Thursday, June 13, 2014
The weather remained OK as we packed up one more time and prepared for the final day’s ride. The official route plan was to take a ferry to Kelley’s Island and, after couple hours on the island, take another ferry to Sandusky and ride from there to Sawmill Creek where the cars were parked. However, since I had driven to the South Beach Resort on Tuesday, I would instead just be coming back to the peninsula and return to the hotel to load up.
The 8AM ferry was a bit early, so everyone opted to have a more leisurely breakfast and head for the 9AM sailing. Before leaving I arranged for a late checkout time so I could come back to my room to shower and change before heading for home. Even so, I figured that I would have to be on the 10:30 return ferry in order to get back to the hotel and get everything done before noon.
We all made it to the ferry in plenty of time and crossed over to Kelley’s Island. Since I only had about an hour to get back to the ferry docks, I headed straight out to see the “glacial grooves” that I had heard so much about. Being an island and not very populated — especially this early in the season — the road around the island was car-free and a very pleasant ride as it stayed close to the shoreline before plunging into a “tunnel of trees” section before arriving at the state park.
The famous glacial grooves were created by boulders caught up in the glaciers of the last Ice Age that gouged the island’s limestone as they were slowly carried along. They are quite interesting to see; it looks as though someone took a gigantic milling machine and ran it along the rocks, creating grooves that are surprisingly straight and smooth.
This was the last time that I saw anyone else from the tour as I headed back in the opposite direction to take the shortest route to the docks. I was then the lone bike heading to Marblehead and knew that the trip was over when I reached the hotel and loaded my bike into the back of my car. A short while later, I got wet for the first time all week as I was caught in a short downpour walking from the hotel lobby out to my car to drive off! That gave me a chuckle and sort of capped off the trip, showing how lucky we had been with the weather for so many days.
But it had been a great tour. The weather cooperated, I met a lot of interesting and congenial people; rode some great roads; had some good food, wine and beer; and saw many things new and old. What’s more, I had discovered a first-class tour operator in Buckeye Country Roads and will be looking closely at doing one of their other tours in the next year or two.
[Sadly, their Amish Country Tour that I took the next year was the last, as a couple of years later they disbanded.]