Rotary Jail Ride – Crawfordsville, IN

Ask any rider whey ride motorcycles to get some place, and they’ll quickly answer that it’s about the journey, and not the destination.  The Rotary Jail ride conflicts with this, as the destination was a very interesting experience that easily equaled or surpassed the actual ride to get there.

The original plan was for the interested HOG chapter members to ride to Mendon, OH to visit their dealership and museum.  The day before the ride, it was learned that their museum was closed, which required a quick new trip plan by the organizers.  Meeting this morning, it was announced that the ride was now going to the Rotary Jail in Crawfordsville, IN.  The vast majority of us had never even heard of it, or quite understood what made this jail so interesting; even when the organizers tried to explain it to us.  “You’ll understand when you get there” was their final statement, and the rest of us mounted up to go see what the lockup was all about.

The ride there was uneventful, following IN-32 into Crawfordsville.  Upon arrival, a new rider to the group who has no right to continue riding until he learns how to ride his bike properly decided to cut off the line of riders on a very tight u-turn in the middle of the street, causing the second rider to go down.  Nothing hurt but his pride, the second rider got his bike parked in the set formation, and almost had to be restrained from confronting the first rider.  Once calmer heads prevailed, all went inside to enjoy the attraction (except for the first rider, who probably thought it best that he leave and disappeared sometime during the tour).

The Rotary Jail is part of the old sheriff’s home, and has been used up to 1973.  The jail cells actually rotate off a central point.  Easiest way to describe how it works is imagine a pie cut into 8 slices.  Each of the slices are surrounded either by walls or prison bars, and the entire pie rotates around in a circle until reaching an opening in the prison bars.  Therefore, only one cell can be opened at a time, which creates a more secure cell housing.

The contraption that supported the rotary imprisonment was located in the dank basement, where the gears could easily be seen.  The main gear wheel is located on a rail mounted on the wall, and the entire cell housing was rotated by a hand crank on the first floor.  What really amazed us was there are three floors to the cell unit.  With no air conditioning, the worse prisoners were put in the “solitary” area on the third floor to experience Indiana’s hot and humid summers with minimal availability of relief.

I believe all of us riders very much enjoyed the tour, and watching the rotary jail work (yes, still does!)  Afterwards, we all went to The Forum in Crawfordsville for lunch.  I think all would agree that prices were very reasonable, and most of us were served much more food than we could eat.  Definitely recommended if you are in the area.

The ride concluded after lunch by a large group breaking off and going to the Frankfort, Indiana HD dealership since a number of riders have never been there.  My wife and I decided to head back home in the intense heat and humidity to take care of some obligations at home.  Good day, good friends, and good destination.

No big rides planned for a while

Done a lot of riding since the second week of June, so will be sticking around the home area for a while before ramping back up in August. Did the Gleaner’s Food Drive ride today, was nice, and only a few hours. Count was over 300 bikes participating on the police escorted ride around Geist Reservoir and through Indianapolis to the Brickyard for a lap around the track. Finished up at Gleaner’s warehouse, where they treated everybody to lunch. Over $10K raised for an excellent cause of helping those that are hurting with the economy being so screwed up and jobs being scarce. Reminder to all…make sure to donate to the local pantries…there are lots of good people out there in need right now, and throwing a few extra cans of food in the grocery cart to donate to those that aren’t eating well right now isn’t going to hurt any of us.

If you are here to read about the Blue Ridge Parkway ride, simply scroll all the way down, click on Older Posts at the bottom, and do that a couple of times to get back to the first page of the blog that starts the entries about the BRP trip.

More adventurous ride reports to come!

4 Days in Kentucky, July 2011 – Ride report

A friend in our local H.O.G. chapter put together a 4 day ride through Kentucky, and invited us and a few others along. We said “Sure!”, and so did a total of 21 people. Instead of going nuts with a ride report this time (like I did for the Blue Ridge Parkway ride), figured I’d just throw in some comments here and there about the ride.

July 1st, we left out of southern Indianapolis down I-65, caught 46 to south 7, and picked up sotuh US 421 all the way to Frankfort. Better than the interstate, but nothing fancy to write about. Saw “a” Daniel Boone’s grave marker (there was discussion within the group as to whether this was “THE” Daniel Boone, or somebody else named that as well). Afterwards, we found the KY Vietnam War Memorial, and spent some time there checking out the very nice memorial, designed after a sun dial and with the names engraved into the marble by month of KIA/MIA.

Lunch at Wallace Station, a little eatery located down a long country road with plenty of tree canopy. The restaurant had been featured on The Food Channel, and most of us agreed that it was really good. Experienced some more electrical problems with the bike, but we got it going and headed towards Man-O-War Harley Davidson in Lexington. After a little cooling off there, we decided to head to the motel at the next southern exit off of I-75, and stayed at the Best Western. Nice hotel, but water was freezing once night fell. Dinner was out in the sticks at a restaurant that the locals love, and it was pretty good (can’t remember the name of it).

July 2 – Twenty minutes after an 8:30 start, the electrical problem returned on my Ultra, and left me stranded out in the country. Not wanting to ruin everybody’s trip, another couple stayed back with us, and we sent the other 17 people on to enjoy the day’s activities. After thirty minutes of working on the bike, we were able to get it going, and limped back to Man-O-War to get a certified tech to permanently address the problem. Two hours later, we were on the road again, playing catch up with the group who had started their SE route through KY. We found ourselves on US52, in what must have been their annual garage sale along the road from Richmond to Jackson. Cars turning every which way, pulling out without looking, even up in the hills around blind curves. Took us a while to get to Jackson, but the couple that had stayed behind with us made it enjoyable to ride with. US52 through here was curvy, little hilly, but we were hoping the best roads were to come, and they were.

Once in Jackson, we took 15 South, trying to catch up with our group. Playing voice mail tag for the entire day didn’t help, and we ended up in Hazard KY. Stopping for directions, we were misdirected to 80 West, when we should have taken 80 East. Needless to say, we didn’t catch up with our group until that evening at the motel…but we ended up taking a awesome riding road on 80 West, and I highly recommend it to other riders (at least 80W to 421).

Once we reached 421 South, it was finally decided between all of us to make a bee-line for the motel after a long day. What stood in front of us was one long hill up, and down. When we went through it, the road had a lot of wash out areas. Parts of the road were missing in both directions, and once you reach the top, it’s nothing but miles of curvy downhill. So curvy it was, my friend pulling a trailer on the back of his own Ultra lost most of his brakes coming down, forcing him to limp down in 2nd gear engine breaking like crazy. At the bottom, his rotors, normally chrome, were blue…and hissing and evaporating water. This led to an hour delay…in which we found out our motel was a couple miles down the road in Harlan KY. Our separated group found us about 15 minutes later, and after a pretty filling Mexican dinner a mile away, we commandeered the dining area of the motel and had a blast playing dice games, looking at the next day’s maps, and talking about old journeys.

July 3rd – The morning found the group headed west on 119, to Pine Mountain State Park. The entrance into the park takes you past a golf course, pullouts, and leads to a very windy road with severe switchbacks in order to get to the top for a great view of the valley. One of our group had dropped their bike the day before, and wasn’t in the mood to try more switchbacks after the first one encountered, and found a place for us all to reunite at the bottom later. Rest of us went up the side of the mountain at 5 MPH.

Everybody that rides starts out with no experience. This mountain road is not for the fearful or inexperienced. The severe switchbacks would cause the newbies to come to a stop and try to take off on the curves. I was sure we’d have a lot of dropped bikes, but luck was on our side, and everybody made it up (and down) safely. Of course, a number of people refused the offers of going back up again, so this is a road that you should feel comfortable on switchbacks before attempting a bunch at one time.

We caught 92 West, and stopped at Stearns off of 27 to get some lunch at the old locomotive museum area. Afterwards, we headed to the Cumberland Falls area on 92…a nice curvy road with plenty of canopy. It’s a pretty waterfall when you get to it, and in the heat of the day, we spent quite a bit of time there trying to find shade with the other thousands of people. Getting out of the lot was an experience since it requires pulling out in a heavy traffic area, turning immediately to the left, and gunning it up a hill to prevent getting hit.

It was decided to then head for London, KY to Wildcat HD, as well as a local leather shop some of the group like to shop at. A few things went into the tour pack, and after a group decision of riding one more curvy road, we proceeded down 192 to eventually find our motel in Somerset. 192 was a very nice road, going through the Daniel Boone National Forest. We went through as the sun was getting lower in the sky, so it made for a little pucker factor on some curves, but it was still enjoyable.

July 4th – The final day of the trip was designed to offer some country road riding, with the intent of heading back home to Indianapolis for the group without any stops previously planned in advance. Not much to say here, we were in and out of rain a couple of times, a missed turn caused a bike to end up on its side (the group was turning around, and the area had two offsetting angles for the intersecting roads…when somebody stops on the gravel at the end of their turn, the bike behind is caught in a weird angle when coming to a stop…and the foot can’t reach the ground to stabilize the bike upright). Rider and passenger a little bruised, but still in good spirits. The decision was made to avoid interstates as much as possible, so the journey ended back home about 8:45PM in the evening.

Enjoyable ride…we had a blast. Sorry for the quick notes…trying to catch up on all my ride reports, and wanted to get at least a few of the roads’ route numbers listed for my aging memory’s sake.  Thought I had a lot of photos, but this ride, was more concentrating on riding then picture taking.

Raptor Ride

The day was awesome for riding!  Lightly clouded skies at times, with plenty of sunshine.  Heat was pretty extreme for the area, at nearly 100 degrees with a lot of humidity in the air.  The local HOG group met at the dealership, and took a winding path to a rendezvous with wild birds at Hardy Lake Raptor Center near Louisville.

Our participation was so big, we split into two large groups and wandered southern-bound in search of winding roads, light traffic, and hopefully canopy as the sun grew more intense throughout the day.  Lunch was excellent at the Log Cabin Restaurant in Vernon, Indiana…a wonderful break to cool off in the middle of the day.  Unfortunately, a number of riders had to turn back at this point due to other commitments, so only about 60% of continued onward to see some wild birds of prey.

The Raptor Center treats wild birds of prey (raptors) that are found injured.  The DNR specialists did a wonderful job presenting our group with information about the birds that they were caring for at their establishment.  The presentation lasted over an hour, and we found out interesting things such as most birds injured that they get are from strikes by vehicles.  They had a bald eagle that they were caring for, and it was definitely the most interesting bird to the group.  Are you aware that it’s a federal felony, punishable by years in prison and a very large fine) to possess a bald eagle feather without a federal permit?  None of us knew that…and as the bird moved around, one of it'[s majestic feathers fell out.  It got passed around for everybody to look at, but the specialists definitely kept their eye on it as it was handed from hand to the next.

All in all, a great ride.  Pictures came out blurry for some reason on this day, so very few to share.  Because of this experience, we now shoot with two different cameras, and have some better software to utilize in the cameras.  Hopefully it makes a difference in the future.

4 Days in Kentucky