East of Cleveland, the terrain changes from the flatlands of the Midwest into the hills that grow into the Appalachians.
Our ride included the scenic Brecksville Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks, long one of my favorite places. We also stopped at Kent State University to visit the site of the famed 1970 confrontation between National Guard troops and Vietnam War protesters that left four students dead. Sadly, this historic landmark was virtually unmarked -- we had to ask several people for directions before we finally found the site.
We designed the route to cut across the tip of West Virginia, so that we could bicycle in three states in one day. We entered West Virginia via a rickety, rusting and altogether charming bridge that spans the Ohio River leading out of East Liverpool, OH. That led to eight miles of road in West Virginia that was nearly all uphill as we climbed out of the river valley. We walked most of the way.
Megan had grown enough that we were able to ride our tandem, outfitted with a child crankset, instead of the old Trail-a-Bike. The reduced weight and additional stability were welcome. But my training was the poorest it had been in years, and combined with the difficult terrain, we walked up a lot of hills.
Despite the challenges, we kept our spirits up and reached our destination of West Newton, PA, a small town southeast of Pittsburgh.
Photos: Taking a break in the Brecksville Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. The old bridge spanning the Ohio River between Ohio and West Virginia. Site of the 1970 Kent State University protest. l, as we climbed out of the river valley. Gathered by a motel pool with Pauli and the girls. Into the hills of Pennsylvania—this picture always reminds me of how much Megan had grown since we first left Wisconsin Rapids together in 1994. All smiles cruising into West Newton at the end of the ride.