TRIP 2013

Update #16 - July 05th
North East, Pennsylvania
Mission Trip 34: 4,640.95 miles (7,452.52 KM)
5,990.68 miles (9,585.09 KM) - Year Total

Yesterday, July 04th, I crossed the path that I took April 29th. I've made a 3,020.13 mile (4,832.21 KM) loop through the Midwest. I'm heading back to Chittenango, New York for a few days off the road. Currently, I am about 300 miles (480 KM) away from Chittenango. After the stopover in Chittenango, I'll be heading Northwards to the St Lawrence Seaway and ride through the Northern parts of Vermont and New Hampshire. Eventually, I'll ride cross Maine to the start the trip down the East Coast. I'll be riding through New York City again so I will be crossing my path again.

June 23 : Grand Rapids, Michigan to Grand Rapids, Michigan - 00.00 miles (00.00 KM)

I had a decent night but I had some strange dreams. My body was pretty exhausted so I opted to stay around the house instead of going to church. I haven't had a full day off the road since Decorah, Iowa (June 04th). The last Sunday that I was able to take some time off the road was two weeks ago (June 09th). Allen and his family were going to his parent's house in Grand Haven for the afternoon. I spent the afternoon working on my gear. I needed to do some sewing repair work.

When they got back, Allen took me out shopping. We went to a Meijers. Allen surprised me by buying me a new computer bag and also a larger bag to carry the computer on the bike. He also surprised me with $100.

Before I head out tomorrow, Allen is going to take me to the Motion Initiative bike shop. He has promised me some new gloves, tires, and tubes.

June 24 : Grand Rapids, Michigan to Bedford, Michigan - 58.95 miles (94.32 KM)

I had an okay night even though I woke up real early. Once it got light, I took everything outside and packed Alice up. Lori woke up around 6:30 AM. Allen woke up around 7:15 AM. David and Mya woke up around 7:30 AM. After Lori went to work with David and Mya, Allen took me down the hill to the bike shop. Allen found me a pair of new cycling gloves and he gave me one of his shop's t-shirts. I switched to a better 26x1.5 tire and I gave him the new 26x1.9 mountain bike tire for the shop. I packed up two spare tubes for the rear tire and fastened a new 20x1.35 tire behind the seat so I'll have one when I finally switch over from the old tire.

It was almost 9 AM when I headed out from the bike shop. It was a long ride through Grand Rapids and Wyoming to MI 37 heading south to Hastings. I almost got hit a couple of times from motorists speeding up to pass me and then continue their right turn. About 12 miles (19.2 KM) South of Grand Rapids. I met up with a large group of cyclists. They were riding the PALM (Pedal Across Lower Michigan). There were supposed to be 300 cyclists and they had sag support.

It was really hot. When I got into Hastings around 3:30 PM, I saw a sign that said that it was 88 Farenheit. This is the hottest that I've experienced this year. I found my way over to the First United Methodist Church. It was a surprise to find a goat in the office. He told me that if I would have gotten in town a little earlier he could have referred me to another group but they closed at 2:30 PM. Even though I told him that I had stayed at other Methodist churches in the stayed he told me that I should move on. There was an Episcopal church but there was nobody there.

I didn't feel like trying to find another church. I had passed the First Prebyterian Church about five miles (8 KM) out of town. I headed out of town around 4 PM. I got into Bedford around 6:30 PM. I saw some activity at the Bedford Bible Church. The pastor didn't live in the parsonage. One of the church families lived there. John took care of the church. After he fed me, he took me over to the church. He gave me permission to sleep in the pastor's office because it had it's own air conditioning unit.

June 25 : Bedford, Michigan to Quincy, Michigan - 59.73 miles (95.57 KM)

I had an okay night at the church. I woke up around 5 AM to some really intense lightning, The thunderstorm lasted about an hour. When I left the church around 6:45 AM it was just lightly drizzling. It was a short ride into Battle Creek. I stopped to take some pictures of this great mural that was on one of the walls of the local Habitat affiliate. I changed my route through Battle Creek. I stopped at a gas station to wait out some more rain. I struck up a conversation with a guy. Before he left, he slipped me $10 in a green handshake. I had to find my own way through Battle Creek because for a while M66 was restricted access.

I came across a Hobby Lobby. I stopped to get a few things to repair the office bag. The zipper was going bad. While I was doing some sewing, a lady slipped me $5. I got in about 21 miles by noon time.

I got on MI 66 and I rode to Athens. After taking a break, I decided to change my route. I was planning to go to Sturgis but I found my way over to Coldwater instead. I got into Coldwater around 5:30 PM. I stopped at the police station and I talked with an officer. He called up the minister who was supposed to be in charge with the ministerial alliance. The minister passed me off. He told the officer that they had been burnt by fake ministers before and I didn't qualify for a Salvation Army voucher. Coldwater is next to an interstate.

I thought that I would at least check out some of the churches myself. I found some activity at the Prebyterian Church. There was a deacon's meeting starting up. The pastor was on an education leave. One of the deacons knew the minister at the Union Church in nearby Quincy. I rode over there and I got there before the rain storm hit. I got a really good meal. There was a volunteer meeting of a group that was going to teach kids how to cook their own breakfasts and other nutritional foods. I got to speak. Instead of staying in the church for the night, the pastor had arranged for a home visit. Before I left the church, I got interviewed by a reporter from the Coldwater newspaper.

June 26 : Quincy, Michigan to Hilldale, Michigan - 21.34 miles (34.14 KM)

I had an okay night in Randy's basement guest room. I didn't hear the storm. I went to sleep around 10 PM but I woke up around 4:30 AM. I finished the journaling and logging from yesterday. Randy's dog was up around 5:30 AM so I went upstairs to get cleaned up. Randy got up before 6 AM. Intstead of cooking, he opted to take me out to the McD's before breakfast. At the drivethru, Randy slipped me $10.

Randy had to leave for work at 6:30 AM. He worked for the power company as a supervisor. There were a lot of crews out because of last night's storms. Lots of trees were down. Across the street, a large tree almost broke through a roof of a house. I got on the road around 6:30 AM. I headed East on US 12 to Jonesville and then I turned South on MI 99.

I got into Hillsdale around 9:20 AM. On the radio, I heard that there were storms coming through the area and there were really bad storm cellss going across Northern Indiana and Ohio about 20 miles (32 KM) away. I didn't want to take any chances of getting caught out in the open in a thunderstorm. I thought that I would try and connect with a minister. The downtown area had some power outages. The offices of the First Baptist and Presbyterian Churches were closed. There was an interim pastor at the Baptist Church. I found the secretary in the office of the Methodist Church but she was using a flashlight. She didn't know when the minister would be in today.

Last night, I met the deacon of the St Anthony Catholic Church at the volunteer meeting. I called over there to see if he was around. He actually lived in Quincy and he was an occupational therapist with an office in Indiana. The church was just South of the courthouse. The priest was Epicopal but he converted to Catholicism a couple of years ago. I could have stayed in one of the classrooms of the Catholic church but the priest instead offered to get me a room at the motel South of town. I'm about 19 miles (30.4 KM) North of the Ohio State Line.

June 27 : Hillsdale, Michigan to Defiance, Ohio - 53.98 miles (86.37 KM)

I had an okay night at the motel. I thought that it was going to storm in the area but the weather system split either to the north or to the South through Northern Ohio. The sky did dark for a little bit around 5:30 PM and then it cleared up some. I spent most of the evening working on my gear. I sewed some elastic loops on the below seat panniers to hold the water bottles in place. Most of the time, I put in a new zipper in the office bag. The old one had gone bad. It was hard because the slider came off and it took a long time to get it put on. I watched a little bit of television but nothing really kept my interest for long.

I woke up around 5:30 AM and I left the motel around 7:30 AM. It was a bit foggy for a while, I had to turn my yellow flasher on. After the sun was up around 2 hrs, the fog was burnt off. There was a bit of a tailwind to push me along. I got to the Ohio State Line around 9:15 AM. I had ridden a little over 18 miles (28.8 KM) in Michigan.

The ride to Bryan went okay. I stopped at a gas station just South of the Ohio Turnpike in Holiday City. As I got ready to leave, this guy stopped me and asked me if I was a believer. When I told him that I was a minister, he pulled out his wallet and slipped me $20. I got Bryan around 12:30 PM. I had ridden around 37 miles (59.2 KM) . I thought that I was going to have to stop for the day but the sky didn't look too menacing.

I decided to push on to Defiance. This would allow me to maybe get into Findlay tomorrow afternoon and then I could ride through Mt Blanchard and Forest Saturday and end the day in Upper Sandusky. The tailwind pushed me along. There were some bad sections of pavement. Instead of putting down new asphalt to cover up cracks or potholes, the road crew had just tried to fill the cracks with tar. Some of these filled in cracks had raised grooves. As I was coasting around a curve at about 13 mph (21 KMph), my front wheel hit one of these grooves and the bike swerved into the lane of traffic. I wasn't sure if there was a car behind me. I almost lost control and flipped over but I was able to prevent that from happening. This could have been another serious crash because there were several cars going Westbound and I didn't know if there was any Eastbound traffic. I didn't find that out until I got back into the shoulder. It just happened in a couple of seconds.

The rest of the way into Defiance and into the downtown area went sort of okay. I did have another close call with another motorists who didn't really give me clearance as I was navigating through an intersection that was up a grade. Nobody was giving me 3 foot (1 meter) clearance.

It was around 3:30 PM when I stopped at St Paul's UMC. The offices were in the old parsonage. The secretary was in and the pastor was out flying model airplanes. I got permission to spend the night in one of the old upstairs bedrooms where quilts are made.

June 28 : Defiance, Ohio to Findlay, Ohio - 53.36 miles (85.38 KM)

I had an okay night at the church. The pastor came by around 8 PM to see if I needed anything. He was at his model airplane club. Before he left, he showed me where I could connect to the web via ethernet because the wifi signal was low. He also told me that the parsonage had been built in 1897 and it was the first parsonage in the area that had in-house plumbing.

I was able to update my website. The carpeting was so thick that I didn't need to use my sleeping bag. I woke up around 4:45 AM. Because of the possible heat in the afternoon, I decided to head out around 6:30 AM. There was a tailwind to push me along. By noon, I got nearly 43 miles (68.8 KM) in.

I got into the Western edge of Findlay around 1:30 PM. On the Eastern side of I-75, there were a lot of restaurants and motels. There was a Steak and Shake. I used my giftcard to get a late lunch. Instead of going a little farther, I opted to get a motel room. The temperature was in the low 80s and there was a 60% chance for mid to late afternoon thunderstorms. I was given a discount of a couple of dollars.

Tomorrow, I'll be riding through Mt Blanchard and Forest and riding passed Riverdale High School. It's been 39 years since I was a 12th grade exchange student. Because of possible afternoon thunderstorms tomorrow, I'll probably stopping in Upper Sandusky.

June 29 : Findlay, Ohio to Bucyrus, Ohio - 60.25 miles (96.40 KM)

I had a somewhat okay night at the motel. The night would have been better with a much better wifi signal. For the money that I had paid for the room, the motel should have had router boosters. I was five doors away from the office and I barely got a signal and it kept on dropping. From my room, I saw three networks but the signal strength was either one or two bars. They kept on dropping. It took me a little over 2 hours to update 7 pages on my website. It's what I get for getting a room run by the Patel clan from India.

It rained off and on through the night. There is supposed to between a 30% and 40% chance of afternoon storms for the next seven days. I left the motel around 7:30 AM. The temp was cool in the 60s. It was supposed to be in the 70s for the afternoon. I rode through the downtown area to get on OH 37. The ride to Mt Blanchard went okay. I stopped at a garage sale that was being held in a barn. I got some baked goods. In Mt Blanchard, I stopped for a short break at a gas station.

From Mt Blanchard, it was about a three mile (4.8 KM) ride to Riverdale High School. It was really weird seeing the old high school building. The building looked a lot smaller than what I remembered. The last time that I had gone passed the high school according to my journals was August 2, 2006 but I hadn't stopped the last time. Because a new building complex had been built for the combined k-12 grades, the old high school bulding wasn't being used much. The offices are being used for the district's offices and the auditorium and gymn were being utilized as well. I took quite a few pictures. Through the entrance way doors, I saw the trophy cases that were in front of the old principal office.

From the high school it was about a 5 miles (8 KM) into Forest. My memory served me well getting over to the house where I stayed at. I was pretty shocked at seeing the condition of it. It was in pretty bad disrepair. I didn't know whether it was vacant or somebody lived there. If they did, they didn't care. I was going to take pictures but it would have been too much.

I rode over to where the old school was. The school used to be the town's elementary school and also served as the district's junior high. It was the staging area for the school buses to the high school. The school had been torn down and the property was developed into a junior soccer league playing field. Across the street, was the trailor of my favorite high school teacher, Mr D. Ray Baum. The trailer was empty and in very bad disrepair. I did take some pictures in the downtown area. I was really surprised at seeing all of the vacant storefronts. The library was still in the old train freight station and there was a small farmer's market in the parking lot. The rail line that was in heavy use back in the 70s looked like it hadn't been used in years.

I stopped at a gas station - store for a break. The girl at the counter told me that she used to be neighbors of my host family, the Morrises. She told me that the mother had moved to Florida. Ryan, the youngest boy who I was close to, had moved to Findlay. Dean, the oldest boy, still lived in town. April, the girl who I went to high school with and waas in my grade, had moved away. The girl at the counter didn't mention what happened to the father. She did tell me that one of the grandsons had lived in the house but it has been vacant in a while and somebody is trying to move into it.

The last place that I went to check out was the town's park. The park was in pretty good shape. The log cabin that was in the center of the park was still there. There was a new bridge to the small island that was in the pond and there was a gazebo on the island. There was also a fountain in the park. The town's festival was two weeks away.

I headed east to Upper Sandusky on OH 53. It was a 15 mile (24 KM) ride. I made 31 miles (49.6 KM) by noon. The sky was really getting dark. I got into Upper Sandusky around 1:00 PM. I stopped at a grocery store for a few things. I had to wait for a brief rain shower. I was going to stop for the day but I decided to stop in the next town of Bucyrus 15 miles (24 KM) away.

I headed out on what used to be US 30, the Lincoln Highway. A new divided 4 lane highway had been built and all of the truck traffic had been diverted onto it. The ride was pretty pleasant except for the shoulder pavement was kind of bumpy and it made me think that the rear tire was soft. A couple of miles out of Bucyrus, it started to rain. I thought that I was going to get caught out in the open in a thunderstorm because I heard thunder close by. The rain was just a drizzle.

I stopped to check out a really neat outdoor miniature steam train layout. The rail park was run by the local train club. It was operated on special occasions like the town's Bratwurst Festival. One of the small freight cars was on the tracks.

In the downtown area, I went around to check out the local churches. I didn't see anybody. I went over to the police station. I wanted to see if there was either a chaplaincy program or a ministerial association program. The officer that I talked to told me that there wasn't and he didn't know a local minister. He did tell me that there might be a chance to get a room voucher through the Salvation Army. A room was secured at a downtown hotel. The hotel was really old (built in the early 1900s). I had to lock Alice under cover in the side patio of the bar. She should be okay because the patio is locked up at night. I used both locks and covered her with the tarp/ ground cloth. There was a really old elevator that needed to be operated by a person to the room on the third floor. I was given a room on the backside of the hotel.

I haven't decided on whether I will stay in town for church or head out early and maybe go to Plymouth. I'm about 4 days away from leaving Ohio. I'll be soon crossing the route that I took the first time through Ohio back in early May. Tomorrow is the last day of June.

June 30 : Bucyrus, Ohio to North Bucyrus, Ohio - 02.14 miles (03.14 KM)

I had a somewhat okay night at the motel. The room was really worn down and the furnishings were sparce. Instead of a regular chair to sit on there was the back row of a ban. There wasn't a fan or air conditioner. At least there was a screen in the window. There wasn't a radio or television. I'm glad that I had a couple of movies on a flash drive. The room was pretty quiet until around midnight when the bar downstairs closed. The room was overlooking a parking lot. The parking lot really got packed and the people in it were loud. I had to close the window even though the room was still warm. I got some rest but I woke up a couple of times feeling like I was being bit by some unseen insects. There were no cockroaches in the room and I didn't think that there were bedbugs.

I woke up early around 5:30 AM. Around 7:30 AM, I started the task to get all my gear downstairs to the first floor. It took me three trips up the stairs. I had to wait for somebody to let me in to the locked patio to get Alice. I had Alice packed up around 7:50 AM. In the town square, I stopped to take some pictures of a great large wall mural called the 'Crossroads Of America".

I was going to see if there was a fast food place to get some breakfast but I saw that there was an 8 AM service at the Good Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church. I remembered that I stopped there on a Wednesday in early August of last year. It took a while finding a safe place to lock up Alice. I got into the service about ten minutes into it. After the service, Rev Bliss was happy to see me again.

Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, Rev Bliss offered to get me a room at a local motel north of town near the intersection of OH 4 and US 30. I would have to wait for the last service at 10:30 AM. Rev Bliss offered to let me for a few minutes at the beginning of the third service.

I got to share during one of the Sunday school classes. During the end of the class, the class got into a short discussion about the most recent Supreme Court decisions. It kind of disturbed me that the elderly lady who sat next to me told the class that she didn't think that homosexuality was a sin even though the Bible says that all sexual perversion is sin. She told the class that as an elementary school teacher she could tell the sexual orientation of her children by which sex the children interacted the most with and from the style of clothes and cut of hair. She told everybody that all girls who were tom boys turned out to be lesbians and any boy who interacted the most with girls were homosexual. There was no mention of whether there were two parents in the household, whether there was a father figure who was active in the upbringing of the child, the sex of the dominant parent, the sexual makeup of the family, or if there was any type of abuse in the family.

Rev Bliss did let me speak for a few minutes after the announcements of the third service. The service was being aired live on one of the local radio stations and it was being videotaped to be shown on a local television network on Wednesdays. After the service nothing happened. I was hoping that maybeone person might have a compassionate heart but it didn't happen. My finances were discussed during the Sunday school class but none of the class came to me and shook my hand.

Rev Bliss was going to take me to the motel but he didn't think that Alice would have fit because there was a lid on the back of his pickup truck. He wanted me to ride on to the motel and he would come later to pay for it. I had about a fifteen minute wait before Rev Bliss showed up. Before he left, Rev Bliss led me in prayer and he also slipped me $5. He was going home for some lunch and then go out of town to do some work on one of their houses near Toledo.

July 01 : North Bucyrus, Ohio to Lagrange, Ohio - 87.71 miles (140.34 KM)

I had a somewhat okay night at the motel. The wifi network needed some work because I was infrequently dropped even though I was just a few doors from the office. For the amount that was paid for the room. the breakfast should have been better. There was cereal but you didn't know if it was stale or not, some pastries, juice, and milk.

I left the motel around 7:45 AM. The sky was grey and overcast and there was a little bit of drizzle left over from the rain during the night. I got on OH 4 heading Northeast. Around 10;30 AM, I got into the small town of Carruthers. I found a picnic shelter behind a Church of G-D of Prophecy. I had to wait out a brief but intense rain shower. The rain lasted about fifteen minutes. At Attica, I switched over to US 224 heading East. I got into Willard around 12:15 AM. I stopped for some lunch.

A mile or two East of Willard, I switched over to OH 61 heading Northeast. The going was really slow for about the first 8 miles (12.8 KM) to Norwalk. The highway surface had been ground down for repaving. Every once in a while there was a smooth section of shoulder. At the Huron County line, the grinding stopped but at every bridge there was a delay because the bridge was being repaired. There were four bridges under construction.

I got into downtown Norwalk around 4:20 PM. I checked out a couple of the churches but I didn't find anybody at them. I stopped at the police station to see if there was either a chaplaincy program or a ministerial association. I was told that I should check out the Salvation Army about a block away. When I got there, the secretary was closing up the office. She told me that they wouldn't be of any real help because they were between officers and the new one wouldn't be in place until Wednesday. I was told that after closing hours, the police were authorized to give out motel vouchers to a local motel. I went back to the police station. The paperwork was put in for the motel voucher, but there were no rooms at the designated motel. They were all taken up because there was some kind of race at the racetrack. After about 20 more minutes, I was told that there were no other resources through them and I should check out Catholic Social Services. It was 4:58 PM when I left the police station but it would have been too late to try and find the office.

I got a little turned around trying to find US 20. Somebody directed me to the bypass South of town and that was restricted access. There were three churches in the area (a Baptist, a Lutheran, and the Presbyterian). There was nobody around them. I had to backtrack into the downtown area so I could find the old US 20 route.

I got into the next town of Wakeman around 6:45 PM. There wasn't anybody at the police station. I rode around the town to check out the churches but I didn't find anybody around them. It was a little after dusk when I got to OH 58 and I turned south to Pittsfield. US 20 was getting ready to become restricted access and it would have gone through the center of Cleveland.

I rode in the dark using my headlight to Pittsfield. At Pittsfield, I headed East on OH 303. I was hoping to find someplace where I could camp out but there wasn't anything. I got into Lagrange around 10:45 PM. I stopped at a gas station that was still open. A policeman stopped to see if I needed any help. He told me that there wouldn't have been anyplace for me to camp out in the city park but he did tell me that there was some open land behind the high school. He met me there. In the dark, I saw the sillouette of some trees on the edge of a mowed field. I found a place to camp out in a break in the woods.

July 02 : Lagrange, Ohio to Solon, Ohio - 52.43 miles (83.89 KM)

I had an okay night camping out. It didn't rain so the tent stayed dry. It was around 6:00 AM when I woke up. When I looked out the tent, I could see that there were some people on the field in front of the woods. It must have been the football team practicing. Nobody yelled out at me or chased me down after I left the woods and walked across the field around 7:45 AM. I backtracked into the downtown area and stopped at the gas station where I had met the police officer last night to fill up my water bottles and go to the restroom. I took the time to secure the position of my mirror with some electrical tape. The temperature was in the upper 60s so it was comfortable with not wearing my jacket.

I headed East on OH 303. A couple of miles down the road, I stopped to check out this really neat one room schoolhouse. It was decked out with the original desks and stuff. I took a lot of pictures through the windows. About three more miles (4.8 KM) down the road, I stopped to take some pictures of some llamas at a farm. There were a couple of young llamas.

In Valley City, I stopped to take pictures of this old railroad station and an old steam locomotive and coal car. I took quite a few pictures. There was a long hill to climb up out of the valley. I was in the hill country South of Cleveland. Traffic was pretty heavy through the Brunswich area and around the interchange to I-71. I stopped at a Steak and Shake and used the last of the gift card to get a meal.

Traffic was a little heavy through Hinkley. A couple of miles out of Hinkley, I decided to head North to North Royalton. There was a long climb out of a valley. In North Royalton, I turned Eastward on East 82. I was more comfortable on this road because there was a shoulder and I've ridden through here before. Between Brecksfield and Northfield, I walked over this high bridge over the Cayuga River Valley. I stopped to take some pictures of the bike path, railroad, and river below.

There was a long climb through the Sagamore Hills area and the Brecksville Reservation. About a couple hundred feet from this bike path that crossed the road, a very tall cyclists passed me on his racing bike. I had to do a double take looking at the back of his lycra cycling shorts. There were cut out panels covered with dark colored nylon material. The guy wasn't wearing any underwear and I got glimpses of his butt. There was also something like bubble gum sticking to the exact center of his shorts.

Near the intersection of I-271, I had to take some pictures of this person dressed up in a cow costume for the Chick-A-Fill Restaurant. They had a pretty good dance routine. I took about a two minute video. Traffic was a little lighter at the interchange of I-471. I got into Twinsburg around 7:30 PM. Instead of staying on OH 303, I turned Northward on OH 91. Traffic was getting heavy in Solon. Before coming to I-422, I swung Northeastwards to Chagrin Falls.

I saw some activity at the Pioneer Presbyterian Church. There was a meeting of elders in the office. One of the guys called up the pastor and I was given permission to stay in the church for the night. I was showed where things were in the church and I was taken upstairs to a youth room that had it's own zone of air conditioning. It's good that I had gotten inside when I did because about 5 minutes after I had gotten settled in, it started to rain.

I'm going to be crossing the route that I had taken April 30th between Ashtabula and Blackhorse. Instead of continuing North to Lake Erie and then turning Northeast to Pennsylania, I'll be heading East as far as I can close to the Ohio state line and then turning Northwards so I'll get on US 20 somewhere between Ashtabula and Conneaut. Since April 30th, I will have ridden about a 2,793.88 miles (4,470.21 KM loop). I'm about 421 miles (674.26 KM( away from Chittenango, New York.

July 03 : Solon, Ohio to Mayfield, Ohio - 63.33 miles (101.33 KM)

I had an okay night at the church. It was good having something different to eat other than peanut butter sandwiches. I had some cheese pizza and yugurt. I could have had some watermelon but I passed on it. I woke up early so I started to do some work on my most recent photos.

I left the church around 7:30 AM. I finished up the ride to Chagrin Falls. Near the downtown area, I hit an area of road construction where they were putting in new water and sewer pipes under the roadway. In the downtown area, I stopped at a grocery store for some milk and a donut. I stopped to take some pictures of the falls. There was also a neat car that had been painted with Bible verses.

Getting out of Chagrin Falls was hard because the road went up a steep grade up a hill. It took a while walking up it. I followed Main Street and came upon a brick road (Falls Road). There was a strip of pavement at the edges. I had to stop and take some pictures of a bicycle that somebody had made out of tree branches. It was pretty interesting but broken so it was being tossed away. I took Falls Road to OH 87 and I turned West. I stopped to check out my brakes. I switched disc brake pads. It's good that I did because the front disc pads were pretty worn and the brakes could have failed real soon.

At Russell Center, I turned North on OH 306. There was a good downhill run into Kirtland but there was one more ridgeline that I had to get over to get close to Lake Erie. I stopped to get some new batteries. I headed East on OH 84 but the shoulder was pretty bad so I found a side street that took me to US 20. In Mentor, I stopped for a late lunch.

I had passed a Methodist Church so I backtracked to see if the minister was there. The temperature was in the upper 80s and I was getting tired. The minister had only been there a short time. He was familiar with the "Pedaling Parsons" group out of Canton, Ohio. I had visited the church in Canton a couple of years ago and had been given one of their jerseys. The minister didn't have any idea on where I could spend the night. The church had a security system. He did offer me a can of soda and $10 in a "G-H".

I didn't feel like dealing with all of the traffic on US 20 because there is no shoulder. I found the Mentor bikeway that took me through the city's park and passed city hall. I headed east on OH 238 (Lakeshore Blvd). There was some confusing signage through the Mentor Highlands area with it's marshes. The Lake Erie Circle Tour took me through a rambling ride through Fairport Harbor Village. The town was filling up because they were getting ready to have their Mardi Gras / 4th of July Festival parade. It was going to start at dusk. I followed OH 535 to it's end at US 20. Traffic was light until US 2 ended at it and this was a freeway. US 20 became a 4 lane highway with a division and no shoulder. I got off US 20 as often as I could when there where Circle Tour signs.

I got into Mayfield around 7:50 PM. The sky was getting dark and I heard to rumble of thunder. I saw some activity at the Bible Baptist Church. A youth meeting was ending in the basement. The church was between pastors. A new pastor would be here by the month's end. They had been without a full time minister for a little over two years. The music minister was temporarilly living in the parsonage next door. Ben had recently graduated from a Christian college in Pensacola, Florida. Since there were quite a few bedrooms in the parsonage, he invited me to stay with him for the night.

I'll be crossing back into Pennsylvania tomorrow. I haven't yet crossed the path that I took back in the end of April.

July 04 : Mayfield, Ohio to Erie, Pennsylvania - 63.00 miles (108.08 KM)

I had an okay night. I woke up a little early so I could finish the journaling from last night. I went downstairs around 7 AM. After I got Alice ready, Ben made me some breakfast. I got on the road around 7:45 AM. I finished up the portion of the Lake Erie tour and I got back on US 20. Traffic was lighter so I decided to stay on it through the rest of the state.

I did a little bit of shopping in Geneva. I was really happy to see a laundromat open. I really needed to get my clothes washed and dried. The washers were front loaders. I got my laundry done for just $2. It was around 10:45 AM when I got back on the road. I missed a couple of rain showers. I took my time getting through Ashtabula and Conneat. Between Ashtabula and Conneat, there was a group of cyclists in the same jerseys but they were pretty scattered. I did see a sign at a Presbyterian Church West of downtown Ashtabula about a (Habitat Bike and Build group) but I didn't know if it was them. Some of them were carrying small Canadian flags on their backpacks. None of them had panniers. I didn't see a sag vehicle.

In Conneat, I took an extended break. The sky was looking dark. I thought that it was going to storm and I was going to have to cut my day's ride. I wasn't sure how to connect with a minister being that this was a holiday.

I had a good ride to the Pennsylvania State line. Between the state line and Girard it started to rain. I didn't get too wet. I got into Girard around 5 PM. I checked out a couple of churches but I didn't see anybody around them. I tried the police station but there was no way to connect with an officer after hours. I rode on to Fairview four miles (6.4 KM) away. I stopped at one church on the Eastern edge of town because I saw some activity but the people weren't friendly. I went across the street to the fire station to see if they had a chaplain. Their chaplain had recently retired so they were looking for one. We tried a couple church phone numbers but all we got were recorded messages and answering machines.

I didn't have any other recourse but to keep on going. I was hoping to maybe find someplace where I could maybe camp out but there wasn't any place. The ground would have been wet anyway because of all of the rain. In some of the fields that I had passed, there was minor flooding. I didn't want to try and get through Erie after dark. US 20 goes through a bad part of Erie South of the downtown area.

In the Western outskirts of Erie, I came across Asbury Methodist church. I saw that they had a picnic shelter that was behind a low hill. There was a parsonage. I was hoping to maybe camp out in the picnic shelter or stay in the church for the night but I got invited to stay with Rev Owen and his wife in the parsonage.

July 05 : Erie, Pennsylvania to North East, Pennsylvania - 25.57 miles (40.91 KM)

I had an okay night. Mrs Owens warmed up some chicken that they had for supper and she made me a large fresh bowl of fruit salad (blue berries, grapes, strawberries, and watermelon). I updated my website and watched some of the mini-series Gettysburg before heading to the basement tv/ guestroom. Before going back upstairs, Rev Owens gave me the invitation to stay over tomorrow if the weather was bad. I went to bed around 10:30 PM and I woke up around 4:40 AM. I checked the internet and it looked like I would be able to ride till around 4 PM. Before having breakfast, I got Alice packed up. During breakfast, Rev Owens Slipped me $40. Before I left, Rev Owens took a couple of pictures.

I got on the road around 8:20 AM. The temperature was in the upper 60s so I didn't have to wear my coat. The ride through Erie went okay. I stopped along the way for a few breaks. Between Erie and North East, there was some new roadway surface. The shoulder had a slight washboard surface and it made me think that the tires were going soft when they were pretty hard. The surface ended at the North East Borough line.

I got into North East a little before noon. I stopped for some lunch at a BK. The sky got dark and there was a brief but intense rain shower. After the rain stopped, an elderly guy really gave Alice and intense once-over and he then came back inside to talk to me. I wasn't sure about going on to New York. I got into the downtown area around 1 PM. Rev Owens told me that if I had any concerns about going on because of the weather I should connect with Rev Hecht at the Methodist Church. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, Rev Hecht arranged for me to have a room at a motel South of town near the interstate.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between July 12th and July 19th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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