USA 2019 Day 12 from Xenia to Richmond

The weather forecast promises a lot of sun today. It will be hot again. I have planned a good 100 km for today, more than 30 of them through the metropolitan area of a city. There won’t be any significant gradients, but it will certainly be a challenge for the psyche and the body again. In the dosshouse where I spent the last night nothing holds me. So I start for my standards early at 09:20 am on today’s stage.

After the obligatory morning stop only 300 m away from the motel at the gas station to refill my supplies for the day, I make my way to the Creekside Trail. After less than one kilometer I’m on it, but I can’t make a hundred meters! Then there is a McDonalds directly at the trail. There I indulge in breakfast. To take away. A roll with fried sausage and a fried egg. With fried potatoes, similar to a potato pancake and orange juice. So I swing back on my bike and keep my eyes open for a nice place to sit on the trail.

It feels like half an eternity passes because now I am really hungry. In reality, it might have been two or three kilometers. Then I find a bench in the shade directly at the edge of the trail, on which I make myself comfortable and take my fast food breakfast in the peace of mind. The bun with the fried sausage and the fried egg is covered with cinnamon and sugar. Much too sweet. Does not fit at all to sausage and a fried egg. But apart from that, it’s okay. The potato pancake copy tastes even like potatoes and hardly like fat, although fried. The orange juice is great. I am satisfied!

Unfortunately, there is no garbage can here. Public rubbish bins are scarce in the USA. That is perhaps also one of the reasons for the fabulous environmental pollution here in the states. I have never seen so much dirt, rubbish and garbage on the roadside in a country I have traveled to. No matter when, no matter where and no matter what, it’s just thrown out of the moving car. From beverage cups to household garbage to mattresses, furniture and electronic scrap. Even oil canisters can be found in abundance here. Simply thrown into nature. When the side strip is mown every few weeks, the driver doesn’t clear it up, but simply drives over it and the mower chops up most of it.

But you can pay for someone to come and collect the garbage again. This is called “Adopt A Highway”. Then you pay money to an organization. They then put up a sign to show who paid for the next mile (instead of the name you can also indicate something else) and clean up. More or less. Most of the time I can see little or nothing of it and it looks as dirty as everywhere else. Except for the sign that says “Litter Removal Next 1 Mile In Loving Memory Our Sister Barbara Fletcher”.

I take care of my garbage. It’s not much, but I also stow it away and take it with me until I can dispose of it correctly on the way at a gas station or in the evening at a motel. I do the same now with the paper from McDonald’s breakfast. I’m thinking about adopting a mile highway as well. Then I would choose the name “Do away with your filth yourself”. Or, many Americans are very religious, something like: “Whoever throws garbage into nature burns under eternal torments in hell”. The prices are between $200 and $600 per month and mile, depending on the type of road. No, thank you.

Just five kilometers I am on the way, there I come a big hustle and bustle. Masses of people without end and deafening engine noise. The Creekside Trail leads directly past the Kil-Kare Speedway, Kil-Kare Raceway, and Kil-Kare Dragway. I have to think of Daytona Beach with its racetracks. But the next town is not called Daytona, but Dayton and there is no beach here. For me, it’s too much hustle and bustle and too loud. I hurry to get by.

After a good 13 kilometers, on the outskirts of Dayton, there is a 9/11 monument. They have carted a piece of wreckage from the World Trade Center here and set it up at a crossroads of trail and country road. Somehow weird. It seems inappropriate here. I am also the only one who stops, looks at it and takes pictures. All the others on the trail are rushing by. The car drivers anyway. If I hadn’t looked at my photos from today now, while writing in the evening, I wouldn’t have thought about this structure anymore. But I thought of the dirt. Even without photos. It comes to my mind first when someone asks me how it drives on American roads.

The city center of Dayton I can drive around elegantly with one exception. The Creekside Trail turns north until it meets the Mad River. There it goes on the Mad River Recreation Trail along the river to the west. The Mad River then flows into the Great Miami River. This is where the city center begins. The trail continues along the Great Miami River but is closed to cyclists. Only pedestrians are allowed to stroll there. A diversion is signposted and I am even grateful for the diversion because it leads over a blocked road, on which today a car meeting takes place. Oldtimers and muscle cars. A little surprise on my trip and nice to look at. There is surprisingly little going on for a Sunday, which is probably due to the meanwhile great heat and the lack of shade. I also make sure that I get on. At the river and with the wind it is much more pleasant.

The detour is only about one kilometer, then I am back on the trail at the river. It makes a 120-degree bend around Downtown Dayton, which I have to follow. Then I change to the other side of the river, where it goes back a little bit to the mouth of Wolf Creek. The Wolf Creek Trail is unfortunately only a few hundred meters long and from here it continues on the road. A wide, four-lane road. With very little traffic. But a concrete surface that reflects the sun very well. So now I get a tan from below. And my tires make rhythmically tak-tak, tak-tak, tak-tak on the concrete slabs.

At an intersection, where I should turn left, I see a gas station straight ahead. That means cold drinks and a shady place for a little break. I not only treat myself to an ice-cold sweet drink, but I also fill up my water supply and spoil myself with ice cream. At Drive-Thru there is a small wall in the shade. I use it as a seat. Because there are no other seats here. The Americans drive around with them. They don’t need public seats. The employee at Drive-Thru notices me. I think he was originally Indian or Pakistani. In appearance and accent. We talk a little. Where I come from, where I go. Then another column of pickups comes through the drive-thru and he’s busy. Me too, my ice melts faster than I can lick it. It’s hot, even in the shade. Did I mention that today?

Then I have to go on. On the hot, concrete road. A total of eleven kilometers. Then I stand again on a Trail. It is the Wolf Creek Trail. The one I’ve been on in Dayton before. It just lacks a few kilometers in the middle. They weren’t built (yet). But here, in Trotwood, I continue on the Wolf Creek Trail. Right to the northwest. Not along Wolf Creek, but further and further away from the river on the former railway line of the same name. You know the game: long, straight, only slightly ascending.

After 55 kilometers, the trail leads through Brookville. I like that the track leads through and doesn’t stop on one side like so many other places and you have to drive through the whole city to the other side. The trail is in perfect condition and there are some nicely prepared sights like the old train station and some wagons. As the trail crosses the main road, I have to stop for a photo. To me, it looks like a modernized version of a western city. Pretty. I like it.

Straight out of Brookville, I have to leave the great trail again. It makes a bend further north and then stops after a few kilometers. Now I have to go further west. Fortunately on a road with very little traffic. Often no car comes for minutes. Like so many roads in North America, it leads exactly in one cardinal direction. To the west. Or two cardinal directions. When I turn, it leads to the east. That’s where I come from. You could calibrate your compass here on the roads. My GPS has an electronic compass in it. But my GPS is telling me to keep going. Further west. About 45 kilometers to go.

That’s what I’ll do. Through Lewisburg, a nice little village. Then over an old bridge. Not only by American standards old. Really old. Maybe not as old as many bridges in Europe. But still old. Build in 1894. Made of wood. Still standing. Even approved for trucks up to 24 tons. It is called “Greeting Bridge” and is covered. That gives some shade. I take a short drink break on it. Then it goes on. Always further and further. Following my motto: “Keep Going”.

When I reach Richmond, I’m very happy. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was hallucinating. Because there is a Christmas tree on the street. Well, almost. To me, it looks like a Christmas tree. A fir tree decorated with silver garlands, gold-red hearts, and American flags. Very kitschy. But it fits somehow to this country. And I don’t mean that negatively!

Two kilometers further I reach my motel. Even before the shower, I soak up a Mountain Dew. After the shower I go out, only a little bit further it has a burger roasting. An Arby’s. Never heard of it, never seen it before, but it’s also part of a chain. The burger was pretty bad. On my further journey, I will avoid Arby’s in the future. I am critical of burgers. And with burgers in the country of the burgers still extra critical.

I have achieved a lot today and am very satisfied with my performance. Tomorrow I will go to Indianapolis, where I will have my second rest day on this trip. Now I book a bicycle-friendly Airbnb because the hotels didn’t suit me so well in terms of price. I found them too expensive.

🕑 Ø
4:24 106 km 24.0 km/h 490 m 460 m


Written on August 25, 2019