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Brian Cray - Hitchhikin', Trainhoppin', and Wanderin'

Wanderin' the world, at will, by any means

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Road Closed Indiana

Changin’ Tubes for Vincennes

Changin’ Tubes for Vincennes

I woke up at 9 AM to Susan opening the door to her old home on Howe Street.  My head ached and the top of my mouth beyond parched.  I downed a few bottles of water to help with my hangover. I actually didn’t plan on drinking last night, but the neighbors, Isaac and Noah, asked if I wanted to hit up some local bars before I left.  We walked to Atlas where I tried a gumball beer.  I never drank a beer quite like that before.  A sweet, wheat ale brewed locally in Indiana.  The bar scene was what you’d expect for a Sunday night. Dead in the water.

The Vid

The Vid in Bloomington, Indiana with Noah and his roommate!

We finished off the pitcher and headed to “The Vid” to shoot some pool.  Another group of people in the back of the bar joined us. We had a few shots, a pitcher of Pabst blue ribbon and some pepperoni filled bread sticks with gooey cheese.  I barely remember staying that long, but we ended up meeting a nice bunch of people.  The attractive 28 year old girl we ended up meeting walked back with us most of the way and grabbed a cab to the other side of town.  I rolled in and crashed around 4 AM.  So I did not get much sleep last night and it definitely showed riding today.

I rode for a total of 35 miles and ended up in Bloomfield by a Church.  I picked up the right amount of tubes this morning at Bikesmiths for today’s journey. I popped two tubes on US-45, my front and back tire, and the third one I bought was punctured so it was unusable.


Right outside of Bloomfield!

My GPS ended up taking me through a development in the countryside under construction.  Quite a few lots posted for sale with a huge amount of acreage and every single one a lake attached to the property.  The beautiful views took away my frustration from changing tubes all day.  However, I stumbled across a gravel road, and that was the only way to get to where I was headed.  I walked for a mile down the road until I met Gerald Rice off of Coal Mine Road.  He gave me directions to Vincennes, and invited me in his home to refill my hydration pack.  I also received two Gatorades for the road.  They wished me luck on my journey.  I headed down the road and thought I may be stuck again due to the road closed sign in the distance.  I decided to give it a whirl and ended up being able to cross the construction area on my bicycle.  I pedaled a mile down the road, which is where I sit now on the ground waiting for the sun to set.

Road Closed Indiana

Road Closed Sign – But this didn’t stop me 🙂

Hungover on Helios

Hungover on Helios

Bloomington, IN

I decided to stay on Howe Street in Bloomington for another day partly due to a hangover. However, I spent most of the day tuning up my bike.  I replaced the brakes; I changed out the back tire with a new one; I fixed the rear rack since it was missing a screw; I fixed the front basket and added the cable so it doesn’t interfere with my brakes and I added a water bottle holder for my gasoline.  Everything looks much better than before and I bought a few extra screws at Bikesmiths just in case the rear rack gets loose again.

Fixing a flat

Fixing a flat at Susan’s house on Howe Street!

I also picked up some food at Bloomington Foods.  I have decided I need to be a bit more frugal since I may have an opportunity to go to South America on New Years, which means no more cool gadgets, beer and unnecessary items. I think I’m going to stick to water, peanut butter and bread for as long as I can so I have enough left over for this trip.

Replacing Brakes

Replacing the brakes and doing a tune up on her!

My next stop tomorrow is one step closer to Murphysboro, Illinois.  I am going to stop at MHC Parkview, Inc., which is located southwest of Bloomington.  It will be a 70+ mile day.  I have to check WarmShowers to see if I have a lawn to sleep on in Murphysboro.  Aside from that everything has been going well. My budget isn’t all too bad if you leave out the tattoo and GoPRO. I really think the GoPRO will be an awesome addition to the trip.  The video at the end is going to be bad ass and it will be something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Final Product

She looks nice, ready to go for tomorrow!

I forgot to mention I made friends with the neighbors last night, Isaac and Noah. They both graduated from Bloomington University with telecommunications degrees. Noah works for AT&T and Isaac works as a cook at a local restaurant. Trevor swung by last night around 1 AM from Cincinnati. We hit up Atlas and another local bar. Drank a few brews, talked and I wound up passing out at 3 AM. I am going to chill with the neighbors later tonight once I eat and shower. I’m looking to head out tomorrow by 9 AM and grab a few more tubes for my bike before I do so. Bloomington rocks!

A Key to Howe Street

A Key to Howe Street

Bloomington, IN

Each day gets more interesting almost to the point where I cannot even explain how or why it’s happening.


An overlook outside of Indianapolis

I woke up around 9 AM and cleaned up after myself before I left Trevor’s place. I headed out down Canal Trail and biked with a family who suggested I continue on until White River Trail connected.  The small creeks next to the trails made it more scenic than the roads I would have taken so I enjoyed those few miles and tested out my goPRO.

The Open Road Indiana

Open fields of nothing 🙁

The next 50 to 60 miles bored me. I barely saw any exciting scenery until I biked near Monroe Campground, but the area consisted of corn field after corn field.  However, I stumbled across Musgrave Orchard where I indulged in sweet apple cider and great conversation.  I met Brett and Susan Morse who directed me towards a better campground.  That being Yellowwood State Forest. I also met a burly, red bearded gentleman and an older woman who worked at the orchard.  Both of which directed me to great places I should visit out west.  They told me to visit Buena Vista if I got the chance and test my white water rafting skills.  He lived out that way for ten years out of his van, working as a guide among other odd jobs.  He told me if possible get a job in Colorado. It’s the best recreational place in the United States.  As we continued to talk, Brett and Susan decided to give me a key to their old home they are in the process of selling.  It is located right on Bloomington Campus about 12 miles from my current location at Musgrave Orchard. I thanked them dearly.

More Nothing

More corn fields and open green plains…ugh…so boring

As I was leaving the older woman who worked at the orchard and Gene began to talk to me about my trip. She suggested when I get out west to look for a place called crazy woman. I have no idea what she is referring to but I told her I’d check it out.  She asked my plans for after the trip and I told her I honestly had no idea. I got laid off, sold all my possessions and decided to bike coast to coast to see our country. She said my story reminded her of “Into the Wild” and I immediately lifted up the right side of my shirt to show her my tattoo of “Bus 142”.  I couldn’t believe she knew exactly what it meant. She told me to stay safe and if nothing else do not try to live in the Alaskan wilderness. I agreed with her and headed out for Howe Street.

Beer Indiana

Drinking beer from the micro brewery down the street 🙂

When I arrived I bumped into a woman driving through who commented on my lovely yard. I explained to her that this was not my home and I was just staying temporarily for a night. She began to ask if I was homeless, which technically for the past month I am, however I am biking coast to coast.  She asked if I was a godsend and threw away her cigarette. She hadn’t smoked in 7 years and thought for some reason I was a sign to kick the habit.  She prayed for me for over five minutes and then we parted ways.  I walked to Upland Brewery Company and grabbed a six pack of Helios Pale Ale.  I asked the bartender where the night life is in this town and she suggested I go to Kirkwood Street for college life or Atlas and House Barn for a more low key bar. I thanked her and headed back to Howe Street.

I am now sitting drinking some brews waiting for Trevor to arrive.  Maybe we can pick up some girls who I will never see again.  Definitely been a long, interesting day.

Bicycle Touring

Rollin’ Outta Indy

Rollin’ Outta Indy

Tonight is my last night in Indianapolis. Free climbing bridges, joy riding, down town exploring, tattoos, hookah, rock climbing and feasting will be greatly missed, but I will be back on the road early tomorrow headed towards Bloomington.  I made a couch request to some people around the area so maybe I will have a place to crash.  If not there are some campgrounds in the vicinity where I should be able to stealth camp.  I wanted to take this time out to thank the Stuart family for their kindness and hospitality.  I greatly appreciated the food, bed and warm showers in the few days I stayed here.  Hopefully, I will see Trevor when I get out to Colorado in a few months.  If not I’m sure I will see you all again at some point in the near future. Indiana will be missed.

Bus 142

Right after getting my Bus 142 tattoo in Indianapolis.

Climbin’ Girders on the Monon

Climbin’ Girders on the Monon

Monon Trail, Indianapolis, IN

I took a rest day today.  We hit up a huge bike shop, Dick’s and Best Buy.  I bought replacement USB cables for my phone and battery, a cold gear under armour long sleeve shirt, goPRO Hero3, chain lube, and a front basket for the front of my bike.  This will counterbalance some of the weight in the back and I can just keep my backpack in there when I’m riding to easily access food and water without stopping.

Monon Trail

Bridge climbing on Monon Trail. It took me a while to get the balls to do this free climbing stunt.

Other than that I just ate a lot of food and we free climbed a decent sized steel girder bridge on the Monon Trail.  We are going to St. Paul’s White Rock tomorrow to check out their cliff jumping spots.  They also have zip-lining among other activities.  Maybe hit up the rock gym too.

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