Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Friday, September 05, 2008
After a wonderful night at the B&B, we were treated to a sumptuous breakfast this morning, cooked and served by JoAnn (sorry if I've mis-spelled it). JoAnn was delightful to talk with as well and we lingered over breakfast talking about our trip and her interesting life. We got off at about 8, with 2 delicious Christmas Cranberry Muffins, that she had made for us last night, tucked away in our bags to snack on later in the day. It was sprinkling a little as we left, just a teaser for what would come later. We went through downtown Medina, which turned out to be quite lovely, with a nice square in the center, and then the town seemed to go on forever after that. There were some fancy houses along the road and then the road widened out to a more commercial strip. We crossed 2 interstates, 71 and 77, and slipped into suburbs of Akron, Copley and Fairlawn and maybe others, without much of a break in the shopping malls and other businesses lining the road. Everything looked quite new and well-maintained, including the road itself - nice, smooth shoulder. It made the riding quite pleasant, as did the cooler weather. The clouds were quite threatening but the rain held off until we had gotten nearly all the way through Akron.
The city of Akron itself was very interesting. The road surface went from wonderful to horrible as soon as we entered the city limits and the road itself narrowed to a 2-lane with no shoulder, but the neighborhoods we went through were quite fancy and the houses quite grand. There was a huge campus for the Sisters of St. Dominic, with lovely parks and ponds with fountains. Then we went into a commercial district and the road improved and widened. We crossed I-77 again and I-76 (it was quite nostalgic to see that). We passed several interesting buildings, the University of Akron, the main post office, the art museum, and the Goodyear plant. There was a plaque in front of the Goodyear buildings with a little history of the Goodyear Company, which made Akron the "Rubber Capital of the World". All in all, it was a fascinating city. We decided to have lunch before we left town since we didn't think there would be many options afterwards. As we were eating, the first batch of rain started, so we set off with our rain jackets on, only to take them off again a few miles later. It was just a light drizzle for the most part and the jackets just made us too warm.
We connected up with US 224 again after Akron and stayed on it the rest of the day (we had been on SR 18 all morning). 224 was newly-paved for a good bit of the way, with some older, rougher stretches. We stopped at a gas station to use the bathroom and started chatting with an Amish guy who was riding with several others in a van. Before they left, he leaned out the door and pointed out that our trailer tire was flat. It was pretty lucky that he noticed it and lucky as well that we were at a gas station and happened to park right next to the air pump. The trailer tire has a different kind of valve stem than our bike tires; it's the same as a car tire. So Pat had that fixed pretty quickly and off we went again.
For the rest of the day we went through some small towns and wooded, grassy areas with some small farms mixed in here and there. The bigger towns we passed through were Atwater, which had a beautiful church in town, and Deerfield which had a traffic circle around which everything was called Circle Something or Other. We came to Berlin Lake, where our campground was. It's a huge lake with lots of boating activity around it (not much today, though). The rain came and went, but luckily stopped long enough for us to set up our tent and get settled into it. We went to dinner across the street and then settled in to work on the webpage. The rain is continuing to come and go, raining more now actually than it had most of the day. We ended up going just under 50 miles in a hair over 5 bike hours, arriving at our site at about 3:15. Tomorrow, we come into Pennsylvania!