After visiting Yellow Springs, Ohio in August 2012 and falling in love with the Little Miami Scenic Trail, we knew we had to get back to the area and ride more of the trail after we left Barry's parents' home in Dover. Yellow Springs was our first choice of places to say, as it's a charming, artsy town with great restuarants, but we could not find any pet friendly lodging (on our first trip, we did not have Paisley with us). So, we ended up at a Ramada Inn in Xenia. Not quite as charming, but a very convenient place to pick up the trail. In fact, Xenia is a hub for an entire network of paved bike trails in southwest Ohio.
On our first afternoon in town, we didn't have much time for riding after getting unloaded and settled into the hotel, so we took a walk and figured out where we'd need to pick up the trail the next morning. Turns out a connector trail was only a block from the hotel so very easy to access.
For our ride we made plans for Barry to get a 2.5-hour head start on me since he wanted to ride all the way south to the terminus of the Little Miami Scenic Trail in Newtown, then turn around and ride back to meet me, so I could do a shorter ride. Barry planned on over 100 miles, and I didn't care to do that much as my longest ride for the year had been 60 miles.
Barry got going around 9 am, so I planned to leave the hotel around 11:30. However, he called me around 10:50 and said that he was making excellent time and that I should leave a little earlier than planned. I was almost ready so planned to leave no later than 11:15. Unfortunately, while finishing my preparations, I misplaced my hotel security key in the room and wasted about 20 minutes looking for it and getting a duplicate key from the front desk when my search proved unsuccessful. So I ended up leaving at the original time after all. Being stressed out, I started the ride on a bad note, and don't think I ever fully recovered from it as I felt a bit "off" for the entire ride.
Although I was pedaling hard, I couldn't make up the deficit from leaving later than I should have, and I felt kind of slow and sluggish all day. So I didn't quite make it to the very pretty trail town of Loveland. Barry was disappointed as he knew it was my kind of town, and he'd hoped I could see it. Unfortunately his photos had to suffice. Now I have another place to add to my "next time" list!
Loveland even has a Little Free Library -- one of my favorite discoveries in our travels through the US!
Check out this cool bike sculpture just outside of Loveland. I love this!
There were other small towns along the trail, but none with quite the character of Loveland.
Since the Little Miami Scenic Trail is a rail trail, most of the trailheads are in old railroad depots, and decommissioned train cars are common at these sites. Here's one of many.
After touching base on our cell phones, Barry and I figured that we'd meet up around mile marker 35, as measured from Xenia Station. I'd turn around, and we'd ride back to Xenia together. When I spied Barry, I was happy to turn around as this was going to be my longest ride of the year by quite a lot. Even though the trail is flat, having to pedal continuously (no coasting) made it more difficult than it would seem as the miles added up.
Thus, an ice cream stop was in order! We found a cute little shop along the trail soon after meeting up. I got a Pepsi/black cherry ice cream float (wanting the liquid and caffeine), and Barry went for broke with three scoops of homemade gelato! He totally deserved it as he'd already put in over 70 miles at this point.
Restored, we pedaled on.
This was one seriously high bridge over the river!
The day had been warm and humid, with hazy sunshine and quite a few clouds, and as the afternoon went on, we noticed dark clouds up ahead. Although there was only a 15% chance of thunderstorms per the morning weather report, we rode right into one. Fortunately, we saw no lightning and only heard a couple very distant rolls of thunder as the main storm was off to the north a bit. So it could have been worse.
We got sprinkled on at first, then it rained hard for a short while. We were not in a place where we could take cover, so we soldiered on and got drenched. As we continued north towards Xenia, we realized that we'd been lucky to miss what was apparently a good bit of wind. The trail was a mess with debris strewn all over, puddles, and even a few trees down.
When we got back to Xenia, it was perfectly dry -- the storm had passed just south of town. If we'd ridden north towards Yellow Springs, we probably wouldn't have gotten wet either! It was nice to see the sun again.
I finished the day with just over 71 miles and was glad to get off the bike. Barry kept riding a bit longer on the connecting Creekside Trail towards Dayton and had one of his longest rides ever -- over 127 miles. He is a machine!
After much-needed showers, we found a great Mexican restaurant just a short walk from our hotel and had a big dinner feast: delicious veggie quesadilla plus sides for me, and a huge plate of chicken fajitas (his favorite!) for Barry. And Mexican beers, of course!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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