Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 18 - Bay Village, Ohio to Painesville, Ohio and then to Gary Solomon's mothers home

First off and most important I would like to say "Happy 60th Birthday honey!  What a way to spend your 60th birthday.

We got up at 5:45AM and packed up and checked out of the Red Roof Inn.  They gave us a certificate to go to the convenient store next door for a breakfast sandwich (that's there idea of a continental breakfast) so we went over there and sat on a curb outside the building eating our breakfast sandwich.  We wanted to get an early start because it was suppose to get hot today and we were also going to meet up with Gary Solomon for lunch.  We hadn't biked very far and we came upon road construction and a road closed sign.  Fortunately we could bike alongside the road construction and we were able to get  through on the sidewalk.It was amazing biking along Lake Erie and getting glimpses of the lake and all the huge beautiful homes that are built right on the shoreline of Lake Erie.  Today we got to bike through Cleveland which was on very heavily traveled roads with a lot of stoplights, pedestrians, and vehicles.  John did a tremendous job of getting us through the city.  He not only has to watch for vehicles coming at us or behind us but to make sure that there isn't a vehicle pulling out from the side streets.  He also has to dodge all the potholes while I watch the map and try to make sure that we are on the correct route.  We also biked right by the Cleveland Brown footballs stadium that is built right along side Lake Erie.  It's a very impressive building but I was more impressed with the dedication to the fireman that had lost their lives fighting fires (the statute was right by the stadium). 

As we were following the route there were directions to go onto a bike path and bike for several miles.  When we got to what we thought might be the bike path we decided to walk it because it was not paved.  Well, here it was a path to the beach and we ended up coming upon a tree down on the path and having to go around that and then push the bike thorugh the sand to get to the correct bike path.  The mesquitos were horrendous but fortunately they didn't seem too hungry.  We were real happy to get back on the street and continue on.

Around 11:00 we received a call from Gary Solomon and we decided to meet up with Gary for lunch at Arby's in Willowick.  Once we placed our order we decided to go to a park to eat and we were able to sit on a picnic table overlooking Lake Erie and enjoy good company and good food. While eating lunch we looked over our route maps and decided to do another 22 miles which would have gotten us to Perry Ohio which we thought would put us beyond the heavy traffic areas and out of the Cleveland suburbs but just in case we got tired out, Gary offered to drive ahead to Painesville and wait for us there. This shortend our ride by about 6 miles.

So we headed out towards Painesville and just within a mile we came upon a flagman and as we bicycled past him he holler out "Happy Birthday John".  What a surprise this was and then we realized that Gary, who was driving ahead of us to Painsville, had told the flagman that we were coming and he should wish John a Happy Birthday.  It was great and definitely brought smiles to both of our faces!  What a guy that Gary is!

Boy are we glad that Gary was going to wait for us at Painsville because after lunch the temperature heated up to 94 degrees and by the time we got to Painesville we were more than willing to call it quits. Fifty three miles of traffic induced stress along with very rough roads, pot holes, man hole covers, detours, and high temps were enough for one day.

Gary was waiting for us at the Painsville Main Square and we happily helped him load our bike into his van and we rode with him to his mothers home in Mayfield Heights.  We were introduced to Gary's mom, Natalie, and shown where we would be staying and encouraged to make ourselves at home and given the opportunity to shower and clean up while Gary and Natalie went to the market to pick up refreshments and items for dinner.  When they got back we enjoyed a couple hours of socializing and getting to know each other while Natalie prepared a delicious supper of baked salmon, corn on the cob, tossed salad, and homemade biscuits.  John made the comment of how much Natalie reminded him of Mom Johnson.  I informed Natalie that was one of the highest compliments she could get from John.   After Natalie and I cleaned up the dinner dishes and John and Gary went to the store to get ice cream we had a delicicious homemade cake that Natalie had in the freezer from her 80th birthday in April.  She said we had to have a birthday party for John being it was his 60th birthday.  We also had a chocolate coconut bar that she had made and had indicated that was one of Gary's favorite desserts.  Natalie certainly made sure that no one went to bed hungry.  I forgot to mention that Natalie is 80 years young and has more energy than most 50 year olds.  What a pleasure it was to meet her and a wonderful treat it was to have a home cooked meal after eating in restaurants the last 2-1/2 weeks.  Your hospitality, conversation, and truly delicious meal was appreciated by both John and I.

Skyline of  Cleveland!

This is one of many huge beautiful homes that are built along Lake Erie!

Shoreline of Lake Erie!

What we thought was a bike trail ended up being a graveled path to the beach!  In front of the bike there is a tree down so we had to push the bike up and around that tree and keep the mosquitos off of us at the same time!

This was an interesting fence alongside the bike path!

Cleveland Brown Stadium on Lake Erie
Statute dedicated to the Fireman that had lost their lives in the call of duty!

Gary picking us up at Painsville Main Square!

Cleveland Fire Fighters plaque outside Cleveland Brown Stadium

Gary in his mom's kitchen!

John trying out Gary's Gold Rush bike! 

Happy 60th Birthday honey!

John, Gary, and Natalie - what a special lady she is!

Kathi, Natalie, and John in Natalie's dining room!

John enjoying the birthday cake and ice cream!

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