Sunday, May 28, 2017

Xenia, OH -- Routing is more complicated, and 'flatness' will soon be a relative term...

Crossed into Ohio about a week ago.  And as expected, route planning in this state is a little more challenging than it was in Illinois or Indiana, thanks to my trail-mapping coordinator/friends from those states! There are many good bike paths in Ohio; the trick is to find the ones that run in the right direction!   As I'd also heard, there wasn't any assistance to be had from the Ohio ADT trail coordinator; sorry to say so, but there it is!  So I am plotting an (approximate) west to east path, walking on bike paths where they exist, and roads when they don't, or I fail to discover them. Have been visiting Yellow Springs and Xenia - interesting 'happening' towns, and may rejoin the ADT in Chillicothe in a few days.

Richmond, IN was a major site on the Underground Railroad route, before and during the Civil War era.  The town has many really old homes, some dating from the early 1800's and beautifully restored.  There are many more that are (sadly) falling to rubble. (It is easy to forget, having lived in the west for so many years, that buildings are, for the most part, older in the east.)  Richmond is about half the size of Muncie and appears somewhat depressed economically.

Stayed with 'rustically' loving host-angels (and a couple of enormous dogs) on the way to Richmond, after a random, serendipitous meeting, and with an interesting Couchsurfing contact once I got into town.  My trailer towbelt arrived at the Post Office there. (Great relief!) And not for the first time, I sat out some storm days before crossing into Ohio. (What a wimp, right? Am doing the same thing here!)  I am equipped to walk in the rain, as long as I have a dry destination at the end of the day.  Also can tolerate some rain while camping, if it's not too prolonged or severe.  Which is the problem.  There have been waves of weather (serious rain and thunder/lightening storms) coming at intervals.  Makes the walk strategy that much more tricky...  The other night there was a tornado warning; I had to ask a neighbor for advise on procedure, but the weather was not moving in our direction.  In 1974 this town (Xenia) was all but wiped out by an unusually large twister, and I've spoken with several people who remember!

First stop in Ohio was in a small town with a lovely, generous Lutheran pastor and his family.  I was billeted in the church building, and got to hang out with the family.  Also had a great, if brief visit with a Couchsurfing host a few days ago, who happened to be a recent pilgrim on the Spanish Camino Santiago , She, too, is surrounded by a large, hospitable family and extended family with whom I spent an enjoyable evening over meal prep, and general efforts to make myself useful!

Heading for Chillicothe tomorrow, a 3-4 day walk,  I understand that much of the way will be along bike paths and that the weather outlook is better (fewer ominous-looking blips!)

In Old Richmond, IN

Mural commemorating Underground Railroad towns

Pastor Cavendish and family

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