We headed out from Jeremy’s place after refilling our water packs and mentally preparing for the day. We were going to barely cross into Ohio today, one more state down.
A bit after really getting into the city we stopped at the bank to deposit some money and talked to the few people there about our trip. Everyone seems to be curious about the gaiters, which are the spandex covers over our shoes. Rebecca’s sister, Rachel, bought them for us for Rebecca’s birthday. They keep rocks out of our shoes and have been such a time saver because we almost never have to stop to clean out our shoes. Just around the corner from the bank, a car pulled over to ask us about our trip. The driver was a man who often hiked on the Appalachian Trail. He loved our story, and insisted we get in his car for a quick history lesson about Fort Wayne and a trip to the outdoor outfitters in town to get a map of all of the trails nearby. He drove us to the original Lincoln Highway bridge, and told us all about how the highway was such an important part of the history of the country. Then he dropped us off at the outdoor store and headed off to do his groceries. Before he left he gave us each a lucky half dollar coin.
We followed the trails over a bridge where we saw people setting up for a wedding. Then we hopped off the trails to walk through downtown and the farmers’ market. We didn’t but anything, but for a moment we felt like normal people again.
It felt like it took forever to get out of Fort Wayne, but we made it to the edge of town and the roads got more dangerous every minute. The outskirts of towns are way more dangerous than the open roads because there are still cars turning into businesses and onto side roads, but the shoulder basically disappears. We did have a moment to find a corn stalk growing in an industrial wasteland.
We made it to the Wendy’s on the edge of town and set our bags down to go decide what to order. We’ve eaten more fast food on this trip than either of us are happy about. Sometimes it’s the best thing because we can get cheap food quickly. We have also perfected limiting our homeless look as much as possible. We walk in and go straight to the back to put our bags down in a booth, then grab our wallets and head toward the front. It’s an art. As we set our bags down a man stopped us and said he’d seen us walking and asked about our sign. Of course we chatted with him about the walk and about Kevin (who is still doing remarkably well, considering his situation!) so he offered to buy our meal. We never turn down free food, thank you Mark. We ate and headed off to Dollar General (another regular stop that we’re not sure how we feel about) for granola bars and water. On the way out a woman, Betty, chased us down and insisted she give us a ride past the dangerous part of highway 30 we were about to get on. We sorta reluctantly agreed. Walking through the city always takes longer than we expect because of lights and people, so we were running behind anyway. We stopped out of town for Amanda, Betty’s granddaughter, to drop off an application at a restaurant and in our conversations we decided to camp in her backyard. Betty’s house was about 5 miles short of where we planned to end the day, but a known campsite is something we love. Betty and Amanda ended up cooking us dinner and then offering to cook us breakfast and drive us out of the interstate part of the highway in the morning. We helped prepare dinner and became fast friends with both of them.
We slept amazingly well behind the garage and woke up to an incredible breakfast and some jewelry (made by Amanda).
Betty then drove us to the border of Ohio for our picture and insisted on taking us into Van Wert.
Since she dropped us off ahead of our plan for the day, we took the opportunity to write a few blog posts in the park.
We walked through downtown and found a bench to set up on.
While we were blogging, Shirley and Bud, friends of Betty, stopped by to meet us and Bud taught Tim a few magic tricks. They left just before it started to rain and we ran to hide in the pavilion before going out to lunch and heading off to Huggy Bear Campground, just about 6 miles down the road. It was a great day in a town, we get so few relaxing days that it was a welcome break.
We walked away and kept putting our rain gear on, only to take it off again five minutes later. They do say “if you don’t like the weather in Ohio, wait five minutes.” (But they say that about everywhere, it’s probably the most common phrase we hear on the trip). A woman stopped to offer us a ride, which we turned down, then she stopped again after picking up her daughter from school to introduce her to us.
When we made it to the campground we paid for our site and were immediately met by a family who seasons through summer at the camp. Jackie and her cousin gave us a tour of the campground, then dropped us off at our spot. We bought dinner (surprisingly good and cheap hot dogs and ice cream) from the store and Jackie dropped off some water and root beer for us.
It started raining so we got into our tent where Rebecca finally listened to her Spanish podcast (she planned to learn Spanish on the trip, ha) and Tim read a bit of his book. The rain came down pretty hard and the owners of the camp ground offered to let us stay in a cabin for free. This was lucky for us, as our campsite was flooding and we hadn’t noticed! We readily accepted and moved into the cabin where we showered and fell asleep on the warm, dry bed.
We got up and began our first full day in Ohio. On the way out we were stopped by some men digging a trench who were excited to hear our story and wished us well. The rain started up again lightly, but didn’t put a damper on on our appreciation for old, creepy, Ohio buildings.
We made it to Delphos, where we are lunch at Subway and then went to the local ice cream shop. While we paid for our ice cream we met the two couples behind us in line who excitedly discussed our trip with us. They were happy to see young people out going on adventures. They were on their way back from a wedding in Michigan and said that The Creamery is the happening place in town on weekend evenings. We were lucky to find the best ice cream around.
On the way out of town, we appreciate the old churches and fancy buildings. As we get closer to the east coast, the buildings have been getting more ornate.
A few kids biked over to see what we were up to so we told them and hopefully inspired them to go on an adventure one day! The rest of the day was on really quiet back roads. While we appreciated the calm roadways, the heat beat down on us and we realized we hadn’t filled up our water enough at the Subway. So we stopped at a house where a young man was watering the plants and used their outdoor spigot to get enough water to make it to the campground.
When we were almost to the campground a man pulled into his driveway and offered us water or anything we might need. We knew we were full on water and almost done for the day so we said no, thank you and continued to the last mile of the day. Sometimes the days feel really long even if they aren’t the longest, but we know we have to push through it. When we finally settled in to the campsite and bought dinner at the gas station next door, we were greeted by an amazing sunset over the lake at Lake Cody. That campground had some of the best showers we’ve had so far on the trip.
We woke up planning to have a long day. We were going to walk into Dunkirk to camp in the park, but after reevaluation, we realized we could do two 25 mile days into Upper Sandusky if we stayed north of Highway 30 and skipped Dunkirk all together. We’ve slowly learned that planning too far ahead doesn’t always work. Our plan would be to walk 25 miles, then knock on a door to camp in someone’s yard. In Upper Sandusky we planned to splurge on a motel room, and then find places to knock on doors for a couple days afterward. There wasn’t a campground close enough to Upper Sandusky, and in cities, people tend to not be as accommodating for us to camp in their yard.
It was a hot day and we trudged on, hoping for shade. A woman chatted with us in Beaverdam and mentioned that we were about to see a lot of yard sales. Every year the old Lincoln Highway (an Ohio Byway) has a weekend dedicated to yard sales from the east border of Ohio to the west border. They call it the Lincoln Buy-Way sales. We sat in McDonald’s in a truck stop using their Wi-Fi to upload photos to the blog. When we left, we were in high spirits, the day wasn’t too hot and we had a shorter walk than we originally expected. But it got hot quickly. About 7 miles past Beaverdam Rebecca was worn out (we try to take breaks every 6 miles, but we couldn’t find any shade) so we stopped and she fell asleep under her hat by a guard rail on the side of the road. Across the street, some men were working on an antennae and they came over to make sure we were ok.
At about 6pm we decided we’d ask the next person we saw outside of their house if we could camp in their yard. By 630 if we hadn’t seen anyone we’d knock on a door. The next house had a viscous looking dog, but luckily it was tied up, and behind the trees was a cute white house that was obviously under construction with a couple outside talking. We headed in to ask if we could stay. Marsha and Nate graciously let us camp in the side yard, gave us two tomatoes from a friend’s garden, and offered to leave a gallon of water out for us in the morning (the water in the house still wasn’t on). The site was great, and the road was quiet, so we slept well for our 26 mile day into Upper Sandusky.
We started to really feel the summer heat again on the way into Upper Sandusky. A crew ripping the roof off of an abandoned motel chatted with us on our way by. The motel had been empty for over 40 years. With the new, interstate version, of highway 30, no one drove along the old route so there weren’t enough people stopping to keep it in business. The local teens seemed to like it though, there was a lot of immature graffiti on the walls. As we headed on our way we marveled about how much the transportation changes the landscape of an area.
We made it into Upper Sandusky just in time to run into the bank and deposit a large donation. We never like to carry too much cash around, so when we see a bank we take advantage of the opportunity. The teller loved our story and called up the newspaper reporter, who set up an interview for the next morning. We limped through town, were stopped by one man who was really excited about the idea of the walk, and then again by Nate’s sister. She pulled over just to say hi, he had told her we camped in his yard the night before. I guess we’re pretty recognizable…
We made it to the hotel and showered, ate salad, and fell quickly asleep. We were excited for the interview in the morning, but also for the yard sales we were told we’d see.
Today(s) we walked through:
Tim: 56,223; 18,335; 49,455; 48,470; & 53,742 steps
Rebecca: 30,169; 19,932; 53,661; 53,393; & 58,915 steps
2602 miles finished