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.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Is it natures eye candy?


Wow, what a lovely drive today. 

Thanks for making coffee for me, Cindy.  I enjoyed it so much.

We had moved my tent-cot under the shelter of the awning  on my hosts' trailer to see if the dew would not leave it so wet in the morning.  And it worked!  It was dry and I could pack it up right way.  

I left the Cradle of Forestry before 7:30 and turned right though it felt so wrong.  Cindy said right was North and right was right.  So I went right and pretty soon I saw a sign saying I was on 276 North.  She was correct and my directional compass, that used to be flawless had failed me again.

Hwy 276 took me down the mountain and back up and down and winding through the forests.  In Waynesville (not Waynes World, but that comes to mind) I turned right on business 23 and then turned onto Hwy 209.  That is when the fun really kicked in.

No traffic pushing me or pulling me.  I kept looking for places to pull off the narrow road so I could take pictures and soak it in.

 This early part of fall when the fall wild flowers are blooming and the grasses and vines are changing color is the most beautiful, to me.  It was in the low 70's in the morning and everything about the drive was perfect.

I was taking the pictures of wildflowers above and a couple guys in a truck slowed to a stop and rolled down their window. 

"I am just taking pictures," I tell them, "It is so beautiful here."

"Your gas lid is open, I thought you ran out of gas," the driver said.

"Oh!  No, thanks though," I said.

Nice country folk making sure I was ok.

209 took me into Hot Springs where this lovely ride ended.  I stopped in the tourist center and took a picture to show the squiggly line of that road.  Yes, it is one of the motorcycle/sports car roads.  I am glad I did it early in the morning, when the light was grand, and I wasn't chased down by motorcycles.

Hot Springs is a town right on the Appalachian Trail.  Where I stood to take this picture was right on the trail through town.  I saw a young man taking big strides, smiling big, no back pack.  He must have been happy to be in town after a shower and walking without his gear.  That is the story I made up anyway. 

The route I was following to Daniel Boone Forest for a camp site was called Hwy 32 on my phone and Hwy 25E on my Garmin.  It became a four-lane hwy.  It moved faster, but the thrill and freedom I felt on 209 was not there.

There was a couple places I stopped to check things out.  A boat ramp, a veterans overlook and at Lincoln Memorial College (or University).

 Oh, and I stopped somewhere for coffee and ended up getting a greasy mushroom and cheese grilled sandwich.

 It appeared the Lincoln Memorial College was adjacent or had as part of it a museum.  The museum was being renovated, and it looked like the log cabins were getting new plaster between the logs.

There were signs on 25E warning that there was a tunnel up ahead and certain trucks hauling hazardous substances needed to be escorted through the tunnel.  I arrived in time to wait while an oil truck and something else were being escorted through the long tunnel through the mountain.

 Just on the other side of the tunnel was a Daniel Boone Museum.  I went in and watched the movie... well part of it.  It drags on.   Boone lost two sons to Native American attacks while working his way through the gap in the mountains.  This gap had been fought over for many years among the Natives.

The thermometer read 100 degrees.  I was tired already and decided to stay in a motel.  I was in my room by 5:00.  Just one person and look at all the STUFF!!!   Computer stuff, clothes stuff, and food stuff.


I slept well.  Now I wonder... Do I go on to Cincinnati as I originally planned? 

I have an Affordable Travel Club hostess waiting for my arrival.  From Cincinnati I was going to do the Southern part of the Little Miami Trail.  But it turns out I am riding with other trikers tomorrow from Xenia.

The idea of being able to set up camp and just be in one place for a few days is very appealing.  And if I take the highway (I75) it is only 230 miles or so to get to my next camping spot where I will stay for several days and ride the trails.

I am excited to be meeting up with some fellow tricycle riders there.  I joined their facebook page and have been conversing.  A few are coming to ride with me on Friday.  Some of them are well-known in the small world of triking and recumbent bikes.  Larry Varney of Bent Rider Online and Gary Solomon of the Laid Back Bike Report have said they will come ride with me tomorrow.

 And then, guess what!  On the 14th, Xenia is having a CHOCOLATE ride to raise funds for their downtown improvements.

I am so looking forward to being with other trikers, riding the great trails, and being in one place for a few days.

Until later... enjoy your moments.

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