Day 39: Niles, OH to Erie, Pa.

6/15/2016–Wednesday : today was a day of relatively calm, easy riding– at least compared to yesterday when Kevin  and I threw it down hard into mostly head winds.  Today — We rode in a group of 4-6  taking in country roads with small farms, covered bridges over streams, more Amish families out in buggies ( they don’t really like their photos take unless asked directly- we respect that)  and a classic and truly memorable early afternoon stop at the white turkey drive-in along State Rt. 5 in Conneaut, Ohio just before the Pennsylvania state line. This drive-in serves the best root beer and vanilla ice cream floats and lots of great food. The float was amazing, and the lady who owns the place has had it in her family since 1952. She is a bicyclist who only opens the place from Mothers Day to Labor Day and then heads off each year to the Fla. keys– what a great life.  The other really big event today was sprinkling our Pacific sand at the Pa. State line!! When I did that today I was almost overwhelmed inside! 40 years ago I got into my brand new 1976 red firebird — with my parents and spent 4 weeks driving that car across the USA. My parents slept out on the ground 5-6 times during those weeks- a new experience for my mother and the first time for my Father since the Second World War!! Today I re- entered Pa. Going in the opposite direction and spending lots of time thinking of them and how that circle had been closed. Wish I could have had Denise and my children along– but here we are at least sharing some of that experience. There was a tough last 20 miles into Erie,Pa where we spend the night tonight. As we rounded the corner on 5th and State St. heading towards our hotel  we saw a Starbucks and everyone said let’s stop! As we got off our bicycles low and behold right next door was a more attractive option after a week of riding nearly 620 miles— Brannigan’s Irish Pub. It is no surprise (I’m sure you would all agree) to discover how much less pain you feel in your body  after a pint of Guinness,or in my case – a cold Smithwick, and a bite of shepherds pie!! We suffered through it like the road hardened cyclist we are!! The night finished off with a few slices of pizza an off to bed by our usual 9 PM– mind you there is a limit to the fun!! Great day! By the way, I just got photos of my daughter, Maren and her husband Tyler (the day he graduated from the Alameda County Fire fighters academy) and their 2 children – Addie and Ryland. I had to get them in on the photo fun- love it! 


10 thoughts on “Day 39: Niles, OH to Erie, Pa.

  1. Hi Jim. We’re really enjoying your daily blogs. Hard to believe you’re almost done. You look great! Sam Gurol


    1. Thanks for riding along! I’ll be happy to see Denise and everyone soon. We are moving right along aren’t we! I’m amazed how the old body responds to so much being asked of it!! Best to Semra


    2. Hi Jim,
      I will be transporting the Rikers to the airport tomorrow for their adventure with you! I wish I was joining you. I am totally jealous.
      Bill D


      1. Bill– you are riding!! Caffeine courses my veins thanks to you AND I haven’t fallen trying to mount my bike thanks to your tandem mounting tip- I would have killed myself on that flag otherwise. I’ll try to keep the brothers Riker entertained!! Keep commenting – we are 8 riding days from the beach heads of Boston!! Thanks a bunch for being there on May 8th it meant a lot!!


  2. Jim, I am following along and very impressed indeed. If I am around I might try to meet up for a brew. I also will be supporting your ALS efforts. GA 75 PCOM


    1. Thanks Gary– several of the PCOM boys are riding along! I love it. Unless you plan to be in Boston- we’ll have to do a FaceTime beer hoist!! Don’t worry though I will think of you next Guinness! Go Phi Sig


  3. A root beer float sounds great right now! Super hot here!
    I’ll chime in for a hoot for PCOM, too.



  4. Hi Jim, I just reviewed your blog and looked at all the photos. It gave me a real thrill and then I realized that you did something less than .01% of the USA population would ever even attempt!!!

    I was so fortunate to be able to follow your journey..I enjoyed all of it.

    Congrats and nice work for the ALS foundation
    I hope that you are well, fully recovered and back to a normal routine.

    Your friend,
    Gary Agia


    1. Well thanks for your thoughts. I’m now 4 weeks post ride and feeling a bit down. The daily routine and high level of physical activity, and probably all those endorphins, left me so euphoric that a drop off certainly was expected. I’m going back to work TEMPORARILY for 3 months to help out my old FP office. 2 of the women providers are going out on maternity leave. So, the amount of riding will collapse a bit. Gary I’ll pull up a few more Ohio/ Pa photos from around the Erie area and e-mail them to you, you might recognize the places. Thanks for riding along. The PCOM Digest magazine is planning a brief article in the Fall on my ride and efforts to raise donations for ALS, keep an eye out for it. My best to you and Carol.


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