Monday, July 26, 2010

It was almost cold leaving Cleveland this morning! It is a surprisingly easy city to bicycle into and to find my way around. The bridges over the river are pedestrian accessible and the downtown area was easy to ride through. Moving east by Lake Erie I encountered a great bike lane care of the Ohio 'circle the lake' tour. In Astabula, I discovered the Hubbard House, a stop on the route of the Underground Railroad. Built in the 1840's by William and Catharine Hubbard, it was known as 'Mother Hubbard's Cupboard". Once slaves crossed the Ohio River, they moved north to Ashtabula where they made their way to this house. They were then taken to the Hubbard Company warehouse on the Ashtabula River and then ferried to Canada and freedom. It is amazing to look out over the lake at this point as the view is from a high bluff. It is equally amazing to imagine that these events even occurred. Lincoln must have had some sense of this as his train passed through the area on it's way to Buffalo. Ashtabula still has some unassuming 19th century houses and brick streets that suggests this time was not too long ago. Making my way across the state line into Pennsylvania the countryside is very beautiful and nothing like the plains of Illinois. Being this far from the contempletive spaces of the Illinois 8th Judicial Circuit (where Lincoln intended to retire), I wonder if the distance created a longing and in turn a melancholy for him. This is an old part of the country. The sign that welcomed me to Pennsylvania said that William Penn established this as a colony in 1681. That is a timeline and history difficult to imagine for a person from the Midwest.

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