Today was all about the rolling hills. More rolling hills than Missouri, and I thought those were crazy. More hill climbs than Deer Mountain in Utah or the Continental Divide in Colorado, and I thought those were insane. My total ascent today was 7,019 – that’s “total feet climbed.” Let me put this into perspective. When I climbed Carson Pass in Tahoe, my total ascent was 8,674. When I climbed Cedar Mountain in Utah with Alan and the kids, our total ascent was 8,400. And the total ascent for Continental Divide was only(!?) 4,768.
Today’s Route: Hubbard, OH to Knox, PA
I crossed the PA border this morning, making this state #10. Only 1 more “Welcome” sign to go. Today not only did I climb a lot of hills, I rode a lot of miles. 81 miles in total. Long, hilly, and hot. The temperature was in the high 80s, but the humidity was low. I started on some busy roads with moderate shoulders and then moved to country roads with less traffic but no shoulders. The latter proves just as challenging because I ride with one eye in my rearview mirror looking for cars, while I’m constantly waving to people who drive around me. I regularly miss Highway 50 …
During my 81 miles of hills today, I marinated on the topic of “what lessons I’ve learned these past 2 months” in order to add to the list I started in yesterday’s blog. Here are 5 more:
- People love to be waved at – It doesn’t matter if someone is in a semi, on a motorcycle, in a car, on a tractor, or standing on the side of the road, people love to wave back. They rarely initiate, but they always wave back. The wave signals recognition and we all just want to be recognized. (Living proof of Chp. 5 in my new Moxie for Managers book…)
- Be intentional but with flexible expectations – I start each day with an intention of where I’m going, how I’m going to get there, and even what I’m going to eat. But if I don’t keep my expectations flexible, I’ll lose my mindset. For example, today a road closure forced us to change routes, while a few days ago I got derailed by a torrential downpour and a nail. I still made it to where I wanted to go, but just not as I had initially envisioned.
- Animals don’t stand a chance on the open road. Wow, have we collectively run over a lot of animals. What started out as a way to entertain me has amassed a cult following out there. Personally, I’m astounded at how many dead animals are on the road, and based on the number of cars and how fast everyone (myself included) drives, I shouldn’t be astounded.
- Hills are more treacherous in Utah and Pennsylvania than in Colorado – Before I left, everyone warned me about the Rockies. Forget about it. The Rockies were easy compared to the climbs in Tahoe, Utah, and Pennsylvania. Now, for total elevation and altitude, the Rockies win.
- In spite of what Verizon says, they do not cover the country, and in spite of what Dunkin’ Donuts says, the country does not run on Dunkin. Justin craved the latter, I was craving the former. I really believed I was going to get cell phone and Internet coverage everywhere. Turns out, places like Baker NV still use a land line and drive 8 miles out of town to some random intersection for cell coverage!
- Majestic church (I’ve seen beautiful barns, but only unremarkable churches, until today – see picture below)
- Cemetery established in 1796 (pictured above)
- “P.Y.O. Blueberries” sign (pictured here)
- Amish carriage carrying a group of tourists (are they evolving or just entrepreneurial?)
- Store: “Twig’s Reloading Den” (what?…)
Day 62 Stats
Day 62 miles: 81.80 miles
Day 62 ascent: 7,019 ft of elevation (I’m icing my knees as I type …)
Road kill count: 1,701
(Added 99 today. Here’s my theory: since the entire route was hilly, animals have no way of knowing if a car is coming when they step out into the road. Kind of like the advanced version of the game Frogger…)
Destination for Day 63: Woodland, PA