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Wabash Cannonball Trail: Wauseon and East to ??

August 26, 2008

The plan when I came up to NW Ohio this week was to try to ride more sections of the Wabash Cannonball trail that reportedly runs from Montpelier (near the Indiana line) over to Maumee (outside of Toledo). When I was doing some training in Montpelier several weeks ago, I brought my mountain bike and rode the unimproved path starting in Montpelier and heading over to near Archbold. Based on what I’d read, the paved trail started in Wauseon and headed east, so I brought my road bike to see if I could bike over to the Oak Openings Park just west of Toledo.

Well… rarely do good plans “survive first contact”. I got a hotel in Wauseon so that I could start on the trail here, got the bike stuff square around (I had to do some maintenance after riding in T-Storms on Sunday).

I hit the trail starting in Rotary Park in Wauseon, and the paved trail was quite nice. There was a warning in one of the trail reports that from CR13 to CR11, the trail was closed because it hadn’t been completed over the busy freight rail corridor that goes East and West through this section of Ohio. It required a brief ride north onto CR F and then East a couple of miles before dropping down to the trail again. This is where the plan started to break down. The trail did indeed start up again, but it wasn’t paved. Rather, it was a rough grassy trail, in some respects worse than the cinder path I ridden earlier in the year to the West.

Anyway, it mattered little because it wasn’t suitable for a road bike with 23mm smooth tires. Thinking that maybe the paved trail started another mile over, I rode back up to CR F, headed east another mile, and looked again… more of the same. So I did this 3 times before I gave up and stayed on the road.

What made matters worse was the strong headwind from the East that I was experiencing on the road away from the protection of the tree canopy on the trail. Frankly, it sucked… especially as it constantly buffeted my front tire. I went about 10 miles like this before I cried “Uncle” and figured any further search for a paved trail was fruitless. Naturally, before I decided to turn around, the wind started abating, and the strong tailwind that I was counting on to fly back to the starting point became a breeze. Even so, it was a heck of a lot easier on the return leg…. logging me right at 20 miles tonight.

There were a couple of interesting sites along the road.

After traveling over half of the Wabash Cannonball trail this summer, I’ve concluded that there is a very weak commitment to the rails to trails program in this area of the state. Not surprising, since the population density is rather low here compared to the Cincinnati-Dayton area. This was supposed to be the longest and most publicized section of trail in this area of the state, and it’s primarily a walking path, suitable in many places for a mountain bike. However, with the exception of sections that run through some of the towns like Wauseon, it is a long ways from becoming a premiere multi-use path like the Little Miami Scenic trail that runs over 70 miles from lower Cincinnati up past Springfield to Urbana.

It’s little wonder I didn’t hear much about the rails to trails program during the 25 years I lived in NW Ohio (except for the 7 mile section between Fremont and Clyde). When I lived in this section of the state, I was within 15-60 minutes of good quarry diving for scuba practice. Now that I’m in SW Ohio, I’m with minutes of some of the premiere biking paths in the State. It all just goes to show you… wherever you live geographically, make the most of the recreational activities that they afford you, because you never know when you might leave that area.

Carpe Diem!!!

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One comment

  1. I’m just lucky that you moved to SW Ohio. :p Lucky, lucky me. It’s amazing the things you do for me and to make US work. Thanks Baby. xoxoxo



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