Monday, June 1, 2015

Heart of Ohio Trail

So how do you like my beard? I've been growing it all season and now is the time to get out and let her flow in the breeze!

Like most of North America we've been experiencing some wild swings of weather here in the Ohio valley.  After a string of hot summer like days and plenty of rain the temperature dropped like a rock Sunday night into Monday.  I planned on riding today because the forecast called for cloudy skies but it wasn't supposed to rain.  The temperature was a crisp 49 degrees F when I left the house this morning.

It's a little strange here it is June 1st and I have to gather up my winter tights, fleece jacket and wool hat with ear protection just to go for a bike ride.  With my gear packed I headed to Mt. Vernon, Ohio to catch the Heart of Ohio Trail which is a rail trail I discovered last fall and have only ridden once so far.

The roughly 15 mile run one way is the perfect sized trail for a mid day ride through the Scenic central Ohio countryside.  I discovered a few new interesting things on this ride I wanted to share on the blog.

No sooner had I got started down the trail I passed this giant smokestack I first photographed last year.  The big difference now is the curious spiral staircase under construction.  As I was standing there looking on an older gentleman pulled up on a recumbent trike so we struck up a conversation and I asked him about the project.  Being from the area he said he saw an artist's rendition of the finished construction which will twist its way about three-quarters of the way to the top and end in a 360 degree observation deck.  The project is scheduled for completion by the 4th of July.  

I will most certainly be making a return trip later this summer to check that out!

I decided to ride the Titanium General Purpose Bike on this ride.  I've been logging about 32 miles a week commuting on the Ti GP and loving it.  The recent improvements in the handlebar and seat department have breathed new life into the bike and I find myself reaching for it often.

The bike trail shares the river valley with a state route.  Along most of the passage the view of the highway is blocked by trees and vegetation.  Occasionally the trail and the roadway are close enough that properties adjacent the road become visible for a few short stretches.  From one of these openings I spotted this old tractor sitting at the front of a farm with for sale sign posted.

I love old fashioned stuff and history so of course I had to stop and check it out.  The Farmall Cub was the smallest tractor built by International Harvester between the years of 1947 and 1981.  During those years over 245,000 Cubs were made.  This one is unique in that it looks like it has the original mowing set-up complete with three-blade mower deck and turf tires. 

The Farmall's are my favorite of the antique tractors but I do love to look at them all.  I don't know much about the details and have no idea of this models age but it does look it came from the 1950's or 60's.  Oh yes one day I will have one of these of my own to tinker with.

Back on the trail I caught a glimpse of a structure through the woods off to my left away from the state route.  Right away I spotted text like old signage.  Suddenly like staring at a word search my mind connected the dots.  Although most of the elements are obscured by brush I realized I was looking at another old Mail Pouch Tobacco ad.  

In order to get a picture I had to park my bike and wade through wet chest high weeds to get close enough.  The structure is open on the other side and was probably used as a livestock shelter.  The building sits on the edge of a neglected pasture and now houses only some old tires and lumber.

To see my other photographs of Mail Pouch Barns click the label at the end of the post.


At the end of the trail I arrived in the small town of Centerburg, Ohio which got the name as it lies at the geographic center of Ohio.  In its earliest days Centerburg was a stagecoach stop and later a railroad town.  Once a rural passenger stop of the Cleveland, Akron and Columbus railroad during the peak of passenger rail in early America now visitors roll into town using the same right of way but today they're moved by pedal power and not steam.

Centerburg looks like many small sleepy towns that time seem to have left behind.

I like the old Frigidaire sign hanging proudly along main street.

This brick residential street is no trendy urban revitalization.  These pavers have probably been here for a hundred years.  It amazes me how long a brick paved avenue lasts with nothing more than slight cupping where the wheels pass.  Give a modern asphalt street about five years of freeze-thaw cycles and it'll be reduced to a pot-holed mine field.  I think we should have never got away from brick for residential and downtown city center streets.

A quaint Christian church built in 1911.

No, that handsome gent at the opening of this post is not me.  It's General Daniel Harris Reynolds, C.S.A.

"A decendent of Knox County's earliest pioneers, Confederate Brigadier General Daniel Harris Reynolds was born just three miles west of Centerburg in 1832.  He attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Deleware, where he became a close friend of Otho Strahl, another Ohio born Confederate general.  Reynolds taught school in Ohio before studying law in Iowa and then Tennessee.  Admitted to the bar in 1858, Reynolds established a law practice in Chicot County, Arkansas.  An advocate of secession, Reynolds chose to serve the Confederate States of America in his adopted state of Arkansas at  the start of the Civil War.  Well respected in his community, he raised a company of cavalry known as the "Chicot Rangers"  

As a Captain, Reynolds first saw action in August of 1861 at Wilson's Creek in Missouri where he was injured in a fall from his horse.  Despite his injury, he remained in the fight.  An able soldier and leader, Reynolds received steady promotions within the Confederate Army, attaining the rank of  brigadier general in 1864.  After distinguished service spanning the entire war, Reynolds suffered a wound requiring the amputation of his leg at Bentonville, North Carolina, the last major battle of the war.  Reynolds returned to Arkansas to reestablish his law practice.  He also served a term in the Arkansas legislature.  He died in 1902 and is buried in Lake Village, Arkansas."

I've said it before but it bears repeating, short of having an actual time machine I can think of nothing better than the bicycle and riding one off the beaten path to discover history right around the corner of the places we call home. 

Before stopping for a sandwich I rode a quick loop out into the country around Centerburg even finding a couple miles of gravel.  This was no problem for the Ti GP bike at all since its DNA is pure MTB even though I have it set up for smooth street riding.

Unfortunately the weather man was incorrect and it did begin to sprinkle on my way back to Mt. Vernon.  Luckily the rain was light and the trees shielded me from much of the drops.  Nearing Mt. Vernon I spotted the red coat of a whitetail deer in the trail up ahead.  I got stopped and took a photo but the doe and her fawn are pretty tiny.  

Not quite the epic beard of General Reynolds but a handsome lad nonetheless. 

No comments:

Post a Comment