Canoe Commuters: On The Banks Of The Ohio

John Cline: Canoe Commuter

Down beside where the waters flow…
On the banks of the Ohio 

The Madison-Milton bridge which has stood for 80+ years is currently closed for five days(beginning at 12:10 am Wednesday April 25th)so that the existing approach ramps on both sides can be demolished and the new,temporary,ramps may be attached.

The closure has forced those on each side of the Ohio River to drive well out of their way to travel between the two cities that the bridge is named for.

A drive that previously lasted perhaps all of 5 minutes now takes no less than an hour for those crossing at Markland Dam (and at least two hours if they were to drive to Louisville or Jeffersonville to cross).

This extended driving time, coupled with the already high,and still rising,gas prices has inspired some area residents to commute,at least part of their way, to work via boat.

I was able to speak with a few of those hearty souls who have chosen this means of getting themselves to and from Madison and Milton.

John Cline is one of those souls.

Mr. Cline, father of nine children and a Milton,Kentucky resident,stated that he was facing a 3hr drive each morning in order to get to his job in North Vernon until he decided to canoe across the river instead.

 Mr.Cline leaves his vehicle at the Milton Wesleyan Church. From the church he,and his eldest son,then paddle across the river to the landing at the base of Ferry Street where they part ways,with father walking up Ferry to Pilgrim Holiness Church. He then picks up his parents’ vehicle and continues on to work while his son turns around and paddles back to Kentucky, returning later in order to bring his father home.

The Hudson family making their return trip to Milton,KY

The Hudson family has also chosen to take to the river to get to their respective places of work and school here on the Indiana side.

Savannah Mullikin (née Hudson),along with her sister Amanda and their father Kevin, also stated the extended drive time and the higher gas prices were reasons to choose this method of getting to work and school. Mr. Hudson is the owner of  Hudson Auto Sales on East Second and Harrison Streets in Madison;his daughter ,Savannah,works at KDH as a medical assistant,and  his younger daughter,Amanda,is a student at Hope Baptist Academy in Chelsea, Indiana.

Savannah and Amanda both say that so far they’ve been enjoying their atypical mode of crossing  the river,adding that they’re “an adventurous family”.  Savannah said that they’ve had only one ‘scary’ moment and that was earlier this same day as they paddled over to the Madison side. The fog on the river was still quite dense at that time and they were fearful that they may collide with one of the many barges that ply the Ohio.

Despite the enjoyable nature of the experience they said that they would not want to do this all the time.

About Walter Long

Walter is a native Hoosier and has been to have lived in the Madison area for the last 12 years. He’s an avid reader. He’s married with two kids, one cat, one dog, and far too many rabbits. whlong@madisonindiana.us