Monroe and Brown Counties

Hello. I’m Pleepleus.

From time to time, I hack into The Shaw Show and write stuff about my travels. Even though it is a total hack, the creator of The Shaw Show either

  1. is so dense that he is oblivious to my posts, or
  2. simply doesn’t care that I hack in and write as a guest.

I’m pretty sure that it is 1.

Next week I will travel to Michigan and visit several places along I94. Before I go and report back, I want to write about my travels over the Halloween weekend in 2017.

Here is a map on which I’ve drawn some circles and written the numbers 1 through 4.  I will probably refer to the map at least 4 times.

Thanks Google! The surrounding area of Bloomington, IN.

Sometime a little before 1am on the morning of Saturday, October 28 (which still very much felt like Friday evening), I arrived at Paynetown State Recreational Area surprised to still find an attendant on duty to provide me with a site on which to place a tent and sleep.  Paynetown is in the area #1 circled above.

In the morning, I made some pour overs on the camp stove using some coffee I had just roasted a few days prior.

Pro Tip: If you don’t own a camper that needs electricity, you can find just about any campsite that you want at the end of October.  I chose one close to the showers and restrooms, which provided me with the electricity I needed to charge my phone.

Prior to any hike, one must have a decent breakfast. If you don’t bring your own food to make at the campsite, then I have some really good suggestions for places to break your fast each morning.

Runcible Spoon on 412 E. Sixth St. in Bloomington is a unique and wonderful experience.  They have a wonderful breakfast menu, decent Bloody Marys (and Mimosas if those are more your style), and Zombie Dust in the bottle.  I really did not care how early it was, a Zombie Dust was a perfect side car to my Bloody.

This is my happy place.

Pro Tip: Bring a group of 4 so that pitchers of Bloody Marys or Mimosas can be ordered at a more efficient cost.

The daily dose of nature was at the Hickory Ridge Fire Tower, which is the pin in the circled area #2 in the map above.  This was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Pro Tip: Although climbing to the top of Hickory Ridge Fire Tower is worth it just about any time of year, it is most worth it when there are Fall colors to gaze upon.

Hiking up and around the fire tower made me thirsty and hungry.  I recommend Function Brewing for drinks and food and The Wood Shop for some tasty digestifs.

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Later that evening, I enjoyed a Sirloin Steak cooked to perfection along with an amazingly dark, smooth, and decadent Cabernet at The Little Zagreb.

Pro Tip: Make your reservation early at The Little Zagreb, and prepare to spend a lot of money for the amazing experience that is very much worth it.  If you camp like I did, you can save the money that you need to eat there.

On Sunday morning, October 29th, I had a hangover.  Although I wanted to hike in the trails around the campground that morning, it wasn’t happening.  I slept in until it was time to leave for my 11:30 reservations at FARMbloomington. This place had amazing coffee and bacon.  It offers a full bar and a wonderful menu.

I went back to Paynetown State Recreational Area, and hiked the 3.2 miles along the trails that are in circle #1 above.

That worked up an appetite, so I stopped for some appertifs at Oddball Fermentables. Specifically, I tried First Date, Enzy’s Gold, Hopberry Blue, Hopberry Red, and Melody.  These are all cysers, which are mead-cider hybrids that they specialize in.

Keeping warm by both the fire and the cysers.

Pro Tip: If you visit Oddball Fermentables, it will feel as if you are walking into someone’s house. Embrace the awkwardness and walk right in with confidence.

To combat my sleepiness, I decided that a pour-over was prudent, and visited Hopscotch Coffee. Their pour-over was fantastic, and it was the fuel I needed for an impromptu hike at Leonard Springs Nature Park.  This is in circle #4 on the map above.

Pro Tip: To hike Leonard Springs, I went down the stairs first and did the hike counterclockwise. Convince yourself to pass the staircase and come up it at the end. I believe this hike is better done clockwise.

Although I was hungry enough for dinner before the hike, I wanted to ensure that there would be plenty of hunger when I went to Mother Bear’s Pizza.

If you only go to one place for a meal in Bloomington, get some pizza at Mother Bear’s.

When I asked what they had on tap, the waitress read through a list of beers. She read off “Space Station, and Middle Finger” as if it were two separate beers.  I told her that “Space Station Middle Finger” was just one beer and that I would have a pint.  She looked at me funny and stated that she was pretty sure it was two beers.

Soon she brought my pint of Space Station Middle Finger and apologized for her blunder. How dare she question a stuffed monkey beer connoisseur!

Pro Tip: Be really hungry when you go to Mother Bear’s, and if you can swing it, have a big group. That way, you can order all the different kinds of amazing pizza they have available.  You need to have room in your stomach for at least 4 slices.  I ordered 10 Hot Garlic Wings, a 10 inch Spinnocoli, and a 10 inch Dante’s Inferno.

There were a mere 4 slices left when I was done being a glutton.

I had a fire that night at the campground, slept hard, and got up for some coffee at the campsite. Breakfast: 4 slices of pizza.

My journey on Monday, October 30 would take me to Brown County State Park and Hesitation Point.  This is in the area circled by #4 on the map above.

Brown County State Park is stunning in late October. I hiked Trails 8 and 7 starting at Hesitation Point. This took me around Ogle Lake.

Pro Tip: Visit Brown County State Park and hike anywhere within during the Fall.  It is gorgeous and will capture a piece of your soul.

When one is already this close to Nashville, IN, you might as well stop in and visit this quaint little artsy town.  I went to Big Woods Brewery Company (not to be confused with Big Woods Pizza Company which is very close by) and ordered a Hare Trigger IPA. When I found out that was in the bottle, I purchased some to take home.

There was another cozy fire that night, and in the morning, there were ice crystals on the tent.  For my last breakfast in Bloomington, I ate at The Village Deli. This is a staple breakfast place, and is where you go when you want to get going and you’re not in the mood for a Bloody Mary.

2 thoughts on “Monroe and Brown Counties

  1. That Pleepleus–he sure knows how to have a good time! The pictures and the beer from this monkey trip are making me thirsty and wanderlust-y at the same time. Especially picture #3, with the bloody and Pseudo Sue.


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