Monday, May 29, 2023

Riding the Vine

 The Pumpkinvine Bike Trail, that is.....In the meantime, while staying in Elkhart to await the rig repairs come August 14th, we are taking advantage of the beautiful early summer weather to do different things in the area...Eldy has been learning more about lacrosse, as his grandson is heading for the state lacrosse finals. He has really enjoyed the games, and Trevor's team is doing so well! Trevor is the tall one in the middle. The rest of Eldy's son's family is with him as well. A fine looking family!

Sparky has been riding the Pumpkinvine from Abshire Park in Goshen, all the way to Shipshewanna sometimes, but mostly to Middlebury and back, a distance of about 13 miles total. That section of the trail is about 50% wooded and it has been a real treat watching the emerging wildflowers changing as the weeks go by. 

Not only is it nicely wooded in parts, but there are a couple of challenging hills to climb and then zoom down. 

AND---there's an ice cream shop called Moody's which is about 2/3 of the way to Middlebury and it's right off the trail. They have good cheeseburgers and lots of flavors of ice cream, both soft serve and hard. It's a favorite of the Amish. Once Sparky gets her ice cream fix, she feels like turning around and heading back. Mainly because at the ice cream junction, you have to go out on the county roads for about a mile to get back to trail to pick it up again, heading on into Middlebury. Those county roads are ok, as there are probably more horse and buggies on the county road than trucks, but occasional speedsters and heavy duty construction trucks occasionally, make that portion a little more nerve wracking when they pass by. The spur to get you off the county roads and to stay on the trail is supposed to be completed by the end of this summer.

Dames Rocket
When Sparky first started riding in April, there were few wildflowers. The first to come were the spring trilliums, then the wild geraniums, the purple phlox, then the Dames Rocket flowers. Dames Rocket is confused with phlox sometimes, but phlox has five petals, and Dames Rocket has four. 

Dames Rocket is also considered a noxious weed in some states and is definitely an invasive plant. But it is really pretty!

More Dames Rocket

No wonder it is blooming prolifically for several miles along the trail!

Sparky loves the Pumpkinvine Trail because it's such a good workout, and the different habitats along the trail make it an interesting ride. You pass Amish farms and wide open spaces on the trail for a bit....

pass through shady forests....

and bike through a little bit of small town offerings along the way (Middlebury's Mooey's Ice Cream, for one), where you can stop and grab a bite to eat or get an ice cream cone.
Sometimes you even see chickens who are tired of being cooped up, haha, and need to get out of the house for the day, haha..
They definitely like to cross the road, haha...
Sparky likes to inspect the different flowers up close and personal. This wildflower is called Great Waterleaf, also called woolen breeches, and it had a bee zeroing in on it.
As you come back to Abshire Park (Goshen) from your starting point, you will see one of the flower quilt gardens at the park. They have just planted another series of flower gardens this year all over in the towns of Elkhart, Bristol, Middlebury, Wakarusa, Nappanee, and Goshen, that by midsummer will fill in and make beautiful quilt patterns. It's part of a tour you can take--the Elkhart Quilt Gardens (along the Heritage Trail) and we will probably go visit most of them next month or early July when they will be at their prime. The Heritage Trail is an audio driving tour to see the area's attractions and the Amish lifestyle. You learn a LOT about this beautiful area on the tour. We did it years ago but will revisit it again in the near future to see what's new.
quilt garden at Abshire Park

No other news about the rig, other than the earliest we can get it in to be fixed is Aug. 14th, as we have said, so the wait continues.....Thank you for following along and keeping us company!


  1. I have given up biking because of a lack of confidence (balance) but you sure make me consider trying again.

    1. I have bad balance, too, but only when I'm making sharp turns. I truly love riding my bike.