Today was a day without a plan. We were currently east of Cleveland, OH and we had all day to get home to Chicagoland. And I, for the first time in so many years, didn’t really have a pre-planned route to take us home. Alex and Rick wanted to get home to their wives by dinner time, Mike and I wanted to avoid rush hour and get home around 9.
After grabbing some complimentary cold cereal in the lobby of the Super 8, we took a look at the Ohio and Indiana map and agreed on a direction. At some point Rick and Alex would get on the interstate and Mike and I would continue on back roads.
Getting ready to leave
Northwest Ohio is kind of like Chicagoland, flat, so there really weren’t many exciting roads out here. I did locate a few rivers and we all know that roads that follow rivers tend to have a curve or two.
Waiting for the train to pass some where in Ohio
It was a beautiful morning so far, sunny and in the mid 50’s. I used the GPS to hop from one road to another, connecting the dots. The roads were mostly straight with a curve here and there, and most of them were empty. In Ohio we first followed the Portage River and then the Maumee River. The river roads were definitely better and more entertaining then the non-river roads.
Near Napoleon, OH we stopped for gas and decided to have lunch. There were many choices here, but neither of us has ever been to a Big Boy restaurant. If I had to compare it I’d say it’s like a Denny’s. But I thought the food choices were better here and who can pass up desserts that cost only $2-2.50, apparently not us.
Lunch at Big Boy in Napoleon, OH
The four of us waiting for lunch to be served
Our lunches at Big Boy: burger, salad, wrap and pork tenderloin
Ice cream sundae and pie for dessert
I had a pork tenderloin sandwich and a strawberry sundae. The food was really good and inexpensive. After lunch Alex and Rick took off towards home. It was just Mike and I now. We decided to head towards Fort Wayne, IN and then cross Indiana and enter Illinois north of Kankakee, hoping to ride along the river there.
Depending on what time it was we could either jump in I-57 or make it all the way to I-55. From Napoleon, OH to Fort Wayne, IN there was a lot of semi’s on the road and a lot of other traffic as well. For a while all we did was pass semi’s in the hope to try and enjoy some of the high-speed sweepers. But as soon as we passed one semi we would catch up to another and with the road being one lane in each direction and the traffic being heavy, there was not a lot of opportunities to pass these huge beasts. We finally reached Fort Wayne.
Past Fort Wayne the traffic was light and riding was fun again, unfortunately the roads were straight. We had some time to kill and wanted to relax for a bit but there was nothing of interest for a while. Finally almost two hours later there was a park on our left, we pulled in to the parking lot to check it out.
We’ve never heard of it so we didn’t know what to expect. It turned out there was camping and hiking here among other things. We were told there was a nice little waterfall not too far way so we decided to walk to it. We actually could have ridden closer to the waterfall, and probably should have. There was a parking lot there too. We ended up having a longer walk then we had hoped for and wearing our riding textile pants with 71 degrees and sunny it felt more like 90.
A long break to enjoy some nature in Indiana
The walk was so worth it because the water fall was really nice and the area was very relaxing. We sat in the sunshine for while listening to the waterfall, enjoying the outdoors. It must have been too relaxing here since all the sudden Mike wanted to take a short nap. So he went and napped under a tree and I went exploring some more.
All this relaxing, napping and walking was nice but before we realized it was already 7PM. We jumped on the bikes and continued, reaching I-65 just as it was getting dark. There was no point to take back roads in the dark so we jumped on the interstate arriving home around 9:30PM.
This was really a fun trip with great roads and good friends. And we got so lucky with the weather too.