Saturday, May 21, 2022

Ohio - Part One

Facebook is awful and it is wonderful.  Especially for a traveler like me that loves to connect with others and ride or just have a good conversation.

Last I left you I had one day left near the Virginia Creeper Trail in Bristol, VA.   I am sure you were rooting for me to go to Grayson Highlands on my last day in the area.  Instead, I decided to stop there on my way back South to Florida in the Fall.  Maybe there will be color in late September up there.

Instead I spent the day thoughtfully packing up the bed of my new truck.     

And maybe I visited Anytime, I don't remember.  But at 3:30 in the afternoon I decided on a Friday night there should be music on State Street in Bristol.   I grabbed my umbrella and rain coat because it started to rain.


The Virginia and Tennessee border goes right down the middle of State Street. 

The street signs in the area let you know if it is a Virginia Street or a Tennessee Street.


Near where I parked there was a creek and several families of geese with babies.


No music anywhere.  It was going to start at 7:00 and I wasn't energetic or interested enough to wait around that long.   I headed back to camp.

On May 14th I drove to Ohio.   I stopped to do laundry and while the load was washing I went for a walk and came across a pretty area with sparkling paddle boats.




I ate a sandwich at a park I came upon along the Ohio River.





At this point I noticed the lush green lawns.  And got a whiff of the sweet clover.  The bees were loving the clover too.


I had reservations at Scioto Trail State Park.  To tell you the truth, there is a Scioto Bike Trail listed in Trail links, I think when I made the reservation I thought it would be located there, but the bike trail is a short trail in Columbus.  I was about an hour south of Columbus near Chillicothe, Ohio.

This park had hiking trails.  I arrived on a Saturday and the place was bustling.



The cell service was lousy and there were no showers.  That's ok, it was part of the plan. In the morning I drove to Chillicothe about 8 miles away to go to Anytime Fitness.

Just as I was finishing my workout I got a call from Amy Spadafore.  She was in her car driving to Yellow Springs, Ohio.  There was an impromptu trike ride starting at 10 a.m.  I told her I would map it and see if I could do it, my trike was already in the truck.  

It was only an hour away, so I said yes!

I am excited.  I am happily driving down the highway and I over halfway there.  I suddenly remember that I locked the trike to the truck and the key to the lock is in my Weeroll back at camp.

I pull over and I call Amy.  She said she is going to call around to the attendees and see if anyone has bolt cutters.   I don't start driving again, I wait.  Then just as she calls back to tell me no one has bolt cutters, I realize I could go to an Ace Hardware and maybe they would cut the lock for me!

Amy then tells me that she got mixed up and the group is meeting 10 miles further in Yellow Springs.  I said, "Perfect.  I will get my bolt cut in Xenia and start riding on the trail up towards Yellow Springs.  I will meet up with you as you guys ride down toward Xenia."

So that is what we did.  It worked out well after all.  A couple of the people I had rode with before either up in Xenia a couple years ago when I was traveling and camping in my tent-cot.  

Some of them I had met at the Big Honkin' Trike Rally in Inverness, FL.

When I met up with them we rode to Xenia then back up to Yellow Springs where we had lunch at a Taco Truck because the restaurant was over an hour wait.






We then rode onto Springfield and some trail on a creek to a park.  There we chatted a while and watched the huge wood boring bees hovering about the shelter.




Everyone was parked in Yellow Springs.  It was five and I still had 10 miles to go.  I was hungry again.  Amy wanted a beer.  So we stopped at the Ole Town Grill (I think was the name) and had a beer while we waited for a table.


Amy biked part way back with me to Xenia.  She was aiming to get 60 miles for the day and did it.  I did about 53.  

As I drove the hour and 20 minutes back to Scioto Trail Campground I watched the Full Moon rise up in front of me.  It was huge and lovely.  

***

The moon I saw the night before was called the Blood Red Moon?  Or something like that.  My friends had pictures from wherever they were (Florida, New Mexico) of the lovely moon posted on Facebook.

The next morning I get ready to go to town to use the Anytime Fitness floor for yoga and their showers.

I get in my truck and see nothing in front of me and pull forward.  Clunk!

"SHIT!!"

I had run right over the fire ring!



I decided before I call my road-side assistance, I would build some ramps and see if I could back up off of it.  I walked around camp scrounging left-behind firewood.

It worked!


Afterward I put a mat down and scooted on my back under the truck to see if there was any damage, leaking, exposed wires.


Yay!  Nothing, just some scratches and the insulation stretched out of place bit.  Yay!



Though I was celebrating that it wasn't worse, I was taking note to always walk around the truck before I pull out.  I can't see much from way up there!

Speaking of frustrations.  I bought this water jug to use when I don't have water at my campsite.  Paid $25 for it!  And it leaks at the cap.  The store I bought it from and the receipt are behind me on this trip.  It is what it is.  I have to keep using it.  So I turn it up on end when I am not actively needing the water for washing or rinsing.


And another frustration!  I am hauling aluminum cans around.  Places I have stayed so far don't recycle.  If they knew how much energy it takes to make the aluminum for a can, they wouldn't not recycle at least the aluminum.  Sigh.





One evening during my stay, I went up on the hill and found two lines of cell service.  So I walked up there most evenings to practice Spanish with Duolingo and to watch for the Beaver that built the den on the lake.

I never had any luck seeing the Beaver.  There were young people fishing while standing on the den each night.

Amy planned another Impromptu ride.  Four of us riders showed up.  Kevin, Laurie (who read my books!) and Amy and I rode the Three-Creeks Trail and some other connecting trails, I am sure.  I was glad I had someone to follow because there were lots of trails meeting trails.

Kevin gets two trikes in his transit van.


I tried to do a selfie with the group before we took off.





We stopped for lunch at a place with outdoor seating.  I told the waitress, "Thanks for coming to work today!"   We have encountered places closes due to lack of staff.


In a area they were working on power lines they had placed wood platforms over the trail to protect the surface from the heavy equipment.  Thank you!


My last day at Scioto Trail State Park I went for a hike.  I texted Debra in Florida to let her know where I was and what trail I was taking.  I was glad I did because the trail was quite challenging.


I sprayed for ticks and wore long pants.  When I started out it was still cool, but the day ended up in the high 80's.


I encountered several large trees that had fallen on the trail.  I kept thinking they need trail volunteers with chain saws.


Getting around the debris was challenging.  In places steep, or areas covered in poison ivy.


I was thankful each time I encountered the yellow trail markers.  Fortunately, someone had painted a lot of markers.


After I finished the hike I texted Debra that I was done.  I sent pictures, but they didn't arrive to her until a couple days later.  That was the cell service in Scioto Trail State Park.

Packing up I noticed something I didn't really pay attention to before.  Well I noticed, but I didn't much care.  But now I see it is a problem.  

Last year when I was in Iowa I had a trailer repair place install some latches to hold my back doors open.  They mounted one lower than the other one!  So one is lower than the whole back of the trailer.  So when I go over a curb or bump, it is the thing that scrapes first.    It is already bent from the abuse.





Onto the next campground.

This one is in Plain City, Ohio.  It has great cell service and is close to a small downtown.  I can walk into town or ride my bicycle.   

This posting is evidence of the great cell service.  I tell you, I am soooo much happier when I can reach out to people and do research  and such.

Speaking of research.  I ordered a Truck Topper or High Cap for over the bed of my truck.  It was the Yukon style.  I say "was" because they emailed me back two days later and said they don't make the Yukon style for my style of truck.  I have a longer bed than standard.

So I told him to find me one that will be tall enough for my bike, 46" from truck bed to top of entry door.  He couldn't find one and returned my deposit.  

I am looking at commercial ones, and thinking about calling my team of guys that helped me through the truck buying process.  Part of me is saying I have spent enough of this dang truck already.  Part of me says, just do it and worry about the repercussions when I am 80 and run out of money.

Well, here I have cell service and I am still searching.  Debra has told me my friends are saying I should get a topper.  Everyone wants to spend my money, right Margaret!  It's you and me, gal, frugality R us!


So here I am driving from place to place while the gas prices are going up and up.  So much for not spending.  I feel like I am just tossing the dollars into the wind.  And all the time and energy and LIFE it took to make those dollars.

It is what it is.

On my way to this campground, I stopped to do laundry.  The laundromat turned out to be in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood.  There were notices on the bulletin board and store windows in Spanish.  I don't understand all of this note, but some of it.


While the washing machine was working, I walked across the street to the store.   I have to start thinking about eating what is in my fridge because after Plain City I will be in a campsite without elecric for my fridge.  I will be using my fridge like a cooler.  No frozen foods, less stuff because I will need space for the ice.


Right inside the door was a bakery.  They were stacking trays with fresh cream filled donuts, and sugar coated donuts.  I tried to order coffee in Spanish.  The clerk was very nice.   When she was done taking my money, she said, "Bienvenidos".  I said it back to her.  As I walked away it sunk into my brain that that means "Welcome" and she was welcoming me (a gringa) to the store.  And I had just repeated it, instead of saying "Gracias".  Oh well, this learning is a process and it was fun seeing the different produce.

Was I brave enough to try any of it?  No.

I posted pictures of my set up on the Weeroll groups I have joined on Facebook.  I got inquiries about the screens.  I got them from Amazon.  They are called magnetic screens.  The brand I got was Magzo, though there are several.




I commented on Facebook that the picnic tables are so far from where I could use them.  "Ask another camper to help you," was the suggestion.  Yes, I could do that.  But I set up a folding table inside the screen tent instead.  
The campground is adjacent to the town of Plain City.  I was able to bike around town.  I found an ice cream shop.  I got a text from Cindy and Regis in Florida that on their trip through Ohio they are staying at this same campground.  I told them about the ice cream, the nice cell service, the nice showers.  I didn't tell them that I came across a place called Der Dutch that is a restaurant.  I didn't go inside to see if they had pistachio muffins.


I had left my screen open on the tent and three big bees got in.  I didn't know how to coax them out.  After several hours they seemed to be getting quieter.  Two of them were practically on top of each other.  So I was able to use a plastic container with a lid and capture them and release them outside.



The lawn here is full of dandelions.

I was enjoying the cell service to do research and plan some September stops.  When poof, the screen on my cell went darker and darker.  What???!!!

You know, I think I have an old atlas with me, but really, I should have newer maps.  But a paper map isn't going to show me where the closest Verizon store is.

I got in the truck while I still had some use of the phone and headed to the nearest Verizon.

I walked in, a clerk came up, I told him my problem, he took my phone and went swipe, and it was cured!

Only just now as I was writing this I got a notice the page wasn't able to save.  It turns out my phone was out of power (I use my phone as a hotspot to get connected to the internet.)  I think it is time for a new battery on this phone.  This is the third time in one day I have almost run out of power.

On my way back from the Verizon store I stopped at historical marker.  It was infront of a statue of a Civil war soldier.  I am now in territory where the monuments are of the soldiers that fought to maintain the United States.


Right next door was a church and a cemetary.  I walked over there.


The New California Church had a leader that was outspoken against slavery.  When the civil war started he gave a sermon and recruited many soldiers to the Union cause.  

An Eagle Scout made a project to document and mark the graves of veterans.  There was a chart and a map.  What a great project boyscouts!



I had to read this stone several times.  Dad of two children (a boy and a girl as their graves were next to his) died himself at age 14 years five days. The children lived to be adults.... much older than 14.


When I got back to camp it began to rain... and rain.  My poor trike was out in the bed of the truck uncovered.  I began looking at truck caps again.  I saw one in the campground like I was looking at.  I asked if I could get my bicycle in that, he said he wheels two bikes in, no problems.

"You don't have to take the front wheel off?" I asked.  

"Nope, I wheel them in."






Some time during my day I cooked some mixed veggies with soy pasta to re-heat for my meals during the week.



Amy called again.  Another Impromptu Trike Ride!  This time from Columbus into Dublin where there is a pretty pedestrian bridge and cool restaurants.   

Again it turned out to be four of us riding.  Steve has made several things.  He pulled out his trike and wheeled the back wheel down a wooden ramp he built many years ago.  He also has a wooden platform in the back of his SUV that neatly holds his trike in place.

He showed off his new bags made from plastic rescued from the ocean.



Kevin led us through the network of trails and some neighborhood roads to his house where we took a break and he showed us his camper.



As we approached the Bridge district, it was amazing with new five-story buildings all along the path on one side and the river and urban park on the other.









The first restaurant we went to had 15 groups waiting in front of us.  So we went to a different one and got waited on right away.  




Steve showed me a picture of one of the trikes he created out of wood.  It is beautiful!  He has also created some out of aluminum. 
After the amazing ride, I drove over to Kevin's because he had some camping stuff he no-longer wanted.  I bought some poles for a shade awning, and a few other things.

On my way back to Plain City, I went over to a park that looked interesting on the map, with lots of trails in a round pattern.  Glacier Metro Park it is called.  When I got there I wished I had someone with me to share the experience.  It had lots of obstacle course fitness things, like tunnels to crawl through, ropes to climb, logs to balance on or jump over.  I loved it.  The place also had a dog park.   I texted Regis and Cindy wishing they were there with me right then.  We would have fun playing.

I have contacted Marsha and Dave who are neighbors ... were my neighbors at Windermere in the winters.  They summer in Ohio and are an hour away.  We made a date to go biking on Tuesday.  

I am blessed with this sport and with all the friends it has brought into my life.

Today is May 21st.  Yesterday was May 20th and Facebook reminded me of what I posted in 2019.  I was in the Netherlands on my first (and only so far) trip across the big pond.  I was walking with the friends I had traveled there with when it hit me it was the one year anniversary of George's death.  This is what I posted yesterday:

As my friends Ann Abeles and Fred start their bike tour of the Netherlands, I get a reminder that three years ago I was with my friends El Towle and David Roger Aggett walking to the grocery store in the Netherlands.
While we were walking I remembered that the day was May 20th; The day that my sweet husband of 41 years passed over. Now it has been four years.
I tell those who have lost their partner, "All the influence your loved one had on you all those years you were together is still in you, a part of who you are. In that way, you can love those parts in you and continue to celebrate the life you shared."
Now I am in Ohio. It is a rainy morning and I have cell service. I can do some work! I am so happy about that. "George, are you with me on that?" In my memory I remember his smile, and hear his giggle.

Kevin who led the ride today just sent me a link to a truck topper.  Yep, it was the one I had picked out yesterday.  Now to find out if the opening is 46" tall and if they make it to fit my truck!





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