A Special Encounter in Salesville

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Barkcamp State Park

Flag of United States  , Ohio
Saturday, August 13, 2011

It was a wet, grey and chilly start to the day, but the six straight weeks of 100F days are still very fresh in our minds and we happily hopped on the bikes. We tried out a Burger King breakfast this morning, and although the mini hash browns are extremely delicious, the lack of wifi, pancakes and lattes make it an inferior cycle tourer's venue.

Mikey had planned a quiet exit from Ohio’s version of Cambridge and we meandered along a tiny, winding, hilly road though a forest. When we hit the main road which would take us all the way to Barnesville, we even found a bike track which ran alongside it for a few miles.

At 17 miles, we made our first stop of the day, in a tiny settlement called Salesville. We nearly cycled past the tiny 'Halls Garage’ and if we had, would have missed what I think is our favourite chance encounter of the whole trip. Jeannette Hall has owned and run ‘Hall’s Garage’ for 63 years but she has never had an English person stop by. She was so excited, she insisted on treating us to our cookies and Mountain Dew. We spent a good half hour in the shop looking at photos of her three children and husband, whose names all began with ‘R’ and even saw her wedding photo. She was 18 and her husband 20. He was in uniform as he was a tank gunner in WW2, and was stationed in Austria on VE Day. After the war they set up the shop and worked there together until he died. Jeanette is now 84 and runs the shop by herself. Her daughter comes to help put out the new stock when needed and her 81 year old younger brother also lends a hand if she needs a day off!! Before we left, Jeanette gave us a couple of lunch bags she’d made up earlier and a big hug each. She’s written down her address so we can write and let her know we got home safely. What an amazing lady.

It seems that on these back roads we’ve strayed back into lovely friendly rural America, and we had lots of waves and smiles and people shouting ‘Where are y’riding?’ Leaving Salesville, we chased down and overtook a horse drawn buggy. I was snapping photos as Mikey passed it until I realised it wasn’t just some locals having fun on a Saturday, but two very surprised looking Amish men – oops!

Hills after hill eventually led us to a sign declaring we were only 4 miles from Barnesville. Another 2miles and we saw the dreaded sign ‘Road Closed’. With the spectre of China and the flooded road fiasco in our minds we nervously continued. Fortunately it was only about 20 meters of mud road blocked off by diggers, which we easily bypassed on the bikes.

Barnesville was at the top of another enormous great hill and we rolled into town soaked in sweat. After checking out Jeanette’s packed lunches and discovering that an 84 year old’s idea of a well-rounded lunch involved 2 packets of crisps, 3 meat sticks, peanuts, crackers, cookies, snickers bar and a chewy toffee stick (EACH!) but no sandwich, we decided to get a wrap at MacDonalds and use the wireless internet. Jeanette’s snacks will probably keep us going to New York!

Over lunch we finally narrowed down and chose a place to stay for our last two nights. We’ve booked a private room in a really well-rated hostel right next to Central Park. Last night we plotted the rest of our route and will arrive in New York by ferry from New Jersey on the 24th of August. This way we cycle from coast to coast, but don’t have to navigate the bridges onto Manhattan Island. I think we’ll see the Statue of Liberty from the ferry and then cycle past Times Square and through Central park to our hostel. VERY VERY EXCITING!!!

That done, I insisted we went to the supermarket to get fruit and vegetables as we haven’t had any for a few days, and then we hit the road for the last 10 sweaty, hilly miles to Barkcamp State Park. It’s another great campsite in an amazing location and later we’re going to the open air amphitheatre to watch a movie. It’s not till 9 though, so we might fall asleep. Only 500 miles to New York now…

Miles Cycled; 41 – loads and loads of hills

No. of times beeped and sworn at: twice by fat w****rs in jeeps
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Jojo on

That sound like a great day Jeanetta wasa real find. Not sure about Barnsville being the home of Gay 90s Museum whatever that is.

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