This was a tiring day with all the driving we had to do to get from Flint down to Springfield in the rental car and then from Springfield to Newtown with our Warm Showers driver, Emily, a sweet young lady who lives here in Lebanon, Ohio, where we are staying tonight. We’re in the Samuel Clemens room, named because he stayed here at least once in his lifetime, along with several other famous people, as Martha will probably detail in her entry. Really neat old furniture—reminds me of the Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Virginia: colonial style and atmosphere. (Maybe we will have more humorous dreams if his spiritual intellect is still hanging around.)We didn’t start our ride until almost 3:30 and rode for four hours along a very scenic trail with lots of hardwoods on each side and the Little Miami River flowing on our left almost the entire time. We’re about one-third through the trail now, and will finish the rest tomorrow. It seemed a little more difficult than the other trails, and after about twenty something miles concluded that it was definitely gaining in elevation. We should have figured that out much earlier, since the river was flowing in the opposite direction, but I just thought I was a little tired because it was at the end of the day. But we’re on it now, going from south to north, and so tomorrow we will just continue along. This is definitely a locals trail, meaning they don’t seem to be expecting many outsiders to come ride this trail. I say this because there are no mile markers except for some painted numbers every once in a while on the pavement, so everyone must know where they’ve been and where they are going. There are also no restrooms along the way, so pity the poor rider who is going a long distance. Most of the riders we passed going the opposite way and who passed us going the same way we were going were on skinny tires and zipping along at 15-20 miles per hour. Maybe they don’t need bathrooms because they get to their destination so fast, but there are some of us who don’t move at that speed, so it would have been nice to have some pit stop places along the way. Maybe tomorrow we’ll see more. There are also no, like none, places to stay along the trail, even in the few little towns we passed through. We both thought Martha did a great job in finding this place—The Golden Lamb—at a good stopping place on the trail.
What we didn’t realize was that the Little Miami is in a valley, and the town of Lebanon is not. As we left the trail on the public road that leads to Lebanon, Martha inquired of a man and a woman in a truck if this is the right road. “Yes,” he said, “and it’s also a bit hilly.” That turned out to be an understatement. About 100 yards down the road, it became UP the road, and we were soon walking and pushing our bikes, which wouldn’t have been too bad, but the panniers are awfully heavy. The hills on the Silver Comet between Rockmart and Cedartown did not prepare us for this long steep grade, and we were each huffing and puffing, wondering when we would ever get to the top of these s-curves. Any visions of biking across America except on rails-to-trails were quickly disappearing from my bucket list. So when the same couple in the truck came back by us and asked if we wanted a lift, we gladly accepted. He was an angel sent for our sore legs and out-of-breath lungs. He delivered us to the door of our hotel and also warned us about riding back in the morning because of the limited sight of drivers going over the hilly spots on the road. He also told us about an unfortunate incident of a 60-year old gentleman being hit by a driver in the scenario he just described. Not wanting to end our life in Lebanon, though it would be doing what we enjoy doing, we decided to call Emily back up and see if she will take us back to the trail in the morning. Fortunately, she said she would. There are still good people in the world and we appreciate their services to us. We shall remember and return the kindness.