*Insert Witty Title Here* (My brain is still recovering from being squashed by my helmet all day)

Yesterday we managed to get an unplanned 170 miles in on the bikes. We got a later start than usual due to having to wait for a package to arrive with our new Sena 30K headsets and tinted visors for our new Shoei Hornet X2 helmets.

Our ride consisted of riding over to Jasper, Indiana to Merkley’s Meat Processing facility to stock up on some of their delicious breakfast meats, as well as some sliced ham for a picnic lunch on today’s ride.

We took some backroads on the way back, and ran into this cool little railroad bridge over the road…

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That’s really the only thing worth mentioning from yesterday, other than that it was mostly just a nice relaxing ride on familiar roads, and today’s ride was much more interesting, so I’ll just go ahead and skip ahead to that…

We left the the house around noon, and it was 61 degrees. Our plan was to head Southwest down to the O’Bannon Woods State Park. I had heard about a road there that I wanted to check out, and Dwayne had found a bridge nearby that we both wanted to check out, so we figured that was good enough reason to head in that direction.

We went over to Salem and took 135 South to Corydon. At Corydon I had mapped us a back way to the park so we could avoid the main roads. That turned out to be a really fun little section of road, as it was paved, but was narrow with no center line, and quite curvy. It followed along the ridgetop and the surrounding scenery was a nice added bonus.

Cold Friday Road was just before the entrance to the park, and it started off as a paved, one-lane road with a lot of twists and elevation changes. It was a beautiful ride that took us about 4 miles alongside the park before turning to gravel. On the map, the road appeared to go all the way down to the Ohio River, but less than a mile after turning to gravel, we ran into a gate in the road blocking access to the remainder of the road. It had signs stating violators would be prosecuted, so we figured they meant business and disappointingly turned around. Even though we couldn’t make it all the way to the end of the road, it was still a really beautiful and fun ride, so it was still worth it.

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From there we headed back out to Hwy 62 to go find Breeden’s Bridge that Dwayne had found. It was just off the highway, down an old logging road, which was mostly mud with tons of big ruts in it. I wasn’t about to let a little mud stop me from getting a cool photo, though, so I promptly rode my Tiger on down on the riverbank beside the bridge.

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It was really soft mud, but I figured if I didn’t go any further, it would be firm enough I could get turned around and back up the hill. It’s funny, you can’t see it in the picture, and I didn’t realize it until I’d already gotten down there, but the hill was a bit steeper than I’d accounted for, and well, my bike is nearly 500 pounds without me on it. I got her most of the way turned around, and started to try to go back up hill, and the back tire started to sink on me. Dwayne of course came to help, but not before taking a picture of me from where he stood over by the entrance to the bridge. Again, photos never do justice to how steep a hill actually is.

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With a little help from Dwayne lifting me out of the rut from beside the bike so I wouldn’t roost him, I was able to get enough traction to start up the hill, and I kept her going until we had made it to the top, and past the muddy ruts. Totally worth it, in my opinion. I got a cool picture, and it was fun playing in the mud, I was laughing the whole time. It probably would have went a little easier if my K60’s were a bit fresher.

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After that we found a nice little spot by a little reservoir to have a picnic lunch and take a short break. At this point I was finding out that my new Shoei Hornet X2 helmet might be a bit too snug for me. I was getting a bit of a headache, and my ears were in pain. The break helped though, and it relieved a bit of my pain for a while.

Once we cleaned up our lunch spot and hopped back on the bikes, we rode down to Alton to check out another bridge that Dwayne had found. Apparently we were on a private property boat launching site while taking this picture, but I figured I could snap a couple of pictures before anyone came to run us off and we’d be on our way, and I was right.

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I’m really not sure how this day turned into a full-on bridge tour, but as we left Alton, we ran into two more bridges before we got back to the highway.

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We headed West over to Hwy 237 in hopes that there would be a gas station that we could stop at for a quick bathroom break, but found that not to be the case. So we continued up 237 to English where we knew there was a grocery store with a public restroom. After taking another quick break, and letting my ears rest a bit more, Dwayne asked what I wanted to do. He knew I was in pain from the helmet, but he probably also knew that I wouldn’t want to head home yet. I told him let’s keep riding for a while, so we continued on North to Paoli, and then took some back roads to Orangeville. Here there is a historic spot called “The Rise at Orangeville” where storm water from 30 square miles North of Orangeville that has drained into a cave comes out of the ground and runs into the Lost River.

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Almost as soon as we left The Rise we ran into another bridge. All in all, I believe we saw 5 new bridges today, 2 that were planned, and 3 by happy accident.

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After that, we decided we should start heading back towards home, so we wound our way across the back roads, some that we’d been on before, some that we hadn’t. It probably made our trip home twice as long, but it’s always nice to avoid the highways and towns when you can. We ended up riding 205 miles total.

I’ll be honest though, by the time we were home, I was in enough discomfort from my helmet that I was having trouble concentrating, and I couldn’t wait to get off the bike and get that thing off my head. I don’t know what the solution is going to be to remedy that situation. I don’t believe that it just needs to get broken in, if that were the case then it should have gotten at least somewhat better as the day went. I don’t remember my other Shoei being so uncomfortable during it’s break-in time. So I’m worried that I should have either went up a size, or that perhaps that helmet just doesn’t work for my head. At this point, it isn’t like I can return it, and it is a $650 helmet, so I’ll be pretty upset if I am out all of that money on a helmet I can’t wear. Plus it looks awesome, not that that matters in the grand scheme of things, but I really do like the look of it.

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