A Pleasant Goodbye

Trip Start Jun 04, 2011
Trip End Jul 26, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Sunday, July 17, 2011

We had a very nice ride through Ohio for our last day in the state. Within the first few miles two guys who passed us going the other direction spun around and joined up with us. Kenny and Bob, also known as red man and blue man, were good company. They rode with us for about 30 miles before they turned around to go home. At first we weren't sure if we'd be able to keep up with them since they scampered up a decent sized hill almost immediately after joining us... but it turns out they were just showing off a little. I guess that's to be expected. The rest of the ride with them was fast, but reasonable.

Ohio really flattened out as we headed up for the lake. We had a few sections with some decent rollers, but nothing like what we saw coming across the state. We had long, flat, uninterrupted sections of farm roads with tail winds for the first time in what seems like forever. Now these tail winds were nothing to get excited about, but they weren't headwinds, so we were all plenty excited.

We had our second SAG stop at the White Turkey Drive-Up in Conneaut where I had a Richardson's Rootbeer Float that was quite good and a "Large Marge" turkey sandwich that was, in the words of Al, more like "Large Marge goes on Jenny Craig." Apparently not everyone has the appetite I do and my standards for food consumption are going up. I need to back off the Hometown Buffets and Golden Corrals.

Erie is a depressing city. It's not exactly a dump, but it's no shining metropolis. There are a few nice areas but it seems to be a little abandoned and run down. It doesn't help that we showed up a day after a three day motorcycle festival downtown that left the city covered in cigarette butts and empty beer cans. A lot of the bars still had signs out that said "bikers welcome" but something tells me they weren't soliciting my type.

Our hotel is a study in contrast. It appears to have been a very nice hotel... 40 years ago. The lobby has been renovated and is fairly nice, but when the elevator doors opened on the fourth floor it was like they opened to a different hotel. The carpet was old, matted down and stained horribly in many places. Our room was incredibly outdated, the beds were small and rock hard, the sheets were thin, the bathroom was deteriorating and our window gave us a phenomenal view of the brick wall that made up the side of the building next to us. I pretty much accepted it for what it was; I was a little bummed it was a rest day hotel since we spend two nights and typically much of the second day in the room. Dad thought we could do better.

I thought it was a shot in the dark, but when he came back and announced that we were moving to a pair of adjoining rooms on the fifth floor so we could at least each have our own beds, I was extremely satisfied with the solution. When the elevator opened on the fifth floor, I was surprised to see new carpet and freshly painted walls. We opened the door to our room and it was also brand new. New beds, furniture, carpet, paint, bathrooms and a better view made for an incredible difference. It doesn't even feel like the same hotel.

Distance: 97.59 mi - 3,266.29 total
Time: 05:31:46 - 218:34:59 total
Elevation Gain: 3,126 ft - 98,937 total
Av. Speed: 17.6 mph - 14.9 overall
Av. HR: 128 bpm - 125 overall
Calories: 6,581 - 214,636 total

Flat Tire Count:
Scott - 10
Stephen - 4
Mark - 3

On our rest day, as is usual, we didn't do much of anything. Scott and I rode down to the lake, then looked for a place to get lunch. I found a burger place on my phone that seemed to be popular so we headed over. It was located at the base of the Presque Isle peninsula so we decided we'd eat our lunch and then check out the state park. Lunch was at Sara's Burgers which had a 60's feel. It was pretty good and I had a delicious black raspberry milkshake with my chicken sandwich.

Presque Isle was beautiful. I wanted to cycle across the entire thing and Scott wanted to cycle across none of it so we eventually compromised with riding about a third of the way up. We stopped at beach 6 for a while since the kid who rung us up at Sara's said it was the best. It was a hot, humid day and the beaches were packed. The whole region seemed kind of like a theme park at times - the smell and climate made it feel like Cedar Point.

On our way back we saw a sign for a snowboard, skateboard, wakeboard shop that looked like it was worth visiting. In our quest for this shop we ended up a road that nearly killed us. Pennsylvania drivers are the worst so far. We turned around and were headed towards the hotel when we found a bike shop. Scott bought an awesome Columbus (steel) hat and we chatted up the owner for a little while. He eventually told us we should head over to Presque Isle, grab some food at Sara's, and they ride up part way and check out the beaches. We laughed a little to ourselves since that's exactly what we had done. We asked him the best way back to the hotel given the narrow roads and horrible drivers and he directed us back to a bike path that we had discovered on our own heading out to Sara's. Overall, we felt like pretty successful Erieites because we had already discovered everything he suggested we do.

My blogging effort has seen a decrease since I got a new book, Bicycling Science, which I'm really enjoying. It's complicated and I'm skipping around since it doesn't have much in the way of a plot or a storyline. The bulk of the book is about bicycle physics and I'm proud to say that with two years of college physics under my belt I'm able to track fairly well with the graphs, equations and explanations in the book. I'm hoping that I can fill my head with enough bicycling equations to successfully occupy my mind while I spin around for the next eight days. The Atlantic seems so far away but I'm fairly certain this whole trip will be over before I know it.

Rest Day Ride:
Distance: 20.17 mi - 3,286.57 total
Time: 01:43:33 - 220:18:43 total
Elevation Gain: 339 ft - 99,276 total
Av. Speed: 11.7 mph - 14.9 overall
Av. HR: -- - 125 overall
Calories: 1,552 - 216,188 overall
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Joe Brown on

I hope it's cooler where you are than here. I am so impressed that you're doing this and with your average speed. Scott needs to get better tires or stop running over nails! Stay safe.

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