As is often the case, continental breakfast was pretty disappointing. Since this has happened so many times before, I had picked up milk, yogurt, and bananas from the grocery store the night before. Along with some instant oatmeal, it was enough to get me on the road. From my route planning, I knew I would be passing through several towns within the first 30 miles, so I wasn’t too worried about my breakfast.
I may have been in eastern Ohio, but it felt a lot like West Virginia because of all the hills. Just to leave town, I had to climb my way out. There was some beautiful scenery along the way and on this part of the road, there was even a dedicated bike lane!
One of the first towns was New Concord. It was a quaint town that claimed Senator and astronaut John Glenn among its favorite sons.
The next town, Cambridge, was even more charming.
Also along US 40, it had a lot of its downtown in good shape and since it had almost been 30 miles since breakfast, I was certainly thinking about second breakfast. My Google search discovered Theo’s. I was a little disappointed that they had no breakfast menu at all. It was still before 11 AM. However, I was hungry and as someone told me, “it’s always beer thirty somewhere”.
It was a burger, with scalloped potatoes, a coney dog, and a Budweiser to wash it down. Before I hit the road, I emptied my personal water reservoir, and filled Hidalgo’s water bottles. Output before input. It was already getting hot when I got back on the road and left Cambridge.
The towns were getting smaller and didn’t offer much to drink or a place to go to the bathroom.
While taking care of the latter in a secluded place along the road, I discovered a paved bike path. I met two older men who were riding on it. I asked how far it went and if it stayed paved. I stayed on it for as long as the pavement was there, which was about 4 miles. It was nice to be on a flat ride with the shade of trees.
I found myself needing to take a breather after some of the worst hills or 5 miles, whichever came first. Google kept wanting me to take some county roads to shorten the ride, but they weren’t paved. I’d rather climb a few more hills and ride a couple of extra miles than try to take Hidalgo on gravel for any extended period. Regardless of the route, after a stop in Barnesville, none of the towns in the next 30 miles offered any resources.
It was over 85 degrees and the hills were wearing on me. I would have a county road off of Ohio 147 that would take me to the bridge to Moundsville. Every so often, after making yet another climb, I would pull out the phone and check how far that turn might be. I knew it was near the town of Jacobsburg. I was almost past where the town was supposed to be when I saw a paved road. There had been no city limits sign or anything. I had gone through Jacobsburg without seeing any signs that I was in the town. I checked my position on the GPS and found I had hit paydirt. Even better, it appeared that I would be going downhill for most of the next 7 miles. At the end of the descent, I could see the Ohio River and West Virginia. It was another 4 miles until I could cross the bridge and head for the hotel. Moundsville has a penitentiary and one hotel. When I got there, they were booked up. The clerk had mercy on me as she had just received a cancellation. I had a room for the night. I never found out if there were any openings in the penitentiary. It had been a long day of climbing. It reminded me of a day in the Hilly Hundred weekend, except this day was 83 miles, not 50. Tomorrow is likely to be more of the same, except it will be 84 miles. Even though they have a real breakfast at this hotel, I might still need second breakfast to make it through all the hills.
The Lone Rider