Home Sweet Home

Day 6, August 10

A decent night’s rest and drying out is what I needed most before the final push home. And, it was to be a short one, only 275 miles—about a five hour ride.

Checked out of the motel. Gassed up and headed north on I-75. Of course this tour would not be complete unless I had to pull over one more time and don the rain gear. Yes. Rain gear … again.

It was a fine mist and light rain that lasted about 30-40 minutes south of Lexington, Kentucky. When I was out from under it, I just kept going with the rain gear on. It’s more convenient to leave it on that to take it off, and have to put it back on again somewhere down the road.

I stopped for gas again in Georgetown. While I was attending to the bike and fuel, two young men approached me and said, “Nice looking bike. How does it ride?” The motorcycle sure does draw attention, and like my wife says, it’s the catalyst for those chance encounters with people on the road.

I rolled into my neighborhood and up onto the sidewalk in front of the house where I usually wash the bike. Inside, I was welcomed with a long warm hug and kisses from my lover, my best friend, my wife, Lin. It’s good to be home.

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More thoughts and ramblings are coming. Until next time.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Roads that intrigue

Are you intrigued by roads? Highways that seem to go off into the distance? Are you compelled to see what is down this road or that one?

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I was talking with a friend about differences in roads. He lives in Montenegro, Europe. I’m here in the Cincinnati, Ohio area of the USA. It was my first Facebook video chat, and it was wonderful to finally see his face and hear his voice.

Goran says travel in Europe is quite different than the USA. The roads there are not like the United States where highways can be straight as an arrow, like out west, and you can see for miles. European roads are through mountains and valleys. The curves can reduce speed and require more time to travel. Our conversation gave me pause for thought about highways and roads, and their intrigue.

I have been known to turn down a road because it looks interesting. Where does it go? Where does it connect or come out? What will I see along its path?

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Does it have lines? Lines? Yes, lines. Major highways and most roads have lane markings. But those rural country roads like Halls Creek Road (top photo) have no lines. To my knowledge and according to the Warren County map, it is such a minor road to serve the locals, that the county has not given it a County Route number. It is only known by its name. And of course, it meanders along Halls Creek, from whence its name comes.

What about gravel roads? Well, I’ve never seen anybody attempt lane markings on a gravel road. Would be kind of silly, wouldn’t it. But, that gravel road goes somewhere. A friend in Nevada, J. Brandon, says, “We have state routes that are gravel!”

That’s the intrigue of roads. There is a history and a purpose. And, they carry us forward to sights and sounds we might never have seen before. Roads are much more than a convenience for travel, they connect people to places and other people. They connect history and stories. And of course, they take us on our adventure.

If you want to get somewhere as fast as possible, take the interstate highway. But if you want to see anything, take a road less traveled. See where it leads.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Give me that old time mountain music

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Folk music has its followers around the world, and even more so is the music that comes from our own Appalachian region here in the United States. So, the opportunity to listen and and see a little culture is an experience to grab hold of.

I like that mountain music. It’s the roots of blue grass. There is nothing like it, and it’s common enough that you can have a group of musicians gather with a banjo, guitar, mandolin and fiddle, and you’ve got a band. That’s all it takes. Sure, you can throw in a bass, but you rarely see drums or any kind of percussion instrument.

Grab a bite to eat, something to drink, sit back and just listen. Let the music carry you away to the oldest mountains in the USA—the Appalachians. Yes, they are much older than the Rockies according to geologists. Not as high because they’ve been worn down, but older.

John Denver can take you home on country roads, but I’d really like to just fly, fly away. Listening to that old time mountain music can do that for me.

I need to find more festivals to attend.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Rails to Trails through the countryside

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There was a time when people feared the conversion of abandoned railroad beds into bicycle and walking paths. The fear was that crime would increase. Adjoining properties would be impacted by lower property values. How wrong were those naysayers.

Brent

Photo: Little Miami Recreational Trail, Morrow, Ohio. The LMRT is 75 miles long connecting multiple small and larger cities—all paved.

Motorcycling on a beautiful November day

“The weather looks good. So are we on?”

“Yes. I’ll meet you in Brookville about noon. We’ll find some lunch and enjoy a ride.”

“See you then.”

And with that brief conversation with my brother, Brian, the meet-up and motorcycling adventure was about to begin. Well, what’s an adventure? Any successful ride that ends safely back at home can be an adventure.

Although I have been living in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area for about five years, my first encounter with riding in southeastern Indiana came six years ago when I received my first assignment writing a feature tour article for RoadRunner magazine. The article was published almost a year later.

How does one describe the joy of motorcycling while riding such joyous roads? My route to Brookville? Avoid the interstates. Take the back roads through the countryside, and so it was as I motored west on Ohio SR 129 through Hamilton and the rural area of southwestern Ohio until I reached the Ohio-Indiana state line at a merging of routes at Scipio. On 129, you can’t see the historical buildings of this hamlet. They are better seen on SR 126, and when 129 and 126 meet at the line, you are now on Indiana SR 252 and diving deeper into the hills and curves made by glaciers millions of years ago forming the valleys and tributaries on either side of the Whitewater River.

About 18 miles from the state line, I have scooted through the hills and down into Brookville. As I cross the bridge over the tail waters from Brookville Lake, I quickly look up and down stream. Fly fishers are in the water pursuing the elusive brown trout that populate the waters. Brian claims this stretch of water is the best trout fishing in Indiana.

I am early. Brian will not be here for maybe 30 minutes, so I decide to scout out a place to eat. Apparently he did not like the biker bar where we ate some time ago, so we needed to find a new restaurant or sandwich shop. First south on US 52, Main Street, and then north. I spy a couple of places but decide to ride west on US 52 to meet him on the highway. Nearly eight miles away, and at the historical village of Metamora, we pass each other. Turning around quickly, we pull over and decide to eat there in Metamora at the Hearth Stone Restaurant.

After lunch, and a good one at that, Brian decides he needs to return home for other scheduled activities. I scan the map and decide to follow Brian west on US 52 to Indiana SR 121 and north to Connersville. On the map, it’s just a line on paper, but as I approached the junction, and waved goodbye to my brother who continued on US 52, I realized this road was one I traveled in that first RoadRunner article. It is far from a straight road. Identified as the Whitewater Canal Scenic Road, it twists and turns along the edge of the hillsides through several small towns. Pushing north, I turn east on SR 44 at Connersville and turn towards home—I have reached the halfway mark on this ride.

The ride towards home is uneventful, and yet wonderful. SR 44, east to the state line where it becomes Ohio SR 725, is rural. Farmers are in the field taking in the last of the corn with those giant harvesters. Tractors with huge dually wheels pull the grain trailers to the side of the road and await the trucks to take the grain to the elevators. Yes, autumn is in the air, still, in November.

At Germantown, I turn south to catch SR 123 which will angle southeast through Carlisle, Franklin, the crossroads known as Red Lion, to Lebanon and then south on SR 48 to home—about 150 miles of joy.

These are some of my favorite roads—the best two-lane highways, blue highways as William Least Heat Moon would call them. These roads are not for making time. If you want speedy travels, get on the interstate. If you want to see the small towns, white-steeple chapels on the hillside, farmers working the fields, and neighbors enjoying the day outside, then the back roads are for you, for they are a joy to motorcycle.

See you on the highway.

Brent