We got an earlier start than yesterday, but knew that only a couple miles into our trip today we would be losing an hour of riding due to our triumphant return to the Eastern Time Zone. Even before that happened however, I pedaled my 3000th official mile since leaving San Francisco back on June 19. Right after passing the Danville Correctional Facility, we reached the Indiana state line, and with it, our "new" and favorite time zone. Shortly thereafter, to ruin the moment, a piece of road debris cut a 1.5 inch gash in Jonathan's rear tire. Instantly he lost air through the large hole, and our streak of having no flat tires since Lincoln, Nebraska was broken. We taped the inside of the tire and replaced the tube, and we were off and pedaling in about 10 minutes. The majority of our morning in Indiana was spent on what appeared to be flat, boring cornfields, but we were in fact slightly gaining "elevation".
We crawled along as this constant terrain does not allow us to pick up the same speed, and maintain momentum the way that rolling hills do. At a gas station in Covington, we decided to make it almost 40 miles before we would stop for a meal in Crawfordsville. Once there, we were not in the mood for fast food, so we decided to take our chances at the local pizza shop. We split a large pizza that was delicious, and were ready to head out on the rest of our ride. Not even half way to our destination, we knew this day was going to drag on. (Random side note: There was a gas station in Crawfordsville selling regular gas for $3.09 that had an absurdly long line of cars trying to take advantage of this price, which is about $0.40 lower than I've been seeing in the rest of Indiana).
The afternoon's ride was much of the same flat, slow terrain, and we found ourselves playing games to keep our minds off the ride, and let the miles instead slip by painlessly. We had one of our traditional mid-afternoon gas station breaks where we both refueled and caffeinated our bodies to keep our spirits up. After passing the Indianapolis Executive Airport, we reached Westfield, where we turned off Indiana 32 and onto US Highway 31 to head down to Carmel. This road, unlike many of the US Highways we have ridden previously, truly became a highway, and we quickly exited to take a more scenic bike path and ride through a local park. We emerged next to a large shopping center with businesses and restaurants that reminded us of being back on the East Coast. With only one meal under our belts of the day, we craved real food and headed down to Chili's.
We were greeted enthusiastically at the door, and as the hostess walked us to our table she enquired about our ride and asked about Lea's Foundation. She had a connection with leukemia and told us about the work she has done with events such as Light the Night. Our waitress, Jessica, was equally excited about our ride and could not believe that we had ridden all the way from San Francisco. As more members of the Chili's staff learned about our story, more of them came up to say "hi" and wish us luck. Just as we started to eat, the manager introduced himself and told us that he had paid for our meal and was very impressed with the distance of our trip and that we were averaging 100 miles per day of cycling. After our meal, Jessica asked for our blog URL so that she and other members of the restaurant staff could read about and follow our trip (Hi guys!). The welcome reception we received at Chili's and the complimentary dinner was amazing and it absolutely made our night. Thanks so much guys!
Following dinner we rolled across the parking lot to Walmart to supply for tomorrow, and then on to our hotel at the other end of the parking lot. Today was a "short" day, but still took a lot out of us.