Sunday, July 3, 2011
The Pawn Advances
I flowed between archaic spans today, passing by the Black Covered Bridge in Oxford (see picture) early in the morning and finishing just beyond the Harshman Covered Bridge in the late afternoon. In the interim I spent more time on the phone than I had all trip, a welcome escape from the lonely drudgery of the road. I placed the most important call myself, to my mother, who is celebrating her thirty ninth birthday. She was very young when I was born, tis true.
Later on the phone nearly got me killed when I absent-mindedly wandered from my seat on the safety railing and dropped my cel on the highway mid-conversation. Morpheus would have been impressed by how quickly I retrieved the phone from the ground, avoiding the death blow of a large truck by mere milliseconds. Sadly, that brings my longest streak of not trying to die to an end at twenty five days.
The highlight of the trek was running into my first long distance biker, a young man named Sam. He is currently riding a loop from Texas to New York and then down the Atlantic Coast and over to Texas again in order to support cancer research. For some reason he seems to cover miles faster than me. There should be some actual action on his blog - the hare always gets more chicks than the tortoise. Not that I am trying to get chicks.
Shortly after meeting Sam I encountered my daily history lesson in Fairhaven, Ohio. I have discussed canals, highways, and railroads in detail over the past two months, but have said little about the old turnpikes. The Bunker Hill House in Fairhaven was once an important stop on those nineteenth century roads as well as a more hidden byway, the Underground Railroad. Gabe Smith, a free black resident there, used the servants' quarters to help ferry escaped slaves up and down nearby Four Mile Creek.
The Underground Railroad was no longer necessary after the Civil War and neither was the Bunker Hill House. The above ground railroad and its powerful steam engines made the turnpike obsolete and without the road to bring commerce the way station faded into obscurity.
The day ended peacefully at the Concord Church along the Ohio and Indiana border. There is a family reunion going on here this weekend and they were so kind as to give me a nice meal with plenty of fruit to prevent the scurvy.
The wise Mongo once said "Mongo only pawn in game of life." Well this pawn has made it to the end of what seems in retrospect a very large state. I have only one thing to say to Ohio now. Checkmate (long string of expletives deleted)!
15 miles/888 total miles