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Victory Lap: Bike-hike winds up shared wistfulness

(Visit ouvictorylap.tumblr.com to view pictures from the ride.)

Per usual, I bumped east coast ghetto manifestoes from Q.B.’s most infamous duo Mobb Deep and considered croons from indie rock deity Doug Martsch while cascading down the Hocking Hills in search of some solace for this week’s pedal-post.

On my way to Old Man’s Cave, I came across the recently closed Etta’s Lunchbox, a dual restaurant and lunchbox museum.

Etta’s was actually one of the inspirations for my column, but, grievously, I will never have the opportunity to visit this rural relic.

More than likely, it will be converted into a dual 7-Eleven/Taco Bell or some such tripe, unless the pedaling-proletariat can rise up and stop the madness that is progressively plaguing the zeitgeist of American business practice.

Take State Route 56 and stop at The Art Barn, where astonishingly affordable, handcrafted wood furniture, sculptures and such can be purchased from the artist, Mr. Scott Baxter — a real piece of work himself.

I’ll tell ya’, the people I meet on these weekly rides never cease to amaze me; it’s as if Southeast Ohio’s pathways were conceived specifically for a pedaling-peripatetic such as myself.

Also along state Route 56, I came across two family-owned cabins for rent to lovers on a getaway (or bandits fleeing from the fuzz): Inn a Cabin and Humm Inn Haven.

Now, don’t fret. I, too, was quite perplexed as to what the hell the second even means. Like, WTF?

Sounds more appropriate for a bordello, if ya’ catch my drift. Rates are about $150 a night. Excuse me, I forgot who my readership consists of. The cost is comparable to about 12 24-packs of “Natty.”

So, when you begrudgingly sell your books at the end of the quarter for a twelfth of what you originally paid (exacerbated by the fact that you never read the damned things anyway), take your main squeeze outside town for some natural fun, I’m sure she would appreciate a reprieve from your slovenly roommates.

Eventually, I coasted into Old Man’s Cave (quite frankly, at certain junctures, it smelled like an old man’s ass), one of the natural attractions in Hocking Hills.

The ether was thick with nostalgia for both me and Glenna, a women I met while hiking — for me, because my last visit was with my girlfriend sophomore year. In fact, I found the tree (off the trail, don’t tell anyone) that I carved our initials in; I can’t believe I actually located it.

For Glenna, now in her 80s, it was visiting with her son for the first time since he was a tiny tike of 8 or 9. Her son, now in his 50s, took pictures while Glenna and I fell into a reverie of past trysts with the park.

I told Glenna I arrived by bicycle and must get going; she covered her mouth, the way older ladies sometimes do, and said, “Oh my, you be safe now.” I said I would see her next time I came to the cave, she agreed as if it were self-evident, and we parted ways.

From there, I made my way to the lodge to have dinner; I was famished. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice lodge, but Christ was it creepy.

It had a The Shining vibe to it, I thought Grady was about to come from behind the bar and axe me to bits.

Nightfall: As I sat at my desk, I heard the drunken gallantry of a stray Palmer-fester outside my window: “Excuse me, kind sir, can you direct me towards Walker Street?”

So eloquent yet so intoxicated. Dear God, I love this town.

Brian Bors is a senior studying social work and a columnist for The Post. Want to go on a bicycle built for two? Email him at bb113706@ohiou.edu.

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