Ariel reflects on Day 4

“If I offer you one tip for the future, sun screen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists,” by The Sunscreen Song.

As we rode today from the church, which welcomed us with opens arms. I, Ariel Eusebio Gutierrez who was leading the group, wore my bare arms without any sunscreen on.  People told us that there was an 80% chance of rain! The day before today, I rode in the rain and the cold wind was blowing toward me, making me unable to move. I just pushed on hoping warmth was waiting me for at the end. I thought that today going to be another cold and wet day. As I led everybody to the next campsite, which was Josh’s, old college -Ohio Weslyen University (OWU), the sunrays beat down on me, cooking my skin to a medium rare steak. Not knowing the effect of the UV rays on my dark, Ecuadorian skin I just kept on going without stopping.  After we finished biking for the day and set up the tents, we went to take a long nice shower for the first time in two days and I saw that my arms had a tan line so deep it was like the border between Mexico and the USA.

We took a tour around the campus and learned neat stuff about OWU. I mostly loved this school for the campus, as it is a beautiful school, which goes from one side of the town to the other.  After we finished the tour and we had some of the spiciest food I have ever had. Believe me, I’m Spanish and eat spicy food every day, but this food will make you sweat ten pounds. After we sweated the food out, we went to the corner and to get some huge ice cream cones. I got Mexican coffee favor and it was good-tasted like having a fresh cup of coffee where you had smashed the coffee beans together that same morning.

I am still a beginner biker, but each day I ride the bike I learn something new about riding. Just the other day, I learned how to use my gears better in order to go up hills.  And today, I learned that leading a group takes a lot of patience and attention to detail.  I did make one wrong turn, but I think that is sort of like life.  You have to make wrong turns in order to find the right way.  At first I though that I couldn’t do this bike trip and now I think I could do a bunch of other things I thought that I couldn’t do before. This bike trip is making me a better biker and a stronger person for the future.

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Daury reflects on Day 3

Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Daury and today is my turn to blog.

Today was great. At first I was a little scared of leading the group because we were doing a 60 mile route with 16 turns. I was afraid I was going to get the team lost, but I started gaining confidence on the way as I started getting the hang of how to read the map. The team and I started at Yellow Springs and our destination was Zion Church in West Jefferson, near Columbus. Throughout the entire ride, I heard a lot of complaining until we hit our first major stop in Mechanicsburg.  I was looking forward to meeting the mayor of the town but he was busy. We still met nice people, like a very talented magician who made a dollar disappear and reappear right before our eyes.  This same magician wrote a play about a slave known as Henry “Box” Brown that escaped in a box in 1849 and was heralded as one of the greatest escapes of the Underground Railroad.  Apparently, he became a magician and might be the first African American to have performed magic. The play will be performed in Columbus in September.

We also met Addison White’s youngest granddaughter.  Addison was an escaped slave that almost got caught but he shot his master in the knee and when the residents of Mechanicsburg heard about it they all got pitchforks and torches and helped chase away the slave catchers who were after him.

After we left the little town we kept on going to our destination and everybody started complaining more. But, after about 27 miles, we finally got to our destination and it was worth it. The nice people in the church made us tons of food and they were more than happy to see us. After we ate we all went to go play basketball for about an hour. Josh made the most points even though he told us he couldn’t play basketball.

Today was fun. I pushed myself and I pushed everybody else. We had a few laughs, came up with some more bars about our day and we ate until we were stuffed. I hope the rest of our days in Ohio are as just challenging and rewarding as today

 

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Dawrys reflects on Day 2

Hola mi nombre es Dawrys Rodriguez y usted estal leeindo el bobilico de OHIO!!!!. Hi my name is Dawrys Rodriguez and you are reading the blog from OHIO!!!. This is a great trip and experience and because of this trip I am glade I get to hang out with my friends from school. This is my second time coming to Ohio.  I came for the first time at the end of my 9th grade year and now, I am done with high school and about to join the army!  This is great training.   When we came we were tired and hungry but we didn’t let that stop us from starting this great adventure that our teachers had for us. We had fun the first night in the hotel. We ate pizza, even though we won’t have pizza again until the last day of the trip.  The next day we went to a house and this house is very special. This house holds many memories about many slaves that were saved back in the 1800s.  The house name is named the Rankin house. The Reverend Rankin was a man who was against slavery because he didn’t want to see African Americans suffer pain and unhappiness. Rankin and his family decided to help them out by hiding them in their barn while they made their way to Canada.  We also visited the Freedom Center in Cincinnati and saw a play about Harriet Tubman.

This morning was our first day of biking!  We had a great time this morning because we didn’t complain as much as we did the year I first came. We got a good start but I was too fast for the group and had to try to slow down so the group could stay together.  And because I was the leader, it was my job to make sure everyone was ok and knew where to go.   I think we rode about 40 miles today and it was pretty easy because most of it was on a bike path. When we got to the camp, we set up our tents and left for the pool.  The weather was great for us to go.  Later, we learned that the park that the pool is in is named after a former slave who settled in Yellow Springs. When we got back to the camp, the cooks made a stir-fry for dinner.  Since I am a vegetarian, they left the chicken out of my portion.  Everyone loved it, but I ended up putting way too much hot sauce on mine.

As a leader I gave everything I got.  I just finished leading the discussion and I asked everyone to connect what we did today to the experience runaway slaves had in the 1800s.  We all decided that even though we were tired, our trip is a lot easier than theirs.  We have food and breaks and water and Gatorade.  They didn’t even have shoes and they were always being chased.  After our discussion, everyone tried to make some rhymes about our day.

 

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Kevin reflects on Day 1

This is day one of the Ohio cycling trip. So far we have taken long hour bus rides and have visited exhilarating historical landmarks in Ohio and Kentucky. Last night we got in a bit later that usual, due to the fact that our buses were delayed back to back to back, but I’ll try to not complain about it. So far I have honestly been enjoying myself with my fellow peers.

We started in Maysville, Kentucky, which was a slave state, and where we spent the night in a hotel and had pizza. The next morning we got up around 7:00 am and we ate some satisfactory grade breakfast.  From there we went across the Ohio River and drove to Ripley, Ohio.  From my understanding, Ripley had quite a reputation for helping slaves become free and helping them into northern free states.  We first hiked up the hill to the Reverend John Rankin’s house.  Rankin was a white pastor from Tennessee who preached against slavery.  He eventually had to move away from there due to threats towards him and his family and he chose to settle in Ripley, Ohio.  He successfully helped more than 2,000 slaves into free states, which honestly I find pretty impressive.

Another home that we visited today was the home of John Parker, a former slave who bought his freedom and became an ironworker.  He also lived in Ripley, Ohio and also helped hundreds of slaves cross over the Ohio River from Kentucky and into the northern free states.  He and Reverend Rankin worked almost hand in hand helping those slaves and never lost anybody. From his many years as an ironworker he became very wealthy.

Then after that we drove over to Cincinnati, Ohio where we went to the National Freedom Center.  There, we watched a movie produced by Oprah Winfrey, which had to do with the Rankin’s and John Parker.  Cool that we were just in their homes! After that we watched a one woman play about Harriet Tubman and the highs and lows of her life, which I found REALLY DECENT and also informative. This one woman played all the different characters in Harriet Tubman’s life, sang slave spirituals and hardly had any props.   We then got a tour around the museum and learned even more about African American history through our tour guide.

In conclusion we had a pretty good first day and hopefully tomorrow I will have a good day and do some cycling!!! And even maybe learn some more too.

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Albert reflects on Day 8

Hello! My name is Albert Garcia and I just finished with my sophomore year in high school.  I am going to tell you about how I led a bike team with seven student cyclists and four adults.   We went on a 15-mile bike ride from a campsite to Oberlin, Ohio.  My day yesterday was great because I experience new things like how hard it is to be a leader.  I also dealt with not having my glasses because they broke, so it was hard to see during the ride. During the ride I had help from many others that knew and saw better than me.  There were also many adults that looked over many of us.

There were many new experiences and I learned many new things that leaders do that many don’t understand.  I experienced how hard traffic is while you try to lead a group of students by checking to see who was missing and stopping at stop signs. I saw that there are actually drivers and people that care so much for people while you ride your bike through hard traffic. I suffered a knee injury because of going too quickly on the bike, but thanks to the adults I made it to Oberlin and finished.  I also saw many believers that fought hard through a long path of one week and 250 miles total, biking an amount of 30-40 miles per day.  I saw many hugs; laughs, joy, smiles, honor, respect, and most of all friendship grow.

Once we reached Oberlin all eight of us students wanted to relax, go to the Water Park, and sleep.  In Oberlin we did a lot of things.  First, I led our discussion, which I guess was my favorite one of all because that is one that people will remember.  Second, we all thanked and said goodbye to a good pal adult named Chuck that was part of the journey biking with us.  We took pictures and had fun before arriving at the Oberlin Inn.  At the hotel, we cleaned up the van, put the bikes back, and checked in so we could leave our stuff to return and go to the water park.

At Splash Zone we first played basketball, which was a good game for me because I scored 7 points first game and Josh was really scoring points but our team lost.  The second game I was on fire by getting rebounds, steals, and points, and we got to a fast run.  Josh was getting rebounds like nothing and also shooting nicely.  We won by many.  I got on both water slides.  The blue one was not scary but went quickly, and the white one was completely dark and you only see blue when you get down quickly. The pool was cool but low.  I could swim a little (not much) and the water was warm.

After the Splash Zone we had pizza for dinner.   It tasted good while we watched the Mets game.  The Mets won YEAH!  After that a few hours later about 8pm I went and explored Oberlin and found a good smoothie place and candy store AWESOME.

This week we had many great opportunities that were very important for this trip. I learned about the Underground Railroad, that it was hard for freedom seekers to escape and many tried but had to leave families.  I also learned about some that disguised themselves to escape from slavery and some had skills and used their money to buy freedom.

This week I learned how to trust some people if you really give them the opportunity to let them know you. I did well in my part because at the start of this trip I didn’t really talked to any of the others that went and they didn’t know me. As the week went by almost all of us got along well.  There were a few problems but we overcame.  It is tough to be camping and sleeping in tents but we all made it…YEAH YEAH YEAH!!!!!

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Erasmo reflects on Day 7

Hey! My name is Erasmo and this is my reflection of today and everything that happened.

It all started with a wake up call from Josh. Of course I did not get up the first time but eventually I got up. I got up and got my stuff so I could brush my teeth and get dressed. After that I helped my tent members take down our tent. Since it’s four of us we had the largest tent. We packed it in the van and then got some breakfast. I had some cereal with raisins and cranberries. Every one got ready and ate their breakfast, and then we started our ride.

It was my turn to lead and I was told that it was a 47-mile ride. Why did I get such a long ride? I have no idea but I was up for the challenge. Chuck supplied me with the map and explained the route. We left the camp it felt good to be the person in the front.  I usually end up in the front eventually because everyone slows down going up hills and I speed up but today I was in the front from the beginning and I had everyone following me. With in the first 10 miles there were about 15 hills. I had to wait at the top of almost all of them. To me hills are like motivation because I know if I make it up the hill fast then I get to rest for a while and recover then just keep on peddling and make it to my destination faster.

By the time we ate lunch, we were all tired and ready to quit but of course we had to finish.  We pushed and pushed our self straight to the finish. Today was one of the hottest days yet. The road was sizzling at points and we were all sweating bullets. We separated throughout the ride because we all ride at different paces and we all deal with the heat in different ways. Some of us like to ride a little slower with more breaks to recover some energy, while some like to ride fast and take less breaks so we can reach our destination and relax for the day. I personally like to waist as little time as possible and finish up as fast as our group can. We finally got to the campground and we were all relieved that we were done with the day.

We rested for a while then we set up our tents and took showers. The shower was possibly the best part of the day because it cooled us down and helped us relax. We made our way to the Oberlin Heritage Center. I learned about how the people of Oberlin started a university that allowed African Americans to attend.  We also learned how the town of Oberlin helped slaves hide from their slave masters and escape to the north.   The entire town was an Underground Railroad station because it was started as a Christian utopia and everyone was against slavery.  Also, because of the many African Americans at the university, slaves could blend in and hide easily.   Our tour guide told us a story about a girl who was taken from Africa and was on the Amistad, which was a famous ship because the slaves revolted and took it over.  She was given a scholarship to study at Oberlin College and returned to Africa to be a teacher.  Throughout this trip I learned so much about the Underground Railroad and its connection to the state of Ohio.

I participated in the Bronx Lab cycling program after school for three years but I never wanted to come on the Ohio trip, even when all my friends came last year.  I just didn’t want to bite off   more then I could chew. I never thought I was prepared for it or that I could handle it. This year I decided to do it because I wanted to participate in the trip at least once before I graduate and I thought it might be interesting to learn a little about the Underground Railroad and slavery.  I am glad I finally came.  There have been some annoying things like being older than a lot of the people and having to do so many chores, but overall it has been a good experience and I think I learned some things about being a leader and I am definitely in better shape.

 

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Joel reflects on Day 6

Hey, my name is Joel. Today I will be explaining to you what our biking group accomplished today. It was my turn to lead and being the leader, especially on this crazy, rainy and hot day, was very challenging and difficult.

In the morning, we were all woken up by the rain tapping on the tops of our tents. I was pretty annoyed at the fact that it was early and the tent was getting all wet and muddy. I was pulled from the paradise of my dream by my “wonderful” teacher, Josh and his foot. After rolling up my sleeping bag, we were ambushed by waves and waves of wind that were pretty intimidating. It looked like it was going to rain really hard and guess what… IT DID! I was happy to see water fall from the sky because it meant we weren’t going to bike today. I really love biking, but we have all been so tired and hot that a day off would be great. We loaded the van and got into it to wait for the storm to pass by.  I kind of dozed off listening to music and fell into another deep sleep. Yet again, I was woken by my “wonderful” teacher, Josh, and his hand.

The rain stopped and most of us had a plan to rebel and stay in the van and not bike. Sadly, most of us gave in and were forced to bike. Some were reluctant at first but eventually we all had to face the facts that our “wonderful” teachers were not going to let us stay in the van. So we just got up and biked, like any other day. Thank God the sun wasn’t out but the rain on the ground kept getting picked up from the wheels making our clothes dirty and uncomfortable. Most of the ride was flat and in my perspective, things were going pretty awesome. Until… we got onto Route 603.

The road looked peaceful and there wasn’t much traffic, which was a good thing. The minute we turned left onto Route 603, I think I wanted to just puke up my breakfast. We went up a not-so-steep hill and when we turned the corner, there was a MONSTER hill awaiting our arrival. We took a short water break and began our trek into what was the most unpleasant bike ride one can imagine. I took all the motivation our “wonderful” teacher gave us and went up like a champion. But then my knee began to hurt again. The past few days it has been irritating me and I couldn’t withstand the pain for much longer. I stopped at the top of the hill to see the view. There wasn’t much to see because there were another few MONSTER hills tormenting all of us. It wasn’t easy but we all managed to make it past them in one piece.The ride after those MONSTER hills was pretty easy after that. We had lunch a few miles away from the campsite. I felt pretty weak after lunch because of the MONSTER hills. I didn’t give up though. My “wonderful” teachers kept encouraging me to keep moving forward and luckily I managed to make it to the campsite in one piece… Barely.

The campsite had a nice view of the Charles Lake but too bad we couldn’t camp near it! What did make my radiant smile come back was the fact that there were showers and a pool! I took a good dive in the pool and stayed in as long as possible until my “wonderful” teacher, Rachel, had to take us out and ruin my one moment of joy out of the whole day. We walked back to camp and began to cook.

As I sit here and write this I can tell you that this biking trek is no joke!!! You MUST have a stable mentality and keep it like that the whole time through. Don’t ever give up and just keep pedaling.

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Allan reflects on Day 5

Hey this is Allan, the tallest biker here.  I am going to give my little reflection on today.

It seemed like a pretty productive day, but it could have been better in some ways.  I’ll start with the morning.  The morning was pretty slow at the start, I mean everybody was tired and did NOT want to get up and out of their tents. But I believe I did pretty well because I wanted to get out of there and leave early because…I WAS LEADING TODAY!

After eating breakfast and fixing small things on other people’s bikes, Chuck led the way out of a crazy intersection and on to Bowtown Road. After that, he just left us to continue on to Fredricktown. In between all that mileage (40 something miles, AGAIN!!!), there were only HILLS and cornfields. Ohio would not need to make a motocross track, they can just send people on the same path that we took!

It was definitely not my best day. It seemed I got a lot more agitated than usual. I’m going to be honest, I wanted to throw my bike across the U.S. and shatter my helmet.  It think it was a combination of being HOT and how slowly we were riding.  I think it is worse to ride slowly because you have to be in the heat longer.  I tried to ride faster at the beginning, but everyone rides at a different pace and we often had to slow down to wait for people. Rachel told us these last few days have been the hottest she has experienced here.

After we made it to Sparta, we stopped for lunch at a nearby church. I think this was when I fully believed I snapped out of reality. I got extremely dizzy and I could barely sit up straight. I did not want to touch the bike or any biking gear. But I got a full bottle of Gatorade, which fired up my energy levels and allowed me to lead at least a little bit until I got tired and once again fell back in the line. But finally we made it to the campgrounds…WHICH HAD AMAZING SHOWERS!

The evening seemed pretty fine so far. We made hot dogs for dinner on an open fire and I ate half a bag of tortilla chips and chunky salsa (It was amazing). And were making s’mores now.

Oh and I almost forgot, the trip has been really interesting. A lot of people’s true colors were shown on this trip. Some people have a smaller fuse and some have the patience of a golf spectator. Anyways, this trip has been a very unique experience so far.  The Underground Railroad stuff we have seen has been pretty cool, even though US History is not my favorite history.  But, the most interesting part has been dealing with the challenge of the heat and the long rides and having to work with a group of people I didn’t really know very well until now.

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Armani reflects on Day 4

My name is Armani Sewell and today we hade pancakes, orange juice, and eggs. It was good. Today’s ride was to Josh’s old collage, Ohio Wesleyan.  I think the ride was 40 something miles.  I was the leader and it was hard because of the heat.  It just kept getting hotter even though we got up at 5:30am to beat the heat. My nose started to bleed at lunch, which made me feel dizzy.  Josh and Rachel kept saying we were almost there (We were not).

I thought it was really hard to be the group leader because I had to go faster in order for everyone to be happy.  Going downhill was easy though and I finally went down the hills without using brakes the whole time.

When we finally got to Ohio Wesleyan, we had a tour of the college.  It was ok.  I saw a huge piano or maybe it was an organ.  We also saw some dorms and got free sunglasses.

When the dinner crew was making dinner, I went to the bike shop with Chuck and Joaquin.  In the bike shop, I saw a bike that can hold two people and some crazy gloves with spikes on them.  After dinner, we walked into town and got giant ice-cream cones.  I had vanilla and cookies and cream.

I feel like the trip will help us get over some of our habits that are hard to stop.  For me, I think I will get better at getting up early because usually I like to sleep till the afternoon.  I also feel like I can get to know these people that are around me and understand them.  I didn’t know any of them before deciding to come on this trip and I now I am spending all this time with them.

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Isaias reflects on Day 3

This is Isaias! Today was really fun but a little tiring. First we slept in a church with an air conditioner, FINALLY! It wasn’t hot anymore and we get to sleep in here again tonight. After getting up in the morning, which I hate because I usually get up in the afternoon, we made a delicious breakfast of oatmeal and bagels. It doesn’t sound good but it was delicious.

When we finished eating breakfast, everybody was ready to go on this 48-mile ride to Mechanicsburg and back. We were excited to have a couple of people ride with us today.  Pam, Greta and Rod all came from other parts of Ohio to spend the day riding with us.  This ride started out great because it was my turn to lead and I kept a great pace. Even though I was doing so great, the heat was unbearable and since I didn’t get enough sleep last night I was pretty exhausted. We biked a little over 24 miles to the great little town of Mechanicsburg. Once we arrived, we were greeted by some wonderful people. Ellen Seward and the Mayor of the town treated us so well and I loved the story about how the town was named. I loved the story because it was kind of romantic.

We also heard how Mechanicsburg didn’t support slavery and many people who lived there were involved in the Underground Railroad. Ellen told us the story about Addison White, who was a freedom seeker who escaped and ended up in Mechanicsburg.  While he was being hidden in a hotel, he started sending letters to his family and one of them got intercepted by a slave catcher and they found out where he was so they went to go find him. When they found him, everybody in the town went to go help with all types of weapons and basically made the slave catchers run away. When the slave catchers came back, everybody in town raised money to buy Addison’s freedom, so he was freed. I thought that story was amazing! I was really surprised by how the town helped and cared about someone who wasn’t white.  Addison brought danger to the town by just being there but in the end they helped him anyway.

After that great time in Mechanicsburg, we headed out for a 24 mile ride back to the church where there was delicious food waiting for us. Once we ate and talked to all the awesome people who were part of the congregation, we then proceeded into playing some fun games. After I conquered all the games, we started singing great songs and playing guitar and I was the best singer of course.  We then started playing baseball and I hit a 3 run homerun for my team. That was the last thing I did today.  In a bit, I will be leading a discussion and I think it will be the best. Overall today was a good day. I give it an 8 out of 10 since the ride was so tiring.  But, the day was really fun and interesting.

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Diana reflects on Day 2

Hey, this is Diana and you are on Diana’s blog!!!!!!!! You should be excited because this is a great opportunity to read about our journey across OHIO!!!! So,  get yourself comfortable and grab a seat cause you are going to be entertained.

Right now is day 3 of our amazing trip. And so far its been a blast! We laughed , we even made fun of each other. This is how it all started…. We woke up at 5:30 in the morning, (delightful isn’t it ). The reason why we had to wake up extremely early is because we had to bike to our next destination, which was our next camp site. We biked 40 miles! Fantastic right! Wait, it gets better.  I led the whole way which means I could not stop or slow down until we arrived at our stop.

6 hours later….. and ….. we finally arrived!!!!!! When we arrived, it was so hot that we decided to take a dip, so we went to the pool. It was fun….but we only LASTED there for 30 minutes because we heard thunder and the life guards kicked everybody out( RUDE!).  We decided to go back to our new camping site and we played football while the guys cooked……UNTIL …. WE HEARD……more…THUNDER!!! I assumed it wasn’t a big deal, so we continued to play. But the one drop of rain became Niagara Falls with loads of wind. We ran like track stars to the van and stayed there. But there was one problem , RACHEL’S  TENT -___-, ( oh yeah I made the face). Rachel didn’t secure her tent down so  it was flying all over the place, LITERALLY.  Yours truly had to chase the tent with some of the other bikers.  AND RACHEL WAS LAUGHING AND WATCHING….., (EXCUSE ME MISS APPLE, DON’T YOU RECALL , THIS IS YOUR TENT…..)  But I was the BIGGER person and helped with the tent. When we put the tent away we had to get all the tents, because our things were drowning.  We packed everything back into the truck, even the bikes.  So we basically biked 40 miles for NOTHING, yes NOTHING, just for a far away campsite.  We had to leave camp and drive to our next destination, a CHURCH (Hallelujah) because the storm was so bad. (the good thing is that our 60 mile ride for tomorrow is now going to be shorter!)`  When we were driving, there were trees down and a power-line across the road!

Now I’m at this church, typing about our day.  We had a long and tiring day, but the most important thing about this day was spending time with friends , talking about how difficult the day has been, and laughing about it.  Oh yeah, the church had no electricity when we arrived so we had to make dinner by candle-light.  We all sat around the table together and talked about the day, embarrassing moments, movies we like and hate and other things.  Right at the end of dinner, the power came back on! I think overall, the best part of the day was all of us working together to get things done.  I’m SO PROUD.

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Hilliary reflects on Day 1

Hello, my name is Hilliary Frank and I am writing about my experience thus far. To start off this journey, I had to get to Ohio so me and 9 other people took 3 buses to get here. I must say it is very hard and uncomfortable to sit on 3 buses and to sleep when it was extremely cold on the bus and the person that was sitting next to me kept his phone on all night so I heard music and games in the background. What I did though was buy pre-made food and brought juice and water so eating on the buses wasn’t a problem.

When we got off our first bus it was 6 in the morning and everyone was drowsy due to lack of sleep but we kept ourselves occupied by playing card games and telling jokes. After we got off our second bus at 10 we waited till 11 to get on our next bus from Columbus in order to get on the last bus that took us to Cincinnati. When we got there we still had to wait 45 minutes for Rachel and Joaquin to come and get us from the bus stop with the truck.

Once we got on the truck we drove for an hour to Maysville, Kentucky to the local Super 8 motel to sleep for the night. Even though Super 8 is a motel, it felt like the best place to be because it was humid outside and there was no breeze so it was just plain hot.  At about 8, there was a crazy hail storm with giant pieces of ice falling from the clouds. But with all that said, it is important to make the best out of every situation.

Today we went to three locations; each had something to do with the other. First we went to Reverend John Rankin’s house. Rankin was an abolitionist who was taught at a very young age that slavery was wrong so he worked his whole life to free slaves from slavery by hiding some of the slaves in his house.  To get to his house we had to climb an extremely steep hill. At first it seemed like an easy hill to climb but as you went higher up it was harder then it seemed.  I also thought about  how a slave would feel climbing it and I felt more tired and hurt because slaves must have been running for days on no food and they could of also gotten hurt on the way there so it even seemed impossible to me.

When I did make it to the top, it felt amazing because of the view and the fact that a slave was one step closer to becoming a free person. While in the house I saw many things such as an old bible, old piano, and also a list of people who were apart of Rankin’s group that wanted to stop slavery.

The second place we went to was John Parker’s house. I liked this man because of his story of how he obtained freedom. He tried to run away many times but always got caught by people so then he worked to buy his freedom. After he got his freedom he worked hard to go across the Ohio River to get slaves and take them across to Ohio that was a free state at the time. It was also interesting that he eventually became a really wealthy man with 7 kids who all finished college!

The third place we went to today was a museum about the Underground Railroad in Cincinnati. At the place we saw things such as little movies about a person that went with John Parker across the river to Ohio.  Also they had stories about other people and how they tried to escape to freedom such as dressing up as a slave owner or going into a box and shipping themself to the North. What I also liked was that they had things such as songs people would sing to show how they were here to come help escaping slaves and put candles at their windows to show that they were safe places for the slaves.

Tonight we are camping by a river and there are fireworks starting right now! After, we have to have a discussion and I am the discussion leader so I will probably talk about the different places we went to today and see how everyone is feeling about riding in the heat tomorrow.  I am nervous for the long hot days, but we are all having fun and I think it is going to be a great week.

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Isaias

Hi!  My name is Isaias and I’m a 16 year-old student at Bronx Lab School.  I have a couple of hobbies, including basketball and football.  I’m most passionate about cooking though, because I want to be a chef in the future and open my own restaurant.  This is the second time I’ve been on the Ohio trip.  I decided to come once again to challenge myself in riding and try to learn more about the Underground Railroad.

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Erasmo

Hi, my name is Erasmo.  I’m a 17 year-old student at Bronx Lab.  I’m very athletic and love to play sports.  Baseball, football and basketball are my favorite sports.  I like also like to run and ride bikes.  I participated in the cycling program at my school for 3 years and this year I decided to come on the Ohio trip to learn about the Underground Railroad and become more fit.

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Albert

Hello, my name is Albert Garcia.  I am interested in playing sports, especially baseball and basketball.  I am going on the trip to Ohio because I want to learn more about the history of the Underground Railroad and experience new surroundings.  I also want to go because I want to be a healthier person and learn many different things.

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Diana

My name is Diana Marino, and I am very adventurous, loquacious, and energetic. My  hobbies are reading, playing the guitar, and drawing. The reason why I’m going on this trip is because I would like to gain more knowledge about my surroundings as well as the history of the Underground Railroad.

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Alan

Hi, I am Alan, and I love biking.  I like to ride at the front of the group, especially during the first part of a ride.  Later on, I try to conserve my energy so that I don’t feel wiped out by the end of the ride.  When I’m not riding my bike, I like to play basketball.  I’m glad summer is finally here, I’m excited about the biking trip in Ohio.  I can’t wait to ride somewhere outside of New York.  I’m also looking forward to seeing sights and hearing stories about the Underground Railroad.  

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