Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Thursday, August 28, 2008
Belgium, IL to West Lafayette, IN
53 miles (8304 total miles)

Sorry for the delay in posting today's page - we have been having too much fun visiting with David & Janet. We may end up taking two rest days here since we're not nearly getting enough done. Today was a double-milestone day - we entered Indiana, our 27th state, and the Eastern Time Zone, so we're now in our home time zone! Our timing was a little goofy today, not just because of changing time zones, but because we had two extra stops to make this morning. We left our motel at about 6:45 and went about a mile to a Casey's to buy ice for our camelbaks. We filled them at the Casey's store and then went another 3 miles into Danville for breakfast. So, we weren't officially on our way until 8:20, after breakfast, but we had already come about 4 miles by then. Today was warm and muggy, not at all like the last 3 days, but the wind was pretty calm and we even had a mild tailwind later in the day. It was a bit hillier today as well and the route was more complicated, so we had the GPS on all day, but it all went very well - we made good time, no wrong turns, and just one unexpected one-mile stretch of gravel road (with a steep downhill that was a little dicey).

We went through a few towns today, starting with Danville where we had breakfast. We then went east on US 136, a nice road with a shoulder that took us across the state line. We saw the Illinois welcome sign behind us first, and took a picture of it since we didn't get one when we entered Illinois on the Chain of Rocks bridge; then we saw the Indiana welcome sign ahead. We turned north again onto SR 263 and started getting into the hills, mostly pretty gentle with a few steeper spots. We also started to ride parallel to the Wabash River which we would meander along the rest of the day, sometimes close enough to see it. Our map advised us to bypass the little town of West Lebanon, taking a shortcut, but when we saw the dirt road that entailed, we decided to ignore the advice. West Lebanon was actually a quaint little town so we were glad not to have missed it. We turned east and came to Williamsport, the county seat of Warren County, and the place we had targeted for lunch. It had the usual grand county courthouse and a little lunch spot recommended by a local. After Williamsport, we jogged around on various county roads, going generally northeast. All of these roads were narrow with no shoulder (most without even a center line) but with very little traffic. We went past crop fields with occasional glimpses of the river. There was one more very small town, Independence, with a lovely park, and some wildlife habitat preserves along these roads as well, so it was quite scenic. One of our turns took us onto a gravel stretch which didn't seem too bad until it turned sharply downhill for a bit. We went down that hill verrrrry slowly! We then came to a very scenic area called the Wabash Bottoms, a preserve, part of which had been bought with proceeds from environmental license plate sales.

After a lot of zig-zagging on farm roads, we got onto SR 26 for a little ways and then finally turned onto David & Janet's street and soon were enjoying a cold glass of lemonade in their home. We finished the day at 2:35 CT (3:35 ET), having gone 53-1/3 miles in just over 5 bike hours, not a bad time considering the hills. Tomorrow will be a rest day and we'll see whether we can get enough done to be off again the next day or not.

The Vermilion River, just south of Danville

The County Courthouse in Danville

A huge grain processing plant in town

The welcome sign we didn't see going into Illinois

The Indiana welcome sign (both states lay claim to Lincoln, apparently)

An Indiana soybean field and farmhouse

A nice, smooth road with a shoulder!

Getting into a wooded, hillier area, and lost the shoulder already

Soybeans in the bottomlands area next to the Wabash River

A glimpse of the Wabash River

Forested hills along 263

A few dips ahead

A little house and grove of trees near West Lebanon

The barn behind the trees

Fancier houses coming into town

An old brick building in town

The Warren County Courthouse in Williamsport

The Williamsport water tower

Cornfields beside the Wabash River (behind the trees) outside of town

A branch of the Wabash

One of our little county roads

Crop fields and trees along the river

A glimpse of the river

A simple house near Independence, IN

Another house with lawn art

An old blacksmith shop, from 1832

The park in Independence

Some wild fields along the county roads

A mile-long stretch of gravel


More wild areas...

and views of the Wabash

The Wabash Bottoms area

Glad to have a shoulder again

Getting into the West Lafayette area