Another early morning found us with only an abundance of mosquito bites to complain about. Well, that and what we had come to refer to as our morning hill which really wasn't all that bad, but it certainly was a jump start to the day. We didn't want to stick around Jim's farm too long since we really weren't supposed to be there so we packed up and left looking to find a spot close by to park and cook breakfast.
After a few steep ups and downs we found a nice little nook in a wooded area just off a remote residential road. Pulling in we found it covered in poison ivy, not unlike a lot of places we'd come to stop in, but Jenny was able to find a suitable area to setup the camp stove and whip up some oatmeal, we saved some of the water Jim gave us for just such a breakfast. As I recall Jenny was getting a little weary of all the traveling, steep hills and early mornings, but shortly after breakfast we came upon the words "Vive le tour" painted on the road which served as a nice little pep talk.
We didn't have to put in a whole lot of miles before arriving in Martinsville, IN. We stopped off at a gas station on the outskirts of town to fill up our water bottles then paid a quick visit to the local grocer. I picked up some frozen vegetarian chicken patties figuring we could just go ahead and eat them up rather than storing them since it was far too hot for any such food to keep for any longer than a day or two.
We decided to check out the city park for lunch and were greeted by a rather scenic public area. Built right onto the side of a good size hill the Martinsville city park is quite spacious, with a fishing pond at the foot of the hill, several pavillions and restrooms. We found a large tree to prop our bikes under, lit up the camp stove and unpacked our solar chargers since, again, there was an abundance of sunlight.
It was here that we met what is likely to be the only bicycle tourist living in Martinsville. While preparing some peanut butter and banana sandwhiches to round out our lunch we notice a fit well kempt gentleman with short gray hair approaching. "Oh you're on tour" he began and launched into stories about his past as a bike tourist himself. He doesn't tour so much these days, he's in his seventies now though he certainly looked fit, but used to tour a good 150 miles or so every year. He loves bicycles, in fact at the time of this conversation he had five back at his house.
You could tell he really enjoyed reminiscing about his past and he worked in a few suggestions for us as well. To help stabilize bikes with front panniers keep the heavy stuff on the bottom of the bags to lower the center of gravity and wider tires help to reduce instability, though they do increase drag so not too wide, thinner than a mountain or cruiser bike I'm sure.
After saying our goodbyes we found the hour late enough in the day that after packing everything up we weren't likely to put in a whole lot of miles should we leave the park so we decided to explore the park looking for a secluded spot to pitch our tent after dark. Walking our bikes up the hill suddenly my rear tire went flat! Our first flat of the trip, and while walking the bikes in a city park no less. We pulled over at a nearby picnic table, unloaded my bike, flipped it over and took the tire off.
The odd thing here is that I found the puncture on the inner side of the tube, the side pointing towards the hub rather than the ground. My best guess here is that a spoke was too tight and punctured the tube, though the wheel does have fairly nice protection against this with a strip of plastic going around the inside of the wheel covering the areas where the spokes might come in contact with the inner tube. At any rate I can't say for sure what caused this puncture, but it was flat and it just so happened that the puncture was right next to a raised area on the tube that looks like a seam, but it's not. Because of this I was unable to get any patches to maintain their hold and ended up replacing the tube with our one and only spare. I can say a good 500 miles or so since then I have not had another flat like this.
A few expletives may or may not have been uttered, but we got back up and rolling. We didn't need to explore much farther before finding an area of the park that cuts back into the trees where power lines run into the park. We rolled our bikes to the back and waited for the sun to set. Once the sun set we figured we should get some water from one of the restrooms, but the restrooms were a little gross so we brought our filters and ran water from one of the sinks through them into our reservoir.
We didn't encounter anyone and everything seemed calm so in addition to our reservoir I filled up our camp shower, setup the tarp and shower on my bike and we each took a much needed shower. We put some food in our bellies, admired the night sky and turned in for the night.
The next morning we thought we'd take our time getting ready to head out, surely no one would peek back here at this hour. Well apparently there was a path through the woods that passed nearby and an early morning jogger snapped a picture of us and sent it to park management. We heard a lawnmower in the distance, but thought little of it until we noticed a large riding lawnmower headed straight for us! "You know you're not allowed to camp in the park right?" the gentleman, later to be known as Randy, perched upon the lawnmower inquired. "Oh yeah?" I replied inquisitively, neither answering the question nor acknowledging that we had camped there.
Randy turned out to be a friendly fellow. He's not a decision maker himself, he's 0n employee of the park that management had sent out to bring us in. Apparently the park used to allow camping and is the only city park Randy knows of that doesn't allow camping. The city banned camping in the park due to problems with overnight drug abuse, usually violators are arrested and, indeed, on our way out we saw a police vehicle waiting in the parking lot. After chatting with Randy for a while and getting to know each other a bit he said he'd recommend to his supervisors that we be allowed to leave.
Making our way down the hill we stumbled upon Randy again, this time looking for someone else. Another photo had come in, about twenty minutes prior to this encounter, of someone sleeping in an enclosed hammock. Randy wanted to know if we had seen this person, but we had not. We may never know if this guy went to jail or not, but I have a feeling he took off right around the time he heard that lawnmower fire up.
We took a quick detour to Walmart looking for a couple of spare inner tubes, but they didn't, nor have I ever found one that did, have our size. I did grab a few extra tent pegs though, for our tarp, since the Walmart near our starting point in Indianapolis was perpetually sold out. A few dabs of sunscreen and we were off towards Bainbridge again!