Saturday, May 07, 2005

Off road in Scioto County

Michael and I both have been ON the road so much this spring, it was a relief to go OFF road for the weekend. Since we will be visiting Manchester students on Monday, we just nestled into the country for a couple days of R&R. Sandina booked us into the Shawnee State Lodge, a beautiful place high atop a hill overlooking two lakes and (after the morning fog lifts) the mighty river. We rented canoes for some morning floating and fishing. At some point the wind kicked up, Michael headed for the dock but I was unable to maneuver my canoe in the headwind. Imagine 360s on a choppy lake, fishermen solidly anchored watching with polite amusement, ducks laughing aloud (they have no tact at all). Finally I got the canoe to the side by a trail, Michael climbed in and it took both of us paddling at maximum stroke capacity to get my canoe back to the dock as the wind kept increasing.

Note to self: must step up weight training at the gym MAJORLY if I want to assault another headwind in canoe solo. Oh, my aching biceps.

After canoeing (did I mention the bi-ceps?) we took our bikes into Portsmouth to tool around and look at The Wall. Running along the river is a concrete flood wall maybe 15 feet high, running along the length of downtown Portsmouth. Painted along its substantial length is a multi-paneled mural detailing the town’s history from its founding in the late 1700s, through its stone and marble, agricultural and industrial ages. The artist’s middle name is Holbrook. Something to research on the internet when I get home.

As we pedaled up town to the park, we kept noticing more bicyclers. More and more. Serious bikers, arms low, rears raised. By mid afternoon the whole downtown was flowing with people in spandex black shorts, walking and on wheels. Turns out that every year there is a bike hike from Columbus to Portsmouth (about 105 miles) this weekend after which the bikers eat, drink beer and turn around to head back north early Sunday. As a reported 5000 bikers descended on Portsmouth, we blew town to look for a fishing hole with a shady spot where I could sit and write and M could fish. Oh, yeah. We found the perfect spot. M pulled out 5 fish in an hour, including one (maybe) baby muskie (all promptly admired and released) and I pulled out a story possibility. Science fiction.

Not the fishing hole. That was real. The story. We’ll see. Reconfirms what I know to be true, the essential component in any writing venture is leisure time.

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