Sunday, October 2, 2022

Trikers, Sisters on the Fly, and a Hurricane


Wow, September was a full month.  Much of it without good cell service.  That is my excuse for not writing to you earlier, that and as my sister Mary says, I have been having fun.

Yesterday I was driving 300 miles from a Sisters on the Fly event I hosted at Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio.  I was heading toward the highest mountain in Virginia to camp at a place that was recommended to me.  Grayson Highland State Park where there are wild horses and lots of hiking trails.

As I was driving, Googlemaps announced that I may be encountering Hurricane Ian on my route!  

When I stopped several times I tried to see what was happening and where, but the cell connection was weak everywhere I stopped so I got pretty frustrated trying to find out how bad it was going to be.  Was the rain going to pour and pour so I wouldn't beable to see?  Would the wind blow so that I would worry about flipping my trailer?   

I took a picture of Lilac and Big Blue parked by the trucks at a service center along the toll road in West Virginia.  They look pretty small when next to those big rigs.

Speaking of big rigs, my son Jeremy has started driving big rigs across country.  At almost 50 he was having to search for employment again.  Finding nothing in his chosen field he began training to become a trucker.  Life sure sends us on unexpected paths sometimes.  We are hoping he loves it and it serves him well.

Anyway, back to my journey to the Virginia mountains.

I didn't think the part of the Hurricane in Virginia would be bad, because the Hurricane that hit Southern Florida would have probably lost a lot of it's power and water on its over-land journey.  Still, I was wondering.

For those of you reading this in the distant future, there was a category four Hurricane that hit the coast down by Fort Myer, Florida.  The experts couldn't really tell where it was going to hit, so even up north of Tampa the homes were being evacuated.  A lot of damage was done, but I have yet to learn how much since... as I said, not much access to the internet... and googlemaps, my Spanish lessons and human connections take priority over watching the news when I do get a bit of internet access at a wayside or truck stop.

I climbed up a long winding road to get to the Grayson Highlands campground.  I set up in the cold rain and wind.  I turned my heater on to warm up and dry off.  I reached out to some friends with texts, but with only one line of cell service that often would fade into "No Service", some of my texts were not getting through.

I was able to reach Steve who said if my trailer was damaged during the storm he would come get me.  He was camping less than six hours away.  Thanks Steve!  I am sure I would have figured it out between the ranger and AAA, but it was nice to have a friend watching out for me.

Then we realized he could look up the weather for my area and let me know what to expect. 

He reported rain for three days, most of it overnight.  Wind gusts up to 40 mph.   Not too bad.  Thanks again, Steve.  The trailer shook, there were huge bangs on the roof that made me jump.  But in the morning the limbs that had fallen were really just twigs, kindling size.

It was too wet and windy and cold to hike any of the trails.  I saw no horses, but did see a couple of deer.

My next stop planned was a non-electric site in the mountains.  Cold and rainy, I cancelled and headed to Sugar Hollow Campground in Bristol, VA.  I had stopped there on my way north and enjoyed it.  So that is where I am right now as I write this.  

There is an Anytime Fitness in town, a library, and the Virginia Creeper Trail is less than 20 miles away.  And I have electric and cell service!  What is not to love.

Triking in Ohio

When I last wrote you I was near Copper Harbor, MI.  I had just finished meeting up with several folks that have Weeroll Campers.  It was a beautiful area with vistas and hiking trails and waterfalls.  I would like to return with a friend sometime.

I left there and headed to Lake Michigan State Park on the North end of Lake Michigan near the Mackinaw Bridge.  On the way I stopped at a wayside and it was connected to a hiking trail that goes all the way to South Dakota and this part went to a waterfall.  So I got a nice little walk in.  Michigan does a good job with their waysides. 

Lake Michigan was a nice non-electric campground on a strip of land between Highway two and the lake.  I was booked for two nights.  Yet when I got there I didn't know what to do with myself.  It was cold and breezy, and other than a quick walk on the sandy shore, I didn't have plans.  And now that I knew that my friends Regis and Cindy had arrived in Xenia, Ohio, I was anxious to get there and be with them.  After dealing with one night of cold, I packed up in the morning and headed further south.

It only took me two days to get to Xenia, Ohio.  Regis and Cindy were camped at the Fairgrounds in Xenia.  It was great to see them and get hugs from them and licks and wags from their two dogs.

I had missed being around my Florida friends!  People who knew me back when there was a "George and Sue".

Our first day of riding we went to Yellow Springs of course.  Larry Varney drove up from Kentucky to join us for the ride.  It was fun to see him.  He didn't recognize me at first until he saw my trike.  Then it all came back to him.  "I have a few more wrinkles now," I told him.

Yellow Springs is a progressive town.  Downtown they have artsy shops and even their garbage cans are dressed up with art.  In much of my travels I have to haul my recycling with me in my truck until I can find a recycle bin, they usually don't have them at many of the campgrounds.  But they have them right on the street in Yellow Springs.

While riding around we encountered a man riding with a sandhill crane.  He did a loop so I could take more pictures of him and his friend.  

The next day of riding we rode to Dayton, Ohio.  We didn't go far into the city.  Regis and Cindy and I had all not been riding a lot and 30 plus miles was enough.

We got to see some people practicing their white water kayaking in short little kayaks.

In Dayton on a Sunday we found a Coffee, Chocolate and Wine shop open.  Happy!

I tried to write to you at the Fairgrounds.  You would think, being close to town that I would have good cell service.  But not so much.  AND we were too busy riding and taking care of ourselves and our houses on wheels that there wasn't much time for writing.

On one trip to Yellow Springs I read this plaque and learned that Yellow Springs had a reputation for being progressive way back before and during the Civil War.  A guy named Conway walked his father's slaves to Yellow Springs in the hope that they would find a safe place to be free from slavery.

My plans to stay closer to Cincinnati were canned in exchange for being closer to friends and all the bike activity.  The Xenia area is criss-crossed with rail trails, most of them paved.  

This map shows the many different trails going out of Xenia, Ohio.

I contacted Bernie and Roger who live close to Cincinnatti.  I had chatted with them on my way north when I rode with their group.  I told them about my change in camping location but that I still would love to have them show me around Cincinnatti by trike.  They figured out a place to meet and posted a ride on the Impromptu Trike Riders of Ohio Facebook page.  Thank you Roger and Bernie!  It was scheduled for Thursday the day before the Trike Rally started.  

I had timed my return to coincide with a Trike Rally.  One of the members of the Impromptu Trike Riders was hosting a Trike Rally over the weekend where all the rides were starting from the Xenia Station at 9:30 each day.  How cool is that!

Here are some pictures of our ride into Cincinnatti.  The guy in yellow below is Regis.

Cindy is in the purple below and that is Roger next to her.

Amy posts a lot of the rides on the Impromptu Facebook Page.  I will add pictures of her later.

At one of our stops was this kind of seasonal sun dial.  The slots in the wood allow the sun to shine perfectly into the center during the equinox.

The bridge below was designed by the same person than designed the Brooklyn Bridge.

I was looking forward to riding the Purple Pavement Eater across the Purple People Bridge.   The bridge itself looked more grey than purple, but the decorations leading into the bridge were a perfect match!

On the bridge is drawn the state line between Ohio and Kentucky.  Amy took my picture crossing the line.

On the Kentucky side, Roger lead us to a great place to have lunch.  We were all in good spirits, and a beer and good food lifted us even higher.  Many of us commenting on the beauty of the sky after lunch.

Larry and Roger below.

Cindy, Amy, and Regis shared a table with me at lunch.

Larry Varney crossing the Purple People Bridge, heading back to Ohio.

Regis and Cindy on the line, below.  And locks of love have a designated area on this bridge, pictured above.

This piece of artwork reminded me of the Bean in Chicago.  Reflecting at so many angles.  It was fun to walk into and around it.

I took a picture of the thing below.  I think it was art.

Larry played around and sent me this picture.  Yep!  I was high on life and loving the sky.

On Friday I got to meet Jann M.  She and her husband Bryan drove all the way from Western Illinois to ride in the rally.  They had learned about it by reading this blog!  

I was honored when she told me she had read both my books!  It was great meeting you and spending time with you, Jann and Bryan!

They also hope to join me at Jekyll Island down in... someone told me it was Georgia.  Ha ha, I didn't know what state I was going to be in when.  In fact, I was going to go to Elkmont today.  I know it is in the Great Smokie Mountains, but didn't know which state until I learned today the address is in Tennesee.   (The invitation is still open for October 25, 26, 27th to ride Jekyll Island in Georgia.)

Right now I am in Virginia.

Writing to you about my time in Ohio.

And worrying about getting reservations for next July in Vermont.  (Last I checked the campgrounds were all booked up for the end of June, early July 2023.)  People say to me, "Remember when we used to just decide after work on Friday to go camping for the weekend?  Back when there were always campsites available."

The first day of the Rally we rode from Xenia to Yellow Springs and beyond.  I got to lunch with Jann and Bryan which was great.  Here are some pictures of some of the smiling faces on the rides I attended during the Rally.

Below middle is Peggy T. from Illinois.   She lives only about five miles from Jann (on the left) and Bryan (on the right).   I met Peggy and her husband, Dennis, on a trike rally in Florida.  Then I visited and rode with them in Illinois in 2020.  It was great seeing them again.  She gave me a wonderful warm hug.  Thanks!

Whose from Ohio?  Raise your hand.  There were people from Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and me from Florida.

Did I miss anybody?

Pictured below is Steve our non-Facebook host and Amy, who announced the event on the Facebook group site.  Amy not only bikes four or five times a week, but she also does Pickleball six days a week.  She loves staying active and she is great about making me feel welcome and likable.  Thanks Amy!  And tell Steve I said thanks to him too for some fun rides with fun folks.

Amy said she is reading one of my books and will be passing it on to another Impromptu triker when she is finished.  Pretty cool!

Paul with the tie-die flag is from Tennessee. He had this cool orange and purple trike.  It reminded me of me and George together...  purple and orange.

Amy visited my campsite one day after a ride.  Both nights I rode with the group she had dinner with me.  It was great spending time with her and she promises to come down to Florida for the Big Honkin' Trike Rally on the Withlacoochee Trail.  I think it starts on February 19th, 2023.

Traveling takes time.  All this socializing takes time.  Driving from place to place takes time.  Taking care of life stuff takes time.  Studying Spanish takes time.

So I have not spent any time researching Hurricane Ian.  Hurricanes approach slowly and the experts really try to predict where it will make landfall, but they have not perfected it.  

I reached out to Debra and learned she was heading to North Carolina to visit her daughter and hopefully escape the storm.  I heard from the Citrus County Sheriff emergency warning system that those by the Gulf in our County should evacuate.  I saw on Facebook that my friends Beth and Jim had put up the storm shutters over her windows and set out all the emergency supplies she will need if it hits the Inverness area hard.

I left the Xenia Fairgrounds and headed to Hocking Hills State Park where I would quickly set up and get ready to share a Happy Hour Campfire with other campers from Sisters on the Fly.  

This was my first time hosting a event.  I wanted someone with whom to share the beauty of this park.  So I decided to invite Sisters.  I am very glad I did it.  Many of the Sisters events are big and very organized.  I promoted this event as "Sisters Hiking at Hocking or Not".  It was loose and allowed for the women to do their own thing or join in some activities.  We had eight of us show up, I think.  There must have been... four dogs?  It was all good.

And the hikes were interesting and lovely.

I met Dee last year at a Sisters event.  And she met me on my way north this year and we did the Virginia Creeper together.  I was so glad to have her join me again for this hiking event.  Another Sister took our picture together on this artsy bridge on our first hike at Hocking Hills.

The area was formed from the runoff of the Apalacian Mountains.

Pam is in the pink above.  She is from Wisconsin!  She shared with me this Forager's Guide when I expressed an interest in learning more.  And then she showed me her vintage 1969 trailer.  OMG!  It was a real mess when she got it.  Even the undercarriage had to be re-done.

How she ever started without feeling overwhelmed!  This is the third trailer she has restored.

I took a picture of her gas buddy.  It runs on propane and will take the chill off when camping without electricity.  But you can't leave it run for hours.  

On our last day in camp, Theresa who lives in Dayton and loves to bike, guided me over to the Hock Hocking Rail Trail that starts about 20 minutes away from the park in Nelsonville.  We rode about 35 miles.

And when I got back to the park, on of the sisters asked if she could have the fire at her site and show the Rocky Horror Picture Show (which I had never seen).  

So that is what we did.

The night was clear and in the 40's.  I left after dark and drove to the John Glen Observatory.  No one else was interested in joining me. It is about 1/2 mile from the park entrance.  I didn't want to shine my flashlight and mess up the view of the sky when I got there.  It was scary walking in the very dark toward shadows of a building.  

The observatory isn't open during the week, but there is a platform with a wall protecting it from the lights of the approaching cars as they came into the parking lot.  And there must have been five folks with the gear for observing the heavens.  

I vaguely saw a lump of black on the pavement and heard voices coming up from the lump.  A man and three children were laying on the pavement.  So I too, laid down and looked up.  Clear enough to see the swirl of the milkyway.   And watch satellights move across the sky.  And then, one of the folks setting up his scope pointed out the space station!  For a few seconds it was bright in the sky and then faded as he explained it moved into the shadow of the earth.  

Wow!  Later when I share the experience with Steve who is a star gazer himself said that seeing the space station is special and I was lucky to have caught it in the light for a few moments.

One night he sent me a picture of Ian as it hit the Florida coast.  A blue dot indicated a location about six miles north of my town, Inverness.

Below is Theresa the biker on one of our hikes.  She and all the women were fun and I hope to meet up with them again on an adventure.  Theresa said we should make the Hiking at Hocking an annual event.  That the time of year we chose was best because the parking lots and trails were not packed.

We'll see what the future brings.

1 comment:

  1. You are having a wonderful series of adventures from being with Cindy, Regis, Larry Varney and everyone in Ohio to the Sisters on the Fly group at Hocking Hills. Keep safe and continue to learn something every day while enjoying life!


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