Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 32 - August 5 - More flat corn and soybean fields but interesting small towns in the Midwest

Day 32 - August 5 - Warsaw, In  to Delphos, OH - 90.4 miles (145.5 kms) - total so far; 2621.4 miles (4218.3 kms)

Distance: 90.4  miles (145.5kms)
Total time: 8hrs20 mins (including lunch stop, a bike tour of Ft. Wayne and of 4 small towns) 
Average Moving Speed: 13.4mph (21.6 kph)
Maximum Speed: 21.7mph (34.9 kph) 
Calories burned: 4021
Elevation gained: 1083 ft (330 meters)

Weather: Cloudy almost all day with the threat of rain. Quite humid with south and south east winds that were mild.  Temperatures stayed in the mid-upper 70s (22-25C) and were comfortable. Despite the glowering skies, only a few drops fell on me.

Powered by: (not enough)   Breakfast - two chocolate donuts  yogurt, a bagel, a banana, and lots of orange juice.  Lunch of two huge baked potatoes and a large ice cream, a coke, a banana, and 2 liters of water. 

The weather forecasters seemed to agree that the threat of thunderstorms after about 3pm was a real one but despite overcast and fairly humid conditions, it never rained.  I had discovered serendipitously the old Lincoln highway yesterday and determined to follow it as much as I could as I knew it paralleled the new (post 1968) divided highway.  Unfortunately, for the first half of the day to Ft. Wayne and for about half of the route after, I was on the main highway which was really noisy, busy, filled with trucks and with a shoulder filled with tire debris.  I picked up an Ohio state highway map at a rest stop over the state line with 'scenic byways' marked so I will follow these as much as possible as I head southeast towards Steubenville.   The old Lincoln highway is clearly marked and I hope to follow it tomorrow to Mansfield.

Part of the bike trails along the rivers in Ft. Wayne

Many streets have designated bike routes in Ft. Wayne

The biggest surprise of the day was the bike-friendly city of Ft. Wayne.  There are dozens of miles of bike paths and marked bike lanes on the streets. I rode around a bit in the city center, which is not exactly a thriving place, and met many other bicyclists on the paths.  It was the most bike-friendly place I've seen since Billings and only Portland, OR surpasses it in my experience.

An older original part of the Lincoln Highway in Ft. Wayne

Welcome to me to my 12th state.

Just across the state line in Ohio

The old Lincoln highway passes through the centers of the small towns, including the county seats.  Traffic is very light and the town centers very quiet.  Many storefronts are empty and the restaurant and accommodation sector has shifted to the peripheral highway that was built in the late 1960s.  As traffic roars by a couple of miles away, the silence in the town centers is almost eerie.  The county seats have lavish courthouses built in the late nineteenth-century and usually a series of war memorials, starting with the Grand Army of the Republic (Union soldiers) one and continuing up to Iraq and Afghanistan, grace the courthouse lawns. 

An informative display about the history of the Lincoln Highway in Van Wert

One of the historical photos on the display

Maybe my next ride, following the old rte 30?

One of the early auto  guys who saw opportunities in promoting long distance travel

Do you need teeth to eat any of these items?  Still, for 35 cents

One of many over-the-top courthouses in county seats - this one from Van Wert.

The original Lincoln highway from the 1915-1920 period; the big divided highway passing by the towns dates from 1968

One of large number of patriotic displays on a huge lawn

The second surprise of the day was passing an operating drive-in movie theater near Delphos on the old Lincoln highway.  It has 3 screens and now the sound is piped in by tuning the car radio to a FM station.  This past weekend had a dusk-to-dawn extravaganza.  I don't know how many such drive-ins are left in the US now but it's only a fraction of what the number was in the 1960s and 1970s.

An operating drive-in theater near Delphos

Just missed that extravaganza by a few days but I think sitting on a bike seat and balancing from dusk to dawn would be a challenge

An original Civi War statue from 1896 surrounded by many more memorials for later wars in Delphos. This sort of memorialization at the town square or in the center is typical of small towns I passed inthe past couple of weeks.

Not that's a real 'drive-thru' - literally driving through the store (Delphos).

Tomorrow I will follow the historic highway as much as I can to get to Mansfield and enjoy the surprises of the small towns that dot this highway like beads on a rosary.  The two lane road around here is flat, it passes farms and surburban homes and all sorts of small businesses, and the 1968 song by Simon and Garfunkel about 'looking for America' keeps resonating in my brain, especially as it has a Midwest line or two.   "I've gone to look for America" too.

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