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Friday, July 18, 2008

Cleveland to somewhere in New York

We've been riding along Lake Erie ever since we got to Huron, Ohio. So, for the past few days we have been in mostly suburban and urban areas. The real estate seems to alternate from hotels, cabins, campgrounds and touristy areas, to suburbs -- some with normal houses some with big (orHuge) fancy houses, and some more rural areas. Mostly it has been pretty developed though, which has not been the case for most of the roads on this trip.

The night before we got to Cleveland we stayed at the only campground nearby which was one of the worst we have stayed at. We stopped at a diner for breakfast where the hostess asked about our trip. When we told her where we were staying in Cleveland she became very serious and told us we should not go to that area it was a really bad place to be. She even went so far as to send over another customer, an older man, to warn us as well. He said that he did construction in that area and practically had to carry a gun to get anything done. All of this seemed unlikely to us, that our maps would mention a hotel if it were in a really dangerous place so we figured we would get there and if it was really terrible we would go elsewhere.

It was kind of startling to ride through the shady suburbs and suddenly emerge to a view of tall buildings, lots of concrete and glass. Not something we have seen much of since Seattle. It was kind of pretty, this view of Cleveland next to Lake Erie. We rode on a bike path through a park and then right into the city. As we rode to where we thought the hotel was that downtown area got farther and farther behind us. Finally we found the right street and rode through a few miles of the horrible chaos of a construction area. Even so, we were near a university and it seemed like a perfectly fine part of town. We rode still farther, past the construction to an area that was not so nice, but I didn't feel like I was unsafe or needed to carry a gun. Just as I was beginning to feel really disappointed that we had come all this way into Cleveland and we were too far away to see any of it, I realized that the street numbers were way higher than the one we were looking for and they kept going up. We were looking for 1800. I hadn't been able to see many numbers because most of the buildings weren't labeled and Ray accidentally thought 18000. We were at something like 12546 when we turned around and rode several miles all the way back to the down town area where we found the Comfort Inn at 1800 Euclid Avenue. As far as we could tell it was in a perfectly nice part of town and it was a nice place to stay.

The street it was on had been recently redone (hence all the construction farther down) so that there was a bike lane on one side, a car lane, and a bus lane on the other side in both directions. Apparently they were going to have hybird buses as well. I think this revitalization was still in process because most of the sidewalks and the street was pretty empty. After relaxing in the hotel for a while we walked further downtown to see what was there. It did seem empty of pedestrians and cars, but I still don't know much about the city and where people work, live or hang out. We found a great spot, though -- East 4th street, which was more like an alley and blocked off to cars. It was lined with resturants that had outdoor seating and music and little lights strung across the street. We stopped for a drink and returned later for dinner after looking at the outside of the science museum and rock and roll hall of fame which were both closed when we got there. Despite our initial misdirection and long trip out of the way, we ended up having a nice time in Cleveland.

We left the next day and had to ride a long way through the rest of the city and suburbs which was hot and unpleasant. Eventually we got out of that and into more trees, fields and houses. We stayed that evening at Geneva State Park. It was hot and humid and all of the "non-electric" camp sites were in a big field with no shade and not near any water sources (if you paid the $9 extra for an electric site you could camp in more wooded area near bathrooms and showers). But we went for a swim in Lake Erie which was such a nice place to be in the hot afternoon. That night we met the two other non-electric campers who were also non-motorized-vehicle like us. One man was bicycling from Washington D.C. to Columbus, OH and the other was paddling a kayak from Chicago to New York City for prostate cancer. Its amazing how many people are zipping around the country via alternate modes of transportation and raising money or awareness or just having fun. We met another guy back in Minnesota who was riding from southern California to Florida to Maine to the West Coast back to southern California. He was doing 12,000 miles in 120 for cancer awareness.

Yesterday we crossed two state lines. From Geneva on the Lake ("Ohio's first resort town", which was pretty much asleep when we passed through) we went through Ashtabula where we had to take a detour because the bridge was totally out then to Conneaut (we asked to mailman how to pronounce the name of this town: konni-ought) and a few miles later we were in Pennsylvania. It did starte to get a little hillier once we left Ohio. After we passed through Erie we were in an area with lots of vineyards to the east and Lake Erie still to the west. It was around 90 degrees and humid but pedaling along made for a cool breeze. Later in the afternoon we crossed into New York. Now we are in a state which is familiar (although not this part of it) and seems a lot closer to home. We are pretty much back on the east coast which makes it kind of amazing to think how far we have come.

We've been riding a long the lake today and just reached a part where you can look ahead and see the land curving around. Its pretty hazy out, but there are houses, factories and wind turbines in the distance. We are staying in a hostel in Buffalo tonight and then tomorrow we will be at Niagra falls. In case you haven't heard, we plan to arrive in Portland, Maine on July 30. We decided not to follow the part of the route that goes up to Bar Harbor because we would rather arrive home without taking a detour up there (although it would be beautiful). So we are looking forward to this last week and half and also looking forward to getting home. We'll probably write and put up more pictured before then. See you soon!


Kaptain said...

Wow, on the East Coast already! I'm still amazed at how fast you travel. Hey Sunshine, from my maps it looks like you cross the AT at Glencliff...... do a little Wingnut dance for me when you get there !
Enjoy your last 10 days...I imagine you will be glad to be done, but sad that the journey is over........

Danielle Tallulah said...

wow you guys have gone so far! great job!!!