Well, it must be time for another blog update, it's been a few days, and we've been slacking off a little with posting.
We went a little Girl Genius-crazy, and took our intended detour through Mechanicsburg, which turned out to be a fairly pleasant little town, with a nice coffee shop where we stopped for some sandwiches - and not the dangerous home of mad scientists and inventors galore, as the name implies. Oh well. But we still took time to pose for photos on the way into town,
as well as a photo of the main street with
After that, we set course (straight into a headwind) for Springfield, passing through the 1000 km mark of our journey in the process. We got almost into town, but camped at the Buck Creek state park campground on the eastern outskirts of town for the night.
We set off into Springfield the following morning, after a crisp, clear sunrise, mostly in search of a bike shop, as there seemed to be something non-obvious making it difficult for Yana to pedal. We'd checked all the options in terms of rubbing brake pads, less-than-full tyres, loose chain, etc. but to no avail.
Springfield certainly showed a distinct personality, as we rapidly found ourselves pedalling past "Vote Nobama. I Luv Sarah" slogans on fences, and the first guy we asked for directions to a bike shop declared that he wanted to pray with us for our safety and luck on the way to the shop. Okay. Whatever.
We set off in the intended direction, got thrown off course by a road that changed its name part way along so that we didn't realise we were actually on the road we were supposed to be on, asked for other directions, and finally made it to a bike shop that was closed. So much for the power of prayer. We decided that one word sums up Springfield, Ohio;
In some frustration we decided to just get ourselves on the Little Miami bike trail, which wound its way through the suburbs of the south of town, along some roads, before eventually making its way onto a nice off-road path that ran south towards Cincinnati. We stopped for a little while in the surprisingly delightful town of Yellow Springs because I smelled pizza, and take Yana's bike to a bike shop (an open one!), where they guessed that the brakes were not rubbing when we examined the bike, but that the weight of a rider was distorting the frame and wheel just enough to make the rear brakes rub. They tweaked that, after which the bike moved a lot more smoothly, and then we grabbed a wholemeal-crust pizza and a couple of fruit smoothies. We then headed on through the town of Xenia (warrior princess! :-) and steered ourselves towards the Caesar Creek state park to camp. We muddled our way back and forth following (the lack of) signs for the campsite, headed to the park office which was closed, found a map on a noticeboard, located a campground, rode out there, discovered it was 'group permit' only, and decided we were too tired to be bothered camping elsewhere so we just wheeled our bikes around the gate and made camp for the night. It was a beautiful clear night, and had we known it was also the night of the Orionid meteor shower we might have stayed up to watch some of it, but instead we just fell asleep.
The following morning we broke camp, headed back to the bike trail, and proceeded south. We sailed straight past the Fort Ancient archeological site, which would have been nice to look at, but we felt that it was good to keep our pace up, stopped for lunch a little further on, then dropped into a library in Morrow to try to find a place to stay in Cincinnati using CouchSurfing. By the time we reached Loveland, we had two possible hosts to stay with (so that's another point for science/the internet), and we got in touch with one host (Mike U.) who gave us directions to his place near downtown Cincinnati.
The last part of getting there was, of course, the most challenging. Once the bike trail ran out we had to find our way through the hilly suburbs of Cincinnati - although at one point a couple in an SUV wanted to know where we were riding to with all our gear, and were so impressed that they offered to buy us dinner, which we regretfully declined as we didn't want to keep Mike waiting up for us too long- and on a couple of occasions found ourselves backtracking or hauling our bikes over railway tracks to get to the streets we wanted to be on, and not on roads where trucks, bikes, and pedestrians were not allowed. But we made it eventually, and were greeted to a cozy bed, a kitchen in which we cooked rice, chicken, and stir-fried veggies to fill our bellies, and a good night's rest.