What is your route to Amerivespa – tourist or turnpike ?

June 23rd is steadily approaching, and the Vesptista that are able will have started or finalised their plans for the trip to and from the event. Which way will you be going and will it be the most direct or will you be doing some exploring along the way? For Amerivespa in Indianapolis last year, we chose the latter and wandered across a little patch of the country on the way. This is our story.
Amerivespa Indy Poster
Last year, after completing the Lake Erie Loop and sorting out some things, it was time to repack the bags to make our way to Amerivespa in Indianapolis.

From Ohio, it’s a trip easily done in a day on the expressways – but we wanted to see more of the country not knowing when or if we will be back. So after a big breakfast at Dimitri’s Corner Restaurant (opposite the Herrick Memorial Library) we headed off in a Southerly direction toward West Salem. The ride down was interesting as Australia does not share the amount of Amish or Mennonite that Ohio does. We were in no hurry, so we adopted a relaxed pace and concentrated on avoiding the piles of “exhaust” from the Amish carriage “engines” and spent time looking for houses that do not appear to have power connected. One farm seemed to be hosting a horse and buggy show and shine with the amount of vehicles and horses in the front yard. It was later explained over coffee that was more likely to be community support for a barn raising or something else that needed more manpower to achieve.
Our next stop was at Tulipán (“tulip” in Hungarian) Pastry and Coffee Shop in Wooster, OH. This is a Pastry and Coffee Shop that follows traditional Hungarian recipes. I tried the “Beigli” poppy seed roll, but there was a heap of equally interesting cakes and pastries in their display windows.

We continued through Tuscarawas County to Dover’s Warther Museum. The Warther Museum is dedicated to Ernest “Mooney” Warther, a master carver. The museum explains how he created the carvings as well as his life story. Some of the displays were automated – others in display cases showing how he worked with wood and ivory to make incredibly detailed train models and the Lincoln cane. More cases displayed many other items crafted from a single piece of wood – toys and sculptures unbelievable in their execution. The Warther home is open to view and it has been preserved to show what their home would have looked like during the 1920s. The charming gardens include the “Button House” where Freida, Mooney’s wife, collected and mounted over 73,000 buttons.
Carving was just a hobby for Mooney and to make a living he made handcrafted kitchen cutlery. Today that is still the family’s main source of income. Mooney started the knife company in 1902 and the family have been making kitchen knives ever since.

We continued through, Valley and Wayne townships till reaching our overnight destination near
Senecaville Lake. The next day we continued on to Cumberland which is on the John Morgan trail. The trail is dotted with rustic buildings and plaques describing the areas history.

Fixer-upper on the John Morgan Trail

We continued on to our intended destination of the “Big Muskie” bucket (I like visiting big things) and rode via Wood Grove Rd., part of the nearly 10,000 acres of land once strip mined for its rich coal deposits by Big Muskie. This land was donated by American Electric Power to the International Centre of the Preservation of Wild Animals in 1986 to create “The Wilds”. This is North America’s largest open-range preserve for threatened and endangered species. On signs such as the Wood Grove Camp Site they credited this project as “ReCreation Land”. Hugely successful, this project has gone above and beyond the legal requirements for land reclamation.

We continued through the park to Reinersville, then found the Big Muskie Bucket. Big Muskie’s 220 cubic yard bucket could move 325 tons of dirt in a single bite. The buckets swing time from filling, lifting, swinging and dumping was about 1 minute. I wonder how many Vespas would fit in Big Muskie?

After looking at the history of the mine and it’s equipment on display boards we departed McConnelsville, and rode on through Malta, which was a nice township next to a river. We continued through Violet Township and headed towards our destination in Pickerington, Ohio – The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, .

Malta, Ohio
The entrance to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame
It was hard not to be impressed by the parking facilities for motorcycles. Under cover with benches for removing riding gear, and lockers for storing your gear in while in the museum provided.
Bike parking at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame

Once we finished viewing the hundreds of examples of two-wheeled transport here it was getting late in the day, and we abandoned our trip to the German Village. Instead, we followed the ring road around to Polaris and an overnight stop at Four Points – Polaris, which had a good selection of diners walking distance from the hotel’s carpark.

In the morning we headed off toward McArthur Township and continued on to Huntsville and Lima St. where we made a mid morning stop in Lug Nuts. Lugs Nuts has  plenty of signs and other memorabilia to look at while having some refreshments.

After our stop, we got back on the road to Celina, near the Ohio/Indianapolis border. Despite Celina’s reputation as a bit of a party town, the first building we saw on the other side of the border was a church. After a short break under the trees in Celina, it was on through Bearcreek Township and Wayne Township which I think is where I saw my first Wildfire, looking very much like a Honda Helix.

The next rest stop was Albany where we saw our first scooters that were also going to Amerivespa, which in some way was a relief, knowing we were on the right track and also getting closer.
Scooter in Albany
As we were riding along near the train tracks near Ingalls, the traffic increased noticeably. After spending most of the trip on quiet backroads it was clear we were almost there. It was starting to get more built up and in Fortville had to do a double take at the road side Pink Elephant.

Amerivespa - Tourist or Turnpike
We then followed Keystone Crossing to our destination, the Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel. Greeting us at the entrance was a Vespa with “Amerivespa or bust” on the leg shield… we had arrived.


Good luck to the attendees of Amerivespa Memphis, and we hope that you took the long way to get there. Safe riding!

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