Due to a little error on my part, my planned morning activity did not happen in Athens, and I then had the whole day free. Originally, I was going to ride the path to Nelsonville and back in the afternoon, but with the extra time, a quick search lead me to the Quilt Barn Cycling Route in Athens. Now, possibly crazy for deciding to ride rolling hills with only one gear, on a bike that most parts were free or forged from the basement, I figured if it was too grueling I could turn back, or I could just take breaks, as I didn't have plans until the evening.
I rode out on the path to where the country roads start, saw the first first quilt barn and almost cried at the site of the hill after it. I have Cbus biking legs. So I made it up about 10 feet and thought that my heart was going to explode, so I stopped- and that's where the error was. The hill was so steep, I really couldn't get enough momentum to properly start, and when I would a car would whiz by or I would miss the cleat, etc. I made it about half way up when the ol' zigzag technique and my Pgh legs finally came back to me. So I made it to the top, and the view was amazing. I was very excited for my adventure. The route was so fun. Although a few gears, a helmet, water, mace for dogs and not wearing a messenger bag would have been more fun, I'll know for next time. It went through great parts of Athens and Alexander Country, and I had anticipated to see more of Appalachia; this was definitely the opposite. Most of the homes were huge and set with amazing views.
The "quilt barns" themselves were pretty weak and most along the lines of "won't have to tear your shack/barn down if you put this sign on it", but the route was well planned. I was having a bit of trouble finding some of the roads and kept second guessing myself (and the arrows on the ground), but the GPS usually said that if I continued 20 ft, I'd be at the intersection. At about mile 10, I was out of water, and by 12 I had stopped sweating, but then I came over the crest of this large hill, took the downhill around a bend and BAM! There were the Amish! I was sooo happy. If they would have been selling Kombucha and their treats were vegan, this is probably was 'heaven' would look like. I got some cookies, cabbage relish, zucchini bread and a fried apple pie and continued on. Slowly. At this point, the GPS had died, and my little square of hand-written directions was basically unreadable.
I took breaks in the cornfields and stopped to shoot a lot of random photos. It was breezy and perfect.
At the end of the route right before you get back to campus, it takes you past the Ridges. Just when I thought my day couldn't get better, I found the Ridge's cemetary. But of course, anything with the word "Ridge" today has lead to a large, tough climb, and the steps here were no exception. Luckily, I had the World's Best Sugar Cookies from the Amish to refuel with, so I stashed my bike behind some trees and headed up.
The first small set of plots were surprisingly marked, but continuing on revealed a much larger area, all unnamed.
The route was just over 30 miles and I was contemplating still riding the path to Nelsonville after, but the Community pool was open, so I went to a pool for the first time this summer. I had forgotten how much I love baking in the sun, and what a great activity it is. (although sad had I didnt get the extra 30 path miles in THEN go to the pool- next time)
I have a few good product reviews (including good reviews on items I previously was unhappy I was using but didn't want to buy anything different: moustache bars, carbon fiber shoes, the Brooks test-saddle; and review of the iphone that gets worse and worse everyday...) from my trip, but those will come later- but check this out(takes a minute to load map):