Autumn is coming to Indiana and the first faint signs are starting to show. Leaves are just beginning their explosion to color; breezes are blowing with a tendency towards crisp and afternoon warmth turns to evening cool and early morning chill. The prefect time for a Century tour of Wabash County in the Dam 2 Dam Century Ride.
After most of the summer on my own personal adventure which is coming to a close, I was able to match my itinerary with this ride and complete state #10 in my quest to ride an event in all 50 states. Convenience of scheduling, however, was not the only reason I chose this particular event. I was much more influenced by the event’s web page, it’s route description, the fact it is, at the moment, a smaller and grassroots event, and finally, takes place in and around the hometown of a dear friend.
Wabash is the prototypical image of small town mid-America. Tree-lined streets, blocks of victorian style homes, a church or
town-hall, I was never able to figure out which, whose bells ring out a most complex yet pleasing symphony each evening. The surrounding county of endless farms, interrupted only by shady woodlands, the occasional swamp, and
crossings over gently flowing rivers evokes a feeling of “hometown” no matter where you may hail from. And I’m pretty sure the entire southern half of the county is designated state recreation area. All this made riding the 104 miles nothing less than an extreme pleasure.
Beginning and ending in downtown Wabash, you are on your way no more than 2 miles before finding yourself traveling the wilds of rural county roads. Over the next several hours you will pass through several small towns, over the Wabash and Eel Rivers, across Salamonie Dam…
past farms, and farms, and more farms. There’s a lot of corn out there boys and girls. And cows, some sheep, what I think is probably soy, a few Alpacas. Ok, so it’s farmland I think you get it, but I never tired of it.
The event includes a spaghetti dinner the evening before, lunch on the ride, seven rest stops (assuming you do the 104 mile course; but adequate stops no matter what distance you choose) stocked with food and drink, including free supplies of gatorade mix and all the 5-Hour Energy you can drink. Did you
know that 5-Hour Energy is headquartered in Wabash? I did not. And post ride vittles as well. Amazing support. Here’s another tidbit of Wabash trivial. According to a small plaque in the sidewalk, it was the first city in the world to be lit by electric streetlights. Imagine that.
Before finishing you of course cross dam number two, the Mississinewa Dam creating the Mississinewa Lake. I hear you struggling to pronounce that. Don’t worry, I was at it, out loud, over and over
again for the next 20 miles trying to figure it out. Apparently what is not original in this county is dam architecture. Hey, it’s the Army Corps of Engineers. They don’t get hired for their creativity.
And what good would a rural ride be without a red barn AND a covered bridge?
Christine Flohr, Director of Tourism, and everyone involved in the planning and execution of Dam To Dam put on a first rate event. Certainly one worth traveling to, even if i had not been on my way back through that part of the country.
This is an event I can
easily recommend you go out of your way to ride. Super friendly star and volunteers whose dedication to making your ride the best experience possible is evident in everything they do. It is a young event with 2015 as the 6th Annual, and really only the second year of marketing and advertising but as such they have outclassed many of the larger events I’ve ridden. Wabash itself was a pleasure just to visit. My stay at Herrold On Hill B&B was truly exceptional. Sandy and Alan are the consummate hosts, the house itself is a spectacular vision of history, built in 1885, and the Breakfast part of B&B was as unique as it was delicious. On top of all that, it’s a mere 3 blocks from the YMCA, the HQ and starting place for the ride. There are a few great places to stay in town and this is definitely one of them.
Wabash and the Dam To Dam Century Ride. Two Mid-West treasures!