Wednesday, August 21 – 2611 miles down, 662 to go
Our tenth day in a row of riding and it was 107 miles.
We all actually felt good today. We’re in some serious Bike Shape right now, so even 107 miles didn’t call for any hand-wringing, more of a “Let’s get this done” type atmosphere. We were also hoping for some encounters with locals along the way, like yesterday, to provide some color to the day.
I didn’t mention our hotel in Ligonier in the blog yesterday because it was already long enough. The Deluxe Inn has long-term rooms that actually have little drive-under semi-garage spaces between the rooms in one building. Our building was for mere overnight people. The room was similar to the Grand Motel in Julesburg. The carpet looked like a haven for ringworms, and whoever had sat in the chairs prior to our visit probably didn’t wear any underwear. Plug situation was the same: only grounded plugs available were in the bathroom. There was one bare lightbulb overhead. The water was orange from rust in the pipes. Brushed with bottled water. However, the bed was really nice (after we checked for used needles) and we actually slept very soundly. But it was good to pack up and leave as well.
First a few words about Rick. He is the weirdest character in the group. Last night when we went to the CVS Pharmacy to buy water and supplies, he had only two needs: baby oil so he could self-massage his legs, and black shoe polish so he could gussy up his bike shoes. Hmm. Also, at night he takes better care of his bike than most people do of their children. He rubs it down, Armour-All’s the tires, and I think he talks to it in a low voice as well. We’ll be roomies for the next week so I’m sure I’ll learn more. More on this below.
Since we’re once again on the west side of the time zone it stayed dark until 6:45am. So Tom & Rick walked to McDonald’s and got us all coffee and McMuffin’s. Our packing and pre-ride rituals are now set and it’s a well-oiled machine in the mornings. We were going to be on highway 6 again for most of the day, so an easy route to follow and for Isaac to sag on. As said above, we had a 107 mile day ahead of us, but the profile was gently sloping downhill so we hoped to make some good time. We got off around 6:50am right before the sunrise.
We’ve fallen into a pretty religious ritual of 5 mile pulls and today was no different. And we typically go 20 miles between stops as by then everybody needs to refresh liquids and fuel up on something. With four of us riding that means everybody gets 1 pull between stops and the time goes by pretty quickly. I started in front today (it’s random who starts each day) and a couple of miles out of town the sun rose through the mist. Boy was it beautiful. We had to stop and take a picture and admire for awhile. Another hot and sticky day was brewing, so we got going on the pedals.
Somewhere around 25 miles in we hit the Ohio state line, so we checked Indiana off the list and entered the Buckeye State. We all agreed that Indiana was one of the most enjoyable states we’ve ridden through. Except for the ride from Naperville, the past two days have been just wonderful riding. Great roads and views and countryside and shady trees overhanging the road. We had a great clean shoulder today all the way to Ohio, so felt real safe riding. Very nice state.
At 60 miles we stopped for lunch in a nice shady spot next to a cornfield. Isaac had watermelon and ice-cold Claussen’s ready as well as other treats. Very refreshing stop. It’s a bittersweet day for me as both Kathleen and Isaac have to fly home tomorrow. Isaac’s senior year at Boulder High begins on Friday, so he needs to be back for the first day of school. And Kathleen will accompany him. He’s done a fabulous job being on his own (with oversight from our friends) and is quite a mature 17 year old. I’m proud of him. They’ll both rejoin us in Doylestown, PA, for our final day of riding. Kathleen will ride and Isaac will be a passenger in the sag.
Around 65 miles we came upon a sign pointing the way to Defiance, Ohio. So we stopped to take a picture because it’s the birthplace of Steve Crowe, who as many of you know runs Speedy SignWorks and donated all of the signage for the trailer and the Hearts of Honor and on and on. He also posts a Friends For Phinney related Song Of The Day everyday on his Facebook page. He’s a huge supporter of ours, and we appreciate him tremendously. And his work is of the highest professional quality, and we’ve had many comments on how good our trailer looks. So Steve, here’s a Defiance picture for you!
The part of the day I wasn’t looking forward to was in Napoleon, Ohio. Napoleon isn’t a large town as it only has a population of around 8,700 people. But it has this web of four-lane highways that surround it, and I’m not really sure what the deal is there. These are Interstate-worthy roads for a town this small. Why? I’m thinking somebody knows somebody who has access to State or Federal money, and therefore Napoleon has the best road network in the Eastern U.S. I won’t use the word “graft”, but I could. It’s a pain in the butt to ride your bike through, let me tell you what. And as a bonus, they were doing construction to widen some of the roads, and extend others!
Ike made a wrong turn due to crappy signage, but we had the Garmin which led us true so we were on the right route, but then we hit a construction zone. It was dusty and acrid and loud and since it was so hot and sticky and they were laying new asphalt, tar balls soon stuck liberally to our tires. Once we exited the construction the shoulder and roadway were filthy with rocks and gravel and pebbles and other particles, all of which adhered to our tar-laden tires. Soon our tires resembled Furbee’s they had so much junk stuck to them. We kept clearing them with our gloves, but they’d fur up again just as quickly.
We had to stop and do something about the tar, and this is where The Weird One stepped into the light. Rick said authoritatively, “Let’s get Ike and that trailer up here. I’ve got some stuff that will clean this all up!” We called Isaac and once we re-united, Rick pulled out all sorts of lotions and potions. We flipped all the bikes and we started scraping tar off the tires. Rick used a 3-step process to really clean them up. First a cleaner, then a de-greaser, and then Armour-All. By the time we got done our tires looked better than new. Rick, our savior. Also, Ike had purchased Mega-Drumsticks for us so we had a little ice cream treat as well.
We had 22 miles to go and we got after it. The shoulder was still icky with a near-invisible rumble strip hidden in the white paint that separates the road from the shoulder, and I hit it a couple of times, and boom. Rear wheel flat. This time I didn’t swoon, but quickly took the wheel off and changed the tube out. It was about a 5 minute change or less. Our goal is 3 minutes or less. We got back on the road and soon hit the city limits sign for Bowling Green. We were all hot and tired at that point so our hotel was a welcome sight.
Took a quick nap and then indulged ourselves at Chipotle where I think we shocked some people by how much we ate. Then we wanted to toast Kathleen’s last night, so on the way back to the hotel we hit Buffalo Wild Wings for a beer and some margarita’s, and what the heck, we ate some more. Then there was a Coldstone between us and sleep, so…what the heck, we got ice cream. I’ll miss eating whatever I want when this ride is over.
Our Parkinson’s Presentation is at 5:30pm tomorrow on our Rest Day. Unfortunately Kathleen and Isaac have to fly out at 6:50pm so we’ll be missing Kathleen when we present, which will hurt us as she’s our PD expert. But she’s going to coach me and the boys, so we’ll hopefully do an adequate job covering for her. Really looking forward to getting back on-message and talking with members of the Parkinson’s community again. Tom’s wife Amy is also flying in tomorrow at 3:00pm and she’ll be driving the sag to the end. Looking forward to seeing her as well.
And now, rest after a century.