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.
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).
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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Last night the wife and I were up late watching Christmas movies (OK we actually watched Machete after realizing there nothing good on TV) so this morning would have been a highly appropriate time to sleep in before embarking on our holiday travel to see our families up north. I woke up at 7:15, however, and peeped outside through the blinds. I saw a sight that I haven’t seen in a couple weeks: a dark but promising turquoise sky! I realized that it was the first clear sky morning after a long streak full of overcast skies and wet air. Given that it was a Saturday morning, especially, I hopped on the bike and headed down to UDF for a $1 refill and was on my way.
Given that I had a bit more time this morning I decided to head on down into the valley to check out Lunken Airfield’s bike trail. It’s a spot that I do love visiting, but it’s about a 20 minute bike ride to my favorite bench that looks out over the airfield under the open sky, so with these late 8:00am sunrises it’s a bit difficult for me to make it down there during the week and still have a reasonable expectation of getting to work on time. There was no traffic on the roads this morning, which I found both surprising because I’d expect to see holiday traffic, but also appropriate since most people are on holiday today.
It was quite chilly this morning, with very high humidity and around 27F. The dew point was estimated to be roughly the same as the ambient temperature so I was actually very surprised that there was no fog. By the time I arrived at Lunken Airfield, however, I realized that the sun has drifted rather far to the right. The sun ended up being hidden behind the Little Miami River Levee for the first fifteen minutes after sunrise. I ended up getting in a nice little workout by biking around the five mile loop that surrounds the airfield. It’s a rare treat that I get to shift up higher than second gear in my bike since I tend to ride mostly along the hill sides in Eastern Cincinnati, so the quicker pace was a welcomed change to the morning routine. Although I still had to climb back up the hill to get back to Mt. Lookout!
I arrived at Lunken Airfield about 15 minutes before sunrise. The bright aura of the impending sunrise had already faded, and the sky had lost most of its turquoise shade. This giant tree sits right next to the air strips and is about the same height as all the other trees located on the Eastern side of the airport throughout Reeve’s golf course. I made the realization that this winter I should try to make it to the golf course at least a handful of times because where else are there such magnificent trees that stand by themselves, making the perfect silhouette candidates, than in an old golf course?
The sun is already up but we can’t see it! The highlights of the vapor trails were becoming incredibly bright as the sun popped up over the horizon behind heavily forested the Little Miami River levee.
As I started along the bike trail, I noticed this secret entrance. I imagine the workers of the yard in the background use this to access the trail to get a job in after work. That’s one great thing about winter – the forest reveals many secrets that are hidden during the summer. Soon… very soon I hope to hunt down the ruins of the Mt. Adams Incline (and perhaps the Bellevue Hill Incline as well) that will no doubt be a bit easier to find with the leaves off of the trees.
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My morning coffee spot @ the “auxiliary” area in Alms Park. I didn’t make it all the way up to the top of the hill. It is so quiet here. The perfect spot to study or swing while listening to the planes come in.
This morning was one of those rare days when both the weather and my mood for exploration aligned perfectly. I was anticipating getting up early today all week after watching the forecast closely to see when the weather was expected to break. We’ve had two solid weeks of rainy overcast mornings with only one exception, which was last friday (after Thanksgiving). I was travling to visit family so I wasn’t able to see it! I was so excited for this morning that I woke up a half hour early and started off on the bike while it was still dark and foggy. I’m hoping tomorrow’s sunrise has some surprises for me because the sunset today was truly fantastic – deep blue and teal with purple clouds and orange highlights. We’ll see! I’m also looking forward to doing “find the Christmas Lights” in the fog, but this morning was too early in the month and only a handful of homes had their lights on at 7:15am.
The weather helped support my naive theory that states “overcast and rain followed by clear sky sunrise = fog in mt. lookout”. This morning was no exception! Although I can say that I was a bit disappointed that there was no clear sunrise, I can’t pass up an opportunity to explore in the fog. This morning’s fog was thick, too, one of the thickest so far. I’m getting spoiled with these foggy days! I only had a couple in the spring, almost none in the summer, and now this is like the fifth or sixth one this fall! (you can usually check out the “fog” tag or “foggy” for more foggy posts).
So far I’ve spent foggy sunrises at Alms Park (one of my favorite posts this fall), Lunken Airfield, and Ault Park. This morning when I set out for my twilight ride, I decided that I wanted to go back to my roots and explore some residential pockets that I haven’t visited for awhile. You see, last autumn before Ault Park Sunrise was even an idea, I started my exploration of my local neighborhoods, hills, and parks on my bike. At the time of course I didn’t know I was actually training for Ault Park Sunrise. My first fog explorations was when the neighborhoods were new and unexplored and so I would creep along the No Outlets and see the beautiful homes and landscapes that Cincinnati’s old residential neighborhoods are known (because the homes and plots of land fit snugly into the hillsides so there are lots of creative designs). This morning I wanted to revisit some of these No Outlets in the fog and see what else I could come up with.
As it turns out, the weather this morning was one-of-a-kind. Normally when the fog comes through, it is in both Mt. Lookout AND down in the river basin. OR it is in the river basin alone and not in Mt. Lookout. This morning, however, there was no fog down in the basin so Mt. Lookout was covered in a low-laying cloud layer. I ended up dropping down into the basin to visit Lunken Airfield after realizing that I could get a much needed workout in. The clouds and fog had just broke and the sun was blazing through across the horizon underneath the cloud banks. It was really pretty and surreal because I could look behind me and see the hillside of Mt. Tusculum rising up from the clear streets of Columbia Tusculum and East End to disappear into the thick fog.
Here we go! Be sure to check out the fog crystal macro shots, they’re my favorite 🙂
On the way to Alms Park, I swing down Kroger Ave to check out Kroger Valley. The white fence and street disappear off into the fog. There is a home at the end of this “No Outlet” as well, but we can hardly see it in the fog.
This magnificent Oak first caught my eye in the last Alms Park fog run. That’s the neat thing about fog, it causes different patterns to emerge and make themselves present if you’re paying attention. This oak sits in the lawn of St. Ursula’s Villa.
A bit closer up. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but there is a light aura in the fog just above the horizon where the sunrise is getting ready to make an appearance. This made a perfect backlight for this oak tree’s silhouette.
Same picture as before, but with focus on the ice crystals. A chilly 22F degrees with 96% humidity!! I’ve found that biking in this weather requires a bit of preparation, but a long sleeve shirt and hoodie with insulated running pants does just fine at keeping me warm. (Plus gloves and hat of course!)
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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.
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.
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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.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue. About 12 or so pictures in total. Including a pleasant picture of St. Stephen’s Italianate bell tower. (more…)
This morning I attempted to get up early to see the perseid meteor shower. Amanda and I actually meant to check it out late last night but we fell asleep early! I pulled myself out of bed at 4:50am and rode to Ault Park where I hoped the top of the pavilion would provide a clear view of the northeast sky. A clear view indeed it provided, but unfortunately I only had about a 10 minute window after arriving before the clouds rolled in. In the end I did see a single meteor streak, enough to make it worth it! Next year I’ll try to be better 🙂
I experimented a bit with long exposure times. There was a full moon, mostly hidden by the clouds, but it provided enough light to play around with.
I was surprised at how early the first walkers showed up. There were several cars that rode through the park at around 5:30-6:00am. There was an elderly couple that started walking laps around the pavilion at around 5:45am, a full hour before the sun came up.
The sky looks like it is going to cloud up for the sunrise, so I decide that if I’m not going to get a pretty sunrise I might as well get a Saturday morning workout in. I head down to Lunken Airfield to see what’s going on. The bench on the bike path levee has become one of my favorite sunrise locations.
I ended up meeting a couple fellow cyclists and talking about bike hardware. I found out, again, that there are some damn sexy steel frames that you can get brand new. They have a very similar look to my Fuji’s steel frame. I learned that a steel frame, while heavier, flexes more than an aluminum frame which is why some riders prefer them if carbon isn’t available (or you just don’t want carbon). Apparently a steel frame isn’t quite as jolting when you hit bumps in the road. Interesting!
If I can pull the strings correctly, I may have a treat for sunrise 82. I’m heading back to my hometown of Troy, Ohio and hopefully (weather permitting) I can do a nice little sunrise exploration of the historical landmarks that I grew up around but never fully sought out. There are old canal pieces, welded steel homes, and much more. Hopefully I don’t end up eating my own words!
(Self Plug: “like” Ault Park Sunrise on facebook!)
This morning was an experiment in the appreciation of dawn. I’ve been showing up to the sunrise a few minutes late over the past couple of weeks and I wanted to take the time to take in some of the subtle colors of the atmosphere before the sun comes up. I picked an excellent day to do this because the sky was cloud free and crisp, allowing the pre-sunrise light to accent the clear atmosphere quite well.
At 6:15am I pulled myself out of bed with the intention of catching the sunrise and opening act down at Lunken Airfield. I’ve been a bit lazy lately, allowing myself to snooze from 6:00am when my alarm goes off until 6:35am. With the sunrise being even later, around 6:42am, I have started getting comfortable with sleeping in a bit. Well, not today!
I rode down Mt. Tusculum into East End and arrived at Lunken Airfield at about 6:35am. The sun has crept further to the right along the horizon. Interestingly enough, this means that at Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook, the sun is coming into view without being obstructed by the ridge to the left. At Lunken Airfield the sun has moved from the clear opening on the horizon to behind the ridge to the right. Although, to be fair, there is no bad location down at Lunken Airfield! Due to the sun coming up behind the ridge, “true sunrise” was delayed by about 18 minutes. This gave me a full 20 minutes to enjoy the subtle lighting of the beautiful clear blue sky over Lunken Airfield. I haven’t been this early to a sunrise for a long time, I’m embarrassed to say, so it was a great change up in the routine.
This morning was chilly! Holy crap. I think it was seriously like 55F down in the basin. I could have worn a sweatshirt and been just fine. My ears hurt when I got back home from the cold! The cold air, however, made for a beautiful bright clear sky sunrise. The sunrise was a brilliant bright blue color and the skies were crystal clear, likely a side effect of this cold front. The pinks were almost non-existent, as I’ve come to expect in a sky with no clouds, and the sun came up over the ridge blasting a powerful yellow light.
One of the neat things about this morning’s sunrise was the bird activity. As soon as it became obvious that the sun was going to be coming up in about 5 minutes, the field seemed to explode in airborne activity. At first I could see swarms of bats flying about, likely grabbing a final snack before retiring for the day. There were also swarms of sparrows, swallows, and robins. Oh, and also airplanes. The airport was busy this morning.
A plane takes off into the sunrise. Yesterday morning not a single plane took off from Lunken as I was looking down from Alms Park. And there’s that weird artifact again on the top left of the picture. It must be internal to the lens.
I’ll be honest, I was pretty excited for this morning’s sunrise. After missing the first two mornings this week, and getting a stormy overcast sunrise yesterday, I was ready for a beautiful clear summer sunrise. The forecast last night said no rain with 30% cloud cover. The sky was clear and the clouds didn’t show up until about an hour after sunrise. I made it a point to get up early, explore as much as possible, and build my work commute into the sunrise bike ride to save time.
The sunrise time has crept up to 6:40am, a time that is a full half hour later than the 6:10am sunrise that I came to expect in mid June. My alarm is still set for 6:00am, although recently I’ve been snoozing for about 20 minutes. This morning, however, I decided I was going to make the best of the late sunrise time. I packed up all the things I needed for work (mostly just an extra set of clothes, along with my lunch) and rode out towards Lunken Airfield with the intention of getting down into the basin by sunrise time. By skipping the whole “come home after sunrise” thing, and instead heading straight to work via a bike commute, I had a full two hours to be out before arriving at work by 8:30am. I explored a bit more of the western end of East End, checked out Fuel – the coffee shop on riverside I’ve always been curious about – and managed to slip into traffic just past rush hour to arrive in Silverton, OH with little trouble. It looks like I put in a total of 14 miles today, although it feels more like 6.
I’ve discovered an important thing about cycling. If you keep yourself at about 60% output (rather than 85-95%) you can keep going forever, it feels like, without really getting too winded. I think that is important. There is a movement in cycling culture called “slow riding”, and it usually is alluded to being a kind of European style of cycling. You can see it all over urban landscapes – but is it really new? Either way, it’s new to me. I call it European because the European bike culture in general is much more developed (in more cities, at least) than the average bike culture in the US. Either way, I understand that the average bike that is used for every day commuting in a European city like Amsterdam is often an old heavy comfortable steel bike. Anyway, this whole “slow riding” thing can be experienced by the weekly “Slow Ride Cincinnati” group that meets every Thursday Night at 6:00pm in Hoffner Park. I keep meaning to go but have not made it over there. The whole premise is that the fastest rider should be going as slow as the slowest rider. If someone gets a flat, everyone stops and helps out, etc. The whole philosophy really resonates with me because when I bike, even while commuting, the journey and the terrain, neighborhoods, history, buildings, people, urban design, etc. are all as much apart of the experience as the muscle strengthening workout. In the article I linked previously, the author is surprised to find that he doesn’t lose much time in his commute by traveling slow (usually he meets up with the fast guys at stop lights anyways), but he does arrive at work less sweaty and less tired.
Anyway, on to this morning’s sunrise. I parked it up at my favorite bench located just on top of the bike trail that runs along the levee to the Little Miami River. There were several joggers and bikers out for this sunrise.
I made it to Lunken Airfield just a few minutes after sunrise. The sun was a deep orange color and the sky was clear of clouds except for a few small whisps just above the horizon. There was a distant layer of light fog in the field just before the base of the levee that runs along the Little Miami River.
After a few minutes (and a cup of coffee) I hopped on the bike and headed towards the Ohio River. I wanted to get a picture of the downtown skyline as the sun was coming up over the eastern ridge. There are several vantage points along Riverside Road through East End.
If you’re on the front page, please click to continue. Pictures of East End, the downtown skyline, the Ohio River & Marina, and some deer. (more…)
This morning’s sunrise was non-existent. The sky was blue to the west but a thick layer of fog sat a couple thousand feet above the earth to the east. The ambient light was dark and gloomy, which was peculiar because you could see the moon high above, sitting in the open dark blue sky.
I stopped briefly at Alms Park to check out the situation down in the valley. There was a running group that had just finished up jogging around the Alms Park Loop. The dark foggy mornings up in Alms Park, combined with the high ceiling that the majestic Oak Trees provide, creates a kind of eerie atmosphere. I was hoping that I could use the delayed sunrise to give me enough time to get down to the Lunken Loop before the orange colors came out.
I hopped down Tusculum and rode through East End over to Lunken Airfield. The sky was no different, still gray and dark. I took the chance to ride around the 5 mile loop that surrounds the airfield. This picture taken from my favorite bench, enjoying my second cup of coffee for the day.
The trail was dark and misty. It is made up mostly of long stretches of trail that seemed to disappear into the fog. It was back on this trail, about 5 weeks ago, that I saw two young coyotes jogging in the late afternoon sun. Once they saw me they slipped down under the fence and strolled out onto the airfield. They didn’t seem aggressive in the least, but then again I’m not a young sheep.
An attempt to capture this beautiful young wild flower (Queen Anne’s Lace?). The lighting was dark and I couldn’t hold still long enough so this picture will have to do. (It isn’t particularly bad, but it isn’t as crisp as I’d like it to be)
At the back of the trail there is a small fork in the road. This gate prohibits access to what will soon become the connector that will allow runners and cyclists to access Armleder Park directly from the Lunken Loop! They’re making great progress and I hope they are able to wrap it up by the end of fall. You can tell that this was once something else – maybe an old bike trail from decades ago? Or maybe an access road? If you look at a satellite map you can tell that *something* used to run along this levee, under where Beechmont Avenue is now, and over to the Little Miami River access point in Armleder Park. I dont’ think there were any canal systems on this levee, but there are strange old “gates” that jut out to the right of where I’m standing in the picture. Old wooden and metal structures that you can see in the early spring and late fall when the leaves are gone from the trees. I was told that they, at one time, helped keep the river under control back before they routed the Little Miami River to its current location. I think it used to flow onto Lunken Airfield. A mystery I’m saving for another day.
Off in the distance (looking east now, towards sunrise), we see a small orange highlight. The sun is there, behind all that fog. I’m actually looking out at Reeve’s Golf Course, although you can’t see it behind the patch of prairie bushes in the foreground.
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 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 🙂
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.
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.
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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