July 31st

July 31st

How does the saying go? The spirit is willing but the body is weak? I had to stop about 15 miles outside of Cumberland because it was starting to rain and I was bone tired (still got about 78 miles though). There was only pay camping in Frostburg ($25/night!) so I just sprung for the hotel room that was $10 more. It’s not the prettiest place ever, but there was a bar next door where I could get french fries and a beer, which was the perfect end to a day.

I’m going onto the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park tomorrow, so the trail’s likely to change a bit, but the good news is that it’s all downhill from here. I hit the highest point on the trail yesterday, and now it should be easier sailing to get to DC.

A little lonely out here, not very many people on the trail, which is nice, but I’m starting to wish for a little human companionship  Guess I’m a people person. I’ve made a goal not to listen to any music or podcasts or anything like that while I’m biking, and all the head time has given me quite a bit of time to think, which is good. I’ll write a bit more about that later.

Got a new bike pump and another pair of underwear. Should be good to go now.

This tunnel was over 3000' long! Awesome.

This tunnel was over 3000′ long! Awesome.

 

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July 28th – July 29th

July 28th

Just looked over my mileage. I went about 80 miles tday. Pretty awesome. I’m highly satisfied after yesterday. I suppose that the first day is always the worst. My front rack broke off first thing in the morning and about decided to hitch a ride home, but after careful redistribution, I managed to get everything onto the back of the bicycle. We’ll see how it works. A man named Terry is letting me use his backyard as a campsite outside of Jewett, Ohio, a town that looks exactly how it sounds. I’ve passed through about a billion of these small towns, and I really enjoy it, even though I get strange looks from the locals when I scoot through on my bike.

Beer and Pepsi have taken on a new meaning in this heat.

July 29th

Writing this from a comfortable little hotel outside of Pittsburgh called the Neville Motel. Run by a very nice older lady, and also very affordable. I figured because it was cheap, I’d spring for it, get a chance to take a shower and wash my clothes in a sink.

Did around 65-70 miles today, would have done more, but damn, there were a lot of hills. I’m not Lance Armstrong and this isn’t the Tour de France, because I am walking my bike up these hills. Bought a pizza, ate the entire thing. Feeling pretty good.

So far, my bike’s holding up well. My knees are bothering me a little bit, and my palms are starting to get numb, both things that would be expected.

Nope.

Nope.

Selfie at the motel.

Selfie at the motel.

July 27th

In line with every thing anybody ever says about the first day of a trip not being that nice, here we go:

July 27th, 2013

Got off the train at 6am this morning. It took me a minute to get out of Cleveland proper, no thanks to my Google map directions, which were pretty confusing. It’s been raining all day, with no sign of it letting up any time soon. The rain really slows you down to a crawl, and I had to throw on my poncho and all my protective gear for my bags. I think I clocked about 50 miles, which was a little less that I was hoping for, but hey, no big deal.

The Erie Canal isn’t that nice looking. Pretty swampy most places. There was a part that I really liked, a bunch of little houses along the canal that had crazy decorations all over the place. One house was painted red, white and blue and had “God Bless America” painted on the side in giant letters; additionally, the satellite dish on the roof was outfitted to look like an anti-aircraft gun, with stenciling that said “USS Patriot.”

For dinner this evening, I  have reverted back to age 12–doughnuts, cheesy crackers and apples.  I got lost a little in Barberton, OH, and ended up in Norton, OH, which is where I’m going to stay I think. I could only find one hotel, and it was full, so I think I’m going to sleep in the Norton Panther’s Softball team’s dugout.

FYI, I didn’t get killed or anything. The benches were pretty uncomfortable, but I didn’t get rained on. At a Dunkin’ Doughnuts right now, stay tuned.

Some pictures:

Where I started the Erie and Ohio Canal Towpath

Where I started the Erie and Ohio Canal Towpath

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Super high.

Cleveland:

Bridge: