We decided to make this a short day for several reasons. First, we had made a slight miscalculation of the mileage on our itinerary and either needed to do a really long day or a shorter day. Second, we had packages to pick up and drop off in a part office in Kewanna, IN, which was not on our route. Finally, Keene and Graham had started getting some pain in certain joints a few days before, and wanted a little rest. All of these factors gave us a 40 mile day, about half of what we had been doing for the past week.
After a morning of riding, Graham’s 1970s Brooks saddle finally gave out within sight of our host’s house, giving us another reason to make a stop. As we pulled up next to our host, Kyle’s, house, we got quite a surprise: across the farm field behind his house was, recognizably, a factory farming operation (pigs, he later told us) and we were left wondering what the evening held for us.
Luckily, Kyle was kind enough to drive us to do our errands, and we quickly found out that he did not work in animal agriculture. In fact, as we got to taking about the purpose of our ride, it came to light that he is an entrepreneur who started a sustainable business called Indiana Barns LLC (tagline: Restore~Reclaim~Relocate): his company started out reclaiming timber from barns (many built in the 1800s) all over Indiana that were not being used or no longer kept up, and selling it to companies who would be able to use it. As his business grew, he began getting feedback: the barns are a part of Indiana’s history, and, though their owners may not be able to keep them up, other people were willing to. To address this concern, he shifted his model to restoring the barns to both keep the history alive and reduce the need for new building materials. We spent part of the afternoon checking out some of his work, and it is quite impressive.
When we finally got back to his house, we met his family, ate pizza, and ended the night with table tennis (at which Kyle is a pro). We woke up to the sun shining (finally) and Kyle’s blueberry pancakes. Kyle and his two sons (all avid cyclists) even rode out with us for 20 miles before returning home. We are so grateful for Kyle’s generosity, and we hope that he eventually gets to fulfill his own dream of undertaking a cross-country tour.