The end of week three came with a much needed surprise, a home stay in Defiance organized by my dear Professor friend in Brunswick, Jill Pearlman! My plan had been to really make a big ride of the day, all 100+ miles from Gibsonburg to Monroeville, Indiana. Little did I know what kind of wind I had in store!
I woke up to an amazingly busy sky:
I’d heard that thunderstorms were a big possibility for the day. The ride from Gibsonburg to Bowling Green was glorious. I was flying, in relative terms, at about 15mph.
There was one train track that provided a good opportunity to remind myself why I don’t listen to music while riding. I was off in lala land but my brain registered the sound of a train horn in the distance. I rolled up to a set of tracks and the memory came to me… train horn. Having been trained well in elementary school by my parents and Wary Walker, I looked left. Wow was I surprised!
Woosh! There wasn’t a guardrail marking the tracks, but they may be putting in lights to warn traffic. They were up but covered with black plastic bags. The whole experience was a good reminder to pay attention to the sounds as much as the sights around you. I was never in danger of the train, but I was grateful that my mind had registered the sound of the train horn even when my brain was somewhat off.
The rest of the ride into Bowling Green was uneventful. I found a grocery store in and scrounged together a good breakfast and checked my email on my ipad. I saw an email from Jill saying her friend’s parents lived in Defiance and were happy to host me. I called Jill and the Messermans and arranged to stay there in the evening. Rather than a 100+ mile ride, the day turned into a 70 mile day. I was really grateful and excited at the idea of a bed and laundry and good company!
While I was finishing up my breakfast, two men from Bowling Green/Defiance came up and asked me where I was headed. Answering Defiance, one of the men asked me my route. I told him I was planning on hugging the Maumee River basically the whole way there. He advised against this route due to construction, instead encouraging me to take route 281, a long long and very straight road. He thought it would be more direct and much more quiet. I decided to take their advice, so after wrapping up breakfast I headed out for Route 281.
Of the 43ish miles between Bowling Green and Defiance, 33 are on one long road. I thought it would go quickly (flat road and all) but there was a mighty mighty headwind that held my speed to about 8.5mph. I’m not sure I can put in words what 33 miles at 8.5mph feels like. David and Goliath came to mind. As did the Borg from Star Trek (“resistance is futile”). I kept plodding those 4+ hours because of the prospect of kind grandparents, a warm shower, and a bed. I also kept plodding because I had no other choice. It is amazing what your body is capable of when your mind cooperates. I wasn’t a pretty sight.
I took a break to sit out a thunderstorm. I took this picture before the storm hit me. I was biking straight into it.
I took a break to take a picture of a flag on the side of the road. It was patriotically mocking me.
In the end, I made it to Defiance. I was overjoyed to meet the Messermans. They invited me to get cleaned up (I think I smelled like something horrid!) and took me to dinner at a local restaurant that has been in the news of late. Kissner’s Restaurant is owned by Karl Kissner, one of the cousins who discovered a great stash of old baseball cards in the attic of his Grandfather’s home. It is a great story, and finally some good news in the US! I even got to meet Mr. Kissner, and Mrs. Messerman was so sweet introducing us. She said, “I think we have two local heroes here today.” 🙂
I loved my introduction to Defiance. I slept like a pig in a blanket. All I can hope for is more favorable winds going forward, but at the end each hiccup is an experience worth the slogging to get to.