Trip distance: 66.5 miles
Total trip distance: 2126.5 miles
Average speed: 13.1 mph
Maximum speed: 27.4 mph
Riding time: 5:04
Weather: a warm start of 72° at 9am with a high dew point of 68°. No clouds but hazy. The air warmed up to 85° in the late afternoon and at one point the dew point was 70° - very muggy. Nonexistent to weak south to southwest winds of 3-5 mph helped me a little bit in a few open places.
Terrain: uphill 1883 feet, downhill 1715 feet. The two profiles below show the low elevations associated with Lake Michigan giving way to higher elevations in hillier moraine areas. I included a second profile to show the effect of "stretching out" the profile, and this more truly represents the relatively flat nature of today's ride.
Laura and I have visited the Portage area when we travel by road between the Twin Cities and Pennsylvania. We enjoy hiking at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and on other trails. The route map below shows the National Lakeshore and the Raisz landform map below shows the extent of the dunes. I didn't visit the dunes this time, but I noticed their impact on the area in that the soil was very sandy. Even at the 32-mile mark, which is about 9 miles from the lake, the soil was sandy. As I moved further away from the lake I traversed moraines and flat valleys, notably the Kankakee Basin, which is labeled on the Raisz map and corresponds to miles 39 to 52 on the profiles above.
|The route map shows a traverse across northern Indiana with a brief visit to Michigan at the 52-mile mark.|
|My route went from a little above and to the right of the "V" hatchmarks which stand for the city of Valparaiso to Mishawaka, which is directly east of South Bend.|
|A smooth and well maintained bike trail near Chesterton, IN, although the picnic table is not too usable.|
|In Chesterton I waited patiently at this crossing. I knew it would be a long wait because the train began with seven locomotive engines.|
|The other side of the trash mountain has a facility that harvests methane. This is definitely a worthwhile project, because methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the methane is marketable.|
|Folk art on a barn in Coolspring, IN.|
One of many shady, lightly traveled roads I enjoyed on today's ride. This one is in Coolspring., IN
|I go for recycled bicycle sculptures. This one is in Center, IN.|
|This sculpture is presumably by the same person who recycled the bicycle.|
Somewhere along this part of the route the soils and topography changed. I like this quotation as an explanation of what shaped the physical landscapes I was passing through here in Indiana and most other states on this trip - except of course for the Driftless Area in Wisconsin: "The simple story of the soils of Indiana is largely one of glacial action. Thousands of years ago great ice sheets hundreds of feet thick spread over most of the state, scraping down hills, filling valleys, and grinding the rocks to gravel and flour. -T. M. Bushnell, The Story of Indiana Soils (1944)."
|My back roads reverie was rudely interrupted by a several-mile stint on US 20. It was busy enough that sometimes both lanes going my way were full, sometimes with trucks. There was not much shoulder either. On the other side of the road is a cornfield--I had seen little corn up to this point.|
|Corn is a globalized commodity. This sign refers to SyngentaAG, a Swiss agribusiness whose biotech corn produced in the US led to China rejecting all corn imports from the US in late 2013.|
|A wheel line irrigates the highway in Olive, IN. I got a little cooler when I went through it. This part of the route is in the very flat Kankakee Basin (see Raisz map above).|
|Roadside memorial in Warren, IN.|
|St Joseph River just north of South Bend. A truck on I 80/I 90 is visible through one of the girders in the middle of the bridge.|