We left the hotel and got right on Hwy 6 East, and stayed on that road for the first 49 miles! Once we got past the connector to get to Cedar Point there was not much traffic. We had a bike lane for much of the way, but there were stretches where it was a 4-lane highway with no shoulder at all. It was a lovely ride, with modest homes and small cottages for rent along the lake interspersed with lakefront parks, some of them quite large.
We stopped at Volunteer Beach near Vermilion where there was a memorial to those who fought in the Spanish-American War. It was in Vermilion that Dianne yelled at me to stop and take her picture at the Ritter Library--her maiden name is Ritter.
Robin had the SAG right in town, across the road from a comfort station that was next to the park where the farmers market was in full swing, along with booths selling jewelry and other fun things. We did not stop to look, since we could see the storm brewing out over the lake, and it looked ominous in our rear view mirrors.
Dianne, Lorna and I rode together today, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Robin and Lorna were supposed to trade places midday, but Robin graciously allowed Lorna to ride the whole day. We did not stop at all between the first SAG (at 19 miles) and the second (at 38 miles). The second SAG was at a lakeside park, perfect! Notice Robin's cool Star Trek jersey.
After the second SAG, as we got closer to Cleveland, the modest homes and cottages gave way to mansions along the shore of Lake Erie. Some of them were so large that we could not see the lake at all! When we got to mile 49 and got off Hwy 6 the storm was imminent. We could see it over the lake and the wind was getting very gusty. We had a lot of cues and turns, finally ending up near the bike path where I followed the cue sheet and Dianne, Lorna and Joan got on the bike path earlier than the cue indicated. With the storm at our backs I was not going to stop and argue about it, so we had a parting of the ways.
As I biked through Cleveland Lakefront State Park the wind was blowing sand across the bike path in front of me. There was a man on a loudspeaker trying to evacuate 10,000 people from the park--something very big was happening; whatever it was it was being aborted due to the storm. The people leaving in their cars were very polite, stopping to let me cross where the bike path crossed the road. The rain hit when I was about a mile from the hotel, and I got pelted! I rode on the sidewalk because it was coming down so hard that I thought the drivers of the cars would not be able to see me on the road. Besides, no sane person would be on the sidewalk in that weather!
We all met in the lobby for a pre-dinner champagne toast. Michelle did the honors.
I wanted a photo of Dianne, me, Lorna, and Ann (because we 4 rode around Lake Ontario prior to meeting this tour to ride around Lake Erie) so Sarah accommodated us with that, and then took the traditional congratulatory photo of Dianne and me slapping hands. I wore the nifty sweater with pink bicycles on it that Delia picked out for me for my birthday.
We all walked the 3/4 mile to the District restaurant where Michelle had made reservations for our final dinner. Cheryl did not go because her husband picked her up at the hotel, and Mandy and Jenny missed it too, having already left for home. But here are the rest of us at our farewell feast:
Above: Michelle, Ellen, Ann, Chris, and Sarah. Below: Sally, me, Joan, Barbara, Beverley, Monica, Georgia, Lorna, and Patricia.
Below: Dianne, Carolyn, Barb, Cindy, Kathie, Stella, Robin, Pat, and Alayne.
The dinner was superb and the desserts were to die for! We each paid for our own alcoholic beverages, as is the Woman Tours policy. When we were ready to leave, the restaurant manager asked if he could take our photo for the restaurant's website. We agreed, and I handed him my camera too.
Thus another successful bike tour ends.