After a good night’s sleep and a quick continental breakfast at the Golden Lamb, we packed our gear and waited for Warm Showers Emily in the parking lot. She picked us up promptly at 9:00 and transported us back to the trail (thanks again, Emily). We fastened our panniers and mounted the GoPro camera and Garmin GPS before starting our 44 mile ride up to Springfield.The northern portion of the trail was bordered by hundreds of acres of corn. There were more miles of wide open sunny spaces and fewer shady sections. I realized that we definitely needed sunscreen today! We rode 20 miles north to Xenia Station, which is the cross-section of four major bike trails (Ohio-to-Erie, Little Miami, Xenia-Jamestown Connector, and Creekside), and we decided to take a restroom break. A friendly group of retirees noticed our bikes, and we spent almost 30 minutes telling them about our Rails-to-Trails adventures. They wanted to know all about our equipment and our favorite trails. We hope that they will post to our blog so that we can stay in touch with them. After our break, two members of the group offered to ride with us through town to insure that we didn’t miss the trail. We have met such wonderful people on this trip; I think bikers share a special comradery that can’t easily be explained. Based on the group’s recommendation, we decided to bike 10 more miles north to Yellow Springs for lunch instead of purchasing Subway sandwiches in Xenia. Yellow Springs is a small, eclectic touristy town with several little gift shops and restaurants. We ate at the Sunshine Cafe, which serves mostly locally grown and organic food. My free-range turkey club was delicious. As we left Yellow Springs, we picked up a trail map at the Visitor Center (first place in over 60 miles that actually had maps) and rode a few more miles up the trail to Young’s Jersey Dairy – a planned stop for an ice cream treat! The creamery was packed with families and tourists buying ice cream and enjoying the amusement park atmosphere (miniature golf, water slides, petting zoo, etc). I chose two flavors of ice cream: cow patty (similar to Moose Tracks) and peanut butter cup. Prior to our trip, I computed that we would burn 3,000 calories biking which justifies my overindulgence :-). Returning to the trail, we rode five more miles before having to ride on city streets through two unfinished portions of the trail. Fortunately, the detour signage was much better than on the Illinois Prairie Path, and we had no difficulty navigating our way to the end of the trail in Springfield. Our car was parked a few blocks away at the Heritage Center where we left it yesterday afternoon.
After a bathroom stop in the Courtyard Marriott, we headed to Indianapolis. I really appreciate Joyce for offering to drive the rental car on this trip. She enjoys driving and I’m a good co-pilot :-). It took a couple of hours to reach the Comfort Inn & Suites in Carmel, a northern suburb of Indianapolis.
Unfortunately, because I booked the hotel through Hotwire, we were placed in a room with only one bed. The hotel is booked for a Jehovah Witness conference, and they were unable to move us to a different room. Since they were also out of rollaway beds, I decided that I would make a pallet of blankets and pillows on the floor.
We drove a few blocks to Granite City Food & Brewery for dinner – the food was excellent, and the Comfort Inn had given us a discount card for our inconvenience. Since the express shipping service at the Amtrak station in indianapolis is only open from 11 PM until 6 AM, we have to ship our bikes home tonight and rent bikes tomorrow for our ride on the Monon Trail. We knew this in advance, but it’s still an unfortunate inconvenience.
Today was my favorite day of biking so far, but there’s one more trail to ride …
Corn Fields on Little Miami Trail
Bridge on Little Miami Trail
Joyce on Little Miami Trail
Covered Bridge on Little Miami Trail