Monday, November 27, 2017

"Draft Animals," by Phil Gaimon

Those who appreciate unrestrained frankness on the world of cycling, unbound by what may or may not be supported by fact, will find great pleasure in Phil Gaimon's third book on his life as a pro cyclist, "Draft Animals: Living the Pro Cycling Dream (Once in a While)."  The recently published book about his final three years as a pro cyclist has already stirred attention on both sides of the Atlantic for Gaimon putting into print the old, much-discussed rumor that Fabian Cancellera had a motor in his bike in 2010 when he seemingly effortlessly rode away from everyone in the Tour of Flanders.

He offers up no additional proof other than that he heard that Cancellera had his own mechanic and that his bike was kept separate.  That is enough for him to conclude, "That fucker probably did have a motor."  He doesn't slip this in until page 120 of the 352-page book, but it sets the locker room tone of the many unsubstantiated accusations and flimsy grievances that fill the book that is broken up into 59 chapters, some as short as two pages.  Rather than employing the word "allegedly," he hopes to keep the lawyers at bay here and elsewhere with the word "probably."

Prior to mentioning Cancellera's "motor" he wrote he was "pretty sure" the Operation Puerto blood bags labeled "Luigi" belonged to Cancellera. That is another rumor that has been floating around for years that is too juicy for him to ignore even though later on in a footnote he says that Thomas Dekker, his former teammate on Garmin and confessed doper, who Gaimon likes, told him that he was "Luigi."  

He also uses "probably" to surmise that Lance Armstrong's coach Chris Carmichael "made his name on the wrong side of the rules," just throwing that in as an aside as if it is a personal grudge.  The book oozes with gossipy innuendos about those who displeased him, including his girl friend who left dirty dishes in the sink and her clothes all over the floor.  He drops in the mention of a woman friend who tells him that Armstrong connected with her on Twitter and then drove more than two hours to have sex with her.  

He has it in for fan-favorites Chris Horner and Jens Voigt, disbelieving that they were clean considering the era they rode in and the teams they rode on and the results they produced. He finds Voigt particularly irritating.  He says that the two riders he would most dread being in a battle with on a climb are Nairo Quintana, because he is the best, and Voigt, because he would talk his ear off.  He repeats the rumor that Horner was "Rider 15" in USADA's case against Armstrong.  Gaimon was thrilled to beat Horner at the 2016 Redlands Tour in California, the second time he'd won it, as Horner entered the race cocky, actually calling it The Chris Horner Classic having won it four times.  Gaimon wrote, "As much as I hated him, I appreciated that Chris was riding so badly this year, because it meant he was clean."  

He quotes Horner as saying he would have won the Tour of Utah if the UCI had let him use his asthma inhaler.  Asthma TUEs (the very hazy Therapeutic Use Exemptions) are one of the great hypocrisies of the sport.  Nearly a third of World Tour racers have prescriptions for asthma inhalers, what he refers to as "a semi-legal performance enhancer." In his book "Pro Cycling on Ten Dollars a Day" he told that when he signed to ride for the Jelly Belly team the team doctor encouraged him to complain of asthma symptoms so he could qualify for an inhaler. This issue should receive as much clamor as Cancellera having a motor.  Caffeine suppositories also fall in the gray area.  He quotes a teammate as saying a team he had previously ridden for matter-of-factly used them for time trials and had no second thoughts about the matter.

One rumor that Gaimon refuses to endorse is that his teammate Ryder Hesjedal had a motor in his bike at the 2014 Vuelta.  When Hesjedal crashed and his rear wheel continued to spin like mad, many thought that was incriminating evidence.  Gaimon wrote that even though he didn't really like Hesjedal he wouldn't accuse him of having a motor, especially since he'd had such a lousy year, not winning a race.  It's not the only potshot he takes at him.  At an early season training camp when Gaimon had a better time on a climb than Hesjedal, the former Giro winner refused to acknowledge that Gaimon was stronger than him on the day, giving the lame excuse that his water bottles were heavier than Gaimon's.  He also revealed that Hesjedal, as well as Dekker, both former dopers, liked to use chewing tobacco, a stimulant of a sort and remnant of the doping era.  Others too indulge, another of the many insider tidbits he reveals that one doesn't come across in cycling publications.

Gaimon also mentions the not widely known fact that Hesjedal received a million dollar bonus from Garmin for winning the Giro in 2012 without saying if he shared any of it with his teammates. He's very open about money matters.  He earned the minimum of $50,000 his first year with Garmin-Sharp in 2014. When the team combined with Cannondale the next year there was no place on the team for Gaimon, so he returned to a US domestic team.  He rode well enough to be invited back to Garmin at a salary of $70,000, though when the contract arrived in the mail it was only for $65,000.  He was infuriated, saying he'd never forgive the team director Jonathan Vaughters for this outrage. He had no choice but to accept it.  He didn't get to race much that final year, increasing his fury with Vaughters.  

He lashes into Vaughters calling him an "evil hypocrite" and doubted that he had any "real friends."  He accuses him of staying in $800 a night hotels while nickel-and-diming his riders.   He doesn't trust anything Vaughters says, even that he doesn't drink coffee when he declines an invitation from Gaimon to meet for a cup.  He said a popular t-shirt among those who have ridden for him reads "Friends don't let friends ride for Garmin."  All this is highly inflammatory, sullying the general high regard accorded Vaughters, who pals around with former Secretary of State and presidential candidate John Kerry. It will stun many of those who ponied up a few dollars to support Vaughters a few months ago when his team lost a prime sponsor and looked as if it was going to be dissolved. The fan support of over a half million dollars was quite remarkable, and helped encourage a new sponsor to come forth with millions to save the team.

Another t-shirt Gaimon liked was one worn by his teammate Lachlan Morton that had a likeness of Armstrong's face and the words "So Dope," implying it pays off.  Gaimon once sold t-shirts, including one that read "Liveclean," that he had to discontinue when confronted by Armstrong's lawyers. Morton was a free-spirit who Gaimon said was "screwed" by Vaughters.  He left racing for a year, but Gaimon said Morton came from wealth so he didn't need to scrape to get by as he did when he left the World Tour.  

Another who had rich parents was Caleb Fairly, who Gaimon reveals was only on the Garmin team because his parents were pseudo-sponsors contributing a hefty sum to it, more than covering his salary. When Gaimon was seeking a team to ride for in 2015, he tried to recruit sponsors to contribute to his salary so a team could afford him, not an uncommon practice.  Another of his juicy insider tidbits that may or not have violated a personal relationship is that his friend Dekker had no monetary concerns, as he had a billionaire girl friend he lived with in LA.  Gaimon goes further with the revelation that one wouldn't find in the cycling press that Dekker has a gargantuan foreskin.

Gaimon tosses a few petty barbs at Dave Ziebriskie, an older teammate he didn't know very well.  He says he wasn't friendly the first time they met.  After he bought Zabriskie’s car in Girona he discovered ketchup packets from McDonald's and Burger King in the glove compartment.  Zabriskie claimed to be the first vegan to ride The Tour de France. Those packets could have been left by anyone, but Gaimon wishes to imply that Zabriskie may be a meat-eater and patronizer of American fast food franchises in Spain.  He can understand though why the homesick can descend to going to McDonald's, as he has done it himself.    Gaimon gives credit to Zabriskie for pointing out one could see up women's dresses at the Barcelona airport when they walked by a reflective marble surface.

Andrew Talansky takes a hit for sending him back to the team car in a race for his favorite energy bar, refusing the extra that Gaimon had.  Taylor Phinney is taken to task for offering money to riders, but not him, to help him win the national championship race where he suffered a near career-ending crash. Gaimon also accuses him of being at fault in the crash for not knowing the course as well as he did.  He refers to Rohan Dennis as a "kind of a jerk" and is suspicious of how he managed to lose ten pounds and become a standout--"he either had a good nutritionist or a doctor with cortisone."  Regarding Bradley Wiggins he writes "marginal gains my ass," believing his Tour win tainted.  He vilifies the Schleck brothers as well, saying they somehow managed to slide under the radar when the dopers confessed, and have had no significant results in the post-EPO era.  He refers to Frank as a "washed-up doper."

He does have kind words for Dan Martin.  He acknowledges that he is a Real Talent, and one of the few riders who are genuinely better than him, but only because of genetics.  He uses a baseball analogy to explain his greatness, saying he was born on third base, but unlike many who are born lucky, he doesn't pretend he got to third by hitting a triple. Martin is humble about his good fortune.  Gaimon's genetics aren't so bad either.  Vaughters made him take a lab test before he would sign him. The person administering it told him his twenty-minute power-to-weight ratio was "probably" among the top fifty in the world.

Gaimon also has praise for Tom Danielson, even though he wanted to despise him for being a doper.  It was Danielson who recommended Gaimon to Vaughters after not being able to drop him on a long strenuous climb.  He invited him to train with him.  He was such a nice guy he took Gaimon’s  clothes out of the drier and left them folded on his bed, even his underwear.  Danielson gave up his own aspirations to contend for the season-opening Tour of San Luis in Artentina in 2014 to serve Gaimon when Gaimon surprised everyone and won the first stage after getting in an early breakaway.  It was Gaimon's first race with Garmin and a storybook start.    He ended up finishing second overall to Quintana, still a great accomplishment.  

At the end of one mountain stage, where Danielson was instrumental in helping him preserve his standing, they collapsed into each other's arms in tears.  Later he tells of Danielson jumping off the podium to give him a big hug "with a tear in his eye" for his help to take the lead at the Tour of Utah.  Much as he likes Danielson, he quotes two of Danielson's teammates who were with him when he was dirty as saying, "Even the Spaniards thought Tom was 'abusing the medicine.'"

Gaimon cites other examples of the great gratification riders get from sacrificing for another.  At the Tour of Colorado, shortly after Gaimon had buried himself to help Alex Howes, Gaimon is rewarded with a hug and a kiss and a chorus of "thank yous" as Howe gushes tears.  Gaimon said he was crying too and is crying once again as he writes of it.  That is much more the essence of the sport than all the pettiness he inserts.  The editor of VeloNews, Fred Dreier, who knows Gaimon well and has worked with him, said he was glad he wasn't asked to edit the book.  It would have been a nightmare because as a responsible journalist he would have had to cut out an awful lot that Gaimon felt the need to include.  He no doubt would have rephrased Gaimon's description of the books by Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie as "ghost-written piece-of-shit" books, and his description of David Millar's book as a "flimsy effort to justify his doping."  He'd probably question if he truly thought it funny to comment,"fuck broccoli, or at least cover it in cheese"?  He surely would have deleted his irrelevant comments calling Dennis a jerk,  Zabriskie unfriendly, that he didn't really like Hesjedal and on and on.

He is too good of a writer to insert such juvenile asides.  He does score occasionally in his efforts to crack wise or contrive a colorful metaphor.  He deserves commendation for his comparison of tissues in a hospital waiting room to hay bales on race courses. His father is terminally ill from cancer.  When Gaimon visits him in the hospital, he's as relieved at the site of tissues as he is for the hay bales that cover dangerous objects when he's racing.  "Those fuckers know we're going to cry here," he writes.

He scores points too for referring to Henry David Thoreau as his favorite "poet/philosopher," but then loses a few for never quoting him.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Home Stretch

The fold of my Indiana map happened to cut across Mount Vernon on the index portion of the map, so I didn't notice there were two Mount Vernons in the state.  It was my misfortune that the Mount Vernon I circled on the map wasn't the one with a Carnegie.  It was so small, it adjoined the equally small town of Somerset and even their combined populations wasn't large enough to warrant a library.  The Mount Vernon with a Carnegie was all the way at the bottom of the state, over two hundred and fifty miles away, so it would have to wait for another Carnegie crusade.

Even though the faux Mount Vernon took me twenty miles out of my way, it led to a truly idyllic campsite in a forest overlooking the damned Mississinewa River.  And it also led to some county roads that I had all to myself, though I wasn't particularly happy when one turned into gravel for several miles.  Gravel has become a fad for some, but not for me, though I accepted it as preparation for the unpaved roads I'll be riding in Africa this winter when I visit an old messenger friend who is presently teaching African history at a college in Liberia.

It was another heavily overcast day, but at least the wind was minimal.  My county road riding ended at the town of Walton and its Carnegie on Highway 35 that cut right through the middle of the small town, thus carrying the name of Main Street.  It had a recent addition to its side, which became the new entrance, with the old entrance barricaded.

Heading north up 35 I passed two Carnegies that I had visited in 2012 when I took a ride to the Marion library, as it was the only library in the Midwest with Samuel Abt's book "A Season in Turmoil" about the 1994 bicycle racing season, Greg LeMond's last and the the year Lance Armstrong wore the rainbow jersey of the World Champion.  I was on a Samuel Abt quest at the time, searching out his eleven books, which I completed there at Marion.  That was early in my Carnegie quest when they were secondary to other reasons for my rides.   Still, I made a point of searching out the Carnegie shrines.  The one in Royal Center was unique back then, as entrenched in its roots as any, having no WIFI.  It wasn't open this Saturday afternoon, so I can't report if it has joined the Internet age.

The Carnegie in Winemac had closed at four, before I reached it, but three teen-aged boys were sitting under the porch of its addition out of the rain all using the WIFI.  I overheard one say, "My mother and I are both on parole for that shoplifting we got caught at."  

The rain that had them under cover was just a light drizzle, but after an hour in it I was dripping wet and my tights were saturated.  There was no hope of any sun penetrating the day-long murk.  Camping wouldn't be much fun this night.  When I saw a motel on the outskirts of Winemac I thought it might be a mirage, too good to be true.  I ducked into a Dollar Store for some beans and chocolate milk.  An older guy asked where I was headed.  I told him Chicago, but thought I'd spend the night at the town motel.  He gave me the surprise news that there was another motel fourteen miles up the road in Knox.  There was a state forest along this stretch that attracted visitors, explaining the presence of motels.  I was delighted to be able to get fourteen miles closer to Chicago.  I was hoping to make it home the next day, and if I stopped in Winemac I'd be over a hundred miles away, which I'd managed only once on this ride.

A couple miles before Knox I saw a motel, but there was no sign for it nor an office.  A woman was exiting the unit at one end, which I presumed was the office.  She said this was no longer a motel, that the units just rented by the month.  My heart sank, but then she added, "What you're looking for is further up the road.  You'll see an expensive chain motel first, but you wouldn't want to stay there.  Keep going and you'll find what you're looking for."

Knox was a multiple-traffic light town, much bigger than Winemac.  It was nearly dark when I passed the swank two story inn.  After two lights when I hadn't found the cheaper motel, I stopped at a restaurant and asked about it.  "It's past the BP gas station," the receptionist told me, "but you wouldn't want to stay there.  You're better off going back to the nicer hotel."

The parking lot of the cheap motel was packed, but there was a "vacancy" sign on the office.  The hefty, tattooed woman who answered the door told me they were all filled up.  I wasn't sure if she was telling me the truth or if she didn't want a scruffy, dripping wet cyclist sullying one of her not so luxurious units.  She told me to try the other hotel, which had had just one car out front.  I told her it was beyond my budget and asked if it was possible to pitch my tent behind the motel.  She said it'd be okay to camp in the forest behind it.  I'd grabbed a discarded newspaper from a trash can earlier in the day in case I needed it to dry my shoes. The rain had stopped so I had begun to dry a bit.  It would have been somewhat ignominious to spend my last night of this two-month ride in a motel, so I took more than a little satisfaction to be defying the elements once again.  I had been reminding myself during these dreary, rainy stretches of the coda of May and Lloyd Anderson, founders of REI--"Life is better when you spend it outside."

And the next day as I rode through more rain, including several hard downpours, the words of Will Rogers, who I'd heard Keith Carradine quote, echoed through my mind--"Being on a horse is the best thing for the insides of a man," knowing that it is actually being on a bike.  The rain and the sprawl with traffic lights a regular feature slowed me enough that I was concerned about finishing off these final 86 miles before dark.  I rode without pausing for a break the final fifty miles from Crown Point through Hammond and one suburb after another to Janina's house, making it right at dark.  

I had very mixed feelings, happy to be getting home, but feeling suffocated by all the traffic and nothing but man made constructions along the road after two months of tranquil rural, small-town scenery.  After 3,600 miles my legs romped along, not needing a rest during that four-hour non-stop home stretch run. I felt as if I could continue on for another four hours or more if need be.  It had been another noteworthy ride and by far my biggest Carnegie haul ever, with sixty-eight new ones in five states to go along with a dozen or so I had previously visited.  I had also finished off two states--Colorado and Illinois.  I could exalt in riding more than twice the distance I had intended.  It is a temptation I always feel and don't often get to fulfill.  

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Gas City, Indiana

I didn't have to go hunting for a laundromat after my cold, rain-drenched night of camping to dry my gear, as the temperature sky-rocketed twenty degrees to sixty the next day and there was even a couple hour window in the afternoon of sunshine.  I draped my sleeping bag over my bike while I was in one library and used the handlebars as a clothes line for socks and other garb.  

Well before nightfall thick, grey, ominous clouds moved back in and so low in the sky rain seemed imminent again.  Even though it was nearly an hour until dark I was taking no chances of getting soaked again, so when I came upon a forest with a cable across an entry point, that was my gateway to a quiet, secluded campsite. I unhesitatingly slipped around the barrier and pushed deep into the wooded sanctuary, grateful for the luxury of a trail, not having to wend my way over and around fallen trees and prickly bushes as is the customary wild camping procedure.

The temperature remained close to sixty, so for the first time in days I didn't have to put on my wool cap and pull the hood of my sweat shirt over my head or drape my sleeping bag over my legs and add a couple more layers to my torso as I sat and read and ate. I could lean back in my campchair with nary a worry in the world.  The only sound was a golf ball-sized walnut dropping once or twice.  Indiana could well be called the Walnut State, they are so ubiquitous.  Towns recognize their prominence, frequently naming one of their main streets Walnut.  Three Carnegie Libraries in the state are on a Walnut Street.  Main Street is by far the most popular address for a Carnegie, with thirty-five.  Otherwise, only Washington Street with five, registers more times than Walnut.  Presidents are more popular than trees with Jefferson, Jackson, Madison and Van Buren, and only by coincidence, Clinton.  Maple, Poplar and Locust are the other tree-named streets with a Carnegie

The Carnegie in the large city of Muncie on Jackson Street was very presidential and almost pompous with six grand columns and the Latin inscription "bvilt anno dominin 1902" just below "This building the gift of Andrew Carnegie"  with "Law Science Prose" to one side and "Art Poetry Mvsic" to the other.

One had to go around the back to enter.  It is now a research library, primarily genealogy, and only open three days a week. The city's two branch libraries have regular hours and are in the lending business. The city's largest bike store was just down the street.  My front tire is wearing thin, but since it didn't have the heavy-duty touring tire I prefer in stock, I passed on their lighter-weight racing tires, trusting  my tire  had two hundred miles left in it, about what I have left to ride before returning home.  I had replaced the rear tire a month ago in Bloomington before the Hilly Hundred.  No flats though in over 3,000 miles.  The only mechanical has been breaking a rear derailleur cable, easily replaced on the spot.

From Muncie I headed north to a cluster of six towns with Carnegies in the heart of the Indiana Gas Boom of 1887, where the largest deposit of natural gas until then was discovered along with the first giant oil reserve in the country.  The gas was found by coal miners, who at first didn't realize what it was.  The boom didn't last much more than two decades, but the soil was so agriculturally rich, the region continued to thrive.  

The still vibrant Gas City, with a huge Walmart distribution center on one side of the city and a large Dollar Store distribution center on another, pays tribute to its heritage with streets signs mounted on top of mini-oil derricks for over a mile on its Main Street and also out front of its Carnegie on Main Street.  It had an addition to its side.  Among the messages flashed on its message board out front was "Libraries lift lives."

Marion, on the Mississinewa River, one letter longer than Mississippi, is the largest city in the area and had earned a $50,000 grant for its Carnegie, as had Muncie and Anderson. Their architect rendered a bland, uninspired design, especially compared to the spectacular beauty of the other two.  The best part of the library is the contents of the museum that now resides within it.  The new library is attached to its backside, where one enters both the library and the museum devoted to the history of the region.  
A sign on the door and a sign on the circulation desk offered locks to bicyclists, implying this was a city caught between small-town and big-town sensibilities.  "Pvblic Library" was spelled out in puny letters over the entry to the original library, while high above in much larger lettering was "Art Literatvre Mvsic" with the old style "v" rather than "u."

The Van Buren Carnegie is an unaltered basic red brick model identified with a simple, but bold "Library" on its facade.  It distinguished itself with the grave out front of a cat that had abided in it for years.

The Converse Carnegie is also in "As Was" condition, so much so that a sign out front with the wheelchair emblem on it offered a phone number to call if one needed help to use the facility.  Plaques on either side of the entry state the library was built on the site of the first house in Converse in 1847 and that the library is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Montpelier, like Gas City and Muncie, had a speedway on its outskirts.  Indiana with its world-famous speedway in Indianapolis could just as easily be known as the Speedway State as the Walnut State, rather than the Hoosier State.  The Montpelier Carnegie was another unaltered large single room library with high ceilings, solid wood tables and book shelves and circulation desk that took one back in time.

The local church had posted a notice on the bulletin board offering free bread on Thursdays from 3:30 to 5.   The town bank had the distinction of having been robbed by John Dillinger in 1933, a year before he was gunned down by federal agents outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago at the age of 31.

The distinguished Hartford City Carnegie had an addition hidden from those entering its front door to its backside.  It's front had the extra ornamentation of a pair of bundles of grains and an open book in its stained glass window.  A sign on the elevator door in the addition read, "You must be 18 or have a disability to use."

It maintained a small memorial to Carnegie with his portrait over a fireplace flanked by flags.  The mantle contained two framed postcards of the library dating to its opening and several leather-bound books.  One could sit in a padded chair with a book-designed fabric and put one's legs up a matching footstool such as should be standard issue in all libraries.  It was hard to part from such comfort.  I was surprised they were unoccupied.

There are another dozen Carnegies in the northeast corner of the state awaiting me, but I'll save them for an Illinois-style completion of all the Carnegies that have eluded me along the eastern border of the state down to the Ohio River.  That will make a fine three-week ride as I just completed in Illinois.  Now is the time to end this two-month ride that began in Telluride and ended up being twice as long as I thought it would be, making it all the more glorious.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Alexandria, Indiana

My last campsite in Illinois before crossing back into Indiana was just outside of Danville, a couple of miles before the border.  Dark was imminent.  I resisted a couple of possible forested campsites, as they were too close to civilization and the possibility of dogs being disturbed by my presence.  I knew I had found a spot when I spotted  "Keep Out!" painted on a concrete barrier a little ways in front of an abandoned several story building. I regarded it as a "Welcome" sign.  It is much more emphatic and more inviting than the usual "No Trespassing."  I knew I'd be left alone, especially with the near freezing temperatures.  

I had no interest whatsoever in the abandoned building.  I followed a trail past it into a semi-forested mini-wilderness thick with overgrown weeds.  I found a somewhat clear patch of ground under a bush.

I exalted at another fine campsite and also over my decision to continue on to Indiana rather than turn north to Chicago.  It is the third or fourth time I have extended this ride.  Not wanting to stop has been a hallmark of my touring life going all the way back to my first Big Ride in 1977 across the US.  When I reached the Pacific in Oregon after 4,000 miles, I turned left and kept going another thousand miles as if it were a victory lap.  

When I biked up the Alaskan Highway four years later, I kept riding after I reached reached Fairbanks continuing on to Anchorage and then out to Homer, as far as one could go, then back to Anchorage and down to Haines.  My lengthiest extension came in South America.  Rather than flying home after riding 7,000 miles from Costa Rica to the Straits of Magellan at the bottom of the continent, I rode an extra 3,000 miles from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro. I would have continued to the Amazon if I hadn't found a bargain flight.  I had been gone six months and was in no hurry to return.  And so it is on this trip, though the increasingly nasty weather is telling me maybe I ought to.  

Two nights after Danville after a day of riding in dank, misty air, rain began in earnest less than an hour before dark.  I was forced to a premature campsite in a clump of trees in the middle of a cornfield before my shoes and tights were too saturated.  I had spotted another abandoned building down a side road, but there were residences nearby, so I slipped into the trees across the road. Evidently someone saw me and called the police.  They didn't show up until well after dark.  I was camouflaged enough that they couldn't see me.  Not wanting to come searching for me in the cold pelting rain, an officer addressed me on an amplified speaker, "We had a report of someone in the woods here.  If you'd like to come out we can find a place for you to spend the night."  He repeated the message twice more before leaving me in peace.  

Since he didn't sound overly threatening nor said anything of coming out with my hands up, I felt okay ignoring him.  Maybe if it weren't still raining I would have taken them up on their offer, but I had no desire to walk back to the road in the rain and then have to take down my tent, getting further soaked, even if it meant a dry place for the night, whether it be at a shelter or a jail cell or someone's home and the possibility of watching Game Seven of the World Series.  Instead, I had another peaceable, most satisfying night in my tent, using my candle for the first time for some warmth and to dry some of my gear.

My route into Indiana intersected with the Potawatomi Trail of Death, a forced march of the last 859 members of the tribe from Indiana to Kansas in 1838, sanctioned by the Indian Removal Act of 1830.   Forty members of the group died, mostly women and children.  That paled compared to the more than 4,000 who died on the much better known Trail of Tears further south, but those deaths were spread out over nearly twenty years of forced relocations of multiple tribes in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and other southern states. 

It was nice to be back in Indiana with all its Carnegies and round-abouts and witty church message boards--"Heaven Is No Trick, Hell Is No Treat."  My first one hundred miles included three Carnegies I had previously visited--Covingon in 2012 on a spring ride to visit Dwight, Thorntown last month and Sheridan in 2014 on a November ride to Georgia for the School of the Americas vigil.  It was nice to see the majestic Covington Carnegie framed by fall foliage. I was chagrined that it didn't open until ten, until I realized I hadn't changed my watch and it was exactly ten when I arrived.

It wasn't until I had circled around to the east of Indianapolis that I reached a Carnegie new to me in the quiet town of Fortville.  It had outgrown its Carnegie, now owned by the Gateway Community Church, which uses it as an outpost to distribute food to the needy and for a weekly free Sunday evening meal.  Food pantries are not an uncommon site in small town America.  Even Telluride has one.  The church also hosted a Halloween "Trunk or Treat," a feature I had seen in other towns for people who live in isolated areas to congregate in one spot and dispense candy to trick-or-treaters out of the trunk of their car.  

From Fortville it was a quick seven miles to the Carnegie in Pendleton.  It had been taken over by the school district and was now the "Carnegie Learning Center" providing classes for those with learning disabilities.  

I continued north another eight miles on the same busy four-lane highway to the large city of Anderson and its monumental, domed Carnegie, now the Anderson Fine Arts Center since 1998.  A generous  grant of $50,000, five times the normal amount, made this a genuine stunner with a breathtaking rotunda under its dome.

I followed this string of Carnegies another eleven miles to Alexandria, whose Carnegie was the first of this lot still functioning as a library.  It's extension to its side almost looked as if it was part of the original design, lending it a unique beauty.

If the rain hadn't started as I left I might have made it to Muncie and a motel before dark.  Or if the rain had started earlier I could have taken advantage of a $35 motel on the outskirts of Anderson.  Alexandria had none to offer.  But now the trip is complete with an encounter with the law.