Saturday, July 30, 2011

Here's Debbie, who threw the party for us. We discovered early in the trip that we are both Woodstock alumna, a perfect segway to Cleveland's FABULOUS Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But more on that later.. however, the poncho that Steven Stills wore on stage at Woodstock and then a few days later on the Dick Cavett Show was displayed at the RRHOF and oddly enough, I caught both performances, the Cavett show on my first night back in Camp Hill from the festival...
We were getting really greased up and being unsuccessful at getting the back wheel on when a major stroke of luck occurred - two of the premier crackerjack mechanic/tire wonks showed up (Jan Bee and Susan Rosenthal) and they had that baby on there within a minute. All in all, a 15 minute ordeal and a confidence builder for me. We cleaned up with the makeup remover that we've stashed in our tool kits from hotel rooms along the way and were ready for the party!
I have it on good authority (Annie) that flats happen more in rainy weather, and voila. Carol Wilder, our guide for the first half of the tour, had given me an excellent lesson in tire changing so I felt confident when I heard the hissing of leaking air. Jean, the sag driver happened along at a key moment, as she had a good pump.
It was a short day as our friend/fellow rider Debbie was throwing a giant bash for us in her home town of Rocky River. I wish you could see how filthy we were as we sat here and sipped our lattes - the drizzle really kicked up the dirt.

Although we rode in drizzle and heavy traffic, the ride into Cleveland was great. Still pretty rural for the first half, then along Lake Erie where the traffic picked up. We met these neat riders en route - we think our helmets make it difficult to pick out the college students from the grandmothers.....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Charging right around 'Road Closed' signs is getting to be so passe for us, though this one required that we carry our bikes through some really thick mud. It usually requires that we tell our story to the road crew (who are always impressed and wish us well..) and today we did ride on some really sticky asphalt and more scarified pavement for a mile or 2. Water towers grace every town, this the first orange one in Gibsonburg, OH. Tomorrow we are to be feted as we enter the Cleveland environs - we're riding right past the home of Debbie Milano, one of our riders, and her family is throwing a big bash for us.
We rode for 8 glorious miles on this bike trail which began in Fremont, OH and continued into Clyde. It included this bridge across the Sandusky River and was newly paved, a real treat.
This caught our attention as we pedaled through the Greater Clyde, OH industrial park - a huge recycling collection point for plastic bottles. These are actually giant bales of smushed up soda bottles, waiting to be transformed into a pair of fleece mittens, etc. Very uplifting...
The bike trail passed a giant Whirlpool factory in Clyde, OH, then terminated at this beautiful old train station.
Fortunately this farmer was talking on his cell and not quite ready to turn on the sprayers loaded with who knows what manner of something I would rather not be breathing. We're still passing lots of soybeans and corn, but the days of the corn tunnels all day everyday are only an Iowan (or Indianan or Illinois) memory.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Napoleon, we stopped for breakfast at the Spengler Restaurant, where a bunch of elderly gents were having their daily 'breakfast club'. At least 8 of us chatted them up while we ate, a real break from the usual routine for them I do believe! We then rode past this giant Campbell's factory where one of my favorite electrolyte solutions, V-8 is made. We had to deal with increased tractor trailer traffic for a bit after that, but as usual, most of the drivers go out of their ways to get into the other lane when they pass us.

Unfortunately, my camera began acting up after that and is at the moment non-functional. I suspect a replacement is in order but will consult Susan first. More to follow, with or without photos....

Fisherperson along the Maumee River in Independence Dam State Park
We rode along the towpath of the Miami - Erie canal for about 5 miles. The canopy was wonderful, and I spied a Green Heron in the river. Lots of roots to dodge on the path but well worth it.
We had a short ride scheduled for today in comparison to the rest of the trip thus far, so got out at about 8 am, a first to our usual 6 am on the long, hot days. It was a beautiful day to be riding in every respect - coolish, no significant headwinds, beautiful scenery which included shaded roads and plenty of time to explore because of the low mileage. All but the last 15 miles was along the Maumee River, reported by the clerk at the mini-mart in Grand Rapids, OH to be the largest river flowing into a non-salty body of water (in this case, Lake Erie) in the world!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Blogger.. (get it you Vermonters?)

We rode in a cloud for the first hour or so, lenses completely dripping, a parade of hopefully very visible cyclists, assisted by our flashing lights and bright clothing. The cloud cover was a welcome treat, and lasted for a good part of the ride. At the first Sag stop, I happened to see this sign across the street along a railroad track, and as luck would have it since we didn't get a 'Welcome to Indiana' sign on our route, right across the tracks was a reasonable substitute! It was gusty wind wise which kept us relatively cool for most of the day.

A gang of us stopped for lunch after the first 60 miles, in Paulding, Ohio, at the Past Time Cafe. Debbie, from Cleveland, was happy to meet up with some fellow Buckeye state residents. It was a great stop, and all of our aches and pains disappeared after some time out of the saddle and some food other than energy bars and gorp.

Here's my fellow Vermonter Ellen Martyn from Brattleboro taking a shot of a field of Red Clover, which she also reminded me is the Vermont state flower. I didn't know our motto, "Freedom and Unity" - not bad!
As we were arriving in Defiance, Ann was standing on the curb with a cup of ice cream in her hand - the group made an immediate turn to join her. Some friends, old and new, enjoying the fruits of their labors.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

When we stepped out of the hotel this morning, the humidity hit us like a solid. It had happily rained in Logansport last night (corn and beans are looking droopy) and mercifully, the cloud cover kept up a steady presence for most of the day - thus, it was a glorious riding day, the best yet for me. My back issues seem to be resolving as do the deraileure problems, and I felt great for the entire 70 miles. Not much of a photo op day so am including a pic of our Sag stop. The Subaru, driven by one of our sag drivers who rotate driving every third day, stops every 20 miles so that we can refuel essentially. This includes water, food, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and on a good day, shade. The driver checks us off of her list as we carry on, then we see her at the next stop. The array of salty and sweet snacks, along with fresh fruit and V8 really hit the spot, and we are blessed with 3 very competend sag drivers.

Tomorrow - OHIO!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

We're having a rest day in Logansport, IN - it is glorious to sleep in, catch up on correspondence, do laundry and see the sites. Here are Susan (who fixes everything in sight) and Ellen, a fellow Vermonter who I had a brief ride with before the trip. Do we ever miss our Vermont summer climate! Kin - doesn't Ellen look like Aunt Betty?
Some of us Riders on our rest day, having an unrushed breakfast at the hotel in Logansport.

Our Southern Tier buddy Lois Buschbacher who lives in Indianapolis is here visiting us on our rest day. It is so wonderful to see her - these women will always be a precious group for me, having shared our first cross country trip together in 2009. She has her CAR and drove us around to all sorts of interesting spots in Logansport. Riding in a car felt so strange, as if we were traveling at warp speed.....