Some Things Don't Go as Planned (Day 29)

Day 29: Clyde, OH - Euclid, OH

Distance: 93 miles

Vertical: 627 feet

Biking Time: 5:30

Hello guys, today has been our first ever pretty big hiccup of the bike ride. Nigel has had a pretty stressful day so I (Matt) am going to write this so he can relax.

Remember the low tire pressure in the passenger side of my car that I alluded to in yesterday’s blog post? In case you forgot, what happened was we ran over a dead (I’m not sure if it was dead at the time but it definitely is now) raccoon on the side of an Interstate three days ago. We filled it with air and have been attempting to keep an eye on it for these past few days. Today we all forgot to check the tire and it popped while Nigel was driving on the freeway. While we were very fortunate that both Nigel and Josh have AAA, the bad luck was far from over. After getting the tire serviced, it was noticed that the raccoon cracked the frame of the wheel, making it so putting in a spare tire would just cause another slow leak. The real kicker is that no dealer, even in the city of Cleveland, is carrying the wheel that we need to get it replaced.

The gentlemen at AAA were very helpful and they called a lot of local dealerships in their area, Cleveland, and Painesville, OH, our stopping point for today. The best report they heard was that the tire could be express shipped and fixed mid-day tomorrow or possibly even the day after that. With our buddy John flying to Boston to meet us and drive our vehicle on the 28th and all of the generous people who have offered us a place to stay east of Ohio, taking two days off to get the car fixed is just not an option.

We all played with a couple different ideas for how to make up for this mishap. We whittled down our options to rather lengthen all of our short days so that we slowly but surely chip away at the lost mileage, or, for the first time, Nigel and I head off tomorrow without the support vehicle. We chose to go with option two.

Tomorrow, Nigel and I will get driven down to where Josh and I stopped yesterday by our car with its spare wheel, and head to Erie, PA with a BUNCH of curate bars, a phone charger, and spare change of clothes. The challenge is that, to our luck, Erie, PA is one of the only remaining places that we do not have a family to stay with and camping is not an option. We could tough it out and sleep on a church floor without blankets (it gets cold at nights I promise), but we will probably pay for a room in a motel for the first time. If we get lucky and the car gets fixed tomorrow, Josh will meet us in Erie and all will be well, but if not, Nigel and I will need to go a second day and pray that Josh can get the car fixed then. Whatever happens, I am confident that we can work our way through it.

Today’s ride took a little bit longer than anticipated. We got a really late start on today due to the fact that we all slept through our alarm clocks. Once we finally got going, it got HOT. So hot that Josh and I had to stop at our head quarters, McDonalds, every chance we got. Today in a McDonald’s, an old lady walked up to Josh and I and said, “Now I want you to understand that I am not flirting with you, I am far too old for that, but you gentlemen have just the nicest legs.” It was the first time in my life that anyone said anything even remotely positive about my lower body. It was at that moment that I knew I let John and Brennan down. After telling her that we were biking across the country a similar bombardment of blessing, questions, and “are you out of your minds?” occurred just like at yesterday McDonald’s. Quick side comment, I have never been to so many McDonald’s in such a short span of time in my entire life. We go to at least two, but most times three or four a day! It has everything you need. Wi-Fi, ice water, AC, and really really cheap food/coffee if you don’t feel like protein bars.

Flying into Cleveland, Iron Man style

Flying into Cleveland, Iron Man style

We went through Cleveland, our third big city of the ride, today. We hit the jackpot and went through there during the Republican National Convention. I saw a bejeweled “Make America Great Again” hat. I think I can officially die a happy oversized bearded infant. The downside to going through the RNC was all of the traffic. Josh and I couldn’t ride for longer than 200 yards without hitting another red light. Although it was only a couple miles to go through, it took a little over an hour to get through.

I think that the Great Lakes are small oceans

I think that the Great Lakes are small oceans

To end on a positive note, I want to give a huge thank you to Alex Papke for letting us stay with him at Baldwin Wallace in Berea, OH. Papke is one of Nigel’s close friends from high school, and in the few times he visited us in Theta Chi, he has became close friends with all of us. Papke was also only the 3rd direct connection out of 23 families that we have stayed with. It is always so much fun to stay with a good friend. We went to a local sports bar and grill for diner where he paid for all of our meals! We then played some games back at the house and then head out for wings, our second awesome dinner of the night; I could have stretched for a third. I hate to sound like a broken record but thank you again, we had such a blast.

Wish us luck tomorrow,

Matt Gaylo