San Francisco to New York
April - June 2005
6 June - Monday - 126.8 miles/2594 total
Lowell to Chain O' Lakes State Park
Finally a tailwind all day. Also flat, mostly. I just
rode. I had some lunch at Knox, then some Dairy Queen at Plymouth
- I need the calories!
After a short stint on US 30 - four lanes with shoulder, and not bad
riding - I threaded my way up from Warsaw through tiny burgs in the
open countryside, eventually trusting to luck and unmapped country
roads to get me to tonight's state park, avoiding some of the
meandering I would have done if I had followed only the roads marked on
The state park is starkly rectangular on the map, but inside it's all lakes and trees, with a very pleasant campground.
7 June - Tuesday - 110.8 miles/2705 total
Chain O' Lakes State Park to N. Baltimore OH
This was a fast day and I did good mileage. It was a rolling
forty miles to the Ohio border, all tailwind; without the tailwind it
could have been unpleasant as it's hot and humid. In Ohio, the
tailwind continued and the terrain got flatter, so I got even
faster. Speed at last. It was 100° in Deshler, with
matching humidity, seemingly. And there in Deshler was a road
crew, laying asphalt in this heat! It was bad enough riding on
the new blacktop!
My hope that there would be a motel at the intersection with I-75 paid
off - there was just one, with a chain truck stop across the freeway
bridge, where I got a decent dinner.
Courthouse in Albion IN
8 June - Wednesday - 104.4 miles/2809 total
N. Baltimore to Medina
I was on track to go right through Bascom, the small town where my
grandfather grew up, and I made it there early in the day. I'd
never been there, I'd just heard my grandfather's tales of horseshoes
and mumbley-peg, and I can say it certainly looks like that kind of
place. Next stop was Tiffen, where my grandfather went to
Heidelberg College. Red brick buildings everywhere; it certainly
reinforced my ideas about what turn-of-the-century Ohio was like.
I had been thinking about staying the night at Findlay State Park, but
I didn't stop, as I really felt I had more miles in me. So on to
Medina, where I found a lousy motel (not literally, but it was
bad). I should have kept on going to the freeway a few miles on,
where I would have found better motels.
My maternal grandfather was from Bascom OH. Barn, west side of town
Log house, Bascom
Brick house in Bascom - typical of western Ohio
Commercial block, Republic OH
I had been hoping to find one of these
9 June - Thursday - 94.8 miles/2904 total
Medina to Sharon PA
I was dead tired in the morning - the motel room stank of smoke and I
couldn't sleep. I was all the more tired because I just wanted to
get out of there, and I got up at dawn.
I was now seeing big rollers as I passed south of Cleveland on a
shoulderless, heavily-trafficked road. But eventually I got back
into sleepy countryside and better riding.
At the Pennsylvania border, the character of what I was seeing
changed. Sharon PA is rust-belt industrial, and the accent was
very identifiably rust-belt Pennsylvania. And now the hills were
suddenly big. I must have looked lost, stopping to consult my
map, because a tow truck driver stopped to give me directions to a
motel. When I got there, the whole layout - highway,
intersection, strip mall - all felt exactly like places near where I
grew up outside of Philadelphia. I was clearly in Pennsylvania.
10 June - Friday - 80.7 miles/2985 total
Sharon to Brookville
My home state is treating me well, as the good shoulders on the roads
continue. New Hampshire (and I offer New Hampshire as an example
of one among many) has a lot to learn from the Pennsylvania DOT.
I have decided to stick close to I-80 for a while and it's easy to find
parallel secondary roads. They're hilly ones now, of course, but
everything is very green. There was, for instance, a steep drop
(9%) to the banks of the Allegheny at Emlenton, then a labored climb back up again,
while the bridge that carried I-80 over the valley was always
visible. And the humidity is pretty shocking - I'm just not used
to it these days. Ah, how vitiating life in California is!
I've found an inexpensive, slightly run-down motel in Brookville with
an excellent restaurant attached. It has to be said, though, that
I'm probably not a very good judge of excellence in restaurants when
I'm famished all the time from riding. Dinner was a huge pork
chop, with a relish tray and two home-made loaves of bread showing up
on the table. I of course ate both loaves. And I had sherbet.
I-80 Bridge over the Allegheny, at Emlenton
11 June - Saturday - 0 miles/2985 total
When I woke up this morning it was so humid it looked steamy outside. I
decided it might be a good day for a rest day, as I haven't stopped
since Chicago and I've been doing centuries almost daily. And I
needed to do some laundry.
It was a mile walk to the truck stop at the I-80 cloverleaf to do
laundry and another mile walk to the library in town for e-mail and
blog purposes. I had lunch in the kind of small town restaurant
that has cafe curtains on thick brass rods in the front windows and
fixtures from 1910. While I was eating, the Red Hat Society (or
something like that) drifted in for their probably weekly
luncheon. The Red Hat Society seems to be some sort of Women's
Auxiliary and gossip society - I think it's probably a franchise.
The rest of the day I spent lying under the air conditioner in my room.
12 June - Sunday - 81.0 miles/3066 total
Brookville to State College
Still humid, and that's not going away. The last bit into State
College was up and over Nittany Mountain. I could only see one way up,and
that was on a road reminiscent of California 17 between the ridgeline
and Los Gatos. There were a lot of cars who didn't think I
belonged there, and at the crest, the road became limited access, so I
couldn't continue on down into town that way. Luckily some
subdivisions had made their way that far up the mountain on that side,
so I was able to pick my way semi-randomly through newly paved side
streets down into State College.
There I found a motel, and walked a little bit and found a restaurant/sports bar kind of place for dinner.