Along the three day approach into the heart of "Cincy" I learned a few things about some almost forgotten river towns along US-50, River Road, before it pours into downtown's west edge. I slept a few hours at R&K's house. The famous baseball star, Pete Rose, as a boy had played on the steps outside of the hillside home. I walked by the ball field where he played as a River Rat on the Bold Face ball field. I met the man whose grandfather's name was on the main road that runs thru Saylor Park. The local doctor had removed his grandson's tonsils and adenoids when he was a child. Two weeks later, on a fishing outing, the doctor handed him a small jar for the boy to use as bait. Granddad had saved his tonsils. They caught a catfish with them. I met the current living legends , George and Jim. They built a Great Wall in Addyston. George, a sculptor in all types of metal, had many pieces on display in the area.
Sunday evening I was to the edge of the city. I had walked, or talked for seven hours. Rather than stay and sleep under shade trees a few miles west of the city, on the river road, I decided to get past the downtown area on Sunday night. With tight sidewalks, signs, poles and the cars in town. a rush hour walk through Cincinnati would be difficult, if I waited for Monday morning.
The first challenge after I walked the last miles of River Road was an area of construction where the road is being widened. That was not as hard as I had been warned, we walked in the construction area. No work was happening at dusk on Sunday. At the half-demolished bridge I was forced to turn onto the surface roads in the west side of town. I had to go under two major expressways to get past downtown and the northeast side. The road I chose was almost deserted. Few cars passed. I rolled down the center of the street most of the way. Moving the world under train trestles and narrow roadsides late on Sunday was easy for me. Traffic would otherwise be bumper to bumper for those miles. The spaghetti-like junctions under the expressways would have been impossible with heavy traffic.
I finally arrived downtown.
It was eleven at night. I passed the homeless who had lain down beds of cardboard lining 3rd Street, a busy thoroughfare across from the football stadium. A van load of Christian missionaries were giving out red beans and rice, water and fruit to the slumbering transients. as I walked by. Though I explained to the missioners that I was not homeless, they soon handed me a bottle of water, gave me a large portion of spicy beans with meat and rice, lay a bag of grapes by my side, then laid hands on me to practice their faith aloud. I accepted it all...
I knew I was about to roll into one of the more dangerous areas of Cincinnati, late at night. A little prayer couldn't hurt.