Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Route (Part 1): Mobile Bay to Cincinnati

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Here are the towns through which the Underground Railroad route travels between Mobile and Cincinnati. As you can see, this will be an exploration of true, small-town America!

Note that the bike route crosses the Ohio river 3 times, once from Kentucky into Indiana, just west of Louisville, a second time back into Kentucky from Madison, IN, and finally north again from Kentucky into Ohio east of Cincinnati, near Ripley, Ohio. The main reason for this is that the Ohio River was the dividing line between "slave" and "free" states, and major Underground Railroad activity occurred all along this corridor in the 1850s just prior to the U.S. Civil War. The route tries to incorporate as much of this historically-important area as possible. Obviously, individuals seeking their freedom just crossed the river once!

As it approaches Cincinnati, the route doesn't actually go into downtown, but stays east and goes into the Cincinnati suburban town of Milford. However, a "spur" map is provided that riders can follow into downtown Cincinnati to visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe House and the Underground Railroad Freedom Center. From Milford, the primary route will continue from Milford up the Little Miami bike trail to Xenia and beyond. (We will worry about this part of the route later!)

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