The next 7 days were pretty much pure bliss straight out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. The property where we camped is that of my best-good-friend's (Beastie Back Eastie...referenced in Poop Story) grandparents and is a beautiful wooded piece of land where their house is tucked in amongst the trees, and they have a sizeable clearing where they allowed us to camp. Having never met Adam, and me just once, it was very kind and generous of them to let us stay. The weather treated us to drier 80 degree days and 65 degree nights, but the mosquitos did not get the memo to relent. No matter. While what we were doing was still primitive camping: digging holes for poo, filtering creek water, cooking over the campstove, it was an absolute luxury to not have to setup and strike camp everyday let alone find a place to camp. Though we were still adjusting to life outside, at least those elements were eliminated for awhile which allowed us much more leisure time and relaxation.
That June, before we'd left Indianapolis, Beastie Back Eastie had invited us to join her family on their inaugural week-long camping trip held at a property near her grandparents' at the creek. That trip was full of fun activities and social interactions, swimming, skipping rocks, fishing, roasting marshmallows, hiking, the works! She and I even took a girls-only swim down the creek a ways during which I saw my first ever bald eagle. It was nice to be back at the creek again to quietly appreciate its beauty and serenity. I often found myself wondering what memories BBE had of this spot or that.
We rolled out of Martinsville with some gusto, having had a shower and a decent meal the night before. Leading the way, I had a great coast going and used my momentum to confidently turn the wrong way. As a side note, there really is no wrong turn, though it might not seem like it in the short term. Needless to say, we pulled over so I could re-route. In a moment of clarity, I turned on the terrain feature on Google Maps. Sweet relief! We found a valley route going northwest on the map. Eager to end the rigors of hilly southern Indiana, we decided without hesitation to take it.
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.
We awoke early after our second night at Brown County State Park's Horseman's camp partly so we could pack up and get out without being seen, but also so we could make it to Nashville for lunch with Jenny's stepfather John. The morning was largely uneventful, we stopped off at a gas station on the way to Nashville to refill our water bottles, picked up a few provisions at a local IGA grocery store and headed on to Nashville.
Nashville, IN is a small town built at the foot of some rather large hills. Our plan was to meet John somewhere, unload the equipment from our bikes into John's car for safekeeping then lock up the bikes and have lunch. Our arrival into Nashville was a little unnerving, it was Saturday so the whole town was out and we rode through the main market area where it seemed as though everyone was watching us ride by. Apparently two cyclists loaded with 90lbs of gear isn't a common sight in this small town.
Our first few days out were quite a ride and presented a number of challenges that certainly tested our patience at times, but ultimately we learned quite a bit and, while I believe there's still quite a bit left to learn, we've really gotten the hang of life on the outside.
We left Indianapolis somewhere around 2am and traveled roughly seventy miles before making camp at about 9pm. That evening, we encountered our first large hill which, after having been on the bikes for a good sixty miles, we decided to ascend on foot. Upon reaching the top we found a short path leading to a small clearing and a picnic table within a forested area. This was, of course, a sight for sore eyes as they say so we decided to pitch our tent and get started on some dinner. The elation was, however, short lived.