Tuesday. Bellefontaine, Ohio. Greetings from the highest point in Ohio. Ever been to Lombard Street in San Francisco? Coming into Bellefontaine is a lot like a bunch of runs up Lombard Street. Hills to plateaus, more hills and...oh wait...more hills. The livestock here must have offset legs to handle the angles. I'll get back to Bellefontaine, (pronounced: Bell-Fountain), in a moment.
Woke up without wake-upcall as usual at 6:00am. Since the Armstrong Museum did not open until 9:30am, I had some time to spend. It was a weird morning. I had three and one half hours until the Museum opened, but I felt badly about burning daylight and not being in the saddle and pounding miles. In a bicyclist's world...especially in great weather...time is miles. I was missing my morning miles...but the wait was worth it.
Arriving at the Armstrong Museum exactly at 9:30am I was third in line. The nice counter lady allowed me to hide Pigbike behind a dumpster in their receiving area. Major rule of bike touring: "If you ain't on it, can't see it or have someone watching it...LOCK YOUR BIKE IN A SAFE PLACE." I've had some trippers lose their machines during my tour leading days. Never a good morning on the road. With my bike safely secured, I entered the Museum.
Goose bumps. Honest to God. Goose bumps. I had entered the halls that had been graced by some of our Greatest American Heroes. Most of our Astronaut Corps have walked through that Museum. You could feel it...really strong mojo. The Museum gets another set of giant thumbs up. I am a mere bicycle cowboy who is in absolute awe of our band of space cowboys. Imagine having a rocket strapped to your butt and trusting your ground crew was right. I'll admit it...growing up in the 60's I hero-worshipped two things, Pete Rose and our Astronauts. If I couldn't play left field for the Indians, I wanted to be an astronaut. Neither one a choice in my cards this passing. Remember your first telescope? Where were you when Armstrong sent these words home. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind ."?? Today's visit to Neil's Museum was exceptional...except in the Lunar Lander and Shuttle Simulators I proved myself best earthbound and pedalling. I crashed both simulations...oops.
Mostly flat run after the Museum visit for the first twenty miles. The counter lady at the Museum let me know my day would head uphill as I got close to Bellefontaine. O.K., Pigbike has been over the Rockies seven times...how bad could Ohio be? Answer: Rockies=long, slow slope.
Bellfontaine=short, steep climbs. Fortunately in my bicycle tourist brain, I have concocted the fantasy that since I am now at the highest point in Ohio, the 56 miles I have left to Columbus will be a downhill glide. Wanna' bet??
The run to Bellefontaine was interupted only by three wide load semis driving me into the ditch, a lovely roadside Malt Shop and a Subway. Made landfall in Bellefontaine around 2:00pm. Walking Pigbike through another fascinating small town, I located the Chamber of Commerce, locked up Pigbike and went upstairs. Meeting Director Ed Wallace and Sue Stanford was great. They fetched me detailed maps for my difficult run tomorrow, and also went ahead and booked my room for the night. Great folks...visit Bellefontaine. Have been worried about my pictures because I have screwed them up while computer loading. Went to the local Walgreen's and once again their ACE photo guy, Rodney printed two discs off my camera's card. One copy was sent home via Priority Mail. Nice insurance policy...some of those pics are ONCE in a lifetime shots. Patronize Walgreen's...great customer service.
Pushing my bike north out of town, I found the Masonic Lodge in Bellefontaine. Delivered a t-shirt, letter and card. Received some great news from my home Lodge today. My little bicycle adventure is making ripples in the Ohio Masonic Sea. Gentlemen and Brothers...one man may dare great things but he is nothing without his Mission Control. Thanks Houston, I mean Lakeshore 307...
Delaware tomorrow. Bad day on dog roads. I'll be OK. I feel your good wishes.