The Crossroads of America
So, I was at a Christmas party in Boston last season when I was lucky enough to meet a Hoosier who recommended the southern Indiana region to me for cycling and touring. For that, I'm quite grateful as all I had to do is google "hostel" and "state parks" to find the spots I've been enjoying these past two weeks.
My first stop, The Lost River Hostel, was quite an experience as I was sharing life with 7 people on most days, and a few new faces on the weekend. Oddly enough, not a single person of the core group was from Indiana, but yes, New York, LA, Boston, Atlanta, Michigan, South Carolina, and Florida. Besides enjoying early morning coffee & conversation, there were also communal dinners. But best of all, on Saturday night, I raised a glass or two with folks in celebration of my 50th state visit.
The hostel is an interesting volunteer/work community, though I came as a tourist, and spent my days cycling and visiting the sweet little towns of French Lick and West Baden Springs. Located just one mile apart, they continue to capitalize on what was once a destination of the rich and famous for the mineral springs in the area, and each still boasts grand hotels of the early 20th century. Moving from the hostel in the woods to gold leaf grandeur made for quite interesting days!
My second week in the state ends tomorrow as I depart from Brown County State Park, near Nashville, Indiana, "the art colony of the Midwest". While weather has once again challenged me (4 days of rain!), I've still enjoyed the park and town while doing exactly what I set out to do here. Remember Breaking Away? In the movie, Dave's "ecstasy ride" on the wooded road was filmed on West Gate Road in this state park. Indeed, I did relive the scene a few times this week (but without the blow-out).
So, what's next? A very good question, but next week a birthday celebration or two is on the itinerary! In the morning I roll into Ohio for a few more days of camping, then onward to enjoy time with friends in Pennsylvania and New York.
8/22/2018 10:00:06 am
Judy: My favorite photo is the hostel in the round. Your room gives the appearance of living in a tree house. Of course you climbed the tower....Congrats on having stayed in all of our 50 states and highlighting so many hidden treasures.
8/23/2018 06:18:15 pm
Eileen: Thanks for your continued visits these past (nearly) 4 years! I've still two Canadian provinces untouched but that must wait for a summer journey! Decision time on getting on a plane! J.
8/23/2018 04:44:14 pm
I thought of you today and decided to see what you are up to. Congratulations on seeing all 50 states. You have seen America as few of us have. I wish you a Happy Birthday next week! I see you will not be in Maryland this year. Maybe next year... Happy travels!
8/23/2018 06:20:25 pm
Ms. Karen C: How nice to hear from you! Indeed spending the birthday with friends in PA and NY this year, BUT, I will be coming through Easton at some point this year. Will be in touch on that! Hope you & yours are well! J.
8/25/2018 11:53:49 pm
Hi J... congrats on your 50 state tour. Love Indiana! And French Lick. Who knew? Psyched that upstate NY is on you itinerary. Get ready for some birthday 🎉 cheer!
8/27/2018 03:08:35 pm
BO: Honestly, who knew there was so much hidden wonder in the US of A!!! Psyched to see you & share some time! j.
9/9/2018 09:23:41 am
Continue to be impressed with the midwest, where I have spent precious little time. Want to look into the Miss. River cruises, and anxious to do Ohio/Ind/Ill. Wander Lust is throbbing in my soul. C.U. soon.
9/10/2018 01:21:26 pm
LO: You best get planning, girlfriend! Yes, it was quite a pleasurable summer in the Midwest Still not adjusted to the East Coast though it's been less than a few weeks. Can't wait to chat "live"! J.
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Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover