I am proud to say that I lured this organization to hold their 36-mile bike ride at Wax Park in Moraine. The ride began at the shelter house at the park, proceeded southwest on roads to Germantown Metroparks dam and on west to Farmersville and back. It was a nice day and Rosie, me, and Kevin Thomas took our time and enjoyed the ride while Larry Sabin and Mike Wuebben biked ahead. The Main Street bike path hill in Moraine and the ascent up to the Germantown dam were challenging but the country roads provided relaxing scenery. Over 80 bike riders participated in the event.
This bike hike began at downtown Dayton Riverscape Park as we bicycled north on the recreational bike trail to Taylorsville Dam and back. The twenty-one-mile bike was enjoyable, and we passed the water fountain display in the Miami River both going and coming. Along the route we saw a three-foot snake and two abandoned pet guinea pigs. It was a hot day, but the scenery was pretty. About 70 bike riders participated.
Next to the John Wesley Powel River History Museum, the bike trail runs along the picturesque Green River with beautiful mesas to the north. When the short bike trail ended, we biked back south and through the nearby Green River State Park until we got to the river railroad bridge. Across the river was the Utah Launch Complex, a historic Cold War historic missile complex. We enjoyed the peaceful greenery and river during the seven-mile bike ride. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was robbing trains and banks or hiding out in this area many years ago as depicted in historical kiosks at the museum.
We bicycled 7.5 miles on this former section of Route 66 which included 2.1 miles of biking over and back on the bridge. The bridge makes a 30 degree turn halfway across the mighty Mississippi River. The bridge is 60 feet above the river giving us great views in both directions including seeing the skyline of St. Louis, Missouri to the south. The two water intake towers for the nearby pumping station are clearly seen in the middle of the river. Lots of nostalgic history and Route 66 signs and photos are in the bridge and on the Missouri entrance. Built in 1929, the bridge was a Route 66 landmark for 30 years. Now it is a beautiful bike trail connecting Illinois and Missouri. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1980, Director John Carpenter used the bridge for filming part of his sci-fi classic, “Escape From New York”. This really was a fun ride with outstanding views.
Just west of Lassen Volcanic National Park we biked about 9 miles on paved roads enjoying the forest views, occasional houses, and glimpses of Mt. Lassen in the distance. We saw a few deer in the woods hiding behind sugar pine and cedar trees. The trail then became a long dirt trail, but it was not well maintained and very bumpy. Back at the KOA Campground we got a nice fire going and enjoyed the stars above.
We continued on this beautiful 15-mile rails to trails bike trail. We biked across seven trestles all between 216 and 230 feet tall which gave us incredible overlooks of the forest and of trestles in the distance. The largest trestle was 850 feet long where we paused for a water break. At one overlook squirrels practically climbed up my leg wanting a piece of my cliff bar. A moose crossed the trail a quarter mile ahead of us.
As we continued biking downhill at about the eleven-mile point, on the left was a grave marker. A nearby historical kiosk stated a gandy dancer, a slang term used long ago to describe a railroad worker, was buried here. He was thought to be one of the workers that died in the 1910 forest fire that devastated the area.
We finally reached the end, and our bikes were loaded on buses which took us on a bumpy dirt trail back up the mountain. We got off the bus just below the long St. Paul Pass Tunnel. With the uphill grade being very flat, we re-entered the 1.7-mile dark tunnel, now with two-way bicycle traffic, to pedal to the finish line which was back where we began. Our bike pants and shirts were splattered with mud from the wet tunnel. Afterwards at City Limits Brew Tub, I enjoyed a late lunch of fish tacos and broccoli soup while Rosie had fish and chips. We camped at the Wallace RV Park located in a hollow with the Nine Mile Creek rambling beside it.
This was the best bicycle trail we have ever been on. This bike trail is so outstanding it is one of the few named to the “Rail Trail Hall of Fame”. Winding through ten train tunnels and seven high steel trestles, this 15-mile route crossed the Bitterroot Mountains beginning in Montana and ending in Idaho. Each trestle was quite the engineering feat. The trail began at 4,147 feet elevation at the east portal and would gradually drop almost 1,000 feet to the end at Pearson, Idaho.
We used strong bike lights because at the beginning was a 1.7-mile former railroad tunnel that was pitch dark, wet and cold – a constant 47 degrees. This Taft Tunnel or also known as the St. Paul Pass Tunnel, was built in 1909 and burrows under the state line. It actually saved many lives as workers hid inside during the horrible 1910 forest fires. Emerging from the tunnel in bright warm sunlight we were greeted by a beautiful waterfall, one of several on the trail. Biking down the trail we had incredible views of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest with tens of thousands of Doulas Fir trees and Ponderosa Pine trees. Periodically on the trail, kiosks told the history of the railroad line and the making of the tunnel and tracks.
The following day we biked seven miles on the connector trail from the national park to the state park where we stopped at the beach pavilion next to the Devils Slide and Mt. Tom Sand Dune (192 feet high). Beautiful view of Lake Michigan from the beach.
This 62 mile rail-trail runs north from Richmond to Marion. We bicycled 22 miles beginning in downtown Richmond. The trail slowly gained over 220 feet as we trekked north into the countryside but was easier peddling on the way back. The trail was 90% shaded with tree cover, crossed two bridges, past a log cabin and paralleled the Whitewater River a while. Along the way we saw dozens of rabbits, many very interesting historical markers and several “no Amish buggy” signs since they must have used the bike path and not the main roads in the past. Afterwards, Rosie treated herself to delicious coffee at Roscoe’s Coffee Bar.
We began our 17 mile bicycle ride on the Little Miami Bike Trail in Yellow Springs at the famous HaHa Pizza “paranormal” mural. Biking south toward Xenia and back we enjoyed the tree covered and open areas, saw several deer and stopped at an historical marker at the birthplace of Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh in 1768.