Thursday, July 17, 2015
This was the day to transfer to the hotel in New Philadelphia, which we were sure would not live up to the Berlin Grande. But first, there was one more adventure in store for us in Berlin. I thought that having to go to the lobby after the tornado siren went off was unusual, but it was even more of a surprise when the smoke alarm went off — very shrilly — at 5:30AM just before my planned wake-up time. At first I thought it was a malfunction in my room, but when I opened the door to the hall it was much louder out there — not something you could ignore! So I dressed quickly and once again walked down the stairs and out of the hotel into the surprisingly chilly morning air where others were already gathering and shivering. At least the situation was cleared up within 15 minutes or so and we went on in to our rooms and a slightly earlier breakfast.
After all the excitement, we started at 8:30 as a group this time because we had an appointment for a private tour of the nearby German Heritage Center. This was one of the highlights of the tour as one of the Amish guides gave us a very interesting overview of Amish and Mennonite history in their cyclorama room where there is a tall 360-degree mural illustrating their history from the early days of Christianity up to the present era. I won’t try to summarize everything here, but suffice it to say that I came away with a much better understanding of these people, how they live, and their outlook on life and the world. Very interesting indeed!
The day’s routes were defined as 27, 42, and 46 miles and I decided to do 42 (with some adjustments for the usual detours). The road was rolling as usual, but nothing serious until we approached the town of Walnut Creek. We had been notified of this climb, so I slogged up the long hill in my lowest gear only to discover that it was not the hill into town — that was the next hill. That was enough to throw me off my game and I ended up walking for only the second time of the week up the last 50 yards or so. Anyway, after Walnut creek there was a long, satisfying downhill onto more rural roads with great pastoral scenery and no traffic.
The next miles of this route were some of the more enjoyable of the tour, having lots of rural scenery along narrow, winding (and mostly flat!) country roads with very light traffic, if any. We were definitely out of Amish country and some of the small towns that we went through had a bit more of a run-down appearance than we’d seen in the previous days.
We came back into “civilization” and busier roads in the town of Sugarcreek, where our rest stop was also located. Chris had the stop well under control, but since this was about 2/3 through the route and I wasn’t sure what would be available at our destination, I decided to avail myself of the nearby Country Chalet to have some lunch before continuing.
New Philadelphia is a larger and busier city than the other stopping places and is located next to I-77, so traffic can be pretty ugly around the interchange. But BCR had managed to plot a route for us so that we would not have to contend with the busy stretch of road except for the short distance to the other side of the expressway, where our hotel was located. I pulled in at the Schoenbrunn Inn just about at check-in time, having gone 40 miles for the day.
Dinner was to be on our own again this evening, although there were only a couple of choices within walking distance. So Rod and Joe made some reservations that most of us took advantage of and then shuttled us a couple of miles to Uncle Primo’s — a restaurant with an Italian menu along with a number of other good selections where we ate out on the back patio. They had rented a large van for luggage transport for the week and were able to squeeze us all in to make it in one trip.
Only two more days on the schedule…