Dark Lord Day Toodle 2011

Breakfast And A Drive

Indiana Welcome Center

After grabbing bagels and coffee we headed out on the highway to Highland, IN. This city is just across the border into Indiana and is the site of the Visitors Center along the highway. It is a futuristic building that is interesting to see from a distance. It is reminiscent of something that Frank Gehry might have built.

We unpacked the bikes and slipped on shoes and gloves, helmets and glasses and after making a pit stop set out on the Erie-Lackawanna Trail.

The trail runs from Hammond, IN on the north to Crown Point, IN on the southern end. There they have added an additional mile or more of trail so that you are placed well within the downtown area before having to exit.

Underway Outbound

As you leave the Visitors Center there is now a Nature Trail that runs to the west and crosses a new bridge to place you onto the trail. It means not having to ride the busy Kennedy Avenue.

As we are crossing the bridge a couple with their dog walks up. The gentleman strikes up a conversation about our bikes. I explain the cost and ride quality and then he asks where we are headed. I say over to the Dark Lord Day Event in Munster, IN. He has been there and is amazed that the thing has grown to some 6,000 participants. In fact this year it sold out in under 4 minutes!

As we approach the Highland High School complex we head west into the town of Munster, IN. We discover yet another way to enter the area without having to take as many busy streets.

There is a park near the industrial area which surrounds the Three Floyds Brewpub and we enter it and make our way over to the pub. Automobiles are lining the streets and thousands of people are seated on the grass nearly a quarter mile from the pub waiting for their turn to buy some Dark Lord.

Yesterday a contingent from the Chicagoland area rode down to enjoy the libations. Today the entire world seemed to have descended upon the place. It was something of a madhouse.

We stayed long enough to gather in the ambience and then headed back to the neighboring public park to use their uncrowded restrooms. There is a segment of the Burnham Park Greenway that has been installed behind the park. So we decide to ride a bit more of the new trail and hope to intersect with the Erie-Lackawanna which should be running parallel to it.

Heading Inbound

We got a bit lost since the new segment does not run far enough inland to reach the Erie-Lackawanna. But as luck would have it the aimless searching was worth it since we got to see some parts of the surrounding area that we had not explored before.

Connie had had the foresight to grab a map of the trails in the area and we used it and the GPS to get us back to where we needed to be. It was quite a bit of fun in the end and we made much better time on the inbound leg (with the winds) than we had on the way out.

Back at the Visitors Center we packed up the bikes and went in search of bean burritos at Chipotle. It was a great ride and there was plenty to see and enjoy!

Distance: 18 miles
Time: 2h 32m 5s