Thursday, September 24, 2009

More National Road stuff

I learned that there were several "S" bridges on the original route and they are unique in the USA. There is an explanation below of exactly what "S" bridges are and why they were built.

While listening to my tour guide at the National Rd. Museum I also learned that the eastern part of the National Road in Ohio(Zanesville to WV line) was made of brick because because of all the turns and hilss made it a better method of creating a good surface , while from Zanesville west concrete was primarily used.
It is interesting to see how the bricklayers did their thing on curves and "S" bridges. Sometimes there were several of these lines in a pretty short length of road.
There are still some sections of the original brick National Road that have not been paved over to see and actually drive on (slowly). These sections are not part of Rt. 40 but are very close and marked.

This part of Ohio is knows as the home of the "alphabet" bridges given the "Y" bridge in Zanesville and all the "S"bridges.
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Back in the saddle again -2

Getting some good miles in the past couple of days and boy is it feeling good. Riding a recumbent really is like sex in that once you learn never forget, or something like that.

Rode the 14 miles from Greenville to Versailles and back--only felt a little tired and once again did not want to get off the bike. Saw some good friends in Vtown and also stopped at The Worch Memorial Library and got hassled by the librarians as per usual--these folks are tough--forget your library card one time and it is like you are guilty of a felony. Personally I think it is a little much when they post your picture on the scofflaw board , and the pic showed my bad side too.
On the way back I ran across one of those cool signs that seem to pop up during rides. Pure Americana.

Thinking real hard about finishing the ride to Wash. DC in 2-3 weeks. I need to be back in plenty of time for Russ/Elissa wedding on Halloween and I have been warned I need to be there in one piece--that is a lot of pressure.

I made the announcement of my desire to finish ride to Miss Sassy today and although there was a lot of silence she did not give me "the look" which is a good sign. Hopefully the big question will be where to start, as I see it there are 3 options
1-start from Greenville and duplicate the ride to Cambridge and beyond (10-11 days)
2-start from Cambridge and go from there(6-7 days)
3-start from the Allegheny Trail head in coraopolis Pa.(5-6 days)

I should be able to get 20-30 training miles in a day with some 50-60s worked in as legs get stronger. If I can do that for 2 weeks I think I can make that last 350 miles. I figure if I get 500 training miles in I can manage the A-Trail.

Spent 3 hours tonite setting up new 25 function bike computer/speedometer--it shows temp-altitude-and all the regular stuff and I probably will only really use 6-7 of these functions but it was on sale so like a sucker carp I bit. Actually I only spent the last 15 minutes setting up computer--the first 2.75 hours were spent trying to decifer the instruction booklet and just pressing buttons kinda randomly wich caused a lot of frustrated cursing until I actually read the instructions carefully and my brain light came on. I am glad I did not get the deluxe model with pedal cadence and heart rate capabilities. It could have been an all nighter.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First Traffic Fatality in Ohio

While riding along a section of the National Road near Norwich I came across the following markers that caught my attention.

The stage coach came down the above hill apparently too fast for conditions (which were probably crazy rough at best) and overturned about where the rock marker which has the above info plate is, killing the passenger.

Norwich is one of those many small towns at the bottoms of a hill along the eastern part of Ohio Rt.40 and like a lot of small towns has its claim to fame. This reminded me of the town of Seymour Indiana that makes the claim of being the site of the first train robbery in America . Then there is Adair Iowa which claims to be the site of the very first train robbery west of the Mississippi River
It seems like the Adair robbery is cooler because the James/Younger gang was a lot more famous than the Reno brothers who did the Seymour job.

One of the great things about touring America is checking out how small towns work so hard to be unique and stand out from all the other small towns. Sometimes it involves an historicasl happening and other times it is claiming itself the capital of something (like that world Purple Martin in Indiana) or having the "est" of something--largest, smallest, fastest, highest, lowest,etc etc etc., . This is what makes the USA the best.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Signs along Ohio Route 40

Old Washington is one of a whole bunch of small towns along the eastern edge of Ohio Rt.40 or The National Highway. It is hard to travel a mile w/o coming across something interesting like this. There was a small battle here that is well documented by several markers.

The reason there are a lot more smaall towns along eastern Ohio 40 as opposed to the western section is that the eastern section is very hilly and after travelers struggled up a hill they rested at the bottom before tackling the next hill. So small towns sprung up at the bottom of these hills when vendors showed up with refreshments and other services for travelers.

The grave of the 3 Confederate soldiers killed during Morgan's raid.

One of those interesting signs you notice when traveling at 12 miles per hour. I wonder how many wild horses there are in this part of the world that need breaking.

This sign was on a very back road and it pointed down a gravel lane that looked like it led into a jungle. Anyway when I saw it I immediately stopped and pulled out my trusty purple marker and adjusted the first letter in the first word which changed the meaning a little. Actually it may have increased traffic down that lane at least until the first rain washed off my modification. I felt a little guilty as I rode away but quickly got over it.


The above pics and posts are from stuff I saw/did the last day I rode .

On the other hand today was another very good day. I started out on a planned 10 mile ride (5 miles into the brisk south wind and back) but I felt so good I ended up riding 15 miles into the wind and finished with over 30 miles for the trip. I am waiting on a replacement computer/odometer so I am guessing a bit on this distance. The route took me to Arcanum Ohio and back. On the way I had a super visit with Nancy and Bill Miller, 2 very good friends who I had not seen for several months. That was a treat and on top of that Nancy decided to not charge me for the ice water, what a gal.
I forgot my camera today and missed some good pics. Saw a couple of beautiful flower grdens and some clever halloween displays. I also would have tried to take Nancy/Bill pic but nancy is very camera shy.
I won't forget camera again.
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Back In The Saddle Again

Today was a good day. After wondering if I would ever feel "normal" again I am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel (as opposed to the light that keeps flashing in the corner of my right eye at night).
For about a month after the wreck I did little or nothing except sleep and watch TV along with reading an escape book a day. Some days I did not even walk outside even though we have been having wonderful weather. My head hurt a lot and all the road rash scabs were itching like hell. In addition I had periodic balance problems--like if I was on my feet for more than an hour I had to grab ahold of something .
Then a week ago last Saturday I started feeling better--a lot better all at once. Miss Sassy noticed it first when she hollared at me for teasing her about something--I guess she had forgotten how much she enjoys that sort of thing. After not wanting to have any kind of conversations with anyone I was suddenly chatty Cathy.
I was also jawing some friends on the phone that weekend about football and a lot of other stuff. In addition I got the urge todo some exercise and on Sunday went to the Versailles high school track and walked . I made it 13/4 miles before I ran out of gas(and got a little too dizzy for comfort) but damn it felt good to do something(actually it just felt good to even want to do something). Every day since then I have walked and am up to 4 miles w/o feeling crappy.
It5 is a hell of a thing to go from riding 70-80 miles a day for 2 months and then go to absolute zero activity--muscle tone is all gone and tan has faded as well.

In addition to getting some exercise I got intertested in repairing the bike. To date it had been sitting in the garage and I had no interest in even looking at it unless I was showing it to someone. Now it was interesting and I really wanted to get it in working order again. I took it all apart and ordered replacement parts which came in last Friday.
Actually there was not a lot of super damage. The seat was bent but not real tough to rebend. Both brake cables and one gear cable had to be replaced and I am waiting on a new computer . The biggest deal was the bent handle bar. Above is a pic of what it looked like when I took it off along side of the new one. It takes a lot of torque to twist it like that.

What I have figured out about the wreck from taking the bike apart is that somehow the front wheel got turned 180 degrees and the bike fell to the left. that is where all the damage was on the bike. The seat fabric on the left side was beat up as was the left side of any other parts of the bike or trailer that hit the ground as evidenced by the gravel scratches.

What was interesting is that the right handle bar was full of gravel--where the plug was torn off and the hollow end hit the road. The right side of the front wheel and fender were also scraped up. So as odd as it sounds something caused the front wheel to flip around and I flew off the left side of the bike hitting the road face first along with shoulder arm etc etc. Now I still do not remember anything for about 8 hours of the wreck day so I put the crash scenerio together from looking at the bike damage as well as my body damage.

Face is healing as well as it can be--there will be no plastic surgery so I now possess "character" scars. Actually it looks like I was in a bar fight and somebody broke a bottle on the side of my head.
What is cool is when I am having a face to face conversation the other persons eyes are looking at my right eye instead of eye to eye. That side of my face feels like there is something pressing on it and it feels funny when I wink or raise my eyebrow because the skin is not stretching back to what it was before. In addition the eye waters a lot and in the moring it takes awhile to clear the gunk out.

Anyway , this will be the last time the wreck will be a topic. It is time to move on and it is hard to describe the feeling of "getting back to normal again". It is like that old saying "that is gonna feel great when it quits hurting".

What prompted the renewal of blogging is that this evening I rode 5 miles on the reconditioned bike and it felt great. I did not want to stop riding which is the exact feeling I had almost every day for the last 2 years when riding a recumbent.

I am psyched to ride and then write about it. I still have some cool pics from the last day I was riding around near Cambridge so I will be posting those in the near future along with new stuff that I see when riding around Darke County. If I can get my stamina back I am gonna start thinking about finishing the ride this year ,even if it is cold out. The Alleghany Trail is car free and as long as there is no snow I think it is doable. In any event it is the new goal replacing the non goals for the past 5-6 weeks.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

National Road Museum 3

I spotted this original poster hanging on the wall and asked our tour guide what a "square drink" was . He did not know so I have looked it up and can only find one reference listed on google.
This is from Travel and Adventure in the Territory of Alaska , published 1869

A good substantial repast is known as a “square” meal all over this coast, and the term is applied to many other things. A “square” drink is a “deep, deep draught,” and a good “square fight” is an encounter or “muss” where the opponents were in earnest. Some of these terms are common to the “Western” States and outlying “territories,” but can not be regarded as full-blooded Americanisms. They attract just as much notice from “Eastern” men travelling in California as they do from Europeans

This is a wooden bicycle that was the rage at one time. I like biking but not enough to jump on something like this , if for no other reason than I doubt it would hold up very long with a full figured (old fat guy) like me .

This is another bike that was ridden on the National Road and that is all I have to say about that.

This was our tour guide Don McKendry who was tremendous--very informative and entertaining. Don is one of several local volunteers w2ho work at the museum and mke it a wonderful place.
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National Road Museum 2

The pottery business in this area of Ohio was big because of the special type of clay that was readily availabe. When the National Road was being built the locals would steal this clay from the road bed at night by filling pots and hauling it away leaving a hole . The word "pot hole" was coined here because of this.

The first "National Road" originally ran from Cumberland MD into Ohio and then to Maysville Ky. It was built by Ebaneezer Grey , Zanes grandfather. The next "National Rd" was originally intended to run from Cumberland to St. Louis but because of political turmoil stirred up by a new congressman named Abe Lincoln in the state of Illinois over whether the state capital should be Vandalia or Springfield , the road stopped in Vandalia. It eventually stretched all the way to California but a lot of history is packed into that stretch from Cumberland to Vandalia.

There is a full sized Conestoga wagon on display and what is interesting is that the brakes were blocks of wood that would press against the iron covered wheel. Eventually this block of wood would get very slick and make stopping problamatical. Many times folks would nail old worn out shoes to the block of wood and the leather made for better stopping power. This is where the term "brake shoe" originated.

This is a model of the Y bridge in Zanesville. Originally all the bridges were covered in order to protect the wood they were made from.
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National Road--Zane Grey Museum

Checking out this museum ws the best $7 I spent on the trip. In a way I wish I had started in the east and went west so that I could see the history of the USA develope. A lot of what I saw in the west and midwest either started here or the folks went thru here .

A section of this museum also is devoted to the pottery industry that developed in the area . At one time it was the world leader.
This is me standing beside one of those big vase things that were so abundant in Zanesville. That is me on the left.

The National Road was a big deal in Washington DC because it was needed to open up the Northwest Territory and then the Louisiana Purchase . It literally was the main road west and was very heavily used. The National Road started in Cumberland Md , which was the "west" began in the late 1700s.

It is interesting to see that there have ben 63 different license plates for Ohio automobiles.

This is the ceiling of the pottery area . This pattern became world famous and made zillion$ for the folks who came up with it.
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