Stage 34 was from Wooster to Niles (93 miles – click here for route flyby). Wooster is a lovely city with lots of charm and I enjoyed a delicious dinner at a small restaurant with a special friend the evening before. It was especially nice to eat fresh food which tasted like it had been prepared to order, rather than the more usual manufactured fodder that the chain eateries provide. We rolled out of Wooster at the usual time of 07:30 and gradually headed eastwards on a succession of quiet country roads. The countryside we passed through was beautiful – the further east we go the more lush it seems to get. We crossed over a large lake before entering Berlin (not that one!). The village was founded in 1816 by John Swigert who, not surprisingly, came from the other Berlin. Most of the early inhabitants were from Germany and Switzerland. Today, the village is best known as the largest Amish community in Ohio.
I awoke the following morning to a leaden grey, heavy sky. Rain was in the air. So on with the swan neck to protect my backside from the spray. The last time I fitted it there was no rain so I was hoping that it would have the same effect today. It didn’t and within just a few miles the heaven’s opened, down came the rain and on went my Idrio jacket (100% breathable, 100% waterproof). Breathability is a major consideration with the humidity we experience. Sadly, the rain stayed with us until virtually the end of the ride so I just got on with it. Tapping the pedals and taping out Stage 35’s miles, ninety of them. Keeping moving is the best way to keep warm in these conditions. (Click here for route flyby.) Pete had decided to go out with the early group as he fancied a gentler day on the road so this was the first time I have not ridden with him since we met in California on our Hollywood jaunt. Was it something I said? Pete says not.
Although the rain was easing I kept the Idrio on and crossed over into Pennsylvania (state number 10) before rolling into Erie and the prospect of a day off the saddle. I arrived with a dry backside and body (thanks swan neck and Idrio) but as I walked into the foyer of the hotel I could hear my feet squelching. Ah well, everyone can’t be perfect I suppose. Erie has the feel of a really nice place and the hotel is situated right on the lakeshore. An ideal place to have a proper rest and to recharge my batteries. Especially as the last few days have been both tumultuous and an emotional roller coaster. But that’s a story for another time!
I’ll be back tomorrow and I hope dear readers that the next report from the front wheel isn’t unduly delayed…