Day 2: Millersburg to Massillon - #N2CLE Birthday Tour - CycleBlaze

May 6, 2021

Day 2: Millersburg to Massillon

A sunny day pedaling through Amish farmlands

Laundry day at an Amish farmhouse
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I woke to a stranger in my bed, bright sun! My mood was upbeat immediately. Hotel Millersburg was perfect for our group of 6 with a 2 bedroom and 3-bedroom suite. I headed down to a hardy breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant. The menu was a reminder that I was in the Midwest. Spam, canned pork that is, and not the unwanted email was one of the breakfast meats. I could not resist and ordered a Spam and cheese omelet. Delicious!

The hotel had a secure bike storage room that I rolled my bike out of into the sun on the main street. We headed down the hill to the Holmes County Trail and turned north. As with the southern Holmes County Trail, the trail is double width allowing for bikes and pedestrians on one side and horses, buggies, and wagons on the other side.

Approaching Holmesville on the Holmes County Trail
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Morning on a bike is magical with the sun illuminating the rising morning mist and wildlife more active. It was a pleasant 10-mile ride to Fredericksburg with the small village of Holmesville at the midpoint. The human-size concrete chicken on the north side of Holmesville tells me I am on course. This year it has been joined by a larger-than-life pink flamingo.

Fredericksburg is one of my favorite small villages on the Ohio to Erie Trail. There is the standard rural Ohio hardware store and market, and a pizza shop. Ohioans love pizza with the smallest villages having a pizza parlor. My favorite spot in Fredericksburg is the Salt Creek Café, a coffee shop and a restaurant. I love a morning coffee. Baristas are an elusive commodity in Amish county. I pedaled past the aroma of fresh ground coffee this morning.

Sun, blue skies, and surrounded by green
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It was time for “the hills”. That is my nickname for this section of the Ohio to Erie Trail. The next 17-miles followed the low vehicle and more buggy trafficked country roads. Undoubtedly some of the best views on the trail passed under my wheels this morning. It was the perfect day to cycle this section. Skies were blue, farmers were plowing and planting, and the green of trees and grasses was peaking.

There are a few gentle climbs out of Fredericksburg to a nice rolling green countryside. A couple of steeper climbs follows. The second of those climbs is what my friend Pam refers to as a mo-fo hill. Use your imagination for what that means. There is a spectacular benefit after the biggest mo-fo climb. It is amazing! High above the valley that lies ahead is an expansive view of farms, fields, and country roads.

I could not resist this dandelion at the top of the mo-fo hill!
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We said goodbye to that mo-fo climb and soared for what seemed like miles through the Wayne County countryside. The roads are pretty flat until we reached the southern edge of the village of Apple Creek. We tackled the short climb into the village. The route out of Apple Creek has a very slight rise with more beautiful Amish views. This is a true Amish country and not the tourist-ridden Berlin, Ohio. I pedaled past sawmills, one-room schools, and Amish farmers working the ground. The road meanders into a valley a few miles out of Dalton with a climb.

The reward for the miles of rolling country roads is the Dalton Dariette on US-30, the Lincoln Highway. I grew up 40 miles east of Dalton and frequented the Dariette on family road trips west. A visit to the Dariette is a trip back in time. The menu is classic drive-in burgers, footlong dogs, fried everything, and ice cream. We made the pilgrimage to this temple of fried food and left fueled for the rest of the ride.

Stop! Do not pass!
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It was time to pedal onto the Sippo Valley Trail after about a mile of Dalton streets. The trail is a mixed bag of surfaces from limestone to paved that were flat and easy to cycle. It was a short 10-miles to the Tuscarawas River and the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Massillon that we will head north on tomorrow.

Massillon is a rust belt city rooted in steel that has undergone an amazing transition over the years. Our overnight is the Hampton Inn in downtown Massillon. It was easy to find only blocks off the trail and convenient to all that Massillon has to offer visitors.

If only there was smellavision at Tremont Coffee Company!
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The group showered and headed out for coffee at Tremont Coffee Company. My touring pal Allen and I were craving coffee after pedaling past Salt Creek Cafe in Fredericksburg. This trendy coffee house is a winner and only blocks from the hotel. Paradigm Shift Brewing was nearby but dinner was calling our names. Remember that a bike tour all about the food.

We finished the day with dinner and a beer at Kozmo’s Grille, my Massillon go-to across from the Hampton Inn. Two of my Stark country friends joined the group for dinner. It was back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation after a memorable day on the bike.

Kozmo's Grille has a super menu. I love their wood-fired pizza.
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Tomorrow’s ride is on a path familiar to me. I cycled the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail north of Massillon through Akron and onto Cleveland for many years. It’s going to be a time to revisit the past and see what has changed. The forecast is not looking the most promising. The rain Gods are returning and spending the morning in Stark County.

Today's Memories

  • Challenge: Wayne County hills
  • Joy: The spectacular view and downhill from the mo-fo hill
  • Surprise: Tremont coffee in downtown Massillon 
  • Best photo-op: Amish farmhouse with laundry on the clothesline

Life is good!

Today's route... half country roads, half trail, all a beautiful ride!
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Today's ride: 38 miles (61 km)
Total: 97 miles (156 km)

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