When the Ohio to Erie Trail ended in the town of Glenmont, we had two choices; turn left and follow the river valley to the Turkey Hollow Campground in Millersburg or turn right and climb straight up an enormous hill. According to Pat, left was our intended direction and I breathed a sigh of relief. A few miles out of town, however, a “Road Closed” sign appeared in front of us.
We have had our share of disagreements about how to handle those signs and this time, we both decided to ignore it. That is, until the Ohio Department of Transportation personnel in their trucks told us we could not go further because of the tree that fell from the forest and knocked down the power lines with it.
“We don’t know when they will get around to shutting down the power so we can cut the tree,” one of the guys said. “It may not happen until tomorrow. “You will need to cycle back into town and cycle up that big hill and then travel about four or five miles more and come back down on the other side of the road,” he said.
Grimacing, Pat and I turned around and cycled back to the hill to begin what seemed arduous after several days on flatter terrain. My bicycle screamed out in pain, refusing to change gears and forcing a hot walk up the hill. I wanted to chuck this bicycle in the woods for good!
At the top of the hill, I was hysterical as I saw no way forward to finish the adventure without another bicycle. I called my sister, Leah, in West Virginia as we were heading her way in a few days. “Can I borrow your bicycle when I get to your place?” I asked. “It has skinny tires, “Leah answered. “It won’t work on the trails.” “Then I need some kind of bicycle,” I said. “Can you get me one at Dick’s or Walmart? She said she would call me back in a bit once she considered some different possibilities. With that, I relaxed a bit. It was possible to cycle on the downhill but each uphill climb was less than pretty. We stopped at a fun intersection – fun I thought because there was a concrete Yeti in place. We called our friend, Tom, from Illinois – after all he had gotten us out of the last jam – maybe he would have an easy solution. While we were on the phone with Tom, a gentleman in a small pickup truck came by and offered to take us to a bicycle repair shop. His truck was packed with a couch and cushions. – “Give me a half an hour and I will be back”, he said. Then, my sister called back. “I am buying you’ a bicycle right now,” she said. “What kind of pedals do you want?” This was all too overwhelming for me to handle. I suggested that she wait because maybe I could resolve the problem. “No”, she said. “I am getting you a bicycle.”
Pat and I kept on cycling up and down some hills, and true to his word, in about 30 minutes, the gentleman, named Rick, with the pick-up (named Elinor) reappeared. I was on the fence about having him take us to a shop and Rick could sense my apprehension. “You can drive the truck if you’d like,” he said. “Is it a clutch?” I asked. “I would really like to drive a car with a clutch again as it has been some years,” “No,” Rick answered. A bit disappointed, I then, agreed to put our bicycles in the back of the pickup and head for a repair shop.
“Elinor will get us there safely”, said Rick as the three of us crammed into a two-person pickup truck. “I don’t like to go very fast on these back roads.” While Pat shouted out the Google directions to the bicycle shop, Rick drove and told us we were now in the midst of Amish country.
Fifteen miles later, we pulled up to the Hiland Bicycle Shop, owned by Leroy and Cinda Yoder. Leroy and Cinda are Amish and Leroy has been selling and repairing bicycles for several years. His shop and the bicycles keep multiplying and now he has a new warehouse behind the shop which is stuffed with electric assist bicycles and lots of bicycle parts. Most of the people he serves live no more than 10 miles away as members of theAmish and Mennonite communities use bicycles as their means of transportation. “Your cassette is all chewed up,” Leroy said. “I don’t have one that is the same but I can replace it with another, though it won’t be that easy to get up steep hills.”
Desperate and knowing we had a few more days before we were back on rail trails, I agreed to have him replace it and 10 minutes later I was testing it. It was now about 4:30 p.m. on Friday evening. Pat and I needed a place to camp and some food. Rick asked Leroy if there was a place we could camp on his property. Leroy indicated that we could do so, either on his son’s property behind the shop or on his property across the road. “There’s also a place to get food about a mile and a half from here,” he said. “And if you would like, you can sleep in the shop’s warehouse tonight”. Knowing thunderstorms were brewing, we agreed to stay in the warehouse and stashed everything there. Once more, Rick took us in Elinor to the market and returned us to the Hiland Bicycle Shop. Rick seemed thrilled to have been able to help us and he left us in good hands.
Two hours later, Leroy and Cinda stopped in to visit with us, bringing four chairs so we could sit outside and converse as the sunlight faded. We had many questions for them and they had many questions for us.As we began talking, Leroy said he had a question. “How did you happen to come to us today? And Pat answered with the following “It all began when a tree fell from the forest and blocked the road.”
And we all laughed.
We are incredibly thankful for the unexpected gifts that arrived on this fine day.
Shevonne and Pat
Follow us as we spin our wheels
If you keep chewing up cassettes, you might want to consider going to reel to reel.
Wow what a great experience, thanks for sharing.
I love the fact that Pat, a trained and educated civil engineer, working in the field of highway construction, doesn’t follow traffic signs! It goes to show, signs can be just litter on a stick. Pedal on! You guys rock!
My sister is strong, adventurous, motivates me but also makes me crazy! Pat is either a Saint or deaf! I now have a gorgeous new hybrid bike!!! No one else is to rescue Shevonne. If her bike breaks, she walks the last 200 miles!! 😘
We ran into Rick today at a grocery store and he told me your story (and website). He was proud to be a part of your adventure! We are on our own cross-country adventure. Happy and safe travels to you both! -Melanie and Craig
Rick must have a knack for finding cyclists. He is a terrific person and he was super helpful! I am going to continue to read your blog.
All the best,