WEEKS 11 + 12 RUN-WALK ACROSS AMERICA*; combined in advance of Earned Runs "2017 Vacation Week"! Segments maps are posted on the RESOURCES page and can be viewed on ACROSS AMERICA IN PHOTOS page; too many to post here.
Segment 27: Ferry from Milwaukee WI to Holland MI
Segment 28: Holland MI to Coldwater MI
Segment 29: Coldwater MI to Bowling Green OH
WEEK 11 BEGINS WITH A HIGH-SPEED ferry ride across Lake Michigan, from the terminal in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to one in Muskegon, Michigan. The trip takes 2.5 hours and allows travelers on their way into “Pure Michigan” (its advertising campaign) to avoid Chicago area traffic around the southern end of Lake Michigan.
Upon arriving on the eastern shore of the ‘Big Lake’, Michigander-speak that distinguishes this Great Lake from the many small recreational lakes in the western part of the Mitten, you will be at the far edge of the Eastern Time zone. The sun sets just before 9pm here in early August, and twilight extends the length of camping and picnicking trip days at State Park beaches even further.
From Muskegon you will travel through blueberry country as you move south to Holland, MI; the nearby fields will be in the height of production for the year. This charming college and vacation town, which boasts a Dutch heritage and spring Tulip Festival, hugs Lake Macatawa and its channel to the Lake. Humble, quaint, and stately cottages are built into graceful tree-covered sand dunes at the shoreline.
As the route continues in a southeast direction, it passes through farmland and around inland lakes. The most productive fruit, vegetable, and landscape plant growing areas are in this western region of the state because of the climate- moderating effect of Lake Michigan, which acts to extend the growing season longer than in inland areas. The state is third in the nation in apple growing and is a leading grower of blueberries, cherries, peaches, grapes, and other fruit. You will skirt this area and travel through farmland where dairy, livestock, and corn are also of agricultural importance.
On the way to Coldwater MI you’ll travel through the city that gave its name to Kalamazoo College, home of the Boys Junior National Tennis Championships since 1943. “Nats at the ‘Zoo” is one of the most important events for 16-18 year olds in the US, held in early August.
From Coldwater the route heads to another college town, Bowling Green, Ohio, briefly running through the very tip of northeast Indiana, also a Midwest apple growing area.
Segment 30: Bowling Green OH to Strongsville OH
Segment 31: Strongsville OH to Meadville PA
Segment 32: Meadville PA to Bradford PA
From Bowling Green the you’ll travel south of Put-In-Bay, a historic vacation resort town on the shores of South Bass Island in Lake Erie, and Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, which is a must–do destination for roller coaster ride enthusiasts throughout the world. The area surrounding the route is fertile farmland; you’ll see soybeans and corn as well as other field crops, dairy cows, beef cattle, and sheep among other livestock. The most important livestock product is milk; wool is also a leading product.
South of Cleveland, Ohio, the site of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as Home of the 2016 NBA Champion Cavaliers basketball team and Indians baseball team is Strongsville OH. The family of John D and William Rockefeller, later co-founders of Standard Oil Company, moved to Strongsville when JD was in his teens. The first oil refineries of their pre-Standard Oil Company were built in nearby Cleveland. Rockefeller Park is part of the vibrant city’s Emerald Necklace of metro-parks, an extensive system of nature preserves.
The road from Strongsville to Meadville, Pennsylvania takes runners and walkers through rolling hills, past horse farms east of Cleveland into the quaint village of Chagrin Falls, Ohio on the powerful Chagrin River. From there you’ll pass through Ohio and Pennsylvania Amish country areas with its lush farms, horse-drawn buggies, and plainly dressed folk. Middlefield Ohio, just south of the route, is famous for it’s fine Amish Swiss cheese.
Meadville is about 40 miles south of Lake Erie and 90 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, known for it’s steel mills and bridges. The Drake Well is nearby, site of the first commercial oil well in America. You will continue on through the Allegheny National Forest to Bradford, a city in the Allegheny Mountains very close to the border of New York State. This city, like Meadville, experienced booming growth in the country’s oil rush years. It is also known as the home of the Zippo Manufacturing Company, which has produced the iconic windproof lighter since 1932!
The past few weeks journey will have taken you along the relatively flat and green glacial plains of the Great Lakes region, up into the wooded heights of the Allegheny/Appalachian Plateau. With a bit more than two weeks remaining of this challenge, next week you will enter upstate New York and the Finger Lakes region, then move on to New England!
*Full disclosure, Michigan is my home state; West Michigan my favorite place in the world!
I've loved times lived in the Cleveland area too, frequently traveling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Maryland. That's why there's a bit of insider detail in this post.
YOUR insider information on places the route passes through or near, would be amazing to include. Please share.
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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