We crawled out of the insanely comfortable bed at James’ house and headed out the door as early as we could convince ourselves to (so, about 830 ish). We expected the day to be a fairly uneventful one. We had a campground picked out about 26 miles down the road and knew there would be no yard sales to count. After a rest day we were ready to conquer the day.
As we walked, we marveled at the sights of Ohio. The houses started looking like Eastern houses, and the hills started to look like we were getting into the Appalachians.
We walked through a few small towns, with a couple people honking and giving us thumbs up as we walked by. The sidewalks would appear then disappear, and we lost our shoulder around a few corners, but the drivers continued to give us space to walk. As we walked into Barberton, Tim joked about finding a barber shop that said the name of the town on it. Every town we passed through afterward we saw a barber shop. Rebecca has given up actually trying to convince Tim to get his beard shaved off, so there was no point stopping.
As we walked through the City of Green a woman came out of a shop to ask what we were up to. Someone had posted a picture of us walking on the community Facebook page asking who we were. We talked with the woman and a man from the shop. They gave us water and let us use the restroom before taking a couple of pictures with us and sending us on our way. We were starting to feel the heat, but we still had about 12 miles left to go before we could camp. We knew we’d have to refill water in Hartville to be safe. The campground we’d found was going to cost $38, so we were debating just stealing across the street in the middle school property. As we climbed a hill out of Green a woman pulled over to ask us a question. She and her family wanted to offer us a place to stay for the night. We knew we couldn’t stop yet, we’d only done about 15 miles so we tried to turn her down nicely until she said they lived in Hartville, about 6 miles down the road. We took her number and headed out for the last two hours of the day. We always get a pep in our step when we know we’ll be making new friends that night.
It might have been the lightness that we walked with, or the sign on Rebecca’s back, but another car pulled over only about 1 mile into the walk. A man with his grandson stopped to take a picture with us and discuss our trip. It was looking like Ohio was the reason we had ordered new business cards that we picked up in Chicago. The man was interested in our trip, Kevin’s story, and encouraging his grandson to be excited. The boy was starting school the next day with a cast on his arm, so we wished him well in school and kept walking.
We made it into Hartville and called Holley who invited us out to dinner at the Mexican restaurant in town. Mi Casa was great, and we left happily full and sure we’d have a great night with Holley, Ashlyn, Hanna, Barbara, and their friend Bailey. Upon arriving at their house we were offered a room and a shower. Rebecca hopped in the shower first while Tim started the slideshow of pictures from the trip. We discovered we can hook our camera up to a large screen tv to see our pictures so much better, so when we get the chance we go through them with friends that way. We stayed up late reminiscing with them and learning about the Titanium program (a kind of do good to feel good program) before heading into bed. Hanna was starting her junior year of high school the next morning and everyone would be up and out of the house by about 7. This gave us the perfect excuse to wake up early to make up some miles.
We walked into the sunrise enjoying the memories we’d made with our temporary adopted family. Sometimes we can find a perfect break spot on the side of the road, and that’s just what we did. We crawled onto a hidden tree-lined berm and sat down for our first break. We were debating whether or not to try to hitch a couple of miles to make up for the miles we’d lost the day before. But we stepped back into the sun, still undecided and prepared for our next break on the outskirts of Alliance. As we walked, a car pulled over and made a turn, and we quickly realized it was out of excitement of finding us. Michele jumped out of her car to see what we were up to and immediately called the newspaper. When the reporter, Chelsea, agreed to meet us at a local deli, we hitched a ride (saving us the three miles) and had a wonderfully fresh and delicious vegetarian meal over a discussion of our trip. While talking to Chelsea, she mentioned that her parents live in Salem (our planned stop for the night) and that they’d probably let us stay with them.
The last 16 miles to the edge of Salem were long and hot. But we still enjoyed ourselves, knowing we’d have a place to stay and probably a shower that night!
On the last stretch of the road, a man and his daughter pulled over to offer us a ride and some cold water. We took the water, but refused the ride. We were only two miles from our destination and we weren’t going to wimp out now!
After talking into the night with Chelsea’s parents we settled into a comfortable and quiet bed for the night. Waking up to cereal for breakfast and a quiet day ahead, we thanked them, said goodbye to their two children still young enough to be in the house, and headed out. We’d been told we’d be walking through Amish country a lot, and this day was a welcome example of that.
We were only fairly certain our food supply would last to the next day’s grocery store, so we prepared to ration ourselves. But we were greeted by an Amish (or Mennonite, we’re not sure) sandwich and ice cream place exactly 6 miles after first break, which is our typical break time. The sandwiches were amazing, and the chairs were an even bigger blessing. We stumbled out, happy with full bellies and turned onto another quiet road that would lead us into the hills of Ohio. We made it to Negley, almost ready to give up because of the heat and humidity only to be greeted by a man excited to hear about our trip. After talking to him we stopped in the gas station mini mart for some cold Gatorade and the attendants excitedly asked us about the adventure. They had seen us walking on their way into work and loved the idea.
We turned off of the main back road we were on and crossed the border. We momentarily worried there’d be no sign to signify we were in Pennsylvania, but there was!
The boost from crossing a border gave us the power to make it down into a canyon.
Once in the canyon we had to choose between an unknown detour, and crossing a closed bridge. I’ll let you figure out which one we opted for.
After the bridge we climbed a steep hill and saw our campsite floor the night. Crawford’s Camping Park was perfectly located for us, just across the border and about 26 miles from our planned spot in Salem (Chelsea’s parents actually lived a tiny bit closer to it). We paid for our site, got a ride down to the tent camping area, and settled in for a comfortable, legal, night.
The next morning we heed to Sewickly, where Evan, Tim’s friend who lives in Pittsburgh, would pick us up for the night.
We were walking up the hill out of our campground only to be hit by some rain. It wasn’t much so Rebecca decided to only put her rain pack on, but forego her rain jacket. This was a huge mistake. By the time we’d made it 6 miles to the shopping center we didn’t know was there we were both soaked. Tim had his rain jacket on, but hadn’t zipped it closed and Rebecca was just completely dripping. Luckily, there was a Wendy’s right by the road so we ran in. Carrie, the cashier, immediately took pity on us and brought out some paper towels. Another man ran out to his truck to bring us a full size towel, and we decided to buy food. Carrie asked about our trip and was so friendly and excited about the trip that she paid for our meal and made sure we were comfortable. It was definitely our favorite Wendy’s experience.
After Wendy’s, we headed down the canyon happily discussing the day. The sun had come out and we were mostly dry. Since Evan and his girlfriend, Sumi, we’re picking us up we decided that if anyone offered us a ride, we’d take it. Luckily, though we didn’t know it at the time, a woman did offer us a ride. As she turned a few corners we realized the highway interchanges would have been impossible on foot. She dropped us off just before Baden, and we took a small, old-highway, back road toward Sewickly. When Evan and Sumi finally picked us up we were waiting in the grass between a Wendy’s and the highway.
Evan dropped us off at his friend Ian’s place and we prepared for a few days off in Pittsburgh.
Today(s) we walked through:
Tim: 45,786; 60,268; 53,084; and 44,851 steps
Rebecca: 49,875; 65,406; 57,773; and 49,287 steps
2772 miles finished