Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Williams Covered Bridge

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

I wanted to go for a good long ride on Saturday. The club was doing a century route I’d very much like to ride, but I decided I didn’t want to ride *that* far, and I wanted to ride at my own pace. So, I settled on riding to the Williams Covered Bridge (another route devised by the club) on my own. I rode this route once before nearly two years ago and very much enjoyed it. From our old apartment, it was over 70 miles. From our house the ride ended up being around 65 miles. Here’s a map.

I intended to get an early start to beat the heat. However, I’m not a morning person, and slept in a little bit. By the time I ate breakfast and got ready, it was nearly 11:00 am. Oh well!

I spent most of the first 11 miles or so on Old State Road 37. The part close to town was repaved recently and now has some of the smoothest asphalt around.

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The pavement wasn’t as new outside of town, but the scenery was better.

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Old 37 is pleasant, but not terribly interesting most of the way. I was feeling rather sluggish for the first hour so. I was also trying a new (to me) sports drink, Accelerade, and it wasn’t sitting very well with me. The taste was bad, and it seemed rather heavy. When I stopped at a gas station I finished off the Accelerade and filled my bottle with PowerAde instead. I ate an oatmeal cream pie and some chips.

Eventually, I reached Judah and turned off the old state highway and onto back roads. McFadden Ridge Road was great, with some rolling hills, ridgetop riding, and a great descent.

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Soon I was at Salt Creek, which feeds into Lake Monroe.

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The road followed the flat creek bottom briefly, near a quarry.

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I rode back up into the hills on Peerless Road, which had quite a few hills.

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I passed some sort of odd gas station/park.

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Soon I was in Bedford, known as “limestone capital of the world.” I thought about finding a place here to eat lunch, as it would be the biggest town I’d pass through until I got home. But I wasn’t really hungry yet, and I knew there was a place to go in Williams, or at least there had been two years ago.

In Bedford, the route took me on a four-lane road for a while, which concerned me a bit but there was almost no traffic. In fact, it was almost eerily deserted.

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I stopped at a gas station on the opposite side of Bedford to refuel. While there, I spoke with a friendly clerk who was intrigued by what I was doing.

Soon I was back on the road and headed toward Williams.

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By this time, it was really warming up. Actually I think the high temp for the day wasn’t too bad — mid-80s — but the humidity was high and I was sweating profusely. I remembered this part of the ride being pretty hilly, but I hoped it would be easier this time around. It was just as hilly as I remembered, and there was very little shade. Up until recently, the ride had been fairly overcast, which was a pleasant change from the very bright days we’ve had. But now the sun was coming out, and it made the exposed hills harder.

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Somewhere around here, a motorcyclist passed me and waved as he passed.

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Thankfully, it wasn’t all hills. There were some flat sections intertwined with hilly ones.

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You really can’t tell at all from the photos, but in the two below there are hundreds, if not thousands, of butterflies, fluttering across this field.

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Soon I approached Williams. A recreation area flanked the White River’s East Fork.

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I rode up the hill into town.

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In a few minutes I was through town and the motorcyclist from before came out of the parking lot for the recreation area. He must have gone down to get a closer look and then come back out. I think he was surprised I caught up with him. You can sort of see him below, disappearing into the distance once again.

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I guess I was on the outskirts of Williams, because I kept seeing signs.

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Soon, I approached the bridge.

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When I arrived, the guy on a motorcycle was there, looking around. He turned around and headed back, and said, “You made great time!” I think he was surprised that I kept catching up with him.

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The other end of the bridge has a lot of graffiti.

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A new bridge is being constructed a bit down from this one. I’m sure it will lack the character of this beautiful wooden bridge. I hope they’ll keep this bridge intact for pedestrians/cyclists, I think I read somewhere that they plan to do just that, but I’m not sure.

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After checking out the bridge, I rode back into Williams.

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Once back in Williams, I stopped for lunch at Pinnick’s Country Store and Cafe, which has a very nice view.

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When I rode down here last time, there were very few people there. This time I walked in and people were seated at tables, eating and talking. I felt a lot of eyes on me as I walked in in full cycling gear. After a few minutes I felt more relaxed as people went back to what they were doing.

An older man later struck up a conversation. He must have been the owner, or something. I was looking at some photos and he pointed out their old store, which was falling apart and cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and too expensive to maintain. So they built a new store, the one I was in.

I had intended to simply buy a few food items and leave, but I decided to sit and eat. I ordered a ham sandwich and some tea. A few minutes later, my food was ready. I had a HUGE sandwich, and chips, and iced tea … all for $4. I wish I had brought my camera into the store, it was quite a place. Overall Williams, while tiny, had a lot of appeal.

But, it wasn’t all charm.

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After lunch, I got rolling again. I had to backtrack a bit before turning off on some smaller back roads.

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The roads remained quite hilly, and the heat was getting to me a bit. I took my time, and did fine. At this point I realized I was only about halfway through my ride. It’d be a long one …

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What could have been a very long stretch of road was broken up nicely as I rode through a couple of small towns. First Fayetteville, and later Springville.

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After I passed Fayetteville, the road remained quite hilly but had some very nice views on offer.

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Somewhere between Fayetteville and Springville, a couple of emergency vehicles passed me. I wondered what was going on. Soon enough, I’d find out, as I came across the site of a bad accident.

It appeared two cars headed in opposite directions had collided head-on. EMS were already present and helping. One girl was carried out of her car on a back board. A man sat in the other car and they put a neck brace on him. I waited for a few minutes, and one of the emergency personnel suggested I go ahead and go through. There was plenty of room between the cars that had crashed, but I had to pick up my bike to avoid all the broken glass.

I have to admit, I was a bit shaken by the accident. My guess is, one or both drivers were over the center line when they went around a blind curve, so they collided. There were a lot of curves and hills on this road, and it’s easy to see how something like that might happen. Having an accident like that happen along my route just as I was riding on it was more than enough to make me think how lucky it was that I hadn’t ridden a little faster, or taken a shorter lunch break. Yikes.

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The sky was growing cloudier, and it seemed like it might rain. Soon, I arrived in Springville and I stopped to top off water bottles and eat something else. It had only been 12 miles since my last stop, but I didn’t think I’d have another opportunity before I got back to Bloomington.

After Springville, things were a little more familiar, and very beautiful. The road climbed gradually for a little while. The clouds grew more ominous, and I thought I felt a few raindrops a couple of different times.

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Eventually there was a bigger climb and by this time I was feeling quite sluggish. It was a tough hill, and even easy hills were difficult from this point on.

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A little more rain fell, but never more than a few drops. I stopped to take in a couple of views.

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Before long I was back in town, by way of Victor Pike. This meant I had a great downhill, and a couple of climbs. By the time I got home I had ridden around 65 miles. After all the long rides I’ve done recently, I thought this ride would feel short, but it really didn’t. 65 hilly miles is still a hard ride!

7 Responses to “Williams Covered Bridge”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Accidents like that are indeed scary. Makes me wish you played chess or did crossword puzzles instead of cycling. 😉

    Oh, and I’ll never get tired of the bicycle in front of a corn field shots. Keep ’em coming.

  2. Steve A Says:

    Speaking of chess, I’m reminded that the great Bobby Fischer lived the last 30 years of his life as a recluse before dying at 64. Yes, keep those corn field shots coming, ride well, and God will determine the rest.

  3. chandra Says:

    nice post with lots of pics. particularly enjoyed # 6444.
    peace 🙂

  4. Alice Says:

    Nice photos. Looks like a fun ride. I’d love to explore the backroads of KY here in my area, but riding alone on backroads, I’d be in trouble if I have a flat. I suck at changing flats. (Guess I should work on that.) But I do love a nice photo exploration. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Apertome Says:

    Alice: nearly all the riding I do is on back roads, usually alone. Fixing a flat is definitely a good skill to have, if you doubt your patching skills, you might want to bring a spare tube or two. And a cell phone so you can call for a ride if you can’t fix it!

  6. Bill Lambert Says:

    Uh huh, oatmeal creme pies. I’m sensing a theme here – probably why you kept close to the motorcyclist! Years ago (25! yipes!) there used to be a great little sandwich shop in Nineveh. If you ever get over that way you may want to see if it’s still there. But don’t plan on it in case it’s gone. By the way, good choice on the ham sandwich. It killed Mama Cass, but probably saved yours!

  7. Loving the Bike Says:

    Wow, great photos….thanks for taking me along for the ride. I’ve always wanted to cycling over an old covered bridge like that one. Might just have to venture out to your roads sometime.

    I just came across your blog and would love to include you in our World Cycling Blog Directory. If you’re interested, please check out http://cranklisted.com to submit it.

    Thanks,

    Darryl

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