“Over the river and through the woods . . .” We didn’t find Grandmother’s house, but we did have fun riding on the Thomas J. Evans Trail from Johnstown to Newark, Ohio. This trail is the eastern half of the trail that we rode previously – the Panhandle Trail – but I enjoyed this side of the trail more. We were not riding along railroad tracks the whole way and we stopped in a more scenic, residential part of town.
The Thomas J. Evans Trail was effortless and beautiful during the first ten miles – we were on a very gradual downhill all the way! We went by farms and streams and some houses. Most of the trail is wooded in that delightful arching affect that comes with older, established trails. We felt like we were in a green tunnel, at least 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding farmland. There were rock walls, rivers, and lots of bridges. I think the trail must have been recently repaved because the transitions from bridge to trail were not as bad as some have noted. Also, potholes had been repaired.
We did not take the connector trail to Dennison University in Granville – we were already riding almost 30 miles and the students were moving in so we thought the campus would be busy. We followed the trail easily into Newark and stopped at the parking lot at what we thought was the end of the trail. When we reviewed the trail later, however, we found that we had missed a turn someplace and that the trail ended in a park. We could not find it and don’t know where it might have turned off.
The ride from Newark to Johnstown was just as pretty as the ride from Johnstown to Newark, but the last ten miles were all uphill. Not much uphill – just enough to make sure you knew you were always going uphill. I could not see the mile markers from my back seat on the tandem (they were on the asphalt trail) and it seemed like the last couple of miles took forever. But we rode the 28.7 miles in 1 hour and 54 minutes, so we were moving along. I know we went out much faster than we came back!
The Thomas J. Evans Trail is a really pretty trail and we had a perfect day to ride. We also had delicious Subway sandwiches (and cookies) in Johnstown afterward that helped us fuel up and recover. Nothing tastes better than yummy food after a good ride.