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Old 09-26-2010, 09:16 AM   #1
jdmetzger OP
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Epic ride to the top of Ohio

(cross posted from the BMW MOA website, for non-BMW riders to read...)

It was early on a late September morning and the cool morning air mixed with warm breath was fogging up my face shield as I prepared to set off on my journey to the highest point in the state of Ohio. It gave me a pause as I wondered what I might be getting myself into, and if I was really prepared for what lie ahead. The previous night I had done all the important bike checks - tires, oil, battery... but I wasn't sure what else needed to be done. Should I lean out the carbs so it runs properly at altitude? Is there space on the rear rack to attach a supplementary tank of oxygen? Should I rig up some sort of block heater or just make sure not to hang out at the summit for too long? Ignoring good sense, I thumbed the starter and pulled out onto the road, leaving behind the oxygen and forgetting about carb changes and block heaters.

Riding through the brisk air I quickly cleared Toledo heading Southwest, then dropping south. A layer of heavy clouds hung in the air like a blanket:



Major roads became smaller and a detour took me into the unknown on a narrow path. Rough though it was at times, I managed to fight to keep the bike on the road as the wind blew across the road - probably coming off the mountain ahead of me - still out of sight, but not out of mind.



I took twists and turns south through the state, past farmer after farmer harvesting their wheat and corn crops - bravely dodging tractors and crop trailers along the way. This was clearly no country for the inexperienced rider. I rolled into the small town of "Pandora". I checked the park but I didn't see any blue people walking around.



It's possible it was just too early in the morning for people to be out, and a bit too chilly. I had no time to waste as the mountain was still far ahead of me. I bid "farewell" to Pandora...



An unexpected sign alerted me to a very personal attraction I would have to detour to check out. A short distance away I found this:



I can only assume one of my distant ancestors had attempted to make a similar journey as I, but without the advanced technology of insulated riding gear, technical fibers, doppler radar, and cell phones, he must have failed, and oh so close to his destination! I posed in front of the sign and made a note to research this hero if (or maybe WHEN?) I returned home.



Now back on my track I struggled southeast, towards Indian Lake, possibly the last bit of civilization before the peak. My spirits were up and with the sun peeking out, I felt like I had a good chance to make it to my destination. I stopped for rations and a few photos:



While wildlife viewing was limited, I did find this hearty animal struggling to survive in an extreme environment. I dare not get too close in fear he could end my journey, or me his, so I made good use of zoom features on my camera:



Some smaller islands were within view, while others were far off in the distance - appearing to me as dots of paint on a canvas:



As I made my way out of the small village on the lake, sirens started to blare and I wondered if this was a warning about weather at the top of Ohio. It was a bit windy - possibly gale force winds at the top?? I briefly considered stopping to find a sherpa, but they would likely tell me to turn back, and I was not about to quit. There was still no view of the summit, but roads began to go uphill and I worried it would be a very steep climb to the top. I struggled to keep the bike in the correct gear and I tried not to overwork the engine that must be starting to struggle in the thin air.



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Old 09-26-2010, 09:16 AM   #2
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It was a long and gruelling trip, such that I was unable to collect photos on my way up the summit, but you will have to believe me when I say it was challenging. If you ever plan on making this trip yourself, I ask that you PLEASE condition yourself and be prepared for the journey. At the top I pulled out my camera for some quick photos - I didn't want to leave the bike sit so long it cools off and becomes impossible to start in the cold and thin air.

Proudly, I had made the journey to the top!



I went and stood on the marked high point of the state. For that time, I was the highest person in the state of Ohio!





From the top, I could see for literally ones of miles:



And the sign, marking my journey to such an altitude:



As well as the story of this location, quaintly known as "Campbell Hill" - once used by NORAD:



After taking photos, I quickly signed the guest book, took in one last awe-inspiring view, and headed for the bottom. At the exit, I stopped to get a photo of a monument erected in rememberance of the brave people who once worked here:




I hope you enjoyed my trip report. It was a tough one, but I had done it!

The route was roughly Toledo, to Grand Rapids, OH (via Route 65) then Route 65 south through Leipsic, then south to Pandora onto Route 696 through Beaverdam near Lima, OH. I passed the Allen County Fairgrounds (site of the 2005 MOA rally) and made my way to Indian Lake, then to Bellefontaine - the location of Ohio's Highest Point. The high point is now on the grounds of a school, so you can only get to it Monday through Saturday during certain hours. The gate to get in is closed on Sunday. I plan on heading back that way sometime as I saw signs for "Ohio Caverns" and "Piatt Castles". It was a good ride on a cool morning and while many of the roads were flat and straight, the scenery was decent.
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Old 09-27-2010, 12:11 PM   #3
rxcoop
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hey, any scenery outside of toledo is good scenery !! (spent 1st 23 yrs of my life there). enjoyed the suspense....
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:53 PM   #4
chrish4ku
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Top of Ohio

Wow - I think you have my home state of Kansas beat perhaps. If you ever get out to the west, you should do Tioga pass - Slightly higher than Ohio at 9,900 feet - and Yosemite park to boot...

Nice pics,


[IMG]http://claspics.com/733/513756/1285380944-667.JPG.php?p=*full-image[/IMG]
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:58 PM   #5
jdmetzger OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rxcoop
hey, any scenery outside of toledo is good scenery !! (spent 1st 23 yrs of my life there). enjoyed the suspense....


I'm planning on getting out of here. It's not a BAD place... just not great. In the meantime, I have to take advantage of any riding opportunity I can find.

As for riding in the west, that was my plan for the year until I ended up heading to the Alps for a week. Hopefully in the next few years, I'll get out there.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:05 PM   #6
GB
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Wow!! 1500 feet above sea level! I hope you didn't suffer from altitude sickness Thanks for the report and smiles
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