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This will be a brief blog since I don’t have a way to recharge electronics this evening. We checked out of the Econo Lodge this morning and as we headed out the driveway, the usually quiet Coco started barking at the site of the hotel manager. YIKES! He didn’t say anything to us but now I’ve got to check my credit card bill to see if we were hit with a dog cleaning fee.
Believing that the roads were going to get ever flatter as we rode towards Ohio, I was optimistic, but sore. Yesterday’s 70 mile ride, after almost a week off the bikes, left all of us sore and fatigued. We rode the short distance out of town to the Montour Trail which was supposed to easily connect with the Ohio River Trail. I was looking forward to some non-motorized traffic riding.
I was disappointed. After only 3 miles on the Montour Trail, Google maps directed us to the Ohio River Trail which supposedly ran alongside a railroad. When we attempted to ride it, the path was large 2-3” pieces of rock that slowed our bikes to a stop. There were no other cyclists around and we cross referenced maps, only to find that the trail was “in planning” stages still. UGH!
We then followed the GPS over hill after hill after hill. We had some crazy long climbs followed by some nice long down hills. But, the climbs still depleted us, especially in the 90 degree heat. We stopped for a break in a small town and consulted the GPS for a campground about 30 miles out, since we were attempting another 70 mile day. We found 2 state parks near our route and called them. When I mentioned that we were biking, both warned that there were very steep inclines leading into their parks. Hmm … we still planned to make it to at least one of them.
We were super tired and all of us were having body aches so we took an exit for the town of E. Liverpool, OH. We stopped in a parking lot to see if there was a closer campground. We found one about 10 miles North of there. We programmed the GPS and started to ride. We were at the lowest part of the city at that point and when we turned up one road, it was one of the steepest climbs I’ve yet experienced.
I jumped at the opportunity. He gave us the address and told us he’d meet us there with some water. We rode to the grocery store and picked up some pasta for dinner, some bananas and snack bars and then rode to the property. Rick met us with 10 – 1 gallon jugs of water, some hot, in case we wanted to clean up. He was very thoughtful and also unlocked the house so we could use the toilet. The water is not turned on so he told us to throw toilet tissue into the trash can and use some of the bottled water to wash waste down.
I couldn’t believe how kind he was to us. He’s a retired firefighter who has done some travelling himself. He told us some great stories about his trips to New Orleans, the Keys and Colorado. He also told us about local legend, Pretty Boy Floyd. He had some great stories and talking with him was a good way to unwind after a long day of tough riding. It was nice to connect with someone who is genuinely kind and helpful. Besides giving us a closer camping spot, he also saved us money in our already tight budget. Thanks, Rick!
We hope to wake early and put some serious miles behind us tomorrow. We still have 120 miles from here to Ohio Dreams, where the Beast is scheduled to start BMX camp this Sunday. Feel free to send us messages of support … they really do make a difference.