covered bridges

Heat, Humidity and Thunder – Sweating Across Indiana

I felt bad yesterday morning (Tuesday).  I’d had a good night’s sleep and a splendid fry-up to kick the day off, so all should have been well.  At first, I put it down to pushing too hard, or maybe a bug of some sort.  No energy, and feeling dehydrated despite drinking three litres of water before lunch.  I’m a bit slow sometimes, and there was a headwind which I was blaming for all my ills, as usual.

I did get to see a couple of covered bridges in the morning, which was nice.  I’m not sure exactly what the point of a covered bridge is; maybe it’s just so you stay dry in a storm while waiting for the bridge to be washed away.  But they are very much a mid-west institution.  This one was outside Darlington.20140821RTW_2

At lunchtime, I stopped at a petrol station to grab a load of sugary stuff to kick-start myself; I still had a way to go.  Coming out of the shop, it finally hit me.  Like a sauna (or at least the air within a sauna).  The humidity, which the headwind had been masking as I rode, was immense.  I struggled off into the afternoon, passing two helpful signs suggesting it was either 87 or 91F.  I’m not sure what the centigrade equivalent is (and probably don’t want to know), but I do know that’s pretty hot.  This all cheered me up.  After all, I’ve been beating the elements every day (even if they always come back for more).  Something internal would have been much, much worse.

I continued south-west through a town called Waveland.  Which is so named because the land around it is kinked up into a series of short, sharp rolling hills.  Like waves.  A brilliantly literal name for a place.  I was heading for Rockville, but was disappointed to discover very few rocks.  And very little rock-n-roll.  Obviously doesn’t work everywhere…

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What I did find at Rockville was a colossal thunderstorm, which hit just as I got the tent half-up.  This was bad because all my bags got soaked, but also good, in that the people in the RV next door dragged me in, dried me off and fed me.  While having a long discussion about rugby, which I was not expecting in the US.  Oh, and they somehow reduced my camping fees to zero as well, slightly mysteriously.  I know almost every post is turning into an Oscar acceptance-speech list of thanks, but I can’t let that go without acknowledgement.  Or the free breakfast I got this morning from a bloke in the local diner.  I might have to just put a ‘thanks’ page up.

I checked the weather forecast, and it looks like the whole week ahead is going to remain in the 90s F, with loads of humidity.  There are weather warnings out for heat in the area I’m riding into (around St Louis), and thunderstorms are breaking out pretty regularly, which is a little alarming on the bike.  I turned today into a half-day just in time to get under cover before another couple of inches of rain dropped in.  So more strength-sapping heat, worries about carrying enough water and dodging lightning strikes to come for a while…

But tomorrow looks drier, and I’ll finally be leaving Indiana, and crossing into southern Illinois.  Probably sweating like a pig and moaning endlessly about the heat and humidity, but still making ground.

More soon, I hope.  And I finally updated the Progress map!  Many more exciting red markers to explore; how much more fun can you have?