Monthly Archives: June 2018

Biking the Zoar Valley Trail

Today was a training ride on the fat bike. Helga is my Specialized Fat Tire bike. This was an experiement to see how my body could handle riding the fat bike for hours in a day. The North Bend Trail is a more rough rails to trails, so I will ride Helga.

Zoar Valley Trail

The Zoar Valley Trail was a good excursion for the fat bike. This trail follows the Ohio to Erie Canal. It is much rougher condition than the towpath that exists in Stark County and north. A fat bike performs superbly well on it!  My NBT trip will be on mainly flat ground, it is another rails to trails conversion.

Fat Bike on the Fink Truss Bridge Zoarville

Zoarville Bridge

It’s always fun to go see the Zoarville Bridge, a cool looking Fink Truss Bridge in the middle of no-where! This is just one section of the bridge over Conotton Creek. The bridge originally had three sections which spanned the Tuscarawas River.

Fink Truss Bridge

Bridge pic from 2013

The Zoarville Station Bridge is a rare survivor of the earliest period of iron bridge construction in the United States.  German immigrant Albert Fink first developed this truss design for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in the early 1850s.

Zoarville Bridge
The bridge features the highly unusual Fink truss configuration. These endposts are vertical and utilize a modified Phoenix Column. Phoenix columns are also used for the top chord and vertical members. Phoenix columns were a special patented type of built-up member. Very few examples of them remain today.

Carrying on the Ride


I will be riding about 40 miles on Day One and 30 miles on Day Two. My only items to carry will be food, water, and bits of toolkit.  My two bags fit comfortablly on the front rack of Helga. I will also wear my backpack with a bit more water.

Water Bottles

My bike is not set up well for bottles. I have a holder for a small bottle, but I can’t put a bottle cage on the down tube (yes! I have learned some bike nomenclature!!!!) because that interferes with the Saris bike rack when I have to transport Helga. I did  buy a water cage which can go on the front fork (look at me, whee!!) so I will have to try that out.


Art Journal Challenge Week Twenty Five Favorite Book Character

Favorite Book Character

Favorite Book Character Art Journal Challenge

Anne of Green Gables

My favorite book character is…Anne with an E of course! Anne Shirley, or “Anne of Green Gables” as she is more popularly known.

I didn’t read the Anne books until college. It was love at first site with Anne, with her “race that knows Joseph”.  There is quite a collection of porcelain dogs in my household. (Both L.M. Montgomery and Anne owned Gog and Magog.)

Dog Collection

Lucy Maud Montgomery

I’ve read all of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “selected”  journals. Her life, compared to her character, Anne, was a rough one. Her husband suffered from depression and maybe was bi-polar. Mrs. Montgomery seemed to mainly support the family and had many health issues of her own. I believe I have read most of her fiction books. If you like Anne of Green Gables, you might also enjoy the Emily of New Moon series.

japan anne

Favorite book

My favorite book is Anne’s House of Dreams, although a bit sad. This is the book where she and Gilbert get married and start their life together.

Favorite secondary character

It’s Anne’s youngest daughter, Rilla, and her story of growing up in the WWI years. Her book is called “Rilla of Ingleside”. I just acquired a new book called “Readying Rilla” which is Montgomery’s manuscript of Rilla and the editing and changes that went into the manuscript.

What about the Art Journal Page?

I was so busy with Anne, the page became secondary! Most of this week was printed pics and a little stamping.

Art Journal Challenge Favorite Book Character

Art Journal Challenge Favorite Book Character

Art Journal Challenge Favorite Book Character

This was a fun week. I’ve now retrieved all my “Anne” books for another re-read!

Next Adventure: North Bend Trail West Virginia


North Bend Trail Adventure


The North Bend Rail Trail is on my list for Bike 2018. With a family reunion following on a 4 day weekend in July, my little wheels started spinning. This also had to involve a dinner at Cafe Cimino (2nd best meal we ever had) and the reunion.

Where is the North Bend Trail?

The North Bend Trail stretches from Parkersburg to Clarksburg West Virginia, in the northern part of the state. It’s parallel, more or less to Route 50. The North Bend Rail Trail offers a scenic experience with splendid railroad elements and welcoming trail towns to be enjoyed. Stretching nearly 72 miles from Interstate 77 near Parkersburg (Cedar Grove) to Wolf Summit, the trail travels through an impressive 13 tunnels (10 passable), crosses 36 bridges, and passes through or near an assortment of state, county, and local parks.

Not Highly Developed

The trail link entry mentions this should be done on a mountain bike, as many sections are dirt, grass, unmown grass. In otherwords, this is not going to be a beautiful asphalt, coasting along bike route.

From all intel gathered, the NBT needs a bunch of work. There are not many towns along the NBT-and the towns that are nearby, these are tiny towns! Like population under a 1000 people small!  Without folks interested in the trail, there are no trail maintainers.

There has been a feasability study released by Rails to Trails Conservancy about the possible Parkersburg to Pittsburgh (the P2P) trail. The 238-mile Parkersburg to Pittsburgh (P2P) rail-trail is already nearly 80 percent complete; just a few short gaps exist in West Virginia to unlock a contiguous 150-miles-plus stretch of the rail-trail from Parkersburg to the state’s border with Pennsylvania. Linking up with the Great Allegheny Passage Trail could also mean you could bike from Washington DC to Parkersburg West Virginia!

What is my Plan?

The trail is 72 miles long. A popular method is to bike 29 miles and then spend the night at Norrth Bend State Park-my orginial plan. The Lodge is booked! Plan Two!

If you ever travelled between Parkersburg and Clarksburg, it’s a great four lane highway. There are just a few tiny towns.  There does happen to be a Sleep Inn in Ellenboro, about 40 miles from Parkersburg which happened to have a room available.

I will be dropped off at the Parkersburg end of the trail, bike to Ellenboro, spend the night there, and finish the 30 miles the next day in Clarksburg.

What Will I Ride?

Helga and Me

I am taking Helga! My beloved fat bike. She will need a bit of work. I need to get the fenders up on her. I also need to make sure I can carry my front handlebar bag.

Helga at the Beach

I may also swap out my Terry saddle to Helga. I’ve not biked long distances on Helga. I need to get a few long distances up on Helga.

Ever ride the North Bend Trail in West Virginia?

Art Journal Challenge Week Twenty Four Copy Something Famous

Art Journal Challenge Week 24 Copy Something Famous

No Love

I didn’t have any love for “Copy Something Famous”.  I even went looking for other journal prompts. But I circled back to it. Of course I thought of copying the Mona Lisa. Then I thought about there was this dog image..Google makes it incredibly easy to google “famous dog” and boom! there he was! The Blue Dog!


Copy Something Famous


Art Journal Challenge Week 24 Copy Something Famous

Blue Dog

In the early 1990s Rodrigue’s  Blue Dog Series, based on the French-Cajun loup-garou legend, catapulted him to worldwide fame.  The Blue Dog was made popular by Absolut Vodka in 1992.

Art Journal Challenge Week 24 Copy Something Famous

You know what? It was really interesting to learn about George Rodrigue, and the origins of the Blue Dog Series. I might need a Blue Dog Poster or Print for my home office…

Art Journal Challenge Week 24 Copy Something Famous

I decided I didn’t need to fill in all the space around my blue dog. Or make bunches of said puppy.

Art Journal Challenge Week 24 Copy Something Famous

I enjoyed making my own version of the famous blue dog. Onto Week Twenty-Five!

Conclusions on Ohio to Erie Bike Trail Tour

My conclusions on biking from CIncinnati to Cleveland


Time sure goes quickly! Here are my conclusions, tips, lessons learned while riding the Ohio to Erie Bike Trail 2018:

1. Just go do it.

I was completely undertrained for this ride-or was I? Maybe I was overtrained for last summer CO/GAP trip? My longest ride was 34 miles this spring, cold weather dimmed my opportunities and desires to make it outside for long rides. I did ride my trainer about every day for one hour. I don’t know what *mileage* that would work out to.

2. Less Would Be More

I pushed myself mileage on this journey. I knew I was going to do more than one seventy mile day. Could I do it? Sure, I knew I could, I just didn’t know how tired I would be. 40 or 50 mile days would have been more pleasant, with more time to kick around, if one could afford that *time away*.

3.  More Trails Being Added All The Time

It is impressive how much bike trail there is in Ohio. There are more areas in Ohio developing. I’ve come to realize how versatile and valuable bike/walk/rail trails can be to a community-both for the physical health and the economic (tourism) for Ohio.

4. Resources

The number one resource is the Ohio to Erie Trail Organization maps. The set of 4 is about fifteen dollars.  Another resource, printed recently, is a book about the route, “A Path Through Ohio-A Cyclist’s Guide to the Ohio to Erie Trail”  2nd Edition, by Mark Looney.  Third resource would be to read bike reports from the Crazy Guy on a BIke Website. Crazy Guy is a web site devoted to bike touring. BIke touring reports are very interesting to read! But a caveat! Only read the most recent, like Looney’s 2nd edition, for good intel. The OTET has changed route parts, so a 2009 route is nothing like the 2018 route. For example, part of the OTET through Columbus used to use the Olentangy BIke Trail, now it uses the Alum Creek Trail.

5. Want to Ride The Ohio to Erie Trail Supported?

OTET has a fully supported ride every September! So if you don’t want to carry all your stuff, want company, and a place to sleep every night, check out the Ohio to Erie Adventure Ride!

6. My Trip Report, Day by Day

Here is my five day trip report:

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Art Journal Challenge Week 23 Water

Art Journal Challenge Week 23 Water

I went blue at first. Water is blue, right?

It’s blue in New Zealand!


Art Journal Challenge Water

Not very inspired this week. I liked the blues that I started with. When I added the magazines cut out, I think the spread went to crap.

Art Journal Challenge Water

No time to recover, just time to move on to a new week and new challenge!

Art Journal Challenge Water

I can at least say I did it!

Art Journal Challenge Water

Art Journal Challenge Week Twenty Two Daffodils




Art Journal Challenge Week 22 DaffodilsThis looks like something a six year old would create.

Art Journal Challenge Week 22 Daffodils

Then I thought about it. It’s my damn art journal. Who cares what it looks like?

Art Journal Challenge Week 22 Daffodils

What I am enjoying about this weekly challenge is that I am noting the week. 22 weeks into year 2018 already. It’s a good way to acknowledge the time change.

I’ve kept up with the challenge halfway through the year. Onto Week 23!