Well, we’ve been a whole lot negligent in keeping up to date on our blog. But, we are determined to give ourselves some closure and at the very least, let you know we have arrived in Owen Sound, ON. You can stop reading here, but if you’d like a few more details, here we go.
So, not quite here we go, Mary Jane is working on Cincinnati, OH. and parts north to Lucas, OH. I’ll start at Oberlin, and now away we go.
Oberlin, OH., was really our hot spot for the Underground Rail Road. There, we found there had been Quaker communities and Slaves who thought they were free, who were instrumental in moving Slaves north into Canada. In brief, it was the law anywhere in the USA, if a run a way Slave were captured by a bounty hunter, they could be returned to their owner and the bounty hunters received payment. On the route that we biked, home after home in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York helped Slaves get to Canada. There were many other routes as well, but all lead to Canada. Often, even African Americans who were born in the North would be captured and taken to the South and sold. Quite a heart breaking and reassuring story of people’s inhumanity to people, and their humanity to one another.
We traveled through Ohio, fall trees in transition, the rolling hills losing some of their pitch that we’d had in Kentucky and Tennessee. One of the best parts for me about biking, is going through towns, both large and small. Seeing the housing, neighborhoods, schools, traffic, shops and many residents waving and shouting hellos. Passing a school bus is always a joy, kids yelling, waving. Honestly, I rarely understand a word they shout at us, over the roar of the vehicles and the bus, but I always am certain that it’s all good! Riding over a bridge is a very fun adventure, many are narrow, usually a quick up and down, and up and lots to look at as you grind up and fly down.
Into Pennsylvania, much like the terrain we’d had in Ohio, with a few more hills, but gentle enough climb up and still have breath enough to begin to pedal as fast as we could to get up the next hill. We’re only in PA. 1 1/2 days, but just after lunch, our route takes us North and we begin riding along the Lake Erie. Wow, so beautiful and BIG!
Into New York, still riding next to Lake Erie, we roll into Dunkirk, N.Y. for the night. It seemed, many creeks and small rivers had small water falls, quit beautiful. The fields were alive with vineyards and corn. Much to my surprise, they were just harvesting the corn, but the further north we rode, it was still standing tall. Knowing little about grapes, I was surprised to smell them on the vines in late October, but visiting a winery, we were told that this was the time to harvest grapes, unless they were making ice wine. Then the grapes would be picked by hand when solidly frozen after a very hard freeze, usually in January.
Riding through Buffalo, we exit the USA, by crossing over the Peace Bridge. There we begin a 20 miles long ride on the Niagara recreational trail into Niagara Falls. Absolutely beautiful. We are cooling down a bit, and it seems really cold when the low will be 0 Celsius to start our morning. For our last week we mainly travel through farm country, but we find towns with motels each night. We’ve been spoiled by our cell phone GPS, and since we have no data service on our phones in Canada, we do wander a bit when we miss a turn or are trying to find something like a motel with an address only! Oh, my, how did those Slaves follow the stars to Canada?
What a wonderful trip! We are so lucky to be able to do such a thing.
Yesterday, we drove back from Owen Sound to Syracuse, N.Y. We slept in this morning, ate our usual banana, did the laundry, but, we did not get on our bikes today.
Thank you for traveling with us.
The Freewheelers, 2013