It has been a pretty good day. On the up side, the ride was beautiful and we finished ahead of schedule. On the down side, my previously trusty Garmin Edge 605 stopped being trusty today. (Insert
Kenny Rodgers Randy VanWarmer tune “you left me, just when I needed you most” softly playing in the background, or Bones saying “She’s dead, Jim”)
Editorial update: I have not idea who Randy VanWarmer is, but I had incorrectly attributed this tune to Kenny Rodgers. Perhaps Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” would have been a better choice, anyway.
We got up before dawn and quickly packed up our belongings, hoping to get out around 6:30 today. We were treated to a super delicious breakfast at Dave’s place. Dave and his wife raise chickens on their farm, and we had delicious fresh eggs. They tasted awesome. But the best part of breakfast wasn’t what filled our stomachs, it was what filled our souls.
As we were saying grace over our breakfast, Dave paused at the doorway. When we finished, he sat down to join us and said “I had a feeling you were some good Catholic boys.” We had an awesome conversation over breakfast about his faith journey. I won’t even attempt to describe it here – partially because it was a personal conversation, and partially because I couldn’t do it justice in a short blog posting. Our discussion put us about 30 minutes later on our start, and I am so glad we took the time to listen. It was well worth it!
We stepped outside and Joe played one last game of fetch with Diamond. What a great dog.
As we packed up our things onto our bikes, Dave came out to see us off and prayed with us before we departed. He gave us a hug and asked us to come back again for a longer visit. Once again, we have been blessed by the people we come into contact with on these bike trips.
About 7:10am we finally hit the road. The temps were nicely chilly and the air felt great as it blew over our faces. The first few miles were a bit more challenging than they were supposed to be. Our legs seemed to be saying “not today.” We had a hard time getting to a steady speed for a while. I think it was a combination of physical fatigue and that this part of the Kokosing trail apparently has a slight grade up.
About 7 miles later we reached Mount Vernon. My (no longer) trusty Garmin 605 said “low battery”. What? I just charged you last night! I bypassed the message and hoped for the best. It sporadically worked for a while.
In Mount Vernon, we eventually found our way to the Heart of Ohio trail. This runs for about 13 miles to Centerburg OH. It was a pretty uneventful section… Until near the end. We were stopped waiting to cross some traffic and I was using one hand to eat an energy bar and one hand on the bike. The bike nearly tipped over and the pedal caught the back of my calf. Nothing serious, just a nuisance scrape, but enough to remind me to be more careful.
After topping off our water, and putting some neosporin on my freshly minted flesh-wound, we set our sites on the town of Sunbury about 15 miles away along country roads.
The road route to Sunbury was beautiful. Gorgeous blue skies, the moon was still up most of the morning, and farm land as far as the eye can see, bedecked with green leaves of corn, golden yellows of wheat (I think), and many other colors. The roads were gently rolling without any of the nasty climbs of yesterday.
When we reached Sunbury, we didn’t know what to expect. We thought it might be just a little blip on the map. What we found was a very neat little town square with a lively atmosphere. If you plan on heading this way, make sure to spend a little time there to soak up the town.
Sunbury was also the sight of second breakfast or early lunch, depending on how you view the world. I decided to hedge my bets and get a sandwich and home fries to cover both bases. The Sunbury Grill was a great choice – it is the kind of place my Dad taught me to love many years ago when we would go for breakfast together.
While there, once again some bike touring fellowship spontaneously appeared. We sat at the food counter and the guy next to me struck up a nice conversation with us. His name is Earl.
After Sunbury, we had just a few miles on Old Route 3 C until the town of Galena. From there, we met up with the Hoover Scenic Trail and then the Genoa Trail for about 6 miles.
The Genoa trail ends at Maxtown Road, also known as Polaris Parkway, north of Columbus. We had scoped out our own route into downtown Columbus, using the Alum Creek Trail, which starts here at Maxtown road.
At this point is where my GPS finally just gave up the ghost. I couldn’t coax it to do anything. I had become pretty comfortable knowing that I could glance down and see that we were still on (or off!) the planned routes that I had downloaded into it. It had served us quite well over the past few days and caught a couple of missed turns. Sigh. Oh well, at least we had some maps to use.
The Alum Creek Trail goes roughly north/south and we took it for ~12 miles to the I670 connector trail, which is a pretty rough paved trail adjoining I670 until you get dumped out into downtown Columbus.
We were making very good time today, so we decided to stop at the Columbus Cathedral and enter through that Holy Door too. We arrived at a time when a wedding party was getting their pictures taken, so I quickly went in, passed though, and left, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. Hence, no pictures of the inside of the Cathedral.
We continued west, using sidewalks to navigate until we reached the Scioto Greenway trail on the south side of Columbus. Without the GPS, we had to be a little more discerning about where to turn to find our next set of roads.
We eventually found the Hilltop Connector and wound along some city streets to our evening destination: St. Agnes church. We arrived around 3:00PM and found a cool respite from the heat in the church.
Father Ron arrived a little later and greeted us. He introduced us to his great little dog, Chase as well.
We got a very much needed shower and shave, then joined him at mass.
After mass, we made BLTs, heavy on the “B”, strawberries, and an Italian lemon ice for dessert. Some great conversation over dinner made it a wonderful meal. Once again, bike touring fellowship is so spectacular.
So now, it is time to head to bed. We want to get out early again tomorrow to beat the mid day heat. We only have about 55-60 miles tomorrow, so we want to get done quickly and rest up.
Until tomorrow, Peace!
PS: yes, I am doing this whole blog from my trusty iPhone… So please forgive my typos.