“What happened to the trail,” I asked, as a beautiful B&O converted rail line suddenly stopped.
The paved trail, which ran straight east-west, was an awesome find and a good way out of dicey Indianapolis, which was heavy with traffic and had no decent shoulder on the road.
“The end,” said Sandy in blunt fashion, “This is it, girl… trail over.” Sandy slapped me with a hard reality and I laughed out loud at the situation.
Yolanda and her sister, Sandy, were also stopped at the end of the trail, but their bike ride was half done for the day.
“You’re lean like a jellybean,” said Sandy. “How much protein do you eat?”
The sisters were inquisitive and fun. “We like to ride, but not like that,” said Yolanda, pointing to my hobo house on wheels.
The B&O Trail was going to be my lifesaver as the sign at the start on Speedway Drive read ’Springfield, IL 193 miles’ and then an arrow pointing west.
The B&O trail is a rails-to-trails project along the historic Baltimore and Ohio railroad corridor.
The first US public railroad was chartered in 1827 by Baltimore businessmen to compete against the newly open Erie Canal.
Construction began in 1828 and by May 1830 the train was operating between Baltimore and Ellicott’s Mills Maryland.
Originally horse-drawn, the successful trial run of Peter Cooper’s Tom Thumb in August 1830 inaugurated the steam locomotive era.
After a brief break and some conversation with the ladies, it was back on the road. ”Not so fast, sister,” said Sandy. “We got to lay some Jesus on you.”
With that Sandy and Yolanda took my hands in theirs and we formed a small tight circle of newfound friends and the sisters prayed that I have a safe journey home.
Indianapolis to Waynestown, IN, and I had clocked about 71 miles. I struck up a conversation with John Olson in the parking lot at Dollar General.
A quick chat about mapping and distance soon turned into, ”You can come home with me … we have a trailer for camping and you can stay there.”
John lived up the road another 10 miles in Newtown, IN.
His family was awesome. A lot of girl power.
“How many times does your dad go to the store and come home with a lady in spandex on a bike?”
“Never,” said the girls in unison as we sat around the dining room table.
John’s wife, Paula, was beautiful as well as a generous and easy-going hostess. ”You actually saved us tonight because our daughter Hope brought her boyfriend home for the first time…”
I felt like an added distraction but apparently a bit of a saving grace for a young teenager who was meeting his girlfriend’s muscley father.
“John has always worked out but he wanted to bench 400 pounds by his 40th birthday,” said Paula.
The Olson family was a treat. Paula and John were high school sweethearts. Married at 20, they became an instant family when they agreed to become foster parents to three boys.
After the children were placed Paula said, ”We looked at each other and were like … we are not having kids.”
A couple years later they had Hope and their family grew. Paula and John continued to open their home to foster children.
They adopted Charity, an avid reader, and Bella, an eager camper and member of the cross country team.
“When people ask I say I have five daughters,” beams Paula.
Faith is 11 and very artistic and Ruby is mighty brave at age 6 as she is making a quick recovery since having her tonsils removed in June.
Two cups of coffee and some conversation was a great start to a Monday before hitting the road and rolling into a vicious dog chase.
Those two boys actually planned it pretty well.
The first one came out of the grass with a big bark and wore down my fight or flight and the second was like a slingshot and they cracked the whip. Then the chase jumped into Stage II.
That second dog was part sheepdog and channeling his best greyhound. He could smell fear but knew fatigue would do me in.
At 58 my heart was still racing as I slid into Hillsboro. What a great welcome sign!
Mark me down for 85 miles on Monday, Newtown to Monticello, IL.
Found another great east-west trail out of Danville, IL that got me off a crummy Hwy 150. The Kickapoo Trail was crushed gravel and hopscotched a bit past St. Joseph, IL.
In Champagne, IL you’ve got to figure if you leave the door to the stadium open someone is bound to roll through it.
If the way that somebody lives pleases the Lord, the Lord will lead him into good things. Psalm 37:23 Easy English Bible
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