Wow what a difference a day of rest makes. I felt like new back on the bike this morning. To beat the heat I was on the road by 7:00 – a practice I’ll try to repeat. Those early morning hours are the best for riding. It was cool, still and the light that time of day is lovely.
I had two route options through Ohio – the one that Adventure Cycling gives and the one I got from Ralph. He has logged over 150,000 touring on a bike and he raved about his route so that’s the one I chose. Also, since he sent me the link on the “ride with gps” website, I could take his route, reverse it, and then I had turn-by-turn directions on my phone. Today’s the first time I’ve used that and it’s really nice to not have to stop and pull over, and read tiny print, etc.
The route started out on a bike path for the first 5 or 6 miles. So nice to not have to deal with cars. Then I spent the rest of the day on backcountry roads, most with little traffic and no breeze! It was still all day which makes the riding easier. Also there’s something that kind of wears on you when you’re in the wind all day. It starts to fray my nerves after awhile and it definitely dehydrates you faster.
Speaking of bunnies – why the heck do they have white tails? It makes them so obvious when they run away. How is that adaptive?
The route took me through the biggest Amish settlement I’ve ever seen (near Burton OH). I went through probably 10 miles of mostly Amish homes and farms. It was fascinating to me to observe but I didn’t take any pictures. Sorry but it just felt intrusive to me. So I just tried to observe it and left the camera on the handlebars.
I’m very curious about how they decide which modern things are OK to adopt and which aren’t. If anyone knows, please let me know. I know that they are very strictly Christian but it’s beyond that. Some houses had signs selling various things – donuts, eggs, barrels, pallets, etc – all with very simple modest signs. One or two of those said “no Sunday sales” which I get. But some of the other choices are odd. For instance I saw Amish men and women driving an occasional minivan (modest styling) but most yards still had at least one buggy too. I saw a man threshing hay with a mechanical thresher drawn by two horses, and I even got to see the quinticential Amish barn raising. But in this case they were using a compressed air nail gun. Many, and I mean many, of the houses had a trampoline out back, just past the lines of laundry hanging to dry on the line (all blues, browns and whites – very muted). The oddest thing to me was the bikes. I saw several children on these “bikes” that were kind of like huge scooters – they had 16 or 20″ wheels, and metal frames, spoked wheels and handlebars – but no seat, no pedal or chains – you just kick yourself along. Now I just can’t imagine the rule set that determines that scooters and trampolines are in, and pedals are out. I got the sense that it’s all kind of designed to make things difficult, but not too difficult. I have to say though after being in the environment for awhile, it has a real honest simplicity to it that i admire.
All the Amish men wear long pants or overalls and men and boys about 10 or older wear straw hats. All the girls and women were wearing long skirts, with white aprons and bonnets. (Hmmm I haven’t heard of any bonnet bans anywhere – how is that different from a hijab?) Also, with the exception of a few children, everyone I saw was working. Actually some of the kids were working too – I saw a kid no bigger than nine hauling a single bale of hay down the road on a wagon he was pulling, and I saw more than one little kid mowing the yard with a push mower. The yards were immaculately groomed, the houses mostly, or maybe all white, men, women and children were, more often than not, working together, not alone. I saw two small lumber mills where groups of men were milling raw timbers into boards for construction, and one group of women working together on some project under a canopy (I couldn’t see what).
So here I am, in full cycling kit, with my phone gps and my bike that charges my phone, and suddenly I start to feel like I’m the odd one. It was a little bit like one of those dreams where you wake up and you accidentally went to school in you underwear. Except, today I’m pedaling down Amish Main Street in my underwear. Yup, that happened.
The rest of the day was an easy pedal to my campsite. It’s about 6 miles out from Kent Ohio, home of Kent State which I’ll swing by in the morning. Now I’ve got to figure out how to get a meal cooked out of the supplies available from a “Sheetz” the local version of a quickie mart. Otherwise it’s a 12 mile round trip for groceries and I don’t think I’m up for that.