Where I Found Them - America's Most Naive Bike Tourist Rides From MN to MA - CycleBlaze

June 16, 2014

Where I Found Them

Defiance, Ohio

Last night I had a few Ranger IPAs at the hotel's bar and had a great time watching the NBA final with a diverse bunch of hotel guests and local basketball fans.  Now that I have spent my night in Ft. Wayne, I must continue on toward Boston--America's 2nd-SMARTEST city according to the not-so-credible Men's Health.

Fifteen miles into the ride I was crossing the border into Ohio.  Goodbye Indiana, I will miss you.

A peace offering for a new state.
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Ohio started out pretty good too.  I rejoined the Northern Tier Route in the town of Payne and I was quickly reminded how well designed these routes are.  I can't complain about my self-created route over the last week, but the ACA has mapped out some remote and rustic roads that are very pleasurable to ride on.

I'm still riding in some billiard-table flat land surrounded mostly by cornfields.  I talked to a few cows and horses and almost came to a stand-off with a pair of fat turkey vultures who were not at all willing to leave the dead raccoon they were feeding on.  They didn't fly off until I was only ten yards away.  As I went by the raccoon, I noticed there here hundreds of flies on and around it, and up above there were another 8-10 vultures soaring around just waiting for their chance to swoop in and eat a delicious meal of dead rodent.

One of the drawbacks of riding in wide open farm country is trying to find private places to urinate.  I try to keep properly hydrated and sometimes there is a fair distance between towns.  Occasionally it is possible to pee at the side of the road, but usually when you stop to do so, along comes the first car you've seen in ten minutes--and they keep coming.  The corn isn't high enough yet to disappear into a field like the ballplayers in Field of Dreams, so I have become somewhat of an expert at stealth-urination.  I stay low.  I go behind farm machinery, behind a barn, behind a cow, in a ditch.  Sorry about this paragraph, but I felt I should address this delicate, yet important, subject.

From the town of Junction all the way to Defiance, Highway 111 closely follows the Maumee River.  The Ohio Department of Natural Resources calls it "the beautiful Maumee River."  I call it the BROWN Maumee River."  The Maumee is not alone in that characteristic, however.  All of the rivers in the last three states have been brown.

Nevertheless, the Maumee is not ugly.  It's just not as clear and blue as most of the rivers in my home state.  But I will say this:  Whatever Indiana and Ohio lack in river clarity, they more than make up for in the size of their vultures.  They make MN vultures look like scrawny little blackbirds.

The brown Maumee River
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Defiance, Ohio.  I like the NAME of the city and I wanted to like the city itself, but I just couldn't.  It took about 800 miles of riding, but I finally encountered the first jackass who had to scream an anti-bicycling comment out the window of his car, almost scaring me into the curb of a very busy main street (Clinton St.)  In addition, considering the people I dealt with in the city, and I admit it's a relatively small sample, it seems most of Ft. Wayne's dumb people moved to Defiance.

A much better place to get an education than The Compliance College.
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That's me helping Big Boy carry that huge burger.
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Today's ride: 50 miles (80 km)
Total: 771 miles (1,241 km)

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