…And here we go

I’m on the train right now, kicking back in a recliner and stretching the legs after a couple hours of sleep – we pushed off out of Cincinnati a little before 4am and I didn’t last much longer after that. But I’m enough awake that I don’t think I’ll be able to fall asleep again. At least for a bit. But I’ll be in this seat for another 15 hours or so, so we’ll see.

We just passed Portsmouth, OH, from the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. Funny that’s what I woke up to – that was where I started my first 100-mile day back in October on the tour that made me realize I had to be on this train to do this thing.

It’s been a long, wet, emotional 24 hours. This time yesterday I was frantically trying to clean up the basement I was staying in and pack up the panniers. I made it out the door around 10:45, then got a bagel and coffee to fuel my 20 mile ride into the city on a 105 pound bike. 

Yeah. 105. This was the first time I weighed all the gear and I came in at 105 including the bike. That’s just too much. I’m going to have to shed some stuff as I go. I really tried to not make the “too much” rookie mistake but clearly that didn’t work out for me. 

So after the coffee and bagel I started riding into the city… And the rain clouds felt like joint me. It was pouring down rain and I got soaked, but I kept making my way south. Eventually a friend and former co-worker met me about halfway to Clifton for a photo op and a quick bon voyage. It was great to see Bobbi again. She crossed the country on her bike with her friend and wrote a book about it. She’s always been an inspiration, and it meant a lot that she drove up to see me off. Which is maybe why she got this beeming smile out of me:


After an appointment I had late lunch at Hang Over Easy, a place I’ll miss. Then it was off to Rhinegeist for a few farewell drinks with a couple friends.  We got this nice memento with the sign I’m going to hang off the back of my bike for passing cars on the road:


I’m going to miss these guys. But I’ll feel they’re support as I ride for sure.

And then the internal drama started. The whole day yesterday I got it in my head that if Amtrak didn’t have a bike box then they wouldn’t let me on the train. Just typing that at this point seems ridiculous, but I think it was just my nerves getting the best of me. So I rolled up to Union Terminal several hours early:


And took in the rotunda for the last time:


It’s pretty great at a ridiculous hour with no one in the building but security and a single Amtrak agent.



I wheeled back to the station itself and propped up the ride while I learned that not only was there a bike box, but since someone had used one on the last train, I could reuse his for free. My bike is making it to Manhattan for a mere ten bucks.


I waited a few hours and checked out the waiting area. Art Deco and the train station that time forgot was cool.


Saw a fitting poster, given my agenda for the next 100 days:


 and then it was time to board.


One last view of cincinnati’s skyline out the window, and then I was out.


And now it’s coffee time in the dining car. New York can’t come soon enough!

-J

2 thoughts on “…And here we go

  1. Great pix of Union Terminal before they close a lot of it for reno, Jeff. And a free bike box! A good omen. Good luck with the Jersey City leg.

    Like

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