I rode east today, toward Ohio, then headed south toward Woodburn. It has been several months since I've been down that way and I wanted to check on the progress of the "Fort to Port" highway project. That would be a 4-lane, divided U.S. 24 from Fort Wayne to the Port of Toledo on Lake Erie.
The reason I am interested in this project isn't so I can get to Toledo 15 min. faster, but because I will feel safer riding on old U.S. 24, a two-lane highway which was built on the old Wabash and Erie Canal Right-of-Way. The old highway is a scenic route which follows along the south bank of the Maumee River. It is twisty and is wooded along much of the north side, between highway and river. It's also a very dangerous road to drive, with many semi trucks and people in cars who want to pass the big trucks. Passing on a twisting, two lane road isn't a good idea for many people, and many people have lost their lives, or taken other lives on this road. But for a two lane road, it has wide shoulders, so I'm thinking it'll be safe for riding a bike on.
East of Indiana 101, the open portion of the new highway is open. West of Indiana 101, it looks like this all the way to New Haven (a small suburb of Fort Wayne):
On the way back, I rode many miles of gravel roads, which are packed snow and ice this time of year. Riding in the center, without studded tires, is actually pretty good. When a car passes, I scoot over and stop, since the snow on either side is an oatmeal-colored dry mush that is difficult to remain upright.
Most of the time, I am quite a bit faster than the Amish buggies in my neighborhood, but on packed snow, they are faster. I tried to catch up to this buggy to draft, but could get no closer than this.
I'm happy today got up to 31F, but I am looking forward to when it gets a little warmer. Biking is helping to keep cabin fever at bay, but another couple months of winter, plus a month of winter/spring transition after that, usually with lots of wind. Well, I digress.