We left Matt and his family and headed east with a friend of Matt's named Andy (we can't remember his last name, but we have his picture). Andy led us along quiet county roads with stops at 2 parks along our route. It was wonderful riding. In Danville, we lost track of Rolf and ended up having a bit of a spat. We continued on to Crawfordsville for a big 91 miles and the loss of another hour due to a time zone change. When we found Rolf, he announced that he wanted to leave us! The last we saw of him, he was heading west in a taxi.
Catherine and I drove the remaining 40 miles into Indianapolis and settled into the IndyHostel where our Indianapolis hostess, April had made arrangements for our lodging. It was quite a tumultuous day, to say the least, and the rest of our trip has changed again.
We spent the morning gathering our wits and cleaning our bicycles. The IndyHostel is a warm, friendly place that we would happily return to. We were both very excited about Liza and Albin's arrival later in the evening as well as the arrival of Michael Closson from Acterra who was arriving at 4 in the afternoon.
April arrived around noon on her bicycle and we rode to a small local produce restaurant with a renowned Chef known for his pulled pork sandwiches. . . ooh were they good. We found out later that the chef had worked a lot with my wife Deirdre's cousin Larry Forgione! Small world.
After lunch we rode down the Monan trail, a dedicated bike trail on an old railway line that is well used by bikers, hikers, etc. Our destination was an urban farm started by an incredibly energetic and dedicated Ethiopian woman Aster Bekele. She brings second generation Ethiopian children to the farm and gets them reaquainted with their agricultural roots. We were led on a tour by a 5 year old who enjoyed all the attention.
As we were leaving, a huge thunderstorm broke and we ended up getting back to the hostel completely soaked. It was really fun.
Michael and his friend Steve Brock were at the hostel when we got back so we dried off and had a nice visit with Steve before he had to head back to Columbus, Ohio. (Our next destination.)
The evenings plans included the arrival of Liza and Albin as well as a Pot Luck dinner at a place called Earth House. Catherine, Michael and I rode the 6 miles to Earth House in time to get a short tour and description of the place.
About 2 years ago, Earth House was a church with a diminishing congregation that couldn't afford to keep the lights on. They somehow invited a community in that remodeled the building so that it now includes a coffee shop, a venue for shows (including Sunday services), a basement kitchen and dining hall and other facilities for the use of the community. Our event was in the basement and lots of people showed up with wonderful food that we gobbled down with gusto. After eating, the guests were invited to share their activities and organizations with the group before Catherine and I presented our project. There were lots of questions and comments from a very engaged crowd and when things broke up, an incredibly sweet couple (the Henderson's) offered to give us fresh produce from their urban farm.
We met them on our way home in the last light of the day and they toured us around a few of their plots of land. It was a fabulous way to end a day dedicated to local sustainable agriculture in Indianapolis.
Both urban agriculture and centers like Earth House are much easier to realize in areas where real estate prices are reasonable. We commented more than once on how difficult it is to create urban farms and community centers in our home towns in California because of the cost of the land we live on.
April said we are good role models for becoming elderly and even though I know she was talking about my elderly sister, I was still honored. Our visit with April was a great example of how this trip is working out. As we planned our visit to Indianapolis, I asked April what she was interested in around sustainability and she shared her passion for local foods, urban farming and the communities that are built. So she created an event that featured all of those things and we were delighted to be able to share her world and see a sector of sustainable behavior alive and growing in Indianapolis.
Swimming through the humidity to Richmond- Liza Bock
We woke up to pouring rain today in the basement of the Indy Hostel. We got off to a late start, as it was tough getting out of Indianapolis through the Gay Pride Parade. Once we got started, though, conditions were perfect. We rode along highway 40 which was basically flat and very straight. We also had a tail wind, which is always a plus! The only issue was the humidity, which makes it nearly impossible to wear clothes, and drinking can be done by opening our mouths at high speeds. After thirty to forty miles, we stopped for lunch at a lovely park in Lewisville. It was really hot, and after we rinsed our dishes, we had to rinse each other. Then I took a nap in the van during the 25 miles to Richmond while Catherine, Oliver, and Albin biked there. There were some problems finding each other, but we managed and found a great campsite with a pool! Our perfect day was interrupted by Catherine's motor breaking and her bike, as well as her mascot Hoot, are now depressed as we wait for a new motor.