In which we penetrate into the very heart of the Indiana heartland.

Today things got real, friends and neighbors. I hardly know where to begin.

I suppose we should begin in Muncie. Because that’s where we, in fact, did begin Day 14 of the Great American Rail Trail Expedition from D.C. to the Mississippi River.

Yup, there we are. As you can see, Rosie tried to stop us. To warn us against the folly of proceeding down that trail. But being guys we of course ignored her.

So Rosie retreated to her bed and sulked. And, really, who can blame her?

Goodbye Muncie. Hello Marion.

No kidding. This is my favorite informational trail sign ever. There is so much to unpack here one barely knows where to start.

But then I got to the next trail informational sign. And it occurred to me that, perhaps, they had simply run out of things to inform us about the Cardinal Trail and its environs.

After all, northern Indiana isn’t exactly on the cutting edge of social or cultural activism.

Still, I felt bad that they apparently ran out of things to tell us about on the Cardinal Trail. So I decided to lend a helping hand.

“On this date in 2016 the very last cardinal on the Cardinal Trail was finally bagged by an ex-vice president who once shot his friend in the face while shooting birds.”

No, don’t thank me Indiana. It’s the least I can do.

Wait! I did run into one more informational sign.

You will be stunned to learn that Indians went to all the trouble of establishing trading and warrior routes across Indiana (which I am reliably informed was named after actual Indians).

After which pioneers came along and said: “Wow! Thanks! This is going to make a great highway!”

And the rest is history.

Listen. I know what you’re gonna say: Cunningham obviously set this shot up.”

But au contraire (that’s French for on the contrary). I found this feather actually sticking up out of a crack on the trail. And who am I to question its authenticity.

As Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park, “Nature will find a way.”

BTW: Have I mentioned that everything I know I learned from the movies?

But never mind all that.

The best part of today’s ride was when we left the Cardinal Trail at Gaston (actually, we didn’t leave the trail, the trail just stopped and said ‘you’re on your own now guys.’) and embarked on a 12 or 13 mile trek through a rabbit warren of rural roads that (as promised in this blog’s headline) penetrated into the very heart of the northern Indiana heartland.

How rural was it? Let’s just say that we encountered so few cars that, after a while, I got the eerie feeling that we were riding through a post-apocalyptic America.

And, frankly, I was ok with that.

Until we crossed over an interstate and all my post-apocalyptic daydreams dissolved in a miasma of noise and congestion. But still we persisted.

Until, I swear, we came to that place where Gary Grant was chased by a biplane while he was wearing his best suit.

And that place where Eddie Albert sequestered Eva Gabor because, as he told her, “you are my wife.” To which she reportedly said “Goodbye city life!”

(BTW: What I didn’t learn from the movies I learned from TV.)

And then reality intervened.

What’s wrong with solar farms in the Indiana heartland? Well you might ask.

I dunno. Maybe folks who rake in generous ethanol subsidies simply don’t want the competition.

Listen, the next thing you know, people will be buying electric cars and such.

Or maybe it’s just garden variety NIMBYism. Like we have in GNV.

Where was I? Oh yeah, an actual farmer actually waved at us from atop his actual monstrous farming machine. How actually cool was that?

And then we got back on the Cardinal Trail. I had no choice but to take more photos of Walt because Bruce and Joe had long since left us in the dust. Thanks, guys.

This is Bruce and Walt getting to the hotel hours – or for all I know, days – before Walt and I. Because, as previously mentioned, they had left us in the dust.

BTW: As a matter of public record, Rosie is still unimpressed.

Oh, wait, wait, wait! One more thing.

I saw this timely news alert written on a wooden fence as we rolled into Marion.

I’m not saying it’s true.

I’m not saying it’s not true.

All I’m sayin’ is, you’ve been warned.

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