Sep 16: Cincinnati

Sep 16: Cincinnati

[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on September 16, 2004]

Hi, folks. I'm safely under the wing of my friend Bill, who was my youth director at church 10 years ago and whom I haven't seen since... he's now a minister, and he has a 9-year-old son who is really into geography and soccer.

Between the message I sent you Tuesday and the page of photos it linked you to, you've already got a pretty clear picture of the ride from Lancaster to Cincinnati. I had a very hard day on Tuesday and kept revising my expectations downward, so that I didn't pass through Xenia after all but bypassed it to the south. Most of the day yesterday I was following the paved rail-trail that stretches northeast from the Cincinnati suburbs well past Xenia and nearly into Columbus.

Once I got off the trail in Milford, things got a little tricky. I misjudged the width of a Milford sidewalk and smacked the hub of my left trailer wheel into a pole. I thought at first that the axle had been bent because the tire was rubbing against the frame of the trailer, but on further inspection I found that the entire frame had been knocked out of square... that is, instead of a rectangle it had become a trapezoid. A nice local police officer bought me a pop while he watched me fix it: I had to loosen about 18 bolts, straighten the frame, and retighten them all.

I had more misadventures with the trailer as I struggled into Anderson Township where Bill lives. Bill's wife is the director of a large theater complex (similar to the Guthrie in Minneapolis), so they have a much larger house in a much wealthier neighborhood than Bill's ministerial salary could provide, and that's great for their parenting options, etc.. But affluent neighborhoods aren't designed for bikes. At one point the entire trailer tipped over sideways into a busy street as I rode down curb at an angle... It couldn't be helped; there was no other way to go. Anyhow, everything's fine.

The local branch library doesn't have the maps I need, but the downtown library will be on my way tomorrow morning. There's a bike trail that follows the river all the way from here to the Indiana border ... which is ideal because otherwise Cincinnati is a very hilly place.

Q: How did you do that map?
A: I found the beautiful contour map of the US just by searching the Web for "contour map united states," and I'm afraid I've reproduced it without credit. I've edited it now with Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and The GIMP... whatever software I find on a computer is what I use. Basically I just used a round paintbrush tool for the dots and the pencil tool to make the purple line (hold down shift to connect dots).

Q: Your legs look very fit. Are you planning to compete?
A: Although I wrote about going "fast" in a previous message, my average speed is between 5 and 10 miles per hour, so unless there's a bike equivalent of a tractor pulling competition, I don't think I'd stand a chance!

Q: I wonder if my color monitor is offtune? Your hair and beard seem brighter red than I recall (maybe sun-bleached?)
A: Probably a little of both... my hair is definitely lighter from sun exposure -- especially on my arms -- but also the colors are off on that latest batch of photos. Rob's computer didn't have any of the programs named above, so I used the software that comes on the PictureCD to get the photos ready for the Web, and it doesn't allow color correction. If you research PictureCD technology on the Web, you'll find that a lot of photographers complain about what it (and its professional sibling, PhotoCD) does to colors. Fortunately I have the negatives as well!

Time for lunch! Since there's no Waffle House in Ohio, Bill has transferred his all-you-can-eat appetite to a local Indian restaurant. :-) --Ben

Ben Thu, 09/16/2004 - 14:14

to Lancaster, OH

to Lancaster, OH

The road south to Lancaster was pretty uneventful.  I carefully chose a route that several thousand motorists also chose, so I had to deflect onto less-direct side roads, but it was no big deal.

Entering Reynoldsburg (an eastern suburb of Colubus) I saw a banner for the Tomato Festival and decided to stop in, thinking I'd buy some salsa or sauce for Rob and Dully, but the only tomatoes they had were fresh, and I didn't think they'd pack well.  I bought some cinnamon-roasted nuts instead.

I arrived at 320 E Main around 4:00 without giving Rob the advance warning I had promised, but he received me gracefully.  We went to Dully's for cocktails and then to their new favorite restaurant (their old favorite having closed) for dinner.  Both are as sharp and interesting as ever, but both seem a little tired of the status quo.

I was tired when we left Dully's after dinner, but Rob offered dessert and we stayed up talking for an additional hour or two.

total distance: 40.38 mi

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Ben Sat, 09/11/2004 - 00:00

Lancaster, OH, continued

Lancaster, OH, continued

Since there's no UU church in town, I just hung around the house with Rob all morning and did computer stuff.  After lunch we drove to Keller-Kirn park and hiked around, got a roll of film developed, and then hiked at Rising Park / Mt. Pleasant.  We had some excellent pizza for dinner, joined Aunt Dully for dessert, and then played backgammon.  A low-key day.

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Ben Sun, 09/12/2004 - 00:00

to Deer Creek Resort

to Deer Creek Resort

I left Lancaster a little later than planned because Rob wanted to try to dry out my solar battery charger, which has had condensation in it since Ludington.  He wasn't able to make much progress, but he gave me some suggestions.

He also suggested a route out of town that would be less trafficked, but it turned out to be very hilly.  Even so I made good time and arrived at Deer Creek Resort (which is near Deer Creek State Park, which in turn is on the shore of Deer Creek Reservoir) before 5:00.  The campground has a lot of very nice, quiet, secluded sites, but they're all down in a steep valley, so I'm up with the RVs and things.  I hope they'll quiet down after dark.

total distance: 37.93 mi

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Ben Mon, 09/13/2004 - 00:00

to Spring Valley, OH

to Spring Valley, OH

I didn't sleep well last night because a bunch of raccoons -- at least three -- were making a ruckus right outside my tent.  I never heard such noises!  The Dog Dazer was moderately effective at quieting them down for a few minutes at a time.

I was really really tired all day today, but the nearest campground was south of Spring Valley, which in turn is southwest of Xenia.  I originally planned to go northwest from this morning's camp -- all the roads here are diagonal for some reason -- and then follow the bike trails sothwest through Xenia and Spring Valley to the campground.  But as the hours went by faster than the miles, I shortened my route first to cut out most of the bike trail, then to omit Xenia as well.  Too bad; I would have liked to visit a midsized town with a funny name and a bike trail running through it.  Maybe some other time.

Got to the campground and found the proprietor had left for the night.  Without her help to find the "primitive" campsites, I wound up at a site intended for an RV.  This wouldn't be a problem -- it's grassy, unlike the last time this happened -- except that there's a security light pointed right at my tent.  I'm tired enough I think I can sleep through it!

total distance: 49.28 mi

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Ben Tue, 09/14/2004 - 00:00

to Cincinnati

to Cincinnati

Today was not my day... I awoke to find that one of the campground's feral cats had marked my tent as its territory; then the morning air was so humid that even after an hour of "drying" I had to put the tent away wet.  When I tried to get on the bike path as shown on the map, I found that the trail entrance had been closed to bike traffic and had to ride about 2 miles to the next entrance.

But the ride along the trail was very nice and peaceful, and that was really the majority of the day.  I picked up a pamphlet in the town of Morrow with lyrics to a song that reminded me of Janmother.

When I got to the end of the trail in the little village of Milford, I tried to ride on a sidewalk that was too narrow and hit a pole with the hub of my left trailer wheel.  I thought at first that the impact had bent the axle, but it just knocked the trailer's truss frame out of square so that the wheels wouldn't turn... a nice policeman bought me a pop while he watched me fix it.

I asked for directions to Bill's neighborhood from the guys in a bike shop in Milford, but the roads they directed me to were extremely hilly and full of traffic with no shoulders.  When I got to the right neighborhood, I took a curb at an angle and my trailer tipped over sideways into the road.  In the dark.

So the trailer needs some work, and the tent needs a thorough airing out, if not a full washing, and I'm not sure how far Bill's hospitality extends.  We'll see...

Total distance: 52.76 mi

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Ben Wed, 09/15/2004 - 00:00