Thursday, July 22, 2010

Leaving Frazeysburg we encountered the rolling hills of eastern Ohio. On a bicycle, they seemed more than hills, they actually are a foreshadowing of the Appalachian Mountains that officially begin not too far from here in West Virginia. When settlers moving westward passed through this area, they dumped all of their furniture and heavy belongings upon hearing that the Rockies were twice as high! I can understand the sentiment as we seem to climb up and then descend all the way down into a valley. There is no plateau that flattens out the landscape. It seems like an old part of the state but I sense a new economy pushing out the old as horse stables and wineries seem to be creeping in. Rural poverty is apparent in the backcountry.

Lincoln passed through Frazeysburg on his way to Washington in addition to Dresden, Coshocton, Newcomerstown, and Urichsville. I can understand his exhaustion of having moved through scores of small towns, especially when all he could muster at Cadiz Junction after eating was, I am "too full for utterance".

Our route also took us past Conesville and the coal burning power plant. This huge monumental facility continously shovels coal into the furnaces to generate electricity in our never ending need for power. The railroad line sits right next to the plant and I am reminded of the old steam locomotives, though on a much smaller scale,- endlessly having to do the same thing. Because these engines constantly needed to be serviced with fuel and water, it would force the innaugural train to make frequent stops,- this in turn would result in frequent comments by Lincoln that at times ammounted to no more than the modern day equivalent of 'tweets'. The journey from here took him to Pittsburgh where he reassured a crowd of people at the Monongahela House nervous of civil war, that "there is no crisis but an artificial one". Ironically, Lincoln's train ride was previouisly delayed outside of Pittsburgh for several hours in a small town called Freedom, Pennsylvania.

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