Aesthetics of Everywhere

The urban scene, its people and processes. Based in southern California.

Archive for the ‘ice cream’ tag

Week Two: Pittsburgh, Erie, Ashtabula, Cleveland, Toledo

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Leaving Pittsburgh was much less straightforward than entering Pittsburgh via the GAP Trail, as we had to navigate a succession of bridges through the fairly well-trafficked surrounding area. We weren’t following the Adventure Cycling maps yet, so for the most part I pieced together routes that other cyclists had shared online. This worked better than looking up directions on Google Maps or drawing lines across state maps because you get an idea of which roads are navigable by bicycle. Google Maps had led us astray several times by trying to put us on dangerous roads (even using their “bicycling directions,” which are very much in beta).

We rode through the quiet industrial area of Neville Island and crossed the Ohio River again into Sewickley. This stretch along the river from Sewickley to Ambridge passed through pleasant suburban towns. Unfortunately, a bridge being closed near Ambridge meant we couldn’t cross over again there and had to find another meandering route to avoid riding on the busy Ohio River Boulevard. Sometimes there were side streets we could take that paralleled the route, but eventually we reached an area where we couldn’t continue north that way and had to detour. It was a hot day combined with stressful navigation – I called for us to stop early that day and make up the miles tomorrow.

Up towards Beaver Falls

Navigation the next two days was better because we decided to follow the BicyclePA route the rest of the way into Erie. Bike Route A is mostly a gently-rolling, two-lane road that runs across north to south (and vice versa) in the western part of the state. It was a fairly monotonous series of rolling hills, but navigation was straightforward – we only had to follow the street signs marking the route. From the little we saw of Erie, it seemed to be your typical beach town. It was nice to camp right on Lake Erie, and though it cooled down fast after sunset, you could sink your feet into the still-warm sand.

From Erie, we picked up the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) Northern Tier route to continue west along the coast of Lake Erie. There were many beautiful picnic areas that overlooked the lake, so we stopped often to take in the sight. Following the ACA map sections was great – worth the cost to not have to deal with mapping the route out ourselves. It also lists amenities along the route, including campsites and places to stock up on groceries.

Ashtabula was one of our favorite stops because it had a superb cafe called Harbor Perk where lots of locals gathered. We took a break to catch up on emails and arrange hosting for the night, and in that time we got to talk to several friendly people who took interest in our trip. Hello and thank you to Karen, who kindly offered us a place to stay if our lodging fell through that night. She’s hosted cyclists who have come through the town on the Northern Tier route before. (An aside: Another random act of kindness came the next day, from Bob in Grand River who gave us soda – or pop – as a midday pick-me-up!)

We stayed with our first Warm Showers host in Geneva, a great guy named Richard who lived next door to his cousin. When we arrived, we got to watch a tree fall – they’re clearing space for a pasture to start keeping cows. Richard was very welcoming and we all chatted well into the night, exchanging stories about our bike tours. It’s easy to stay up past daylight with electric lights! He’s done a bike tour from San Diego to where he lives now, and I hope we inspired him to do the stretch to Washington, DC since it’s a great route.

Entering Cleveland

Before we ever reached Cleveland, we had been warned by people as far east as the Pennsylvania-Ohio border that the filming of the new Captain America movie was causing traffic havoc in downtown Cleveland. We had braced ourselves for the worst by the time we approached Cleveland – to find that there was a bike trail that led us around the congestion. We never had to deal with movie filming traffic, just bypass a high water area near the shore. On our way into downtown Cleveland, we also passed through Bratenahl, an incredibly wealthy area with some of the largest houses we’ve ever seen in person.

In Cleveland, we met up with Rich, a guy we met camping on the C&O, and his great family. His work schedule was flexible enough that we could take a day to see Cleveland, visiting the extensive Cleveland Museum of Art, the famous Sokolowski’s polish cafeteria, and Great Lakes Brewery.

Cleveland Museum of Art

Flight at Great Lakes Brewing

The ride from Cleveland to Toledo took us two days. We camped for a night about midway along the route, then picked up the North Coast Inland Trail from Clyde to Elmore. Elmore had a cute downtown where we took yet another ice cream and coffee break. Stayed with Taylor, an electrical engineering student at the University of Toledo, in Toledo. We cooked dinner and had some fun conversations. It’s funny how such a late sundown causes you to lose track of time. We were exhausted by day’s end, having ridden 66 miles that day.

Ice cream break

Always break for ice cream.

Written by Crystal Bae

June 12th, 2013 at 12:53 am

Trail Cupcake Giveaway Day

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Adam and I spent day 5 of our bike tour giving cupcakes to touring cyclists we met on the trail. Two boxes of cupcakes were originally given to us by our friends, with the condition that we give them to others and take photos of the happy riders.

First two cupcakes were given to Will and Matt, two riders we met in Meyersdale. Had a nice breakfast with them as well – they said second breakfast, as the cupcakes were their first breakfast.

Cupcakes and new friends

This gentleman was headed to Gettysburg to meet up with a redhead. That’s how he described it, and that’s all we know. Hope the cupcake helped get you there.

Cupcakes on the trail

These two were riding from Pittsburgh and happily accepted as well.

From Pittsburgh, with cupcakes

And this 70-year old man was riding Pittsburgh to DC solo so he could ride at his own pace. He said he was inspired to do the ride after seeing a bunch of crazy people “like yourselves” riding their bikes the whole way.

Are we crazy?

Then, of course, we made sure to each enjoy a cupcake ourselves. And some Trail Town ice cream cones.

Cupcake Adam

Written by Crystal Bae

May 29th, 2013 at 1:49 pm