My Route

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Day 20: Saturday, 21st July. Destination: Rider’s Inn, Painesville, Ohio

Today I'm on the road to Painesville, just East of Cleveland. Stopped at the fancy new Conneaut library to get some weblogging done, heading on to Ashtabula for coffee and muffins. As a consequence, I've been singing Bob Dylan's 'You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go' all morning:

"I'll look for you in old Honolulu,
San Francisco, Ashtabula,
You're gonna have to leave me now, I know.
But I'll see you in the sky above,
In the tall grass, in the ones I love,
You're gonna make me lonesome when you go."

Had the good fortune to take a break at the Harbor Perk café, a smart place serving excellent coffee. I chatted to the owner and his wife about the contradiction of coffee in the US: everyone loves it, but the stuff served is generally weak, filtered and totally lacking in perk - unless you drink 3 or 4 mugs. Which, come to think of it, might explain the general free refill policy…

Beautiful weather all the way to Painesville. Cyling along straight, narrow roads that curiously criss-crossed alongside the lake required a certain amount of map-checking but in the end it was just a case of peddling to the next junction, stopping to puzzle over the unmarked roads, then pedaling on. I passed a couple on a recumbent tandem (first time I've seen one of those) who looked like serious coast-to-coasters, so I reckoned I was on the right road. Pulling into the town square in Painsville, on the Eastern outskirts of Cleveland, it looked like they were gearing up for a town fair. Quite the picturesque little University town, I rode my way passed marquees and stalls to Rider's Inn, an elegant looking place whose charm was rather compromised by the steely-smiled proprietor who, in my mind, rather traded on history, chintz and self-conscious quirkiness to justify high cost and low maintenance.

As you may have noted, I've yet to be won over by these 'characterful' historic Inns of North America. They originally came in to being to provide inexpensive accommodation for travelers; but it's the simple, family-run motels that have won my heart so far, carrying the torch for this essential service.