LUCKY! - America's Most Naive Bike Tourist Rides From MN to MA - CycleBlaze

June 22, 2014


Geneva State Park, Ohio

A Cleveland sunrise from my hotel room. In a couple of hours I will be back on the road, pedaling in that direction.
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Getting out of Cleveland was even easier than coming in, although I did have to endure some roads that were in pretty rough condition.  There were some nice views of Lake Erie early in the ride, but then came a couple miles of mansions and castles to block the view.

The weather was fantastic and I saw many roadies out for bike rides on this fine Sunday.  I waved to all of them and almost every one of them waved back, including one group of four riding in a nice neat paceline.  I heard one female voice from the group yell out "LUCKY!" in her best jealous voice.

In reply, I yelled back, "YES I AM" in my best humble voice.

Geneva State Park has miles of Lake Erie shoreline, yet the designers decided to put the campground back in the woods far from the lake.  I know their reasons were valid, but I still would have liked to be by the lake.  I would have signed an agreement not to use the lake as a restroom or degrade the shoreline in any way.

It's June 22 and the sun seems to stay up forever.  I crawled into my tent well before sundown because I was very tired from not getting much sleep at the hotel last night.  Before going to sleep I pulled out my phone to find a weather report for tomorrow.  As I did that, I heard a voice outside.

    "Are you doing some touring?" the voice said.

    "Yes, as a matter of fact, I am," I answered.  "Hang on, I'll put my pants and shoes on and come out there."


    When I emerged I found the voice belonged to a guy on a bike.  "I didn't mean to bother you," he said, "I was just out for an evening ride and I saw your bike."

    "No problem," I assured him.

    "Are you familiar with Warm Showers?" he asked.

    "Yeah, a little bit.  I've looked at their website anyway."

    "I'm with Warm Showers.  I live just down the road and I've already hosted 10 or 12 Northern Tier riders this year.  Have you ever tried them?"

    "No, I haven't.  The thing is, for me anyway, it's a little outside my comfort zone to call up a complete stranger and say, 'can I come stay at your house tonight?'"

    "Yeah, I kind of know what you mean," he agreed.  "I've only used them a couple of times myself while touring."

    "On the other hand," I added, "I can't really reconcile my thinking with the fact that if a cyclist called me for a place to stay, I would gladly welcome him or her."

    We introduced ourselves and talked about our travels.  He's ridden from Arkansas to here and from San Diego to here.  "People are always telling me I need to go on to the east coast and finish the cross-country thing."

    "There you go," I said, "that's your next trip."

    After a little more conversation, he excused himself.  "Well, Greg, I'll let you go now.  You have a great trip."  He used my name and, rude idiot that I am, I just could not recall his name.  So I just said, "Thank you very much."

Again, I have no doubt the Warm Showers experience can be very rewarding for both parties, but it goes beyond my uptight sense of boundaries.  My first choice in accommodations, as you've probably noticed, is public campgrounds like State and County Parks, National Forests, etc.  I dislike private campgrounds, RV parks, and city parks without formal campsites.  I reserve stealth or wild camping for those times when I have no other options.  Then, of course, there are motels which are nice in larger cities.

Ahhhhhh . . . back to sleep.
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Today's ride: 56 miles (90 km)
Total: 1,005 miles (1,617 km)

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