Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #8

O - H - I - O, O -H - I - O !!!!!!!!!!

So happy to be in my home state, I really did get very excited when we crossed the Ohio River for the last time and entered Ohio. Two days ago we left Dry Ridge and road into Maysville, Ky. Another charming riverfront town, home to Rosemary Clooney/George Clooney and U.S. Grant was born and grew up across the river. We had an extremely hard ride into Maysville, hill after hill. And unfortunately, one of our riders had a bad crash on a treacherous downhill. She lost control at a hairpin turn, crashed and was knocked unconscious. She was transported by ambulance to the local hospital, where it was determined that she fractured her pelvic. There is some rib and shoulder involvement also. She flew home yesterday facing weeks of recovery. Once again, a grim reminder that there is always a risk involved in cycling. Whether from traffic, terrain, fatigue; one must be ever vigilant. Sorry to see her go, she was one of the most experienced cyclist of the group. We have lost three women that originally started the trip, one due to severe knee pain, one for personal reasons and now one due to a crash.

All that being said, once again I am in awe of our country and thrilled to be seeing it up close and personal. I had never given much thought to the Ohio River before, but after having travelled on and off its' banks for the last 12 days, I think of it as a serene, majestic waterway. So much of our history revolves around this 981 mile long river which originates in Pittsburgh where the Alleghany and Monongahela Rivers meet. The Ohio flows along the borders of six states and empties into the Mississippi River in Cairo, Illinois. The Ohio and other rivers throughout the country, were and still are the lifeblood of our nation, providing transportation, food, energy, recreation, the list goes on. I have a new found appreciation for this beautiful river and it brought tears to my eyes when I crossed it early yesterday morning with the fog drifting lightly over its' waters.

Riding into Ohio, we came upon Ripley, home to a great deal of Underground Railroad activity, including the homes of UGRR conductors, John Rankin and John Parker. After a few early hills, the terrain leveled off and we had a beautiful ride. Our destination, Milford, currently a suburb of Cincinnati. Milford came into being as the first safe ford of the Little Miami RIver, eventually a mill was built at the crossing - thus Mil Ford. Most of this area around Cincinnati and in Ohio generally was granted to Revolutionary War Vets. Of course, it was all originally controlled by Native Americans, in this area the Miami, part of the Shawnee. Cincinnati, founded around 1790 and named after a Roman General "Cincinnatus" was the queen of RIver towns. The city flourished with river trade and the completion of the Miami and Erie Canal brought boom times. Currently, Cincinnati is the third largest city in Ohio, following Columbus and Cleveland. It is home to the National Underground Railroad Museum. It was while living in Cincinnati, that Harriet Beecher Stowe formed her ideas for UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, based on what she saw here with the escaped slaves and on what she saw across the river where slavery was legal.

Tomorrow we head for Xenia, and will ride on the Little Miami Bike Trail most of the day. This is welcome relief; not having to contend with traffic for a day. This is a rails-to-trails, part of a statewide effort converting old rail lines into recreational trails. This particular bike trail to be connected with others in the works, eventually providing a trail from Lake Erie to the Ohio RIver, that would be Awesome!!

I am very proud to say, that the day after tomorrow, Jay and I will be attending our son, Nick's graduation from The Ohio State Medical School. I will ride 70 miles that day into Dublin, Jay will pick me up at our hotel and off we will go. Quite an accomplishment, 8 years, straight through at OSU and the result is Dr. Nicholas Milano. Nick will be a doctor of Neurology, interning at Charleston, S.C. and doing his residency at the Cleveland Clinic.
YEA!!!!!!!!!!! Nick.

Geez, this is a long e-mail!

"If you can pedal, you carry on!"
------David Miller


Click this site to see pictures from the ride.

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