Finding common ground in Holmes County

Holmes County is Ground Zero of Ohio Amish Country. It has also developed an amazing trail that is a sheer pleasure to ride.

But I sense that Holmes County didn’t build this wonderful trail solely for the pleasure of us recreational cyclists. Signs to the contrary are everywhere.

Here’s what the Amish and we recreational cyclists have in common: We don’t want to have our lives extinguished in an instant by some lead-footed yahoo in a speeding car.

I’ve seen numerous news stories about Amish families being wiped out by careless drivers. Likewise I’ve read all too many stories about cyclists having their lives extinguished in a split second, complements of someone’s distracted driving.

Which is what Melvin, an Amish farmer, and I have in common. We were sharing the same rail-trail precisely because it is the safest way to get from one place to another without having to worry about who, or what, is coming up way too fast behind us.

Disclosure: This image is photo-shopped. I just had this really cool photo of a tunnel, and this really cool photo of Walt talking to Melvin. And I wanted to use both images in this blog. So sue me.

So kudos to Holmes County for building a trail that simultaneously allows me and my friends to get from Fredricksburg to Mt. Vernon on two wheels and under our own, um, horse power….

…while at the same time giving Melvin and his horse power safe passage between (I’m not making this up) his farm and Walmart.

Speaking of my friends:

Upper left: This is me wondering if I’m going to be able to carry this bunch of senior citizens for 52 miles today.

Upper right: This is me and my friends thinking: Well, what’s the worst that can happen?

Lower right: This is Walt thinking “Woah! Should I really be doing this?

Lower left: This is Walt getting distracted and totally forgetting his misgivings of 3 seconds earlier.

And so we began.

This is me humoring Bruce because, you know, he still thinks he’s faster than me. How cute us that?

This is me pretending that my bicycle is faster than a speeding locomotive.

This is me realizing that I had actually gotten off my bicycle and climbed up into an actual locomotive just to support my fantasy.

This is Walt standing in front of the Bridge of Dreams.

This is Walt resolving to clean out the Stygian Stables that is the Bridge of Dreams after one too many horse-drawn buggies pass through.

Not for nothing but: Signs of the trail times.

And the trail goes on forever. Or at least it seems that way after the first, oh I dunno, 35-40 miles.

Once you get into Knox County be sure to take a walk up to Meredith’s Overlook. Meredith is gone now, but her overlook remains.

Listen! Every once in a while you really need to stop cycling and, um, reflect.

There’s this stone arch, see. And it’s got a history. Nuff said.

Oh, and I didn’t want to leave out this cool thing about Killbuck.

He was a chief of the Turtle Clan. He tried to help the British in its war against the colonials. It didn’t work out.

But Ohio still named a town after him.

How cool is that?

This is my first impression of historic Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

I’m sure there’s more to it than this.

But, listen, I just finished a 52 mile ride. I’m beat. And I got nothin’ more to add.

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