I was going to be leaving Terre Haute this morning, heading east on the National Road toward Ohio. But I’ve changed my plans. What was going to be a dry week has turned out to have a soggy beginning all along the route, and I want to minimize riding in the rain. Part of the point of this tour is to see and photograph the National Road, and I won’t want to get my camera out in a downpour. Also, thunderstorms bring lightning and I would be exposed. Finally, my bike’s brakes don’t work great when they’re wet.
So I’ll start on Wednesday morning instead, and ride through Saturday. I’ve also changed the start of the trip to Richmond, within line of sight of the Ohio border. I had to do this because of hotel availability. There’s exactly one hotel anywhere near the midpoint between Indianapolis and Richmond, and it’s in tiny Dunreith. Starting in Terre Haute on Wednesday put me in Dunreith on Friday — and the hotel was full. Starting in Richmond on Wednesday puts me in Dunreith later that day — and the hotel had a room for me.
I had been plotting and scheming this trip’s original itinerary for a long time, and had come to pre-imagine how the whole ride would go. This late change resets and refreshes everything for me and I think perhaps I will experience the ride with fresh eyes. The National Road is best experienced westbound anyway, as this road was built to open the United States to what was then its west. Finally, I’ll get to cap my ride arriving in Terre Haute, a town I lived in for nine formative younger years and for which I still feel affection. My close friend Michael still lives there after all these years, and has offered a shower at the end of the route and a beer at my favorite Terre Haute pub when my wife arrives to pick me up.
It also helps a lot that the terrain slopes gently downhill, overall, on the Indianapolis to Terre Haute portion of the trip. It doesn’t help, however, that this is also the hilliest terrain of the trip and I’ll be approaching it with two and three days of mounting trip fatigue. In contrast, the portion from Richmond to Indianapolis, which I’ll ride first, is largely flat.
I’m pleased that the high temperatures will be in the low 80s. That’ll make for pleasant riding.