Leg Twelve – Down the Cuyahoga Valley Into Cleveland

Made 70 miles today, to Lakewood, just west of Cleveland.

This morning I got to practice breaking solo camp efficiently. It did not rain after all, and I struck the dry tent while my breakfast water boiled. Breakfast was three envelopes of instant oatmeal and an orange. Camp coffee for one is too complicated, so I picked up a cup at the first gas station, eight miles on my way. With a reusable stainless straw in my cup holder, I could sip coffe while pedaling for the next half hour.
Google gave me a choice of routes – the second choice was 4 miles longer, but included the full length of the Ohio and Erie Canal towpath through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, so it seemed worth the extra miles.
The first part of the ride was on successively smaller two lane roads until I found the Freedom Trail rail trail outside Akron. The Freedom Trail carved gentle slaloms around telephones, setting a nice biking rhythm while chipmunks and bunnies scampered out of my path in the morning mist. But Google told me to turn right down a steep hill at an intersection, even though the rail trail continued. At the bottom of the hill, google told me to rake a left turn over a bridge – that was very closed for construction. So I had to pedal back up the steep hill, ride one more section of the rail trail, and rejoin the google route, my cell phone telling me to make a u turn the whole way.

The route soon picked up the Canal towpath, but with one unfortunately strenuous construction detour near the start. The rest of the towpath was a delightful spin through fragrant woods and meadows and wetlands on a generally good surface. I didn’t stop to take many pictures, but this site has a good collection. I stopped in Peninsula Ohio for lunch at the Winking Lizard tavern, then rolled the rest of the way into Cleveland. Unfortunately,my phone battery died about 2 miles short of my destination, so I had to find the Travelodge the old fashioned way, by asking people on the street for directions until I found someone who actually knew where it was.

This evening I took the bus to downtown Cleveland. Unfortunately, the only Clevelander I know was out of town today, but she told me to say hi to the water taxi driver in the Flats, so I I went down to the Cuyahoga waterfront and introduced myself to Scott Sanders – a fellow bluewater sailor, and we swapped some sea stories, and I got a good restaurant recommendation. I took the train back out to Lakewood. I like to check out the transit options when I visit a City. Cleveland has a bunch of shiny new train stations, but the trains on some lines (blue and green) never seem to run, even though I checked the website for service cancelations.

My feet and knees feel good today – even in the morning, I had less knee pain than usual. I hope that’s a good sign.



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