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TRIP 2014

Update #18 - July 22nd
Ripley, Ohio
6,791.25 miles (10,866.00 KM)





This year I've learned to be more fluid in my route planning. There are always twists and turns. From Cincinnati, my plans were to ride to the main volunteer center of the Christian Appalachian Project in Kentucky and possibly volunteer for the rest of the year. It turns out that they have a lengthy application process that could take up to three weeks to complete. I wish that I would have known this when I was in Kansas. My hesitation was that I would not have been able to come up with an appropriate arrival date.

Yesterday. I was at least three cycling days away from Mt Vernon, Kentucky. Mt Vernon is not a good jumping off point to get someplace else if you are on a bicycle/ recumbent being that it is in the heart of the Appalachians. It's great if you are driving. I have decided not to go to Mt Vernon.

Since I am already between a third and a half up the Ohio River, I have decided to keep on going to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It's been at least four or five years since I have ridden this section of the Ohio River. From the Pittsburgh area, I will be getting on the G.A.P. (Great Allegheny Passage) Trail to Cumberland, Maryland. At Cumberland, I will get on the historic C&O Towpath-Trail that will take me to Georgetown, Maryland (near Washington, D.C.). I have done the G.A.P. and C&O several times the last time four years ago.

I estimate that I will arrive on the East Coast sometime around the middle of next month. This might put me into a position to possibly do some disaster relief if one of this year's hurricanes hit the East Coast.

June 27 : Fort Scott, KS to Pittsburg, KS - 33.43 miles (53.49 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. I went to bed around 9:30 PM. I woke up early around 4 AM.
I left the motel around 6:40 AM. There was a couple of a mile climb to the top of a plateau. Once on top, I got slammed by a stiff headwind coming from the South. The wind must have been close to 30 mph (48 kmph). It was a struggle to make 7 mph (11 kmph). Instead of making 41 miles (66 km) by noon yesterday, I only made 30 miles (48 km).

I got into Pittsburg around 12:20 pm. I stopped for some lunch. Because of the strong wind, I didn't feel like going on to Baxter Springs. I rode into the downtown area. I stopped at the First Presbyterian Church. I caught the pastor in the office. He was just in the office for a short time because he was photocopying some health insurance papers so he could take his son to a boy scout camp in Missouri this afternoon. The pastor was really friendly. He was originally from Ghana. His last church was in Alliance, Ohio near Akron. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, he offered to get me a room at a motel that I had passed.

I'm about 30 miles (48 km) away from Baxter Springs.

July 12 : Tell City, IN to Tell City, IN - 00.00 miles (00.00 km)

This is the first full day off the road since I had left Baxter Springs, Kansas on June 30th. I had ridden almost 650 miles (1,040 km) since then. My body really needed the day off the road. I spent most of it in my room but I did venture out a couple of times to get my laundry done at a nearby laundromat and do some shopping at several small shopping centers nearby. I did a full update of the website and I did some repair work on some of my gear.

I'm not sure about tomorrow. I'm probably going to have to stay in town some place. They are calling for some bad thunderstorms in the afternoon.

July 13 : Tell City, IN to Tell City, IN - 01.57 miles (02.51 km)

I was a decent day off the road. I was the first full day off the road since I had left Baxter Springs, Kansas on June 30th. I left the motel around 8 am. I had planned to go to the Immanuel Lutheran church (Missouri Synod). There was to be a Sunday school at 8:30 am and service at 10 am.

I got to the church around 8:10 am. which was the time when the first person showed up. He wasn't that friendly. I had wanted to find someplace close to the doors for Alice. here was a railing for a sidewalk. It looked pretty sturdy so I started to lock Alice up on it. Before the guy went into the church, he complained about it and he wanted me to move Alice to a wall in back where it wouldn't be visible. Well I moved Alice and me right off the church property.

I went back to the First United Methodist church where I had stopped a Friday afternoon. People were showing up for the 9 am service. Nobody complained that I had leaned Alice against a bench up front. Some of the people were friendly towards me. I got to meet the pastor before he service. He gave me tentative permission to stay in the church for the night. There wasthe possibility for thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Not too many people came up to talk to me before the service to greet and welcome me. I was thinking that the pastor was going to introduce me somewhere during the service and let me speak but he didn't. After the service, he did give me permission to stay in the church for the night and he slipped me a GH of $10. I got involved wih a small group that was having a Sunday school class. I shared about what I was doing and got into the discussion about the influx of unoccupied migrant children coming into the country from Central America. The current count is between 40,000 and 50,000 between the ages of four and sixteen along with at least 10,000 young mothers. There is an estimate that 1,200 are caught on the border each day. This has been going on from a least last October. The backlog is so great that it could take at least two years for a deportation hearing. There is a major health concern that some of the children and mothers have drug-resistant tb.

After everybody left, I went around the church trying to find a place to bed down. There were a couple of places that had sofas on the main floor but the couches were not that big. The youth minister told me that there was a long couch in his office and he told me that I could stay there. The only problem was that the room wasn't zoned for air conditioning and it might be hot up there. The room wasn't that hot.

I actually dozed off. Around 12:30 pm., I got awoken by one of the guys telling me that he wanted to invite me out to his house in the country because there was going to be a small group meeting for a pot-luck. He was going to come back for me in about 90 minutes. I tried staying awake but I fell asleep again. I got awoken up again.

I had an okay afternoon in the country. There was an offer to stay with him but I didn't feel comfortable in doing so because he and his wife smoked. There were about a dozen people there. I got into several good discussions. The food was pretty good. Before everybody left and I got taken back to the church, I got prayed over and several people came up to me to give me GH's. I just put the GH's in one of my pant's pockets. When I got back to the church, I was surprised that the GH's came to almost $200.

Tell City is named after the Swiss archer William Tell. The town has some Swiss influence to it.

July 14 : Tell City, IN to Leavenworth, IN - 55.61 miles (88,9 km)

I had an okay night at the church. I slept okay and I woke up around 4:30 am. People were going to show up around 6 am to load some supplies in a missions truck. I left the church around 5:50 am. The roadway was wet because it had rained during the night. I rode to the McD's on the Southeastern edge of town for some breakfast and to check my email.

It was an okay ride through the Cannelton area. I saw some views of the Ohio River. A mile or two (3 km) passed Cannelton it started to rain. The rain lasted around 10 minutes. About five miles (8 km) out of Cannelton, I started the long and steep climb out of the Ohio River Valley. There were quite a few hills and ridgelines to cross through the Hoosier National Forest.

Traffic was pretty light for most of the day. There were many times when I had the road to myself for many miles. There was a lot of wildlife. I saw deer, wild turkeys with their families, guinee hens, and quite a few turtles that were trying to cross the road. I gave several turtles lifts but I scared one turtle and it quickly turned around, walked off the road, and up the hill that it had come down.

By mid-afernoon, I was getting kind of concerned about how much water I had. There wasn't much along the way after the small town of Darby. I did make it to Darby before noon.

I got into the Leavenworth around 6:30 pm (maybe 7:30 pm because I might have crossed back into the Eastern Time Zone). There wasn't much in the Leavenworth area. I didn't see a store open where I could get some water. I found a Presbyterian church in a neighborhood but there wasn't any contact information or anybody outside that I could ask questions. I stopped at a house where a police car and a deputy sheriff car were but I couldn't get anybody to come to the door.

A couple of miles (3 km) out of Leavenworth I found some open land where I could camp out. I had to make a dash getting the tent up because I heard thunder. I got the tent up and secured right before the sky opened up. I got soaked getting my gear inside the tent. The rain lasted about 20 minutes. The tent pretty well stayed dry inside.

July 15 : Leavenworth, IN to Georgetown, IN - 27.97 miles (44.75 km)

I had an off night camping out. I wasn't able to get comfortable because the ground below my sleeping pad was rough. I wasn't able to stretch out on my stomach. I don't sleep well on my side. While I was changing out of the wet clothes, I found a lot of ticks. They were just on me and none of them had bitten me. I didn't know if I had gotten most of the ticks off of me. I only slept lighly and I woke up a lot of times. I also didn't really know what time it was because I didn't know if I had actually crossed back into the Eastern Time Zone.

It was possibly around 6:30 am when I woke up. It took a while getting my bike packed up because the tent and ground cloth were wet and I had to pack them up lightly. It was maybe around 8:30 am when I go back on the road. There were quite a few hills to get up and the ride was rough beause this part of highway had been chip-sealed. A couple of miles out of Corydon, the terrain sort of leveled out. here were some hills but they weren't that extreme. I think that I am finally out of the Ohio Highlands.

I got into Corydon around 11:30 am ES. I stopped at a gas station for a break and also to fill all of my water bottles. In 1808, Corydon was the first capitol of the Indiana territory. IN 62 became much better East of Corydon. There were winding curves but the ride was a lot easier. A couple of miles out of Corydon, I met another cycle tourist who was going West. By his accent, I think that he might have been from Australia. His bike was packed wih some intersting things like a folding metal chair. I gave him information about the upcoming roads.

I rode through the Lanesville area. Near the intersections of IN 62, IN 64, and I-64, I saw a glimpse of a Circle K sign. I needed a break. I was possibly 8 miles (13 km) out of New Albany and it was close to 3 pm. Just beyond the Circle K was a McD's and beyond that was a Motel 6. Since I wasn't sure if I could find anyplace to stay at in New Albany, I decided to stop at the Motel 6. The desk clerk gave me a 10 % discount on the room.

July 16 : Georgetown, IN to Scottsburg, IN - 50.95 miles (81.52 km)

I had a decent night at the motel. I found out that it was a Potel. I should have thought that it was because of how bad the parking lot was. here were several big potholes and areas where there was just dirt. A least, the room was okay. All there was for breakfast was coffee.

I left the motel a little after 7 am and went down the street a little bit to get some breakfast at the McD's. I backtracked to where I had turned north off of US 62. US 62 had joined I-24 but there was another route into New Albany and it was designated as a Ohio River Scenic Highway. The first couple of miles (3 km) of the road were steep and winding with a lot of switchbacks down into the Ohio River Valley. It would have been a bear the opposite direction. I had to watch my speed and apply my brakes accordingly. A railroad crossed and recrossed the road at odd angles several times. One down into the valley, the rest of the way into New Albany was pretty level. I rode through the downtown area. I didn't get any views of the Ohio River because there was a high levee.

From New Albany, it was a tricky ride to where US 31 split off of I-65. I had to navigate through Clarksville. I rode through an interchange where there were a lot of motels. Some of them had advertised rates that were a little lower than what I had paid. They were about 13 miles (21 km) away from the motel that I had stopped at. On the way, I had passed several other motels but they were high priced chain motels/hotels. I still think that I might have made the better decision in stopping where I did because there was going to be a music fesival in Louisville in the next couple of days and all of the rooms might have been booked up for it. Some of the motels looked in worse condition also. One was a Super 8 but the name had been covered up wih another name that sounded like a cheap motel.

Once I got on US 31 going North the ride was okay but I felt like I was going uphill. The climb leveled out before I go into Sellersville. There was a tailwind to push me along. I got about 26 miles in by noon time. I rode over to a truckstop at an interchange of I-65 because there was a McD's there. Before leaving the truckstop, I talked with some members of a bike club out of Louisville who had finishing up a 50 mile (80 km) group ride.

The rest of the way to Scottsburg on US 31 went okay. At the Southern edge of Scottsburg, I rode passed the county fairgrounds and the fair was in operation. From the fairgrounds, it was a couple of miles into the downtown area. I stopped at a couple of churches but there was nobody around them. There was no contact information.

I found the sheriff office but I didn't find the police station. I didn't know that it was West of the downtown area beyond I-65. I saw a police car in front of the community corrections (parole office). I talked with the lady in the office. She gave me the phone number for the pastor who was the head of a program called the Clearinghouse. The pastor had gone home. I talked to a lady in the office of the food pantry. She got into a conversation with another guy who called another pastor to see if he had any suggestions. I heard most of the background conversation and I learned that this pastor didn't have any ideas. The main idea was for me to go to a shelter back in New Albany.

Before I left, the lady gave me the phone number for the minister at the First Southern Baptist church who was in charge of the ministerial alliance. I was given the address of it. It was between US 31 and the interstate. I had a hard time finding it because the church had changed it's name about a month ago but it didn't change the information on their answering machine. To find the church, I had made several trips beyond I-65. What let me know that I was in the right place was finding the pastor's name on the sign. Since I had a couple of hours to wait, I went a couple of doors down to a Burger King for an early dinner.

At the church, I waited a little over an hour before people stared showing up for the 7 pm service. Most of the people who had shown up first were in the praise band and they came early to practice. They didn't really want anything to do with me. I did get into a conversation with a young guy. He told me that he had left a couple of other churches because he felt that a lot of them were just stage shows or social clubs. The pastor was supposed to have shown up around 6:30 pm but he didn't show up till around 6:45 pm. He didn't really want to talk wih me. He said that he was kind of rushed and he had to get inside to get ready for the service. He told me that he couldn't really go to any of the motels wih vouchers because they had some bad problems with the people that they had helped. With one lady, she had called her boyfriend and during the night they had stolen everything out of the room. here was the possibility of rain so I asked if I might be able to stay inside the church. He told me that it would be impossible. He saw my tent and he told me that I could probably camp out on the church grounds but it was in a residential area wih several busy roads nearby. The pastor went inside and left me talking with the other guy. As I left, I quoted several verses of Matthew 25. Hopefully, the guy got what I had said.

I rode back into the downtown aea because I thought that I had stopped at the First Baptist church. There was a bible study going on and it had started at 6:30 pm so I had missed the first half hour. The pastor did give me the chance to speak and share what I am doing. I got involved in the conversation because they were talking about cults operating in the disguise of churches. I told them about the messianic congregations that I had visited in Florida last year. I was hoping that I would have had a better result with this pastor but it wasn't the case. He told me that he had only been at the church for a month. With the church hiarchy, he was basically an employee of the church because he had to get trustee approval wih any decisions. He tried getting connected with somebody but he didn't have any luck. He gave me an excuse that probably everybody was at the county fair. He was getting frustrated because he had to get his young son home. Around 8 pm, he told me that he had to leave. He told me that he would take his son home and then go to the fair to see if he could find somebody. He told me that he would be back before it go dark. He escorted me out of the church door and locked it up. What got to me was that he hadn't even offered me the use of the restroom before he left or even offered me something to drink while I waited. This really got to me. I pretty well felt that I was being stood up.

I had a possible out. Near the interstate was a motel that I thought would have reasonable rates. I wasn't sure if it was full or not because there was a lot of construction trucks around it. I didn't want to use any more money that I had from Sunday night becauce I wanted to keep some of it because I needed to get a new tent somehow. There were empty rooms. The desk clerk did give me a senior discount on the room.

July 17 : Scottsburg, IN to Hardinsburg, IN - 77.12 miles (123.29 km)

I had a decent night at the motel. I got some sleep even though I was a little wired up with what happened at the two churches that I had stopped at. I just wished that the outcome would have been better. I should have gone on and tried to get a room the first time that I had passed the motel instead of trying to find the first church. To be honest I didn't get a good impression from the church that had changed it's name the first time that I had passed it. After getting situated in the room, I went to a nearby Taco Bell to get something light to eat. Outside was a neat racing bike. Inside, there was a guy in bike togs sitting around a table with some other guys. It turns out they were having a small group Bible study. I was invited to join them but I didn't want to impose on them too much.

At the motel, I couldn't get a wifi signal because all of the other people were on the web. It was around 11 pm when I fell asleep. I woke up around 5 am. There had been the promise of hot fresh waffles for the morning but the new machine hadn't been put out. All there was juice and donuts. I got on the road at around 7:30 am. I stopped at a gas station for some milk.

I bactracked through the downtown area and got on IN 56 for the ride to Madison. For the first third of the way, there were some hills but then the road leveled out. I stopped for a short break at a gas station in Hanover. I was surprised when somebody called out my name. It was one of the guys who I had met at the Methodist church in Tell City. He was a boilermaker and he was going for a meeting a the power plant on the Ohio River outside of Madison. My intention when I got to Madison was to stay on IN 56 and ride along the Ohio River. I wasn't sure if my brake pads would hold up through all of the twists and turns that I might experience along the way. I decided to change my route and stay on IN 62 and ride through Dillsboro and then get on US 50 whih would take me to the Ohio State line.

Near the intersection of US 421 and IN 62 was a sign warning truckers that they should avoid taking IN 62 because of steep curves and winding roads. I should have headed the warning and taken US 421 North to Versailles where I could get on US 50 there. IN 62 was quite hilly between Canaan and Cross Plains and near the small town of Friendship. There were a lot of switchbacks and steep hills. Several times I had stop to tighten up my disc pads. Hopefully, I'll not lose another one in back like I had a couple of days ago. I had to walk up a couple of the steep hills.

I got into Dillsboro around 6:00 pm. There wasn't much in town so I decided to get on US 50 and ride to either Lawrenceburg or Greendale. I wanted to get close to the Ohio State Line. Once on US 50, the ride went pretty well because US 50 was a divided 4 lane highway with a wide paved shoulder and the ride was mostly downhill. There wasn't much in the way of low cost motels in the Lawrenceburg area so I moved on. Just before the I-275 interchange, I came across a low cost motel in the small town of Hardinsburg. There was a White Castle Burger Place nearby so I stopped there first to get take out before going to the motel. The room was okay but there wasn't any wifi.

I'm about three miles (5 km) away from the Ohio State Line and about 28 miles away from my friends house in Cincinnati

July 18 : Hardinsburg, IN to Cincinnatti, OH - 28.96 miles (46.34 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. I was surprised at how good the motel room was considering the motel didn't have a paved parking lot. There wasn't any wifi. I left the motel around 7:30 am. There was a lot of things going on in the news. A Malaysian passenger jet had been shot down over the Soviet disputed area of the Ukraine by a shoulder launched missile. Almost 300 people were killed in the downing including at least one American (a 19 year old boy). The Israeli army had moved into The Gaza Strip to destroy the Hamas terrorist missile launching sites. Since the initial hostilities that started maybe two weeks ago, almost 300 Palestineans had been killed and over 1,000 injured.

I went down the road about a quarter mile and stopped at a gas station for a light breakfast. From the gas station, it was less than 2 more miles (3 km) to the Ohio State Line. There wasn't a safe place where I could take Alice safely off the road to take a picture of her and the state sign. There were a cuple of hills to get over between the state sign and Cleves. I stopped for a short break in Cleves.

In North Bend, I rode passed the street that my friends used to live on. In nearby Addison, I carefully went through an area where there was a two car accident. I also rode passed the ferry that I took one time aross the Ohio River from Kentucky. A Fernbank, I crossed into the Western outskirts of Cincinnati. At a McD's in Saylors Park, I stopped for a break. Before I left, a guy and a lady stopped me to talk with me. Before they left, the lady slipped me $5.

Right after the McD's, there was about a two mile stretch of road construction. I carefully rode through it until I could get onto some parralel side roads. After the road construction zone, it was about an eight mile ride to a gas station that had been designated as a meeting point. In about 15 minutes, my friend came to meet me. here wasn't any room for Alice and my gear inside so I followed Amy's car for almost 8 miles (13 km) to their house in the Camp Washington section of Cincinnati. The neighbohood is a tenement neighborhood that is in the process of being revitalized. The neighborhood would have been better if there wasn't a drug house across the street. The lady across the street is supposed to be selling heroin.

There wasn't any room for me inside so they put up a big wall tent in an area that used to be a patio behind a garden. I think that it could have been a footprint of another smaller house. The tent was put up right before it started to rain hard. I was just going to try and sleep on an air mattress but I decided to put up my tent inside and sleep in that. It was an excuse to dry the tent after getting caught out in a thunderstorm a ouple of nights ago. Another good reason is the wall tent leaked since the tent fly was missing. To give me a more better sense of security I'm sleeping in one half of the tent since there was a wall section with a zipper. The only problem with the location is that the tent isn't behind a big wooden fence but a small chain link fence next to an alley.

July 21 : Cincinnatti, OH to Ripley, OH - 62.58 miles (99.57 km)

It was a bit of an off night because I had the impacted wax. I used two wax removal fluids to try and remove the wax. After about a couple of hours of trying, I got the pressure and pain down so I could try and sleep. I slept a little bit because of what I had seen and heard about before I retired for the night. Before it got late, I walked over to the Wendy's to use the restroom.

It was around 1 am when I fell asleep and I woke up around 5 am. I took my time getting packed up, cleaned up, and dressed because I had to wait till around 8:30 am to get Alice out of the house. I portaged everything from the backyard to the postage stamp front yard. It took me about 15 minutes to get Alice loaded.

It was almost 9 am when I headed out. I was a little tricky but I found my way back near the downtown area. I backtracked the route that I took Friday afternoon. Once in the downtown area, I got on Seventh Street that took me to US 52. I rode passed the Purple People Bridge that would have taken me across the Ohio River to Covington, Kenuky. I rode passed the sports coliseums on the river front.

One on the River Road (US 52), there was a designated bike path through the Historic East End. There was a paved bike trail to Columbia but I did not take it. Near the Lunken Airport, I rode passed an amusement/ water park (Coney Island), a music concert center, and a horse race track. Most of the parking lots were full of people tailgating for a music concert by Jimmy Buffet. Most of the people were in their 50s and 60s and a lot of people were wearing grass skirts. The gates for the concert weren't going to open until around 7 pm but a lot of them were pretty wasted already from alcohol.

The ride along the Ohio River on US 52 was pretty good. The terraign was mostly flat and there was a paved shoulder. I got about 23 miles done by noon. I stopped for a late lunch at a McD's in New Richmond and I did some shopping at the nearby shopping center. In Point Pleasant, I rode passed the birthplace of President U.S. Grant. The rest of the afternoon ride went okay. At Boundes Ferry, I rode passed the second private ferry aross the Ohio River. I had several encounters with young deer.

I pushed on to Ripley. It was around 6:30 pm when I got into Ripley, I stopped for some supper at a McD's. After supper, I was thinking that I was going to have to ride 9 more (14 km) miles to Aberdeen and cross the Ohio River to Maysville, Kentucky to find lodging but I came across a small motel. The motel was run by an Indian. He gave me a $5 discount on the room. My target tomorrow is Porsmouth, Ohio a little over 60 miles (96 km) away.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between July 29th and August 05th.




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