We woke this morning to the gentle pitter-patter of rain falling on the rooftops outside our window. It’s a sound that we only like to hear on rest days. And when we switched on The Weather Channel and found that, not only would we likely have some rain showers today, but we would also be treated to a headwind of 15-25 mph, we were distinctly underwhelmed about the day ahead of us.
The lovely breakfast crew at the Holiday Inn Express did their best to cheer us up. Especially Shelia, a great lady with whom Kat bonded straight away, when Kat told her that her mum is called Shelia, and found that Shelia’s mother was called Kat. And then we met the general manager, David, the same name as Kat’s Dad. Spooky, but true. And after following down the coincidences with a bowl of raisin bran and a couple of bagels, we were feeling much more like tackling the day.
We were back onto the urban trail for the 57-mile ride out of Cleveland, OH and into Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH. After so many days of glorious countryside, we have found it quite tough dealing with the traffic and dodgy road surfaces that seem to go hand-in-hand with the ‘burbs of most major cities. It’s a predictable formula though. We leave the glitz and hubbub of downtown. We pedal (quickly) through an industrial and slightly run-down area, and then all of a sudden we are in the posh area of town. In this case it was called Lakeshore Drive. It consisted of mega-million dollar house after mega-million dollar house, each in an individual style and inspired by a different period of history. It was an eclectic collection. Then all of a sudden we were on the “wrong-end of Lakeshore Drive” and it was back to McDonalds, Convenience Stores and pedalling quickly again.
You can also tell when you are moving from a challenged neighbourhood into a moneyed area by what you see on the ground. Moving into the new zone, all of a sudden you find a smooth, well-marked bike lane with the odd golf tee tossed nonchalantly towards the kerb, presumably out of the window of a soft-top sports car. Look behind you, and you will see a rough pothole ridden pavement, littered with broken bottles of beer that you have been dodging around just minutes earlier. Oh the joys of our trip!
Anyway… having battled against the headwind all day, dodging rainclouds for the most part, we were overjoyed to arrive at our B&B, The Eagle Cliff Inn, where Jerry was an absolute star, finding us a safe place for Trusty & Steed to rest for the night, and then upgrading us from the cute little room we had booked to a beautiful suite with a 4-poster King bed. Thanks Jerry (and his wife Lu, whom we haven’t met yet).
We weren’t so lucky with dinner. Finding restaurant after restaurant serving fried food, we found ourselves in a winery, which actually had quite decent wine, but a menu and seating configuration that was so confused that it really could have done with Gordon Ramsay to give it a huge kick up the backside.
Ordering burgers (the best of a bad bunch), and munching our way through the tortilla chips and dip that accompanied them (why?), we were alarmed to find that the live music seemed to have been switched with the Karaoke advertised on the billboard next door. At least it sounded like that anyway. But worse, just as Anthony was knuckle deep in a mess of ketchup and mustard, we heard it: dicka deedee dee dee dee dee dee, dicka deedee dee dee dee dee dee… the distant sound of duelling banjos. As a reflex action, Anthony kicked off his well-worn flip-flops and checked his escape route. But luckily it was all over quickly, and we were back to New York, New York and a substandard effort at Eric Clapton’s Layla, and then we managed to escape.
Walking back along the “strip” with Anthony trying to divert Kat’s attention from the amusement arcades, a role that Kat’s sister used to play on family holidays, we were relieved to be back in our haven of a B&B.
It’s bye bye Ohio tomorrow, and hello Pennsylvania, for the second time on our trip. We must be getting close to home!