Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Biking at Prophetstown State Park

Roger here..... Prophetstown State Park sits at the edge of a tallgrass prairie that greeted Native Americans and European settlers in what is now northwestern Indiana.  

A vast sea of tallgrass stretched as far as the eye could see.  Small open oak woodlands dotted the prairie landscape.  Steep, narrow bluffs dropped to connecting rivers.  Over time the land was shaped by ice, fire, water and human hands. 

One of our daily activities at Prophetstown State Park has been to use the excellent bike paths for our daily exercise.  The park has 3.2 miles of paved trails specifically designated for bicycles.  They are six feet wide and extremely smooth - in much better shape than many of the interstates we have been on lately.    We have been enjoying the bucolic views described above while pedaling the entire trail system twice a day.

 The easy, no hassle, trails have been perfect for helping Dianne overcome her bike-o-phobia.  This morning she actually pestered me to hurry up and get ready so we could go on our bike ride.  I am a happy camper.

There are several interesting stops along the bike trail -  picnic shelters, play grounds, basketball courts (this is Indiana after all), and trail heads.  In this post I will show you three of them that we pedaled to.

The stone bridge along the roadway and bike path was constructed entirely of boulders that the glaciers brought to Indiana as they slowly moved across this part of Indiana. 

 As the European settlers discovered that the soil here was excellent for growing corn and wheat, their first task was to clear the fields of the many boulders that the glaciers deposited from the far north.  

As we stopped to read about the interesting bridge, Dianne found a large rock surrounded by wildflowers to rest against. 

 I really wasn't ready to rest, but I sure did enjoy climbing up on the biggest boulder I could find and acting like a kid.  I never met a large rock that I didn't want to climb.  I am happy to be fit enough to still do that kind of thing in my old(er) age.  (Dianne here:  There is no chance I will end my days in a rocking chair, watching the world go by, so long as I am married to Roger!  Some men never lose their "inner boy," and I'm glad Roger is one of them.)

Along one of the pathways near the bike trail, we hiked to a small reconstruction of a Native American village.  There was really not much to see there, but the Native American history in this area was significant to our country.  It was here that Tecumseh's brother, The Prophet, defied the wishes of Tecumseh and attacked the U.S. Army, resulting in the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. 

 As a side note; The Prophet earned his name for his alleged ability to predict future events.  One of the events he supposedly predicted was a great shaking of the earth as a sign from the spirits.  It is told that the 1811 New Madrid earthquake, the one that changed the course of the Mississippi River, took place shortly after his prophesy.  Pretty interesting, if it is a true story.

The most prominent man-made feature at the state park is the Historic Prophetstown living history farm.  Like many living history museums, the Prophetstown Farm takes you back to a specific time frame.  In this case, the 1920's.  All the farm produce here is raised using methods from the 1920's.  It really took us back to another time as we watched horses pulling the plows that till the fields.  The largest structures on the farm are the big red barn and the farm house. 

 The farm house is an exact replica of a prefabricated house that was ordered through a Sears and Roebuck catalogue. 

 Dianne and I especially enjoyed the old country store next to the house where we bought farm fresh eggs, tomatoes and elderberry jam - all produced on site.  The costumed lady talked with us while we wandered through the store.  She was busy sewing hand-made dolls that will be used as decorations for an upcoming barn dance in September.   We headed to our bikes after we left the store and loaded our fresh food into Dianne's bicycle basket. 

 Amazingly, the eggs made it back to our campsite without cracking, so I used them to make scrambled eggs for supper in a skillet on our outdoor grill.  Yum.
 We enjoyed the view from the back of our campsite while we had our breakfast/dinner.


Nancy and Bill said...

Todays blog made us smile :) So glad to see you two out on your two wheelers. Cycling gets in your blood and really brings you back to your childhood and we can see that happened to Roger! Glad you still had your helmet on when you got up on that boulder!! Keep having fun kids!

Gin and Syl said...

This sounds like another cg we need to check out when we get on the road next year. Enjoy yourselves.


Andrew Bodine said...

I am going there next month