The Confluence of Rivers

With every river that runs through it, there is a river that runs to it—a merging of waters, a confluence of streams. Locally, there is a stream called Todd Fork that meets the Little Miami River in SW Ohio. Morrow, Ohio, to be exact.

On previous occasions, I have seen kids recreating at this spot along the shoreline. Kayaks and canoes are launched here also. During my brief stop, several vehicles slowed or stopped to check the quality and level of the rivers, as I did.

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What is it about water—rivers or lakes—that brings us to the water’s edge? Is there something spiritual or soul refreshing? Perhaps there is something intuitive in the hymn, “Shall we gather at the river?” I think so.

See you on the highway … or next to the river.

Brent

Great Day for a Ride on the Guzzi

What a great day for a ride. Sunny and in the lower 50s, I suited up and rolled my 2020 Moto Guzzi V7iii Rough out of the garage. Kissed my wife and reassured her I would ride safe.

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I rolled out of the neighborhood and turned east along familiar roads. I always wanted to stop at the bridge over Todd’s Fork, but always seemed to be going in the other direction. Not today. This stream has some good fishing, but parking is not so easy to find.

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Further down the road, and on Ohio SR 350, I stopped for a photo at Fort Ancient. This Hopewell Mound Community is one of the sites in Ohio that is under application as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Further on SR 350, where the highway crosses the Little Miami River, a popular river access site enables canoers and kayakers to enter the river. Morgan’s Canoe, sits next to this state access site, and offers canoes and kayaks for rent giving you a lazy meander down the river.

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Crossing the river and winding up to the top of the bluff, I headed home to get ready for the opening day for baseball, Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates. It has always been a big rivalry. Go Reds.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Fifty-Seven Years of Motorcycling

And still counting!

It’s hard to imagine doing anything for a longer period of time, except for living of course. But yes, I have been riding motorized, two-wheeled vehicles for 57 years … and counting. There have been a couple of periods without motorcycles, but I still count from the beginning.

It all started with that broken Lambretta motor scooter that Dad brought home and fixed up. He would take us kids for rides. I’m not sure how Mom felt about that exactly. I only know that I was not allowed to buy a vehicle until I graduated from high school. I wrecked that Lambretta at age 16 when a driver turned left in front of me. Scooter was gone in a day.

Many years and motorcycles later, my thoughts turn to how much longer I will be able to ride. My riding buddies and friends have had this discussion. One has already sold his bike and quit. I, on the other hand, have sought out books and articles on the subject. Stories of older riders and riding into the senior years. Here are a couple of books.

John Otterbacher bookWhat Remains, Memoir of an Old man on the Road, by John Otterbacher. (2021)

Otterbacher, at age 74, embarks on a motorcycle journey from his home in Michigan to the west coast. Riding back roads and through small towns, he is reliving past journeys. He has heart issues and carries nitroglycerin tablets, but persists on his journey until a disastrous accident in a construction zone. He nearly dies, but does recover and questions what he will do with the rest of his life, with what remains. In the Epilogue he writes, “What remains is what is always available, with a little more clarity and a little less pretense. … I am old, but don’t much feel that way, more a willful child with some aches and pains. … Retreat is out of the question.”

Nick Adams bookDo It While You Still Can, motorcycle escapades and tribulations, by Nick Adams, (2021)

Adams, age 71, has been a prolific writer of motorcycle travels. He lives in Canada, has owned numerous motorcycles, currently rides a 1974 Moto Guzzi Eldorado, 1960 Panther, and a 1986 Suzuki Cavalcade. Nearly all of his travels suggest that any motorcycle can be an adventure bike.

I think it was the Moto Guzzi that caught my eye and prompted me to start following him. I always thought he was an old man on a Moto Guzzi—something I admired. When I started looking for his actual age, I learned he is one year younger that me! He is just a youngster. LOL. What is old? I recently heard that we perceive old as being ten years older than we actually are.

On the end cover of Adams’ book, he writes, “ As baby-boomers like myself get older and the median age of motorcyclists climbs ever higher, it’s easy to find the couch more appealing than the bike seat. But don’t let those aching joints and wasted muscles hold you back. Life is short. The time is now. Do it while you still can.”

Sound advice from two authors: With whatever time you have left, do it while you still can.

I began to think about this several years ago. My riding habits were changing. Long-distance touring diminished. Fewer annual miles. Thinking about those tall and heavy adventure bikes that I had been riding. I wanted a bike that would allow me to ride into the future, riding as long as I physically can. After a long search, I bought a Moto Guzzi V7iii. Easy to throw a leg over and easy to ride. And, it just resonates with me. And, I have toured on this bike, riding to a Kentucky backroad campout.

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Are you thinking about quitting? Family and friends encouraging you to quit? Then maybe the time has come. Or, if you’re still healthy and physically active and able, you can ride for a while longer. Some things are not easily given up.

I’d like to think I will be riding to the very end, and the most likely last two-wheeler for me will be a Vespa motor scooter. What goes around comes around.

See you on the highway … for a long time to come.

Brent

The Travel Planning Begins

Where are you motorcycling to this year? Friends ask me this frequently. Destinations and travels I have mentioned are only dreams until the planning advances from thought to pen and paper to packing the bags.

Lots of options out there.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Rediscovering Your Own Backyard

Some people travel the world to learn or experience new cultures. Some travel to find themselves. Some never leave home. But like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz said, “There’s no place like home.”

There is nothing wrong with expanding one’s horizons. It is good for the soul and personal growth, but what about exploring one’s own backyard? For me, it started with a presentation at a fly fishing club dinner meeting with a topic that renewed my interest of “rediscovering” the Little Miami River near my home.

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The Little Miami Wild & Scenic River “has the distinction of being the first river in Ohio to be included in the National Wild & Scenic River System (1974), and the first to be added to the Ohio Scenic Rivers Program (1969).” Little Miami Conservancy.

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Alongside the river is the Little Miami Scenic Trail, a Rails-to-Trail route that is 78 miles long and connects with other recreational trails.

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I am sure that I am not alone in overlooking what is in my own backyard. We dream of places far away. Adventures into the unknown. Testing our limits. And yet, here is this incredible, river in my own backyard, and I want to know more about it. To enjoy its stream and the communities that it flows through. This is not a tall order, for it is truly in my backyard, just a hike down a hillside path through a nature preserve, or a quick drive down the road.

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One of my favorite motorcycling roads follows the river, and I am always on the lookout for river access to wet a line with one of my fly rods. This year, I am going to spend more time fishing the river, and visiting the communities along its banks. Places like Clifton, Ohio, where the river passes through a spectacular gorge, and one can visit the Historic Clifton Mill for a meal and to step back in time.  And then there is Yellow Springs, Xenia, Loveland and Milford, and others all ripe for exploration.

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Maybe, just maybe, I will finally use one of the river canoe and kayak companies to canoe down the river. To see the wildlife and the river from a different perspective.

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An incredible site to behold, even from the convenience of your home, is the Little Miami Conservancy Eagle Nest Cam. It is mesmerizing to see a pair of eagles build the nest, lay an egg or two and watch the chicks grow into maturity and then leave the nest after testing their wings. January is when it all begins.

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This nest can be seen from the road along the river where I wander. It’s huge and most visible when the trees are barren of their leaves, but you have to know where to look.

Even though I have lived near this river for nearly 16 years, there is so much more I want to learn and experience. It’s going to be a rediscovery of my own backyard.

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What’s in your backyard?

See you on the highway.

Brent