Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Day 43, September 6: Center of the World (pix added 9/9)

Hooray! I'm home!
Newton Falls, OH to home in Mercer, PA http://cyclemeter.com/85ef50859d8f1e5c/Cycle-20150906-0934
Trip distance: 52.2 miles
Total trip distance: 2535.1 miles
Average speed: 12.0 mph
Maximum speed: 33.7 mph
Riding Time: 4:21
Weather: at my 9:30 am start the temperature was 69° and the dew point was 67°. The temperature warmed up to the high 80s and the dew point rose to 74°. Wind was minor, blowing softly from the south.
Terrain: uphill 2112, downhill 1737. Quite a lot of climbing for a relatively short ride. The Shenango River valley that includes Sharon, PA centers on the 30-mile mark. The highest elevation is at the very end--our house.

The route skirts the northern edge of the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metropolitan Area, and goes through the cities of Warren, OH and Sharon/Farrell/Hermitage PA. The Youngstown Metropolitan Area has more than a half million people so even in the more rural sections of the route there are more residential, industrial, and commercial land uses and fewer "natural" and agricultural areas compared to most of my routes.

My route passed through the center of the world, in a manner of speaking. Center of the World is an unincorporated community in far eastern Braceville Township, Trumbull County, Ohio. It was founded in 1845 by Randall Wilmot, a merchant and innkeeper. Later Wilmot moved to Cortland, OH and called his grocery store "End of the World." (Joseph Green Butler, History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, 1921). Today, Center of the World consists of a few houses and businesses.

It's in Ohio.
Abandoned motel in Center of the World.
You can store stuff in Center of the World.
Center of the World's Lucky Inn. Their slogan is "make the Lucky your favorite place to party with friends."

Trumbull County Courthouse in Warren, OH.
David Grohl Alley is a block south of Warren's courthouse square. The Alley features the world's largest drumsticks. Born in Warren, Grohl is the founder of the Foo Fighters and the former drummer of Nirvana. 
Graffiti art in David Grohl Alley.
Drum sculpture made of steel in David Grohl Alley.
One of the Youngstown area's nicknames is Steel Valley. The decline of the steel industry here led to depopulation and the closing of allied industries and other businesses, although many businesses remain.   

Wasko's Inn in an industrial neighborhood of Wheatland, PA is closed.

Sharon Tube is doing well, thanks in part to supplying pipe for the hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") method of extracting natural gas from shale in the region.
By coincidence, my route took me underneath the I 80 bridge in West Middlesex, PA where I had a bad accident in March, 2006. I was driving home at night from a tennis match in Youngstown. My rear view mirror filled up with a truck and its bright lights, and then I got rear ended. I spun around on the freeway, crunched the center guard rail with my car's rear end, and found myself skidding down the left lane going backward with a tractor trailer headed straight for me. The truck driver swerved into the right lane and hit the front right side of my car with his left front tire. I spun 180° and came to a stop facing forward, with my car straddling the two lanes and vehicles passing me on both sides, at slow speeds. Luckily, I did not get hurt. The truck driver was also unharmed, and like me, shaken up.

The I-80 bridge where I had a bad accident in March, 2006.
After being rear ended, my car spun around and the rear of the car crunched into the center guard rail.

Skidding down the freeway backwards, a tractor trailer's left front tire collided with the front of my car. I feel fortunate that I was unharmed.

On our 2011 tour, Tom and I went by this former one-room school outside of West Middlesex and took pictures of it. At that time it was abandoned and in poor shape. Nice to see that a timber products company has restored it.
Corn field east of West Middlesex. Local corn acreage has increased in recent years, thanks in part to demand stimulated by ethanol. Unlike some of the corn growing areas I biked through, there are lots of trees nearby. Some of the land is forested because it is too steep for planting and other land has returned to forest because it isn't very fertile, especially compared to lands with better soils in states to the west.
I mentioned in the last post that I had entered the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau (see map below). It is a dissected plateau, that is, erosion by water has created steep relief. People sometimes call the higher elevations in this region "mountains," but when you are on top of a "mountain" or hill, you can see that the surrounding mountains or hills are about the same elevation, confirming that the region was once a plain. The Raisz landform map below communicates how streams and rivers have dissected or split open the plateau. The photo below shows steep relief created by Little Neshannock Creek.
The Allegheny Plateau. The gray line separates the northern glaciated section from the unglaciated southern section (source: Wikipedia article on Allegheny Plateau).
Portion of Raisz landform map showing the way that streams and rivers have dissected an uplifted plain that is now the Allegheny Plateau. The red line is my approximate route for the day and the green line is the previous day's route.
The photo flattens this hill, but it was one of the steepest of my entire trip. I felt sorry for the horse pulling a heavy Amish buggy up the hill on this very warm afternoon, although the horse climbed the hill faster than I did, so maybe it's not a very hard job for a strong horse. Beneath the bluff in the distance is Little Neshannock Creek, which created this valley.
About 2,535 miles after I started in Spokane, I arrived home. Laura and Angola were waiting for me in the street. Laura was waving a pink flamingo in celebration. The Find My Friends iPhone app we use allows her to see where I my phone is at any time, so she knew when I was coming. It is great to be back.

White legged old guy off the new blue bike in my front yard with Angola, a cairn, a globe, and a pink flamingo. Why the white legs? I wore leg coolers to keep the sun off my legs.


  1. Glad that you are home, but disappointed that I don't have any more blog entries to read. Loved the geekish information of each day's ride, the photos, and your Jim Hathawayian sense of humor...

    That was quite an accomplishment and adventure. So when's the next one?

    1. Aye Yai Yai! Those legs! My eyes!

  2. Way to go BD#2. An impressive feat for an old guy on a bike. I rode to River Falls on Saturday and was exhausted afterward :-) Great blog along the way too! -- BD#1

  3. Congratulations!! I so enjoyed following your blog. This must really feel like an accomplishment. But will it help you get a job??