My attempt to document 40 sunrises in Eastern Cincinnati. Spring 2011.

east end

Sunrise 160(!!): Ault Park & East End (Featuring Guest Author Jim Coyne, East End Sunrise Loop)

A somewhat abandoned rail line runs along the Ohio River, connecting ancient industrial sites that are now mostly defunct. More than likely this rail line’s destiny is to end up as a bike trail, connecting parts of Eastern Cincinnati for a new kind of traffic. Ironically, this is the same line that would have ran through R.K. LeBlond’s old East End factory to deliver raw parts for his gun lathe machining.

Boats hangin’ out at the Ohio River Launch Club on the river. In the backdrop we see the hills of Eastern Cincinnati across the “Bend in the River”.

In honor of the 160th sunrise (4x the original project goal!) and our newly arrived spring season, I’m proud to say that we have something special today. This morning’s post features a guest writing from a friend. Jim Coyne is a freelance writer and life enthusiast. Jim has several projects he is involved with, including a book schedule for release in 2012 titled Wild Harmony, “That’s what I Believe” podcast, and a blog where he documents his travels and experiences as he explores our relationship between life, experience, and nature.

I asked Jim a few months back if he’s like to write an article (or do a collaboration) relating to Ault Park Sunrise. I hadn’t heard much about it after we originally talked, but then out of the blue on the first day of Spring I received the following written piece from Jim. If it resonates with you be sure to check out Jim’s homepage & podcast (url below).

Title: “Springful Intentions”

Author: Jim Coyne
Homepage: http://www.jimacoyne.com
Podcast: That’s What I Believe iTunes | Homepage

Spring is now. Ideas will be flowing and with the appropriate people, greater action. I wonder if time flies faster during the darker months of winter. We spend too much time indoors and come up with as many rationalizations as possible to stay away from the chilly day. Like the cave people of old, we forget the progression of the sun and fall into a routine of indiscriminate acts. There is less inspiration to be found and less motivation under a roof.

Ken Kesey spoke of the graduation from the acid tests in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I am certain most people misunderstood his intent. Far too many get stuck in their ways, forgetting what works and what does not. What Kesey was really getting at was that we needed to move on from the introspection and live life through the greatest imaginations of past experience. Instead of repeating what others have done or going to the same vacation destination, why not turn 180 degrees and move forward?

Some other people may say such an act is moving backwards. Hardly anything comes from listening to what others are saying. They are not at fault. Do not take it personal. Whenever someone sees another heading toward something which appears out of reach to them, they discourage their movement. Even if it is positive criticism or a warning not to make the mistake others have made, they do all they can to dissuade that person from continuing on a new path. All these conflicting voices lead an individual to desperate confusion. That person then stretches out on the couch and curses all that may have caused the status quo. What use is that? Will a great feeling come from being still? Absolument pas! Get up and go outside immediately. There are no more excuses.

Kesey wanted people to move on from the drug fueled lifestyle. Instead of seeking truth in the mental perturbations that come with lysergic acid diethylamide, realize the present moment and the natural beauty of possibilities. Think of how much is out there that will never be discovered by humans. The dark limitless universe through the blue sky of day on Earth. The tiny molecular cracks in the ground which may hold greater artistic value than any museum painting.

Let the sunrises of each morning spark a creative and thoughtful life. Gaze upon the horizon as it grows in bright hues and spectacular revelation. Accept that you will not be able to witness it all at once. Relax and realize how fortunate you are to be standing amongst such a magnificent feat of the natural world. Take another moment and prepare for the day ahead with a firm grip on what you are doing. Who cares what sounds realistic? Whatever wild thought comes to mind, go with it. Even better, share the idea with another person or at least tell them about the sunrise which spurred the line of thinking. Then act.

Thanks for reading!

This morning’s sunrise was, I’ll admit, quite boring. After missing one of the most vibrant twilight displays (I was 10 minutes too late after setting my alarm incorrectly!) that featured pink and orange bands racing through the eastern sky, I had great hopes for a colorful sunrise. The misty and wet atmosphere created this thick haze that for whatever reason lit up the sky in early twilight but snuffed out the colors as sunrise approached. I realized rather quickly that the sunrise was going to be non-existent, so I set off to explore the lower valley and the Linwood / East End area on the way to Lunken Airfield. Inspired by Jim’s writing and the 160th sunrise post, I found it rather fitting that I would find myself exploring some familiar areas along the quiet streets running through Little Miami & Ohio River valleys.

After an impressive twilight display, the only sunrise colors we got were a small pink highlight. You can see it over there on the left.

Considering the route I am about to embark on, I look out across the valley towards Lunken Airfield. In 20 short minutes I will have descended down into the valley and made it to my destination. You can almost see the bench that sits by the Lunken trail through the dark, warm, and misty atmosphere.

The recent rainstorm has battered the small dogwood blooms in the park. I am finding myself drawn to the dogwood trees this spring. They’re colorful and smell great, and I really like how the tree creates these groupings of flat flowering branches. Rather than bunch up in somewhat of a sphere, the flowers align themselves along a plane parallel to the ground. It’s an aesthetically pleasing effect.

After dropping down into old Linwood, a village that has all but disappeared as an independent entity after slowly being absorbed by the the urban residential expansion of Eastern Cincinnati in the past century, I stopped to ponder once again this Sonada Cigar mosaic. I have explored the history of this mosaic in another sunrise post but still have not gotten to the bottom of it. The mosaic is old, that’s for sure, but even three years ago (before this building’s renovation) Google Street View shows that this mosaic was not present. Where it originally came from, and why it’s now here I have no idea. It’s beautiful though!

It also looks like someone is getting the inside ready for business!

Continuing down Eastern Ave, we come across Double Barrel Brewing Co. This is a brand new brewery that hasn’t opened yet. I can’t wait!

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Sunrise 110: Lunken Airfield (Ohio River Fog, Ides of March?)

Sunrise 110 @ Lunken Airfield

This morning was another foggy sunrise in Cincinnati. I had to make a choice when I got up this morning. I could tell that there were clear skies above me but around the edges of the neighborhood there were patches of fog. I could chance seeing a clear open sky sunrise at Ault Park, or drop down into the Ohio River Valley and visit Lunken Airport in the fog. I haven’t been down to Lunken in a couple weeks so I decided to check it out. As I rode down the 400ft descent past Alms Park, the air slowly became thick with humidity until I reached the basin. When I popped out onto Eastern Ave and pedaled past the late 1800s river town business buildings, schools, and churches, I was soon engulfed in a thick, freezing cold, but quiet fog coming off of the Ohio River. The temperature was about 38F or so and I forgot to put on gloves. My bike had water condensation from the air, and it made my hot coffee that much more enjoyable.

There was no chance at seeing the sunrise this morning, so I enjoyed the fog and the peace and calming that it brings. It’s funny how fog tends to amplify some sounds and muffle others. I could barely hear the traffic or the hum of the commuter planes waiting for the fog to clear up, but I felt like I could hear the gossip of every Canadian Goose from miles around.

The only reason I bring up the “Ides of March?” in the title of this post is because I recently saw the movie Ides of March featuring Ryan Gosling and George Clooney. I’m not much of a political drama kind of guy, but I sure did enjoy recognizing all of the neighborhoods and cubbies that were showcased in the background of the movie that is set in Cincinnati. There is one specific scene where one of the actors (I can’t remember who) is getting on a plane at Lunken Airfield. That scene kept flashing through my head as I stared at the terminal building in all of its art deco glory. I couldn’t find an actual clip from the movie, but if you check out the very brief flash at 47s of the official trailer, you can see Ryan Gosling walking through a gate onto an airplane. For all I know, it’s one of the airplanes I see coming in most mornings from Ault Park. In that scene, the terminal is behind us (and was just shown but the trailer doesn’t have that part) and the Little Miami River and levee is in the background. Just a bit of fun trivia.

Approaching Lunken Airfield is the old railroad that runs through East End. One day this may be a bike trail that connects downtown to Mariemont and beyond.

The parking lot outside Lunken Airfield, servicing the trail head for cyclists, roller bladers, and joggers

Welcome to Cincinnati! This scene is featured in the Ides of March.

Remember earlier when I linked to the video of Ryan Gosling hopping on a plane in Ides of March? This is the gate that he is walking through.

The “yard” of Lunken Airfield.

This is the small access road that runs along the airfield, disappearing into the fog.

A lone walker, stern in his dedication to his pedestrian ways, walks into the fog.

Sometimes the fog creeps me out. If I were some kind of large creature of the night, I would definitely feel a bit more comfortable creepin’ around in the dense fog.

On the way back home I pass by St. Stephen’s Church. I’ve tried on several occasions to take a decent picture of the steeple but the sky is always bleached out. The fog provides a nice soft backdrop. It’s a classic italianette style, something that you can see all over this area in the architecture of the buildings that were constructed during the late 1800s.

By the time I got back to Mt. Lookout Square, the fog had actually crept in from the valley and it was denser than when I left a half hour earlier. It isn’t often that the fog makes it this far inland.

This is the steeple of Our Lord Christ the King Catholic Perish & School on Linwood Ave. It’s positioned well so you can see it anywhere on Linwood Ave or in Mt. Lookout Square. Here we see it catching the first rays of sunlight that are penetrating the fog.

Tall & Skinny Jesus says “Peace, dude”. The 15 cars that were waiting at the traffic light ten feet away were probably wondering what I was up to. Or they didn’t notice at all.

Continuing up Linwood toward Ault & Alms Park, I couldn’t help but taking this final picture. I was hoping that tree to the left showed brighter. It is just blazing in red color. I need to find out what kind of tree it is.


Sunrise 103: Sawyer Point & Downtown Cincinnati (Sunrise Skyline, Riverboats, Kayaks)

As the atmosphere takes on a distinct shade of yellow, I arrive at the eastern edge of Sawyer Point coming into downtown Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Skyline at Sunrise

Rowers heading up the Licking River and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge in the distance

A sailboat and the Reds Stadium. Featuring Carew Tower and the Great American building.

This morning’s update is a doozie! This is actually yesterday’s sunrise but I got carried away on such a pretty day and took way too many pictures. I didn’t have time to finish the processing yesterday, so it’s coming at you a day later. I retraced much of the route I took during Sunrise 9 in April. Has it really been 6 months?

I woke up Sunday morning with only 5 hours of sleep under my belt. We were out late for a friend’s birthday party the night before but I had already made up my mind that I was going to take advantage of this amazing October weather. I originally set my alarm for 6am, which was way too early considering sunrise was 7:41am, and accidentally slept for another hour. It worked out perfectly and I was thankful for the late sunrise time. I was out the door with my bike and coffee by 7:00am, armed with the goal of seeing the sunrise over the Ohio River in Downtown Cincinnati. I ended up being swept up in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer run/walk where over 12,000 people came out in the 15th annual event. The walk provided a rich texture to the acoustic backdrop to my four hour morning exploration of Sawyer Point and Newport, Kentucky because the speaker system could be heard anywhere along the banks of the Ohio River. I ended up hanging out in General James Taylor park in Newport, Kentucky, a park that until now I had no idea existed. With nothing but water and open air between myself and the headquarters of the walk about half a mile away or more, I listened as the walker told their survival stories, did the electric slide, and got themselves pumped up. The timing of my morning ride couldn’t have been more ideal because by the time I got to Sawyer Point, the first of the crowd was already starting to show up. I ended up getting stranded in Kentucky for about an hour as I waded, slowly and patiently, back to Ohio on the Purple People Eater Bridge through the torrent of thousands of pink-clad people. I actually found it kind of hilarious because I never considered how dependent I was on the only pedestrian bridge that links Newport and Sawyer Point!

While hanging out at General James Taylor Park in Newport, Kentucky on the banks of the Ohio River, I was greeted with the breathtaking view of the Cincinnati Skyline at sunrise. And a beautiful sunrise it was. I had known that I wouldn’t have an excellent view of the eastern sky so I had planned to wander around looking for a strategic spot to drink my coffee and enjoy the crisp and clear autumn sunrise. While chillin’ at the park, I saw a team of rowers practicing on the river, observed the local fishermen and watched a barge barrel down the river and do some impressive maneuvers as it banked into the Ohio River. The BB Riverboat also made an appearance and there was even a small sailboat that moved gracefully throughout my panoramic view of the skyline.

I’ve always loved the Cincinnati Skyline but Sunrise 103 really helped to solidify that feeling for me. I’ll go on record as saying that of the cities I’ve visited in my relatively inexperienced travel ventures, Cincinnati’s Downtown Skyline has to be one of the most beautiful skylines in the country, if not the world. Every city’s skyline is unique and beautiful in it’s own right, of course, but I feel like Cincinnati’s has the perfect combination of several properties.

For one, it’s relatively small. You can “see” the entire skyline without having to pan around. I can take it all in with a single view.

Second, What’s a skyline without a proper view? The view from the Kentucky side banks of the Ohio River is seriously amazing. The river and air is open and the banks in Kentucky are not overdeveloped by any stretch, providing easy access for anyone wanting to take it in.

Third, the architecture really tells a story, although I imagine this is common with many cities. You’ve got several remnants from “Old Cincinnati”, the late 1800s boomtown that was rivaling Manhatten with it’s urban density. The PNC building and Carew Tower (which was used as a model for the Empire State Building) rise to the western edge of the skyline. As I gaze at the buildings, I can imagine what a magnificent sight this must have been in the early 1900s. It isn’t too hard to ignore the Great American Insurance building (for now). The ending animation (35seconds forward) of the evolution of the New York Skyline in the movie Gangs of New York really made me aware of how the skyline of a city can tell historic story. I also like that we can see both the Bengal’s and Red’s stadiums as well as the US Bank Arena. There is the new Great American Insurance building, a shining example of modern architecture. A quick side note on the GAI building though. I like to think of the GAI as a young punk business executive. On one hand, it stole the “tallest building” title from Carew Tower, which held it for over 70 years. That’s OK though, progress marches on. It’s a beautiful building! It just makes me a bit nostalgic because I have a special place in my heart for Carew Tower and it’s legacy. They did pay respect, however, in the form of keeping Carew Tower at a higher elevation as to not upset the balance of the skyline. Yesterday morning, however, I realized something else! Something that I probably wouldn’t have thought about except through the contextual lens of this project. The Great American Insurance Building is aligned perfectly in such a way as to entirely block out Carew Tower from getting a view of the sunrise! I watched in a partial trance as the shadow of the GAI’s tiara moved from the top of Carew Tower down to the bottom. I’m being a bit dramatic, of course, but that doesn’t stop me from envisioning a quirky anthromorpized prime time sitcom featuring all of the buildings in Cincinnati’s Skyline living together in a small London flat and the tension between Carew and Great American being thick enough to cut with a knife. Now that I think about it, maybe I spent a bit too much time staring at the skyline… 🙂

As it turns out, the James Taylor park in Newport Kentucky is a memorial to a defensive battery that protected Cincinnati from the “Indian Wars” in the early 1800s, and later provided the final defense against an approaching Confederate Army during the Civil War. Whenever I find out about pieces of trivia such a this, I always think about the classic well-deserved nickname for Cincinnati: “The Gateway to the South”.

Some of these pictures are a bit redundant. The lighting was so accommodating and there was a lot going on. I am just throwing them all up on here, as usual, and letting the reader figure out which pictures they like the most (if any!).

When I left, the sky was dark but showing a hint of light. Looking East down Columbia Parkway in East End.

A blurry view down the Ohio River of the Cincinnati Skyline. I’m always so impressed with how much distance I can cover so easily on my bike.

The unfolding of a sunrise in a clear sunrise takes about 40 minutes. This morning was no different! The 25 minute ride to downtown was far from dull! I felt like I was racing the sun to Sawyer Point.

Another blurry view across the bend in the river.

I always get a full look at this building. Cincinnati Water Works, constructed in 1907. I finally ran into someone whose father works for the city. It turns out that the building is very much used today, but the stone wall that runs around the perimeter was built for “homeland security reasons”. Damn it. It’s so ugly.

Behind me, the atmosphere has started to show some signs of red. Better hurry along now!

St. Rose Church on Eastern Ave. If that clock is right, I’ve got 15 minutes to spare.

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Sunrise 93: Ault Park & Lunken Airfield (Sunrise Resurrection, B-17 “Aluminum Overcast” Bomber)

Sunrise 93, you pretty thang.

The “Aluminum Overcast” B-17 bomber! For $400, you can take her for a ride. She flew in from Wisconsin to help Lunken Airfield celebrate their Lunken Days.

In the arboretum, someone left a small glass container. I really like this picture.

I’ve never seen a plant that has a fruit hanging out of the flower like this. Weird?

After what has felt like a season of hibernation, even though it’s only been about a week, I was finally *blessed* with both a beautiful sunrise AND a free Sunday morning to enjoy it. The left overs from Hurricane Irene have cleared up and are now history. The forecast originally put clear skies with “fog” for tomorrow morning, but I wanted to test my luck and see if I could catch a break a day early. As it turned out, luck was on my side and the sunrise came through with a deep moisture-induced pink. I ended up taking my time and riding through the East End Loop down to Lunken Airfield and back. This weekend is Lunken Airport’s “Lunken Days” featuring the “Aluminum Overcast” B-17 bomber, one of only 10 in the country that are still flying today. As anyone in the midwest will tell you, we ended up with a beautiful late summer day.

These first two pictures were taken in the neighborhoods of Mt. Lookout on the way to Ault Park. I am trying to convey the degree of incline that these roads have, something that I didn’t notice (very thoroughly) until I started biking them.

We can see the road drop off about 60 yards away. A worthy climb indeed. I always catch this hill at the beginning of the ride so it always seems worse than it really is.

Heading into Ault Park! At this point I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a sunrise at all. I got excited when I saw the colors over the hill, to say the least.

I arrived at the overlook just as the sun was cresting. The humidity and light fog in the air made the scattering light a deep pink color. This is a pretty unique sunrise for the summer season. I haven’t seen many deep pink hazy sunrises since the spring, and this spring was full of them.

Heekin Overlook against the early sunrise.

Steel Frame Sunrise.

I love the color gradient in this picture. Taken from the lower overlook, I think.

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Sunrise 84: Ault Park & Lunken Airfield (Macro Dew, Cool Summer Morning)

This is becoming my favorite spot to take bike pictures. The raised levee provides a nice open view to the sky.

Dew Sunrise

Today was another beautifully cool summer morning in Cincinnati. The temperature was brisk, lower 60s at the highest. I cruised on into Ault Park just before sunrise to get a shot of the dawn sky, and upon seeing the fog down in the valley, decided to drop down to Lunken Airfield for a nice 10 mile ride. Got some great pictures of the sunrise over the foggy lunken airfield, as well as some macro picture of the morning dew.

Morning Dawn at Ault Park looking over the Little Miami River Valley

Considering the drop down into Armleder Park. Instead I opted to head down to Lunken Airfield.

I made it just in time. The sun had just started coming up over the ridge. There were patches of thick fog but the bike path was mostly clear!

There was a small patch of clouds just above the horizon. Other than that it was another clear summer sky!

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Sunrise 62: Alms Park (To Lunken and Back, Some Thoughts on East End)

Close-up of the morning sunrise over Lunken Airfield from my favorite bench on the 5-mile bike path.

On my approach back up the impossibly steep Stanley Rd, the large cumulus looms in the background. Also gives you an idea of the steepness of Mt. Tusculum, a climb I have to make every time I visit Lunken Airfield!

The trusty steed and the wife’s helmet 🙂

This morning was a scorcher! It was one of the few mornings where I actually felt like I had jumped into a pool by the time I got home from the ride. Part of it certainly had to do with the fact that I had thick basketball shorts on with a cotton t-shirt, but typically it doesn’t feel like walking out into a sauna!

I rode up to Alms Park again, today. I was feeling pretty good and wanted to climb the Alms Hill once more. This morning’s sky was an interesting one because it felt overcast but also had spots of clear skies. I noticed that the sunrise was hidden behind a bank of clouds but at the same time it looked like I had blue skies above me. I also was wondering why there wasn’t any fog around as I would have expected with this morning’s dew point being only 2 degrees away from the ambient temperature. But I think I figured it out!

Looking out at Lunken Airfield. East End is to the right down below the hill.

We’ve had some storm runs through the state, particularly up north. About 80 miles north of us, through Dayton and Columbus Ohio, there were some serious pressure systems that moved through the area. I imagine this changed the pressure of the entire region. With my non-existent weather theory experience, I’d like to think that the pressure prior to the storms was high enough to “press” the fog down into the bottom regions of the valley. Now that the pressure systems have done their thing, the fog is actually a few thousand feet up above Alms Park. And that would make sense, right? If everywhere except for the sky directly above me looked gray and hazy, it would appear that there was indeed fog – it was just way up above me :).

A beautiful white flower fights for room among the native vines. I think the vines are from the old vineyards that have gone feral. They’re not breeding for space not for grapes. By early fall the hillside will be a vine blanket.

With the sunrise being on the weak side, and the sky still dark 10 minutes after sunrise, I decided to hop down to Lunken Airfield via Columbia. As it turns out, the weather changed it up a bit and the sky cleared out. By the time I was at Lunken, about half an hour after sunrise, the sun was able to break through some of the larger cumulus clouds that rose out of the horizon. Nothing too impressive, but any color beats an overcast sky :).

Down at Lunken Airfield the clouds break for a few minutes. Still pretty dark out considering it’s close to 7am.

One thing that I find interesting is how much I am enjoying riding through the old neighborhoods in the river basin (map). Every single time I ride through Columbia/Tusculum, East End, and Linwood I find something new. East End is actually pretty big relative to the small sections that are technically Columbia-Tusculum (and even smaller, Linwood). There are so many old buildings that have been re-purposed or sit empty. It is such a fascinating example of three small towns that at one time had their own economy and dense populations, but have since simply turned into quiet residential areas. Some parts lay in abandonment, others are well kept and lush with gardens. I believe it is of critical importance to think about how the construction of Columbia Parkway, the large 4-lane through-way that runs from Downtown Cincinnati to Mariemont and beyond (through East End, Columbia, and Linwood). Now-a-days most of the traffic through this area are local residents trying to get up to Columbia Parkway. The side effect is that River Road provides an excellent bike route to Downtown Cincinnati.

Most young people (transplants) that I know who live in Mt. Lookout and the area have never been through historic East End. But why should they? There are very few businesses other than the bars and restaurants that sit in the small region at the intersection of Delta and Columbia Parkway. The only reason I have explored East End, Columbia, and Linwood is because it is a great place for a quiet bike ride outside of rush hour.

The thing that this really makes me think about, in general, is just how influential the automobile is in the shaping of urban centers. Here’s the thing. I get the impression that the Columbia area and Linwood at one time, maybe fifty years ago, was a shining example of a healthy urban area. The fact that the old Italianate Cincinnati Public Library is located on Eastern Ave is enough to allude to the local culture that at one time supported a healthy art district. Now-a-days the library sits empty. In fact I only know it used to be a library because of the architecture and by talking to local residents. It is well kept and looks beautiful, but I believe it is mostly used as a venue for weddings. There are several schools in the district, one of which is already sitting empty. These structures all date back to sometime in the early part of the last century.

I am continually interested in thinking about the potential future of the area once the Little Miami Bike Path gets connected through to Downtown. In the future of my fantasy world, East End will go through a revitalization that is only possible through the very reason that the businesses left in the first place. Low volume automobile traffic. If Eastern Cincinnati’s young population (and bike culture) continue to grow as they have been in the past few years, I hope a critical threshold will be reached. If there is any place in Cincinnati to settle a “cycling neighborhood” outside of the urban core in Downtown, I think it would be in East End. There seems to be plenty of space (for now), lots of old business buildings, river view, access to many places by bike (Ault & Alms Park, Lunken Airfield Loop, Armleder Park Loop, Northern Kentucky, and Downtown) and history. Oh, by the way, in this fantasy world I’ll be running Eastern Cincinnati’s first brewery (based heavily on bike and urban culture with access to the bike trail) in one of the turn-of-the-century Italianate commercial buildings. I’m calling it now, Dibs!

It’s like a little forgotten section of Eastern Cincinnati. But then again, so many small villages inside the 275 loop have suffered the same fate. At least so many areas in Columbia, Linwood, and East End seem to have a healthy sense of community. There are many run down buildings but only a handful seem to be outright abandoned. I hope no East End residents take offense at my “outsider looking in” perspective.

Today I found the old “East End Bank Building” sitting next to another building that actually had a name. Something like the “Fredrick” or “Douglas” building. Not sure. No pictures, I’ll save it for a more thorough exploration of the area. Both likely from the turn of the century. I’ve rode past them dozens of times now and never noticed them.

Weather changes quickly around here.

Behind me the sky is blue. Large cumulus clouds rise up on the western horizon.


Sunrise 53: Ault Park & Lunken #3 (Pink Dawn & Airplanes)

A plane prepares to land at Lunken Airfield down below.

Sunrise over the Airplanes @ Lunken Playfield (Full Circle!)

When I left the apartment this morning to head up to Ault Park I could tell it was going to be a good morning. My legs were feeling strong, the sky was starting to light up with a purple hue, and the air was brisk and comfortable. I actually wore a light sweatshirt this morning to fend off the 55F temperature. After the heat streak of last week (we were up around 95F) this cooler temperature is greatly appreciated.

The sun has just started to crest behind the trees

The Pink Dawn Sky

The dawn sky took on a pinkish hue that peaked just as the sun crested over the horizon. The sunrise was a quick one. It seemed as though the “climax” was just after sunrise, within about 10 minutes. The few minutes leading up to the actual sunrise were marked with bright skies and deep purple atmosphere. On mornings like this you want to get up 20 minutes earlier and catch the sunrise from both ends. I’m not sure how to predict ahead of time what kind of sunrise you’re going to get, but if you want to be sure just show up early 🙂

Armleder Park – Look ma, no fog!

A vertical shot capturing the color of the upper atmosphere

Believe it or not, the sunrise colors had faded by 6:20am to a light mix of yellow, orange, and pink. I was impressed with the dramatic display of colors so soon after sunrise time and decided to try my luck down at Lunken Airfield, doing the same loop (via Eastern Ave) that I mapped out yesterday. We’ll call this “Lunken #3” – a pattern I hope to keep up.

Looking out at Heekin Overlook

At 6:24am, about 12 minutes after sunrise, I took off from the overlook to knock out the third run of the so-called ‘Eastern Lunken Loop’. I didn’t know if I was going to do the entire loop (heading all the way down to the Ohio River Launch Club on the Ohio River) but I was curious how quickly I could get to Lunken from Alms Park without stopping, and how much time it would take to get back to Mt. Lookout Square.

Lunken Sunrise

I arrived at Lunken Airfield at 6:35am. The trip from Heekin Overlook to Lunken Airfield was uninterrupted as I ignored my own advice from yesterday and didn’t stop to take a picture of Linwood Public School.

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Sunrise 52: Ault Park (Lunken Loop #2: Marina, Barges, Airplanes)

A shot through the trees and the billowing smoke.

Perhaps my favorite sunrise picture of the morning. The airplane, having just taken off from Lunken Airfield, heading off into the sunrise.

Up the East/West runway down at Lunken Airfield. Not a single plane took off while I was there.

Looking up river around the bend. There goes the barge.

This morning’s sunrise was a bright one. It was one of the classic spring mornings where the fog is thick across the valley and the sky is mostly clear. I got up a bit late so I arrived at Heekin Overlook just as the sun was coming up. As I’ve mentioned previously I don’t actually have a direct view of the sunrise any more from Ault Park, due to how far to the left the sun has moved as we approach Summer Solstice. After June 21 the sun will revert back along the path to the east, eventually aligning once more with the Ault Park Pavilion. It is possible now that I think about it that the Pavilion might be aligned with the Winter Solstice (December 20-21), as that would be a point when the sun would be much further to the right (looking out at the Little Miami River Valley). I’ll have to make a mental note of that.

I unfortunately won’t be in Cincinnati during the summer solstice. Amanda and I are taking a trip out west through San Fransisco and Sacramento California. I hope to get some sunrise pictures (depending on our schedule and where we’re at) along the way. I *definitely* intend to get a sunrise for Summer Solstice but I’ll have to wait until next week to find a vantage point.

This morning would have been a great time to be at the Overlook 20 minutes before the sunrise. The haze was doing two main things to the sun light. First, it was scattering the rays throughout the sky, causing the twilight atmosphere to light up substantially prior to the sunrise. The second thing was that it was also blocking most of the orange / yellow light, so the early morning sky had a bright pink / purple-ish tint to it.

Ault Park

I spent the first 20 minutes after sunrise in Ault Park. After watching the sun come up, and peering down into the valley at the thick foggy layer, I decided that I wanted to try out, for the second time, the new route that I “created” that takes me from Heekin Overlook to Lunken Airfield to the “Marina” to Alms Park and back to Mt. Lookout. I was feeling up to task of knocking out the 9 mile loop in under an hour. I am considering adding this route to the daily (or psuedo-daily) morning ritual. I think it would be neat to start at Ault Park, do the loop, and take pictures at the same landmarks along the way. It would be an extension to the existing Ault Park Sunrise project. The landmarks along the way would be:

  • Ault Park – Heekin Overlook
  • Linwood Public School – at the base of the hill under Ault Park
  • Lunken Airfield – the bench looking out at the sunrise over the airfield
  • Wilmer / Carrel Trail – the railroad art monument
  • The Ohio River Launch Club – the marina out on the Ohio River
  • Alms Park – Lunken Airfield Overlook

There are many other smaller, or auxiliary, landmarks along the way. Cemeteries, churches, the airport terminal, historic  homes and old industry. In fact it would be neat to make an Android or iPhone App that provided drop-dead simple ways to “check in” and upload a picture at each landmark. A kind of collaborative urban cycling picture project. There is enough diversity along the route, and it is relatively quick with low traffic, that I think a lot of people would enjoy riding it. Here’s a map of the route: Ault Park -> Lunken Airfield -> Ohio River Launch Club -> Alms Park

Speaking of bike routes, yesterday marked a new achievement for me. I biked to the University of Cincinnati’s Campus from Mt. Lookout. Google Maps provided me with a route that skipped most of the major roads and was almost entirely urban residential. It was an awesome, if not exhausting, experience. I’ve mapped the route (one-way) on mapmyrun. Mt. Lookout to the University of Cincinnati via Fairfax/Lincoln Ave. The way to campus took about 35 minutes and was, to my surprise, almost entirely uphill. The ride back, however, was fun and more than made up for any discomfort from the ride in the opposite direction. Almost entirely downhill (slight grade mostly), I was able to get home in about 20 minutes and for the most part maintain a decent speed on par with the light traffic. The traffic was almost non-existant in the morning when I left, and on the way back (around 4:30pm) there was moderate traffic but because 80% of the route is through residential areas, traffic was mostly at a minimum.

On the the sunrise.

Morning “Dawn”

The smoke / fog over on the left was obscuring the sun.


If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Linwood Public + Lunken + Marina —-> (more…)


Sunrise 46: Ault Park & East End (LeBlond’s Eastern Ave Factory, Lunken Terminal, Revolutionary War Cemetery)

Sunrise @ Lunken!

Post-Industrial Rail Art

LeBlond’s Eastern Factory’s Rail Yard

I wasn’t able to get out on the bike over the weekend so this morning was a bit stiff. It is always interesting how much I feel the difference in my legs after a couple of days of not riding. There was a patchy haze in the air as I pedaled up to the overlook. The park was hopping this morning with joggers and dog walkers. I must have passed 6 pairs of people by the time I reached Heekin overlook. The temperature was a cool 60F and it felt wonderful. Unfortunately there was a thick fog over the valley that obscured the morning sunrise. Seeing as how I hadn’t any miles on the bike since Friday I decided to try out a new route that is inspired by my recent trips down to Lunken Airfield from Alms Park.

So much fog.

Looking out at Lunken Airfield to the west, where I’m soon to visit.

A bit of orange in the hazy sky.

Best sunrise I could get at the overlook.

Classic Overlook with lots of fog.

A couple weeks ago, when I hopped down to Armleder Park for the foggy sunrise, I discovered that there was easy access to Eastern Avenue down below Ault Park. I believe Eastern Ave from Ault Park to Lunken Airfield is the only road that in the area I haven’t explored by now. I typically make it to Lunken only after passing by Alms Park so I was excited to check it out.

As it turned out, I had a great morning ride. I got some pictures of Lunken Terminal Lobby, found LeBlond’s original factory on Eastern, discovered an old pioneer cemetery (that is different from the other pioneer cemetery in Columbia Tusculum), documented some of the old rail structures that are being preserved as part of the Ohio River trail, and took plenty of foggy pictures. The route I did today for the first time might be my new favorite “easy” ride. It hits on almost every major theme in the area. Here’s a map of the route, that covers:

  • Ault Park and residential neighborhood
  • Down past Crusade Castle to Linwood
  • Past Linwood Public School and all the late-1800s churches
  • LeBlond’s old factory, rail yard, and abandoned industry
  • Lunken Airfield & Columbia’s Pioneer Cemetary. Accessible to the 5-mile bike trail around Lunken
  • Carrel / Wilmer bike path past the Revolutionary War cemetery.
  • Through East End, including the business district and historic houses
  • To the Ohio River Launch Club / river access
  • Up through Columbia Tusculum historic district
  • Alms Park is at the top of the hill, hit it or continue past.
  • Back through the old residential area to Mt. Lookout Square.

Leaving Ault Park.

I headed down the hill past Crusade Castle. I hoped to make it to Lunken Airfield and explore some of the “old” East End / Linwood. The humidity was so thick in parts that I felt like someone was spraying me with a bottle of water. Not bad at all.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue —-> (more…)


Sunrise 43: Alms & Anderson Park (Marina & Ohio River, Baby Snapping Turtle (aww!), Downtown Skyline, and the Meridian)

Official sunrise of Sunrise 43 @ Alms Park

Looking up the river from the Ohio River Launch Club

Of course I have to get some pictures of the bike! Wide screen version

Today was one of those days where the combination of a beautiful sunrise, temperate spring air, and being well rested results in a longer morning ride than usual. All in all I didn’t take that much longer than a typical morning ride, but I covered more grounds and explored Anderson Park – a location that is making its debut in the project today. If you’re on the front page you might as well skip to the bottom and click “more” to see the entire post because there are some great pictures in this set that won’t all make the cut to be displayed on homepage.

I left my apartment this morning with the feeling of wanderlust. With the scorching heat of the past few days, it was downright refreshing to be out in the cool morning air. During the past few sunrises I noticed that the sun was creeping far to the left of the overlook and the first rays of light after the sun crests over the horizon are obscured by trees. I believe this won’t get any better until the second week of June (holy crap thats coming up) when the sunrise time bottoms out at 6:11am for several days. I imagine that the sun will maintain its position until the sunrise time starts to advance further in the morning. Until that time, however, I have to wait a bit to get a good “head-on” picture of the sun in the morning sky. Knowing this, I made a quick decision to ditch the left hand turn that would take me to Ault Park and instead took the right hand turn to Alms Park. I found out a few days ago that Alms Park has a more unobstructed view of these left sunrises. The idea of going to Alms Park – while more difficult both because it is a longer distance and has several steep climbs – seemed to resonate with me now that the officially 40 days of Ault Park have been accomplished. These “post-40” days are about exploring the future direction of the sunrise project. So off to Alms Park I go!

Sunrise through the giant oaks, my favorite trees in the park.

The ride to Alms Park is, like Ault Park, almost entirely uphill. But where the climb to Ault Park is mostly at a slight incline with a bit of a steeper section at the park entrance, the journey to Alms Park is more dynamic. It consists of several respectable climbs that flatten out for a bit. By the time you reach the base of the hill that St. Ursula’s Villa sits atop, you’re actually almost at the elevation that Alms Park sits at. It is at this point that the road takes a steep dive down through the forested residential hill for several hundred yards. The entrance to Alms Park sits at the base of this dive at which point you have to climb up the steepest part of the trip – an excruciating but worthy workout. Alms Park really makes you work for it.

The sun cresting over the eastern valley

A close-up over Reeve’s Golf Course

The trees down below are a part of the golf course which butts up against the airport.

The overlook. You can see this bench from the Lunken Trail. If you’re on the front page, click “More” to continue! –> (more…)