Saturday, June 4, 2022

Ohio - Part Two - and Onward

 “ For my part I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travels sake. The great affair is to move, to feel the needs and hitches of our life. More nearly, to come down off featherbed of civilization and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints."

- Robert Louis Stevenson

That quote was posted on Facebook by Katheryn Mossbrook Zimmerman (BagLady) when she paused her tortuous cancer treatments to hit the road again.  She is an amazing traveler, riding alone on her trike in foreign countries.  Now she is traveling by van and boondocking.  A woman of wisdom and courage with a zillion diverse friends from all over the world. 

I am writing this from Joan's kitchen table.  She and I were caregivers at the same time.  We met when she and her husband came to visit Florida and ride the Withlacoochee one winter.   She invited me to stay with her for a few days.  I am sleeping inside a house for the first time in months.  

I am starting to hear from some of you.  Checking in to see if I am ok because I haven't posted in a while.  I am now at a time and place where I have internet access and a few hours of time.  So hello there!

This morning Joan and I did a 30-mile bike ride on what she calls the flat lands of Illinois and I call the hilly roads south of Chicago.  It is all a matter of perspective and mine is from the flat rail-trails of Florida.

Before we left the driveway, Joan wanted to take my picture on the trike.  I think it turned out pretty cool because Big Blue and Lilac are in the background.   Thanks, Joan!


I never gave my trike a name.  Joan says I should.  Any ideas?

We rode to the meeting place where we would meet up with some of the folks from her bike group.  It was on the Plank Road Trail in downtown Frankfort, but there was a 5K run going on.  To avoid the crowds we took the roads.








I was in Plain City, Ohio when I left you last.  That seems so long ago!   What were YOU doing around May, 21, 2022?  

One day while I was there I discovered there was a short trail nearby.  I rode over to it on my two-wheel and was delighted with the six-mile trail.


I went by Merchant Park named after a settler named Merchant.  There is a plaque commemorating the contributions of this early settler family and their ancestors.


At the far end of the trail was a brewery and a neat area.  I took pictures because I wanted to share the experience with Regis and Cindy that were planning on being in the same campground as I was in, later this summer.

I explored the town and saw a swan being territorial in a little pond.  I took a video.



That day I checked Facebook and saw that a fellow Sister on the Fly was camping in a state park with wild horses.  She got up early that morning to watch the sun rise.  She got this picture, the sun wasn't the only think rising that morning.  I laughed and saved the picture.  So beautiful and funny at the same time.

One day I drove to Maryville to use the Anytime Fitness.  I walked around the historic area.   I walked behind this sign to look at the log cabin behind it.  Next to the building on the right...
... were three or four grave markers right next to the building.  I had never seen this before, have you?  Was this a common practice to bury your dead right next to your house?


I had neighbors in Windermere that live about an hour away from Plain City, so I contacted them and they invited me to come ride their trail.  The Marion Tall Grass Trail runs west on an old rail road bed out of Marion, Ohio. 

It had been raining on and off while I was in Plain City.  I decided to put a tarp on both bikes to protect them from the rain.  But on my two-wheel the tarp acted like a sail.  It didn't look right in my rear-view mirror on my way to Marion.  It is a good thing I stopped to check it out!  I removed the tarp. 

My words of wisdom for the day, "It is better a wet and rusty bike than no bike at all."


Dave and Marsha rode their tandem recumbent.  Dan Sheridan, who I had met before when he visited Marsha and Dave in Florida, also rode with us.  He had to get to work later in the day, so he just rode an hour with us.  It was wonderful learning more about him.  He is a pharmacist at the hospital and he is in a leadership role for creating, improving, and maintaining the trail we were riding.  He pointed out areas that were a challenge.   Instead of posts at the road crossings to keep cars from turning onto the trail, they instead have planted garden islands and seek out volunteer residents in the area to "adopt" the island and maintain it.

On top of working and volunteering Dan rides100-mile bike rides sometimes several times a week.

I was impressed and humbled.  

Then I was humbled again when I got to know Marsha more and learned that she had hosted four foreign exchange students, was a foster mom, and when she was a young mom herself she would go to the home for "crippled children" and bring them home for an afternoon of fun.

At the end of the trail we rode the country roads past Amish farms with buggies and clothes on the line.  We stopped at a store where we could order a sandwich to go.  Across the street from the store was a brick building with a plaque out front.  Verbal history told that the Wheeler Tavern was a station on the Underground Railroad.


We passed several fields with Mares and cute foals.


There was a shelter named after Dan the Pharmacist and Trail Activist and long-distance rider extraordinary man.  Thank you for your service to the communities along the trail, Dan!


The next day I moved Lilac to John Bryan State Park near Yellow Springs.  This was my first experience camping without electric power at my site.  I had to buy bags of ice every day to keep my fridge cool.  Maybe I should get a better insulated fridge.  I heard the Dometic brand is good and they make one with a front door instead of the top lid.

The campsites are roomy at John Bryan State Park near Yellow Springs, Ohio.


This winter, in anticipation of camping without electric I bought a power box.  I have not bought the solar panels to go with it.  Instead I was planning to plug it into wall power somewhere every third day.

I can plug in AC and DC into it at the same time.  I was able to charge my phone, my lights, and run my computer. And it still had over 80% of its power remaining after three days.

I am on the Impromptu Trikers of Central Ohio Facebook group page, so for a rainy day I asked if anyone wanted to go with me to Wilberforce College to the museum there.  Kathy E. said yes!  I was delighted.  

In 2008 George and I just happened upon this place on our trikes.  One of the first colleges for blacks, this museum highlights the amazing people who have accomplished great things.

There were a couple of places where books were mentioned.  Kathy said these were amazing books and I should read them.  I took pictures so I would remember the titles of Thirty Years a Slave
Piqua, Ohio, I would be riding through on the Great Miami Trail held one of communities set up by and for former slaves and those that advocated for the end of slavery.

Kathy and I had a great time.  Our hearts were breaking and then we were celebrating, it was soooo good to have someone like-minded to share this experience.  Thank you Kathy!


It was still threatening rain, but I wanted to explore this lovely park.  I contacted Debra, my friend and emergency contact back in Florida and told her where I was and what trail I was taking.  I had my rain coat, my walking sticks, my backpack with whistle and compass, and my cell phone.  Let's do this!

The ranger had told me I shouldn't hike when it has been raining, the trails get slippery and too often they are having to rescue someone hurt on the trail.

I thought, what?  the trail was fine.  I was strong.  Did she think I looked old and feeble?  Did she think I was inexperienced?  So I walked.  It was lovely.


There were giant trees and pretty green mosses and a rushing river and trickling streams.


And challenges to get over.

And then there were all these trails criss-crossing.  I finally found a map and figured my way back to camp, but then there were so many un-marked intersections I had no clue which way to go.  I thought, go back to the river and follow the river.  But nahhh, I would keep pushing forward.

Then I found another map.  Good!  I am at H.  I studied and studied the map.  Was it because I was beginning to panic I couldn't find H anywhere on the map?  Can you find H on this map... other than the big stamp in the upper right?

But, I was on an official trail.  Did I tell you it was pouring rain by now?  Yes it was.  

But as it turned out, I was only a few feet from the campground at H.  I was very happy to get back.

My rain coat (which is new to me) didn't keep me dry.  I grabbed some dry clothes and headed right to the showers.  Oh, and I remembered to text Debra and tell her I made it back ok.


The Great Miami

Even though I was camping in Yellow Springs that was right ON the Little Miami Trail.  I drove an hour to Tipp City to ride the Great Miami Trail with the Impromptu Trike Riders of Central Ohio.  There were 19 riders that showed up for this ride.  I got to see some of those that rode in the Columbus area and some of those that rode on the Little Miami Trail the week before with me.  





I don't have a tattoo yet. I like this one.


A large area had a big flood so the areas created dams and parks that can flood.  The trail goes through those flood areas.  As we rode I saw evidence of mud that was scraped off the trail.  And we detoured around at least one flooded area.



I like it when a ride ends up at a place to eat.  We stopped at a Mexican restaurant.


Waiting for food is when the conversation hums and you really get to talk with people.

When we were riding I was talking with Cindy and asked what she did when she wasn't riding.  She lived in the Tipp City area and likes to walk.  She pointed to a path that she walks down often.  

After the ride, when my trike was back in the bed of the truck, locked, and covered with a tarp, I decided to walk over to that trailm which was just a block away, and check it out.


It was very pretty and manicured and went along a swiftly moving stream.

Then I saw something out of the corner of my eye.  I stopped to observed and took a video of it.



On my way back up the trail I saw that the snake didn't like the hollow and was leaving it.  I watched until he disappeared into the brush.  


Another ride with Amy and the Impromptu Riders.  We started in Urbana, Ohio which was North of Springfield, Ohio.   The trail was mostly crushed limestone surface and went through farm country.


Jim Cook was on the ride, but I didn't get a decent picture of him.  A boisterous supporter and organizer for the creation and maintenance of the trail.  Thank you Jim for your service!




On this ride I talked a lot with Roger and Bernie who drove two hours to attend this ride!  They are from the Cincinnati area.  Roger talked about a ride he leads meandering the trails of Cincinnati. I was  very interested and wondered if he was going to do it in late September when I come back through the area.  Roger said, "You tell me when!".  When I got back to my calendar I let him know when I would be back through, and I hope to ride Cincinnati with this active group of Trike-riders.



On my way back to John Bryan I stopped at a gorge that was nearby.  Clifton Gorge?  Anyway, it is amazing that flat farm land can be all around and then step into these woods and a stream in roaring between rock cliffs.  It was pretty cool, I was glad I stopped to look.






When I was at Oasis in Florida, the campground metered my electricity use like they did all the campers.  The first month is was about $4.  The next month when it was real cold, it was $7.  It never went over $10.  The last morning in John Bryan I decided to try using my coffee maker.  I did.  The power supply showed that for the three days I was at John Bryan I only used 30% of the power available.  I still had 70%!

One of the things about planning this all out ahead is that I am not perfect.  I left John Bryan but I didn't have a place for the next night.   I could have boon-docked somewhere or stayed in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel or an Anytime Fitness.  But instead I searched and found a city campground.  Only it charged me $44 per night!  That seems like a lot, but times are changing.

On my way I stopped at a nice lake.  There were people gathering for the Memorial Day Celebrations.  A band was tuning up.




At my $44 campground, they had a code lock on the bathroom doors.  Well, when I went to do laundry in town I took in with me the brochure where he wrote the code.  Then I set it down somewhere.  By the time I discovered I didn't have the code, the office was closed.  So no shower for me that night!   It was warm enough for a sponge bath in Lilac.

There was a beach and a short bike path by the campground.  They had black squirrels.  I saw one with a brown tail.





When I went to dump water into the sewer I heard a lot of birds chirping.  There were rusted out holes in my neighbor's camper and the birds were raising their families in there.


I arrived at Indiana Dunes State Park.  This is at the southern tip of Lake Michigan.   I was excited because I was going to see my good friends, Frankie and Dennis.  I love Frankie, we always have stuff to laugh about.  They live in this area, and they come down most winters to the Inverness, FL area.  

I got to the park before check in time, so I went to a picnic area and ate my lunch and then walked over to the Nature Center where I learned about the... oh dang I forgot the name... bug that looks like a dragon fly as an adult but at a younger stage it makes a funnel in the soft sand that is a trap for ants.  It sits in the bottom of the cone shaped hole waiting for the ants to slide into its trap.



There is the sign, an ANT LION!

Like lake Superior, there are a lot of wrecks at the bottom of Lake Michigan.



After I set up camp I marked in the campground book that Debra gave me the states I have slept in this trip.



Frankie and Dennis came.  I made them dinner.  I was pleased with myself.  I had not entertained like this since I sold my house and moved into Lilac.  It worked, I could do it.  Yay!

After dinner we walked down to the beach and watched people and watched the sun set... or tried to.  We got impatient and ended up leaving the beach before the sun had touched the horizon.




The next day they had a funeral to attend.  I hiked the three-dunes challenge trail.

While I was hiking up the sandy slope I got a call from Terry.  I was introduced to Terry about a week before via an email from Dianne.  Dianne and I had been part of the same caregivers support group four years prior.  We called ourselves along with some other women caring for their husbands, Dementia Divas.  

After our husbands passed Dianne and I would get together for coffee or to go to a concert.  We would share our experiences and have a drink or two and sometimes put the music on and dance.  We had a lot of fun.

Anyway, Dianne emailed me and said she would like to introduce me to her cousin or her cousin-in-law who lost his wife a bit over a year ago and is interested in traveling in a camper.


I emailed him and introduced myself.  He emailed back.  We had been emailing back and forth every day about converting a camper, our lives before now, our lives now.  And he asked to call me so here he was calling me... on a trail with about 25 young excited teens passing me by.

It was fun to hear his voice.  To chat in real time.




I asked him to send a picture of something he made.  He works with metal and wood and creates things and art.  I found this on his Facebook Page.  Pretty impressive!


After I talked with him I called my sister to hear her voice.  Might as well up on the top of this dune with a view of the big lake in front of me.

The leader or teacher adult accompanying the teens was very sweaty and worn out when he came to me and asked me how hard the last dune was.  I couldn't tell him, I had never been here before on this trail.   He decided to go for it and the chattering shouting mass of teens ran by me down the other side of the dune.

Dennis and Frankie came and got me later in the day and took me out for Pizza and tour of some of the areas where they ride bicycle.

Every night I was at the beach to watch the sun set.
On a clear day you can see the sun set over the Chicago Skyline.

My last day at Indiana Dunes we went for a bike ride.  I rode from the campground to the place where the bike group was meeting.






My last night while watching the sun set and doing some yoga on the beach, I couldn't help but over hear the chatter of excited high-school-age kids nearby.  The volumn would raise as several different conversations were competing.  



Then I heard one voice above all the others, "You guys!  Hey all you guys!  Guess What?"   

The chatter stopped, silence.

"Chicken Butt!" He yelled.

I smiled.  Life is as it ever was.

And now?  Now it is June.  I am in Frankfort, Illinois.  Thanks to Joan for housing and feeding me!  And for some great conversations.

Tomorrow we will be riding these hilly/flat roads again.  I might try them on my two-wheel bike.  On our ride today I was reminded that up here there are lots of potholes from the winter freezes.  It is easier to swerve around them on two in-line wheels.  And yet, it is so fun to connect with those on three wheels.  Even if it is to ding my bell and wave.




5 comments:

  1. Trike name; Purple pavement eater.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Regis! It is kind of long. Do I call it PPE for short? Ummm, Personal Protective Equipment... well kind of. I like it. As you suggest, I therefore declare that my trike shall be hence forth named: Purple Pavement Eater. And you and I, when we ride, can sing the song we make up as we go along as you have suggested. "It’s a three wheeled one girl flying purple pavement eater."

      Delete
  2. Dear Sue, We are happy that you are meeting and riding with so many of our mutual friends from The WBR and Inverness rides. Sounds (and looks from your many photos) like you are having wonderful and interesting adventures on your travels. We are pleased that you are learning more about your truck, your trailer and finding a few things that make your trailer life more comfortable for you. Your photos are wonderful and certainly capture your ability to see the wide world around you.
    We are back from the Netherlands and Sweden after a great trip and wonderful visit with our cousins. Now we have a few Dr appointments and then need to do a couple of short shake-down camping trips with our new trailer before heading off to Minnesota in July.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Ann and Fred, What a wonderful trip you had in the Netherlands. I loved following along on Facebook. I hope it works out that we ride and dine together near Bemidji I arrive August 3rd. I just learned that Joan D. from Illinois. will be renting a room nearby to join us on some rides!

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