Grab Bag

Oxford Ohio was our planned destination for today, but when Susie looked for a hotel, there was nothing available. She found out it was Miami University’s wow-the-parents weekend and everything was booked, so we turned a lemon into lemonade. We decided to add some miles to Friday’s ride and take some miles off of Saturday’s planned 108-mile ride and get to the next town, Middletown. The ride turned out to be a grab bag.

Before we even left the hotel, we met a family that was escaping Hurricane Matthew and using the opportunity to visit family in the area.

The first 14 miles of road out of Greensburg were upon chip seal pavement. It rattled my bike and bones. You may be able to get a taste of it from this video.

I emerged from the chip seal ordeal briefly onto a major intersection, only to find myself on a two-lane road with no shoulder. At least it wasn’t chip seal.

A sudden right turn after a downhill put me in Oldenburg, an American town with all the street signs in German.

Coming out the other side of Oldenburg, I finally found myself on an idyllic meandering country road that had not one, but two, major lovely churches only a few miles


I descended into a valley and the elevation profile promised a significant ascent. I kept taking Shotblocks, my hill-climbing “vitamin,” in anticipation of the uphill. Instead, I went over a river into the little town of Brookville.river-before-brookville

After passing through Brookville, I finally saw the uphill. It was chip seal and fairly long but the grade was barely 4% so I never had to use my granny gear. It was the ascent that wasn’t.

A couple of quick turns put me onto Old Oxford Pike, another country road from another era with farmers harvesting corn. 

We knew Ohio was near and we kept looking for the sign or for signs of it when a completely burned down house grabbed my attention. A sign on the mailbox explained that a couple had lovingly restored it over a period of 4 1/2 years spending every weekend and holiday on it only to have it burn down, then the insurance company refused to pay  claims saying that it was abandoned at the time of the fire. Heartbreaking.burned-down-house

There was no Ohio sign, but there was a sign. The road pavement and striping suddenly changed. Ohio welcomed me with a swift downhill followed by a significant uphill, and would continue to deliver such ups and downs throughout the afternoon. Here’s a video to give you a feel for it.

After a quick lunch at a place that shall remain unnamed, we were fully immersed in the college town of Oxford. At a traffic light, I pulled up even with a car. With the lovely fall temperature, the window was open. The passenger saw me on the bike and said, “You’re biking!” I said yes and that I had started in California. She burst out, “That’s my dream! You’re living my dream!” I replied, “Don’t wait. Do it!” The light changed and the car turned the corner before I could give her a card with my blog address.

Proceeding on the RAAM route, we came to a Road Closed sign. This was a seriously closed road, completely impassable by car, but not by bike. I bumped along over loose gravel, walked the bike past a large piece of idle equipment that completely blocked passage, and finally came out the other end. I carefully followed directions to our hotel, but when I went to check in, our reservation wasn’t there. With so many nights in so many different places, we had gone to the wrong hotel!

It was a day of the hill that wasn’t, the Ohio sign that wasn’t, the road that wasn’t, and the hotel that wasn’t.

What drove us forward into the evening was the fulfillment of a promise to a young gentleman farmer who my mom and I had met in July on a Great Lakes cruise on a small ship. Arlyn’s whole family was on the cruise. Arlyn would be a freshman at Miami University in Oxford, right on my bike route. We agreed on board that we would catch up when I cycled through town and we did.arlyn-and-lynn-at-mac-and-joes

For the next few days, we will continue to meet up with old friends and new.

Ride details

Start location: Greensburg IN

End location: Middletown OH

Distance: 79.6 miles

Cumulative distance: 2449.3 miles

Elevation gain: 2841.2 feet

Special features: Crossed into Ohio, the 9th state of the trip

Strava track:



18 thoughts on “Grab Bag

  1. Nice one. Too bad about the chip seal. I didn’t know it was called that…. It’s not a while lot better than gravel, is it? Though I’m sure the seal helped you feel a lot safer riding over it than hot would over gravel. Hope your tires didn’t suffer too much from it.

    The town with the signs in German is so interesting. So sad about the house that burned down and the asshole insurance company – sigh. I love your inclusion of these details, though. Makes it feel real, like you’re bringing us along with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. your ‘easy’ ride so far is about to end as you cross the Appalachian Mtns. – if you go SE will have to go through a bit of West Virginia then across Virginia – this is triple gearing country to be sure


    1. I know about the Appalachians. I did a preview ride of the segment from Cumberland to Hancock MD – five mountains in 37 miles. I will be in West Virginia for about three days but not in Virginia at all.


  3. You’re making great progress. Your ability to make the most of adverse conditions and occurrences is admirable. Am sure you’ve made some more lasting friendships along the way. You’ve come a long way, baby, with fewer miles to go than what you’ve already come…….keep pedalin’!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susie showed me where we are on the map and I was pretty surprised! I think I have about 600 miles to go. Some through the Appalachians will be pretty tough, but I’m ready and Susie is good at pep talks.


  4. It may not be on your route, but if you pass through London, OH, eat/stay/eat at Andreas B&B. The food is to die for. The owner is great and accommodating to cyclists.


  5. Oh my gosh Lynn! I was in Oxford while you were there. I went to school at MU and was back seeing some friends this weekend. I was at Mac & Joe’s on Friday night and uptown Oxford on Saturday. I was behind on your blog and totally missed we would both be there at the same time. I was born in Hillsboro just east of Chillicothe and we were just at Great Serpent Mound this summer as my dad lives in Hillsboro. My brother went to school in Athens. What a coincidence!


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