Any Road Tour: Day 9 – Rail riding on the pool table

The hostel upgraded me to a private room last night. This is either because I am a nice guy or I smelled too bad to be put in a group room.

I walked to dinner, choosing a Mexican place about a mile away. I had an avocado burrito. It made my tummy happy.

Before sleeping I did a bunch of exercises to loosen up my back. My leg muscles were really tight so they got some stretching love too.

I fell asleep on top of the bed never actually getting under the covers, yet another sign that I am pushing my body a little too hard.

I was proud of myself for remembering that today is Wednesday. So I wore my WABA socks with pride.

After breakfast in the hostel, I headed out town the Olentangy Trail. This took me past Ohio State University and it’s enormous football stadium.

I made several wrong turns because the wayfaring signs need some work. I passed another bicycle tourist who was trying to find his way to Cincinnati. I said I had no idea. I later learned that my route was probably what he was looking for.

The Olentangy Trail led me to the Camp Chase Trail which led me to the Roberts Pass Trail which led me to the Prairie Grass Trail. Basically 90 percent of my riding was car free – except for the pick up truck that nearly t-boned me at a crossing. (My bad. I was trancing.)

The breeze was pushing me a bit but as the day went on it became a cross wind. Fortunately most of the nearly 30 miles of the Prairie Grass Trail was lined with vegetation that provided me with some protection.

After noon, the heat, humidity, wind, and clouds began to increase. I decided that pushing beyond Xenia OH might be tempting fate so I checked into a hotel.

It did in fact rain about 30 minutes later so I probably made the right call.

Indiana tomorrow.

Today’s mileage: 63

Tour mileage: 633

Any Road Tour: Day 8 – Hello Columbus, you sure are hot

After a sumptuous dinner at the Steak and Shake next door to the hotel, I turned on the hockey game. I made it through two periods. When I awoke the TV was on and the hockey game was long over. I guess I was a little tired.

I hoovered the hotel breakfast bar then hit the road. The first six miles had a few hills but nothing like the last few days. I also had a light tailwind and for a few hours tolerable heat and humidity.

What was especially nice was to crank it up to 15 miles per hour for a few stretches.

Fourteen somewhat rural miles later I turned in the Panhandle Trail. It was my second Panhandle Trail if the trip. Is this s Midwest thing?

I stopped to chat with two day riders, retirees out for their morning constitutional. Then I ride down the shady trail trying not to hit every tree root bump.

A few miles later I came upon the world’s largest (and maybe only) basket building.

Proof of aliens among us. (It was the headquarters of the Longenburger Basket Company before they bit the financial dust.

The trail took me to Newark, a county seat with one of Ohio’s impressive county courthouses.

I stopped for mocha java and a sandwich just like the randos!

Right after Newark I picked up the TJ Evans Trail. This trail had quite a few locals on it. It was shaded but I could tell it was heating up because the Holstein cows were clustering in the shade.

They reminded me of WABA’s Laura Miller.

Because she has a cycling jersey with this pattern in it.

Much of my day was spent on U.S. Bicycle Route 50. This is a signed route just like U.S. 50 but only greener.

As a native Albanian I had low expectations for the town of New Albany. Dang if it wasn’t nice. Tastefully posh with lush lawns and not-gigantic houses.

The route took me in a round about way to Hoover Dam. It was okay as dams go but rather smaller than its big sibling out west.

Westerville was comfortably upscale and Worthington less so.

I was starving so I stopped at a Dairy Queen conveniently located on my route. There I made a reservation for a hostel in Columbus, about 8 miles away.

To get there I rode the Olentangy Trail, quite a nice bit of urban infrastructure, except for the noisy highway next to it.

Back on city streets I closed in on the hostel but was sucked in by the air conditioning powered tractor beam of a McDonalds. All you can drink for $1 totally works for me. (Yeah, I had a burger with fries too.)

As I dismounted The Mule at the hostel it felt like the ground was swaying. The heat and humidity had really cooked my brain. Good thing I quit when I did.

I had to disassemble TheMule’s load to get into the hostel. I am awaiting the arrival of the owner. I can’t wait to get cleaned up so I can pass out from exhaustion.

Today’s miles: 76.5

Total tour miles: 570.5