Part 8 - West Lafayette, IN to Zanesville, OH 380 Miles

Rode north to Indiana Beach to ride their coasters, and the bike did it's dying act again, fortunately for the last time on the trip. Indiana Beach is a nice lakeside amusement park and resort, reminded me of the Jersey Shore piers.

The weather forecast for the day was supposed to be showers, heavy at times, but so far so good. I continued East on Route 24, a nice road at times. Passed the first 'Chew Mail Pouch' barn on the way East, and I tried to remember where I saw the last grain elevator. Somewhere in Illinois, I think. I wonder if the two can co-exist?

At one point Route 24 dived down through a group of trees that overhung the road and formed a canopy of leaves. I stopped there for a minute, and realized why I was so impressed: this was really the first time I'd seen a bunch of trees (or shade, for that matter) in days. Passed the Mr. Happy Burger, complete with 30+ foot fiberglass smiling cow wearing a chef's hat. I couldn't stop laughing.

Passing through Logansport, IN (hometown of Dan Quayle, that's what all the signs said), I spotted a sign that said 'Dentzel Carousel in Park -->'. I followed the sign and was simply stunned. Most carousels are uncared for, and certainly not made a big fuss over. Here's a town that puts signs up in town, even mentioning the fact that it's a Dentzel. The carousel itself is very beautiful, complete with a working ring machine (grab for the brass ring, ride for free), one of less than 6 in the country.

Found out what a bee sting feels like for the first time in my 30 years. There I am, just happily riding along, and suddenly someone's sticking a white-hot poker into the back of my neck. I stopped the bike in an instant, leaped off and started removing clothes. Checking the mirror, there was a stinger coming out of my neck and a bee carcass (I hope it was just a carcass) sitting on my shoulder. Son of a bitch, that hurt. So there I am, standing shirtless on the side of a cornfield in Whereami, Indiana, remembering every allergic reaction story I've ever heard. I sure hope I don't start swelling up, as I don't even know where the nearest person is, let alone the nearest hospital. Rode along for a while, and the pain diminished, and I was OK. Nasty little buggers, bees. They'll hurt you even though they know it will kill them. A bit too much pride, if you ask me.

Continued on 24 to 224 and then 33 into Ohio. Before leaving Indiana, I saw a sign that read '<--Peru Chili-->'. Really. Also, there were signs reading 'Watch your speed, we are'. Didn't like that one at all. Saw a sign for 'Erie, Indiana'. Back in Nebraska there were signs on I-80 that read 'Watch for Wind' - sorry, never saw any. You know it's a hot day when you think of the 8 or 10 drinks you've had (non-alcoholic), and realize you haven't made a bathroom stop yet.

In Ohio, passed the enormous Honda facility in Marysville, including the TRC (Transportation Research Center). Very boring ride into Columbus to do Wyandot Lake. Nothing special.

After Wyandot Lake, continued around Columbus on the slab. Why is there a sign for 'Hoover Dam' in Columbus, Ohio? Checking the campground listings, the nearest thing was a KOA at Buckeye Lake. Tried unsuccessfully to find it, but I was happy to be off the highway and back onto the smaller roads. The next nearest campground looked to be Dillon Lake, in Zanesville, about 30 miles away. The sun had pretty much set, twilight had arrived but the bugs had not. And I was about to have the most bonehead moment of the trip.

Riding along Route 256 (?), I was passing through a bunch of small towns, and watching my speed through them. I was going through one town and noticed a patrol car sitting on a railroad embankment. I checked my speedo, and I was within the limit. I watched my mirror as I passed him, and he didn't move. Cool. Apparantly, I must have thought town ended before it did, and sped up to around 55 or so. I did not see him behind me at the time.

So there I am, riding happily along, with a patrol car right behind me, lights flashing and sirens wailing. The combination ear plugs and wind noise must have masked his siren, and I wasn't checking my mirrors every 10 seconds in rural Ohio on a twisting road. The road had a couple of nice bends, which I leaned heavily into (for me). A car was coming the other way, and I motioned for them to slow down as there was a cop ahead. I can't imagine what they thought of me telling them to slow down with a police car on my ass in full lights/siren mode.

Finally, about 5 miles after leaving town, there was a blinker light at an intersection, so I stopped. That's when I noticed him. Oh no. He was out of the car in a jiffy, and 'didn't you see me behind you' out of his lips. I told him that until that moment, I hadn't. We discussed my ride through town, and he confirmed that I sped up before I was out of town, and he had me at 55 in a 35. I'm glad I didn't decide to race through the Ohio countryside after leaving town. He also mentioned that he caught the signal to the other driver. I don't think my face has ever been more red.

He asked for my license/registration/insurance, and I made sure to tell him that it was in my jacket pocket before reaching in for the documents (always a good idea). He was not impressed with my non-photo NJ license (neither was the Kansas cop), which is why I also carry an expired photo license with me. We talked for a bit, and he said that if my license came back clean, he wasn't going to write me up. Which it did, so he didn't. We talked about my trip for a few minutes, and he told me of a shortcut to Zanesville. I went on my way. Slowly.

Got to Zanesville in the dark, and found my way to Dillon Lake through the bugfest. Turned out to be a nice place, as best as I could tell with no light. Set up tent, staked it down nicely, and stashed my gear. Rode back down to the camp store to pay my camping fee ($13), and upon returning there were a group of little girls painting my parking spot with colored chalk, all flowers and sun and grass. OK by me. I was asleep in no time.