Day 68: Lights, camera, Alva! (Crystal Rock Campground to Akron)

Despite the storm, the tent was actually dry in the morning, and a clear blue Ohio day lay itself out before us, ready for some heavy pedaling.

The night before, a camper van had pulled in, one of those rentals covered in pixelated murals. Turns out, it was a dad taking his three young kids on a road trip, and the youngest, a four-year-old with a thin elfin-like face and the saddest blue eyes you've ever seen, was homesick for mom. 

There's nothing like science to cheer you up right? I grabbed our box of science and she helped put together Sunny, a purple sol cycle we've had since the beginning of the trip. She giggled as it zoomed through the oatmeal and tin cans and coffee and raced to catch it on the other side. We left Sunny with her and took off toward Akron.

We wanted to make it to Pittsburgh in three days, so we decided to head for a Warm Showers 80 miles away, since the weather was good (ie no lightning). We took a pretty zig-zagging route from the bay to Hwy 303. None of the roads had much of a shoulder to speak of, but they had plenty of traffic and repair reroutes.

About 20 miles in, up a hill on a highway with the only shoulder we'll see all day, I spotted little grey sign that reads "Thomas Edison's Birthplace -->". 


A blown-out picture of the birthplace of TE, what a guy. 

A blown-out picture of the birthplace of TE, what a guy. 

Out of all the routes and all the tiny towns, we found Milan, Ohio, birthplace of the father of modern light, sound and cinema. (Also, research labs and modern utilities). 

I made myself a PB and honey sandwich in front of his little brick childhood home, gape in adoration and try to absorb some neural plasticity, or whatever it was that enabled his 1,093 patents.

Gary and Marilyn, avid cyclists themselves 

Gary and Marilyn, avid cyclists themselves 

We rolled into Gary and Marilyn's right around 8, a gorgeous home tucked away at the end of a cul de sac on the edge of the Cayahoga Valley National Park, the evening cool for once, light. Marilyn wasn't home yet but Gary fed us homemade pesto and linguini, deviled eggs, fresh cherries and limeade. A literature professor, we peppered him with questions about what to read for the rest of our trip. He suggested Gibson - if you haven't, go pick up a copy of Neuromancer now, it'll roil your world- and Pym, by Matt Johnson, about a guy who decides Edgar Allen Poe's only novel is actually a true account, and sets out to retrace its surreal adventure. 

Then Marilyn showed up with thick slices of chocolate cake and we were done for.   

Rachel and I got our own rooms for the night, space being one of those simple but tremendous luxuries you can't find on a trip like this.

And when I went to turn off the lights, I looked up - and the whole ceiling was covered in a universe of tasteful of glow-in-the-dark stars: finally, the night sky we've been missing these last few months.