Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Xenia, Ohio to Friends


The thing about waiting a few days before I post is I forget what I did since I last posted.  If it weren't for all the pictures, it would all be lost to time.

I left you abruptly at the last post because I was posting from  the Coffee Hub in Xenia.  A staff member walked around and told those of us that were still lingering in conversations and on our computers that the cafe was closing in five minutes.
I rushed to publish my post without review for grammar and spelling.  I see it turned out worse that usual.  Oh, get over it, I am traveling.  I will go back and edit later... or not. time will tell.

I thought about going to get supper since it was almost supper time when the cafe closed.  I was tempted to get a beer at a pub that Chris and Adrian had told me about.  They said it wasn’t the kind of place where a woman alone was a signal of any kind.  Instead I went to the grocery store.

I went to the grocery store to get supper.  I didn’t want to have any leftovers that would need cooling or I would have to buy more ice for the cooler.

At the deli I got green beans and pico de gallo  and popcorn.  Ok, not exactly a healthy salad, but I had some veggies!  I dumped some of the popcorn in the tomato mixture and ate it with spoon.  And finished it off with left-over cookies from the morning ride I found in my bike bag.

After I ate I started packing up.  I was just going to pack the tent but then I packed everything but my chair and the tent-cot.  I put the rain fly on the tent-cot.  On second thought, I pulled one end off to allow for more ventilation.  It was still warm in the tent.

A Wide Open Camping Experience

Since I have moved on away from Xenia, I can now tell you where I was staying.  

I was at the Green County Fairgrounds on Fairgrounds Road in Xenia.  There must be 50 or more camping spots with water and electric (no sewer connections or dump for trailers).  

I was the only one there for four nights.  I was all by my lonesome at night, by the fence.  In one of the few shady spots.   

 On the other side of the fence is a playground and a shelter.  When I first set up camp there I was worried that people with thumping music would come hang out late at night drinking and yelling.  Maybe they would even come over to the fence and hassle me.   

That never happened.

There are about seven or more huge buildings on the grounds.  Staff were working on maintenance or setting up for a flea market that was happening over the weekend.  When I arrived, I didn’t know where to go to check in or to pay.  I finally found someone on day two to ask and was directed to the office.  When I went to the office the staff said they would catch me later.

I thought, “Uhhh, I am gone almost all the time during the day, catching me won’t be easy.” 
On day four, as I was starting to take stuff down in preparation for leaving the next morning, the staff person drove up in his golf cart.  He charged $100 for four nights.

Each night families with children would show up at the playground on the other side of the fence from me.  The children would run around and play on the playground.   The parents would patiently round up their crew after the sun set and drive away.  After that, all was quiet.

Driving and Singing

It is only about 200 miles from Xenia to my friends home in La Porte, Indiana.  Still it took me all day, with a short stop at a cemetery to walk.  It was a Catholic cemetery with lots of polish names and Mother Mary statues.

Once I arrived at Frankies and got my hugs we sat outside sipping beer and watching the humming birds zip to and from the feeder.

I told them that seeing them made me realize that traveling is really about the people I see.  Reconnecting with friends and making new friends.  It is so good to see them.  They always make me laugh.

They were going to a sing-along gathering and asked me to join them.  I was thrilled to have something new-to-me to do.  It sounded like fun.  

Ok, so all the pictures I took of us don't want to sit upright...

On the way to the sing-along we stopped at the Michigan Shore near a steel mill.  The road nearby is lined with lots and lots of different kinds of electric/telephone poles.   A very industrial view, it seemed strange that this is where there is a national lake shore, but when we arrived it was tall grasses, and the  grey of the huge great lake.

It was a lovely and fun stop.  It was only about 10 minutes, but just enough to get the feel of it.  Thanks Dennis for making the stop for me.

We arrived at the home of the sing-along hosts, Dan and Jean.  Almost all the other guests were there already.  I went around shaking hands and getting names.  I surprised myself by remembering names!  Whoo hoo!

Dan and Steve told the story of finding each other.  They are half-brothers.  Dan was adopted and a few years ago had a DNA test.  He found Steve who was raised 10 years by their mutual father who was a sales man.  Anyway, it was a fun story.  I found it interesting that they both loved music.  Steve played in a band for many years.

 They have known each other for almost two years now.

 Dan likes to cook.  They have a huge island in their kitchen with a  butcher-block top.  And a convenient waste can for wiping crumbs and scraps off the counter.  Dan made some great pizza’s and the rest of the guests had brought stuff to go with it.

Someone brought cookies from Aldi's that were wonderful!

After we ate, we retired to the basement to sing songs.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the song books.  They were thick.  Dan and Jean had put them together over many years.   

There were Dylan songs, Spirituals, Beatles songs, folks songs.  We sat in a circle and each person chose a song from the book and we all sang together.

What a fun tradition.  Before I left I gave my contact information out to Jean and invited them down to visit.  “We can do a sing-along in Florida,” I said.  “But the acoustics in my living area are not as good as your basement.”

Wouldn’t it be fun if they visited while Frankie and Dennis are down in Florida?  Frankie and Dennis rent a home each year near the Withlacoochee Trail in Florida during the winter months.  It is so much fun to have them around to share in music events, dinners, and bike rides.

Tomorrow we are going to go on a ride about 50 minutes drive from here.  The road, Dennis tells me, is covered with a fine dust.  It turns out to be pulverized horse manure from all the Amish traveling with their horses on those roads.  It is pretty messy after a rain, he says.  We are hoping it won't rain.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Do you love chocolate and morning glories?


I love chocolate.

I love flowers.

I love riding my trike.

Today I got all three!!!

First, let me tell you about yesterday...

Yellow Springs Times Two

Friday, September 13, 2019

I went to get my morning coffee and some wifi at the Hub Coffee Shop in Xenia, Ohio on Friday morning.

The shop is housed in the spam place as Toward Independence and One Bistro. 

I think there is some kind of fundraising hand shake because I learned they are also running the Chocolate Ride happening on Saturday.  All the funds from the Chocolate ride go directly to help people with developmental disabilities gain the skills they need to live more independently.

They also have a box for collecting donations of women's feminine hygiene products.  Gosh, I never thought about that need for women without incomes!  

I got a call from Linda Tolly.  She is the trike rider I met on the ride on Thursday and who invited me to dinner at her on on Thursday evening.

She said she had time until later today and would like to come pick me up and drive around and show me some things about the area.  Nice! 

I packed up my computer stuff and headed back to my campsite.

She took me to Yellow Springs.  I love Yellow Springs, it is kind of a hippy town with coffee shops and co-ops, and Antioc University. 

I think that Linda had the idea I had never been there and so she had all this fun stuff she was going to show me.  Only I had spent several days camping outside of Yellow Springs with Regis and Cindy a few years ago.  We had also bike in the area here right after I got my trike in 2008.

I felt for Linda, what a bummer to have the new person already be familiar with everything you want to introduce them too.  Sorry Linda!

One thing I did see that was new to me, was the local theater.  It serves wine and beer!

And I had never been to Peaches, where we had lunch on the patio.

Instead of walking around looking in the shops more after lunch, we went to a Glen.  She took me to a different section of it.  And we walked a while until our hips began to start aching.  Then we turned around.

 We saw this purple flower cluster and I thought someone had dropped their feather boa.   

When we got a closer look it looked like a cluster of daffodils.

Linda wanted to introduce me to Young's Dairy.  I have been there too, but was thrilled to go again.  It was bustling, but Linda explained it was slow compared to what it will be like at the peak of fall colors.

Linda was getting ready for a motor cycle trip with a bunch of young men for the weekend.  So she took off to finish getting ready.

I sat and read.  IT WAS HOT!  I sat in the shade, there was a breeze, but it was like sitting in a dryer on low.  I wet my shirt in the bathroom and my hair. 

At 6:30 it finally started getting a bit easier to handle.  I climbed on the trike.  I thought about going to get a beer and listen to music, but then thought a woman alone walking into a bar... I didn't want to give out any wrong impression.

Instead I decided to ride up the Little Miami Trail in the opposite direction that I went with the Ohio Trike Group.   This direction will actually take me back toward Yellow Springs.

I passed some signs that seemed to say there was plenty to do in Xenia this weekend.

 I stopped at  one location because I heard a screeching noise...  Like a rusty wheel on a big machine.  It turned out to be thousands of birds in the trees above my head.  I tried to get a video of them, but they were too far and the light too dim.  Is it starlings that are gathering for their southern migration?

The light got lower in the sky, but I was having too much fun to turn around.  The wind was at my back. 

I figured if I persisted I could make it to Yellow Springs... or close to the edge of town anyway.  I remembered there was a garden there along the trail honoring the contributions of women to society.  I set that as my goal.

 I arrived at the garden just as the sun tucked behind the distant trees. 

 I got off my trike to quickly catch some pictures before I started pedaling back.

By the time I got through the garden, my trike was a distant dot on the trail.  I rushed to it, turned on my lights, and started pedaling back to Xenia.

 It was down hill!  I made a point not to smile, my face was being spattered by little bugs.

At one place I saw a women taking pictures at the sky. 

"What do you see?" I asked.

"Dragon Flies," she said.  She told me that she saw on the news there was a mass of dragon flies being picked up by radar.  They usually come before a storm.  We surmised they might have been escaping the winds of Hurricane Dorian... or the hurricane behind it.

I arrived at my campsite in time to see the full orange moon coming up in the East.  Friday the 13th and a full moon.

Which reminds me.  After my last post talking about being scared by noises at night, my friend Debra posted a cartoon on facebook.  It is a picture of Freddy... you know the guy with the chainsaw and the ice-hockey mask.  You are looking over his shoulder as he looks at a list entitled "Favorite Things".  Checked off are: "At the window; Behind the door; and Outside the tent."

Ha ha, thanks for the laugh Debra.

I had a hard time sleeping, not because of fear.  But the wind!  I made that tent slap and flap so loudly.  Dang it bothered me!  I was trying to sleep with my tent cot inside the tent incase it rained.

I finally moved the tent cot out far from the flapping tent, so I didn't have to listen to the annoying, inconsistent flapping.

Chocolate, Flowers and Triking with Folks

Saturday, September 14, 2019

I can't believe it but yesterday I was making plans to bike to Dayton today.  I had forgotten all about the Chocolate Ride. 

When I arrived there weren't many bikers and I saw no trikers.  I was disappointed in that, but happy that the heat of yesterday had lifted and it was a cool morning, so much so that I was wondering if I should put on a jacket.

 This is the first annual Chocolate ride.  So if it looks good, mark your calendars and join in the fun next year.  Yummy!

About 7 miles into the ride I stopped at a chocolate stop and up behind me came a woman on a Catrike 700 and a Bachetta!   I quickly introduced myself.  Riding buddies!  Yeah.  We had a great time.

Adrian and Chris... can you guess which is which?

 Chris is an author!  Science Fiction and Thriller type.  You may have heard of him, I think his writers name is Kit Bradley or was it  Bradford, or Branson... shoot.  And I didn't get his card! 

He used to be 400 lbs!  He has lost 170lbs since taking up bicycling.  When he can't ride outside he rides on his trainer with a computer trainer that has him biking mountains all over the world. 

They even stopped when I wanted to stop and take pictures of the morning glories growing up the corn stalks.

Later we we saw some kittens by the trail.  Usually the cats on the trail dash away when you approach.  This little grey kitty ran toward us!

So I stopped and the kitten was so friendly!

Its sister (or brother) was friendly too, just it took her/him longer to get up and come over to us.  Fun!

It turns out that Chris and Adrian have four cats.  They are cat people too.

More later... the coffee shop is closing in five minutes!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Highways, Bike Trails, and Fun Folks


It has been awhile.

There is no WiFi where I am camping.

I have had a great couple of days.   Including a great ride with fellow recumbent tricycle enthusiasts and rescuing a drunk Native American.

Where Am I?

I am not telling you where I am camping until I am no longer camping there.  That is hard not to talk about it because I REALLY want to tell you about it.  But you know all the warnings on the internet about women travelers should not divulge their location because bad people are out there somewhere waiting to pounce.

So I will pay attention to that, mostly in respect to those that care about me and worry.  There are lots of worriers out there.  I try not to be a worrier, but if you have been reading my posts for very long, you know I worry a lot.  I just don't worry so much about bad people.

A podcast I listened to said that there is actually a difference in the brains between those who think most people are good and there are few bad ones and those who think there are a lot of bad people out there and you can't trust but a few.  The same difference is found in the brains of Democrats vs Republicans.  I find that fascinating.  Does the genetic difference determine your political leanings? Or is it the kind of worry you engage in that makes the difference in the geometry of the brain (what parts grow and are more active). 

Probably the latter, though the podcast sited several studies that showed political leanings ran in families.  Not 100% of course, but a very significant tendency.  So if your parents are/were not trusting of most people, you most likely will not be trusting of most people.

Ok... Enough about trust and worry and fears.

Let's talk about life experiences as they are happening in the past couple days.

Taking the Freeway to Xenia

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

I decided to get not to stop in Cincinnatti, but head right for Xenia, Ohio.  It would only add less than two hours to my trip and if I took the interstate I would arrive in plenty of time to set up camp and settle in before dark.

But first I had to check my email and pack up.  The computer had to update on the way powering up.

I stood anxiously waiting and waiting for the update to install when I tried to turn the computer off.

The Interstate went through some pretty areas, but I could tell I was tense with the big trucks and the construction cones.  My hands would grip the wheel a little tighter.

I pulled off at a gas station and used the single-holer toilet.  In the middle of taking a dump.  Don't be shocked, everyone poops... well at least if they are lucky enough to have a working digestive system. A woman walked in on me.  "I am in here," I said.

She just stood there shocked for a few seconds before backing out.  I guess the lock doesn't work.

I went out in the parking lot and and walked to the back of the lot.  I saw that my friend, Debra, had tried to call.  I called her back.

As I stood chatting with her, I noticed all the plants growing in the garden at the back of this gas station.  Big fat bees were buzzing around purple blossoms.  I saw eggplant and peppers and okra.  It was stress relieving to chat with a her and watch the buzzing insects.

I drove more on Interstate 75 and I think, 71.   I had my picnic lunch on a table at a wayside.  The table was made by prisoners as part of their rehab and skill training.

It took a while to get through busy and HUGE Cincinnati, Ohio.

Finally I got to turn off the interstate.  Immediately I celebrated by stopping on the shoulder and taking a picture of a gorgeous yellow soybean field.

There was nowhere to check in, so I just set up camp.  Since I was going to be here several days and it might rain, I also set up the side tent to the canopy.

I got to tell you was was nervous that night.  The moon was almost full and when I got scared I would peek out to make sure no one was approaching my tent and then watch the moon for awhile.  I thought I would have insomnia because of the fear, but I slept pretty good.  I think I sleep better on this trip than at home.

 Making Instant Trail Friends

Thursday, September, 12, 2019

I wake early  as usual, but now it is before the sun is up.  Leaving the bathrooms after getting ready for the day, and the sun is just coming up.

 I am excited because on Facebook I had joined the Impromptu Ohio Tricycle Riders (or something like that).  I already had met Gary Solomon from the Laid Back Bike Report.  He had been filming a tour of Trailside Bike shop in Floral City when I was there.  A few weeks later he had interviewed me for his YouTube show.

And I already knew Larry Varney who was a friend of Regis and Cindy's and had been there when George and I had picked up our tandem trike.  The picture he took of us is the only great picture I have of George and I on our tandem.  I used his picture on the cover of The Journey Continues.

If you have a picture of George and I on our tandem, send it to me! 

Anyway, I announced on the Facebook page I would be in Xenia and invited folks to ride.  Gary announced an impromptu ride!  So today I was meeting up with them at Xenia station (the hub of several trails that branch out from Xenia).

At first light I found a trail that would take me downtown from the where I was camping.

I stopped at the Coffee Hub for my morning coffee before the ride.

At Xenia station the first group of trikers I met weren't even our group!  They are a regular Tuesday, Thursday trike group riding out of Xenia.  Cool!

Then folks began to arrive.  This is Larry Varney below.  As you can see he also plays Santa during the holiday season.

 Linda here, is so nice.  She calls herself a "strong woman".  She just retired from driving truck.  I saw a picture of her next to her rig, wow, it was a big rig!

She invited me to her place for dinner.  An instant friend. 

 Linda's rear derailer was touching her tire when in the big gear.  She got some advice... go to a bike shop and get it adjusted.

Everyone was so welcoming.  It was a great ride.  40 miles on the Little Miami Trail.

Rescuing a Drunk

On my way back to the camp site I passed a man laying the grass.  I thought he was resting because there was a factory next to the trail... "He is on break," I thought.

But after I passed him, I heard, "Help me, Sir, help!".

I turned around and approached cautiously.  The man sat up.  One side of his face had a bloody bump.  He thanked me profusely for stopping and said he think he broke his ankle and asked me to call 911.

I did, I had to ride to the nearest intersection to get an address to give the 911 operator.  As we waited for the ambulance, I sat on my trike out of reach and chatted with him.  He was a good-looking man with long white hair and an accent I couldn't place until he told me he was from Mexico and was Arapaho.  His speech a little slurred I could tell he had been drinking.  I asked if he had hit his head when he fell because of the bloody bruises on his face.

"No," he said, "I don't always do good things."  I am guessing he got drunk and in a fight or fell another time. 

The ambulance arrived, I shook his hand and said goodbye when the EMT's sent me on my way.

After my shower it was already time to drive to Linda's house.  On the way, my tire pressure warning sign went on in my car.  One of my tires was losing pressure... pretty fast.  I pulled over into a gas station and called my road-side service.  As I was talking to the operator I saw I was right across the street from PEP BOYS!!  They do tires the sign said!   The operator checked and though it was after 5:00 they were still open.  YAY!

I drove over and got my tire replaced.  A peice of metal had pierced the tire.  Too much damage to repair, the clerk said. 

I took a picture of his steam-punk ring.  I have never seen anything like it.

I was still able to dine and chat with Linda.

I arrived back at camp in the dark and climbed into the tent-cot with my clothes on and my pepper spray close at hand. 

It had rained!  Before I left for Linda's I had moved my tent cot in under the canopy and closed it up  just in case.  Well it must have blown quite a bit because my shirt that I had hung to dry was soaked on the ground, the top of my tent cot was wet and had a puddle.  I had not put the rainfly on because it was under the canopy.

My sheet and pillow were wet.  I was lucky it was warm, or it would have been cold sleeping on wet stuff.

I took a picture of the moon through the screen in my tent, read some in my book. 

As the wind made the tent and canopy rustle I would shine my light outside the tent-cot.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.... I drifted off to sleep.

Topping It Off In Wisconsin

 Hello, A special shout out to the three guys that advised me through the purchase of my Ford Truck in May, Jim, Bill and Regis. On July 26t...