Thanks to Ken Rathje and Tom Foley for the answer to the covered bridge question. The roof protects the planks from the elements. Tom says it also provided a good place to steal a kiss.
Thanks to Lisa Frederick of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma for the answer to the 100th meridian question. It's Cozad, Nebraska. Apparently a military man by that name (Cozad, that is, not Meridian) thought the 100th meridian would be an excellent place for a town.
She got the web site from her dad, Don Schaaf, who writes a column in the McCook (Neb.) Gazette. She says he mentioned Route 99 in his column.
No flat tires since Glenwood Springs, Colorado (In unison now, "Thank you, Scratch")
I have been chased by not one single dog. I think it's just too danged hot. I picture them sitting under their porch, lifting the head when the alien object invades their turf, and then just saying, "Naaaaahhh" in dog language.
I have had no other mechanical problem with the bike whatsoever. My pedals will occasionally make scrunching sounds. That's been it. The gearing is flawless. The bike hums.
Maybe even more amazing, the machine that's infinitesimally more complicated than the bike is holding up fantastically. I'm referring to my body. I've taken a total of two ibuprofin on the trip, for a headache at altitude in the Sierras. That's the sum total of medication for almost 3000 grueling miles. I am (seriously) a bit concerned about a caffeine addiction via Diet Coke, and I'm trying to monitor that. But overall, I'm grateful to my Creator for allowing me 44 days of great health.
And safety. For those of you who have been praying daily for my safety, thank you. To this point, I can't say there's been even a close call. I've fallen twice. Once in Grand Junction, Colo.; arriving at my first stop light in weeks, busy intersection, I came to a stop and couldn't get unclipped. I just fell over to the right side in slow motion. Very humorous.
The other fall was today. (WARNING: NEVER do the following). A tractor was going slow, blocking the road, and a semi was following it. I caught up with the semi, hoping to draft. Tractor turned into a field. Semi stopped. I stopped right behind, stayed clipped and just held onto the back of the semi, thinking I'd just let it help me get started, you know. Problem: bike was at a 45 degree angle to the truck, so when it started it just pulled me over. Pretty dumb, huh? I never was good at that angle stuff in math.
Just a final Honda thought. Here I am in the heart of Ohio in the middle of America. The Honda plant is the number one industry in this neck of the woods, and people here seem totally devoted to it. Plus 12,000 devoted fans of the vehicle come from all over the U.S. to worship at this Japanese shrine. It's the New World Order, baby.
And then to hear them slam Harleys! You know how smart Hitler was? He knew just how E-A-S-Y it was to manipulate the masses. We apparently so need to have an enemy of some kind, ANY kind, as long as we can convince ourselves of our superiority. Ford v. Chevy. Mac v IBM, Cubs v Cardinals, black v white, Catholic v Protestant, Trojan v Mustang (that's school mascots, folks), Serb v Croat, Liverpool v Manchester United. How easy we are to control.
Think about the difference between the leader who unites people behind the 99 percent of what they have in common, as opposed to the 1 percent differences.
Ok, ok, let's get to the REAL highlight of the day. That's right, folks, after traveling about 30 miles east of Marysville in the dripping humidity that is Ohio, I thought I must be hallucinating. I couldn't be seeing what I was seeing. It was the tallest water tower I'd ever seen, and emblazoned in block print across it, this single word....
This bore investigating, and since my route went right through the heart of downtown, I had to find out, "How did Marengo get its name?" The first few people I asked had no idea. One person said they thought it was from the Marengo Indians.
I left the Karpinskis and hit the road for a whole mile, or maybe two, when I saw this...
The biggest news of this day, however, will have to wait until tomorrow's journal. Suffice it to say that I was kept waiting for a wonderful surprise, so now you'll have to wait, too.
Amish answer: You can always tell an Amish farm because it will have no electric wires leading to it.
And if you have the time for a little more, a tall tale from Fannie McClain's history of Marengo. It seems a Marengo farmer cleared three acres of brush and timber in order to plant squash*, but the mice ate every one of his seeds except for three. In order to say he at least tried, he went out into the middle of his large field and mounded his three measly seeds. That evening there was a light shower and the farmer was awakened by a crashing sound that he was positive was his cattle breaking out of the barnyard. He threw on his clothes, grabbed the lantern and rushed out... to find all his cattle safely penned. Perplexed, he went back to bed, only to wake the next day to find huge squash plants completely filling his three acres and pushing out through the surrounding underbrush, causing that crashing sound he had heard the night before.
The journal also talks of a dance held at one man's log cabin in which there were 700 dancers and 150 fiddlers, and when the dancers promenaded the floor of the cabin sprung up 7 feet in the air.
*Sorry, Fannie, I know it wasn't squash, but I just can't remember what it WAS.
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