Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lebanon ride, Sept. 13, 2011

Visiting the kin in the Cincinnati area again, this time for a funeral. Had a morning free, and needed to get away from the sorrow and the drama for a while. We left home in a near-panic, so I didn’t have my Madone. Borrowed my sister-in-law’s old hybrid trek and set out generally northeast-ish after a delightful Waffle House breakfast.
You don't see these on the Prairie Path.
Damn, it sure isn’t Illinois around here. Hill after hill after hill.

After hill after hill after hill.

Yeesh. Probably wouldn’t have minded so much but that old Trek was *heavy* and the derailleur was badly in need of adjustment. Grind crunch curse wobble rattle rattle clunk! In Illinois you kind of point the bike in the direction you want to go, find a gear and take a nap -- now I really needed a good set of gears and they only worked in fits and starts.

Still, it was a pretty, warm, breezy day and the scenery is wonderful in that part of the world. And of course, I blundered into an excellent, paved bicycle trail. I swear, you can spit in any random direction down there and you’ll probably hit a paved bike trail. These trails would be celebrated as wonders of the world in Illinois. Here they’re just a fact of life.
I mean, look at this beautiful trail.

This turned out to be the “Lebanon-Countryside YMCA Trail,” an 8.2-mile spur off the Little Miami Scenic Trail. It winds through the backcountry from the Little Miami River into downtown Lebanon, Ohio.

Well alrighty then.

Obviously not rails-to-trails here: right-angle bends, steep hills. Scenic bean fields, forest, the occasional exurban backyard, a low-key industrial park.

I reached historic downtown Lebanon (does any little burg in America not call itself “historic” in a sad bid for some sense of place?) desperately thirsty, since there was no water bottle on the borrowed bike. After some searching I found a gas station with a soda fountain. I bought a 32-oz. Coke and two large bottles of water. In the same small strip mall was “Porky Capone BBQ,” a hole-in-wall that set my restaurant spider-senses tingling. Unfortunately, I was still digesting my Waffle House hash browns. I vowed to return for lunch.

Turns out Lebanon actually is historic. This passenger
train makes occasional runs into Mason.

Lebanon is also home to the Golden Lamb, the oldest hotel
in the state (Ohio).

I damn near threw a lung on the way home. Tried a different route back, which of course turned out to be even hillier than the way in. And the most direct road was closed for construction and impassable.

Finally, somehow, the road dumped me on the Rt. 741 near King’s Island Amusement Park and some sort of level ground. Total was a paltry 23.75 miles, but the Endo Mondo app on my iPhone only measures horizontal distance --  I’ll bet it was at least that far vertically as well.
Best damn barbecue joint in Ohio,
as far as I'm concerned. I will never again visit
the area without stopping here at least once.
Took a shower and headed back to Porky Capone. It was better than I had hoped. They served real slow-smoked barbecue. You can get a pulled pork sandwich served "nasty" -- with a big patty of coleslaw on top, just like it's supposed to be. Try the side of collard greens with vinegar and a spicy tingle. All served with small-town friendliness.
dsj 110913

No comments:

Post a Comment