iState rev 3.0 - Indiana...
I've now crossed the 3000 mile point and entered my 12th state - Indiana. I'm now officially in the Dog Days of Summer. The last few days have been the warmest since leaving Arizona with temps in the low 90's and humidity levels pushing the heat index over 100 degrees. But doing most of my cycling in the morning and my thin Arizona blood have served me well as the heat hasn't been a problem for me.
But there's more than one reason for calling these the 'dog days'. Throughout the trip, I've occasionally had dogs chase me, but they were all half-hearted attempts that didn't really concern me. That is, until I entered Indiana... In one day, I was chased six different times. Most of the dogs seemed to be in it just for the fun of the chase and I wasn't too concerned about being bitten. But one encounter really scared me. Two dogs came tearing out of their yard and closed on me quickly. They both looked like they had some pit bull in their mix and they weren't just chasing and barking, but growling, snarling and looking for a chance to sink their teeth into me. They surrounded me with one running on each side of me and they had much more stamina than any other dogs I've seen. The chase went on for almost a mile. I think the only things that kept them from biting me were the high rpm spinning of my feet on the pedals and the adrenaline that had me riding faster than at any time since the downhill side of the Continental Divide. After they finally gave up, I slowed down and found that I was shaking like a leaf. Since that encounter, I've been wary every time I pass a farmhouse.
And there's even one more reason for these being the 'dog days'. A few days ago, I met another pair of cross-country cyclists - Gary and Mattie from Alpine Utah. These two have quite the bicycle touring resume as they are on their third crossing of the United States. Their first trip was four years ago, from Astoria OR to Yorktown VA. Last year they went from Mobile AL to Buffalo NY and this trip is taking them from Anacortes WA to Bar Harbor ME. Gary is a retired, 63-year old custom home builder. It would have been impolite to ask Mattie how old she is. Their average speed may be lower than mine, but they are making the cross-country trip faster than me, expecting to make it to Bar Harbor in less than 100 days. They have a heck of a touring rig. I guess you could call it a tandem, but Mattie doesn't pedal much. We estimated that they are carrying about 100 pounds more than I am, which impressed me and made my knees ache just thinking about it. But, to lighten the load on the steeper hills, Mattie gets off and runs along side Gary. She also like to take a quick dip in any nearby river or lake and does a good job of guarding their evening camp sites... Did I mention that Mattie is a dog?
One other thing to mention... If you are ever in Peru, IN on a weekday, please stop by the International Circus Hall of Fame and let me know if it's worth the stop. I was intrigued enough to go out of my way to find it, only to discover that it's closed on weekends. Not sure what kind of tourist attraction is only open during the week, but this one is. At least I got to see a couple of elephants in a corral out back!