TRIP 2012

Update #19 - September 14th
Rochester, New York
2,687.70 miles (4,300.32 KM)

The last 11 days have been pretty good. I cycled 691.27 miles (1,106.05 km) since leaving Tipp City, Ohio. I finally broke the 100 mile mark this year on Monday, September 09th. I rode 106.75 miles (170.8 km) in 16 hours between Saybrook-On-The-Lake, Ohio to Sheridan, New York. This mission trip is almost over. I have about 125.1 miles (200.16 km) more to ride to Chittenango. I should be arriving either Monday, September 17th or Tuesday, September 18th.

Tuesday, September 04th - Tipp City, Ohio to Marysville, Ohio - Around 7:30 AM, Jason escorted me to the
Great Miami River Bike Trail on his mountain bike.

 Great Miami River Bike Trail

The sky was overcast and there was fog in the air. I had a good ride up to Troy but the mapping wasn't very good so I missed my turn into downtown Troy. Once on the right path, I had a good ride to OH 55. I stopped at a gas station to check the air pressure of my tires. The front tire needed some air.

About six miles out of Troy it started to sprinkle so I had to stop and put on my jacket. The ride went okay even though it started to rain hard. By noon, I was still able to make 32 miles (51 km). I had a good ride into downtown Urbanna. I had a problem with the rain and pollutants in the air. My left eye started to sting and burn. This went on for about 20 minutes. I had to stop every minute or so to rinse out the eye, I somehow missed my turn to OH 36 so I had to backtrack a couple of blocks. Before leaving Urbanna, I stopped for a late lunch at Wendys.

The rain stopped around 2:30 PM so I was able to take my jacket off. I had a good ride to Milford Center and Marysville. I got into downtown Marysville around 5:30 PM. There was nobody at churches. I stopped at police station to see if I might be able to connect with a minister but I was told that I should go to the sheriff department at the courthouse. At the sheriff department in the courthose, I talked with a friendly officer. She called the pastor in charge of the ministerial association and he offered to get me a room at the Comfort Inn East of town.

Wednesday, September 05th - Marysville, Ohio to Bucyrus, Ohio - I had an okay night at the motel. I went to bed a little after 10:30 PM but I woke up around 4 AM. There was a good free breakfast. When I left the motel around 7:30 AM, it was quite foggy. I had to ride through town to get on OH 4. I stopped to get both extra tail lights on. I stopped at Kmart on North side of town and did some shopping. To wait out the fog more, I called up my friend in Baton Rouge.

The fog was lighter when I got back on the road around 8:30 am. The ride went okay. The fog cleared up after about five miles down the road. stopped for a couple breaks along the way. Even with the late start, I got 29 miles (46 km) in my noon. I rode through downtown Marion. They were getting ready for their popcorn festival. On the northern edge of town, I stopped at the picnic grounds at an old one room school for some lunch.

 Old Schoolhouse - Marion, Ohio

The rest of the way into Bucyrus went okay.

Coming into Bucyrus, I took a break at a gas station. While throwing the drink bottle way, I noticed what looked like a new debit card in the trashcan. I fished the card out and put it in my wallet. After riding a couple of blocks, I stopped, got out my cell phone, and called the bank up to report it found. Afterwards, I rode into downtown Bucyrus.

I stopped at the
Good Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church . The office staff was friendly towards me. Rev Bliss was out on an errand so I waited for him. He was a pretty friendly pastor. They were doing some renovations in the classroom area so a room at a motel on the Northern edge of town was offered. I didn't go directly to the motel because every Wednesday the church has a free community meal. The church also has a free clothes closet. The people who came for the meal were low income. I was amazed at how some of the kids came. There was one boy who didn't have a shirt or tshirt on. There was a short sing-a-long and prayer service but a lot of them weren't interested in praying or singing. Some of the older kids had no manners. The parents were oblivous to how bad the kids were. There were a lot of people coming in so I left around 5:45 PM. I did say goodbye to Rev Bliss.

Thursday, September 06th - Bucyrus, Ohio to Elyria, Ohio - I had an okay night at the motel. I went to bed a little after 10:30 pm but I woke up around 5 am. There was a free continental breakfast but I didn't take part in it since it looked like it might have been cereal (possibly old and stale), pastries, and coffee. It was a long and interesting day today. I passed the 213,000 mile (340,800 km) mark 12 miles (19.2 km) out of Bucyrus. While going down a small hill in Plymouth, my front disc brake gave out. One of the small hooks that keeps the disc pads in place broke somehow and one of the pad came out. I was able to slow down and stop because the rear brakes were working. I was able to find the pad. I rolled the bike off the road and flipped it over on it's side on the sidewalk to pull off both wheels. I took the disc pads out of the rear unit since I don't really brake much with it and put them in the front unit. I was back on the road in a half hour.

I got in 31 miles (49.6 km) in by noontime. Along the way, I got these cows to line up along the fence.

 Milk cows - Ohio

It was around 1:30 PM when I got into the Norwalk area. In Norwalk, I stopped at the local bike shop but they didn't have the right pads that fit my brake unit. A block down the road, a reporter from the Norwalk Reflector newspaper stopped me down the street to do an interview. The interview took about 20 minutes.

I had planned to stop in Norwalk for the night but I didn't think that I saw anybody at the downtown churches. I decided to go on a little further. I dodged a few brief rain showers between Norwalk and South Amherst. I rode through apple country because there were quite a few apple orchards.

 Apple Orchard - Northern Ohio

I pushed on to Elyria.

It was almost 7 PM when I got into Elyria. I was close to the Ohio Turnpike and there were a couple motels in the area. I could have tried to go into the downtown area but the street that I would have had to travel on was under construction. The pavement was being grooved for repaving.

I paid a little more than I really wanted to at the Super 8. I had gone passed a motel that might have been cheaper but it was in very bad repair. I was turned off by the ladders next to the building, the collection of kids play things, and the shabby condition of the office. On a table there was a collection of broken telephones. The office was unmanned and I would have had to call somebody on the house phone.

Friday, September 07th - Elyria, Ohio to Bedford Heights, Ohio - I had an somwhat okay night at the motel. The room wasn't really up to the standards that was expected for a Super 8. The heater part of the air conditioner unit didn't work so the room was a little cool because somebody had left the air conditioner running throughout the day. I had a hard time finding the switch above the vanity sink. It was a small rocker switch above the electric outlets and it wasn't marked. There should have had some day-glo paint on it for night. The plastic housing of the flourescent light above the sink was cracked so there was a large piece of it broken off. The two saving graces of the room was that there was a wi-fi signal even though it was a little weak and a good continental breakfast.

Being that I had to postpone my arrival till after 6 PM at Nathan's house, I didn't leave till after 8 AM. When I checked out and told my concerns about the room to the deskclerk, she didn't seemed like she was going to tell maintenance about the problems in the room. She told me that she was going to write these things down for maintenance but I think that she didn't do it, Even with all of the problems that I had with the room, I probably had a 200% better experience than what I would have possibly had at the motel next door. The motel was quite run down looking and I was pretty sure it was being run by somebody from India. There was nothing pretty inviting in it's appearance either in the parking lot of the office. I might have been able to save maybe $20 but I couldn't tell whether the rooms were filthy or infested with things like cochroaches or bedbugs.

From the motel, it was a long ride through the downtown area to find a way to get down to OH 83 going East. The highway that I had been on yesterday was restricted access to bicyclists and pedestrians. I did have to stop alongside the road to work on my front disc brake unit because it was chirping. I had to reset the tension on the pads.

Once heading East on OH 83, the ride to Strongsville went okay. Along the way, I stopped to pick up a lot of road manna. I picked up a lot of pennies but there were a lot of dimes thrown alongside the road in the shoulder. Because of the late start and the confusion getting to OH 83, I only made 22 miles (35.2 km) by noontime. On the Western edge of Strongsville, there were a lot of police cars and several fire trucks. Two cars got into an accident. I stopped to pray for the person who had been hurt in the first car. They had been hit from behind. Firemen were loading the person onto a stretcher and then putting it into the ambulance.

The ride through Strongsville went okay. I stayed on the road next to the two lanes of traffic until a police car rolled passed and I was told that it would be okay for me to ride on the sidewalk. I stopped at a Chick-fil-A for a late lunch and ate it out on the patio.

Between Strongsville and North Royalton, it was really hilly because I was riding through the Cayahuga County Park area and the Mill Stream Run Reservation area. I also got caught in some rain showers. I had to find shelter three times because of storms and thunder. The sky was getting really dark and I was concerned that I would have to find shelter for the night earlier than planned.

By the time that I had gotten into North Royalton, I was out of the path of the storms and the sky was clear again. In North Royalton, I turned North on OH 3 to Bedford Heights. In Bedford Heights, I turned East on OH 43 to get to Nate's mobile home unit in a trailor park. Nate is the son of my pastor friend in Chittenango, New York.

Saturday, September 08th - Bedford Heights, Ohio - Today would have been a ride day but terrible thunderstorms area went through the area around 5 am and it was still raining around 7 AM. Nate offered me the chance to stay over for the day. The most unusual thing that I did that day was to go out bowling.

Around 5 PM, I went with Nate to his appointment with his Little Brother. Nate has been part of the Big Brother/Big Sister program for 2 years. His Little Brother, Leroy, is 15 and not very little since his shoes are size 14. We went to a bowling alley in nearby Roseland. Nate had rented a lane for 2 hours. I played in the first game. The last time that I had bowled was way back in 1974 during the post senior prom activities at Riverdale High School outside of Mt Blanchard, Ohio where I was a twelfth grade exchange student. After the prom, we went to the student union at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. I was 17 back then. I think that I had turned 18 about a week after the school year ended. I didn't leave Ohio right after the school year ended because I took a short cross-country bike tour to the Mississippi River and back. This was the first bike tour that I had ever taken.

I think that I did okay for somebody who hadn't bowled in nearly 38 years. I didn't want to push myself because I was bowling with my left arm, which was the one that I had shoulder surgery on. I used the lightest ball (seven pounds). During the game, I threw the ball twenty times. I had quite a few spares and got close to making a strike a couple of times. I got 81 pins which was okay for me while Nate and Leroy got in the high 100s. Leroy and Nate got in maybe a dozen more games during the time slot.

I enjoyed myself watching them and the other people. Two lanes over was a family that had an infant and a little girl who must have been either two or three. The mother bowled with holding the infant with the opposite arm. The little girl attempted to bowl but she basically got up to the edge of the lane and just gave the ball a push. It was interesting watching the ball travel so slowly down the lane wobbling from side to side and wondering whether the ball would make it clear down the lane. A couple of times it stopped a few inches from the pins and they had to either call for a staff member to go and get the ball or nudge it out of the way with another bowling ball.

We had pizza for supper. The bowling alley was huge with 52 lanes. There was a tournament going on in the first 20 lanes. I went over there to watch them for a while. I didn't stay very long around them because a few of them were getting kind of rowdy because the alley was serving bottles of beer.

There were a lot of families at the alley. The alley had a pretty good size amusement area with games for the kids. There were quite a few kids shoving dollar bills in this claw-like game trying to get one of the top prizes which was an Apple Ipad. There was also a Playstation but they didn't play for it. In the ten minutes that I watched the kids attempt to win the Ipad between all of them they must have inserted almost $30 in to the game. No concept on how much that money could have bought in other places. One parent of a little boy who must have been seven gave the boy a wad of ones which he was supposed to have shared with possibly his older sister.

Sunday, September 09th - Bedford Heights, Ohio to Saybrook-On-The-Lake, Ohio - I had an okay night at Nate's house. When I looked outside, I saw that it was clear. I was thinking about staying over but it would have been crowded. It was around 7:40 AM when I got on the road. I was going to follow OH 175 but the routing wasn't that good. I followed county roads and local roads. I was thinking that I was heading straight North but I was actually going Northwest.

I rode into downtown Cleveland. I got into downtown Cleveland, while people were going to the first day of the national football season. There were lots of people and lots of tailgating while waiting for the first game of the football season.

 Browns Tailgating - Cleveland, Ohio

Just passed the football stadium, I got on the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway .

 Cleveland, Ohio Lakefront Bikeway

This bikewy took me along the shore of Lake Erie till I got on OH 283, which I took to Painesville. In Painesville, I got on OH 20 to Geneva.

I got into Geneva around 6:20 PM. I rode around town to see if I could find a church that might have a Sunday night service since I had missed going to one in the morning. I couldn't find one. I stopped at police station but didn't get much help. The lady at the desk gave me some phone numbers but they were wrong.

After about an hour in town, I decided to get back on NY 20. I used my headlight to go on to Saybrook. There wasn't much in Saybrook so I decided to head north to the OH 531. I found a place to camp out in an area that was being developed as a park south of Saybrook-On-The-Lake. It was about 9:30 PM when I crawled into my sleeping bag.

Monday , September 10th - Saybrook-On-The-Lake, Ohio to Sheridan, New York - I had an okay night camping out. It was cool. I got back on the road around 7:30 AM. From where I had camped out, I headed north for about ten minutes and then got on OH 531 to ride East along Lake Erie and I rode to Conneaut. I stopped to check out the
Railroad Museum in Conneaut. It was closed for the season but I got to take pictures of the steam locomotive and the rest of the railcars.

 Railroad Museum - Conneaut, Ohio

 Railroad Museum - Conneaut, Ohio

 Railroad Museum - Conneaut, Ohio

In downtown Conneaut, I got back on US 20. I had a 3 mile (4.8 km) ride to Pennsylvania state line.

 Pennsylvania State Line

US 20 in Pennsylvania had a wide paved shoulder. By noon, I had ridden 31 miles (49.6 km). I stopped in Girard for lunch. It was around 3:30 PM when I got to the outskirts of Erie, Pennsylvania. It was a slow ride through Erie because of the traffic lights. Around 5:30 PM, I got into the village of North East. Instead of trying to find someplace to stop, I decided to go on into New York.

I crossed the New York state line around 6:30 PM. I stopped to take the traditional pictures of my bike at the state line.

 New York State Line

US 20 in New York was really great. It had been recently repaved so there was a wide paved wide shoulder. I had a pretty good ride. Since I was getting close to 100 miles (160 km), I decided to go ahead. I got out my headlights. I pushed on to and through Fredonia, New York. Around 11:30 PM, I finally stopped to call it a day and camped out in a grape vineyard outside of Sheridan since I couldn't find any woods to camp out in. It was a little after midnight when I crawled into my sleeping bag. I had ridden 106.75 miles (170.8 km). Here is a picture of a vineyard that I took earlier in the day.

 New York Grape Vineyard

Tuesday, September 11th - Sheridan, New York to Niagara Falls, New York - I had an okay night camping out. When the sun came up, I quickly picked up and got out of the vineyard as fast as I could. I got on the road around 7:30 AM. I had a good ride to Silver Creek. It was an okay ride along US 20 and NY 5 to Hamburg.

In Hamburg, I couldn't find the path to the coastal bikeway that would have taken me along the Niagara River and through downtown Buffalo, New York. NY 5 had become restricted access and bicycles and pedestrians were not allowed on it so I followed signs for Bike Route 517. This took me quite East from downtown Buffalo area. I followed US 62 going north and I rode through bad part of Buffalo. Over all it was a long day and ride.

In North Tonawanda, I took local streets to NY 584 (the River Road). I got into Niagara Falls around 6:30 PM. I stopped at motel that I thought I stayed at before. Paid more than what I had hoped for a room.

Wednesday, September 12th - Niagara Falls, New York to Youngstown, NY to Orcutt Beach, New York - I had an okay night at the motel even though the room was a little chilly being that there was no heat in the room. I can't understand why there wasn't an air-conditioner/heater unit. I took my time and I had Alice packed up by 8:30 AM. I walked through the construction zone and found the road that would take me to the river bike trail. It was an okay ride to the Falls but the trail needed some repairs especially where a tree had pushed up the pavement by it's roots. There was one section at the bottom of a hill that it you didn't take caution with braking you could have crashed quite easily.

I took my time going through the Falls area. Went across the bridges over to Luna Island to check out the falls area. Took quite a few pictures and some short videos of the Horseshoe, Bridal, and American Falls. I probably spent a couple of hours in the Falls park before I started up the Parkway bike trail.

 Niagara Falls State Park

 Niagara Falls State Park

 Niagara Falls State Park

 Niagara Falls State Park

 Niagara Falls State Park

 Niagara Falls State Park

 Niagara Falls State Park

 Niagara Falls State Park

Just north of the falls, I had to stop in some shade so that I could transfer all of the pictures and videos from my camera over to my netbook since I had maxed out the flashcard.

The parkway bikeway needs some more development because it is mostly the closed down section of the old road. There were quite a lot of cracks in the pavement. Getting through the power dam section was a little tricky. There was this narrow paved sidewalk between a wall and a wire fence. I was able to squeeze through by riding. About a half mile north of the power station, I had to get on the parkway for a mile before I was able to get off at Lewiston.

In Lewiston, I got on NY 18F that follows the Niagara River up to Youngstown. Stopped to check out one of the free library boxes that I've heard about.

 Free Book Library - Lewiston, New York

Switched out one of the books that I carried from Louisiana. Okay ride to and through Youngstown. Followed 18F passed the Fort Niagara State Park and then got on NY 18 for the ride East along Lake Ontario. Rode passed a lot of apple orchards. Took a break at a gas station in Wilson. I was going to stop in Wilson but I decided to keep on going to Orcutt Beach.

Took a country road out of Wilson instead of getting directly on NY 18. I rode passed a large field of lettuce. I rode passed an interesting police stopover. Somebody was moving a small one car garage. They had put the garage on a farm trailor. It was just jacked up on the trailor. There wasn't any lights, mirrors, or safety equipment. Somebody was following the garage in another truck.

From where I got on NY 18, I had a 6 mile (10 km) ride to Orcutt Beach. About a mile west of town, I passed the Orcutt Bible Church. The sign said that there was going to be a 7 pm church service but it was a little before 6 PM. I rode into town to check it out and then headed back to the church. Met the pastor before the prayer meeting. He offered me the use of the church for the night. Got to speak to the small group. Got a small love offering from the members who were there. Also, I got one of the adult t-shirts from the church's vacation Bible school that happened last month.

Thursday, September 13th - Olcott Beach, New York to Medina, New York - I had an okay night at the church. After about a half hour of sweating in the stifling heat in the upstairs student room, I decided to make a walk through the church to see if I could locate some kind of fan. There wasn't one. I brought all of my stuff down from the second floor and camped out one of the preschool rooms. There was some carpeting to sleep on with my sleeping bag and a toy lion big enough to use as a pillow.

It was a little before 6 AM when I woke up. After packing up Alice and having some breakfast, I got cleaned up and put on the new t-shirt that I was given. It was from this year's vacation Bible school. I left the church around 7:40 AM. To exercise my legs, I walked the way back into town. I got back on NY 18 for the ride East along the Lake Ontario Shore. I stopped at a gas station in County Line for an extended break to charge up my Ipod.

Between County Line and Waterport, there was a 6 mile (10 km) stretch where a colony of Amish lived. Some of the houses were in bad repair where the others were very nice. Came upon two Amish guys on bicycles pulling two-wheeled trailers doing some kind of home delivery. At one Amish household, there were two little Amish boys under the age of two playing unsupervised outside the fence. Really sad because they could have been quickly snatched by a child abuser. One of the boys had to have been close to two years old and he was running around outside with just a diaper and a t-shirt on.

A mile or two down the road, I met up with another cyclist on tour. He was from Canada and he was heading West and make a tour around Lake Ontario. This year's trip was supposed to be a practice and training run for him because he was looking at cycle-touring across Canada next year. I shared with him the route that I took from Niagara Falls.

Just before Lakshore State Park, I decided to head south on NY 279 so that I could get on the Erie Canal Bike Trail at Albion. I stopped in some grassy shade next to a cemetary for some lunch. I had ridden 27 miles (43.2 km) by noontime. At the lake outside of Waterport, I saw two sheriff deputy divers suiting up and getting ready to go into the water. Not too sure what was going on. On the Southern edge of Waterport, I hit a snag in my route. The road was closed because of some kind of construction. There weren't any detour signs around the closure. I followed some local roads in a way that I thought that would take me South to at least NY 104 where I could head back East to my turn that would take to back South to Albion. What I didn't realize very well that I was actually traveling Westward instead of going South. I rode passed a lot of truck farms raising different kinds of lettus. I didn't catch the error until I got to the outskirts of the next town. I had hoped that the town was Eagle Harbor but it was Lyndonville. I had ridden 8 miles (13 km) out of my way backwards along the route that I had been taking.

I got on NY 63 going Southwards through Ridgeway to Medina. I got into Medina around 3:30 PM. Instead of getting directly on the Erie Canal Bike Trail, I decided to try and call it a day and started to look for churches. I stopped at the Methodist Church that I had stopped at before but this was the time of year when the whole church was being used as a pre-school. Down the street I stopped at the
First Baptist Church . The pastor gave me permission to stay in the downstairs area for the night,

Friday, September 14th - Medina, New York to Rochester, New York - I had an okay night at the church. The basement was a little cool but it was okay. Around 8:45 pm, I crawled into my sleeping bag on the rug on the floor and slept till around 5 AM. I spent about an hour working on the pictures that I had downloaded from my digital camera a couple of days ago. After having some breakfast, I got cleaned up, dressed, and took my things back upstairs. Instead of taking everything outside and then loading up Alice, I decided to load her up and then carefully get her down the steps.

I stopped to get some milk and a pastry at a gas station. I was going to get on the Erie Canal Towpath bikeway but I came across NY 31 going East. This was part of NY Bike Route 5. I haven't ridden along Bike Route 5 in a while so I decided to take it instead. The miles went by pretty fast. I stopped for another short break in Albion. I rode NY 31 to Fancher and then I turned Northward to Brockville and got on the towpath there. The ride Eastward on the trail went okay. I made 27 miles (43.2 km) in by noon time. I stopped in Bridgeport for a break.

The afternoon ride was a little slower because there were a lot of things to take pictures of. I had switched over to riding along the historic
Erie Canal Towpath Here is a picture taken along the towpath.

 Erie Canal Towpath - New York

There were quite a few boats on the water. There was also a tugboat towing a canal maintenance barge.

 Erie Canal Maintenance Tug and Barge, New York

I stopped to take pictures of three mother ducks with five ducklings.


I stayed on the canal towpath trail till Gates Center. On the outskirts of Rochester, I got on a road that connected to Main Street. I followed Main Street up to where I was going to spend the night with a friend. I got to my friend's house and had everything inside before it started to rain really hard.

I'll try and add a new update every week or two weeks along the way so the next one will be posted sometime between September 21st or September 28th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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