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!)


cpa3485 said...

Sounds like a wonderful ride. I have a photographer friend who has made it a hobby to take pictures of all the county courthouses in the 105 Kansas counties. It is a very interesting collection of pictures. Some are sort of hum drum, but others are very beautiful like the one you showed. You have given me some ideas to take a ride and visit some of them.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sojourner (Sharon):

Why does this delightful post have only one comment? There are two blogs that I have to assign a full hour to read: yours and REDLEGS RIDES, as both generally have a great deal of detail.

Brazil has a magnigicent courthouse, and I thank you for the pictures. It is amazing what you will find in smaller cities and towns. The Jersey City courthouse is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Renaisance architecture in the United States... And it is in the saddest location.

You are inspiring me to ride up there and grab a few shots of my childhood.

The boys and I had a planning session yesterday to discuss our ride south to Tennessee -- in 17 days!
We are going to take three days to get there, and ride down the Blue Ridege Parkway.

Should be fun. Have you made your plans yet? Where are you staying?

Fondest regards,
Jack "r"
Twisted Roads

Unknown said...


You're quite the world traveller. Brazil, Paris, and who knows where else. Great equipment helps to make great photos, esp when you know how to use it. You must do a lot of research into the history of every area you visit, whether it be before or after your ride.

It's nice to take a break from those endurance SS rides once in a while and just enjoy.

all this talk of Tennessee and we are too far away to make it. Enjoy your summer and ride safe

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hey Jim,

It was a fun ride! Glad I inspired you. Looking forward to seeing your pics and reports of your hunts.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hi Jack,

I don't know why only a few have peeked in. Thanks for thinking it "delightful." I'm always glad that you spend time with me!

Still, planning a lengthy response on a previous note...

Looking forward to TN!

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hi Bob,

I have Cuba and Berlin and perhaps Sweden coming up soon too! ;-)

I wish I had more time to do more history research. But I'd never get out of the house to ride if I didn't put a strict limit on myself. You know my stubborn streak. So, I read a little before and after my trip to get the post out by Mon or Tue.

Hey, don't worry about TN. I'm going to blog from it daily. You'll feel like you're right there!

Unknown said...

Cool, it will be nice to have running commentary during your trip. Since we have the same Photo equipment, I wonder if we have the same Netbook. I purchased an Aspire ONE to carry on the bike. I also have a smartphone but the KB is too small to do any serious posting. Have a good trip, looking forward to your TN adventure with Mr reep

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hey Bob, I missed your note about the "same" net book. Believe it or not, the Aspire was high on my list. I ended up getting the Asus. Cute little thing with a 6 cell battery and nice keyboard.

I'm looking forward to meeting Jack--I think!