlehem. Oops, not supposed to go through a Bethlehem. Oh crap, up that big hill again. Actually I could have gone a shorter route but that would have taken me on a bunch of unbike-friendly roads and I didn’t want to risk it.

At least the detour took me by this old house.
Gorgeous thistles

Then it seemed like I spent the next hour looking for water. I snagged a hose from a church in Bethlehem and didn’t think about the faucet until I left town. Hey, know what? Funny that they had two hoses – a red one and a blue one. And damn if that red faucet didn’t feel warm to the touch after I used it. I must have been checked out because I tasted that water and it tasted just like old church boiler. Yuck. So I stopped at another church and borrowed their hose (OK checking that there’s just one). That one poured out the dirtiest, rusty brown spew I’ve ever seen come from a tap. OK lesson learned – don’t steal water from churches. The next town I came to I saw a guy working in his yard and asked him if I could use his tap and he obliged. Now that was good water and I think he even has a water softener because it tasted almost sweet. Finally I got back on the right road and with plenty of water too.

Looking for water and finding huge fiberglass pigs. No explaination in sight.
OK the big fish by the hardware store makes sense. They probably sell fishing stuff right?
OK at least they have pigs and fish in Indiana but gorillas? And why is he so apparently hopeful? He looks like he can’t wait for what’s coming next.

Beware Flying Objects & Creepy People

I passed one gate today that just gave me the total creeps. I stopped to read the signs when I saw a gate on a rural road with two big flagpoles with the US Flag, the Confederate Flag, and a POW Flag. Then I started reading the signs posted at the gate; “PRIVATE PROPERTY – DO NOT ENTER”, and “Nothing In Here is Worth Dying For” and “Beware Flying Objects.” Eeew. I got the distinct impression that they couldn’t wait for someone to barge in so they could shoot them. I moved along but it gave me the heebie jeebies for miles.

The next yard down was flying a couple of flags that I had to look up. The Semper Fi I’ve seen before. But the “Thin Blue Line” flag I had to look up. I guess there’s a black, white and blue version of the Stars and Stripes now that they had too. I really think the left needs to do something about this co-oping of the flag. I want it back for all of us.

Not far from creeps. I love the textures. I can’t seem to stop taking pictures of buildings. I give up stopping.

Dog Sprints

This is my latest training strategy. I didn’t have many of these until I got to Kentucky but I had two yesterday, and two today in IN. Actually Adam was unlucky enough to try one back in NY but now I’m on gaurd all the time.

It starts like this – you’re approaching some kind of run down house or trailer and when you’re about even with the house you start to hear this dog barking and getting closer and closer. Then I do a quick evaluation. Does he mean business? Is this a dog that is an actual threat? About a third are too fat to catch me, a third are too small to really be a threat, but that remaining third – they make you realize just how quick your adrenaline system can kick in.

Some people keep pepper spray at the ready for this (I saw Ralph had some right by his head tube) but I haven’t done that. My approach with those is two-fold; 1) sprint like hell and 2) get a water bottle ready. I’ve only had to use the bottle once and it did the trick. Have you ever seen a dog when you squirt a hose at them? Most of them have a practically involuntary reaction where they bite  at the water. Same thing happens with the water bottle. I did that to a particularly threatening one yesterday and he bit at it and then just stopped – stunned. So far so good. I just hope I don’t run into one on some big climb.

Old riverside mansion.
The bridge over to Louisville. It’s a working river and Jefferson is home to a lot of marine repair and barge company.

Close Call for Someone

Today I had a close call of different kind. I passed an accident right after it had happened. This car had run into a telephone pole and the driver was out cold, and the horn was blaring (he was on it). Other folks were already there and calling 911. Apparently he had passed out at the wheel for some reason (Heart attack? Stroke? Diabetes? Drugs? Nobody knew).

I was getting ready to take a picture of this clock when the EMTs showed up.

I hesitate to even include this because it will just give Megan and Lynda more to freak out about. He was on my route and if I had been 2 minutes earlier it could have been me that he ran into instead of that pole. But I can’t just stay home because something bad might happen. I did increase my mirror vigilance and I check each car behind me to make sure that they’re getting over to give me room. Still it scared me too.

Somewhere in there they’re helping him out.

They did remove him from the car and I saw him stand and walk away with assistance (and a neck brace). So I think he will be OK. Thanking my lucky stars tonight.

Pouring Rain

My mom always said when the leaves turn “inside out” its going to rain. She was right. Seems like you can’t even take a picture of a tree around here without a flag getting in the picture.

The clouds had been threatening all day and finally they could hold the water no more. As I got across Clarksville it started to sprinkle and when I hit the edge of town it started to pour in earnest. Actually it was fun riding in the rain – it was cool, no breezes, a wide shoulder and I had a very pretty climb up through the woods. It seems like everywhere you scratch the ground around here you hit limestone, creeks, rivers, bluffs and this road snaked around all kinds of beautiful limestone outcroppings.

All the creeks around here seem to be on beds of limestone.

But you can only be soaked for so long. When my fingers started to wrinkle, I started looking for a hotel and I found a cheap option only a few miles away and that’s where I type this.

Barton Fink

But that’s not quite the end of today’s story. For some reason this hotel allows dogs on the first floor and the clerk refused to give me a 2nd floor room (because I got a cheap rate). And now it’s a complete bark fest every time somebody moves. Between that and the person pacing back and forth in the room above I tought I’d never get anything down. Ever see that scene in Barton Fink where he’s trying to write and the wallpaper keeps pealing and there’s some guy sobbing next door. Wish I was back at the Riverboat…



10 thoughts on “Day 24 – Madison to Georgetown IN”

  1. As always, lots of great pics and commentary! I’m glad you were able to scare off the chasing dog, and your extra few miles reminded me of the time a couple of weeks back when you’d been yelling and I kept going… not nearly as far off the route, but an unnecessary hill I needed to climb back up for having missed the turn. It looked like you could have had even more exercise on that diversion: the treadmill off in the grass in one pic looked like it got regular use! Keep pedaling and writing – many of us are enjoying your journey!

  2. I went to grad school (years ago) in rural Illinois. That was my only exposure to the Midwest. I rode my bike to keep my sanity (which is funny given I was in school for Psychology). I would frequently encounter farm dogs who loved to chase me for ¼ mile at a time. Mostly, like you, it was an opportunity to sprint. But, one time, some dog came out of nowhere, scaring me badly, and he wouldn’t go away. I was so pissed at him, I threw my Sony WalkMan (does this date me?) at him, and beaned him in the head. This had the intended effect, and, being amazingly well built, my WalkMan survived. Wish I’d known about the water bottle option back then. Live and learn, eh?

  3. New challenges every day, I hope you could get some sleep last night. Your pictures continue to be great, love the Riverside Mansion and fiberglass dudes, among others. You’re sure fun to read every morning!

  4. Thanks for all the encouraging words. Turns out that dogs are quiet when their owners are sleeping next to them. So no problems sleeping last night. there’s a big storm coming in so taking an unplanned rest today to catch up on email, bills (yes those don’t stop when you ride), etc.

  5. Another great slice of America. Loved the animal statues along the way. But not the CO2. Read in Science (May 26) about plants in the Houston area (NET, Petra Nova) that capture all the CO2 and use it instead of steam to run turbines or inject it underground for (ugh) fracking and claim it will stay underground. Maybe technology can help too. When I looked up Georgetown IN on Google Maps and zoomed out a little, there was Rolla MO. I guess your close to home.

    1. Getting kind of close – maybe a week or a little more. Feels culturally closer than that. I’m getting kind of antsy about getting to Missouri now that if feels this close. Wish I was peddling instead of waiting out T-storms.

    1. Hmmm – maybe a good thing to do tonight. Getting tired of home improvement videos.

  6. If nothing else, watch the free trailer on amazon (use the link above). It’s a real time period piece (1985), but I think you’ll relate to the patriotism too on your bike journey across America. (Remember the USSR boycotted the 1984 Olympics in LA after the USA boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow). Classic rockies bike racing mixed with Hollywood drama and an early Kevin Costner.

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