San Francisco to New York

April - June 2005

Week 7

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 my map.

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
Courthouse in Albion IN


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
My maternal grandfather was from Bascom OH. Barn, west side of town

Log House, Bascom
Log house, Bascom

Brick House in Bascom - Typical of Western Ohio
Brick house in Bascom - typical of western Ohio

Commercial Block, Republic OH
Commercial block, Republic OH

I Had Been Hoping to Find One of These
I had been hoping to find one of these

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
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.

Week 8