There are walls of trees in western Ohio. The trees are huge and imposing, towering over the corn and wheat fields. At first, I thought they were along rivers or creeks, but I didn’t cross any water as I passed through the trees. They may be windbreaks, but they were about a quarter mile wide, which seems a bit excessive if that was their only purpose.
I passed a driveway to a farm that had two signs attached to the mailbox post. The first said, “Warning: Deadly Force Authorized Beyond This Point.” The second had a drawing of the barrel of a shotgun and said, “You will be shot; No Trespassing.” The farmhouse and the grounds it was on were well maintained and brightly painted. As I approached the driveway, a man in his 30’s driving a newer car pulled out of the driveway and waived at me as he drove by. For the next several miles, I wondered about the mentality that would cause someone to post those signs. The signs are extremely anti-social. It seemed out of place for a farm in Ohio. It looked more like something posted by someone living off the grid in the mountains of Montana. Have we become a society that values property over human life? If so, can we really say we are civilized? Surely Ohio law would not permit someone to shoot someone else simply for trespassing. Is trespassing such a big issue in Ohio that people have to take extreme action to prevent it? What must it be like to live with the constant fear that everyone you don’t know is trying to harm you and your family or steal your property? That would be debilitating. I have lived in some shady neighborhoods in Kansas City and Brooklyn and not once did I think I needed a deadly weapon to protect myself. I can’t imagine living like that. Then again, it could just be a political statement.
Crossing into Indiana, it really started to sink in that I am actually doing this; I am crossing the country on my bicycle. Slowly but surely I get a little further each day. It is pretty amazing to think about. It is such a huge country, and I am getting across on my own power.