For those regular followers of Chris and Matt’s bike trip blog, we are throwing you a little curve ball today. Chris is actually taking the evening off and I am doing the daily update. After two spectacular days spent at Camp Blackwell in Lake Winona, IN with great friends, enjoying great food and all the activities of the lake, Chris experienced what I am calling a “FunOver” He just ran out of Zippity in his Zippity do da day! We simply stuffed more fun into two days than many would consider humanly possible and it’s requiring some recovery. Getting interviewed by the local media, late night diaper dips in the lake (floating in the lake wearing a life jacket with your legs through the arm holes so you bob like a cork) while enjoying your favorite beverage, multiple trips to the local ice cream parlor and the local bakery, a spectacular dinner at Cerulian (A great local restaurant), paddle boarding, raucous games of “Kan Jam”, waterskiing, great BBQ’s, an epic fireworks show , all supported by a ready supply of phenomenal wine, almost constant laughter and limited sleep can actually wear you out. We actually started a little later this morning because most everyone was feeling the effects of our “FunOver”. All that said, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our time at Camp Blackwell will be one of the big highlights and great memories of our trip across the country so many thanks to Brad and Lisa for making the whole thing possible.
We finally hit the road at about 8:00 am with a brief, but enthusiastic, lead out by Steve Benvenuto who was completing his fourth day in a row of riding. We were headed to Defiance, OH and had an 86 mile day in front of us. Within the first few miles, it was clear that the “FunOver” was having it’s effect and we needed to settle into a manageable pace. We have typically been riding at 19-20 MPH and today was about 17 MPH. It may not sound like much of a difference but it felt like one of the longer days of the trip. While there weren’t a lot of exceptional highlights on today’s route, we did find a few surprises along the way. We had another “dirt road” GPS experience at about mile 25 but were able to re-route on paved roads with only a couple extra miles of riding. On our way to the small town of LaOtto, we came upon a campground called “Jellystone” that was complete with a Yogi Bear theme. Who knew comic strips made such great themes for campgrounds. We had the Flintstones in Custer, SD and now Yogi Bear in Indiana.
When we got to LaOtto at mile 38, there was only one bar restaurant there and it was closed so we decided to replenish our water and head on to Spencerville to look for food! Shortly after leaving LaOtto, we came across a very pleasant surprise that actually reminded us of home, an actual vineyard and winery. While we didn’t actually do any wine tasting we did stop and find out that they were growing 8 different varietals in their vineyard. Who knew eastern IN, was a growing wine region! When we got to Spencerville, Brenda found a great local family restaurant named Karen’s that turned out to be a perfect place for a lunch break. Brenda also found that Spencerville was the oldest town in the county and had a historic covered bridge, the first covered bridge we’ve seen on the trip.
Shortly after leaving Spencerville, we came to the Indiana/Ohio state line on our way to Hicksville. Once we entered, Ohio, we were in our 10th state of the trip with only 3 to go. Over the weekend, we discovered that Hicksville had a fond Blackwell connection. It’s where Lisa used to go to buy beer when she was 18 because the drinking age in OH was only 18 at the time she was living in Indiana. I’m sure there were many great stories and memories that all started in some liquor store in Hicksville!
We finally arrived in Defiance, OH and were happy to get to our air condition rooms. While we didn’t expect to find much in Defiance, one of the housekeepers at the Super 8 suggested we check out the local Eric’s Ice Cream shop for a good milkshake and we were not disappointed.
Tomorrow we are headed on to Fremont and then to Cleveland. While the weather forecast has thunder showers predicted for the morning, I”m confident our good weather Karma will stay with us and that we’ll be riding in blue skies, sunshine and moderate temperatures. (By the way, as I write this, there is a wild thunder and lighting storm going on outside and the power has already gone out twice) I’m such an optimist!!
Below are a few pictures from the day and weekend
Chris working from his office on Lake Winona
Chris paddle boarding – one of the many contributors to the FunOver!
Getting interviewed by the local Lake Winona media at our favorite bakery. Our celebrity status continues to grow!
Getting ready to leave Camp Blackwell
The Camp Blackwell gang sending us on our way for our final 1,000 miles. Notice Steve Benvenuto on the left ready to lead us out!!
Country Heritage Winery and Vineyard in Indiana
A little Spencerville History – started with 8 families and two bachelors. A little tough to get a date. I don’t think they had eHarmony back then!
Our first covered bridge of the trip
Leaving Indiana and the great memories of Camp Blackwell and Winona Lake
Entering Ohio, our 10th state
Eric’s Ice Cream in Defiance, OH for our daily Milkshake!!!