June 25: I'm closing in on the city of Cincinnati right now and if I haven't mentioned this before, a really long time has passed since I have seen anything much more than a village. I'm suffering a bit from culture shock as a result. Usually I have only one or two restaurants to choose from - having forty choices is pretty much blowing my mind. I also don't have to stop at every single one if I am to have a chance at hot food for the day. Therefore, I walked right past all the breakfast possibilities in Batavia and was on my way out of town when a trail angel appeared before me.
Jamie was her name and she operates the Riverside Coffee Mill, which lay a block off of my route. She offered me some free waffles and tried to help me with my search for a cheaper lodging option in Mariemont, the day's destination. Her suggestion was that I try Dilly Deli, a restaurant hangout where I might run into a number of camper friendly hippie types. Although her stereotype of their customer base ended up being dead wrong, her recommendation ended up fitting the bill. Why? You'll have to stay tuned until the end of the episode. Now some commercials...
Thanks for staying with us through another ten minutes of cavemen selling life insurance humor, I'm sure that bit hasn't grown at all stale. My wanderings have brought me back onto the Buckeye and ADT trail, so I can give a couple pieces of advice to those of you who may be so foolish as to follow in my footsteps.
1) Ross Road is not really a road if you are coming from the east, but rather a mostly clear grass path that occasionally boasts a slice of old tarmac. Compared to most off-road parts of the Buckeye Trail, however, this trail/street rates an A+.
2) Round Bottom Road should be avoided if another way exists. There is no shoulder and I did not feel very safe walking here. I passed about ten thousand bicycles, though, so I may be alone in that assessment.
Since I am not writing this piece from beyond the grave, you can rest assured I did indeed survive these trials and arrive in the town of Milford. I was starved and stopped at the first place I found, MJs. This decision turned out to partially be a mistake as the food was terrifically over-priced and the portions skimpy. I do admit that the bison burger (more like a slider) I had was absolutely mouth-watering, the curry mustard a revelation, and the chocolate cake to die for, but I am still hungry.
The afternoon was consumed hiking the Little Miami Scenic Trail to Mariemont. I was amazed to see so many other folks walking and biking after having seen about two people exercising for the last month. The trail is not exceptionally scenic despite the name, but it was a great way to avoid the busy roads of outer Cincinnati. Plans are underway to expand the path all the way downtown in coming years.
I arrived in Mariemont about four and ran into a man named Dan who offered me the shade of his porch and some road money while telling me a little bit about the town. Mariemont was once a village where everyone knew all the other inhabitants, but Cincinnati has slowly encroached and engulfed the place, changing the makeup of Mariemont into the prototypical bedroom community.
After an hour of chit-chat I headed over to the center of Mariemont, where the Dilly Deli is located. I didn't find any hippies there, but I did find a battalion of friendly fellows. No sooner had I sat at my table than I was doing a press conference about the walk and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Fortunately, my media relations skills have improved since I gave that "Diddly Poo" rant when I was coaching the New Orleans Saints. I gave out several cards and had numerous promises of future donations. One young couple was nice enough to cover my meal. The waiter, Harold, was extremely helpful and affable. Through his hard work I was introduced to Tom and Jan, who offered to let me camp in their back yard for the evening.
Tom possesses one of the premier collections of fire marks in the United States. Fire marks are plaques insurance companies placed on homes or businesses that had coverage with them. The early ones were made out of wood and the later ones composed of various metals. Some date back as far as the 1750s, when Philadlephia native Ben Franklin is said to have founded the first fire insurance company in the colonies.
There were no worries of fire this night. A steady rain fell soon after I tucked myself in to sleep. After eighteen miles the odometer reads 810.