Day 23: Monroeville, IN – Fletcher Lake, IN

Today was the best day of riding yet. High praise considering all the amazing things I’ve seen. In Monroeville I met up with a 27 year old German man named Jakob riding West. Our routes go together to Muscatine, Iowa, where his route goes straight across to Colorado, while mine goes north to Minnesota. We are having a wonderful time riding together!

Today’s post will be highly visual. Indiana is seriously GORGEOUS. Growing up in Seattle, I think I had a very big misconception of what Indiana was like. I thought flat with lots of cornfields. While there are many cornfields (and soybeans!) the land isn’t flat. There are wonderful rolling hills and beautiful ponds and lakes.

Before I write about the ride, I have to say that the cyclists house in Monroeville was amazing. I rolled in rather early considering how short a day it was. There was one other lady there who was traveling East. We had a good long conversation about the route and the best/worst places to stay along the way. I also gave her my experiences about the East coast, and how awesome the WarmShowers network is. Later in the evening, Jakob rolled in and joined the conversation, and when we learned we were traveling the same route for the next few days, we decided to bike together.

We left Monroeville around 6am to a cool morning with quiet winds. Here’s an awesome slide just outside of the building we stayed in:

And this is Jakob outside a key landmark in Monroeville – the WhippyDip

The sky looked a bit threatening in the morning, but if there was a storm, it missed us entirely. Don’t the soybeans look happy?

We saw a farm with a gaggle of different animals running around together. Maybe Noah lives nearby? The one Alpaca stood up/out of the pack.

Passing through the Salmonie River State Forest, we saw some awesome road signs. I think Salmonie River is being taken over by horses. They are totally anti-human, have their own camps (no humans allowed), and are really free-spirited. They are also anti-fun and anti-guns. See below. πŸ™‚

They don’t even let human campers stay in their campground!

…And heaven forbid you should be caught trying to ride a horse!

This is Jakob trying to make a quick getaway from the horse-police. As a side note, while we didn’t actually have to evade horses, we have had to outrun dogs. Many people leave their dogs off leash at home and don’t have them fenced in. This results in dogs barking and chasing bicyclists to no end. At first it was a bit scary since you don’t know whether they want to bite you or just run along. At this point it is pretty funny and not threatening. Tracy, the cyclist we met in Monroeville didn’t have any fun with the dogs since she’s riding a recumbent bicycle and is much lower to the ground. She said she sprayed two dogs with pepper spray on her way through Indiana. Eek!

In Lagro, population 454, we were thrown back into the past with a really cool car, and an amazing ice cream stand. Both were welcome discoveries!

The whole day Jakob and I were flying. The weather was absolutely perfect, the wind cooperative, and the people welcoming. When we set out from Monroeville, we were aiming for Denver, IN. We were having such a good ride though, that we decided to keep going about 20 miles to Fletcher. In Denver we stopped at the grocery store, and talked with one of the local teachers and her two kids. Continuing on, we also talked for a bit with a man who owned a heard of pigmy goats. When I asked him what he kept them for, other than being cute, he said, “They’re my lawnmowers!” I told him if I weren’t biking so far, I’d by my own little lawnmower. Mama & Papa… do you think Gizi and Szani would mind if we got a few pigmy goats?!?! They are tremendously cute!

Not far down the way, we found our campground in Fletcher, IN. The people who go there are all from the area, or within a 15 minute drive. This is a view from Fletcher lake.

We were even invited out on a boat to go swimming! Sorry for the squinty-face. πŸ™‚ The lake is about 60 feet deep and fed by springs, but it wasn’t too cold at all. Thank goodness for the last ice age!

Jim, one of the old-timers told us not to bother setting up our tents. His wife wasn’t joining this weekend, so we could each have a bed in his camper and he’d stay with his friend. Really kind people!

After making our dinner of cous-cous and lentil soup (thank you, Beth!) we played a bean-bag tossing game that Jakob and I absolutely failed at. Clearly more practice is needed!

Here’s the sunset over the lake:

Indiana seems to be synonymous with heaven.

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