For my ride this morning, I headed west on US 12. Not feeling very energetic, I just planned to ride to the first convenience store I found to pick up a Gatorade and then head back.
The first few miles were pretty nice. US 12 in this area is a 2 lane road with no shoulder to speak of. Because the lanes are a little wider than what I find on the local county roads, I felt comfortable riding on the white line without the fear of the unsafe pass. Plus, there was little traffic. My legs weren’t feeling it today, but I hoped it would get better after a few minutes.
Unfortunately, the road changed about four miles out as I entered Burns Harbor. Suddenly, it was a four-lane divided highway with plenty of debris in the generous shoulder. Even though there still wasn’t much traffic, those that passed seemed to stay in the right lane at least half way. As the road widened, the tree cover disappeared and was replace by the view of steel plants. The aroma also switched from nature to burning coal. The weird thing was that this area was filled with butterflies.
After a few more miles of nothing but factories, railroads, and power lines, I turned south on the equally imposing SR 249. It was about the same as the previous road, with the added fun of rumble strips in the shoulders – making them unusable. About a mile down this highway, I found a Family Express gas station.
I asked the clerk about another way back, but it was obvious that she had never thought about her town from a cyclist point of view. I ended up traveling back the same way I had come.
Miles Ridden: 17.1