“You don’t live here,” said a woman as we came out of our host’s apartment in Richmond, IN. “Are you trying to break in to my son’s car? That was how our morning began. Pat didn’t take offense – he simply introduced himself and eventually all was smoothed out. Down the street, we attempted to feel a bit better with some coffee but that was peppered with an individual who proceeded to play gospel music inside the coffee house at full volume.
Because our host, Blair recommended US Route 40 as the best way to cycle, (given the wide shoulder) we followed his advice and crossed into Ohio in a few miles.
After a fairly easy 19-mile ride, we arrived at the Wolf Creek Trailhead just in time to get pounded by rain.
Then Jim, who oversees the trail, appeared in his truck, opened the garage so we could have some shelter and shared some of his bicycle touring stories. A short time later, we were back on our bicycles cycling through the outskirts of Dayton to the Miami River.
Unfortunately, the trail we then needed to cycle on was closed for construction and our only way through was up and over a long set of stairs. We didn’t hesitate – just did it! Once we crossed the Miami River, we cycled through the University of Dayton and then into the South ParkDistrict where our Warm Showers hosts, Heath and Joyce, and their dog, Josie, reside.Heath shared a bit about Dayton’s history and how the city dug the river much deeper after a horrific flood over 100 years ago.
Our travels through Ohio have been relatively easy – paved, flat trails and lots of towns with soda foundations. As we cycled through Xenia, we discovered it is known as a bicycle hub because five trails converge in the town. And after another 30 miles on the trail, we arrived in London, OH and the primitive campsite right next to the Ohio to Erie Trail. There we were greeted by three other cyclists, Dave (who is celebrating his 70th birthday, his daughter Katherine and her partner, Pete. They are cycling from Cincinnati to Cleveland. They are all from central Massachusetts and we found plenty of commonalities.
Though many individuals rave about this idyllic campsite, I had the opposite experience. Between the high humidity, lack of any breeze, mosquitos, a bright white light in my eyes and the group that appeared at 1:30 a.m. to smoke weed, it was another rough night. Pat continues to sleep through everything.
Of course, the unexpected occurred during the ride the next day. First, we had to deal with a train full of hopper cars that kept moving forward and backward blocking all the cycling crossings. And then, when attempting to put my bicycle in gear to get up a hill, it faltered. Time to visit another bicycle repair shop, this time in the Short North area of Columbus, Ohio.
This time the diagnosis was that I needed a new derailleur. However, the bicycle mechanic told me that there would be no way to get one because they stopped manufacturing the type on my bicycle during the pandemic. He did a bit of tweaking, showing me how I might deal with it should it reoccur
Back on the Ohio to Erie trail, we maneuvered through the Columbus outskirts and picked up the Alum Creek Trail, a pleasant trail with winding paths and lots of bridges. We arrived in Westerville, thirsty but undecided about taking a break because the skies promised a storm coming soon. The irresistible afternoon Dr. Pepper won out, because of which we didn’t make it to our Warm Showers location before the torrential thunderstorm touched down. A gentleman motioned us into his home and we did, for the next hour. We ventured back out – with Pat recommending to hoof it under the power lines. Three miles later we were greeted by Dave, our Warm host in Sunbury, Ohio.
After a restful night, and a chance to talk more with our host about cycling in Ohio and elsewhere, we easily cycled to Mount Vernon. As we exited the Comfort Inn, we bumped into two local police cars in front of the motel with their engines running. Memories of the beginning of our trip outside of Seattle and the Motel Six quickly came to our minds – and once again we wondered – are we in a safe motel?
Shevonne and Pat
Follow us as we spin our wheels