Saturday, April 12


Well, the jury is still out on Nova Scotia. It remains, however, my numero uno travel destination for the big summer trip. An important family event stands to push this trip to the summer of ’09. Dang! I will continue to plan as if I’m going but it’s looking iffy. So, on to some alternate “big” trips.

My goal to complete the five great lakes within five years is always a nice alternative trip. Visiting Nova Scotia would have allowed me to get in one great lake, two if I really wanted to push it. I could do one side of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario on the way to Nova Scotia and the opposite sides of the lakes on the return from NS. I’m afraid that strategy would take much of the fun out of circling the lakes. These lake areas are rich in history, surrounded by magnificent landscape, charming people and delicious regional cuisine. To sail around these lakes without soaking in the areas' offerings would defeat the purpose of exploring the lakes. It’s best to keep the lake circling to single trips, not something that I wedge in during Nova Scotia. Sometimes I am carried away with goals that if I don’t watch it, I can forget the much bigger gift of traveling just because…

Realistically, Lake Huron is more likely my big trip. Next summer, I’m confident that I can get Lake Erie and Lake Ontario completed together in a couple of weeks.

Another destination:

Amherstburg, Ontario is a place I’m looking forward to re-visiting. My first trip there was via car and I, as someone who tolerates auto tripping, loved that particular adventure. The National Black Heritage Museum is in Amherstburg. It’s a place everyone should visit if in the area as there is much US history alongside the Canadian. The Museum honors runaway slaves who sought refuge and freedom from American slavery in Canada. I remember the museum was rather emotional; I wasn’t alone then so I contained myself. This trip, I’ll be able to stay longer. While there, I will take a side trip of less than 30 miles southwest of Amherstburg to Colchester, Ontario, the home of Elijah McCoy, who born in 1843[?], is still considered master inventor par excellence. Don’t know who McCoy is? Don’t feel badly. Most people, unfortunately, don’t know the man or his brilliance. Surely, most have heard the phrase, “It’s the real McCoy,” which has come to mean “authentic,” “perfection,” and "the real deal." This railroad man holds approximately 70 patents!

McCoy’s parents escaped Kentucky slavery and made their way via the Underground Railroad to Canada, and settled in Colchester. McCoy was a born inventor, tinkering and perfecting things at an early age. He was fascinated with trains and how engines worked. Due to racial prejudice and discrimination, McCoy couldn’t get a mechanical engineering job. When his family moved back to the US, McCoy took a job as a firefighter in Michigan with the railroad, where he oiled engines. McCoy continued with inventing and following his passion for machines.

McCoy contended that oiling engines while they were stopped as opposed to oiling the parts while they were in motion wasn’t an efficient process. The moving parts needed to have the oil flowing around its nooks and crannies. To remedy this, McCoy invented a lubricating cup, which was patented in 1872. Here’s what one website said about the automatic lubricator,

“This device allowed machines to continue to operate as oil continuously flowed to the gears and the moving parts. McCoy's invention revolutionized the machine industry.”

I could wait to visit Colchester on the Lake Erie trip, as it is nestled along that circle. Buy why wait? I’m practically there when in Amherstburg.

Another trip:
William Murphy’s Traveling Across Ohio has me excited. I trust Murphy. I used his MI book, with the same title (Michigan), so much that it is held in place with a rubber band. If you are a history buff, Murphy’s rides emphasize the social and geographic history of place. I’m thinking of doing the Dixie Highway Ride. This road runs through my (suburban) neighborhood and has a history that begins around the same time as the Lincoln Highway, which is also near me. As Murphy explains, the Dixie Highway is a multi-legged road with one leg running from Sault Sainte Marie, MI to Miami, FL, and another from Chicago to Miami. In Ohio, it runs from Toledo south to Cincinnati. I'm considering the Cincinnati leg. While there, I'd like visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which I’ve tried to do before but learned it was closed due to some professional athletic game that virtually closed down the area. Bummed to say the least!

Then there's old faithful: The Lincoln Highway. I’m tempted to get up one morning and just ride it east bound until I tire of it. I’ve ridden chunks of it west but relatively speaking, not far past Dixon, IL. Lincoln Highway, the first road to stretch across the US is approximately 3,400 miles in length from New York to San Francisco, CA. It covers twelve states. I have a house less than one mile from a point along Lincoln Highway. I’m itching to do the whole thing, but pieces of the OH, IA and IL might be all I can realistically do in the foreseeable future. I hear the PA portion is absolutely gorgeous…hmmm? Of course, if time--and funds--were nonissues, I'd fly me and my bike to NY, start there and ride west to San Francisco. That's on the long list.

Other plans still under construction…

On another note, my gal pal Queenie is home from winter camp. Two weeks ago, the weather made for some great riding, which I couldn’t enjoy fully. My city sticker had expired, which I'd forgotten about over the winter! Thus, Saturday ride was short--from the shop to home well, there were a few detours. Sunday’s ride was brief too but oh, so sweet, with temps near 70 degrees F. Forty-eight hours later, the temps had dropped more than 30 degrees! This week has been cold and mostly wet. Still, I rode Friday when, for a few hours, the temps hit 60 degrees. It was terribly windy, making the bike a challenge to keep in my lane. At one point, I found myself humming Paul Simon's "slip slidding away...the nearer your destination, the more you're slip slidding away..." Yet, the short ride was much needed. Saturday was cold and wet and rained all day. With new sticker in place, I was tempted but I have the whole season ahead of me. Saturday's rain was expected to turn to SNOW on Sunday! We were spared!

Still, winter made a returned this past weekend.