Monday, October 17, 2016

Ohio to Erie Day 4 of Riding – Mt. Vernon to Columbus (Small Towns and Big Cities)

Up early again to get a good head start on the day. Today was a nearly 60-mile day. It was, however, almost all bike trail. To give you some perspective, we had a total of 665 ft. of elevation over the entire course.

This was my favorite breakfast of the week, though. I just love the warm cinnamon rolls at Holiday Inn Express. We departed Holiday Inn smarter than we were a day ago for a 2-mile coast down a 2 to 3 % grade into Mt. Vernon.

We met up with Pedal Pal and Roomie at the Comfort Inn. Roomie came out first.  We waited a while for Pedal. When Pedal arrived, Roomie decided he wanted to go back in to get his Muscle Milk. We were all finally together and crossrd the bridge for day of some downhill, for a change.

The Heart of Ohio Trail runs the distance from Mt. Vernon to Centerburg and starts just outside the Comfort Inn when Pedal and Roomie had spent the night.

The next 14 miles were a slight uphill grade finally peaking just before Centerburg.

About halfway through the day, about 31 miles into the ride, we all developed a hankering for some fresh, small-town doughnuts and a glass of cold chocolate milk. We found just the spot in Sunbury. The Hoover Scenic Trail circles the reservoir in Sunbury before crossing the pedestrian bridge to the Genoa Trail.

A mile past the doughnut shop was Big Walnut High School, a virtual incubator for female volley ball players, according to Pedal Pal. Pedal has a difficult time leaving his coaching job for vacation so every time we are anywhere near a high school it’s fair game for recruiting.

While Pedal was inside wheelin’ and dealin’ Roomie, Velo and I just hung around outside longing for some air conditioning. The day was turning into a scorcher.

Another 2.5 miles and we found the town of Galena and the Hoover Scenic Trail. Off the trail for about half a mile and we picked up the Genoa Trail.

Those 25 miles were slightly rolling but overall downhill to Westerville.

Pedal and Roomie left us at Westerville. Roomie needed a small repair to his bike so they stopped at the LBS. Rumor has it that Pedal’s bike was molested by someone at the store causing a bloody elbow and some chipped paint. We continued on the Westerville Trail, taking a short pause at the Westerville Depot.

After leaving the comfort of trail life we turned west onto Schrock Road. This was not a scenic road, nor was it a fun road. Heavily trafficked by fast moving vehicles, the bike lane was a reprieve, until…the street cleaner was operating in it. What city operated the street cleaner in the afternoon on a busy five-lane highway? Of course it was blocking us just as we came to an uphill grade forcing us to merge with traffic. We were stuck on this hindrance of a road for a bout 5 miles.

We passed the big Budweiser factory and turned south again on Proprietors Rd. The road was so short we missed a turn onto North Road. Nothing a quick u-turn couldn’t fix.

After crossing High St. we found the Olentangy trail, again made a wrong turn, righted ourselves and followed the Olentangy trail all the way to the hotel.

That sounds easy, but it was far from it. The roadways in and around the university are hectic to say the least.  Add a soccer tournament and a Nick Jonas/Demi Lovato concert to the mix and you have pure insanity.

Velo and I were on our own for 16 more miles to the Ohio State University in Columbus.
We were so thankful to get to our hotel. The thought of checking in, drying off, and relaxing a little before dinner was encouraging. No go. Sixty miles in 90 degrees terminating in heavy rain and the hotel was sold out. We would have to wait in the lobby until our room was ready. 

It was worth the wait. Velo surprised me with a deluxe suite for the middle of the week. After a peaceful shower and short rest we walked across the parking lot to El Vaquera for a Mexican dinner. Pre-teen girls in town for the concert had descended on the restaurant with a vengeance. We were tired anyway so two margaritas and a burrito and I was ready to call it a day. I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.  ZZzzzzzzzzzzz

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