My Route

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Day 25: Thursday, 26th July. Destination: Shelton Inn, Peru, Indiana

This section of map, crossing Indiana and Illinois, has been difficult to plan. Usually, the ACA route connects sufficient points of accommodation to keep the mileage even, give or take the odd day that's either too short or too long. But for some reason, this one cuts across farmland as if the game were to avoid habitation at all costs, which has lead me to plan an unprecedented five diversions over the 6 days it'll take me to reach Muscatine. Despite my best efforts, accommodation dictated that today's mileage was either 37 or 85. I chose 85, which meant an early start and a long day in the saddle.

Turning the bend out of Monroeville past the ice-cream store took me onto 30 miles of straight and narrow road, passing field after field of knee-length corn together with occasional fields of ground-hugging green stuff. Other than that the only things that changed were the sign boards for brand-name genetically-modified seeds set alongside the road. Hypnotic. But then, a sudden turn took me passed a military base of some sort and across the Salamonie Dam into a small but pretty state forest. The cool, shaded road made for a pleasant change. At this point, I headed off on Diversion No.1 to take me to Peru via Wabash. Now, endless fields on straight roads is all very well but this route of mine was an unexpected treat: Wabash turned out to be an eccentric little town not only proud to bill itself "The First Electrically Lighted City in the World," but also featured statues of elephants along the downtown sidewalks. Turns out, the statues mark the 5-day countywide jaunt of an escaped circus elephant called Modoc back in 1942. Great little café too, called Modoc's Market, serving homemade fruit smoothies.

After that, a lengthy and slightly tiring route along the wide Wabash river valley with leafy trees to provide shade and frame views. No idea why the map makers avoided this pleasant diversion. Got a bit down on arrival at my motel because it was right the way through Peru and out of town on a strip mall full of Arbys & Wendys & McDonalds & no veggie places & no beer. Until I found, tucked away and unannounced, the 'Mandarin Buffet' serving Szechuan tofu and Tsingtao beer…