Ohio Roads Suck - Shaker Heights - 7/21/2006

After riding 10-20 miles in the morning, we finally stopped at a diner-type restaurant for breakfast.  When we came in, we started sitting at a booth but noticed a fan over some of the other tables and moved. While moving, a couple in a booth next to us talked to Dave about his recumbent bike.  After we ordered breakfast (steak and eggs, 3 pancakes and toast for me - I tell you, I can eat 2 meals in one sitting these days), I went outside to lube up my chain (while waiting for the food) - multi-tasking, you know.  The couple left the restaurant and wished me well on the trip. When the food came, the waitress told us that the couple in the booth paid for our meal!  Oh my God.  How unbelievably nice is that?  Dave said that he didn't say much to the couple, just answered a few questions and they amazingly just picked up our tab.  I felt a little bad because we both ordered breakfast for 2 (4 breakfast dishes total!).

While also in the diner, I could see this older gentleman checking out our bikes as he was coming into the restaurant.  When he came in, I asked him if he liked our bikes.  He said he rode cross country in France back in the day.  He talked to us a lot; very nice man.  When he went back to his table of 4 older couples, he apparently told them about our trip and it seemed like one by one, an older person came by to ask us questions and wished us well.  So adorable.  Before leaving the restaurant, I asked the first man for directions.  Again, the entire table wished me well when I left.  Then, while putting on our suntan lotion outside, this woman talked to us outside.  She said her nephew is riding in the Tour de France for a charity.  Fun.  Then, the older man came out of the restaurant to tell us that the woman we just talked to was his wife.  It was so cute how engaged the entire table was into our trip.  Before leaving, he told us, "if you run into any trouble [within the next few miles (in his jurisdiction of popularity)] to tell them that we know Fred C [last name has been intentionally left out to protect the innocent]."  Very sweet people.

Have I mentioned that Ohio roads suck?  They're just so bad for a cyclist.  Amazingly, I did find this one great sign for the short while that we actually had a bike lane.  This is probably one of the best signs I've seen out there for cyclists (perhaps a "Bikes have full use of lane" sign in San Francisco ranks up there).

It should also be noted that my 2 days in Ohio so far, I've seen quite a few Dairy Queens.  I didn't see them in New York or my blink in Pennsylvania.  Perhaps I'll stop in a Dairy Queen before I leave this state.

Here we are at a small park to get in more great views of Lake Erie. We caught a power nap here as well.

Continuing on, we met an elderly man riding cross country Eastbound by himself.  He looks like Papa Smurf or Santa Claus and had to have been in his 70s.  This is his 4th cross country trip.  He's in amazing shape and puts me to shame with his daily average of 80 miles.  Then again, he has the wind on his back.  But still, I bow down to him for his ability.  So, anyone out there who thinks they're too old to do a cross country trip, no you're not!

For lunch, we went into a Costco-type store.  Bought what we could that wasn't in bulk.  Outside, we just put our tent footprint down on the sidewalk and just ate our lunch there.  We got a few looks, but hey, there wasn't a bench or grass nearby.  And, unlike other supermarkets, there wasn't anything inside (with air conditioning) where we could just make ourselves at home.  We're so ghetto...

Onward to Shaker Heights (we're staying with my cousin's friend tonight), we had to manage ourselves through Friday rush hour traffic.  Shaker Heights is the burbs of Cleveland, by the way.  This is the 1st real city we've hit that would actuallly have a rush hour.  It was terrible riding.  So many cars.  And, this is a city, not the country.  There was one car that got really uncomfortably close to me.  I thought that was really unnecessary seeing as other cars are still able to swerve around us, so I gave her a few choice words.  She probably didn't hear it, but it made me feel better.

When we finally arrived at Jerry's house, he showed us around the house as well as how to use public transportation to get to Cleveland for dinner.

We took the train to downtown Cleveland for dinner.  Looked around West 6th Street where all the happenin' restaurants are.  Walked near-ish the water a bit.  Saw the football stadium from afar.  Then, we went back to Prospect Street for some Italian food.  Must load up on the carbs.  I forget that I'm not in New York City anymore. Because, when I see an appetizer for $7, I think it's going to be small.  So, we ordered 2 appies and 2 entrees.  When the appies came out, they were huge.  I was 3/4 full with the appies.  Luckily, we were able to un-order one of our entrees.

Back at home, we met one of Jerry's friends and answered all questions about our trip.  Then, I slaved away at the computer/Internet until 2am.