Day 17 – Kent to Millersburg through Amish Central

Today I was up and out early again – at least early for camping, it takes longer to get packed and go with the tent, and stove etc… I was looking forward to getting out of “Hidden Valley Bug Ranch” as soon as practical. I wish I had brought my rod though – the bass were slapping the water so hard you’d think they were dropped from planes.

Why do clouds look bigger and more dramatic in the Midwest? I’m fascinated with the dimensions of them.

Kent State

I was just outside of Kent so my first stop was to run by the campus. I was looking for the memorial, with they refer to as the “May 4th Memorial”, which, frankly seems a little sterile for what happened there. Very unoppionated – too much so in my mind.

The Cayahoga River as it passes through Kent. I crossed over the same river yesterday, maybe 60 miles north of here and it was a third the size. You know the deal with the locks, right? Their put on there by sweethearts – first time I saw it was on the Brooklyn Bridge where there are thousands.
Are photos of good architecture art? It depends.
I want to do a little post-processing on this – consider it a draft. Kind of suprised by this building when I stumbled upon it. Intentionally spartan? Or just kind of ignored?

If you don’t know the story you can actually take the audio tour remotely; just dial 330-672-6294. It’s narrated by appropriate activists from that time, like Julian Bond.

The field where activists were shot (actually some were behind me). The soldiers fired from atop that tree-covered hill, which wasn’t tree covered at the time. Looks just like any other quad…

The memorial itself is not much more than a granite bench overlooking the field where the tragedy occurred. They do have a good audio tour and descriptions in detail of the events that led up to the protests. Trivia question; do you know what the students did to protest Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia? A: They symbolically buried the constitution which they said he had killed by overstepping his authority as President. The shootings happened after the governor declared that these students needed to learn the meaning of “law and order”.  It’s a little hard to imagine how real that struggle seemed at the time. The authorities seemed to really believe that the students were going to take over, and perhaps destroy the school (although that seems like utter paranoia now). But clearly they felt threatened beyond any measure that the students intended. One of the victims was quoted saying something along the lines that they had no idea that the national guard would ever consider using real bullets. The protesters had no idea what danger they were in until it happened. Given the polarized state of affairs we have now, it seems like a particularly good time to look at Kent State, and make sure that the mistakes made there are not made again.

Today’s entry in “sculpture I don’t get”. A brain? And this symbolizes?… Again, great effort required to literally carve this brain from stone. I will think about it 🙂

Crossing Akron

After looking around Kent State, I hit the trail for real and quickly found my self crossing Akron. Akron is clearly another Ohio City that hasn’t weathered the recession well. I saw a lot of poor neighborhoods and closed factories again.

Steve, urban farmer, growing something where much of what surrounds is in decline.

One bright spot was meeting Steve and his protégés Javon and Nathan (sorry guy from Alliance – I missed your name). They were working in an urban garden (practically in the shadow of an old Firestone plant) where Steve grows veggies for a local vegan restaurant – Miss Julie’s Kitchen. Steve has bike toured before and recognized my setup as I went by as not a casual loaded-up bike. I really admire what he’s doing – quietly improving the world around him doing something that he’s passionate about. We spoke a bit about gardening and Steve was very knowledgeable about how the soil responds to different crops over time.

Steve, Nathan, Javon and Alliance

After I left them I struggled with the route. Seems my nifty gps app didn’t get the “reverse route” so that it matched the one going the other way. So I ended up climbing some steep hills, avoiding roads closed for construction, and generally taking forever to get anywhere. Eventually I found the right route, on the “Towpath” of the Ohio Erie Canal (OMG how wide is the Erie’s influence?).  That led me out of Akron and into Amish Country again.

Finally found the Towpath trail. I think there’s a heron in the river if I remember correctly.
You could take 900 photos of white houses with red barns, American flags and green fields.

Into Amish Country Again

This settlement (near Fredericksburg and Millersburg) is supposed to be the biggest Amish community in the world. This group seemed to be more progressive than the settlement I came across yesterday – I even saw a couple of guys on bikes and a woman riding a gas powered lawn mower (oh god, that’s not progress!). What is it with the Amish and trampolines, though? Everywhere.

Kinda stole this one. Note lines from the carriage wheels and marks from horseshoes.

Right after this I was passed by another buggy moving really quickly – a single guy with a very minimalist buggy. Sort of buggy sports car – one seater. Anyway, the horse had a totally different gait where both front and back legs seemed to “walk” (L, R, L, R) but in opposition (Front right moves and Rear Left does). I think. It’s hard to get a bead on it going by quickly. Anyway it looked odd. Lynda is that a foxtrot? Or some other weird gait?

Then I got on another bike path/trail and the miles flew by. It rained some but that just cooled things off. Oh and got me absolutely filthy with road grime. I had to hose me and my bike off before I could check in to my hotel. Yay, hotel! It’s a cool one too and was built in 1847. Grover Cleveland slept here! I haven’t checked out anything but the shower yet but soon.

This trail is for buggies and bikes only! Suck it cars! (Not what the Amish guy said btw). One side was periodically marked “no horses this side” but horse poop abounded anyway. I’ll take it over fighting traffic.


7 thoughts on “Day 17 – Kent to Millersburg through Amish Central”

  1. Jim, that was a two beat trot, a two beat pace is when the same side moves together. You see both with buggies. A foxtrot is a four beat trot that almost appears to be walking in front and trotting in back. They all can cover a lot of ground pretty fast. You might have seen a training buggy, they are pretty plain in order to learn and not have a crash with the expensive rig. They work up as they become more experienced.

    1. Thanks, Lynda for lending your expertise. I knew you would know the gait. I think it was a training buggy – I saw several one-seater, very plain buggies like that.

      Also I didn’t get a picture but saw two small boys (11 and 8?) driving a little cart with miniature horses in front. They were picking up a load of sawdust from the mill to use back on their farm. I asked if I could take their portrait with their horses and the older one said (in a surprisingly thick accent), “Well, I don’t think my Dad would want me to do that…” So I said OK OK, no problem. But god they were so cute and polite and working hard but also interested in talking to me. Lovely experience and they were a great case for the value of being Amish.

  2. Images (almost all verbal) of Amish country and Rust Belt are striking. We don’t see the many such people from industries past in California or Texas

    1. Yeah I wish that I could bring more of it forward. Worth a trip to Burton or Millersburg.

  3. Images (almost all verbal) of Amish country and Rust Belt are striking. We don’t see the many such people from industries past in California or Texas

  4. Jim, your pictures and narrative are inspiring! I see a book in your future 🙂 your effort to think, write, and select pictures is greatly appreciated… thank you!

    1. Awww, thanks, Nance. It’s been a big motivator to know that people are actually reading.

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