Our brief venture into West Virginia included such hilights as ... lunch.

Our brief venture into West Virginia included such highlights as ... lunch.

Eastern Ohio eased us into the brutality that awaits us over the next few days into Pennsylvania. FYI, if you’re ever traveling out of Columbus to the East, route 40 in Ohio has a wide, paved shoulder that is OFFICIALLY a bike lane. Go Ohio! We also now know, thanks to Andy’s Uncle, Lee witha K, that route 40 is one of the oldest commissioned roads in the nation, surveyed on the east coast by none other than George Washington himself. So thanks for those bike lanes, George Washington. We can’t say as much for Pennsylvania so far, having already rolled over the hills of route 19 into Pittsburgh with no shoulders & heavy traffic. Ohio: 1, Pennsylvania: 0.

On the other hand, Pittsburgh, the City of Champions and the Pirates, had the Mattress Factory – a modern art museum, and we took some neat pictures in one of their installations.
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It is amusing to note here that there’s a pitch black exhibit in one of their rooms. Like, pitch black. Put your hands in front of your eyes, and you can’t tell the difference. Black black black. There’s a railing, some chairs, and some sort of big room, based on the way our voices echoed. When Andy leaned over the railing to try & figure out if there was anything out there, his passport & bundle of cash fell out of his shirt pocket and onto the floor which, by the sound of it, was well below our feet. Light never came on in that room.

Pittsburgh is where we managed to run into half of the riders from the Bicycle Film Festival 42Ride! Three of our friends from New York are on this northern half of their cross country tour, and it just so happened that they arrived in the Steel City earlier in the afternoon than we did. There’s a photo floating around in an iPhone somewhere between here and Indiana right now, and as soon as we get our hands on that, we’ll post it. It’s adorable. Swear to god. Ohio: 1, Pennsylvania: 2.

Now, we can’t forget that near the end of our journey through Ohio, we got some fantastic, unsolicited advice from a gas station patron at our final destination who had passed us twice during the day. “I hope you’re not taking route 40 tomorrow…it turns into an awful gravel road.” This was good advice, because we didn’t really know where we were going. At that point, route 40 and route 70 were the same, and route 70 is one of the most major interstates in the world. His advice took us along some well paved, quiet roads and back to route 40 once it was passable again. Also, this guy negotiated with the gas station owner so that we could camp on his property, as long as we kept out of sight. That gets at least 2 points. So, Ohio: 3, Pennsylvania: 2. This of course doesn’t take into account anything but the last few days of Ohio, so it’s a bit skewed.

Here’s a tip about cooking: we’re getting a bit more creative at it, after having eaten nothing but couscous while camping for a good month. This time, we got some elbow pasta, which cooks quickly, and a small jar of tomato paste. Toss the tomato paste into the water after the pasta is done and voila! Spaghetti Sauce! But wait, there’s more. Gas stations are full of ingredients you’d totally add to pasta sauce if you were making it from scratch. And I’m not talking Pop Tarts or potato chips. Beef Jerky. It’s good for a lot of things. Just look at the ingredients. If it’s got stuff you’d love in your spaghetti sauce, chop it up & toss it in while cooking.