from the 2003 3RVS archives

The 11 Foot Chain Guy:  Favorite Rest Stops

by Wendell Brane - Wbrane



This month I will depart from the “rah-rah-rah-for-the-recumbent-bicycle” and do something a little different. It’s time I begin sharing some of my best kept secrets: favorite rest stops within 50 or so miles of Fort Wayne. Over the years I’ve come across a number of small town diners, country stores, and even remote grain elevators that offer the cyclist just the perfect refreshment on that long century ride. Today I start with my favorite: the Tipton Store in Tipton, Ohio, about 25 miles east of New Haven.

This small town (actually a crossroads) can boast of a population of maybe 30, counting dogs and chickens. In the late 1800s, however, it was a booming little community complete with a post office, grain elevator, school, church, and several businesses. The only thing that remains is the Tipton Store and a handful of houses. You can find Tipton in Paulding County at State Road 114 and County Road 71.

store outside

The store goes back to 1876 and has been under the care of Helen Griffis for the last 40 years, where it doubles as her home. Helen is your typical grandmother type who goes out of her way to welcome cyclists, offering water, a restroom, and even an air pump. She stocks ice cream, pop, bottled water, chips, crackers, candy, frozen Snickers, and all sorts of snacks including penny candy (yes, penny candy!). You will also find an assortment of Gatorade in her fridge. But this is more than just a place to grab some food – you will want to settle in on one of her comfy chairs, enjoy some classic 40s music, and just chat for a spell. The visit truly is an opportunity to relax. It doesn’t take much imagination to thrust yourself back in time 50 years.

Helen, store owner

Helen has seen her share of touring cyclists. Years ago the Adventure Cycling Northern Coast-to-Coast Route went through Tipton where as many as 30 or more cross-country cyclists would stop in each summer. (Recently, the route was moved a few miles north, missing her store). Helen doesn’t really turn over any profit; she just enjoys visiting with folks who stop in, including a number of the neighborhood kids.

The ride to Tipton is as pleasant as the store itself. Heading southeast on Old Lincoln Highway, turn left in Zulu on Paulding Road. Take this east 5 miles to the State Line. Turn right (heading south) and in a half mile you will pick up Paulding County Road 48. Turn left and head east again 7 miles until CR 71. Turn right (south) and the store is one mile. I doubt you will see more than 6 cars. The roads in Ohio are especially smooth, well maintained, and void of traffic. In fact, there is a three mile stretch that looks and feels like Kansas: no houses, not even any light poles!

inside store

Whenever I ride into Ohio I usually put the Tipton Store on the route. Get some friends together and check it out – I guarantee you will not be disappointed.