Riding the South

The blog of Scott and Jenny Morris

Part 3

Escape to Canada on

Underground Railroad

By Scott Morris

Preview: June 16, 2019

A long weekend with Jenny in Kentucky inspired me to purge more gear from the bicycle panniers.

She brought my lightweight down jacket, which I may have to use to supplement my thin fleece sleeping bag in Canada. I sent back with her several heavy items I will try to do without.

I removed the backpacking stove, butane fuel canister, stove windscreen, cooking pots, freeze-dried meals and dish soap. In their place, I bought a P-38 - a tiny military can opener. On nights I have to camp, I plan to buy Beanee Weenees or some other canned food and eat it cold.

I must be motivated if I’m willing to give up a hot meal to save weight. I hope the sacrifice makes Part 3 of the ride to Canada a little easier. This 379-mile section takes me from Owensboro, Kentucky, to Milford , Ohio, with a short spur into Cincinnati.

The Underground Railroad Bicycle Route passes back and forth over the Ohio River several times between Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.

Runaway slaves considered the Ohio River their River Jordan. Once they crossed it, they didn’t go back unless a slave catcher found them. After mostly relying on themselves to get to the border states, they often had to trust both black and white abolitionists with the Underground Railroad to reach the promised land.

Safe houses and river crossings that they used in the borderlands dot my map from Adventure Cycling Association.

Today, I said a difficult goodbye to Jenny for what may be a month. I packed my P-38 and set out on a short warmup spin to a hotel in Lewisport, Kentucky. 

Read Part 1
Read Part 2

Owensboro to Cincinnati