Down and Out with Fresh Cantaloupe
I did not get the chance to leave this morning until after 8 AM since I had to return my key at the campground for the restroom. I wanted to start around 5 AM, but it was better to return it than be charged an extra night. Once I hit the road I stopped at s speedy mart off Route 31 where I spoke to an older gentleman who wanted to know why I had so much stuff packed on my bike. I told him I was on my way to Indianapolis to visit a friend. He became more curious and asked where I started. When I said, “Wilmington, Delaware” he put out his cigarette and came closer towards me. We talked for a bit about my trip, Indiana and the best route there. He suggested Route 31 getting on and off back roads to avoid some small bridges. I thanked him for his help and headed north for Indianapolis. I rode about 30 miles until I heard a loud pop. My back tube popped again. I ran out of spares, but my other tubes were properly patched so I swapped one out with the tube that just popped and continued on to Old County Road 1240. The occasional dog chased me down the road, but they only go so far from home before they give up so I just keep pedaling. After a few miles, I came across a cheap produce stand where I purchased 4 tomatoes, a cantaloupe and 4 cucumbers for $3.00. You can’t beat those prices or the freshness since he picked them right out of the garden. The older gentleman wished me luck on my journey and thanked me for buying some fruit and vegetables.
At this point I was almost 35 miles into the trip and making great time. My projected arrival time to Indianapolis was 6:30 PM. That gave me enough time to break for lunch and still get there before dark. However, I did not expect two more flats. The rough texture of Old County Road 1240 and a combination of my balding tires put a holdup on my trip. I fiddled around for an hour trying to re-patch already patched tubes, but the chunks in them, the width of my pinky nail, could not be patched. I realized I might be stuck for a while. The nearest bike shop registered at 40 miles away according to my GPS and Trevor at least 90 miles away from me. Instead of worrying I decoded to cool off in the shade and bite into the sweet cantaloupe, which I finished rather quickly. I noticed all the fruits and veggies around here are more delectable than any back home. I rested for another few minutes until finally a vehicle drove by and stopped asking if I needed help. At that moment I met Don Engle who lived right up the road. We packed my bike in his trunk and I hitched a ride to the local Wal-Mart where I bought all four tubes in stock. $40.00 was a ripoff, but I needed them so I really could not complain. Don and I got to talking and I learned he grew up I’m Indiana and always lived within six miles of his current home. He just sold his saw mill business and retired two weeks ago to spend more time with his wife. They never had any children and did not travel much. He lost count of the 12 hour days he put in over the years, but he enjoyed it and could not fathom what he’d do with all this free time. It was no surprise to see a shocked look on his face when I told him my destination, but he enjoyed helping me buy the parts I needed for my bicycle. He dropped me off down the road at an animal shelter and gave me an extra tomato for the road.
At this point, I still had a long day ahead of me. I rode down Route 31 for another 20 miles and despite the flat terrain the 20+ mph winds killed me. It was nearing 5 PM and instead of getting caught in the city after dark I decided to find shelter in a corn field at a nearby church. I should reach Trevor’s by midday tomorrow. Now to sit back and relax before I feast tomorrow.