Five days to go (not counting today)! Needless to say, things have been heating up in Tuyen-Joel-and-Ruth-go-on-a-massive-adventure-ville, as Ruth joins us in Cleveland, we secure the remaining necessary gear, and generally bid farewell to our settled, responsible lives. And also, yall (come to our going away party Wednesday the 24th at 8:00pm at 2225 West 11th Street!)
Many people have asked me when we are going to be in various parts of the country along our route. An excellent question! The short answer is that it’s hard to say. We are pretty intentionally taking two months to do what could otherwise take us a month and a half to do in order that we may occasionally meander, gamboll, detour, make mistakes, overstay our welcomes, and gaze in awe at the majesty of our great country for long moments at a time. So while we’ve got a rough idea of where we’ll be and when, I don’t want to make this thing sound set in stone. Beyond just trying to take our time and take in the scenery, there’s also the fact that so far, most of this sucker has been planned with the invaluable support of google maps. But as we get closer to our various benchmarks and discover sweet trails or better ways of getting places, things will probably shift a bit.
All that being said, here is a rough outline that should give at least a sense of when we’ll be where and for how long (below!):
- Saturday, August 27th- we leave behind our beloved Cleveland, taking the towpath trail down to Akron, and from there continuing on to somewhere near Massillon for an approximately 60-mile first day.
- From Massillon we continue on in a Southwesterly fashion to the area around Gambier (where Kenyon College is at, for yall out of staters) for day two, and on our third day (Monday, August 29th) reach Columbus.
- We’ll probably spend at least a day, and maybe two, after we get there in Columbus, and so to stay on the liberal side (like you expected anything else out of us) will guess that we’ll be departing from our fair capitol on Thursday, September 1st, with the intent of reaching Yellow Springs to end that day of travel.
- From Yellow Springs we’ll be taking the Little Miami Scenic Trail down to around Cincinnati (taking a ‘brief’ detour for Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield), arriving there on Friday, September 2nd.
- Assuming again that our Cincinnati cylcing celebrations and summer’s end salutations (sorry) keep us there for a couple of days a la Columbus, we’ll leave Cincy on Monday, September 5th, riding along the Ohio River as much as possible to reach Louisville by the evening of Tuesday, September 6th, assuming some of the longer days we’ll have ridden at this point (google maps tells me the route I looked into is 146 miles from Cincy to Louisville, but I’ve got a feeling they didn’t show the most efficient way hugging the river. But we’ll see in the real-zone). To be perfectly honest, this is the point at which I become much less familiar with the geography, and so from here on out it becomes if anything, more speculative.
- We’ll likely stay in Louisville hanging with some friends for at least a day, and so estimate departing Thursday, September 8th.
- From there we begin a journey that takes us through a bunch of Kentucky country whose nature I simply do not know. Our route from Louisville to Nashville takes us pretty near to Mammoth Cave National Park, which I hear is kind of a big deal, under the ground, so we might check that out.
- Our ETA for Nashville, if it takes us a good three days to ride through Kentucky and we don’t get lost in some ridiculous circumstances, is Saturday, September 10th. Figuring that we’ll spend at least a couple days in this country music mecca, we’ll probably depart for points Tennessee West on my birthday, Tuesday, September 13th.
- Depending on whether we want to spend some time in some of the state parks hugging the Mississippi en route to Memphis, we’ll be arriving in city the day after the 86th birthday of BB King, on Friday, September 16th (so arrival is Saturday, September 17th). Should be unambiguously awesome, and I’m figuring again we’ll spend about a couple days in Memphis for some serious blues and some serious barbecue.
- If we do in fact leave on Tuesday, September 20th it should be about a two-day trek through Arkansas to get to Little Rock on Wednesday, September 21st. This of course assumes we find a way to cross the Mississippi either by ferry or with the help of someone who can take us across the highway, because if google maps is accurate it doesn’t look so much like there’s a non-highway crossing out of Memphis for many miles. Expect Oregon Trail fording-the-river jokes.
- Anywhoo, assuming again that we spend at least a day to chill in Little Rock on Thursday, September 22nd, and also assuming that we may want to spend a day in the nearby Ouachita National Forest, we should be reaching Texarkana, the town straddling the Texas-Arkansas border (geddit?) by Monday, September 26th, unfortunately likely missing 350.org’s Moving Planet Global Event. Man oh man, do I hope there’s one planned in Southwest Arkansas.
- At which point begins our roughly three weeks of the trip in Texas. It’s frickin’ huge. Anyway, from Texarkana to Dallas should take us three days, and so we’d get into Dallas on Thursday, September 29th.
- While I know no one in Dallas, Tuyen has some ideas for cool stuff for us to do there, and so we’ll likely spend Friday, September 30th there, leaving the next day on October the 1st.
- Depending on how fast we’re able to bike through what I’m assuming will be at this stage pretty incredibly hot weather (and maybe hilly terrain), we should get into Austin on Tuesday, October 4th.
- Given the number of people I really need to see, the amount of live music and outdoor barbecue that probably needs to be consumed, and the sweet organizations I’ve heard of in the area that I’d really like to check out, I’m hoping we can stick around for a solid five days or so, though I’ll definitely need to talk this over with Tuyen and Ruthie to say nothing of our prospective hosts. But boy am I pumped for some serious Austin good times.
- Right now I’m estimating us leaving Austin on Monday, October 10th (as I cry copious cups of tears for leaving dear friends, what I expect to be an awesome Austin, and because I will have missed Midwest Power Shift and what I’ve heard is going to be a kind of enormous pierogi-party at Sokolowski’s). If we do leave that Monday, we should get to Houston on Wednesday, October 12th.
- After hanging in Houston for a day, we begin the mighty last leg of the journey- to New Orleans. Assuming we leave on Friday, October 14th and hug the Gulf Coast (I hear it could use a hug), we should be getting into New Orleans on Monday, October 20th, giving us a solid week and a half before we must go our separate ways- Tuyen and Ruth to parts South, me back to Cleveland.
But like I said, this is all a suuuuuper rough estimate and we’ll see how accurate that really is.
- If you know of any great bike trails along our route that we should check out, please let us know. That would be way funner than the roads I’ve been looking at.
- If you know of any sweet things or events going on along our route that coincide with the trip, please let us know that as well. I figure the waning days of summer and first of fall ought to have a lot of cool stuff going on.
- And last and most importantly, we want you to join us for our first day of the journey! Let us know if you want to meet up with us to head out from Cleveland along the towpath to around Massillon, we’d love the company and are trying to collect as many folks as possible to come with us.
Actually, here’s another ‘last’- so Ruthie made a blog for this journey, it’s called southerncycle, and I’ll be posting to that for the trip itself. I figure it’s best to keep these blogs’ purposes discrete, and have southerncycle be legit for the three of us, rather than a straight extension of Citizen Obie (though I’ll probs re-post the stuff from southerncycle on here later for posterity). So if you’re reading this, stay tuned to southerncycle for the goods in the months coming forward. I’ll return to regularly scheduled and probably renewed in purpose Citizen Obie stuff when I get back, and I’m hoping it’ll be a bit more focused and a bit less all over the place.