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I awoke early (6am) Sunday morning, intent on making it to Ohio Dreams within the 12 noon-2pm drop off time that I recalled reading in an email months ago. Feeling like I was the “weakest link” yesterday, I decided that I would ride hard and strong today through whatever terrain we were faced with and whatever weather we encountered.
We were all up and out the door by 7am and found it to be cool and cloudy outside, even a little foggy. We got back onto Route 172 and headed West, knowing that we had about 52 miles to ride. 172 was mostly flat and we were hitting speeds of 15-18 mph. Route 172 then merged with Route 30, the Lincoln historic byway, which was also mostly flat. Traffic was light and we took the risk of skipping Business 30 and going onto highway 30. It had a shoulder at least the width of a full car lane and the surface was smooth.
As soon as I found a slight downhill, I put the pressure to the pedals and got my speed up to 20-22 mph. The Beast was hollering, “wait up” and I yelled back, “no, catch up!”. And she did. Frankenbutt later told me that he had a tough time keeping up with me. I even managed to stay in my highest gear, 3/7, during the rolling hill climbs. By 9am, we had ridden 29 miles!
At 29 miles, the GPS was beeping to alert us to turn off the highway and get onto Route 95 West. I so didn’t want to leave Route 30 … we were making incredible time. We assured each other that we would make Ohio Dreams around 12 noon, if we could keep the pace we were at or at least average 10 mph.
We rode on and on, our water supply going steadily down and the temperature going steadily up. Route 95 offered very little shade and the ride was starting to feel brutal. Route 95 is almost entirely rural. There was not one gas station or convenience store to be found for miles. When we stopped at the top of one hill, I told the Beast and Frankenbutt that I needed to pull into a lumber storage yard for a few minutes. They were all too willing to take a break, too. I had waited a little too long to go to the bathroom and now my bladder was full and hurting. The Beast gave me some napkins she had in her bar bag and I balanced myself against a stack of lumber and relieved myself. Ahhhh… that’s better. Frankenbutt also took the opportunity to relieve himself. The Beast did not.
We consulted the GPS and saw that there was a Marathon Service Station about 8 more miles down the road on Route 95. At this point, we were averaging 5-6 mph. It was 12 noon and we were all pretty hungry. Gas station snacks sounded very appealing. We remounted bikes and pedaled on.
We rode on and hit a 1.5-2 mile downhill sloping run which ended in Perryville, where the Marathon station stood at the corner. It was like an oasis. The sun was hot and high overhead and all three of us were drenched in sweat. We parked our bikes on the shady side of the building and Frankenbutt got Coco out for a walk and a bowl of fresh water. The Beast and I went inside and were surprised to see that they offered some deep fried versions of everything from chicken to cauliflower. The Beast and I ordered three chicken finger and fried potato meals to go and then set about adding ice to our 9 water bottles.
Seeing that we were so far out in the country as we got closer to Ohio Dreams, I suggested to Frankenbutt that we pick up some quick fix, just add water, dinner and breakfast stuff. He agreed and bought Ramen noodles, a couple cans of ravioli and a box of “complete” pancake mix (we are sooooo tired of oatmeal!). Of course, since it’s the only store in the area, the prices were substantially higher and we just handed over our credit card, trying not to flinch.
With our bellies full, our water bottles chilling and a half hour til the 2pm “cutoff” for drop off at Ohio Dreams, we remounted our bikes for the remaining 6 miles, confident we’d make it. As we left the service station, we immediately saw a gigantic hill ahead. We poured the power on during the downhill section, the dip and well into the uphill; we all managed to make it to the crest without stopping. We rode as hard as we could along Bunker Hill Road until we hit a steep uphill, just a mile from the camp. I looked at my watch and told Frankenbutt and the Beast to ride on; they both looked like they could handle it faster than me and they agreed to go.
I pushed my bike up Bunker Hill’s last 3 hills and then rode the mostly downhill ride on Tugend Road to the gravel driveway entrance to Ohio Dreams. Frankenbutt was outside the building when I arrived and said that I was only about 5 minutes behind them. They arrived at 2pm! Yeah! After I took a few minutes to cool down, I filled out the paperwork for the Beast’s week long stay. At the top of the introductory page were these words: “Dropoff is Sunday from 2pm-4pm; Early dropoff will incur a $25 fee.” I started laughing. I showed Frankenbutt and the Beast and they laughed, too. At least I had the “2pm” part right. I’m kind of glad I had it in my head that 2pm was the cutoff; if I had 4pm, we probably wouldn’t have ridden as hard and would have arrived around 4pm.
The Beast almost immediately ditched us to go check out the facilities. Once all the paperwork was done and we had separated the Beast’s personal items from our panniers, we looked for her for a hug goodbye. She gave us quick hugs and then said, “see ‘ya”. It was an odd feeling at that moment. We’ve all but spent 24/7 together for the last 3 months; it felt odd to leave without her.
We re-loaded Coco into her trailer and headed back out to the hills. We had about a 10 mile ride to our planned campground. We rode through the Mohican Memorial State Forest and then hit about 3 miles of winding, perfectly graded downhill. Ahhhh! What a nice treat on our tired legs. We came into the town of Loudonville and found a Dollar General store. We decided to pick up a few more items to get us through our food needs for the week ahead.
We turned down Wally Road and enjoyed a shaded, winding, mostly flat ride alongside the river. We passed several other campgrounds and then came to ours. I had received an email reply from Jennifer in the office, confirming that their tent rate (with water and electric) for Passport America members was only $12.50/night. Sweet! We booked 5 nights, thinking we might want to move to the higher priced (but much closer to Ohio Dreams) KOA for Friday night to Saturday, since the Beast is supposed to be picked up at 9am.
We set up our tent, took showers, cooked Dinty Moore stew (w/peel back lids; no can opener required) and ate quietly at the picnic table. We were in our tent and asleep by 9pm.
FYI, we’ve had sketchy or no cell phone service since we got west of Canton, OH. There is absolutely no AT&T signal at Ohio Dreams or here at our campground. Thankfully, the campground has free Wifi and we are still able to get email messages and blogs out. If you need to reach us, use email and be patient, since we won’t keep the computer on all day.
Note to Gmom: I’m glad to hear you have a new well; I hope it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I’ll gladly try it out during our next stay!
Note to Uncle Jimmy: I don’t think I’ll ever be as good a long distance cyclist as Uncle Jack; I think he must have born with pedals on his feet! But thanks for the words of confidence.