Sarah had to work on Saturday. I certainly don’t enjoy it when she has to work overtime, but her schedule gave me a perfect opportunity to get out for a ride. I planned a 57-mile route, based loosely on a local club route, that would take me northwest of Bloomington, up to the small town of Gosport. This route looked particularly interesting because once away from town, it would involve some new roads, and some other roads I hadn’t ridden on for several years. I feel I’ve had a shortage of new roads lately, so I was looking forward to branching out a bit. Here’s a map of my route.
Saturday morning brought a big surprise, in the form of very thick fog. I think fog is gorgeous, and I love riding in it, so I was thrilled!
I checked the forecast for the day — at that time, it was 34 degrees, with a predicted high for the day of 60. That large temperature range is hard to dress for, so I made my best guess and rolled out into the fog, a little chilly, but figuring the day would warm up quickly. The roads were wet — I’m not sure if it had rained overnight, or if they were wet with heavy dew or condensation. Either way, the atmosphere was thick and beautiful, and it felt like riding in rain, without actually getting rained on.
The roads were quiet, with only a few cars. My main concern when riding in fog is being seen by cars, so I wore bright colors and had lights flashing the entire time. The lack of traffic eased my concerns. The scenery was beautiful basically the entire ride.
I rode through Ellettsville, the closest town northeast of Bloomington. I meant to take some photos as I rode through town, but there was just enough traffic that I had to stay focused on riding. I rode past Bybee Stone Company, one of the many limestone companies in this area.
I stopped for a break by a creek. I was thinking the fog would clear up within about an hour or so, but I was an hour into the ride, and the fog was showing no signs of lifting. And, the temperature didn’t seem to have risen at all. I didn’t rest long; the longer I stood there, the colder I felt.
I turned onto Red Hill Road. I was a little nervous about this one because most roads with “hill” in the name earn the name by having quite a large hill. But Red Hill Road had just a mild climb followed by a surprisingly flat section.
The road went through a few ups and downs.
I stopped by a field for a brief break.
If the temperature had risen at all at this point, I couldn’t detect it. I felt a little chilly, but within reason. One thing riding year-round does for you is lower your expectations of comfort. You can’t ride in conditions like these and expect to be 100% comfortable. You have to be willing to accept being a little chilly, or overly warm. Personally, I’ll almost always err on the cool side.
Knee warmers, wool baselayer, arm warmers, jersey, and vest kept me warm enough, but just barely. My ears were still covered. Normally I uncover my ears around 40 degrees, but it was hard to gauge the actual temperature. The very high humidity made it feel chillier.
The road dipped down toward Stinesville.
I had ridden through Stinesville a couple of times before. Normally it feels quaint, but on this day, with the fog, it took on a creepy ambiance. Run-down shacks looked like something out of a horror movie, in the fog.
I rode directly through Stinesville and continued riding. I reached an interesting intersection.
I was headed up the hill to the left, but the gravel road on the right sure looked inviting. I might have to return to explore this area. A quick check of Google Maps tells me that the road on the right may just dead end, but it sure looks like it would be fun to explore.
There was a good climb on Texas Ridge Road, but then it was flat ridgetop riding for a bit, with a river down to my right.
I dropped down by the river, the West Fork of the White River, and found this cool restored Ferry Bridge. It had been blocked off to motor vehicles. I took a few minutes to explore.
I could see down the river to the bridge that carried motor vehicle traffic. It had only a fraction of the character of this bridge.
I found another spot that I thought would have been fun to explore, but didn’t want to take the road bike on this potentially muddy detour. A few minutes later I determined that this dirt road just went through and connected to the main road probably less than 1/4 mile away. Oh well.
I got back on the road and crossed the newer bridge, the Phillip F. Rogers Memorial Bridge. From there, I had a nice view back to the older bridge.
After a little flat riding and a climb or two, I found myself in Gosport.
I found Gosport quaint. According to Wikipedia, it has an area of 0.4 square miles. A small town on top of a hill. Adorable!
I made my way over to Casey’s General Store. I stocked up on water and also bought a donut and a cup of coffee. The locals gave me some weird looks, but the cashier was very kind to me. After two hours of riding through 40-degree fog, the coffee, while it was merely run-of-the-mill gas station coffee, tasted absolutely divine. The caffeine was most welcome, as well.
I headed out and my hands felt absolutely freezing. I was wondering if they would ever warm up. I passed an establishment which claimed to have the “Coldest Beer in Owen County.” Another tempting stop, but I pressed on.
I took a meandering path through Gosport, so I could get a bit more of a sense of the place.
You can’t really read it, but the sign below is for the Gosport Tavern. Someday I have to go back to Gosport and visit this place.
On my way out of town, I found Goss Road. This is significant as there are Gosses in my family. I believe there are other Gosses in the area. I’m not sure if there’s any relation, but it’s a rather unusual name, and it’s always interesting to find any reference to it.
Now it was time to head back toward Bloomington. My return trip would be slightly longer and significantly hillier. It took a while, but my hands eventually did warm back up again. But not until I reached a large climb.
At one point, the road flattened out for a little while. Normally, during a hilly ride, this would be a welcome change, but now the headwind became a real factor. It wasn’t unbearable, but it did slow me down considerably, in this flat, open space.
It’s hard to tell here, but there were dozens of birds sitting in these power lines, many of which took flight as I rode past.
Below we have McCormick’s Creek. It’s hard to believe that this tiny thing feeds a beautiful waterfall in McCormick’s Creek State Park (see some of my past shots of the waterfall here).
For the first time in the entire ride, I started to see a couple of small breaks in the clouds. You can see right behind the tree below a small bright spot.
The sun was finally starting to burn away the clouds. I thought I felt the air warming up slightly, as well.
The ride remained hilly … but beautiful.
Finally, the sun burned through the clouds.
I kept seeing more and more beautiful ridgetop views.
The rest of the ride is sort of a blur, but it involved a number of hills — including an especially difficult one on Garrison Chapel Road — a little more sun, and slightly warmer temperatures.
This last shot was taken on That Road. As you can see it’s fairly hilly — but it’s fast riding in this direction. It was a real pain climbing up this hill first thing in the morning.
It never warmed up past 50 degrees. By the end of the ride the only layer I had shed was my ear covering. No complaints here. I love riding in cooler weather.
The fog made for an incredible, memorable ride, with beautiful scenery and very little traffic overall. Gosport definitely warrants a return trip, at some point. Hopefully this week will be a great one for riding, with some time off work.