NW Ohio: Biking Through Remnants of the Great Black Swamp

July 16, 2008

Tonight’s ride started at the hotel, and for the most part, followed the recommendation of one of the local student’s in my class. He said he used to ride it quite a bit and liked it.

From Holiday City, the last exit on the Ohio Turnpike before the Indiana line, I rode south into Montpelier. I was on a main route into town to get to the fairgrounds and my energy level was sagging pretty badly even though I’d been hydrating and eating well all day. Just past the covered bridge at the Williams County Fairgrounds, I decided to backtrack and go to the Subway restaurant for a small sandwich to see if I could bolster my energy a bit. I had some energy packs and bars for a quick boost, but since Subway was close, I headed over there instead.

After ingesting the sandwich, I headed back over to the fairgrounds and crossed the covered bridge again, heading out the back entrance and back onto country roads.

I went north out of Montpelier and went over the Ohio Turnpike. Following a road east that paralleled the turnpike, I found myself in the midst of a very boggy swampland. Apparently this tract of “woods” borders the St Joe River, and others like the Tiffin River that meander through this area. Remembering the multitude of mosquito bites still visible on my arms and legs from last night’s ride through a similar area, I opted to pedal right on through and not stop! I could only imagine what it must have been like for the early settlers and soldiers that had to trudge through these bogs to conduct business or war. Furthermore, it bears witness to the character, hardiness, and work ethic of those that settled this area, battling and toiling against the swamp one field at a time, and gaining some of the richest farm land in the Midwest. Due to drainage techniques and such, there is little now of what was once the Great Black Swamp.

Great Black Swamp

Great Black Swamp

Further east, I encountered a large Menard’s Distribution Center pretty much out in the middle of nowhere. Riding on the west border of that company, I headed south, ducking under the turnpike and then riding past 20/20 Molded Plastics, and then Chase Brass Company, where I’m doing training this week.

Wanting to do more riding and with plenty of light left, my legs just weren’t up to it tonight, so I headed back to the hotel and grabbed a hot shower.

I can’t begin to tell you how nice it is to go out for a ride each evening when out of town, rather than sitting in a bar somewhere, or spending the evening in the hotel surfing the internet.

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com


One comment

  1. I’m soooo jealous that I wasn’t there with you!!!

    Next time you go somewhere with the bike you’re going to have to take the camera. I need pics! 😀

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