A Brief Return to Indiana


First, a flashback to May 2011.

The Pennsylvania motel where we stayed last night is the weekday home of many shale oil workers.  Jeffrey counted 21 in the breakfast room.  We decided not to disturb so many breakfasts by talking about the Ride.  Instead, Jeffrey asked whether there had been a recent uptick in work.  One worker said business improved 1 ½ years ago, due to Trump’s election.  Jeffrey suggested that OPEC cutbacks and rising oil prices may have played a role.  The workers did not disagree.


Farewell to Pennsylvania!


We crossed a bit of West Virginia and drove to Grove City, Ohio, past an electronic sign that asked drivers to combine trips because of the day’s poor air quality (we were happy to be in a smokeless electric car), and past a huge sign that said, “HELL EXISTS” (we agree, but we might dispute the author’s geography and definition).

Grove City is an old, pretty town, with a free fast electric car charger and nice touches like flowers and brick pavements.


Greg lives downtown.  After 25 years of factory work, he earned college degrees in culinary arts and business, and became a chef.  Now he does wilderness hikes, and soon will hike the entire Appalachian Trail.


L to R:  Greg, Joey

Jeffrey and Greg talked about refugees.  Greg quoted Scripture, Matthew 25:40, in which Jesus says:  “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  After a long friendly chat about hiking, cycling, cooking, and other topics, Greg sent Jeffrey to meet Don at the nearby historical museum, chockablock with cool items like an antique bicycle, bicycle photos, a hot air balloon basket, and a Model T.

Don is a pleasure to listen to.  He shared stories about unusual objects, local cyclists, and local history.  Although he has been misinformed about the risks posed by carefully vetted refugees, he still is sympathetic.  He told Jeffrey of a friend, a researcher at The Ohio State University, married to an American, father of American children, who recently was deported in circumstances that aren’t clear.


Don’s mixture of kindness and unease is no surprise when government and media play to prejudices and fears rather than sticking to facts and educating the public.  Don wants to do the right thing.  It can be hard for good people to know what that is.

A few hours later, we reached our haven in Louisville.


L to R:  David, Deena

After we unloaded the car and reassembled our bike, daughter Deena guided us north to “tag up” in Indiana (through which we pedaled from NYC in 2011) so our state-to-state travel is contiguous.  For double continuity, we intend to pass through Nashville, to which we biked from NYC in 2012.  Some views (photos of Jeffrey are by Deena):


Jim—Nancy’s Duke Marine Lab colleague, and now Jeffrey’s friend too—met us in a Louisville park. L to R: Pippin, Jim, Joey, Jeffrey.


L to R:  Jessica, who works at a local hotel, and Cory, an auto mechanic.  Our new friends were disturbed to learn that asylum applicants in the U.S.A. can have a lawyer only “at no expense to the government.”


L to R:  Jeffrey, Joey.  The Big Four Railroad Bridge, now for pedestrians and cyclists, was built between 1888 and 1895 to link Kentucky and Indiana.  It overlooks the Ferris wheel erected each year for Derby Week.  The Kentucky Derby will be run in four days.


Deena spoke with Alan, who works at a Louisville shop that refurbishes bicycles and provides them to poor people, including refugees referred by a Catholic priest.


Deena hydrates Joey in Jeffersonville, Indiana, at a monument marking the 1937 flood.


L to R: Radecki (a retired tool and die maker, holding one of our calling cards), Jeffrey, Marion (a retired dental hygenist). The couple were interested in the Ride, supportive of justice for asylum applicants, and wished us every success.


Jeffrey overtaking two women who had photographed the Ride sign on the bike, and who asked whether they could contribute online.  Of course they can!  And now, in addition to clicking on this blog’s “DONATE” button, they can text 646-791-3288 to make a gift!  As he passed, Jeffrey thanked them for supporting our laws and the Bible’s command to protect the stranger.



An old-style paddle-wheeler, seen from the bridge, plying the Ohio River.

Tomorrow, on two wheels, we go South.

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