“CONGREGATION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE” (Wednesday, November 10, 2010)

After breakfast (thanks, Nick), hitched a ride with Adam and him back to Soho Sushi to retrieve the trike. From there, headed down to the riverfront in search of the “Purple People Bridge.” Once used by cars, this bridge spanning the Ohio River between Cincinnati, OH and Newport, KY is now dedicated to pedestrians and bikes.

Mike Asad, who I met in a Bellevue, KY parking lot, had some strong thoughts to share on coal burning and renewable energy.

A little further down the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, spied a barge transporting coal down the Ohio River.

Then came upon the entrance to the St. Anne Convent and felt inspired to roll up the driveway to say hello. Was warmly received at the door by Sisters Mary Belle Borros and Mary Bertha Berling.

I was then invited inside to meet all the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence, who told me all about the new geothermal system they had recently installed, before treating me to a wonderful home-cooked meal. I learned that they also grow a lot of their own produce on the grounds.

Before leaving, Sister Mary Luke Murphy gifted me with their prayers (and stocked me up with almost more food than I could carry). Bless you, Sisters of Divine Providence!

Although it looked good on a map, Hwy. 8 had no shoulder and was full of potholes, making for some hazardous riding. On top of that, the bike chain started acting up again in the late afternoon, so hedged my bets and made for a truck stop after 32 miles. Just glad I took the detour along the way and didn’t try riding through the new pavement. One of the workers told me some bikers who did try it ended up with flat tires and hot tar coating their bikes. Don’t know how far I’ll get tomorrow with this recurring chain issue, but not much I can do about it tonight. Got permission from the truck stop owner (thanks to Anna and Barbara) to pitch my tent near the idling trucks (that’s what earplugs are for) in the back. Set up shop inside where it was warm until they closed (11pm) then hit the sack. As luck would have it, this little, rural truck stop served Empress Chili.

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“LATCHKEY KIDS IN CINCINNATI” (Tuesday, November 9, 2010)

Packed up in the morning, made some media calls and got one last Skyline fix with Sheryl & Joe.

Before pedaling south into the city, rolled up to the entrance of the Rumpke landfill, just down the road from my sister’s house. Already the sixth largest landfill in the United States, Rumpke is suing the citizens of Colerain Township to nearly double in size. Known to most as “Mount Rumpke,” the landfill is the highest point in Cincinnati. What most don’t know is a fire has been burning at the dump since August of 2009 and they not only don’t know how to put it out, they don’t even know what is burning.

Pedaling past St. Joseph Catholic School a little while later, some of the kids excitedly yelled out to me, so I pulled over to let them check out the trike. One of the teachers thought it would be neat if I talked to the kids in the school’s latchkey program, so I asked the principal and we made it happen. Interacting with those kids was the highlight of my day.

Did an interview with local ABC affiliate WCPO-TV on Fountain Square:

Also did an interview local NBC affiliate WLWT TV.

While on Fountain Square, one of the people who walked up to me was Zach Weprin and his dad. It was getting late, so he offered to let me crash at his apartment right down the road. Zach, along with his buddies Steve and Nick, owns Soho Sushi, a casual sushi restaurant. There’s something really inspiring about childhood friends coming together to jointly pursue a dream. Their hope is to become to sushi what Chipotle is to burritos. If what I experience there (very tasty, healthy, fast sushi) is any indication, I believe they just might do it. Thanks for dinner and a place to crash, guys! Easy ride day today: 18 miles.

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“DOWN TIME WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS” (Saturday, November 6, 2010)

No riding today. Spend part of the day editing videos and updating the travelogue, then hung out with my family. High in the 40s today, so nice to be inside where it’s warm. Looking forward to catching up tonight with one of my best friends, who I’ve known since 1st grade.

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“BACK ON HOME TURF!” (Thursday, November 4, 2010)

One of the sweetest dogs you could ever hope to meet, Luna, kept me company as I packed up my things in the morning. Rolled back into town for a quick interview with The Oxford Press, then dropped the trike off at BikeWise to have the chain looked at. Don had arranged for some friends (thanks, Orie and Eleanor) to shuttle me to a unique green home being constructed just outside of town, so we headed out to see it while the trike was being repaired. The “Edge of the Woods” home renovation project would be best described as mind-blowing. I’ve never met an architect as excited about a project as Greig Rutherford. He and his crack team are building a green, eco-home for Marge and Gary Glaser that should serve as an inspiration for people around the world.

Got back to the bike shop just as Doug Hamilton was wrapping up (turns out the deraileur had come loose again, accounting for the slipping gears). When I asked what I owed, Doug and Heidi wouldn’t let me pay. Thank you both for your generosity, and for preventing another unpleasant breakdown! Thanks, too, for tipping me off to a bike-friendly route into Cincinnati (where I saw less than half a dozen cars all day). Support your local bike shop! Started raining as I ordered lunch, so waited to see if it would pass. Just as I finished eating, the rain stopped. I’ve been truly blessed by good weather this entire trip, and have not yet had to ride in the rain.

Crossing the Great Miami River this afternoon – nearly 1,600 miles from where I started – felt like a major milestone. Incredibly excited to be back on the home turf where I spent my childhood. Felt surreal pulling into my sister Sheryl’s driveway this afternoon, realizing I had actually pedaled here. My brother-in-law, Joe, met me at the top of the driveway, right as my nephew Andrew’s school bus was pulling up to the curb, so the timing couldn’t have been better. Am really looking forward to spending some quality time with family and friends in Cincinnati, and to resting, while the cold front passes through.

We made a fun family project out of cleaning the trike for the school presentation tomorrow (thanks, guys!), then headed to Skyline for dinner (anyone from Cincinnati will understand why). Despite pedaling a relatively short 25 miles today, my legs protested the whole way. After seven straight days of riding, it’s time for a break.

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