Cincinnati, Ohio: June 2012

With some reservations, I moved from Georgetown, Texas, to Cincinnati, Ohio.  My qualms were not that I didn’t want to move to Cincinnati, but that I didn’t want to leave all the great riding roads in the Georgetown area.  I have wanted to make the move for sometime because I like being close to my sons and their families…or should I say I want to be close to my grandchildren and their parents!

I am still in my motorhome; however, it is my intention to buy a home and hopefully sell the motorhome.  A couple of weeks before I moved, I totaled my car – 2000 Toyota Camry.  I wasn’t injured and it was my fault since I rear-ended another vehicle.  One driving a Toyota shouldn’t do battle with a big pickup truck.  On the upside, I received a very good settlement from State Farm and was able to use it as a down payment on a new 2012 Toyota Camry.

My new Camry didn’t have all the necessary equipment to tow it behind the motorhome so I had to use a U-Haul auto-transporter to tow my car to Cincinnati.

About a month later, I was creeping along in an exit lane on the Interstate in Cincinnati, when without warning, I heard a terrific noise and it sounded very close…like from the doorpost of my car to the rear of my car!  Yep, another crash, but this one was definitely not my fault.  The other driver was on Oxycodone and should not have been driving.  He caromed off my car and hit another car which drove the second car into a third car.  He was traveling at a pretty high rate of speed.  Fortunately, there were several witnesses who saw everything that happened and waited for the police to arrive.  Again, I was not injured.  On the other hand, my new car – 2,600 miles on it – was very damaged.  I thought it was totaled; however, it is being repaired.

I am settled nicely in a beautiful, but somewhat primitive, campground which belongs to the Hamilton County Parks Department.  The picture to the left is the entrance to the park.  To the right is a view of the east end of the park.

These pictures are of my site and the view in front of my motorhome. Also a view from inside my motorhome.

There are three “essentials” in camping as far as I am concerned:  City water, electricity – preferably 50-amp service, and on-site sewer service.  As I say the campground is “somewhat” primitive because the electric service is only 30-amp service which requires making sure you don’t run the air conditioning at the same time as you run the microwave.  More importantly there is no on-site sewer service.  This requires the campers to haul away their “waste” in what is called a “honey wagon.”  I have no idea why it is called that but that is what it is called everywhere.

About once a week, I have to empty the gray water tank (sink water, shower water, dishwater) and black water tank (you don’t want to know) into a 40-gallon container on wheels.   The motorhome tanks are about 80 gallons each so it takes 3-4 trips to dump both tanks.  This is where we dump the honey wagon.Fortunately for me, the dump site is near my motorhome, but the “wagon” is pretty heavy when filled and difficult to pull – at least for me.  I need a companion to handle that chore for me.  I can use my trailer hitch to pull the wagon; however, while my car is being repaired I don’t have a hitch.  I’m trying to figure out how I can charge the insurance company for this chore!

To more pleasant things:  I have been preparing for RAGBRAI which has required me to make long rides and lots of them.  RAGBRAI stands for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.  Register refers to the Des Moines newspaper which is the sponsor for the ride.  This is the 40th anniversary for this annual event.  As you can surmise, the ride is across Iowa.  The 7-day event moves all over the state and this year’s event is 471 miles with lots of hill climbing.   The picture above right is Steamboat Bend Road which leads into the campground.  The picture above right is U.S. 52 looking west and the other is looking east.  As you can see there is a wide shoulder which allows for safe riding and there is very low traffic on the road.  I have ridden at least one 50-mile ride along this ride, but only about 20 miles has the wide shoulder, the rest of the road is one-lane in each direction with no shoulder.

I will be using a tour host, Pork Belly Ventures or PBV for short, which takes care of all of the drudgery, e.g., setting up the tents and carrying the baggage.  Since I have never set up a tent – unless it was during my military service; therefore, a tour operator was essential in my case.  I can’t imagine riding 80+ miles on a bike and then wrestling a tent to an upright position.  Unlike most tour operators, PBV takes our bags from the tent to the next night’s tent.  I couldn’t get them to pack my bags for me so I did have to do some of the drudgery!

Pork Belly – I have no idea where they got the name; however, I did notice we had pork every night cooked in different ways.  PBV, the largest and oldest tour host at RAGBRAI, is owned by a brother, Pete, and sister, Tammy.  I communicated by email and phone, frequently with Tammy in preparation for RAGBRAI and she was so organized and helpful in so many ways.

Actually, I think everyone should ride RAGBRAI at least once.  There are more than 10,000 cyclists each year plus friends and relatives of the riders plus workers such as the tour operators, etc.  I will be writing posting blog pages on this event as soon as I can.  It has already occurred from July 22nd – July 28th.  Unfortunately, I won’t have time to post or even write much during the week; however, I will takenotes.  Maybe you will enjoy this event more than usual since the posts will be short!


About SteveVarnum

I am 81 years old. I started riding a bicycle at age 70 and like most avid cyclists, fell "in love" with it. For a Grand Adventure, I decided to ride at least 100 miles in every state. I completed all 50 states. I did the 48 contiguous states in May - November 2010 (73) and Hawaii and Alaska 2011 (74). I have ridden > 36,000 miles in past 11 years and at 81, I still am still riding.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Bicycles, Bicycling, Exercise, Friends, Iowa, United States and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cincinnati, Ohio: June 2012

  1. Candy Fiddes says:

    Glad you’re settled. They sell tow dollies at Harbor freight it would probably help you right now think I paid 59.00 for it. Has a mower type handle on one end and hitch on the other . It easy to move. I think everyone should own one who has a small trailer or needs to move stuff with a hitch. Be safe and best of luck to you on your new adventure.

  2. Greg Nelson says:

    This is Greg, we had lunch together on the last day of RAGBRAI. I would like you tok know that our conversation at lunch was one of the things my wife and I will always remember. You inspire me to do more and set a tough goal and achieve it. Your blog is amazing. Here is a link to my posts about the last day and meeting you.

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