With travel restrictions in Ohio freshly lifted, I was ready to put a few hundred miles on my 2008 Yamaha FJR1300 during this year’s Memorial Day weekend. Though I didn’t achieve the 700 miles I had hoped to ride, I ended up getting a chance to ride with a friend/re-entry rider; got to ride one of my favorite roads in Ohio; and had to make an emergency roadside repair to my brakes that cut one day of riding short.
Saturday (5/23): I took Interstate 270 North to Ohio Route 161 East, then got off at the U.S. Route 62 exit and took the national highway northbound. I passed through Johnstown and continued to the intersection with Ohio Route 661. I turned left onto Route 661 North and followed it to its northern terminus at Ohio State Route 13. I continued heading northward on Route 13 through Mount Vernon, where (after riding through what felt like a maze of streets in downtown) got on Ohio Route 3 North. I stayed on Route 3 to the U.S. Route 30 expressway on the south side of Wooster, where I missed my planned exit and ended up taking the dead-end expressway alignment of U.S. Route 250 and Ohio Route 83. From there, I got fuel at the Minit Mart across the street from the agricultural college on Dover Road, then followed Route 83 South through the villages of Millersburg, Coshocton and New Concord before getting on Interstate 70 westbound and heading home.
Sunday (5/24): I took Interstate 270 South and Interstate 70 eastbound to exit 169 (Ohio Route 83) to pick up where I left off on Saturday. I got gas at the Marathon station just north of the interstate, then headed south on Route 83 to its southern terminus at Ohio Route 60. I turned right onto Route 60 north and followed it South Zanesville, where I turned left onto Ohio Routes 719 and 555 to cross the Muskingum River and arrive at my lunch destination (Sheetz at the corner of U.S. Route 22 and Clay Street). I had planned on heading home from there, but I had a missed call from my buddy Paco who wanted to go riding. After calling him back, I headed north on Routes 22 and 60 to Interstate 70, which I took west to Ohio State Route 310. I then took Route 310 North to the Ohio Route 161 expressway westbound to get to Paco’s residence in New Albany. From Paco’s, the two of us rode several back roads north through Harlem, Ohio, and stopped in Galena to get something to drink. We then headed south from Galena on Sunbury Road, then hopped on Interstate 270 to get to Ohio 315 North. We rode Route 315’s curves, stopped for fuel at the Turkey Hill at the corner of Route 315 and U.S. Route 23 and then headed back to Paco’s place via U.S. Route 36 and Ohio Routes 37 and 605.
Miles Ridden: 510
Overall: Warm to hot, on-and-off high humidity
Temperatures: High 70s to mid 80s
Conditions: Mix of sun and clouds
The Saturday ride was one I am happy I got in early in the season. Route 83 is one of my favorite roads to ride in Ohio, and I’d only ridden it once before Saturday since I moved back to Ohio in 2018. Usually I take Interstate 71 to U.S. Route 30 to get to Wooster (where I start the ride), but I decided to do something different this time. Ohio Route 3 north of Mount Vernon isn’t technical, but it offers some neat scenic views and has some nice “hurry downs” (fast, flowing downhill sections) that were fun. That part of the ride also took me along the east side of Mohican Memorial State Forest and the tourism development on the south side of Loudonville. I didn’t know that existed, and it looks like something my girlfriend and I may enjoy when things open back up.
There were a couple section of rough road on Route 3 between Loudonville and Wooster, so much so that they apparently caused my left-side brake caliper bolts to vibrate loose. When I stopped for gas and lunch in Wooster, I noticed some notchiness in the front end and quickly found the problem. One of the bolts was almost all the way out, and the other was about halfway out. I tightened them back down and got a Subway lunch. I debated aborting the ride and heading home, but realized it would take me nearly as long to reach home via expressways as it would to take Route 83 to Interstate 70. I kept an eye on the brake caliper bolts, but didn’t have a problem for the rest of the weekend.
The ride on Route 83 was very good. While some cupping on my FJR’s front tire kept me from getting into corners the way I wanted to, it was great to see familiar scenes and corners as I navigated the road’s twists and turns. I made a quick stop in Coshocton to grab a couple photos of the old locks near Roscoe Village, then kept heading south to Interstate 70. Route 83 offers a little bit of everything, including some twisty bits just north of New Concord.
After getting the bike home and checking the torque on the caliper bolts with a torque wrench, I headed back out Sunday morning to finish what I’d started. While the southern-most section of Route 83 was shorter than I remembered it being (I’d only ridden that section once or twice before), it was a near-constant barrage of gentle to tight sweepers with lots of elevation change. The road was wet in places, and I ran into some gravel at the top of a blind crest. Other than that close call, it was great to ride a relatively unfamiliar road. The ride along Route 60 was good, especially the section north of McConnelsville that follows the east bank of the Muskingum River.
My ride with Paco took me along a couple local roads I hadn’t ridden or driven before. I’d never been on Sunbury Road as it follows the west bank of the Hoover Reservoir. It was good to riding with Paco, as he’s getting back into riding after not having a bike for about three years.