A couple from Calgary, Canada was in Maysville this week as a part of their ride across the Underground Railroad trail.
Heather Wicksted and Matthew Daw recently retired from their jobs, rented out their house and decided to leave home in order to travel. Their first adventure included a cycling tour on the Underground Railroad trail from Alabama to Owenstown in the Ontario, Canada province.
The couple was planning to pass through Maysville on Tuesday, on their way to Cincinnati, but a flat tire near Comprehend stopped them.
“It’s our first flat of our journey,” Wicksted said.
According to Wicksted and Daw, the trail they have been following since April 10 was mapped out by the Adventure Cycling Association using roads not heavily traveled, starting in Mobile, Ala. and continuing for about 2,100 miles.
Their trip began with a drive to Alabama from Calgary in a beat-up vehicle they sold once arriving in Alabama.
“We owned this really old car that we were almost certain wouldn’t make the trip,” Daw said. “But, we made it to Alabama in the car and sold it before starting our journey.”
“Almost everything we own is on our bikes,” Wicksted said. “With the exception of a few things my mother is keeping for us.”
The couple said they chose to bike the trail because of the historical importance.
“We really wanted to learn more about the history. started in Mobile, because the last slave ship arrived there and Owenstown had numerous escaped slaves who went there,” Daw said. “It’s been fascinating. We’ve met so many amazing people and we’ve learned a lot on the ride.”
According to Wicksted, once they reached the Land Between the Lakes in Western Kentucky, they began following the Ohio River.
“We’ve been along the Ohio River for quite a bit,” Daw said. “We unfortunately leave Kentucky (Tuesday) and head into Ohio. From Cincinnati, we cut up to Lake Erie.”
“I think there are two or three more steps to wind our way through before we reach Niagara Falls,” Daw said. “Then we’ll wind our way through Canada.”
The couple said they hope to make it to Canada by the end of June, but they are not in a hurry to get there.
“It depends on how many wonderful people we meet on our way,” Wicksted said. “We’ve had a lot of adventures and we’ll stop for things we’ve never seen.”
“We stopped for an air show, which I’ve never seen,” Daw said. “If we make into Cincinnati in time, we would like to see a Reds game. Baseball is the American past time and we’d like to experience it. We’re just about whatever adventure crops out.”
According to Daw and Wicksted, they have been camping for most of their journey, with the exception of a few times when they rented a hotel room to escape bad weather.
“If the weather is really bad, we might rent a hotel room to get out of the rain and get cleaned up,” Daw said.
According to the couple, some of the best moments of their journey have been the people they have met along the way.
“We’ve met so many wonderful people,” she said. “We get a lot of American news in Calgary, so you see a lot of the things going on — but we’ve only experience welcoming and hospitable people. It’s been a fantastic few weeks. We’ve had people invite us into their home to nap, feed us or sit on the porch and drink a Pepsi. The people in the states talk a little funny to us and the tea is a little sweet, but we love it.”
Wicksted said this trip is the first time the two have been on a bike tour.
“We love to travel, so we decided to do this bike tour to start out,” she said. “We’re planning on a canoeing trip this summer. It feels good, after sitting at a desk, to be out and moving my body.”
Wicksted and Daw said the trip has just reaffirmed the kindness of people for them.
“It’s reaffirmed how wonderful people are,” she said. “People have gone out of their way to help us. We’ve learned to just live slow and be thankful for what we have. It’s been a journey and we’re looking forward to the adventures we’ll see on the rest of it.”