As many know, I am not a religious person. There is no love lost between me and the commercial religious organizations out there. That does not mean I don’t believe there is some other power out there that holds some influence over our lives, I just hate giving it a name. So on Sunday, while most of the US was on their way to church, I left the house at about 9:00 AM to head to Bloomington, IN to visit the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center.
So when I left the city and headed north, it was about 40 degrees. A lot warmer than it was last weekend when I headed down to Cave City. There was virtually no traffic getting out of Louisville and running through southern Indiana. I was in and out of Salem not looking back. At one point, not long after I took the photo at the top, the GPS wanted me to turn off the road I was on and head down a much smaller one, IN-235 (I believe). Well, I got my first water crossing – unintentionally. One of the streams in the area had blown its banks and was flowing right over the road. I looked, could see the road and lines all the way across, so I figured, go for it. I took it slow, kept the wheel straight, and crossed the stream. Got a little wet, but was no worse for the wear. Besides, Raven needed a bath. The problem came in with the 2nd part – fast moving water, and I could not see the road or lines at all. It was also about 50 feet across. Nope, not alone. I turned around and headed back to the other road I was on to find another way around.
This is why I love putting a destination in the GPS, but then heading wherever. It will reroute me as needed, so I can take all the different roads I want to. Well, I continued north, eventually hitting US-50 which took me to IN-446, through Hoosier National Forest and the Monroe Reservoir and into Bloomington. I headed north, took a little side road down a gravel path that lead for a couple miles on a ridge above the lake that ended at a Boy Scout camp. It was closed for the season, so I grabbed a couple shots and headed back. I continued up 446 and hit the bridge crossing Monroe Reservoir and with the great skies and clean air, got some awesome shots. Again, got on the bike and continued on, leaving the reservoir in the background. My goal was only a few miles away.
As I pulled into the TMBCC, I saw the colors and different shrines and people quietly making their way around the grounds. This is one time I am glad the NC700 is not a loud bike. I pulled into the parking lot of the main temple and went inside. The monks and their teacher were performing what looked like a blessing on a family’s new baby. I waited outside the main hall for them to finish. Once done, the teacher and one of the other monks came out and performed a blessing ritual on my motorcycle. It was amazing and I really felt moved. They asked all about it, astounded there was no clutch or gear lever. A few more monks came out, they all got photos of the bike, me and their teacher. I did not take any photos while on their grounds. It just felt wrong. I thanked them all for their time and gave them a donation for their center.
From there it was on into Bloomington. I just wanted a quick ride through the town, 3rd street and Kirkwood, then headed south on US37 to Mitchell and Spring Mill State Park. It took me about 30 minutes or so to get there from Bloomington, but that was fine. $7 (for a motorcycle?) to the rangers at the gate and I was riding into Spring Mill. I went to the Donaldson Cave picnic area for a quick bite. I had thrown my stove and a Mountain House Chilli Mac in my bags, so I boiled up some water and had a nice quick lunch. It had gotten quite warm at this point, so I took off the Freeze Out layer off and threw it in the saddlebags.
Once done with lunch, I rode around the park, passing the Inn and then down to the pioneer village. Since I still had just over 2 hours of riding to get home, I did not walk around the village, as it was 3pm already and I wanted to be home before it got dark. I rode out of the village and around to where the old pioneer graveyard is located. Here are a couple more shots of the graveyard.
Finally, I decided to go ahead and turn south again and make my way back into town. It was about 3:30 or so when I got out of the park and back on the road. I hit some familiar roads, some detours (high water) and was back in southern Indiana a couple hours later. I wanted a beer and to relax a bit, and while the first couple places I was going to stop were closed, I ended up just caving and going to BW3’s. Besides, there is one right by my house. I got to BW3’s just after 6pm (9 hours on the road, for those keeping score) and had a couple Sam Adams seasonal’s and some chicken with their Caribbean Jerk sauce. 30 minutes later and I am at the house, and clearing off the bike.
All in all, it was a fantastic day, the weather and traffic could not have been better.