Massillon, OH to Cleveland, OH - Cincinnasty to the Mistake on the Lake - CycleBlaze

August 1, 2020

Massillon, OH to Cleveland, OH

Knowing it was probably going to rain most of the day dampened my enthusiasm for riding, and Marc was already outside the hotel waiting for me by the time I was ready to go.

We quickly rode onto the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, whose crushed limestone surface was not ideal on a wet day. 

We rode through a few small towns without stopping, and said hello to some runners on the path who were undaunted by the light rain. I must have looked unhappy in the drizzle, because one guy walking with an umbrella called out that if I wanted it, he'd go back to his car and get me his extra one. Ha!

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Marc stoically endures the soggy conditions.
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As I approached the outskirts of Akron, I got out of the rain a couple of times under overpasses.

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I stayed for several minutes under an overpass near Summit Lake, taking photos of some artwork there, and confirming on the weather radar on my phone that yes, it was raining, and would probably rain some more.

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I finally left, and caught up with Marc about a mile up the path. He was under a covered picnic pavilion, closely observing several Canadian Geese for some reason.

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He was briefly convinced that one of the geese was attempting to eat a human tooth lying on the ground. This seemed both very disturbing, and very unlikely, to me. Later Marc decided that it was the femur bone of a goose.

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We made our way through downtown Akron, where the streets were under construction. The rain paused briefly enough to allow me to get out the camera for a few photos.

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Not long after that, though, the rain came down heavily, and we waited for at least twenty minutes under a covered bridge on the path.

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It slacked off, and we continued. We entered the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I was surprised to see several cyclists and walkers on the path in the rain, including one large guy who was the first person I can remember seeing wearing a leather jacket while riding a bicycle.

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Riding on the wet limestone path was very messy. Everything was coated with nasty limestone sludge.

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We abruptly exited the scenic National Park and entered the decidedly un-scenic industrial outskirts of Cleveland, where we had difficulty following the route. My water bottles were filthy, which caused me to barely drink any water in 60-some miles, and I was undoubtedly dehydrated and thus slightly addled, which didn't help my attempts at navigation.

We had a minor collision when I stopped while Marc, riding behind me, slowed down to ask a local guy for directions, and then he (Marc) slowly crashed into me. It was amazing that he didn't fall down.

So close, yet so far, from the end.
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We were only a few miles from Lake Erie now. We paused outside the super sleazy Larry Flynt's Hustler Club while I texted my brother, who was waiting by the lake to drive us home, that we were a little lost, and running late.

Finally, I gave up on the map I was carrying, and Marc had the good sense to ask a knowledgeable local person how to get to the lake, and the last couple of miles were easy riding on a bike path.

Done deal.
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Lake Erie itself was a little anti-climactic. The pier was closed, and we didn't bother climbing over the wet rocks to get to the water with our bikes.

We cleaned off as best we could, changed clothes, and got into my brother's van for the drive back, the highlight of which was a stop at a Chipotle restaurant, where I demonstrated incredible restraint by eating only one burrito.

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Today's ride: 73 miles (117 km)
Total: 340 miles (547 km)

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Marc PawsatThanks Jeff for an unforgettable journey, the first of many for sure! I love your journals. To be able to relive those memories with a simple read will be priceless. 😁
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5 months ago
Jeff LeeTo Marc PawsatThanks for coming along. It was too bad about the rain, but the second day was an example of a really nice day of touring (although a shorter distance, like 80 miles, would have been ideal): Great weather, interesting small towns, friendly people.

Jeff
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5 months ago