Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Burton, OH

We are now in Burton, OH. This is at about the 1590 mile point in the UGRR route, and our bike mileage totals are now at about 1735 miles.

A quick recap of the last two days:

Yesterday (Tuesday, June 26), we started out by taking some time to see the sights around Oberlin. We spent the morning seeing the UGRR memorial on the Oberlin College campus, a private residence that had been used as a safe house in the days of the UGRR operation, and an absolutely fantastic quilt at the local senior center that was made in tribute to the UGRR and Oberlin's role in it in 1983. Well worth the time seeing these UGRR-related items, and just enjoying the feel of this nice little college town. We finally hit the road at about 1:30 pm, and made it only to Medina, OH by the end of the day..... about 34 miles. But that was ok. The morning was well-spent, and getting 30 miles behind us in the afternoon was good.

Today (Wednesday, June 27), we set out from Medina, heading toward the Burton area, actual destination unknown, but expecting to camp somewhere in the area. We planned to make fast time today, but our journey was interrupted (very pleasantly) numerous times by people we met along the way.....
-a group of workers at a high school, doing summertime maintenance;
-2 women on horses riding through Cuyahoga Valley National Park;
-a couple of bikers at a fruit stand in that park who had a great story: She just celebrated her 5th anniversary free of breast cancer, and she has just quit smoking. The two of them have now started biking to reduce weight. They were still going through the transition pains of all this, but were quite proud of their progress, as well they should be!
-a couple who have family in the area of Canada we will be biking through near Owen Sound, who looked at our route and said that it is a beautiful route to take, worth the hills of the Niagara Escarpment that we will have to deal with!
-a couple of park volunteers who travel up and down the Erie Canal Tow Path Trail on bike with bike repair and medical kits..... a nice service that we are happy exists, but which we are also happy to not need!

So, lots of fun and interesting interactions along the way.

Then, as we were just about to make our way up the big hill to Burton, tired after our 50+ miles and not certain still about where we would stay, a man (Don) in a pickup coming the opposite direction stopped when he saw us, and offered us a place to stay at a house he has in the area. However it was 3 miles in the opposite direction, and so we thanked him, but declined. We did not want to backtrack, and wanted to get the Burton hill behind us today. He then suggested a friend of his in Burton who has a yard we could use. He called her, and she said "sure, send the cyclists over". We made our way up the hill to the town, in advance of what appeared to be a threatening thunderstorm, found this woman's house, and she (Annette) could not have been nicer! Turns out that both Don and Annette are cyclists, marathon runners, and kayakers, and so had more than a little empathy for us on our current trip. Annette made the two of us, dropping in on her in such a peculiar way, feel so very welcome. We stowed our bikes in the protection of her garage. She has an RV in her driveway which she has made available to us, and we will have great accomodations in there tonight. Then she allowed us to use her bathroom to take showers. And it was fun just chatting and getting to know her a bit. Don and Annette, we really appreciate your thoughtfulness and hospitality!!!! Thank you!!!!

OK, that brings things up to date on the last 2 eventful and really positive days. Tomorrow we plan to bike about 60 miles to Conneaut, which is a town on the shore of Lake Erie, and right on the Ohio/Pennsylvania state line. Current thinking is that we will make that be the place for our first rest day since being on the road again. Will decide for sure when we get there.

More updates as we have the opportunity to make them.

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