HOOT — Heart of Ohio Tour

Ya know, when I first heard about HOOT, I was hopeful . . .


Didn’t understand the connection with bicycling, but I was willing to go with the flow.

Turns out HOOT is a “budget bicycling tour” from an outfit called Columbus Outdoor Pursuits.

Basically I paid ten bucks for a map and a, “Have a good ride,” from the lady who took my two Lincolns.

But that’s pretty much what I needed. ?Instead of picking my own route, I knew I needed someone else to tell me where to go. ?My body tends to tell me, “Oh, just take the?flat?route. ?You know it’s really?flat?across the entire country. ?There’s no need for you to practice riding up and down hills, y’know.”

I stuffed the panniers with everything I’m taking on The Ride and headed off fully-loaded for a 62+ mile ride over what’s euphemistically called “rolling hills.”

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Rolling my ass. Oh, wait. That’s literally what I did. Rolled my ass over these things.

In essence it was the first “real world” ride with the bike as it’ll be going cross-country. ?Last weekend across the mid-west states the bike was loaded down but?I?picked the routes. ?I’m not going to have that luxury on the real ride. I’m going to have to handle whatever road condition comes up.

The Outdoor Pursuits people marked the roads pretty well. ?There was usually an indicator painted on the road a few yards before the intersection, then just a few feet away, then a follow-up on the opposite side of the intersection to let you know you were on the right track.

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I got pretty good at predicting which way the arrow was going to be pointing. ?Basically I just said, “Ok, which way would I choose?not?to go?” ?And that’d be the direction I was, ummm, directed.

Some things that caught my eye along the way today:

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If you’d blindfolded me and dropped me here, I would have guessed I was in Iowa.

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Covered bridge to nowhere. Literally. But it was purty.

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Don’t need to go outside Ohio to find crop circles. Who knew it was the Peaceniks creatin’ ’em, tho?

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Here’s to big chuckles, Jim and Vera.

Here’s the most interesting thing I spotted today:

2015-06-06 12.41.19Actually, that’s not really true. ?The prison itself?was the most interesting thing. ?With barbed wire, and prisoners all quite visible. ?But I didn’t snap any pictures of those things mainly because this sign greeted ya:

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No need to piss off The Man. ?Else you’re liable to wind up on this road:

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What’s a road need to exact revenge over? ?Did some cars make fun of it when it was only an alleyway or something?

Guess which dumb ass left his water bottles in his car?

Dumb Ass Extraordinaire

Fortunately, it was a cool-ish day. ?Temps in the mid-60s. ?Had it been mid-80s or better, I’d have turned back around and fetched them. ?As it was, I figured surely somewhere along the 60+ miles I’d riding, I’d see a grocery store or two. ?Pick up some water there.

Best laid plans and all that.

It was nearly halfway into the ride that I made it to Amanda, Ohio; literally a one-stoplight town.

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These guys in the center of the picture are still fighting over whether Kennedy or Nixon won the debates.

Fortunately for me and my thirst / hunger, like Big Foot, Subway is everywhere, including little Amanda, Ohio:

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According to that Wikipedia article above, Amanda has all of 737 people. ?They’ve got 460 students in the high school there. ?Those 460 kids get to go?here:

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Maybe they’re counting on Subway to donate the money from 5 million six inch subs. That’s only 11,000 subs per high school student in Amanda.

Do you know what information is nearly impossible to find out on the Internet? ?It’s, “Hey, how many tax dollars were used to pay for that school?” ?I bet I searched for nearly an hour trying to find out. ?And I’m still not sure I have the right number. ?I had to put together a few different things, read a ton of PDFs, and do some addin’ and subtractin’. ?(Which I’m betting this school’s graduates couldn’t accomplish.)

Of those 460 kids who attend high school, 35% of them as classified as “economically disadvantaged.” ?32% of them have “subsidized lunches.” ?Basically, that’s shorthand for saying, “This ain’t Beverly Hills.”

Best I can find out, this school was built in 2003 (even?that?information is nearly impossible to find) for a cost of 37 million dollars. ?Or over $50,000 for every?”economically disadvantaged?person” in Amanda. ?Remember, those 460 kids are part of the 737 that live there. ?You know any high school kids who have an extra 50 large lying around?

Not sure why this bothers me . . . except that it’s?one?school in a little bitty town that no one’s ever heard of. ?My tax dollars went to pay for this thing as the state of Ohio paid north of 85% to have it built.

Guess it’s better than this one built for $578 million in Los Angeles.