Day One: Goshen to Potato Creek S.P. I was a bit apprehensive as this day started. I haven't ridden nearly enough long rides to feel truly confident that I could ride these 59 miles. But by 11:00 am I had reached South Bend and was sitting down to lunch at a Burger King. Maybe I had the strength and stamina to do this. On leaving the Burger King the sky appeared to promise rain. Soon a cool, gentle rain revived my spirits as I approached the Notre Dame campus. I had never visited Notre Dame before and I found this old campus visually quite pleasing. After leaving the campus we passed through a street fair/craft market/carnival. I didn't see any indication of what was being celebrated. Then we were routed around a loop that was to show us the College Football Hall of Fame, Copshahom and the Studebaker Museum. I didn't visit any of these because I thought it would put me into camp very late. I shouldn't have worried though. But just before reaching the countryside I spied a Dairy Queen. Well I had earned at least a root beer float! After that refreshment I entered the countryside between South Bend and Potato Creek State Park. Nothing remarkable. Just pretty rolling countryside. I arrived at camp at about 3:00 pm; at least 2 hours before I expected to. Most memorable experience: passing dozens of Amish families clip-clopping on their way to Sunday meeting. Most of these families waved and smiled as I passed.
Day Two: Potato Creek S.P. to Indiana Dunes S.P. More
miles scheduled today. I started the day a little saddle sore and stiff. I
figured the stiffness would go away, but I was concerned about the saddle
sores. Rode into Laporte with an occasional light tailwind. Had my first flat
tire in 3 years. Luckily it was noticed at a city park rest stop so I could
cleanup after doing the repair. Then we started north to the Lake Michigan
shore. At various times in the past Lake Michigan has been much higher than it
is now. The old shoreline dunes now form a series of ridges that you have to
cross on the way. Not high hills, just enough to give a little workout,
followed by a down hill run. What a thrill to finally get to the lake. At this
point we rolled southwest on Lake Shore Drive toward Michigan City, passing
many fine, and expensive, homes. At Michigan City I rolled out to the beach. I
didn't ride out to the light house at the end of the pier, though. I didn't
hang around Michigan City too long I used to live near here and I had been here
many times. After leaving Michigan City we passed Beverly Shores. More fine
houses, more lake views, many more stop signs. Apparently the town worthies
decided they would discourage tourists from passing through by erecting all
these stop signs. We were warned that the police occasionally have a ticket
writing blitz targeting bicyclists. I didn't see any police until I got to 1/2
block from the town limit. But I guess he/she had more important business.
After a somewhat dicey roll down 3 miles of U.S. 12 I arrived at the camp at
Indiana Dunes State Park. A nice shady camp but lots of sand getting into
everything. We were warned that this camp ground has a raccoon problem. It
does. After most of us had gone to bed the coons came out. I didn't pay much a
attention to them because I did not have any food or food smells in my bags or
tent. Some people apparently have not acquired this wisdom. They made more
noise than the coons. Had a poor nights sleep. Most memorable experience:
Cruising along the lake shore.
Day 3:Indiana Dunes S.P. to Bass Lake State Beach
Still stiff--still saddle sore. I was really concerned about today's ride.
It would be the second longest I had ever ridden in a day. (In 1981 I road 75
miles in Tidewater Virginia, in August, with a full camping load on the bike.)
And it was predicted to be hotter today. I guess I am a worrier (just ask my
wife) but some times worry will cause you to do the right things to prevent the
feared event from happening. What did I fear? Having to take the SAG to camp!
But anyway, I drank plenty of water, ate 2 or 3 times during the trip and
rested under shade trees at almost every opportunity. And I made it without
SAGGING in. Most memorable experience: The concern other riders showed when
they saw me lying in the grass by the road. "I'm fine---Thanks!"
Day 4: Bass Lake State Beach to Miami S.R.A. Today started out with
the usual stiffness and soreness. But I was pretty confident I would ride all
the way. The first attraction was the Culver Military School campus. Looked
like a nice small college. But it is actually a secondary school. Very well
provided for by rich donors, I hear. After leaving Culver the heat started to
build, even though it was very early in the day. As I rode through the
countryside toward Rochester I began to wonder how hot it would get, and could
I take it. By and by I arrived at the Fulton County Round Barn Museum. It was a
nice little museum but it is not in a round barn. But it was air conditioned.
When I walked out of the museum the air felt like a sauna. I was less than half
way to the nights camp and I was in trouble. I rode on into Rochester and bought
some PowerAde at a convenience store. Then I went on down the road looking for
the Burger King. When I got there I found a SAG driver ordering his lunch. Here
was my chance to SAG out. I took it. I really wanted to ride the whole route
under my own power. But I really believe that I would have been in real trouble
within one or two hours and the rest of the trip jeopardized. Tomorrow is
another day. Although tomorrow's route is longer and possibly just as hot,
there is the probability of a tailwind most of the day. Today's most memorable
experience: The heat wave the struck me when leaving the museum.
Day 5: Miami S.R.A to Chain O'Lakes State Park
I was a little
more rested this morning due to yesterday's shortened ride. It is still hard to
get used to being awakened at 4:30 in the morning by the zipper serenade. Most
riders left early today in order to avoid the heat. The day started fairly well
with a modest tailwind part of the time. I enjoyed seeing some old homes in
Wabash. The riding was quite pleasant until I approached Huntington when the
heat started to build. Made fun of Dan Quayle at his museum. When I returned to
my bike I found a flat tire. I fixed it and went on my way. It got hotter, I
had another flat, the SAG truck appeared, I caught a ride. That night at camp I
thoroughly checked my tire for glass, etc. and replaced the tube with a new one
that I had carried around for a couple of years. Most memorable experience: The
old buildings and homes of Wabash.
Day 6: Chain O'Lakes S.P. to Pokagon S.P.
out cool, cloudy and rainy. We had quite a bit of wind and rain last night. I
stayed in my tent but I heard a lot of people moving toward the bath house for
safety. Everything was fine however. The wind was against us for the first
couple miles but when we turned east it became a tailwind. Today was much more
promising than the last two days. The highlight of the day was the Auburn Cord
Deusenberg Museum. Spent a long time there because I wanted to see everything.
After all, I paid for this trip! Headed north out of town. It became hot again
but it must not have been as hot as the last two days. I stopped for lunch and
had another flat. The new tube I installed had a defect near the stem where I
could not repair it. The bike mechanic sold me a new tube but I had doubts
about it's durability because it was a lightweight tube. it was all he had. Two
miles later - another flat. Fixed it and it seemed to hold. Another highlight
was coming across two guys selling cold watermelon slices from a pickup truck.
I continued on toward Pokagon. Another flat just miles from the park. I was fed
up but I was determined to finish this day's ride. I pumped the tire up a couple
of times but I did not try to repair it. I rode it flat for a while. Just
before the park entrance I started walking. I was determined to finish. About
that time two SAG trucks parked in front of me and Daina pulled up behind me.
Daina's bike was in the van and I still wanted to ride in. So I borrowed her
bike and rode on in. At least I finished under my own power. That evening I
gave a lot of thought to whether I should ride the route the next day. I was
tired, I couldn't get enough rest at night. It would be hot again and I
couldn't figure out why I was getting so many flats.
Day 7: Pokagon S.P. to Goshen
I did not ride today. I had enough of
the heat and the flat tires. Also I was very tired from lack of sleep. I went
to bed each night about 9:00 pm, but due to the heat I did not get to sleep
until much later. The camp was empty by the time Daina and I crawled out of the
tent. We decided to eat at the inn and then follow the route back to Goshen so
we could see the sights along the way. We went around the lakes, went through
the town of Mongo (and other towns) eventually arriving in the Amish country
again. At Shipshewana we visited the Menno-Hof Center and learned much more
about the Amish and Mennonites. Going back toward Goshen we admired the Amish
farmsteads and especially the large gardens.
I am sure I will
ride TRIRI in the future in spite of the hardship of this ride. If I am
diligent I will be able to get more weight off. This will not only lighten my
load but it will also improve my tolerance for the hot weather. Next years
TRIRI will be somewhat more hilly than this one. Maybe the weather will be
closer to the norm for the month of June. Most importantly, now I know that I
will need to train for longer rides and start training earlier in the season. I
still plan to do long rides yet this year. I hope I can get in at least one
camping ride. Planning for and preparing for long rides may proved the
motivation and the immediate reward for doing what I need to do to improve my