Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | August 7, 2016

Days 51-52: Farewell friendly Indiana; hello Ohio

Day 51
Destination: Van Wert, Ohio
Saturday’s mileage: 60. Total: 2,875

Larry and Mark at Spokesmen

Larry pronounced my bike fit for the rest of the journey; then he sent us to Johnny’s.

Our last experience in Indiana was our sweetest. I needed to stop at a bike shop in Huntington and connected with Larry Buzzard at the Spokesmen Cycling. It was a great stop for a number of reasons.

First, Larry gave my bike a quick cleanup/lube. He’s got a beautiful little indy shop (check it out if you’re in that neighborhood) and I’m always happy to throw business to those guys. Second, he had a nice selection of air pumps and I needed a new one. Sold! Third, because I had to wait for the shop to open, I had a late start, so I asked Larry where to have breakfast/lunch. He pointed out the door. “Right next door,” he said.

Melody and I walked out of Larry’s shop and walked back in time — in so many ways. Johnny’s restaurant has been around for nearly 70 years and it’s unique. A one-time drive in, it’s just a diner in the round. Built by the owner, Johnny Davis, after he returned to the U.S. after World War II, it serves a classic diner menu. But the food is great. The service is friendly. And if you’re lucky enough to get there, make sure to sit at the horseshoe-shaped bar and visit with the locals.

diner pano

Sam was moving during this pano attempt, but I was only too happy to accept the banana bread gift from Jim while Doug enjoyed his coffee.

In our short time at Johnny’s, we met Jim, who gave us one of the two banana-raspberry bread loafs he had intended to share with the waitstaff. We met Doug. And Johnny’s two sons, who stopped by to grab some food. We met Tonya, a server who was gathering addresses and phone numbers of regulars so she could invite them to her upcoming wedding. We met Raymonda (Sam) who told us about her engagement, which happened just the night before. We met Tonya’s son, who was working to earn enough money to fix his car. We met a local professor and his wife, who on their way out the door, bought us an order of Johnny’s famous cinnamon buns. It goes without saying, we had a great time and Johnny’s will leave a lingering good feeling in our bones about Indiana.

Later in the day, I crossed into Ohio and a little while after that I was greeted in tiny Scott, Ohio, by a mom and her twin daughters. My day was done and it was sweet one in so many ways.

greeting committee Scott, Ohio

My mini-greeting committee in Scott, Ohio.

Day 52
Destination: Upper Sandusky, Ohio
Sunday’s mileage: 75. Total: 2,950

We’re in grind mode, now. I’m closing in on 3,000 miles (which I’ll get to tomorrow), somewhere between Mansfield and Mifflin, Ohio, I think.

Today I deviated a bit from my planned route. I was looking at a map last night and noticed that we were close to the Lincoln Highway. A little research later and I decided to ride today all the way to Upper Sandusky on this historic route. There wasn’t a ton about this ride that was notable, but it was cool to ride on what was the first transcontinental highway in U.S. history. So there was that.

Otherwise, I just plowed forward — into the wind — and kept my legs moving. It looks like I might make it to Pittsburgh a little ahead of schedule, and I’ll keep pushing on down the road from there. I’ve really enjoyed this ride, but I’m eager to put that front tire into the Atlantic Ocean. Let the countdown begin.




  1. Gee, you could have done several states using the Lincoln Highway. I’m on it practically everyday. Ohio! WOW! You’re flying!

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