G’ingTFO of Ohio
Hanging out in Columbus was great. My first night with Chris was actually pretty good, we had some beers, we had some burritos, and then I conked out around 10PM. The next day, I decided I would spend an additional night there so that I could take care of some tasks while still in a major city. The first of which was that I was going to change out my cassette for a lower gearing, which required buying a new 7 speed hyperglide cassette and grinding it down to fit my weirdo Uniglide hub. After calling around to half a dozen shops, I found a guy who had a 13-30 7-speed cassette, and proceeded to try installing it. Well my chain whip broke, so I said screw it and ended up returning the stuff.
The other task I had set to finish was to get proof of my MMR immunization done via a blood test. Apparently, you cannot schedule classes at ASU without proof of this. After spending an hour talking to a physician, I finally got my blood drawn. The next morning as I was gathering my things to start heading west, I came to the realization that my thermarest was missing. Replaying the last day in my head, I remembered having it strapped to my bike at the clinic, but necessarily when I got home. Someone must have snatched it off my bike while I was waiting to get my blood drawn. It also turns out that the blood test the performed was the completely wrong one, so I wasted hours of my life, had some unnecessary tests done, and got my ground mat stolen in the process. Overall, I felt pretty shitty about my extended stay in Columbus.
Leaving Ohio State was a fairly simple affair, as I just hopped back on the Olentangy Trail heading south until I hit the first East-West state route. Along the way, I stopped by Sabo’s Camping and checked for a replacement sleeping pad. As it turns out, they were liquidating their backpacking equipment, and was able to pick up a pad for half price. Once out of town, I was able to pick up the Columbus-Dayton Rail-Trail which was extremely nice. Most of the cities this trail passed through seemed to have amenities in place for traveling cyclists, Xenia especially.
I had originally planned on staying with some friends in Dayton, but I had to make a change in plans since they were unavailable on Sunday. Instead, I headed towards Sycamore State Park about 15 miles west of Dayton. I found the park itself just fine, but was unable to find legit campgrounds, and so I wandered around the perimeter of the park for about an hour and a half. As it got dark, I eventually discovered the “group camp sites” and was relieved, except they were closed off by a locked gate. Thinking it a great opportunity to try out stealth camping, I sidestepped the gate and continued on to the campgrounds. I found a large clearing with a set picnic benches behind a large storage shed. It was clearly setup for large gatherings or parties. I was able to setup my tent and bike behind the shed to avoid being visible to anyone driving by. I spent the night in constant paranoia that someone was driving by and I’d be discovered. Quite possibly the worst night of sleep I’ve gotten this whole trip as the sound of every car driving by or dog barking in the distance would wake me up. I don’t think I’m cut out for the sneaky sneaky; I’m too soft a sleeper.
The following morning, I rode west through Brookville, and found perhaps the most ironic coffeeshop ever. Following hipster tradition, I spent a good 2-3 hours browsing the internet while ordering a $2 coffee. I then cut up the highway westward towards Richmond, where I had booked a cheap hotel to recover from my sleep deprivation and do some quality blogging. At the least, I had hit the next milestone of leaving Ohio.