Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Will the rain ever stop?...We still got to Indiana

Columbus was an awesome break with great people! We stayed with the lovely couple, Susan and Gretchen, and their awesome dogs, Lilly and Bart, for two nights. Rach knew both of them from the University of Maryland and now they both work at Ohio State University. Staying with them was like staying with family. They were so welcoming and fed us lots of yummy food--chili, thai burritos, uniquely flavored ice cream! They also showed us the university, which was beautiful. The first night there, the tornado sirens in the city went off at 3am and Susan knocked on our door and said, "We have to go to the basement". We went down to the basement and watched the weather. Luckily, the storm wasn't being hit as hard in Columbus but we did see that the area where we camped the night before was hit the hardest!

Susan, gretchen, Bart and lilly!! Our lovely Columbus hosts!

Unfortunately we only planned one day of rest in Columbus before we headed on the 3 day, 150 mile trek to Lawrenceburg, IN (just outside of Cincy) to visit my brother Michael, his wife Nadine and their little girl Little Nay.

I was definitely getting excited to see family for the first of many times on this trip. So we left Columbus on Thursday, April 21st. We had a little of a slow start that morning but thankfully we were going to be on rails-to-trails for 70 miles of the 150 trek to Lawrenceburg. I love rails-to-trails (so relaxing!) but it should really be rails AND trails, to get more cars off the road and people in trains! As always, it seemed like it took forever to get out of the city, plus we made a wrong turn or two. But it was smooth sailing after that. We entered flat farmland and then the Prairie Grass Trail which led to the Little Miami Scenic Trail--both beautiful and relaxing. We ended up going 75 miles that first day, which was great and set us at only 78 miles from Lawrenceburg. It was the longest day of our trip so far!!

Long rail trail

Today's view on the trail

The next day we woke up to more rain coming down on our tent and the prediction was that it was going to rain all day. I know this really brought down my moral at first because, I just wanted 2 days without rain, which seemed impossible. We were lucky and the rain held out for the most part. Of course, during the middle of the day we had a detour as a police officer came up to us to let us know that a huge tree fell down on the trail and we would have to get around it by going on the other side of the river. Fortunately for us it was the easiest detour of the trip.

Track marks
This is the outline our tent made since it rained

We ended up doing 45 miles to get to the suburbs of Cincinnati, OH and stayed in a hotel in Blue Ash, OH because they were predicting serve thunder-storms for the night, which did indeed come true! As we were checking in I was talking to Brian, an employee at the hotel, who proceeded to tell me that Cincinnati was about to break their city record of most rain in April. And then we watched the weather channel, which showed that the same record-breaking rain is true for much of Ohio and Indiana this year. It is RAINING EVERYWHERE!!!

Seriously... It's raining across the ENTIRE country!!!

But at least we were staying dry in a cheap hotel and the next day's forecast was looking up--scattered thunderstorms only. With 32 miles to go--I thought we were in the clear. But Rach thought otherwise..."I have a feeling it's going to POUR on us the whole last hour riding."

One more

Unfortunately for us, Rach was right. When we were about 12 miles away from Lawrenceburg, after climbing a butt-load of hills, the storm came! And I mean storm. It was raining so hard that it felt like pellets were hitting our skin. Over the sound of falling marbles we shouted in laughter, "This is crazy!" "It's like showering on our bikes!"

But here is the best part. We were riding along the Miami river on River Road (luckily, the river stayed off the road for that part). Less luckily, we needed to turn right on Lawrenceburg Rd, which was closed due to "High Water Levels". From where we were standing we didn't see anything, so we decided to go past the closed road sign to investigate. Riding along, we got closer to the "high waters" but weren't convinced that they were actually that high, since we could see the yellow road lines a few inches below. We thought (for about 2 seconds) about walking, but with the shallow water and short distance (about 0.2 miles), we said f* that, and got on our bikes to ride! We let out roller coaster yells through our giggles and knew that if people saw us then, they'd really think we were crazy. But we were having a ball! And thankfully, our bags are super waterproof. Something that I should note is if we didn't do this we would have had about 10 mile detour!!

Road closed due to high water... We rode it anyway

We finally got to my bro's and got a warm shower and some good relaxation time and Nadine made us amazing spaghetti. We also got to get things ready for the Easter egg hunt for Little Nay the next day. We are sticking around here until Tuesday (weather depending) and then heading to Bloomington, IN!! Stay Dry!

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