Day 45: Erie, PA to Hamburg, NY

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 21-July-09

Mileage: 82 miles

Weather: Rainy. Light to heavy and everything in between. Highs in the low 70s.

Highlights of the day:

– We crossed our 10th state border and entered our 11th state, New York. Only two more to go…

– The word for the day is wet. Definitely wet. Yup. Definitely wet. Some riders hit their personal best for distance ridden in the rain.

– The first part of the ride hugged the shore of Lake Erie. When the rain let up, riders had nice views of the lake and some cliffs (yes, cliffs) along the coast. We also saw vineyard after vineyard. Never thought of this area of Ohio or New York to have a wine industry. Lake Erie wines?? You learn something new every day…

– Many riders celebrated the end of the ride with a rag and some chain lube. Here’s to a few more rays of sun tomorrow. Crossing fingers, toes, et al. 🙂

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Day 44: Erie, PA

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 20-July-09

Mileage: 0

Weather: Sunny and cool. Highs in the low 70s.

Highlights of the day:

– The last day off of the tour. A well earned one after riding over 480 miles in 5 days.

– Riders are talking about road trips to Niagara Falls. Local trips to Presque Isle. Or just resting.

– Staff preps for the last leg of the tour.

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Day 43: Youngstown, OH to Erie, PA

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 20-July-09

Mileage: 98 miles

Weather: Sunny and cool. Upper 50s to start. Warmed up to the low 70s. Winds out of the WNW.

Highlights of the day:

– The roads of Ohio treated us much better today. A few bumps here or there but nothing like the bone-jarring potholes of yesterday. However…

– A little cyclocross, anyone? Old country roads with bridges under repair. Options? Add a few extra miles. Clamber over the rubble. The smart ones added a few extra miles. Those of us in more of a hurry clambered over the rubble. The crossing was definitely safe but made for fun pictures and a great group effort to get the bikes & people across.

– Our first SAG stop was at the Crossroads Family Restaurant in Williamsfield. This establishment’s claim to fame is pie. Great pie, at least according to veteran staffers. To our dismay, they had no pie today BUT they did have strawberry shortcake. Great strawberry shortcake. Highly recommend a bowl with a dollop of whipped cream… at 10am in the morning.

– A great stretch of road for 23 miles. Beautiful countryside. The usual corn, soybeans. A smattering of trees. All on an old chip seal road that has been worn mostly smooth by use. It was a great stretch to do a little cleaning and reorganizing in the head while watching the landscape go by.

– Tarsitano Winery & Café. For those of us who dawdled a bit and hit mile 62 close to 1pm, great cheese, olives, and homemade bread made a nice fuel stop.

– Our second SAG stop was at the White Turkey Drive-In in Conneaut, OH. A local favorite that’s been around since 1952 – it was a grand place to stop and truly appreciate a Richardson’s Rootbeer float. Oh, did I say that the ride today was all about hitting the food stops?

– We crossed yet another state line today. A quick stop through Pennsylvania. That’s our 9th border crossing and 10th state. 28 miles today and another 21 miles on Tuesday & we’ll head into New York State. Don’t blink!

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Day 42: Wooster to Youngstown, OH

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 18-July-09

Mileage: 92 miles

Weather: Mostly cloudy. Cool to start in the upper 50s (is this really July??). Warmed up to the very low 70s. Winds light and mostly from the west.

Highlights of the day:

– Back roads of Ohio. This time a little more damaged from winter weather. Yup, we finally found some potholes and rough patches. Mostly on the uphills. Makes us all appreciate the newly paved roads all the more.

– Little towns with bakeries and ice cream shops. Some riders have found that fudge works just as well as a power bar. We question the staying time but boy, they really dig the rush about 15 minutes after eating it! 🙂

– New route on the official cue sheets was re-designed to avoid construction around the Akron airport. This was a very pleasant surprise to veteran staff members.  And probably riders too who might not have been aware of the new improved roads & scenery.

– One more century day until our last day off. Last day off? We just started!

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Helmet hair and happy about it!

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This is one connected crew. 🙂

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Day 41: Marysville to Wooster, OH

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 17-July-09

Mileage: 103 miles

Weather: Sunny and cool with the winds primarily out of the west. Highs in the upper 70s. Storm front came through mid-afternoon for a little excitement.

Highlights of the day:

– More quiet country roads through corn, soybeans, and pastures.  A few pig farms for a bit of olfactory excitement.

– Forest covered hills. Lots of hills. Some steep ones too. Looked a bit like the foothills of the Berkshires. Perhaps it’s a warm up for next week. Total climb for the day was 3800, not bad for the flat Ohio! ☺

– Lunch at the Taste of the Country in Fredericktown. Fresh deli sandwiches on homemade bread, smoothies, and frozen mocha lattes. OK, so the frozen latte had to be described in detail by someone from Seattle but they were good!

– A quick storm front blew through around 2. Riders ducked for cover and found a few interesting things. One group was treated to cookies on the Stafford’s porch. One group met three little pigs in the barn who eventually introduced them to their keepers. One group holed up in a garage with a dirt racer, a few spiders, and open buckets of leaded race fuel. Gee, who found the ace spot to wait out the storm?

– Moose Tracks milk shake. Peanut butter globs coated in chocolate in vanilla ice cream. Need I say more?

– Stayed in Wooster tonight. Pronounced Wuh-ster. Similar to Massachusetts’ Worcester (wuh-stah), only not spelled the same.

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Jim Keysor’s controversial method of raising the cemetery dead using only a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

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Tom, the mechanic, telling yet another story.

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Day 40: Richmond, IN to Marysville, OH

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 16-July-09

Mileage: 106 miles

Weather: Sunny. Highs in the mid-70s. Winds10-15 mph out of the west.

Highlights of the day:

– An absolutely beautiful day for riding. Cool. Breezy. But the good kind. A kickin’ tailwind for most of the day. Yee Ha!!

– Early in the ride, we crossed into Ohio. It’s our 8th border crossing and our 9th state. These are starting to add up quickly.

– Back to the cornfield on quiet country roads through farmland. Many were newly paved. Sa-weet. There were a few barnyard dogs but all behind fences. It was a good day.

– Our first SAG stop of the day was at the Greenville Falls on the Stillwater River. A short walk down the path took riders to a platform overlooking the falls. We were greeted by a local German Baptist who frequents this spot on her days off for a quiet respite. Perhaps the crazy people dressed in colorful jerseys & spandex were a bit of an interruption but she appeared to enjoy talking with us about her favorite spot. She even offered to take group pictures with everyone’s cameras.

– Braden’s Café & Sweets in Saint Paris. The owner, who is also the mayor of St Paris, was thrilled to have 25 very hungry cyclists descend upon his establishment for lunch. All enjoyed the great sandwiches and fruit smoothies.

– Versus! We have Versus! Tour de France. What a way to end the day. 🙂

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Day 39: Indianapolis to Richmond, IN

Crew’s Log…

Cycling Date: 15-July-09

Mileage: 74 miles

Weather: A bit wet. Cloudy to start. Low 70s. Rain came in for the middle section of the ride. Cleared up at the end. Temps barely made it up to 80.

Highlights of the day:

– Another breakfast staring at the Weather Channel. Lots of yellow, red, and green headed right for us. While we did get a bit wet, it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as forecast. We stayed in front of it first thing in the morning and the nasty stuff broke up before it crossed our path. Phew!

– The route took us through a more (sub)urban areas than we’ve traveled lately. We did have our fix of cornfields but they were more nice contrast to the city and towns rather than the main feature of the day.

– A quick side trip took some riders to the “Historic Hoosier Gym” in Knightsville, IN. This gym was featured in the 1986 movie Hoosiers. It was built over 80 years ago as a community gymnasium. Now it’s open to the public for sports and other events as well as visitors to come view Hoosiers memorabilia and shoot a few baskets.

– We had a visitor at our SAG stop of the day. He’s a fellow cyclist that is working his way through the lower 48 states. So far, he’s up to 31 and should hit 32 by crossing into Michigan tomorrow. Grade school students in the Atlanta area are following his travels as part of their history and geography lessons. See – cycling is good for the brain as well as the legs!

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