Day 12 - May 15 - Zanesville, OH to Buckeye Lake, OH - Two Old Guys Take On A Continent - CycleBlaze

May 15, 2023

Day 12 - May 15 - Zanesville, OH to Buckeye Lake, OH

Are We On The Appalachian Exit Ramp?

John’s Story

For the first time on the tour we woke up with rain flies that were dry inside and out.   Maybe the humidity has dropped below 90%! We skirted some rain for the first couple hours. It was officially raining when we left Zanesville, but we never felt a drop. It was chilly at 52 dregrees, and had a hard time warming up with the heavy clouds and the rain nearby.  Now in the middle of the afternoon in Buckeye Lake it is a very pleasant 72 degrees with sunshine.

We rode out of Wolfie’s Campground looking for a café to eat breakfast, since it would be such a short day after two big hill climbing days. We found Juanita’s open and stepped in. It was definitely a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall place where “everybody knows your name”. 

We were  immediately in conversation with Larry, an informative and opinionated 82 year old Navy veteran. His opinions are not the subject here, just his force-of-nature personality. Luckily other comrades of his eventually filtered in, and he was distracted enough so we could eat our breakfast without craning our necks around behind us to talk with him. We were engrossed in our meal when Larry left the café. As he walked past he laid his hand on my shoulder and said, “Just leave a tip. I’ve covered your breakfasts”, and walked out onto the street.

Who does that?! I jumped up and chased him down outside to thank him. We got into more conversation. He was an orphan who knew nothing about his family until he was much older, when he discovered his grandmother was full blooded Cherokee. He talked about the Trail of Tears and other things. 

One of his stories was about being stationed in Washington DC in the Navy in 1962 as part of a military honor guard. One day as JFK was walking to his helicopter, he diverted and walked over to the Navy honor guard and chatted them up. When one of JFK’s aides tried to pry him away, he snapped, “Can’t you see I’m talking with my swabby friends here!”

I’m pretty sure he bought us breakfast because of the Navy connection with Ed. The manager in the café said that Larry is very involved in veteran’s affairs.

Anyway, just another encounter with such friendly people on this trip. Every time we stop somewhere, or even pass by someone, everyone wishes us good luck and safe travels. As I’ve already written (I hope), the people we meet are the best part of this trip so far.

Larry receives today’s Road Angel Award.
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In retrospect, after everything Don did for me the day we arrived in Wheeling (the companionship and advice on the trail that day, cake, the dinner) he is herby granted Road Angel Emeritus.

Need I say that we ran into more hills this morning. Smaller roads tend to be laid out on top of whatever terrain is there; hence the steep climbs around every corner. Larger highways are designed to fill in the lows and chop off the highs to some extent. The hills tend to be much longer but not quite as steep. 

That’s what we found when we came off the back roads today onto US 40, part of the National Road. The National Road was the first federally funded road in U.S. history, built from 1811 to 1834 to reach the western settlements, back when the frontier was in Illinois. The road stretched over 600 miles from Cumberland, MD to Vandalia, IL.

I have a feeling we will be seeing more of the National Road in the days ahead.
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It really felt like we were riding in a bicycle lane between those two white lines on US 40. Ed said, no, they don’t mark bike lanes on U.S. highways in Ohio. Well, I guess they do.

We saw this sign when the National Road reduced from four lanes to two and those two parallel white lines disappeared
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No more bike lane but the hills remained.
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Anyone know what this plant is? It was growing in a marshy roadside ditch. The plants are about 6” tall.
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Bill ShaneyfeltCan't tell for sure without a more detailed photo, but it looks like maybe a species of horsetails.
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1 year ago
Sandy EarleLooks like horsetails. Can’t kill them. They grow everywhere. I’ve seen them on the GAP trail. We had them in Wisconsin and We have them in the Pacific Northwest. I’d guess they were here before the dinosaurs. Just guessing.
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1 year ago

As we approached Buckeye Lake we could feel the amplitude and steepness of the hills lessening. We’re hoping that the Appalachian foothills of southeast Ohio end about here and were getting into a new topographic province.

Buckeye Lake at last! I’ve been chomping at the bit to get here because my daughter in Hawaii sent me a care package for my birthday. I walked into the post office, asked for a General Delivery package, and the clerk said, “You must be the biker”. I guess Rebecca spoke with him on the phone before she mailed it to make sure he guarded it when it arrived.

The straps used to tie my tent to the rack were barely long enough to secure the package from Hawaii.
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And there it is, sitting in my lap waiting to be opened.
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Goodies! Chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies from Maui. Hawaiian shortbread cookies. Dry roasted Maui onion and garlic macadamia nuts. And a birthday card! Not to mention some wadded up happy birthday wrapping paper to display at all.
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Yes. Jared and I complemented the Hawaiian cookies  with bourbon. Ed missed out. Deputy Assistant Road Angel Award to Jared. See Ed’s notes below. 

Just to reiterate. It’s the people, people.

Ed’s Story

As John noted we had a great wake up so decided to eat out. My first pancakes of the trip. By the time we got to the restaurant we already had 3 of our 32 miles completed.

The first hill was a killer with grades up to 15%. Even John walked his bike up that hill. That was the only hill I walked. All the others I was able to power 🤣 up….or should I say I was able to ride up without stopping. It was great.

After another hour, John wasn’t feeling great, and not seeing a sign that said “No Dumping”…..well enough said about that. 

At the top of one of the hills we found a road marker for the National Highway. We couldn’t really read everything it said except for mileage markers on the sides. Two-hundred and twenty miles of the National Road run through Ohio and a stone marker on the north side of every mile told travelers how many miles they were from Cumberland, Maryland, the beginning point of the highway.  To date, over 83 of these stone markers remain along the original routes of US 40.

Roadside marker
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Columbus 30 miles
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Cumberland 220 miles
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Our roadsides are turning (or have already turned) into garbage dumps. We’ve seen trash the entire ride but thought I’d share what I saw.

Paper, plastic, and even a disposable paint tray in the ditch.
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Mary Beth GoldbergerToo much trash everywhere !!!!
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1 year ago
No words needed!
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We finally made it to Buckeye Lake. I looked for a bike shop and found one. The only problem was that it was a motorcycle shop.

We made it to the KOA and set up camp. The KOA is nice: clean and well maintained showers and bathrooms; nice laundry facilities; and security driving around occasionally.

Another great campsite.
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Rebecca ChimahuskyWhat IS John (my dad) doing on this picture? Practicing his Shakespeare??
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1 year ago
Ed ChimahuskyTo Rebecca ChimahuskyHe’s waving at you.🤣
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1 year ago

We met Jared while we are here. He is a car camper two sites down from us. He went with us to the brewery and then to the Margarita Mexican restaurant for dinner. He even drove. Another positive.

Jared and John are drinking bourbon and eating cookies.
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Rebecca ChimahuskyAs close as you’ll get to Manhattan Monday!
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1 year ago
Torsten LifOld Forester! Brings back the memory of when the wife and I lived on Long Island and my father came to visit. One day he went out on his own to the local liquor store to purchase a bottle and, without really knowing any English, managed to communicate to the guy in the store that he, Dad, was himself a retired old forester.
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1 year ago

Tomorrow’s ride is 58 miles and 2000 ft of climbing. We are headed to Deer Creek State Park. The weather shows rain until about 7 pm so we reserved a camper cabin for the night. It even has a burner we can use for dinner and breakfast.

Until then, happy biking!

Today's ride: 33 miles (53 km)
Total: 3,492 miles (5,620 km)

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Ben F.The portion about Larry made me smile. I'm sure he has many opinions and stories to share.
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1 year ago