Indiana: Hoosier National Forest

Text: Warren Sobat • Photography: Warren Sobat

Hoosier National Forest is an amazing sight any time of the year, but when autumn's frost comes to visit, the hills and valleys come alive with a show to overwhelm the senses.

When the folks at RoadRUNNER asked me, a Hoosier born and bred, to ride the roads of southern Indiana and write about it, I jumped at the opportunity.

With my father Willie joining me aboard his Honda VFR, I saddled up the Yamaha FZ1, and we set out from the Ohio River just north of Louisville, Kentucky. Temperatures dipping into the low 40s, an annoying mist gathers on our face shields and tries to dampen our spirits. The river and surrounding area are shrouded in heavy fog.

But conditions improve dramatically as we leave I-265 and blast up a tortuous road called State Street toward the sleepy little town of Floyds Knobs. Pea-soup fog left behind, we're greeted with glorious sunshine and dry pavement. The twisting two-lane blacktop climbs over the small ridges lining the Ohio River banks and deposits us at the intersection of Scottsville Road.

After topping off the tanks and a quick check of our bearings, we strike out north toward SR 60. This country road meanders through farms dotting the foothills of southern Indiana. Most of the curves, 90-degree detours around one farm field or another, were probably cut by carts bringing produce to the river for shipment in days gone by.

Near Scottsville, in Starlight, we come across the Joe Huber Family Farm and Restaurant. It is still early morning but the generous parking lot is almost filled to capacity. Joe's ancestors came to this part of Indiana from Germany in 1843 and began farming. Now the restaurant fills with reservations weeks in advance during the month of October, but the farm also hosts a large buffet in a building roughly the size of a football field and an outdoor grill near the entrance serves walk-up traffic.

Having eaten breakfast before leaving Louisville, Willie and I continue our run up to SR 60, a sweet road of sweeping turns that brush past lush stands of orange-and-gold trees.

The two-lane blacktop takes us up to New Pekin (right after Old Pekin of course) in a high-speed burn. After backtracking and a map check, we find Blue River Road with the help of a local father and son in their pickup. Getting lost momentarily was well worth discovering this little gem of a road. Roller-coasting through hills and valleys, the road is hardly marked at all. The white lines down either side are all that signal it's a road, but the pavement is good with little gravel or potholes.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the May/June 2004 back issue.