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We awoke this morning at Cleves, Ohio bmx track and found that the “goings on” of the night before were more than just a couple local kids talking and laughing. When their conversation woke us around midnight, Frankenbutt quietly looked to see what was happening. He saw a few young people hanging around 2 cars in the BMX parking lot. Although it was a public park that closed at 10 pm, they made their way back there and didn’t seem to be causing much trouble.
Frankenbutt returned and we went off to sleep. A loud train woke us a few times but again we drifted off until morning. When we came out of the tent and started packing down our bikes, we saw white stuff scattered in the parking lot. At first, it looked like wads of paper or cotton. As we walked closer, we saw the shaving cream cans on the ground and realized that they had played an age old prank of spraying shaving cream all around. It didn’t look like they vandalized anything beyond that so we walked back to the tent and continued our morning pack down.
A maintenance man and police officer arrived and asked if we knew anything about it; we explained that we heard voices in the night but that they seemed harmless. Frankenbutt noted that when they drove off, he spotted that one of them was driving an older Cadillac. The officer rolled her eyes and said, “I think I know who did this.” Shortly after they both left, the Cleves track director, John Peters, and his wife, Sue, arrived at the track.
They had asked them to join them for breakfast and we accepted. We all wanted to go but we had to resolve a safe place for Coco to stay while we ate. Luckily, it was a cool overcast morning and we decided that she would stay cool enough in their van with the windows partially down. Like most BMXers, the Peters are also “dog people”; they have a Boxer they adopted.
We locked our bikes and piled into their van and rode to a local restaurant. We were seated quickly and Frankenbutt was thrilled to have a hot, fresh cup of real coffee. We ordered breakfast and talked about all kinds of life experiences while our food was prepared. John was surprised to hear that we don’t usually have a well in advance planned out route with our evening camping spot reserved. We explained that we tried to do that in the beginning of the ride but found that planning too far ahead didn’t allow for rider fatigue, bike breakdowns, getting lost, etc.
John and Sue encouraged us to try a local side item: Goeta, a mix of sausage pinode and oatmeal or barley type grain. Frankenbutt ordered a side and all three of us tried it. The Beast wrinkled her nose but both Frankenbutt and I liked it. John said he likes ketchup on his but I liked it as a side to my spinach, tomato and feta cheese omelette. It was really nice to dine together as a family with the Peters.
After breakfast, they drove us back to the track where we unlocked and readied our bikes for the road. As we were saying goodbye, John pressed some cash into my hand, saying that the track parents talked and wanted us to have it. I tried to refuse it several times but he insisted. Although this is not the first time that this has happened during our trip, it still amazes us that people can be so generous. Until Thursday, we were strangers to John and his track families. My eyes watered and I thanked him.
We rode out of the track and towards the local library which the Beast had spotted the day before. I had promised her we’d stop there in the morning, figuring I could post the prior day’s blog. As we were crossing the street away from the track, my rear wheel locked up. Although I’ve treated my bike with kid gloves, since discovering a problem with the hub, it chose this morning to lock up.
Once Frankenbutt saw that I was pushing it across the street, he parked his bike and came to help me. We parked the bikes along the side of the gas station and Frankenbutt said he’d look at it while the Beast and I went to the library.
The library was a nice small community library with free Wifi so I got started immediately. They allowed me to plug in and charge both my phone and our GPS device while I typed the blog. When we returned to the gas station, Frankenbutt said he managed to get my rear wheel back in working order and we decided to make it a short day since we were starting later than usual.
We leisurely rode through some beautiful old neighborhoods and late in the day we stopped at a Wendy’s as we headed towards our campground stop. Once there, I returned a call to the Editor, who is officially settled back in at University of Hawaii. She’s been having really good luck since she returned: she won a “texting” contest at the local Kmart and was awarded a mini fridge and a year’s supply of Coke products. She’s not sure how they are giving her the Coke products yet, but she says she’ll let me know; I’m curious, too. Ironically, she doesn’t drink soda. She told me that today, UH refunded her $500 for an overpayment although she had calculated that she still owed $200. Also, her assigned roommate decided to attend HPU, another Hawaii college, at the last minute, so for the time being, the Editor is enjoying a private dorm. It was nice to hear that things are going her way.
We rode on and ended up on Eads Parkway, which is a pretty busy road. Many of the drivers were kind and went around us without issue. When the traffic started jamming up, we rode the shoulder and ended up passing a long line of cars that were moving slower than us. That was nice! We pedaled on and finally found our campground, about a mile beyond where our GPS indicated it was.
When we arrived at Campshore, the office manager explained that this weekend is one of their biggest event weekends (Snapperfest) and that she didn’t really have a water and electric site available. We told her we’d be willing to camp just about anywhere. She smiled and said, “follow me”. We followed her orange golf cart back into the campground and she pulled up to a nice house with a fenced back yard. She said that this was her house and that we could camp under the big shade tree in the back yard and plug in our electronics to charge in the outdoor outlet. I paid her the $15 and thanked her for allowing us to do this.
We pulled out our bedrolls and spread them on the grass, set up our tent and then laid down in the shade to rest and catch up on emails, etc. I received two nice messages yesterday from two of our most thoughtful supporters: Ellie and Penny. Ellie has been encouraging us and keeping us on the right track since we came up with this crazy idea; Penny sends us messages of support and amazement at our accomplishments just about every week. They had both read about our plan for returning home after Louisville and both made terrific offers to us. Penny offered to take the Beast back to Jersey with her two girls, Brittany and Sidney. Brittany is the Beast’s very first BMX girlfriend, whom she met at the Mullica Hill, NJ track on her first day of BMX riding. Ellie offered to take 1 or 2 of us back in her truck. In addition, our friend, Joe, from Tampa BMX offered to take some bikes back to Florida for us.
It’s starting to feel like it’s all gonna work out. Our BMX family has been so supportive of us and our adventure and we can’t wait to celebrate with all of them at the Grands, over Labor Day weekend.
Penny and Ellie and Joe: Thank you and I will be in touch soon. My cell phone battery hasn’t been holding a charge through the day lately so I try to use it mostly to answer calls and get the blog posted via tethering.