Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ohio to Erie – Day 5 of Riding, Columbus to Cedarville

I could have stayed in our deluxe suite a few more hours had we not needed to leave the Hampton Inn early to beat all the teenage concert goers to breakfast.

Through pouring rain, we picked up the Olentangy River Trail across the street from the hotel.

Let me start by saying the twisted web of trails in and around Columbus were more than a little confusing. The Olantangy Trail meanders through Ohio State University campus. It runs on both sides of the street and, through the driving rain and heavy traffic, we had a little problem finding the right place to cross the street to continue on the trail. The campus was relatively deserted on this wet July day so we couldn’t even find a wandering resource to ask directions. Thus started our day of u-turns, course corrections, and urban adventures. 

About 5 soggy miles later we jumped over to the Scioto Trail.

What should have been a short 4-mile ride to the Hilltop Connector ended up being about 7 miles after we made two wrong turns and doubled back each time. We finally cried uncle and went into a corner convenient store for guidance. By this time, we were soaked to the bone and the clerk was not happy with the two unfortunate puddles we left on the floor. Despite the copious amount of drippage, the clerk was helpful.

Two miles of short jaunts and numerous turns through a residential area dumped us out onto W. Broad St., aka US40, aka a heavily travelled highway running through the middle of Columbus, the Capitol of Ohio. What do you know?! We missed our turn again, doubled back once more and got off of the busy highway onto Norton Rd.

3.5 more miles of residential roads led us into Galloway where we picked up the Camp Chase Trail. The rain had finally let up and we even saw a glimmer of sunlight here and there. The sun helped bring optimism to our route finding and navigation.

Camp Chase was three straight miles of  corn fields, RR tankers and tractor crossing signs until we turned into Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park for a 2-mile ride through the park. The trail was a little confusing in the park because the signs were tucked away in the trees and the gravel trail started at the head of the parking lot. It took us few minutes to find the trail, and with each passing moment we were 
both getting hungrier and hungrier. We did see a grocery store sign over the hill. Our decision to go out of the way in search of nourishment was in vein. The gaping windows, vacant of any glass, ridiculed our suffering. The rural country side was a welcome change from the congestion of Broad Street. 

Back on the Camp Chase Trail for another 5.5 mils of corn and RR tankers.

By this time, we were ravenous and there was nowhere to eat in sight. We settled for Cliff Bars on the steps of the church in Lilly Chapel. That is about all there is in Lilly Chapel – a church and a four-way stop.

Camp Chase becomes the Roberts Pass Trail after it crosses Wilson Rd. in Lilly Chapel. Roberts Pass runs about seven miles into London, OH.

It was past lunchtime and we met Pedal Pal and Roomie in London for a bite to eat. We chose a little pizza joint called Ronettie’s because there was another loaded bicycle setting by the front door. It did not disappoint. The hoagies were delicious.

Dale “Peace” Walker was the owner of the lone bike. He was a loner himself and had been travelling around the country on two wheels for the better part of a year. He came over to chat with us for a few minutes, wished us peace, and then asked if we could buy his lunch.

Velo and I parted ways with Pedal and Roomie. This was their destination for the night. They were staying at a motel/trailer park called The Cordle Motel. If you go they accept cash or check only.

On the other side of London Velo and I picked up the Prairie Grass Trail for a 22-mile straight shot to Cedarville and the Hearthstone Inn for a total of 58 miles. The only excitement we had on the this stretch was the family of wild turkeys we came across. Velo was unaware that I as trying to slow down and film them and barreled right on through causing the little family to take off in all directions. See the short video at 50% speed

After checking into the hotel and rolling the bikes into the room we rested for a bit, then showered and got ready for a night on the town. Unfortunately, the town rolls up its sidewalks about 8:00 p.m. The info pamphlet in the room listed some quaint eateries. A small place called Beans and Cream peaked our interest because ice cream sounded delectable…and, we got there just as they closed the kitchen. We settled for the diner across from the hotel, The Main Street Station. The staff was friendly, the food was good, but the flies. I wasn’t sure if I was eating dinner, or if I was dinner! All flies aside, we were glad to get a good meal before our last day on the trail.

While enjoying the evening breeze on one of the many patio chairs surrounding the Hearthstone Inn we posted a picture of our digs on Facebook. Within 15 minutes Roomie commented that they had a nice two room suite at the Cordle Inn but their host hadn’t come by to collect the fees yet because he was at the dentist tending to a toothache. Unfortunately, the only TV in the place was a nine-inch screen located in one of the bedrooms. At least it was a color TV.

Before we the evening set in we decided to walk the mile to a convenient store across the street from Cedarville University. School was not in session so the campus was quiet in the July heat. We returned to retire for the night and watch the final night of the Democratic National Convention.

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