Day 8 – Ice & Heat
Near Titusville, Pennsylvania to Tomlinson State Park, West Virginia
Low 32° – High 89°
I slept like an angel in the graveyard. I was toasty warm and awoke to the songs of morning birds. When I sat up, I immediately knew there had been a heavy dew. The rainfly was weighed down and the tent sides were wet. It was cold and raw. I sat up and reached down toward my feet to extricate the sleeping bag. It had ice on it where it pressed against the side of the tent. I unzipped the side door and cold air poured in. I started scrambling for a thick shirt, then a jacket, then a wool cap. I put on socks and slipped my boots on, then leaned out and unzipped the rainfly door. It was soaking wet. I popped out onto frosted grass. What a surprise.
Breaking camp was difficult. The sleeping bag’s foot was wet. The rain fly was soaked. The tent was wet. The bike cover was soaked. I wiped down everything as best I could with a chamois cloth. I kept wringing buckets from it. My hands froze. It took the usual hour to pack. I put on a balaclava and I’m glad I did. I was very comfortable as I pulled out into the morning mist.
Over hill and dale and I slid down into the industrious town of Cochranton. I found Kay’s Cardinal Country Restaurant, with “Old Fashioned Homemade Cooking.” They have a six page, full color, plastic wrapped, menu, that is half display advertising. Very market forward. Stephanie delivered precisely cooked eggs over medium, a rarity I appreciate. The warm atmosphere made my frozen morning melt.
My tire pressure seemed to be down a few pounds. I made adjustments. Overall, the tire is doing well.
I drove south and west over small roads and state highways as I found them. My point of destination was near East Liverpool, Ohio, a town on the north point of the Ohio River where Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia come together. Pennsylvania, while agricultural, is also old industrial. The corridor from Youngstown, Ohio to Pittsburgh is littered with industry old and new. I was trying to weave my way through farmland only with marginal success. In New Castle, PA, a big city by my standards of travel, I almost got a replacement mirror at a Yamaha dealer. Sadly, it was 10mm and I needed 8mm. The people were nice, so it was a good stop.
Many backroads later I made it to a ridge high above the Ohio River in Pennsylvania. There were either trees, factories, or railroad tracks around it. I made it into Ohio and found the point on the highway marking the state boundaries. It is not the exact point, in fact, the marker states: “1,110 feet from this marker is the actual boundary.” That’s as close as the public can get. A factory sits on top now. I drove to the closest house on Brink Street and spoke with the owner. “No,” she said looking at me sideways. “You can’t get to it.”
I crossed a major bridge into the town of Chester, West Virginia. I discovered Tomlinson State Park just south of town and went there to camp. I was early enough to unpack all my wet gear and dry it on grass in the sun. Another comfortable night in the tent. Three states in three nights.