Today was spent doing our best to make progress in spite of the heat. The day started to the sound of dripping water, dew condensing and falling on the sheet metal roof. It was pleasant, made more so by the sun rising red over the horizon (I was too sleepy to grab a photo). I started to pack up slowly and Nick soon got up. We got on the road around 7:45 and made our way to a diner we’d been recommended the night before. We went in and we’re warmly welcomed by the owner, waitress and a few of the patrons. They were all interested in our ride and where we were going for the night, and we were happy to tell them about it.
Breakfast took a while, but it was quite good. We got a move on around 9, as the heat was already setting in. It was humid, hot and sunny, and it was obvious it was just going to get worse. The rolling hills from yesterday continued, ratcheting up the difficulty, and soon we were both dripping with sweat. The scenery continued to be nice and wooded, but the hills were no joke. The traffic was light and even though it felt like we were going slow we made decent time to a small convenience store. They had a bikers check in book and I signed it, mostly with the sweat I dripped all over it. We got cold drinks and complained to whoever would listen about the heat. We got back to riding in the very hot weather towards the town of Fairgrove.
We kept rolling down big hills then climbing right back up them on the far side.
I was starting to feel really hot through here and not great. I was definitely overheating. Luckily it wasn’t too much further to Fairgrove and as soon as we arrived we pulled into the first air conditioned place we saw, a convenience store, Kum and Go. We went in and they had working slushee machines. We both got massive cups and guzzled slushee like water. It tasted so good after the heat we discussed our plan for the night, and decided we’ll go to Marshfield at least and decide from there. We left on the 16 miles to Marshfield. As we left it was even hotter than when we arrived. The cold waters I’d packed melted quickly and were soon hot. The climbing started slowly but when it did it was brutal. Steep intense hills, one after the other. This stretch wasn’t long but felt like it was. Soon the road levelled out and we pulled into a gas station in Marshfield. I got a cold drink and felt much better. We rode for another mile to lunch, McDonald’s. I think I was definitely suffering from some kind of heat exhaustion because I couldn’t pick what I wanted from McDonald’s. I stared at the menu uncomprehendingly until I ordered 2 cheeseburgers, 2 hamburgers, fries, and a drink. Getting food into me felt really good: the slushees earlier had gone straight through me and I wasn’t feeling great. We sat there for probably an hour cooling off and using WiFi. We discussed what we wanted to do. When we first pulled in I wanted to stop. The heat was serious and I was ready to call it. Nick cleverly waited until I’d eaten and drank before arguing that we should keep going, since we’d only done 40 miles (man it felt like more). I said I’d feel happier to keep going id we had somewhere with AC to stay. We called around and found a very nice post office clerk who said we could sleep in the lobby. She said to talk to the sheriff first. I readily agreed. Feeling rehydrated and cool, and with a cool sheltered place to sleep, we left to do the 28 miles to Hartville.
For some reason this segment really wasn’t that bad. We made good progress and despite a few really steep hills it was flatter than the earlier segments. The heat was still high but occasionally shaded by clouds. I felt good as we made it through 10 miles, then 20. We both had music on, just trying to pass the miles. The major negative about this stretch was heavy traffic. There were a lot of cars on these roads, but they were generally respectful. The issue is that the hills are so steep, if a car gets behind us while we’re climbing they can’t see anyone coming over the top. Some people pass anyway which is terrifying, but most people wait, some a long time. Most people respond to my waves 👋
The scenery in the afternoon sun was really pleasant
After a few hours we made one last steep climb into town, and descended down to main street. We went into a convenience store and got lots of drinks, snacks, and a surprisingly tasty pizza. I went over to try to find the sheriff about sleeping in the post office but their office was closed. We called instead and they said we couldn’t, in so many words. We instead headed to the park to camp. We found a covered pavilion and have a pretty nice setup. A friendly dog came and visited (multiple actually)
As we were lazing around the wind picked up and a nasty thunderhead appeared over the northern hills. We tried to get tents set up but the wind was so strong we needed both of us on each tent to hold them down. Eventually we got them set up, right as the rain started. It wasn’t too heavy, but it did catch Nick as he made a convenience store run. Now we’re just sitting around chilling, getting ready for an early day. We’re gonna try to make it to Eminence for the night which will be a long day, so I’m gonna sleep. Night!
- French toast
- 2 cheeseburgers
- 2 hamburgers
- Peace tea
- Ice cream