Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lost in Indiana

August 8th, 2013

Being a guest at Ed & Dianne's for a couple of days had made me spoiled but I had to start my trek home.  I still had a long way to go but which route should I take.  We looked at some maps and I considered the Canadian route but when Ed mentioned he had to return his riding boots and I also wanted to visit some cousins in London, so we headed East on Hwy 401 where we parted ways at this rest stop

and as I had arranged the day before I headed out on my own to see my Aunt & cousins whom I had not seen since 1988 at the last family reunion that I attended

You know how it goes.  You plan to stay an hour but you keep talking and soon it's over 2 hours.   Cousin Sarah is into photography too and belongs to the local camera club.   She snapped a few of me and I snapped back.    I was soon back on the road

and decided to re-enter the USA through Sarnia,  Over the Blue Water Bridge.    I had been over this bridge before but many years ago in our rented car back around 1973 when we visited my Uncle in Detroit

Soon I am riding on the Blue Water bridge which is the no-man's land between the USA and Canada

Welcome to Michigan coming up and I have to turn my cameras off before I hit the customs booth.  They actually asked me about it when I was being questioned

After I crossed the border the highway splits South and West and I was not familiar with the names of the towns so I kept to the left which was a big mistake.   I didn't know it but I was heading straight into Detroit and my plan was to go around.  I got lost and exited the freeway and tried to find my bearings.   I couldn't figure it out because the road atlas I brought wasn't detailed enough and my GPS was too detailed and I couldn't find the names of the places on my paper map so I continued to ride in circles.   I thought that I could go into the McDonalds to use their WiFi on my phone but they didn't have WiFi.   Then I realized that the reason was they didn't want the wrong people hanging around so it was a warning to me to get out of there

I decided to make this an early day so I ended up in Columbia City, IN for a sit down dinner at a Chinese Restaurant

It wasn't so bad.  Broccoli & Beef with fried rice topped off with a fortune cookie.   With a full tummy now I had to find a home for the night.   I rode around and didn't see much.  Mostly run down motels so I decided to grap a marginal one right along side of the highway.   It was a seedy looking place where I had to talk through plexi-class and pay cash before I could get the key.

I prefer places where you can park in front of your door and I put my bike cover on

It was a hot day and the A/C was very cold and it had FAST  internet too.   It was clean enough and I would stay there again if I were by myself.

Notice that I was just West of Fort Wayne on the Lincoln Highway.   The next morning I headed south towards Kokomo, IN and got myself lost

You don't get a good feeling when everything around you looks run down and you are staring at the County Jail.   I kept on the backroads in exploration mode watching the farmlands roll by.   Soon I found myself in Marion, IN and after a few wrong turns ended up in Kokomo where I entered another depressing area

This Motel looked cleaner than the one I stayed and the rates were cheaper.  In fact the surrounding Motels had similar rates and even so, it would appear that all of them had no customers

I wandered around for a while getting a feel for the town and had lunch before I headed on my way.   I tried to find my way out of town but again I took the wrong turn and ended up riding through miles and miles of corn fields  (video at the end)

I used my intuition to find a Northward route and try to get back to I-80 but also to avoid the toll roads near Chicago but the traffic was gridlocked and now I was on secondary roads riding through small towns

Eventually I made it to Ottawa, Illinois which was my new home for the night.  I spent hours trying to find my way out of the corn fields and trying to follow my GPS as you will see . . .


  1. Does this seem like just yesterday as you reminisce about your trip, or does it seem so long ago?

    1. Trobairitz:

      I was not able to edit video during my trip so I have to set the scene before I post them. Gives me a chance to say a few more things to supplement what had already been posted "months ago" . I just followed the purple line on my GPS and look where it took me. To a narrow road along the river.

      That road along the corn fields ended up at a dead end and I had to back track. Hard to believe it's been 5 months. It's like it never happened

  2. Endless corn fields… isn't there a Stephen King story featuring such? Scary thoughts.

    1. Sonja:

      actually, I wasn't getting a good feeling riding there. I was going the wrong way and there was little traffic and I was in the middle of farmlands. Eventually the road narrowed and I had to turn around. I thought about stopping and going into the corn fields but then, that would be trespassing. There were so many corn fields

  3. That is why I don't use GPS Bob. The folks programing them don't have any idea where those roads go or don't go that they send you on. I can get lost perfectly fine on my own.

    1. Paul:

      the GPS got me in trouble many times during my trip. I just follow the purple line and hope for the best. I have found that the GPS always gets you there but not necessarily in the most expedient manner, or most direct route

      I had a hard time finding my bearings from Kokomo, IN. and it took me hours to get back to I-80 on backroads without a map

  4. That's a lot of food for one meal! I'm enjoying your videos and stories. GPS in conjunction with a map works well. Pick a spot like 1000+ miles away for your destination and not a daily destination.

    1. Richard:

      I've only got a few videos left to post so I am including more "unseen" photos and perhaps more thoughts now that I had more time to think about things.

      I guess I was hungry because I ate it all

  5. Bob, that river road is just too rural for very long. I know the GPS can be frustrating at times. What I would have done is stop, do a search for either a fast food place, a fuel stop, shopping centre, anyplace with some good chance of a denser population and headed there. On arrival, you could ask for further suggestions from someone - but they do have to have some decent level of IQ. It's always amazing how many people there are who never go far from home and just don't know the local roads!

    1. Ed:

      I wished I had more time to stop and just watch the river go by. I thought about it but then those were private docks. It seemed that the road cut across their property with the homes on the left and they also had the riverfront. I was miles and miles away from malls but I eventually found a place to stop and try to wait out the Chicago traffic. I was waiting for an email before I got too far west but in the end I just tried to make time and headed West on I-80 until I got hungry and decided to stop for a dinner break