18 hours in the saddle - Wandering Ohio
Saturday was the departure of our last Regional Iron Butt ride of the year - August 27th 2016 - The MIO 1000. A Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio route. Still, I was not feeling it this year. Just not interested right now in certification rides. I run in cycles like that. So, while my Iron Butt brethren were chasing down fuel station receipts across the tri-state area, Gas Guy was wandering about on secondary paved and gravel byways across Ohio - and back - searching out rural curiosities and secluded areas.
As far as Endurance motorcycling, it need not only be measured in miles, but can also be measured by hours in the saddle. The same only different. Time in the saddle is what breaks you down. Do one and you can do the other. Just a different path or choice. Different goals. A long day in the saddle, covering only 500-600 miles, allows me to wake up from, and go to sleep in, my own bed, yet still fulfill a huge day of riding and experiences, while also feeling satisfactorally spent at the end of the day - or should I say night. Dissecting an area and searching out the nooks and crannies.
One of the draws in covering ground efficiently for me is feeling the spirit of a location, and the people who reside there. Everywhere I go, this spirit is different. Often, very apparently. Partly, the terrain and environment contribute to this. Also the vibrations of the locals - or lack of locals. Like everything in life, the faster something happens, the stronger the effect. The emotional impact from the change is greater, without the chance to subtly adjust.
For instance, if I wake up in Detroit and later sit down to lunch in the south, it stimulates the senses; the contrasts are heavy. Then in the evening, while frazzled from the days events, and drastic changes, including being exposed to the weather cycles, and en route back home to the family, another set of thoughts and emotions unravel. Probably, all forms of travelers are drawn to this, whether they know it or not. Perhaps, everyone feels these things at a various level. A full blown empath would obviously feel it the greatest. Judging by some peoples expression when I share some things, person to person, it is obvious they don't get it at all. Maybe they are just too grounded. I suspect many a person that is unfairly deemed to be crazy, is really just much more "in-tune" with things - on a natural level. Or maybe just too ignorant to block the inputs, not knowing how detrimental it can be to any semblance of a normal life. Maybe an adrenaline junkie can't have a normal life. Who would want one ?
The often overlooked aspects of the road !!!
A rider who sleeps in and starts late. Or stops too early; or when it is too hot; or when it rains. Who will not ever travel or ride alone.
Occasionally, it is fine. But, the rider who lives by these weaknesses or limitations, misses SO much.
Life starts after we leave our comfort zone !
This day ride, and corresponding pictures, showcase many of the overlooked aspects of the road. Some of the rewards of staying the course, at least occasionally, and accepting what ever mother nature throws at you. And experiencing the world from before sun up to after sun down on two wheels. On this day, I was rewarded with so much.
The very early morning is such a special and sacred time.
Everything is peaceful. The mind and soul feel energized, stimulated, and creative.
Spirituality is always intensified.
People who sleep in are missing out on another dimension that lies within, yearning to embrace the day.
Simplicity and clarity are also the strongest first thing, before the distractions and clutter of the day start invading and consuming your being.
Sunrise over a sleepy Mexican migrant camp, nestled amongst the fields. They come up to work in the summer. This camp has been here as long as I can remember, as I lived just down the road from here back in the day.
My mothers ashes are scattered in this area also; her spirit soars in this farmland.
Not a soul yet stirs. Still too early.
Road-side breakfast of champions .... or vagabonds.
Heaven on Earth - Amish Country. They have some incredible Horses. While passing through Millersburg, I stopped in at Jitter's Coffee House. Turbo Jim really enjoyed that place on a prior ride in this area.
Old school transportation - Amish style.
In and out of amazing gravel roads all day. It is interesting seeing skinny little wandering wheel tracks from the Horse and buggy's along some of the Amish frequented gravel roads. Plenty of Horse shit too. The sweet smell of manure wafting through the the hot summer air is also a constant reminder of your whereabouts. Sweet to those who have become trapped in the city and miss the once familiar aroma - probably pungent to others.
Took me a minute with this sign near a bridge and river. Water level must climb REAL high here.
The gravel led me back to a secluded off road area. Further up I came to an opening, from which many rugged, hilly, and rutted two tracks branched out of and disappeared into the surrounding wooded hills.
By this time of the day it was 93 degrees and sweltering hot. I was dripping in sweat and did not have the ambition to tackle anything more extreme while fully loaded and solo. Another time, perhaps. I have the coordinates.
Little guy in the creek watching me take his picture.
Took a few breaks throughout the day as I felt fatigue and dehydration set in. When I start feeling lethargic or uninspired I know it is time. Have to catch myself, other wise I just keep chugging along and fighting it. Downed tons of fluids. A small bite to eat. Hadn't listened to any music all day. Popped in some ear buds coupled to my phone and jump started the heat fried brainwaves again. The second time around, I downed a small can of Red Bull along with a water and a bag of Reese's Pieces to keep the sugar and hydration levels up.
Stumbled across this cool residence complete with outdoor fireplace. Or cottage retreat. Not sure but there was a mailbox. I only trespassed briefly. Just long enough to get a picture. Check out the earthen, Hobbit like home, sunk into the ground behind the building. Amazing set up. Excellent vibe here.
Whooooaaaa !!! On the brakes hard. Are you kidding me ? Super bonus of the day. In the middle of nowhereville, I come across a remarkable mural. And Yellow !!!
Running some gravel ridgelines on the versatile GSA.
There was a nasty and ominous looking sky in my side view mirror - chasing me Northeast, as the Westerly wind had it closing in on me fast. Sometimes you can outrun or flank these things. Sometimes it is just inevitable that you become engulfed in the storm.
Seeing the sign for a covered bridge in the Mohican State Park and Forest, I hustled the curvy and descending road through the forest to it. About the time I arrived at the bridge, the winds were kicking up and leaves were spiraling down from the canopies. Quickly, I donned my Klim pants, attached a clear visor to my open face helmet and battened down the hatches just as the storm broke loose.
Leaving the Bridge, I just slowly continued riding North and West towards the general direction of home, enjoying - rather than loathing - the storm. The stifling heat of the day had me soaked anyway. This was actually invigorating. Plus, the versatile GS needed the dust and dirt of the days activities washed away. It poured and gusted for about a half hour. Then a slow and steady rain. Eventually it cleared for awhile. Then I would ride into and out of pockets of light rain. Finally, the sun broke free one last time for the day, while it was simultaneously sprinkling. The reward was a beautiful rainbow.
As I entered onto Route 20 in Norwalk, for the final stretch home, I knew the conditions were prime for a sweet final lightshow during my favorite time of the day. The wet conditions added a vividness to the setting sun, along with the crisp fresh air, just cleansed by the rain. A perfect 75 degrees out now. The setting sun was to my front. A huge rainbow at my back.
It doesn't get any better than Saturday's broad spectrum of environments and conditions. The warm summer nights ride home was just icing on the cake. Even stopped off in Fremont for a late night snack at Lee's Famous Recipe fried chicken. Arrived home around 11:00 pm, then sat up till after 1:00 am watching a movie with the family.