Route: Corydon, IN to Ann Arbor, MI
- From Corydon, IN, take I-64 east to I-71 at Louisville, KY
- Take I-71 east to I-75
- Take I-75 to US-23 at Toledo, OH
- Take US-23 north to Ann Arbor, MI
A soon as conciousness pried my eyes open, I got up and looked out the window to check the weather. The great outdoors sat under a grey overcast sky with a light mist keeping everything nice and damp.
Hoping that the morning weather was the waning end of yesterday’s weather system, I tuned into the Weather Channel for a quick check. Their radar image gave me a pretty thorough preview of the coming day. The area east of the Corydon/Louisville area was almost devoid of the nasty green rain-goes-here patches. However, just west of my current position was a wide unbroken stripe of pretty green, yellow, and red areas that stretched from Kentucky almost all the way to Chicago, IL. Naturally, it was heading east, and would no doubt attack me throughout the day.
I showered, threw down a couple of Pop-Tarts® for breakfast, and went out to load the bike. By the time I had the bike loaded, the mist had stopped and I quickly launched myself down the road, hoping to get in as many dry miles as possible before the inevitable rain dampened my spirits.
I71 between Louisville and Cincinnati is a pleasent stretch of super-slab. Lots of rolling hills and no major cities. Along this stretch, I got caught in a minor rain squall, and pulled over to try out my poor-man’s answer to proper rain mittens. I figured that plastic grocery bags over my gloves and tucked into my jacket would provide a waterproof barrier that would keep my hands dry and, more importantly, warm. While it’s true that plastic bags are the gods gift to man when making the 10-minute trip from the grocery store to your kitchen, they don’t hold up worth a shit when you’re doing 70MPH on the highway. Within the first half-hour, they had disentigrated, dangling from my wrists and flapping away up my arm. They looked a lot like those lacy cuffs you always see in the old Three Musketeers movies; exactly the image I want to portray (yeesh).
I arrived at I75, leaving I71, about 15 miles south of Cincinnati,OH. Here the traffic was a bit heavier and the road blessedly increased to three (3) lanes. Coming out of the hills into the Ohio River valley, I could see the skyline of Cincinnati, welcoming me with open arms, and opening clouds. The heavy rain system that I had seen on the Weather Channel that morning had caught me. It was suitably obnoxious to deal with the heavy, fast-moving traffic as a solo bike. Several times, I wished that I had two or three companions to help make me a bit more visible in the road-level mist that was raised by the passing tires. I followed the signs for I75 and left the bustling Cincinnati traffic patterns behind me.
Americana Trivia: Did you know that the Voice of America radio station is located in southwest Ohio? I sure didn’t. However, upon further reflection, where the hell else would it be?
At this point, the day’s trip revolved around two limits: the Cruiser’s gas tank, and my cold and wet hands. The Cruiser’s tank demanded a stop in Dayton, OH. As fate would have it, I stopped at an exit where none of the gas stations had covers over their pumps. I filled up, without leaving the saddle, and rode on. My hands then stopped working as I approached Lima, OH, so I pulled over for a bit of warmth. While the hands warmed up, I took the opportunity to fill my own fuel tank, consuming a mug of hot chocolate and a microwavable processed ham-n-cheese sandwich-like substance.
Philosophical Question: If we are truly in the middle of the Flannel-Wearing Cappacino-Guzzling Generation, does my choice of hot chocolate (over coffee) make me a mutant?
As it turned out, I planned the hand-warming stop at just the right time. A mere 40 miles later the Cruiser was in need of gasoline, and I pulled over in Findlay, OH for a quick stop. During this stop a small miracle occurred: the rain stopped, and I mean it pulled a Hollywood Stop.
Definition of Hollywood Stop: A Hollywood Stop is where the rain goes from a downpour to absolutely nothing (not even a wayward droplet) in approximately five (5) seconds. Note that this is slightly different from the Holy Hollywood Stop, which is a Hollywood Stop followed immediately by bright sunshine and the sounds of a gospel choir singing in the background.
From here, the trip was much more tolerable. With the rain gone, I switched to my heavier (and much drier) gloves. I hadn’t wanted to sacrifice them in the rain before, but I figured they would survive an hour or two of road spray. By the time I reached Toledo, OH, the roads were actually dry. Soon I was back in my home state (MI), and screaming up US23. Even from this distance, the siren song from my hot tub, waiting for me back home, was quite strong.
I pulled into my driveway around 6:00pm and let the bike sit for a bit while I went inside to receive the welcome of the pets. I actually resisted the hot tub’s temptation long enough to unpack the Cruiser and answer a few phone messages.