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Group to follow route from Ipswich, Mass. to Marietta taken by pioneers

May 8, 2013
The Marietta Times

For the past year, Dan Jones has been working tirelessly planning and mapping out a 925-mile trip from Ipswich, Mass., back to Marietta.

On May 16, he will officially begin the Westward Home cycling and kayaking trek, along with teammates, Gary and Roger Murphy, Bill and Sally Wesel and Peter Prigge.

"We're all excited, and we've got a great team we've put together," said Jones, a broker for Old Colony Realtors in Marietta. "We're pretty wound up and ready to go."

Article Photos

The team will depart Marietta between 8-9 a.m., May 16 from the Westward Ho monument in Muskingum Park. They are encouraging everyone to come out that morning and see them off.

They will then begin cycling from Ipswich on May 18.

The plan is for the team to parallel the route used by General Rufus Putnam and the Ohio Company of 46 men who walked, rode on horses and in wagons from Ipswich with the goal of founding the community of Marietta.

"The difference is we won't be walking and we're not going to stop and make our own boats in West Newton, Pa.," Jones said.

Gary Murphy said the purpose of this adventure is to help the City of Marietta celebrate its 225th birthday and to raise funds to support the Harmar Community Center in Marietta and the Washington County Boys and Girls Club, which is housed at the HCC.

"We're trying to get people to pledge so much per mile," Jones said. "It's 925 miles so if someone pledges a $1 a mile then they'll donate $925."

Jones and the two Murphys will be do the cycling and kayaking, while the Wesels are driving their RV to provide a place to sleep and eat daily. Prigge is driving the chase car to make sure the team stays on track.

There is a lot of work ahead for the team, but they plan to arrive in Marietta on June 8.

"The biggest challenge is the day-to-day grind," Jones said. "Sixty miles a day on a bicycle is very doable. But 60 miles a day on a bike for two weeks, you get tired so we're really going to have to pay attention to what we eat we really have to take care of ourselves."

To follow the team's progress and to see photos from the trip please check back with the blog daily starting May 16.



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