The Alleghenies are surely the most underrated hills in the Appalachians. I drove through their Northern flank while listening to "On Being" interviews with Brian Greene and then Janna Levin. I enjoy listening to these great minds discuss the insignificance and elegance of human existence. If the Alleghenies are a backwater, than surely so is the Earth. There are much busier places in the galaxy.
I stopped at Presque Isle State Park for a morning spin. From this peninsula you can look back on the bay side and see Erie, PA, explore lagoons in the middle of this narrow crescent, or walk the beach on the Lake Erie side. I've spent very little time on any of the Great Lakes. I must say they are more than Great, but rather stupendous inland oceans. North America once had a great internal sea. So many permutations of landmasses and water. Erie, PA is at the confluence of old Pennsylvania oil, canals, railroads, and Great Lakes shipping. It was a terminus for the original American West.
The bike path traverses the peninsula. There were lots of people out on this sunny but brisk morning. The first photo looks back on Erie. The second is a lagoon. And a third is a glimpse of the Great, rather Stupendous Lake.
An hour later I arrived at Austinberg, Ohio where there is a parking place for the Western Reserve Greenway, a forty mile path, straight as an arrow, that cuts through forest, farmland, and small towns. It was cloudy and cool with an increasing threat of rain. I rode for an hour. The same landscape would have seemed so dull in a car. But on the bicycle it was interesting and compelling. The bicycle provides a perfectly scaled pace for getting to know a place. I feel as if I can stop almost anywhere, get on the bike, and enjoy a ride.
The parking lot in Austinberg adjoins a mini-mart, a greasy sandwich shop and a dance hall!
It is an awfully straight ride, isn't it?
And thanks so much to Ohio Parks and all the people who had the vision to develop this bike path.
The path is notable, too, as crucial to the Underground Railway. There are numerous plaques along the way, turning the bike path into a hands-on historical museum. Jeffersonville, Ohio was a bastion of abolitionists. Hooray for good interpretation!
After these two rides, I headed south and picked up US 30 across Central Ohio. After weaving through some shallow hills and meandering rivers, I arrived at flag as a pancake, bigger sky farm country, finally stopping amidst a grouping of windmills in Van Wert, Ohio where I stopped for the night.
On the radio, I've been alternating between NPR, sports talk, and surfing local college stations. As for my own music selections, I've wanted road music, and thus far I've played Springsteen's new album, the Byrds sing Dylan, and the Dixie Chicks. Pistol Annie's are up next. I'm typically more of a jazz listener. On the road, I'm compelled to listen to songs about and from America. But there are many days of travel ahead. So who knows what music will enter the field?
As for music, my first destination this morning is Sweetwater Music. I've gotten a lot of musical equipment from them over the years and I'm thrilled with anticipation to visit their showrooms in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Older NBA Basketball fans will know that the Detroit Pistons moved from Fort Wayne. I have a childhood memory of watching the Fort Wayne Pistons playing the Rochester Royals.