Day 21. 1,347 Miles. Fording the Fire.

Yesterday’s “getting my feet wet” was literally the getting my feet wet of getting my feet wet today. Also, I’ve somehow teleported to the center of the world, wherever the hell that is.

I wake up before sunrise, my belly still at capacity from the massive mealI enjoyed the night before. It’s raining again and I so I leisurely enjoy coffee with Doug and Jena. The rain subsides and I thank them for their hospitality and I hit the road, about an hour later than normal. Just a mile or two in and I’m greeted by what has become a very familiar sight the last week:

Road closed. I am not interested playing this game of detours today. I take my shoes and socks off and the next moment I’m barefoot fording through the overflowing of a river that once caught fire. It’s up to my thighs at a certain point, and fish swim by. I lift my 100 pounds of bike and gear and really wish I had eaten that last piece of short rib I forgot in Doug’s refrigerator. Ohio has been getting pounded with rain and this is just one of many flooding instances I’ve encountered – but the first I’ve been able to directly overcome with detouring. I get to the other side, get redressed and get moving on, but that would just be the start of it the wetness.

After a short rail trail, I’m on a state highway for about 20 miles into Warren. After mile one the rains come down. It’s get pretty heavy, so I stop to put my rain jacket on and sip some of the fantastic coffee my thermos was so generously filled with by my hosts. And then as I roll out the rain stops, of course.

That’s when I realize I am in the center of the world. How do I know? Telepathy? Cosmic enlightenment? Fulfillment of my chi? Nope. There’s just a sign letting me me know. Funny, I figured the center of the world wouldn’t need a sign. What do I know?!

I decide to take a little breakfast break on a bench over looking whatever it is that’s now flooded out here in the center of the world. Predictably as soon as I get my rain jacket off it starts to rain again. I retreat under a little coverage and drink more coffee – my final rail trail of this tour is just a couple miles away.The rain lets up again so I hit the Case Western Greenway Trail. This beauty is a 30+ mile, magnificently flat rail trail cutting through absolute wilderness. There are no stations, few stops and zero coverage. Perfect for my impending condition. I’m not into golden showers, but Mother Nature is the only one I’m ok with pissing all over me. She is into some kinky shit. And damn was she one hydrated lady today (let’s call that a hydrady, just because). She comes down on me in buckets. Cats and dogs. On some why didn’t someone tell me to build an ark type shit. My watch app cuts off Sly & The Family Stone and sounds the alarm that there is a flash food warning. No shit Sherlock. As I’ve stated, there’s no cover on this trail, so here I am, going 16 mph for 2-3 hours in a never-ending downpour. The flooding rises all around me, my feet are soaked, my entire body is soaked. It’s as if I had gone swimming in that river I crossed earlier. Water from below. Water from above. Water sideways. Water. Water. Water. All I can hear is Denzel Washington in Training Day telling Ethan Hawke, “I didn’t know you liked to get wet.” I try my damnedest to not hit frogs and snakes and chipmunks out playing in the monsoon.

After 3 hours of absolutely drenching rains, I get to a little town and the rain lets up, so I decide to grab a refreshment in the store and hang on their picnic tables out front. Jokes on me, as soon as I come out of the store, the rain returns as strong as before. I ditch that idea, connect on somewhere dry to sleep and head in that direction.

Rick is retired from the Air Force and has a great little home he’s gonna let me spend the night at. As I enter his town the sign says “Saybrook: Pleasant. Planned. Progressive.” Cool. This is a quaint little town, even it’s still pouring. Exhausted, I finally get there, get dry, eat some ramen. And crash like the stock market on Black Monday.

About tonycaferro

Entrepreneur, Citizen, Marketeer, Fire Fighter / EMT, Bicycle-Tourist, Booking Agent, Youth Mentor, Activist, Agitator, Coffee Addict, Foodie, Social Media Nerd, Amateur Film Critic, Son, Brother, Uncle & Rust Belt Representative. Follow me on Twitter @dtr45
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