Tuesday, June 23

First, Portugal...now Brazil and Paris!

I had planned another Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000 for Sunday. My route would be a simple one. I would leave by 3:30am and return home 10pm. But the anticipation must have gotten to me for I didn’t sleep well the night before, which isn’t the way to start—and finish—a LD ride. So, I scrapped my SS and decided on something more fun. I guess you can say I did a half SS as the mileage totaled a bit over 500 for the day.

Following on the heels of Portugal, I decided to take a visit to Brazil and then on to Paris. Okay, so it’s Brazil, Indiana and Paris, IL but still… I was on the road by 6am because I was determined to have breakfast at Shaprio’s in Indianapolis and get back home before nightfall. I succeeded on both accounts.

I took the interstate getting to Indianapolis but after that, I knew getting to Brazil and Paris would allow me some nice country roads and old two lane highways. Given that it was Father’s Day, I felt a nice connection with my deceased father who fought in the Korean “War” as I rode along stretches of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway.

My Sunday ride was a welcomed relief from stamps hunting. For a change, I took my time and enjoyed this ride. I even turned on the new XM satellite radio! A cloudy sky with dark threatening clouds in some places kept reminding me that it might rain today. Even at 6am the temps were in the 70s and humid. I wore a comfortable summer jacket with lots of open flaps and my mesh pants with knee and hip armor. I love these pants even though they make me look like I’ve packed stolen goods in each hip.

After an easy three hours, I pulled into my favorite eatery--Shapiro’s Deli. It is nearly 10:30 EST I have driven basically straight through. I usually lunch here so breakfast here will be a treat. I order pancakes. When they arrive, I gasp. They are mammoth—and scrumptious! I barely ate half. I wanted so badly to buy lunch too but given the hot weather, I thought better of it. I didn’t want to fuel the wrath of salmonella.

Before leaving Indianapolis, I learned in some former research that near Shapiro’s is a spot that was a terminus on the Underground Railroad. This was a totally unexpected discovery. The place is now the Slippery Noodle, a rather famous blues joint. It is also the oldest bar in the state.

Crown Hill Cemetery was my next Indianapolis stop.
It’s a vast place (3rd largest in the country) and several people are buried there whom I wanted to locate.

Top on my list were Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President, and his two wives. I stopped in the office and they pointed out his plot on the map. After the death of his first wife, Harrison remarried. His second marriage was to his wife’s niece, who happened to be 25 years younger. According to a couple of sources, his two adult children (41 and 38 years old) were ticked at old Dad! They did not attend the wedding to show their disapproval of his marriage to their first cousin, which made the child from this second wife, their sister as well as second cousin. I asked also about the infamous John Dillinger, who is also interred there. I found none of the graves I was looking for, but I still enjoyed myself. It’s a massive layout. I thought of the “loud pipe saves lives” bikes rumbling through this cemetery—and chuckled at the thought of “waking the dead.“ I was happy my bike is smooth and quiet—no complaints from the residents.

Brazil, Indiana

Riding to Brazil was a joy. US 40 parallels I-70W so I took US40. Brazil is supposed to have an interesting county courthouse and a Carnegie funded public library.

Carngegie funded libraries everywhere—or so it seems.

I read something that said Brazil streets were in bad shape, that the brick roadbed is exposed in many places and that one can see that the brick is actually in better condition than the top street. The roads were bumpy but didn’t seem any worse than other roads I’ve encountered. Nice small rural town that appears to have seen better times--haven’t we all, though? I saw two oldish teens on scooters who eyeballed me and the bike. They must have been doing some serious dirt riding with those scooters as they were filthy boys, with completely dirty shirts. I pulled in behind them at a stop light and kept my eyes on them. I noticed that both young men had cigarettes hanging from their mouth. RWS (riding while smoking).

Know the name Erwin “Cannonball” Baker? He was an award winning motorcycle racer back in the day. Born in 1882, he set a slew of records. In 1908, he bought an Indian motorcycle and the rest, as they say, is history. Sounds like he was the Michael Jordan of this time--only on two wheels. Take a look at this dapper gent.

Before leaving Brazil, don't forget to stop at Eddie's Sandwich Shoppe.

It was closed but looks like a neat little place. It's been around since 1931 and they're known for their "little" hamburgers.

Paris, Illinois

I rode to Paris to get more pics. They too have a noteworthy county courthouse.

It’s an easy trip from Brazil. I took US 40, which by the way, is one of the US National Roads. This led me to US 150 for miles and then Route 1, right into town. Paris is in Edgar County and they have their own little historical buildings complex.

They really do have an absolutely gorgeous county court building.

I took way too many pics of it but couldn’t help myself. Paris, IL is on the map also for having 4 buildings on the National Registry of Historic Places—that’s pretty dang impressive for a town so small.

The Edgar County Courthouse is one of the National Historic sites. Hey, I wonder if I could have picked up some stamps here. Hmmm? Oh, well…

Paris is also famous for Carl Dean Switzer. Know that name? It’s great Jeopardy game show knowledge. Both Carl and his brother were childhood actors whom almost everyone has seen on the silver screen. Does, Our Gang ring a bell? Remember Alfalfa? Remember that bad falsetto voice that cracked whenever he tried to sing? Well Alfalfa, aka Carl Dean Switzer, was born in Paris, IL! Yes! Alfalfa comes from Paris, IL! Both he and his brother (who played in the gang) were discovered when they were on a trip to CA. At the time, they were already fairly big in Paris, IL.

I left Paris, IL with every intention of heading to Champaign, IL to have a late lunch at another of my favorite restaurants, Nitaya Thai for crabmeat fried rice. But when I arrived at the Champaign turn off, I was feeling good and just didn’t want to stop. Big mistake. I should have stopped and eaten for a couple of reasons. I felt hungry the last two hours of the trip. I also rode through three separate, brief, bursts of rain—one rather heavy. Nothing to write home about but I probably would have avoided them had I stopped. In the end, this was a trip of pure fun.
Arrived home long before dark. Energized, hungry and history geekism, completely satisfied.

Miles completed: 531
Fun factor 10/10
XM radio -- priceless! (I listened to NPR, CNN and '70s tunes!)