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Ohio!

Thursday June 23 and Friday June 24: Day off in Cincinnati

We had two great days off with Bob and Anne Beaven (Jen's folks) in Cincinnati. We got a much needed rest, did bike maintenance or our bikes, sorted out our stuff and sent some boxes home, and visited with Bob, Anne, Sara, Sam and Caleb. This is the first 2-day break we have taken on the whole trip, and it has refreshed us substantially.

John, Jennifer, Anne, Caleb and Sam went to Spring Grove Cemetary to do a set of letterboxes.

Jen, Caleb, Anne and Sam letterboxing in Cincinnati

The plan for Thursday night was to go out to dinner at a local Indian resturant. Annie was cleaning up Eric's bike, and found a bad crack in the rear wheel rim. This wheel was getting ready to split in half. Eric & Annie quickly found a local bike shop, and visited them just before dinner. Mitch of Biowheels came through, and was able to replace the rim, relace and true the wheel by mid-afternoon on Friday! Thanks for all your help Mitch!

Anne, Bob and Vivian
John, Jennifer, Sam, Caleb, Anne, Bob and Sara at the Indian Resturant
Eric using the Beaven's Internet Cafe
Eric's split rim, discovered on Thursday evening
Mitch at Biowheels in Clifton, with Eric's fixed wheel.
Biowheels trademark sticker on Eric's new wheel.

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Saturday June 25: Cincinnati to Xenia, OH

Today's ride was about 10 miles of city roads to get us out of town, and then about 50 miles along a wonderful bike path (rail trail.) When Eric was planning the route for today, Sam pointed out we were coming very close to his Dad's house. So we arranged for Sam, Caleb, their step-brother Adam, and their Stepmom Dottie to meet us on the bike trail. We all met in Loveland at the park. Annie did a bit of tune-up on the boy's bikes, and we set off down the trail. We all rode for about 4 miles, then stopped at a little shop for a snack and drink. Then we rode on for about another mile or two, where we parted company after taking a group picture. Thanks to Caleb, Sam, Adam and Dottie for joining us for a few miles on our cross country trek.

The rest of our ride was along a gentle railroad grade through beautiful, but very hot countryside. The bike path took us right into the heart of Xenia, where we met up with Jen at our hotel for the evening. We found a great little family owned resturant called the Corner Resturant for dinner.

Annie fixes Caleb's pedal
Annie oiling Sam's chain
Sam and Adam lead the pack up the bike trail
Caleb, John, Annie & Dottie follow behind

The whole gang:
Eric, John, Adam, Dottie Annie
Caleb and Sam

Further up the bike trail on our own

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Sunday June 26: Xenia to Circleville, OH

On today's ride we started off with about 10 more miles of the bike rail-trail, which was again very easy and satisfying. It was very hot again, we could feel that the day was going to be hot and humid even at 8:00 in the morning when we set out. The bike trail took us close to the town of Washington Courthouse where we got a drink and had a short rest. After our break we were on country roads again. Later in the day we passed Deer Creek Lake, and given the heat and the sweat we were generating, decided to take a swim. Jen arrived earlier than us in Circleville, and after checking in asked the hotel clerk what there was to do in Circleville. She said "Well, we have a new WalMart." (!)

Morning Gatorade Break
Portable advertisement for a flea market
We stop at Deer Creek Lake for a dip in the lake
The dam that holds back Deer Creek to make the lake

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Monday June 27: Circleville to Baltimore, OH

Today we had a short ride to Baltimore, where we met up with friends of John & Jen, Nathanial & Michelle Stitzlein. We are starting to experience more rolling hills here in mid to eastern Ohio as you can see from the pictures. The temperature continues to be hot and quite muggy, so even these hills cause us to work up a good sweat.

Nathanial and Michelle are both artists, and they live in a converted Grange Hall. Their web site is HERE. We spent some time seeing their house and studios, and then drove to Granville for a late lunch. We then stopped at Buckeye Lake (Millersport) for ice cream on the way home. After returning from the afternoon adventure, we went to Nathanial's parents farm, John Stitzlein and Nancy Crow. Nancy is a well known quilt artist, her web site is HERE. There we saw their beautiful house, Nancy's studios, and the timber frame barn where she teaches classes. John, Jen and Annie stayed at the farm, and Eric stayed at the Grange Hall for the night.

Thanks again to Nathanial, Michelle and John (and Nancy in absentia) for a great visit and overnight stay!

Riding the rolling hills of eastern Ohio headed for Baltimore
You can see the humidity in the air as we climb this hill
Michelle, Nathanial and John in Granville
The flash illimunated the licence plate outline on Michelle's found-object butterfly
Jen tries out a South African percussion instrument. You can here her play it HERE.
Nathanial, John S. and John B. in Nancy Crow's studio
Chatting in the materials room while Jen looks at fabrics.
Eric's bike in front of the Grange Hall where Nathanial and Michelle live and work
Nathanial with the bikers before their morning departure

Tuesday June 28: Baltimore to Coshocton, OH

Today was another day of hot riding through the beautiful Ohio countryside. Newark is typical of the towns in this region, and has a beautiful and well kept courthouse in a center square. The heat stayed with us until about 2:00 in the afternoon, when it finally caught up to us in the form of a major thunderstorm. We stopped at a small convienence store for a few minutes when we first saw lightning and thunder, hoping to wait it out under their porch. But the storm did not seem to be materializing. So we rode on for a few more miles, and then it really began to rain. We packed our electronics away and put on some rain gear, but soon the rain was very heavy, a strong head or cross wind threatened to blow us off the road or into traffic, and the lighting strikes were quite close. We opted instead to sit in the ditch beside the road, under a large bank so we would not be the target of the lightining. After sitting it out for about a half-hour, the majority of the storm passed by, and we were able to ride on. After another half hour, the rain stopped, and we were part way through the drying process when we arrived at our motel in Coshocton. We have no pictures from the thunderstorm, because all the cameras were carefully packed away in plastic bags and dry bags.

Lonely barn in a corn field
Stopped for a break in Newark, had to search for Gateraide
The courthouse in Newark
These ladies appear to have been talking for a long time
Riding through more countryside
The land is rolling more as we get further east

Wednesday June 29: Day off in Coshocton, OH

We are taking a day off in Coshocton to swap SAG drivers again. Jennifer has been with us for 2 weeks, thanks for all your support Jennifer! This evening Mackenzie Bartlett and Sarah Tardiff are flying in, and will become our drivers for the next 2 weeks.

Well, the evening turned out to be longer than anticipated. Mackenzie and Sarah checked in at 5:00 in Boston, but their 6:20 flight was delayed, and delayed, and then delayed again due to thunderstorms between Boston and Akron. They finally boarded the plane at about 9:20, and they finally arrived in Ohio at about 11:30. John picked them up, found some pizza since they were starved, and drove them back to Coshocton. We arrived at the hotel at about 1:30 AM. Morning departure was delayed from 8:00 to 9:00 to give John some chance to sleep, and the girls slept in even later to recover from the rough trip.

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Thursday June 30: Coshocton to Canton, OH

Today was another hot ride. The countryside continues to roll up and down. Eric's statistics show that we climbed over 4,000 feet today, the largest climbing day since Indiana, and second largest since Missouri. We are in Amish country here in north eastern Ohio. We saw many Amish farms, and a few buggies in the towns as we rode up Rt. 93.

About 3 miles from our Canton motel, the sky darkened and the wind came up fast. We thought for sure that a big thunderstorm was about to wallop us again. We rode like the wind itself, and zipped into our motel just as it started to rain. But then we never got the big thunderstorm, although there was certainly a lot of thunderstorm activity throughout the region.

Mackenzie and Sarah visited an Amish petting farm during the day, and then were caught in traffic coming to Canton. But they arrived after getting through the traffic jam, and after a few quick showers we walked across the street to Cracker Barrel for dinner. Now Mackenzie and Sarah are in the pool, and Annie is in the hot tub.

The bikers stop at an Amish store in Baltic, OH
Amish barn across a big corn field
Annie tests a local crop of wheat, and pronounces it not quite ready (still chewey)
John and Eric stopped by this house where the kids were on a water slide, to get spashed with the hose
Sarah and Kenzie successfully find the first hotel on their first SAG day!

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Friday July 1: Canton to Mentor, OH

Today started off almost as hot as previous days, but the weather cooled down as a front went through in the middle of the day. The bikers hit the trail at 8:00, and pumped out 70 miles through the rolling hills. We climbed steadily over much of the day, and then dropped quite a bit of elevation as we approached Lake Erie. We were threatened with a thundershower at one point, but it never materialized, and as of this evening the weather is cool, breezy, dry and beautiful.

Mackenzie and Sarah arose with the bikers. They had made a plan to go to Geauga Lake Amusement Park, and had worked out all the driving details with Eric for getting to the park and to our destination. They headed out, and had a great day at the park. They arrived at Kozel's house tired and sunburned, but happy.

We are spending tonight and tomorrow night with Mark and Kippie Kozel. Mark is the brother of Paul Kozel, a good friend of Eric's from New Jersey. Paul and his wife Sue, and their girls Becki and Emily are here as well, attending a wedding tomorrow. The pictures below show us relaxing at their house, and the cooking of a great pasta, vegatables and salmon pasta dish for dinner. Bikers are sleeping both here at the Kozel's house, as well as at Mark and Paul's mother's house nearby.

Eric & John getting back on the bikes after a short rest
Mackenzie reprogramming John's phone with new rings(!)
John crashes on the hammock at Kozel's
Annie talking to Mark
Sue, Mark and Paul whipping up a great dinner
Annie and Sue discuss the merits of onions in pasta

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Saturday July 2: Day off in Mentor, OH

The bikers slept in a bit since it was a day off. John slept in long enough for Eric to take his picture still zonked out in the back yard. Mark & Paul cooked up a delightful breakfast of whole grain waffels and maple syrup, plus pots of delicious coffee. Paul, Sue Emily and Becki then got dressed for the wedding they were in Ohio to attend, and headed out at about noon.

The bikers and SAG girls went into Cleveland for the afternoon, and visited Body World II at the science museum, and then the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is right next door. Body World II is a large display of plasticized human bodies, that have then been disected to show the different parts of the body, how they work and how they all fit together. It was a very interesting and compelling display, and especially nice for us to have an MD along to question about anatomy.

Back in Mentor, Mark & Kippie cooked up a fabulous dinner of salmon and asparagras on the grill, and a big bowl of rice, along with more of their fabulous wines. Thanks again to Mark & Kippie for having us at their house.

John sleeps under the tables after a long night of food and wine
Paul, Sue, Emily and Becki Kozel dressed for a wedding
Eric, Kenzie, John and Sara by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Sarah and Mackenzie ready to view Body World II
Part of the Body World II exhibit at the Clevland Science Museum
Annie explains why this camel has three heads

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Sunday July 3: Mentor, OH to Vernondale, PA

After a delightful breakfast of home cooked muffins, coffee and orange juice, we headed up along the lake towards Pennsylvania. It was a long day, and fairly warm. We had occasional views of Lake Erie to our left, marinas, and a real beach vacation town. We also passed a big ore unloading location with a dock for huge freightors, and a belt to carry the ore, and hundereds of rail cars either loaded or waiting to be loaded. Further up we also passed another huge power generating plant belching smoke into the sky.

The day would have gone more easily if John had not had 2 flats in a row. His rear wheel picked up a good size nail crossing a railroad crossing. He replaced the tube with a new one. About 5 miles later that tube was failing with what appeared to be a manufacturing defect, so at this point, having used the spare tube, we had to patch the original. This got him through the rest of the day, and a new tube was put in before Mondays ride.

The girls drove ahead, and went to a beach that Mark Kozel had recommended, and had a nice day. The little motel in Vernondale had a very large number of cats, including a litter of 5 little kittens upon whom the girls lavished attention.

Our next few days are very busy with visiting. We will see some musician friends of Eric's Tuesday for breakfast, our cousins the Joslins in Virgil, Ontario Tuesday night, and then dinner with Jim & Jeanne Sutton on Wednesday night!

The nail that got John's rear tire for the first flat
John putting his wheel back together
Eric at a small beach where we took our morning break
John patching his tire after the second flat (!)
Eric approaching a drawbridge in Ashtabula, OH
Annie out on a walkway photographing the ore operation
Ore belt crosses the tracks and the canal
Ore dock with waiting train cars
Eric riding through Geneva-on-the-lake
Entering Pennsylvania
Lonely church in PA
Anyone know this piece of history?

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On to New York!

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