Bloomington is hilly, so it was a real treat to take the bikes south to Mitchell, Indiana, earlier today. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky, minimal wind, and in the high 60s to low 70s. I started out with a nylon jacket, but shed it after 7 miles.
I’ve been hearing Deb talk about the “Hucks Ride” for several weeks. It’s one she does with some of her friends in the Lawrence County Women’s Cycling Club. What could that be, I wondered? A ride to some site associated with Huckleberry Finn? I had to see for myself!
We started out with lovely rolling farm ground. Golden fields of soybeans awaited the combine, and farmers already had harvested some corn. In the distance, I saw trees just starting to turn colors, with the faintest hint of yellow and a few brushstrokes of red on their leaves.
Deb usually rides ahead of me, and after we had gone a few miles she began calling out “poop warnings” over her shoulder. If you ride over the dried stuff it’s not so bad, but you really do want to avoid the fresh droppings left by horses on the road.
One reason this ride is so enjoyable is because it goes through Amish country. We passed an Amish school along the way, but its scholars must have been inside hard at work. Later, on our return trip, I heard the clop, clop, clop of horse hooves, and we met two buggies of children heading toward the school. Perhaps the children were returning from lunch? Or had a field trip today? Look closely, and you can see me on my bike just to the right of the buggies.
Along the way we saw many Amish businesses, including a tack shop with a row of buggies parked in front, and a saw mill.
And of course there were plenty of farms where you could stop to buy produce and other goods. They’re closed on Sundays.
One of the beauties of riding a bicycle in the countryside is that you soon forget all about the things on your to-do list back home. You are in the moment, smelling the grasses, taking in the sights, feeling the breeze on your skin. So by this point in my ride, I had forgotten all about my quest to discover why this outing is called the “Huck’s ride.” Then we pulled into our destination–Orleans, Indiana.So that’s it! The ride got its name from this gas station/convenience store. I’m glad my curiosity led me to explore the town a bit further. It’s celebrating its bicentennial this year. Downtown we found these wonderful murals. As you may have guessed from the one on the left, Orleans was named in honor of Andrew Jackson’s victory over the British in January 1815, two months before the town was founded.
You’re probably thinking you have seen it all, but on the way back to Mitchell we passed several interesting remnants of agriculture’s past. This is one creative way to make a mailbox, don’t you think? But the house has seen better days.
By the time we returned to Mitchell (home of astronaut Gus Grissom), we had worked up an appetite. Fortunately for us, Mitchell was celebrating its annual Persimmon Festival.
Deb got in line at a food truck, but then we saw a sign down the street in front of the Methodist church. Inside they had the most delicious food for sale, and it was air conditioned (by this time we were warm). We both had our first taste of persimmon pudding topped with cinnamon sauce. Fantastic! And who could pass up the blackberry pie? We’d better take another ride to Hucks to burn off all these calories!
Happy Fall, everyone!