[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