Success! The Bums have done it again! Nick and I breezed through the flatness of Ohio, mostly without maps – instead, we opted to simply point our bikes at the fiery orb in the sky each morning, and continue along nicely paved backroads until we hit Lake Erie. This method of navigation was greatly enhanced by Western Ohio’s strict adherance to the Jeffersonian grid system. You gotta give it up for the mile square. Having dined on sauerkraut pizza, we spent our last night camping in Castalia, in the shadow of the Blue Hole, which a gas station attendant assured us has no bottom, and that those who dared to try and find it have perished in the act. The next day found us racing along Lake Erie, eventually reaching the ritzy west-side suburbs of Cleveland, where Nick’s friend Ryan met us for an enhanced dip on the North Coast. We ended our quest with good times and great fun, meeting Sarah and Matt at the Great Lakes Brewery. Later, the illustrious John C. Rowland joined the fray. The next day, I hopped on my steed one last time and made quick work of the bike path leading to Akron, finally sailing up my parents’ driveway in good ol’ Mogadore. I made it home just in time to head out to the Portage County fair for the Demolition Derby, and I was astounded to see all the rage fantasies towards automobiles i had concocted over the last two months made flesh as the melee of cars systematically destroyed eachother to the bloodlust cries of the crowd. And so here I am, wearing normal clothes, sleeping in a normal bed, transitioning myself from the nomadic lifestyle of bike touring to the individually-wrapped cheese slices and on-demand cable of suburban living. It’s been one hell of a ride – looking at the photos from the beginning of the trip, it seems like I’ve been traveling for a year. This will not likely be the last post to the site – I may post a more conclusive ending, and I would say that there’s still a 60-70% chance that I will continue on to DC in late September (those odds can be increased by goading from Death Star residents). OK – thanks to everyone I met along the way! Ride on!

The saga continues…

Well, i’m at it again. After three weeks off the saddle, i’m back into bikebums mode, on my way to DC. Things are going well so far – great weather, nice backroads, good scenery – but the ghost of zach humes haunts me. My knee is giving me much grief. I think i’ve got the problem licked, so we’ll see if it holds out.

This bike is a pipe bomb

as i was crossing the ohio river, i saw that it was bespeckled with ivory towers of hope, aka nuke plant cooling towers. I decide to document my proximity to so much radiation with my trusty camera phone. About half an hour later, as i was tediously crawling my way out of the river valley, i saw behind me the flashing lights of johnny law. That’s right – i got pulled over for taking a pic of a nuke plant – about six miles after the fact. The PA po-po never lose a bicycle riding terrorist. Lord help us if the bad guys start using mopeds or telephoto lenses. I feel safer – do you?

Rollin’ down the trail

Things are going well so far. I’m on a 300 mile long trail that should take me all the way to dc. It also gets me through the mountains without exceeding a 1 percent grade! Not bad! Yesterday had a few frustrating/harrowing detours where the trail isn’t finished, but i think it’s smooth sailing from here on. The scenery has been amazing – sorry, not many pics – the camera phone wouldn’t do it justice. The weather has been a bit chilly, especially this morning, but other than that, it’s gorgeous. I only slightly regret that i’m about 2 weeks ahead of the fall leaves being in full swing, but it’s cold enough. My knee isn’t 100%, but i’ve got it under control. Well, it’s bedtime – catch ya later.

The End!

Well,folks – I made it! Not quite coast to coast, but close enough, I say. The last few days of riding were a lot of fun. The trails were really nice, and offered some great scenery, although I did detour off of them fairly often – the trails were certainly smoother than a mountain bike path, but it was still off-road riding, which was tough on both my bike and me – it’s hard to get in 80 miles in a day when you have to work to get above 12 mph. Of course, when I detoured onto the local roads, I found myself on a self-propelled roller coaster of steep hills. It was hard, but a lot of fun.  Anyway,  I recommend the Great Alleghany Passage Trail/ C & O Canal Trail to anyone looking for a fun 300+ mile ride from Pittsburgh to DC. So, there you have it – I started under the Space Needle and ended under the Washington Monument, and had a heck of a lot of fun along the way. Met some great people, saw some amazing sites. I now have 10,222 miles of self-supported bicycle touring under my belt – if I keep up this pace, I’ll have 50,000 by the time I’m 40! But for now, i have to go back to Oakland and find some work so I can start saving up for the next adventure. Anybody got suggestions as to where I should ride next?