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Old 07-28-2014, 10:54 AM   #136
Dr. Greg OP
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Monday, July 28: mid-day update...

Stopped for lunch just across the Ohio River from Parkersburg, WV (Belpre, OH?) Anyway, it is FREEZING!!


Coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in...West Virginia? Ohio?

Had to stop about 30 miles back to don my 3rd layer (4 layers is max for me) I was FREEZING! Cloudy, cold, a few heavy rain showers. This is July? The 3rd layer (plus a high-calorie lunch) will hopefully do the trick.

I'd planned on camping near Athens, OH, but I gotta find a camping spot with a hot bathtub...seriously, I'll have to think about it.

No pics: my fingers were too frozen to work the shutter...


Tomorrow: OH 56 and the town of Starr...

Wherever I stay tonight, I'm looking forward tomorrow to OH 56 between Athens and Chillicothe (more or less). I have good memories of that road from 2010. And there's the town of Starr that I have to photograph.

Sorry this RR isn't more interesting, but I'm an old guy who doesn't have much fun. Thanks to any that are following. BTW, Mrs. Greg says it's nice and warm back in Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico. Just what I need. My first few days of 95 F are a distant memory...not longin' for that, y'unnderstand. Not much.

--Doc
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:34 PM   #137
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Monday, July 28: Morgantown, West Virginia --> Athens, Ohio.

My earlier updates today contain lots of griping about the FRIGID conditions in western West Virginia and eastern Ohio. So I think it's time for some good news...oh, did I mention earlier about fireflies? Mrs. Greg has often told me about the fireflies in the east...we have none in New Mexico. While reading out on PA RIDER's beautiful balcony, I saw numerous fireflies flickering out in the darkness. Really neat. I thoroughly enjoyed Pennsylvania...think I've said that before.


Dr. Greg does the TRIPLE NICKEL

I've mentioned that I was looking forward to riding OH 56 on Tuesday. I had lunch just across the Ohio River from Parkersburg, WV (the town of Belpre, OH). Anyway, I proceeded west from Belpre on OH 618 (rather than US 50). Saw this striking bridge over the Ohio River:


Takes a BIG bridge to span the mighty Ohio River...

There was also a VERY large "factory" complex right near the bridge...being a mechanical engineer, that kinda stuff appeals to me (in its place), but there was really nowhere to get a pic.

Shortly after the bridge (didn't cross it, BTW), I saw a sign pointing to the right, labeled "OH 555"...

"Hey, that's the legendary "Triple Nickel" I thought to myself. I hadn't realized it was anywhere around here. I was planning on going directly towards Athens, OH and looking for the "Stroud Run" State Park for camping.

Well, after seeing OH 555, I thought for about four microseconds and turned north onto the TRIPLE NICKEL. Don't get these opportunities very often...


This road is legendary...

Well---as I'm sure you understand---I didn't get any fotos while actually RIDING the TN. This was a road---like AZ 191 (nee 666) and NM 152 (you NM guys know that one)---that demand total concentration. And I wasn't even goin' THAT fast.

The TN didn't disappoint. But, as I'll explain in the next section, I could never really ENJOY that road. You guys that CAN enjoy it have my admiration. But it was something I was glad to have done. NOTE: I only rode the section from OH 618 north to Chesterhill. I've heard that towards Zanesville OH 555 is not quite as good. Hopefully I rode the "best parts"...oh, early on 555 I went thru the little village of Cutler, OH...inmate "Gabby" (with whom I could have stayed) lives there. Has a 990 Adventure---bet HE moves right along on the TN...

Stopped at Chesterhill, OH in front of an "old-timey" art gallery...


Wotan performed admirably on OH 555; think he liked it, too...


My problem with OH 555...

I "grew up" on roads like AZ 191, NM 152, and in my SoCal days CA 74 from Valle Vista to Palm Desert, and CA 79 (now Sage Road) from Hemet to Aguanga. Twisty roads all, but almost uninhabited. The problem with OH 555 is that about every 100 yards there's another farmhouse, another driveway...you get my drift. There is the possibility of something happening that is NOT under your control. That---as a rider---makes me VERY uneasy. Plus today the weather was unsettled, and I had a couple rain showers to deal with. But---the Triple Nickel didn't disappoint.


My aborted camping excursion...

Another problem with this area (West Virginia/eastern Ohio) is that the country is so "close" and mountainous that you can't see anything. This is to a Westerner, y'unnerstand. The problem affected my search for the "Strouds Run" State Park, where I'd hoped to camp. I set my GPS for this SP, and the turnoff to it (I guess) was right at the top of a steep, wooded hill. There was no signage, and the road into the SP was narrow, steep, wet (though paved), potholed, etc. And you couldn't "see" where the road led. I felt the distinct possibility of getting a loaded Wotan into a situation that 145-lb moi couldn't get out of. So I bailed...found an inexpensive motel in Athens.

Got there early enough that I took a 1.5-mile stroll (barefoot, of course) on a "bike path" that led into Athens. The weather was perfect for walking (the ride on the Triple Nickel had warmed me nicely, BTW). Thought I might get rained on, but---as often on this trip---my timing was good.


Walked (barefoot) along this bike path into Athens, OH (and back)...

Wotan got the "place of honor" between the flower pots, so he was happy.


Wotan did well today, unlike myself...OK, I survived.

Mrs. Greg encouraged me to eat more (at lunch when I was freezing I went back to the Mickey D's cashier after finishing my original meal and said "I need more calories..." Bet they don't hear that very often. But I need to eat to stay warm...

So tonight I ordered a pizza, instead of my usual "Trail Mix" for dinner. Gonna chow down in style. Maybe I won't lose too much weight on this trip (got 15 lbs to gain back...)


The Plan for Tomorrow...

Tuesday I'm gonna tackle OH 56, then on to Kentucky where I'll again stay with inmate "Go-4-It" (aka Stan). He has this great swimming pool (remember the pic with the duck?) Hopefully the weather will improve. In fact, the sun is shining right now. Haven't seen that for a coupla days.

As always, thanks for following. I'll try to get a "Starr, Ohio" pic tomorrow.

--Doc
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:04 PM   #138
Jim K.
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Just found your excellent RR! The mention of Forksville, Pa. caught my eye. A few years back, a buddy & I camped for a week at a little state park on Loyalstock Creek, & ate nearly every day at the Forksville general store, just on the other side of the covered bridge. We rode all the little 2 lanes for miles around & had a great time. My big memories from the trip were the nighttime temps down into the high 30s & the fact that my pals Verizon phone & my ATT would work in alternate valleys, but they never worked simultaneously. The "Grand Canyon of Pa." also was a standout. A month after we got back, the whole area was devastated by the worst flooding in a century, tearing up many of those beautiful country roads that we loved. I actually phoned our newfound friends at the Forksville Gen'l. Store & found that they had come through all right. You Tube vids at the time were awful to see. It looks like things are back to their bucolic serenity from your pics. Has the area dodged the fracking boom? That was a big worry on the part of the locals, as I recall.
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:52 PM   #139
SoPaRider
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Dr. Greg our paths nearly met again as we rode through State College on U.S. Rt. 220/I-99 around 9:00 A.M. Sunday morning too! Good luck on your ride home and we look forward to reading about your continued adventures as you head home.

"The Ride Is Never Long Enough!"

JC & KC
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Old 07-29-2014, 05:28 AM   #140
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I agree that the area around Forksville is spectacular. Sounds like you explored far more than I, but that wasn't the focus of my trip---but it might just be the focus of next year's big trip .

Re cell phone access...ha, ha, I experienced a similar phenomenon. I finally took it as an "opportunity" to have some solitude---something we get all too rarely these days.

Lotsa State Forests, not that much traffic, wow...what a place! One of the indelible memories of this trip for sure.

--Doc

P.S. Glad to have you along and thanks for the kind words...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim K. View Post
Just found your excellent RR! The mention of Forksville, Pa. caught my eye. A few years back, a buddy & I camped for a week at a little state park on Loyalstock Creek, & ate nearly every day at the Forksville general store, just on the other side of the covered bridge. We rode all the little 2 lanes for miles around & had a great time. My big memories from the trip were the nighttime temps down into the high 30s & the fact that my pals Verizon phone & my ATT would work in alternate valleys, but they never worked simultaneously. The "Grand Canyon of Pa." also was a standout. A month after we got back, the whole area was devastated by the worst flooding in a century, tearing up many of those beautiful country roads that we loved. I actually phoned our newfound friends at the Forksville Gen'l. Store & found that they had come through all right. You Tube vids at the time were awful to see. It looks like things are back to their bucolic serenity from your pics. Has the area dodged the fracking boom? That was a big worry on the part of the locals, as I recall.
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Old 07-29-2014, 05:31 AM   #141
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Well howdy there again JC...

I hope you both had a wonderful weekend. I had imposed on you enough for this year...there's always next year (see previous rreply )

Again, thx so much for your hospitality, and good luck this winter at the "manor"...look me up next time you're out NM way.

--Doc

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Originally Posted by SoPaRider View Post
Dr. Greg our paths nearly met again as we rode through State College on U.S. Rt. 220/I-99 around 9:00 A.M. Sunday morning too! Good luck on your ride home and we look forward to reading about your continued adventures as you head home.

"The Ride Is Never Long Enough!"

JC & KC
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Old 07-29-2014, 05:44 AM   #142
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Tuesday morning, July 29.

When I awoke this morning, I actually knew where I was (Athens, OH), and what I was doing there (heading home to Albuquerque, NM). With the dreaded 3-week point coming tomorrow, that's a very good sign...


The outlook...

Well, it's not raining. That's always good. In fact, I see patches of blue sky outside. After the unexpected bonus of the Triple Nickel yesterday (boy, that was an INTENSE experience), I hope my much-anticipated jaunt along OH 56 doesn't disappoint. That should take me thru Starr (my name), near Mount Pleasant, South Bloomingville, Haynes (home of the underwear factory?), Laurelville, Hallsville, Kinnickinnick (!), then south into Chillicothe (scene of a horrible construction delay on a trip in 2010).

From Chillicothe I think I'll take OH 41 (a scenic route on my map) down to the Ohio River at Maysville, Kentucky. Then cut west on KY 10, 22, etc. and approach Walton, KY (my destination) from the south, to minimize Cincinnati traffic (gotta skirt those big cities).

I think that route is COMPLETELY on "secondary" roads. So fie on you who might criticize my choice of the odd interstate ...

Oughta take up most of the day...I better get going. See ya down the road...

--Doc
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:44 AM   #143
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Tuesday, July 29: Mid-day update @ Chillicothe, Ohio...

Stopped for lunch at Chillicothe, Ohio. Already a great day of riding, just as I'd hoped. Before I start the update, I'm reminded of a former colleague (sort of) who was a faculty at UIUC (Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). He hailed from Rhode Island, and allowed as when they were driving west by the time he got to Ohio he felt like he was really "out west."

I've tried to acquire the same feeling, but there's a heckuva long way to go...


Southern Ohio has the BEST roads in the US of A...(e.g. OH 56)

Uh, and north-central PA, and SW Colorado, and northern NM, and...there's a lotta good roads in this great country. BUT southern Ohio has SOME OF THE BEST...

It was interesting to "compare and contrast" (my 6th grade English teacher would be proud) the Triple Nickel OH 555 with the aforementioned OH 56. In cycling parlance, the TN keeps you "on the rivet," while OH 56 lets you relax a bit. Maybe 555 is better for young guys (or ladies), while OH 56 is better for us, um, elderly folks.

However you think, OH 56 sure goes thru some beautiful country:




A couple views along OH 56...wow!


In search of Starr, Ohio...

As I've said, "Starr" is my last name, and fairly early on OH 56 I'd be passing thru the town that bears my name. I saw the sign for "Starr Equipment Rentals" but despaired of finding the "official" town sign (Starr is a wide spot in the road, like most "towns" along OH 56). But---there it was! I slammed on the brakes, put the emergency flashers on (no shoulder...not even close!) and got my pic:


Maybe I'll retire here...wait, I AM retired. Oh, well...

The weather was cool, cloudy...63 degrees on the GSW thermometer. With only a T-shirt beneath my jacket, I was none too warm, but sure better than the previous day.

A big further I passed by some "gloomy forest galleries" that were AWESOME, in the deep, ancient meaning of that word. Tried to get a pic. Expected the Siegfried-Idyll to come drifting through the forest at any time...c'mon Dr. Greg, snap out of it. You've got to focus!


The gloomy, awesome forest of southern Ohio...

I struggle to convey my emotions when traversing country like this...


Finally, the Spell is broken...and downtown Kingston, Ohio.

Finally OH 56 emerged from the thick woods, and the spell was broken. Now it led through open farming country: lots of corn and other stuff I can't identify. Still wonderful country to this observer's eye...


Open farmlands along OH 56.

The road I wished to follow (OH 180) was CLOSED, and the detour led me thru bustling downtown Kingston, OH. I missed the sign at the edge of town, so I pulled Wotan over...


Parked Wotan in bustling downtown Kingston, OH.

...walked back along this sidewalk...


The sidewalk back to the sign.

...and got a foto of the sign!


The founding of _ingston (later changed to Kingston, I assume)...

There, wasn't that ingteresting?


A Slice of 19th century Americana...

After walking back to Wotan, I looked across the street and saw a house that just impressed me as an archetype of 19th-century "small-town" Americana. See?


This house just said "19th-century small--town Americana" to me...

However, as I rode out of Kingston, the numerous tattoed, shaved-head young men driving jacked-up pickups assured me that I was indeed in the 21st century. Probably running a meth lab in that cool old house...

That's about it. It is still amazingly COLD! I better be careful about complaining...I'd prefer mid-60s F to mid-90s F any day. Especially at 80% humidity.

Y'know, I really enjoyed OH 56 more than OH 555. Probably because I'm an old guy.

Lots more road before I can rest tonight. At the current temperature, ain't NO WAY I'm gonna be up for Stan's swimming pool at the end of the day...

--Doc
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:02 PM   #144
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Hit a crisis of spirit in Northern Kentucky. No more updates for a while; maybe never. Trip's purpose is completed anyway.

--Doc
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:08 PM   #145
Juan Loboe
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Hope things get better, quick!

Shout out if you need to...must be someone from the forum nearby to lend a bit of time...
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:06 AM   #146
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Thumb Views, Vistas, Visibility

Things always seem close "back east." The woods restrict your view (hide rats), even open farmland only stretches the eye so far. The air is filled with humidity, limitng the visibility, like the great smoky mountains. You get no sense of grand vistas, at least few opportunities for such views. To me "out west" is where you see mountains 50-80 miles off in the distance. Anyhow, safe travels back!
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:01 AM   #147
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Hope the new day dawns bright and cheerful for you...best wishes.
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:57 AM   #148
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Greg View Post
So tonight I ordered a pizza, instead of my usual "Trail Mix" for dinner. Gonna chow down in style. Maybe I won't lose too much weight on this trip (got 15 lbs to gain back...)
What a "problem" to have. I navigate by food and reward for sticking in the saddle for hours on end is food! Ribs, fries etc and a little booze at the end of the day to ease the joints. All the good stuff. Definitely don't come home lighter.

Keep safe and keep enjoying the ride. Enjoying checking in on your progress
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:02 AM   #149
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Hit a crisis of spirit in Northern Kentucky. No more updates for a while; maybe never. Trip's purpose is completed anyway.

--Doc
I'm reading Zen and the art of..... Well, you know the rest. He's talking about the usual ups and downs where I'm reading. Take care and up to you on posts. I often wonder why I bother. Guess it makes sense when you meet people on the road and connect in a way that might not have happened if you'd not been putting yourself out there.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:37 AM   #150
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Quote:
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Hit a crisis of spirit in Northern Kentucky. No more updates for a while; maybe never. Trip's purpose is completed anyway.

--Doc
Congrats, Doc, for making one more RR about your travels. I know that feeling when it's time to get home, though. Pretty powerful feeling. No more pics and slow roads. Just pound out the superslab hours until it's over. Last time that happened to me I didn't ride my bike again. I parked it as-is and eventually sold it a few months later. I figured I was done. But alas' the spirit creeps back up on you and before long you'll be exploring again. Prolly just won't be writing much about it.

I'm flying west for the month of October. I have some tracks through southern Utah I want to try. Thanks again.
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