Saturday, July 14, 2007

What's with these Ohio bridges? Day 42

Happy Bastille Day. In 1789, the "Shot Heard Round the World" (the initial firing by Americans at the British soldiers at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass. on April 19, 1775) was finally "heard" in Paris, France. On July 14th, 1789 a Paris "mob" stormed the Bastille, a prison where people were held by the government--many unjustly. It heralded the French Revolution, with a (temporary) end to aristocracy. But this included the "Reign of Terror" (think guillotines) and the rise of Napoleon, who would claim himself Emperor. It took the French many decades to develop a democracy, but I guess they feel it started on "quatorze juillet" (July 14), so they celebrate today as we do the 4th of July.
We're in Youngstown, in northeast Ohio. Our 90 mile ride was a little less hilly, the wind was friendly, and riders were happy to have a somewhat easier day. The route was pretty, with lots of back roads again, and few towns. I rode most of the day with Greg (a former cross country rider who is riding about a week with us, en route to visiting his son in upstate New York), Pete and Howie (from left to right, above). This photo was taken as the longest train I've ever seen was passing behind me. Doesn't Pete look like he's waiting patiently?
Just before the second SAG at 71 miles, Michelle pulled up in the van to tell us the bridge ahead was closed, and she was looking for a detour. That's three bridges in three days! Undaunted (OK, maybe we were a little daunted) we rode ahead. A worker at the bridge site (middle photo) asked that we turn around, but one of us kindly asked if we could please possibly cross by foot, as we were out of water, had ridden 71 miles and were going to the store just on the other side of the stream (OK, it was me!). The fellow took pity and jovially replied "Go ahead, but the water's contaminated!"
While scouting out the remnants of the bridge, we saw a way to cross. Carrying our bikes over dirt mounds, we reached the cement buttresses that crossed the creek. They were about 4 feet apart, and a few wooden planks were laid across all but the last two. Balancing our bikes carefully, we were able to cross without falling into the "contaminated water". I would have loved to stop for a photo, but with the workers watching, the precarious footing, and the bikes in our arms I elected to skip it.
As you can see in the bottom photo, Pete, Greg and I made it safely across. Howie took a detour on his bike, and probably got to the other side as quickly as we did. But his story isn't as fun to tell!
Because of the late arrival of some riders yesterday evening, the fifth poker card won't be given out until this evening. If I remember, I'll post the winner.

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