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Great Lakes Road Trip Day 11; Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the weirdness of US 223

The reason I swung all the way over to Cleveland was to visit some family that was moving to Florida in the following week and to cash in some hotel reward points to get another National Park in with Cuyahoga Valley.  I visited Cuyahoga Valley back in 2014 and found it to be worth another look, especially considering it really wasn't far from Chicago.  I made way up I-271 to OH 176 and took Wheatley Road into the park proper.







I stopped at the Everett Covered Bridge which to my understanding was recently rebuilt but may have been constructed in the 1860s.  My understanding is that there was thousands of covered bridges in the Cleveland area and the Everett Bridge is the only one left in Summit County.  Everett Road now swings around the covered bridge and the portion which became Oak Hill Road seems to be undergoing to construction.




At the junction of Everett Road and Riverview Road is the village of Everett.  I don't know when Everett was founded but I do know it had postal service in the early 1880s through the 1950s and is located next to the ruins of the Ohio and Erie Canal.



Things were a little foggy on the Cuyahoga River given it was an early morning in the high 40s.  I actually encountered temperatures in the 30s north of Duluth a few days prior, odd to see lows like that in August.





I did a good three miles of trail running out in the Ritchie Ledges which are a series of sheer granite rock faces.  Apparently the Ice Box Cave was closed off because of white nose disease.  I had to use the Octagon Parking lot since the Ledge overlook parking was shut down, I can't figure out why on NPS.gov.













I next stopped at Brandywine Falls which is a 86 foot drop on Brandywine Creek.  Apparently people have been actually trying to climb the falls given the low water volume and someone "may" have actually been killed from how Park Service warning reads.






Nearby the falls there is a bike bridge that offers decent views of I-271.  Apparently Old OH 8 is shut down for a bridge failure or reconstruction project, I don't know the exact details.






I next visited Boston Mills which was settled in the 1820s following the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal which partially ran along the Cuyahoga River.  The town was the site of a sawmill that opened in the 1840s and apparently had a peak population of about 300.  Boston Mills has had railroads in the area since the 1880s and my understanding is that the gas station is from the mid-20th century.  There is a decent view of I-271 and I-80 meeting at the Cuyahoga River which can be seen from the parking lot.

















I took OH 21 to reach I-80 and the Ohio Turnpike, had no intention of staying on it very long given the obvious speed traps in the construction zones from the day prior.  I stopped at a plaza to grab some food and found what is probably the most pandering road sign I've ever seen which says "Slow Down My Mommy Works Here!"   I guess signs like that are supposed to tug at the heart strings?



I took OH 57 up to OH 2 and followed it west along Lake Erie to Toledo and I-280.  I used to prefer OH 2 to the Turnpike given the traffic volume always seemed lower.  Really the traffic dropped off the map after the exits for Sandusky and Cedar Point.







I used I-280 to cross the Maumee River on the newer bridge then I-75 and I-475 to reach US 23 approaching the Michigan State Line.





The primary attraction of using US 23 was to spot the multiplex of US 223 which begins suddenly right over the Ohio State line.  There was even a reassurance shield announcing the presence of US 223 right before the Pure Michigan sign.





Michigan really de-emphasizes US 223 before it exits off of US 23 onto its own alignment five miles into the state.







Essentially US 223 is multiplexed on US 23 into Ohio so it can remain a signed US Route.  Currently AASHTO standards call for any instrastate US Route less than 300 miles to be deleted within a reasonable amount of time, presently US 223 is only 46.34 miles long.  Originally when US 223 was created in 1930 it ended in downtown Toledo.  Really USends covers the topic in far greater detail than I can, but the situation allowing US 223 to still exist is strange:

USends on Toledo endpoints

USends on US 223

I took US 23 north all the way to Brighton to close the day out and the round trip of the Great Lakes Region.  My circuit of the Great Lakes was about 2,721 miles in total which was a little more than I planned.  I generally try to cap my big road trips somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500 miles in segments of 300-400 miles a day.  Things went pretty much to plan and it gave me some extra time in Michigan for a couple days.


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