The small town of Monroeville, Indiana has embraced the long distance cyclist!
I'm not sure when I started thinking 40 miles was a short day, but that's what I thought today. Maybe it's because the last few days have been many more miles. I left Kil-so-quah at 8:00 (still feels like I'm waking up at 6:00, but I'm really waking up at 7:00). Today's wind had shifted, and was definitely coming more from the south. It wasn't bad, but my average speed reflected the change in wind direction.
There was a surprising amount of truck traffic on the road today. Dump trucks, and those funky sprayer tractors. I got a photo of one. Generally, I yield to them if at all possible.
I did see a rather unusual sight, a full size sailboat sitting in a pond. I thought it was so curious, that I took a photo. First of all, how'd they get it in there, and secondly, why?
I arrived in Monroeville at about 12:30. I needed groceries, so I went to the Dollar General. At least this one had small cans of chicken. No produce to speak of (yes, I'll have no bananas, I'll have no bananas today...or tomorrow).
After getting a few groceries, I went to the library to upload the last two blogposts. Chris, the manager, was a wealth of information about the town. He told me where the cyclists only camping was, and even called around until he found someone who could open the building. Really nice guy!
I headed over to the Monroeville Community Park, and met up with Larry. He let me in, and showed me where the showers, laundry, and cots were. I took a shower, and started a load of laundry. While my clothes were washing, I walked down to the Whippy Dip, an ice cream place in town, and had a soft serve cone (they had a bazillion flavors of shakes and blizzards, but I was in the mood for soft serve).
Back at my accommodations, while I was waiting for the dryer to finish, Warren dropped by. He is the main go-to for the cyclists (he just hadn't answered his phone when Chris first called). He gave me the real tour, and also gave me a key to the building (I was to lock the door if I went into town). He showed me the guestbook, and I could see where Sharon, the gal I met in Odell, had stayed here too. The latest eastbounder, like myself, was through here 3 days ago. I probably won't catch up to him.
Monroeville received the June Curry Trail Angel Award in 2005 from Adventure Cycling Association. June Curry was known as the Cookie Lady on the Trans Am Route. She passed away few years ago. This award, in her name, is given to a person or community nominated by and voted on by cyclists each year. It's a pretty big deal, and Monroeville deserves to have received it. It's framed on the wall along with copies (albeit old ones) of the two routes maps that go through Monroeville (now just Northern Tier, as Great Lakes Section 3 ends in Denver, IN--where I went through yesterday).
Later, I took myself for pizza and another ice cream cone. Having walked around town here (and other small towns), I've made a few observations. Here they are, in no particular order of importance.
Colleen's Observations of Small Town Life
- While there are cars everywhere, people seem to get around mostly by golf cart.
- Libraries (if there is one) have odd hours.
- There is no fresh produce (even though this is farm country).
- Restaurant food (if there is a restaurant AND it's open) is pretty cheap--small pizza, salad, and a drink for $7.50.
- Older people are very friendly and talkative, so are the kids. The middle age adults, not so much.
- And on a sad, final observation, while crime is low, drug use is high (according to townspeople I've talked to).
There you have it. Tomorrow I will have finished the "I" States. I'll be crossing into Ohio just a few miles into tomorrow's ride. I think I'll celebrate by having breakfast at the Blueberry Pancake House (maybe there will be some fruit).