Friday, June 22. Cincinnati, OH to Aurora, IN, 57 miles of riding in 4:47 hrs of riding and bike-a-hike.
Had to battle the critters last night, most likely raccoons who were getting into the utensils bins. I had the food well covered, but these things were into everything – dishes, rags, pots, coffee cups. I heard rattling 2x last night, put on my headlamp and chased them away. In the woods I could see all these sets of eyes glaring back at me. Finally picked up some old pieces of firewood and lobbed them into the woods to try to shake them a bit.
That may account for the very late start today. We didn’t get up until 6:30 AM. Got the coffee going for Jude and then I worked for a bit and started getting my route together. Did a day-old salad and a bologna sandwich for breakfast and then broke camp for Milford. We had a bit of a drive to get back there, probably like 20+ miles, but for a camping fee of 12 bucks it was well worth it. Had to take care of some of the housekeeping stuff this morning, so in Milford we shopped for groceries, got gas, and purchased more ice for the coolers. So by the time we got to the trailhead it was nearly 10 AM and about 87 degrees. I re-rode the section of the BT into downtown Cincinnati with Judy that we did yesterday. I broke off and followed the last of the blue blazes while Judy turned around and rode for another 1.5 hrs in the northeasterly directlon.
I was just dreading this ride today – through the center of downtown Cincinnati. I just do NOT enjoy riding in cities. It’s total sensory overload for me. And today’s ride only accentuated that feeling. It was pure hell. The blue blazes were really tough to follow, and to make matters just 3x worse, the blazes were on the “against traffic” side of the road. Now what Einstein came up with that novel idea. And the blazes were so few and far between that I was forced to ride on bloody sidewalks on the against traffic side just to see the blazes – when they were available. This had to be one of the most frustrating parts of this trail for me. I mean riding on sidewalks against traffic, crossing driveways, intersections and ped. crossings all against traffic – it was just plain stupid. Now for folks following the trail in the opposite direction, ok, I’m cool, but come on – good one way and unsafe the other??? There were uncountable times where I just did not see a blaze for way too long, and then there were of course the several times where I went off course due to the above!
I hated this and wouldn’t recommend this section to anyone. It’s just a mess in my opinion. And hey – I paid for the freaking maps, so I think I have a voice to bitch about this. Anyway, got through this intercity hell to the overlook and the end to the BT in downtown Cincinnati at Eden Park. Great overlook of the Ohio River and the city in general, but what it took to get there… judgment call for sure. So that was my first session of pain and deprivation. My second came by trying to work my way through the center of the city and ride to the west to meet Judy at North Bend, up along the IN border. So I descended down from Eden Park into the center of town, rode down one of the main streets in an east to west direction, and was hoping to hook up with Rt 50 and then continue west out of the city. WRONG! Rt 50 in the downtown was an interstate with no bikes allowed. And then there was the stadium, the bridges across the Ohio, the other interstates, it was all just a big tangle of concrete – everything I wanted American Dirt NOT to be.
Asked this one dude for directions to any road that would take me in a parallel with Rt 50 and along the river. The guy gives me these directions: “just go L, then R, then just weave in and out of the buildings to get on River Rd.” Ok, I did that and ended up in a deadend on the RR tracks. It was American Dirt time!! Got on the access gravel road on the RR tracks and just started pedaling with my heart pounding like crazy. I’d bike-a-hike over sets of tracks, over RR bridges and over streams, keeping the Ohio River on my left. Then I sighted the Rt 50 interstate section way the hell up in the tangle of interstates, and followed that on various RR lines. I’m totally amazed that I wasn’t busted on this one, in a major city riding down below the city on RR tracks. Made it all the way out of the city and I just stayed on this access gravel road along the tracks. Then that ran out and I just put my bike in the middle of the best set of tracks and rode in the middle of the RR line – looking back often!!
Hell, I could have crossed the Ohio to Covington KY if I’d have wanted to. So anyway, I followed Rt 50 way out of town to where it just went back to regular road. Pulled my bike up an embankment to my right and got on 50 and began riding on this massive sidewalk area. Just then Judy went by and honked at me, as she was driving west to our meeting spot in North Bend. Ended up riding on Rt 50 the rest of the way to North Bend. Met Judy after a 3 hr ordeal of getting through Cincinnati. Hammered 2 cokes, a bologna sandwich, and cranked it out again to Lawrenceburg, IN.
Got a motel for the night so I could work and send out all my client workouts for the week. The criterion is great wifi. I cannot have crap wifi when I have to send out a gazillion workouts in a row. So I go to great lengths to make sure a Friday or Saturday is motel/internet night. Judy is very cool with this to, so that was a no-brainer getting this little place in Lawrenceburg tonight. So I got Judy unpacked and then headed out for another 1.5 hrs, trying out the ADT (American Discovery Trail) directions I’ll be kind of using as an outline for crossing IN, IL, and part of MO. I’ll use parts and dismiss parts, it it’s at least a good start for locating off-the-beaten-track gravel and paved roads. Anyway, got the directions I’d copied down this morning, put on a fanny pack and headed out for more progress. It shuttled me onto a very nice – but paved – rails trails into the town of Aurora, and then back on pavement. But I got to a section where for the life of me, I just could not locate the route out of Aurora. I even asked some locals and they didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. “OK, day done,” and I headed back to the motel what with the temp at 94 degrees by then.
This will be interesting doing this ADT stuff. I have downloaded the route from my Mac into my Kindle for Judy to use in the van, but I couldn’t get it to download into my Thunderbolt phone due to my phone being an android and my computer being a Mac. Any of you techies out there know what I can do to get the phone to take docs from the mac??? Would love to get this done so I don’t have to do this by hand every day. The computer doesn’t even recognize the phone as a jump drive when I hook them up to one another.Anyway, this should be interesting indeed. Ok, onward we go down into Southern IN looking for great dirt and gravel. Hope I can deliver…Pete