Wolf Park Ride #2 Route

Brown County Ride writeup

October usually brings around cool weather in Indiana, but the last few days has found temperatures exceeding 80 degrees in the afternoons.  Not ones to pass up a riding opportunity, we jumped at the chance when our friends Jim and Kim invited us to accompany them to Nashville, Indiana, a ride down 135 South, and a extended return trip investigating the roads inside Brown County State Park.

The plans were to meet before 8AM at Keystone and 96th Street, which just happens to have a combined BP and McDonald’s establishment on the corner…a perfect chance to fuel both the bikes and ourselves before setting out.  The morning temperatures weren’t bad…around 56 degrees, requiring a leather jacket and a layer underneath to stay plenty warm.  Our trip to the rendezvous site was uneventful, with light traffic other than what appeared to be an overabundance of dump trucks moving around (most likely helping with all the road construction happening in the northern area of Indianapolis).

We arrived literally less than a minute before Jim and Kim, and breakfast for both the motorcycles and ourselves proceeded uneventfully.  We decided to mount the bikes, and take them around the west side of Indianapolis to reach our exit from the metropolitan area and head southward.

What expected to be a day of leisure riding quickly turned into a near disaster as we exited the construction zone on I-465 near the old airport when traffic in front of quickly slammed on their brakes, as a lane of traffic suddenly ended and a bad accident miles ahead had caused traffic to stop on the other side of a hill.  One driver in a beat up car nearly took out J&K, who took some serious evasion action to keep from getting ran over.  Coming to a stop, we pulled up next to them to ensure their sanity was still in place, and we decided to exit on IN-67 South.  Up ahead, cars were backing down the interstate in the break down lane, turning around against traffic, and taking the interstate on-ramp in the wrong direction on the other side of the cement barrier that separated us from them.  We gleefully laughed when we realized Indiana State Troopers were at the bottom of the ramp giving tickets to the wrong-way drivers.

We proceeded south, and cut over to IN-37 South, which took us over to IN-252, which we took eastward again.  That’s a nice ride.  Reaching 135 South, we took it southward into Nashville.  After finding a place to park in a town that must have had tens of thousands of shoppers fighting for parking spaces, we donned our walking shoes, and did some shopping for a couple of hours.

By this time, lunch was on the menu, and instead of standing in very long lines in Nashville, J&K recommended a small “hole-in-the-wall” eatery way out on 58.  Knowing this would take us on one of the curviest, best riding roads in Indiana (135 South, south of Nashville), we happily followed them for the 40 minute jaunt to the eatery.  If you haven’t rode this area on a motorcycle, you don’t know what you are missing.

The 58 Cafe, in Kurtz, Indiana, is way out in the middle of nowhere.  An enjoyable ride through hundreds of curves brought us to the restaurant.  It’s a small place, hurt by the economy as the sign on the door said so…and they had reduced days open to Friday through Sunday only.  Going in, we found the traditional small inside feel, with big tables placed haphazardly around.  Regulars sat in the place eating a sandwich or sipping on coffee, and we took a table to the rear.  The walls are decorated with motorcycle memorabilia pictures, some which Jim and I both also have in our own homes.

Food was hit or miss.  Bonnie and I both got the breaded tenderloin, a sandwich so big we could have easily split one instead of ordering our own.  We both really enjoyed the sandwich, which was hand breaded and not just a reheated fritter.  The fries were good…but the coleslaw that comes with the sandwich basket wasn’t the coldest, which would have favored the taste buds better if it had been.

Jim got the cheeseburger on special, and Kim ordered some kind of pork burger.  Both were not impressed with their food, and stated that they wouldn’t order them again.  However, both have had the tenderloin in the past, and will gladly visit the diner again to order one of the gigantic sandwiches in the future.

After eating and letting the food digest a little, we proceeded back the way we came, to find a Sunday driver who apparently was deathly afraid of curves in their mini-van.  Much of the way back was completed in speeds half of the posted signage, but on a beautiful day like this was, we weren’t complaining at all.  Our plan was to visit Brown County State Park next…which turned out to to be the same plans that thousands of other Hoosiers and neighboring state visitors had planned as well.

We pulled into the main driveway into the Park, and immediately performed the acts of balancing the motorcycles as the line inched forward at 1 MPH….or we sat and gave our thighs a nice roasting from the heat of the engines that had been run for the previous hour with lots of gear changes through the curves behind said slow mini-van.  Once into the park, we could see that many others had planned for a day there, and traffic was heavy throughout our visit.

The leaves had started turning, but the best viewing will probably be next weekend or the weekend after that.  There was still quite a bit of green to be see, but the color we did see looked very nice in offset.  We may return for another visit…or, we may just ride somewhere else where traffic is light as others flock to Brown County.

Seemed like at a number of stops, we seemed to capture each other as Bonnie was using her camera skills to get better pictures than what my iPhone was going to capture…and Jim had brought a tripod to get some good pictures as well, and to get some decent group pictures (not available yet).

Finally looking at our watch for the first time this day, we saw that the time was 5:15PM…time to start heading home as we wanted to ensure some rest before our return ride to Wolf Park tomorrow.  A quick shoot over to the interstate, a top-off the fuel tanks, and we headed home.  Tomorrow, we’ll be leading a larger group of people on a nearly identical ride that we need several weeks ago with two other couples.  The only change is we plan to also stop at the Tippecanoe Battlefield Memorial, so we are looking forward to this trip.

Brown County Ride map

Wolf Park Ride info – October 9th

We seemed to have struck up some interest regarding a ride to Wolf Park in Battle Ground, IN after a few people heard about the ride we did up there several weeks ago.  Bonnie and I are willing to “lead” another ride up that way for those that may be interested in another day out on the motorcycle before the weather gets really cold.  We’ve done a lot of riding this year with some new good friends, been taken to some great destinations by great road leaders; so we figured why not invite people to putt along behind us for a change?  Also, this is more of a “breakfast” style eatery stop instead of lunch, but they serve everything 24 hours a day on the menu, so you can still try their world famous chopped steak burgers.

Here is what have thrown together:

8:15AM, Sunday, October 9th – Ride meeting at Northside Harley’s parking lot.  Plan on arriving there before this time to meet and greet other riders.

8:30AM – Kick stands-up (be fueled up already, body and motorcycles.  Might want to eat light…the breakfast stop is worth arriving hungry for).  The route (listed below) isn’t too bad  with stop lights or signs until we get to Lafayette, which has notoriously short stop lights, and hard to find places to pull over.  If anybody is comfortable with the route, would like to have them scattered throughout the group if it’s big so we can all find our way to breakfast.

10:00AM – Arrive at Triple XXX in West Lafayette.  They have the best breakfast in a restaurant I’ve ever had, and was a great hit for all of us on the last visit.  My recommendation?  Biscuits and Gravy…some of the best you’ll ever eat.  A couple of eggs on the side, and it’s  a meal filling up anybody.  It’s a very popular eatery on the edge of Purdue’s campus, so expect a wait when we get there for seating.  They have a serpentine counter to sit at, we’ll get seated in small groups, probably not right next to each other.  I suggest pairing up or no more than four in a “must sit together” group, any more than that, your wait is longer.  People are really friendly in there, you’ll get to talk at length with other diners (mostly students), and the wait staff.  Plenty of breakfast and lunch items, you won’t leave hungry.

There’s a small gas station across the street, if anybody needs fuel, they can get it there while waiting for others to get ready to leave.  If you still have 10 miles left in your tank, I’d rather have a group stop at a very large gas station on the way to our first sightseeing stop if everybody has enough gas to get there (for you Sportster riders!)

11:45AM – Kick stands up again.  We’ll wait until everybody is done eating of course, so this time may vary.

12:30PM (no large gas station stop) or 12:50PM (with gas station stop) – Arrive at Tippecanoe Battlefield Park and Memorial.  The Battle of Tippecanoe happened nearby, where General Harrison fought Tecumseh’s Native American Confederation.  It’s a unique place, much like what we saw on the Annie Oakley grave ride some of us did a month or so ago.  We won’t be there long, since we have to get to our next stop.

1:30PM or so – Arrive at Wolf Park (it’s about five minutes from the memorial).  Read all about their offerings here:  Wolf Park  There should be a lecture starting about this time (they run every 30 minutes or so, hard to time it right, so we may get in mid-way).  No problem though, they talk about wolves non-stop, so you’ll be able to get what you miss if we aren’t there at the start.  Admission is $8 for ages 14 and older, $5 for kids 6-13.  Money goes to the organization to keep the park running.

2:00PM – Wolf/Bison interaction begins.  You’ll get to see both groups interacting with each other.  Nature takes over, and you may get to see the wolves “try” to get a bison.  Amazing to watch the bison “defend” their groups.  In a 45-minute session last visit, 40 minutes was watching and listening to the guides talk.  For a few minutes though, it got really interesting.  No guarantees on what happens.  Don’t plan to see anything gory though, it’s not happened in all the interactions they’ve done, since the bison are able to easily defend their young, even after a wolf grabs them.  The interaction only occurs on Sundays…and this will be a Sunday of course.  On the way back there, you’ll pass other animals they’ve rescued, including coyotes, and some others.

3:00PM – Wolf feeding.  We left before watching this the last time due to incoming heavy rain.  They feed the wolves road-killed deer, they may or may not eat.  If you may be squeamish, you can always break away and check out their gift shop.  Bring extra money…they have a lot of neat stuff in there, at very nice prices.

Few notes:

Wolf Park – Bathrooms are available…as Portapotties.  If you need a real restroom, go before arriving.  Also, just so it’s on the record….Wolf Park is located about 1/2 mile down a gravel road.  The road has some potholes and washboard, but it’s easily ride-able.  I can’t stand riding on the stuff myself, but I didn’t have any problem before, and the pucker factor was low as long as you kept the eyes in front of you watching our for the potholes.  Also, you will literally be inches away from wolves, so bring your cameras.  They encourage photography of everything that happens, and you’ll definitely have many chances for close-ups.  The people group is protected by fencing, so they won’t come after you (our Bills or Chip maybe, but that’s only because they’ll want to climb the fence to go play with the wolves…actually, they are very tame, yet somewhat skittish and take off if you make sudden movements…ETA:  I meant the wolves being skittish, not our riding friends).  Also, there is a little walking in fields and gravel lanes while going on the tour of the park.  If your boots give you problems, bring sneakers.

Route – I’m planning on this route (due to construction on 421 into Frankfort):  Leave dealership, turn right on Keystone.  Stay on this until IN-32, turn west (left).  Take 32 until US-421, turn right (north).   Stay on 421 until IN-47, turn left (west).  Go to US-52, turn right.Go into Lafayette, turn left (west) on Main Street (that’s where IN-38 starts going east).  This will bring you to five points stop light, where we go straight through and catch IN-26 West.  Follow this through downtown, go over the river, and into West Lafayette.  Less than a mile on the other side of the river, keep an eye out in front of you on the right side of the road, and look for this building:

Parking is unique.  You turn off of the main road onto a one-way road, right, in front of this picture.  There’s parking under the awning behind the restaurant, in a small lot across the street behind the building, and along the street.  Expect a lot of students standing around in the rear waiting for their turn to get in (just give it some throttle and run them over if they don’t get out of the way).  Service is quick, so we’ll all not have too bad of a wait.

You can see the small gas station awning on the left side of the picture.Anyways, I’ll print out maps for the ride meeting, and hopefully we can find a few people that know their way to the restaurant and we’ll place them intermittently in the group.  From there, we’ll swing over to IN-43, and head north to gas (if needed), the memorial, and Wolf Park.  I’ll include directions on the map as well.

I figure people can drift homewards whenever they want.  Bonnie and I will stay as long as need be, and more than happy to lead any size group back into Indy, I’m thinking around 4PM or afterwards.  We’ve been known to stop at IN-47 and US-52 for an on the way back for an ice cream too, good place to say “see ya soon’s” to everybody  ๐Ÿ™‚

Yes, this was a long posting.  You all know once I start writing, I don’t quit.  Just wanted to give everybody my thoughts, in case anybody is interested in riding along.  If you are interested in going, or know others that will once you invite them, TELL ME.  I’d like to give Wolf Park an idea of a head count before we all arrive.  Send me an email (click my Profile link on this blog near my bike/me picture), or simply post in the Facebook wall posting I have going.

One more thing:  MY DISCLAIMER :  I’m not organizing anything.  I’m not assuming liability for anything.  You ride at your own risk, not mine.  We are going for a ride, and glad to have anybody else along that happens to be going the same way.  This is NOT a HOG group ride…anybody on two wheels wants to go, feel free to bring them along.  If you get bitten or eaten by a wolf (Chip), make sure you have enough money in life insurance already  ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope to see you there for a great Sunday.  Oh, weather is currently planned for 70 degrees, sunny, and no chance of rain.  I’m not guaranteeing that though…but this will be a rain or shine event unless weather the night before is projecting severe weather.  It rained on us last time, and we still had a blast.  Just keep an eye here and on FB for any updates.