Skyline Drive

Steve made it to Virginia! Only a week or so left before he finishes the journey. I’ll cover the last few days tomorrow, but he passed through 9 miles of Maryland into Virginia the other night, and today reached the beautiful Skyline Drive.

The last few days were tough because of the climbing, but he said it’s gotten easier and easier. Hopefully this next part treats him well.

The Ark-Burgs

Apparently I mentioned to Steve the other day that riding on a bike trail always seems to go slower than riding on the road. Sure enough, the 72 mile North Bend Rail Trail in West Virginia was slow and long for him. So slow and long in fact, that Steve decided to go back to his old friend, Highway 50, to finish out the trip into Parkersburg. He averaged 10.4 mph throughout the day, going over crushed limestone, dirt, and through (I think) 13 tunnels. The longest tunnel was 4/10 of a mile long. Not too long when you’re in open air, but in the middle of a tunnel that big, you can barely even see light at the ends. Cool, wet, slimy, standing water, and unseen potholes are all wonderful things to be found in the center. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun, because from riding the Elroy-Sparta trail in Wisconsin, I know it is.

The good thing about riding on a long trail like this is that you always know where you’re going to end up. As previously mentioned, the state highway system in Ohio tends to confuse. Except for Highway 50, which seems to be trucking on through without screwing too much up. In fact, on the ride Wednesday, Steve left Athens for Clarksbrug and decided to stay off of 50 for a little while. Sure enough, after I think 12 or 14 miles of riding, he made his way back to the highway and saw a sign for Athens…. 4 miles away. Oops.

Lost and Found: The Alternate Titles

How Steve managed to turn a 62 mile ride into 77 miles.

Or

Look left, look forward, look right, turn left, not forward, should have gone right.

Or

Quintuple H: Steve Finds the Humor in Hilly, Hot, and Humid Headwinds.

There would be more titles and tidbits, but I forgot my notes at work, so I’m note even really sure where Steve is right now. Everything is just a wild guess. I do know that it was a funny day. Not “funny ha ha” at first, but more of an annoying funny that turned into a “funny ha ha” after the day was done. Now. I may have to correct myself later when I actually do have the notes in front of me, but here it goes:

You didn’t hear it from me, but according to an anonymous high ranking administration official, the guy who plotted out Ohio’s state highways was blindfolded and spun around several times before being let loose, causing generations of travelers to Rove around the country side.

If you look at Illinois, the roads go East, West, North, South and sometimes diagonal. Usually in a straight line. Always easy to figure out.

If you look at an overview of Ohio, you can’t tell if they were even meant to be roads with all the redundant twists and turns and multiple intersections.

This is why I am not surprised that Steve lost his original way today.

First, he started on Highway 50, with the intention of turning onto a specific county road. Both to get out of traffic and to work his way through to the town of Zaleski. Where the road was supposed to be, it wasn’t. So he kept going… and going… and going.

Several turns and roads later, at which point Steve had found his way again, he came to a fork in the road. But this wasn’t your normal every day two pronged fork in the road. No, not at all. This one had three choices. And you’ll never guess the best part.

Not One Road Sign

Three ways to go and nothing marking which way should be gone. Somebody dropped the ball on that one.

Steve consulted the map and performed some guesswork before deciding that the road he wanted to be on was to the left. So down the left road he went.

Don’t worry, he did get a picture to prove that this junction actually existed. I can’t wait to see that.

Sure enough, the road that looked so true was oh so extremely false. Turns out that he should have gone to the right. From that point it would have been a 3 mile ride into the town of Zaleski. Instead, Steve took the scenic 15 mile round-a-bout way.

This was ok though. He had a good time and a good laugh. He got to ride through the Zaleski State Forest, which he said was beautiful. And he even had a hawk fly in front of his bike a little before swooping back up to watch down on him from the trees.

I don’t think he had any problems getting from Zaleski to Athens, so that really was the excitement for the day. But I’m sure that he’ll be keeping a closer eye on the confusing road system tomorrow, just hoping that he’ll get into the sanity of West Virginia that much quicker. They have some squiggly highways, but at least they’re much more sparse.