Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 52 to 58 - NY, PA, OH, MI

 Day 52 – Buffalo, NY to Sara's Campground Erie, PA ~ 95 miles

Woke up this morning and went to go have breakfast. After breakfast we packed up and went out into the heat. It did not take us long to find the highway that we would take south towards Erie, PA and away from Buffalo. We kept following the Seaway trail, which by the way is the longest recreational trail/road in the country and is an American scenic byway. We kept chugging along and listening to our music as today was windy, extremely hot, hilly, and it helps take all that away and get you into the groove. We passed by Graycliff estates, which was designed by Frank Loyd Wright and decided to stop on in. They were charging admission of course but we went down the service road to get a look. We snapped a couple of pictures before the security guard told Zach to leave.

We went on our way and biked along the water for most of the day. We should have stopped at Dunkirk but we didnt and kept going. This turned out to be a mistake because we quickly ran out of water and were already dehydrated. Kris stopped for water at a country club but they had just treated their water and it was not drinkable. They could have just told the dirty cyclist to go away! We finally made it to a gas station where we ate and drank lots of fluids. Even after that we didn't pee and were very dizzy. It was over 90 degrees today and we just couldn't win the battle.

Soon after we crossed into Pennsylvania and said goodbye to New York. We made out way into Erie and along the waterfront. We stopped and had dinner before venturing out and looking for our campground. We finally found it and it was not what we were expecting or needed. Full of RV's and people who didn't know what they were doing. We decided on the beach site where people just pitched wherever they wanted but then moved to the other side of the road due to the sand and rowdy crowd. Out site was right next to the road and was still sand but we made due and set up camp. After camp was setup we decided to brave lake Erie and go for a swim. The water was incredibly polluted. There were algae blooms everywhere and the water stank. You could make bubbles on the surface that wouldn't pop because the water was so thick. The beach was also littered with trash, pretty shocking coming from lake Superior. It definitely gives us more of an appreciation for our lake. We left feeling like we had contracted some sort of disease and went and showered.

The rest of the night we tried to fall asleep but it was so hot and muggy that we couldn't. The loud campers all around us didn't help either. At about midnight the rain started to fall, which only made the tent hotter. We picked the wrong day to do 95 miles but we finally got rehydrated and started feeling better.

Tomorrow we are heading to Geneva State park in Ohio. We will be entering a 3rd state in only 2 days, pretty crazy!

Day 53 – Erie, PA to Geneva SP, OH ~ 55 miles

We woke up this morning sweating and exhausted. We hardly slept a wink last night because of the temperatures, noise, and rain. Feeling awful we slowly packed up our gear and headed up the hill to find breakfast. We were so ready to get out of that campground. Probably the worst camping experience of the trip...possibly lifetime. By the time we made it up the hill to the area with restaurants it was already 11.

We ended up getting food at McDonalds because it was really the only thing around and we just wanted to eat and get on the road. Today was hot, but a bit more bearable than yesterday and the wind wasn't nearly as bad. We biked for a few hours until we reached Ashtabula where we stopped for lunch...subs, and picked up food to make for dinner and some produce and bagels for tomorrow's breakfast.

From there it was only about 10 miles to the campground. We biked through Geneva-On-The-Lake, which was a bustling little town with hotels, resorts, and restaurants for the weekend warriors. It was right on the lake and reminded us a bit of Sauble Beach, ON. A single road running through the village lined on both sides with businesses.

We reached the park around 6 or so and got our site and enjoyed a popsicle from the park office. We set up camp and showered and made our dinner. We are still exhausted from yesterday and are finding it hard to do much more than the least it is going to be much cooler and less humid tonight. We will hopefully get a decent nights sleep.

We are really hitting the point of physical and mental exhaustion and are dreading the thought of having to bike for another month. But, we just have to keep pushing and try to enjoy ourselves. We are excited to make it to northern Michigan and back onto the “good” lakes of Huron, Michigan, and Superior. Troy Schantz is also going to ride with us for a few days after we pass through Detroit, so we are really looking forward to having a friendly face around for a few days.

We just know that Michigan is going to be better to us. Hopefully we will feel better tomorrow. BTW, Zach's poison ivy is GROSS.

Passing through Cleveland tomorrow which is going to be a challenge.

Day 54 – Geneva SP to Wahoo Campground and Bar ~ 89 miles

Woke up late this morning and got ready for the day, it was going to be a hot one. We made breakfast and slowly got ready. Once we were off we started to follow the Ohio Waterfront trail that took us all over the place. We ended up staying on highway 20 which is where the trail kept going back to anyways. Zach had a slow leak in his rear tire so we had to stop and pump it up. We headed towards Cleveland and stopped to talk to a biker for directions. He ended up biking with us for a little ways then we were on our own again. When we got close to Cleveland we stopped for lunch at a grocery store and then went on our way again. We passed some amazing houses and it was crazy to see right across the highway was the ghetto. Pretty stark contrast separated by one highway. We finally made it to downtown after cycling on some terrible roads. We stopped at the Cleveland Browns stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They had Johnny Cash's tour bus parked out front so we got to see that! We also passed the gay pride parade next to the stadium.

After some detouring trying to navigate through downtown we passed over a very jhigh bridge and got a glimpse of the Cavaliers and Indians stadiums. We made our way through some more questionable neighborhoods and then found the lakeshore again and followed that through some nice houses. We stopped for some liquids at a convenience store and got directions to the campground and a grocery store, both were very close. After the grocery store we set off and found the campground. We had to leave to find a gas station right away though because they only took cash and we didn't have any. After the ATM we got our campsite and set up camp. We ate a great dinner of pita, hummus, and turkey sandwiches and listened to the people next to us scream at each other all night long. We went to the campground bar and watched the news over a beer and then quickly went to bed to the screaming again. I think it went on until 1am or so.

Tomorrow we are heading just east of Toledo and it looks like a long one. We hope to maybe take a ferry or catch a ride across the Bridge at Sandusky bay as bicycles are not allowed. We will se what happens. Tomorrow will be our last full day in Ohio!

Day 55 – Wa-Hoo to Fenwick Marina and Campground ~ 65 miles

We set the alarm for 8 am last night and we easily slept through it until a few minutes before 10. The temperature was perfect for sleeping and it was finally quiet..unlike last night, so we took advantage of it. In hindsight probably not the wisest choice because when we got up we realized that Zach's rear tire had gone totally flat in the night. The slow leak from yesterday had taken its toll. Not the way we wanted to start the morning. Zach took off the tire and tried to find the leak so it could be patched, but to no avail. So he used the tube from his first flat and patched it and used the air compressor at the campground to get it pumped up. We quickly ate and hit the road around 11:30.

It was about a 40 mile ride to Sandusky and we stopped for a quick stack before we got there. Once we got into town we immediately went to the ferry to see what our options were for getting across the Sandusky Bay. We met a couple kids from New York who were riding to Chicago that had just gotten off the ferry. It looked like they had to much gear for their ride, but more power to em! We found out that in order to get across the bay we would have to take two ferries, one to Kelly's Island and the second to Marble Head on the other side of the Bay. The first ferry was leaving at 3 and it was about 2:50 so we made the quick decision to take the route of the ferry. It was hot and we were tired and didn't want to have to bike the 20 plus miles around the Bay.

It was about a 20 minute ride to Kelly's Island and we passed Cedar Point Amusement Park on the ride over. Originally we had planned to stay there, but it didn't work out that was. Once we arrived we rode over to catch the second ferry to the Head. It took about the same amount of time to cross. We got off and went down the line to pay. Zach decided he wasn't going to pay for the second ferry because we had already paid enough, so he kept riding past the toll collectors in hopes that they wouldn't come after him. Kris ended up paying for his way and we continued on.

It was nearly 5 by the time we got to the other side of the Bay and we stopped at the first grocery store we came across to get supplies for the night because we weren't sure when we would get them again. While we were there Kris called the campground we were supposed to stay at just to double check that we could stay there. Good thing he called because they don't allow tent camping, which is absurd when you advertise your business as a family campground.

We ended up riding to another one that they had told us about and it ended up being the same situation. On our third try we finally found a place to pitch the tent. On our way we passed the nuclear power plant that we had seen when we were on the north shore of the lake nearly a month ago when we stayed near Amherstburg. We set up camp, but the owner had already closed the office so we are going to talk to her in the morning.

We had dinner and talked to a couple people who offered us a couple of hot dogs. We gladly accepted. We did a bit of filming and relaxed a bit after a long day.

Tomorrow we have a shorter day and are headed to the other side of Toledo, crossing into Michigan, just before Detroit. Definitely ready for a short day.

Day 56 - Fenwick Marina and Campground to Sterling State Park ~ 55 miles

Woke up this morning and the strong winds that started last light were still there and in the wrong direction. Looks like we will have a bad headwind all day. We got onto highway 2 and headed towards Toledo. It was about 20 miles away and we pushed through the miles pretty quickly. Once we got to Toledo we overlooked the city from the bridge that crosses the river. We then entered into downtown and we really didn't think anything special of it. Once we went north through the city we passed some golf courses and then stopped for lunch at Subway.

After lunch the road quickly took us onto the interstate and we took the next available exit and headed west until we found the 125 hwy that took us towards Monroe. Along the way we noticed that the signs started to say M-DOT and we realized that we were in Michigan. We were bummed because there was no sign that we could celebrate at. We then made our way into Monroe where we stopped for groceries and then headed east back towards the lake. Once we got close to the lake we asked for directions to the state park and we found out that we were very close. We followed a bike path into the state park that lead us through some great swamp areas and conservation zones.

We finally made it to the campground, got our site, and started to set up camp. Our campsite was about 100 feet from the water and we could see for miles. We could see the nuclear plant that we camped at the night before off in the distance and to our left we could see the two nuclear towers that we saw from Ontario. We talked to a few people in camp and found out that there were some bike tourists there. We went and met them and had a great conversation and found the best route through Detroit. During dinner we watched a bunch of teenagers hit a seagull with a rock and injure it. They then killed and buried it on the beach. Zach went to bed early but Kris stayed up and had smores with the campers next to us and talked with them for a while.
Tomorrow we will have a long day in the wind and heat and press on through Detroit. I hope it will go well and we will be safe all the way through. Tomorrow we will also meet up with Troy Shantz who we stayed with In Sarnia over 5 weeks ago. He is planning on riding with us the next day as well, and we are looking forward to a familiar face.

Day 57 – Sterling SP to Algonac SP ~ 90 miles

We woke up this morning after a good cool nights sleep and surprisingly didn't feel to great. We both felt like we had a bit of a cold coming on, Kris more than Zach. We got going though and headed out towards Detroit. We knew it was going to be a long day because we had to ride through Detroit, but we were looking forward to seeing Troy.

After about 10 miles we stopped at Erie Metro Park to pick up a road map of the area after one of the guys we had met last night recommended we stop. We had about 20 more miles to go before we made it to Detroit. We slowly made our way into the city once we arrived we could see that it was pretty close to how we imagined it. There were run down warehouses everywhere and it definitely had an erie feeling to it. It was basically a shell of a once thriving industrial town. We have to say though that we never felt threatened going through the city. We may have avoided the bad areas if there are any, but we felt a bit worse as we were traveling through Cleveland. We hope that Detroit will see a thriving time again.

As we passed through the heart of the city we went by the Joe Louis arena (home of the Red Wings, the GM building, and several other really interesting buildings. We were surprised though at how small the downtown was compared to most of the other large cities we have been through. Once we got to the other side of the city we stopped for lunch, called Troy, and then continued on our way.

After we got out of Detroit we got our first real view of Lake St. Clair. It is a really impressive lake as well and would stand out anywhere if it weren't surrounded by the other great lakes. The wind was against us for most of the day, but as we turned the corner around the northern shore of Lake St. Clair we got a bit of a push from the wind. Kris wasn't feeling good though and we stopped several times so he could rehydrate properly.

When we arrived at Algonac State Park Troy was already there. He and I picked our site while Kris laid in the grass, the combination of the 90 mile day and not feeling good had him wiped out. We got to our site, drank a beer, showered, and set up our tents. Afterwards we biked a mile back toward the town of Algonac to a riverside bar and grille where we had dinner and talked. After we ate we biked back into the town to the nearest DQ and got some ice cream and sat by the river and watched the boats pass as the sun went down.

After we got back to camp we tried to sit out and talk, but the mosquitoes were just to brutal. We tried to cover up as best we could, but they won. We went to bed still not feeling good. We are glad we made it through today because it marks a point where we are going to have a few easier days in our near future.

Day 58 – Algonac SP to Lake Huron Campground (Forester, MI) ~ 65 miles

We woke up this morning Kris feeling a bit better and Zach feeling a bit worse. We both have similar symptoms, sore throat, stuffy face, and achy body. We got out of bed around 9 and Troy had made us oatmeal. We had that and a bagel with Nutella and then packed up our things, did a bit of filming, and then headed out.

We left the park and biked along the river with a really nice wide shoulder for quite a ways. We stopped at the first McDonald's we found and went in for some coffee. After stopping we continued on biking side by side in the really spacious shoulders. Troy was going to part ways with us once we reached Port Huron, which is directly across the river from Sarnia where we stay at his home over a month ago. Before we parted ways we stopped for lunch at a little restaurant where we ate subs and Kris had pizza.

We had done about 30 miles at that point and we said our goodbyes and then continued on our way. It was really nice to see Troy and we hope to see him again soon. After we split we went down to the lake because we were officially back on Lake Huron. We could see the opposite shoreline where we were over a month ago.

After stopping we pushed on because we knew we still had about 40 miles to go. The shoulders were great again and made the riding a bit easier. We stopped in Port Sanilac for groceries and then biked the 4 miles to the campground. Once we arrived we set up camp and showered after attempting to go the pool, which had closed for the night. We ate our dinner, which we will never get again. We bought cans of the LaChoy Chicken Chow Mein. We decided to eat them cold, it was discusting, and completely un appetizing. Basically just tasted like salt. 180% of our daily sodium requirements in the can. Gross. Live and learn.

After dinner we chatted with the neighbors who are from Sarnia, and they gave us a couple beers while we chatted. Super nice folks. We are catching with some other stuff tonight because we have internet.

We are really looking forward to our rest day in Petosky on the 5th of July. And then after that headed back south toward Chicago.

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