8/7/12 Hillsdale, MI to Toledo, OH – 65 miles
Randy and I decided to get an earlier start since we had a pretty long ride to Toledo. When I met him in the parking lot, he was looking down right chipper, after having a better than normal night’s sleep. I did not sleep that well, but tried to look lively. Also, this particular motel did not have coffee in the rooms and the office was not yet opened, so I was coffee-less for the first 2-3 miles.
It was chilly outside, probably in the low to mid 60’s, and I found myself wishing I had put on a jacket. What a difference from a few weeks ago in Nebraska and Iowa where we baked in 103 degree temps. By the time we stopped for breakfast at the Sidekick Cafe, I was downright cold. Fortunately, the coffee was on and hot when we arrived. Randy shared his inspirational reading from “Travels with Willie Weir” – a story about how a biker asked if they could camp on someone’s lawn and how the owner had been blessed by the opportunity to share a kindness. We talked about how people don’t even realize how small kindnesses affect others and are passed along.
After breakfast, we walked next door to the convenience store to fill our water bottles for the day. The man at the register actually charged me 50 cents for ice to put in my water bottle. That hardly ever happens, and he obviously hadn’t been tuned in to the Willie Weir lesson that morning. I said one of those brief specific prayers of blessing on his behalf. I mean, he wasn’t even pleasant. However, there were 4-5 of his regulars in there that followed me out the door and were enthusiastically quizzing me about all aspects of the cross-country ride. Randy came up just as they were asking about where we were headed, and he and a man in overalls with bushy sideburns that we later decided to call “Guy” started talking. Guy gave us the lowdown on back roads to take that were flat and well-paved all the way to Toledo. You could tell that Guy got the biggest kick out of being able to help us out – I mean he fairly beamed. After we left, I told Randy that it was obvious he had made Guy’s day and been a blessing just by being present and listening. One of those Oprah validation lessons. A tangible example of the Willie Weir lesson. Only it turns out we were the ones that were blessed since Guy really knew what he was talking about. The route was fabulous! It turned out to be one of the easiest 65 mile rides you could imagine. A beautiful road, tailwind and the temperature never went above 80 degrees. Pure joy.
Early on, we came upon this gorgeous field of sunflowers. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. I think my enthusiasm for sunflowers has rubbed off on Randy, as he seemed to be taking a lot of pictures also. It was fun. We also had a fox run across the road in front of us. Another first for the trip. It just seemed that one good thing after another was happening. I cruised along most of the day 16-20 mph with great music to accompany the scenery.
Then we crossed over into Ohio – the 11th state on our trip. Another milestone. Shortly after, we stopped for lunch and had a very good grilled cheese. Then cruised effortlessly the remaining 11 miles to Toledo. Found a nice motel and settled in for the evening.
Randy and I agreed that it doesn’t get any better than this – perfect weather, perfect riding conditions, beautiful flowers and scenery, friendly and helpful locals, pleasant company, and a good grilled cheese.