October 21-22, 2017
Here are the .gpx files for the routes down and back…
This is going to be a great ride. I’ve made a few changes to the Saturday route. Instead of taking the Moravian trail over to Deersville we’ll pick up Route 258 at Stillwater – a stretch of new blacktop with some great twisties – and then take 342 to Freeport. We’ll get to the Wooden Wheel in Quaker City right at noon for an unpretentious and hearty Amish lunch, after which we’ll ride over to Barnesville and get on Route 26. This was the first time I’ve ridden the northern portion of 26 and it is one curvy road! Some of the blacktop is brand new with fresh edge lines and it’s smooth as glass. A lot of this section of 26 follows ridge tops, offering great panoramic views of the countryside. The southern portion of 26 is slightly less curvy as if follows the Little Muskingum River for most of the way. We’ll get to the Quality Inn in Marietta by 5 pm and have time to relax before dinner at 6:30. We found a nice Italian restaurant overlooking the Ohio river – if the weather is nice we can sit outside and supervise the river traffic.
Sunday’s ride is the same as last year – the Triple Nickle from Belpre to Zanesville, with a little loop on Route 78. The Triple Nickel also follows ridge lines, with occasional dips through valleys and along rivers boardered by limestone cliffs. I had forgotten how extreme some of the curves on 555 are, some of them decreasing radius and off camber to boot (YIKES!) so caution is advised. And, the hills – some remind me of riding a roller coaster where you experience those negative G’s coming over the top. Line of sight is very limited on these hills, and it wouldn’t be hard to get airborne if you felt like living dangerously, which I don’t! Route 78 boarders Wayne National Forest and Bur Oak State Park, a beautiful area of undeveloped Appalachian wilderness. Fall colors should be at or near their peak on our ride, and the panoramic views will be spectacular as we cruise the sweepers on this lovely stretch of highway. We’ll be at the Muddy Miser’s Cafe in Zanesville for lunch at noon, and you are on your own to find your way home from there.
I’ll keep a moderate pace on this ride; those of you who like to ride a little faster may want to ride your own ride. I’ve listed the rest stops on the map you’ll know where to meet the group if you want.
Departure will be 9:00 a.m. sharp on October 21 from Bob Evans in Macedonia (Rte 8 and I-271). Come earlier for breakfast. You should be able to get back to Cleveland by 4 on Sunday. I’ve ordered up a crisp fall day with sunny skies and white fluffy clouds, so we should be all set for a great weekend.
I’ve heard from about 15 people so far, so we’ll have a nice group. The Quality Inn has plenty of rooms so you should be able to get a room if you haven’t already. It’s a very nice hotel, by the way, with large swimming pool (the hot tub MAY be operational by the time we get there), bar and restaurant, and pretty good complimentary breakfast.