Home: Sauder Village Campground
We’d planned an unusual two nights at Sauder Village Campground (normally our multi-night stays are places where we have a roof over us), partly because it was a way to enable Rett to stay up late for her video chat, partly because we’d done five straight days of riding after our re-start and could use the rest, and partly because my search for a place where we could economically achieve this socialization and rest was at a living history museum that we would both want to visit!
Our first night was surprisingly quiet and peaceful, since the Scouts quieted down quickly after their chaotic arrival, and we never got a neighbor on our other side.
It was a beautiful, cool morning, and we walked back out to The Doughbox, the on-campus bakery, for some of their National Donut Day specialties. On the other side of the counter, an impossibly cute girl strolled out from the back, rested her forearms along the top of the glass display case, plopped her chin down onto her folded hands, and with a bright-eyed smile asked “what would you like this morning?” Um, every donut you have, I guess? I know I’m getting old, but I unfortunately feel like I still need a few more years before I can ask a teenage girl if I can take her photo without seeming like a total creeper. Which is too bad, because there was an incredible ad for the shop right there to be captured! Instead, we just settled for a couple mornings’ worth of very good donuts.
We did some morning chores, with Rett handling the laundry and me riding a few miles into the town of Archbold to get some hardware to fix my bike seat. The broken bolt on my Brooks B-17 is of course some super-specialized bit of custom British-sized hardware (I also carry a specialized Brooks wrench with us just to tighten those tensions bolts). Luckily the Internet came through and one guy on one forum said that a regular M8 bolt can do the trick. Unluckily, the Archbold hardware store didn’t have a big metric selection, but experimenting with various things found me a patriotic American-sized bolt (and matching nut) that also seemed to fit well. And the Brooks wrench fit well enough for me to tighten it, proving that the “special relationship” between America and the UK continues to hold strong.
Sauder Village was fun, we tried to visit all of the 50-some buildings in order, from the early-settler crafting shops to the “new” early-20th-century “city street”, though we didn’t quite succeed. At the large “museum” in the middle (mostly an antique-shop-like collection with better organization and labeling), we learned about the natural and human history of the “Great Black Swamp”, the area we’d been riding through. The former swamp explained the quite-low population density in the area, its draining explained all the ponds in everyone’s yards (many turned into recreational swimming holes), and the museum exhibits took a surprisingly-environmentalist view that the draining was essentially a mistake, and discussed some restoration efforts underway.
In the 19th-century section, various historical tools were very bicycle-related, from the pedal-operated spinning wheels to the full bicycle-drivetrain-including scroll-saw, lathe, and sharpener in the woodworking shop. So my questions about them naturally led to our mentioning our current travels. And it was remarkable how engaged and interested all the historical re-enacters were in learning from us; I guess if you’re working in such a place, it means that you already have a more-curious mind than the average resident of this area, and we must have been much more of a curiosity than those average locals that quietly stream through. The train conductor (running the little train that circles the village property) had ridden across the country decades earlier, and was excited at the opportunity we gave him to recall that memorable event in his life, and we were excited to hear it.
Some unexpected sprinkles came through as we were getting ice cream from the soda fountain, which was concerning since we were a long walk away from our uncovered tent back in the campground! But luckily the overhanging tree was enough to fend off the small drops and nothing needed to be dried out upon our return, and it protected us as relaxed under the continuing drops that lasted until dinner time.
Now on Saturday, the night was quite a bit wilder, with the scout troop being louder and up much later, a big house party half a mile away with their super-loud music reaching us across the empty fields, incessantly croaking frogs adding random punctuation, and seemingly more and louder trains going by all night. The sprinkles returning in the middle of the night, requiring me to get up and close up our half-uncovered tent also didn’t help the sleeping. But, we had no direct neighbors on either side of us this night, so that was a nice bit of luck.
The last time in this region, we took a “break” on a more-northern route at Kelly’s Island, which was great but difficult for us to replicate this time due to the ferry schedule, so this was a nice alternate replacement and further proof about how much different stuff there is to explore and experience on this “same” route.