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Sunday, August 28, 2016

I NEED THIS

I'm at my worst when I'm inactive.  It's not just that I feel sluggish or out of shape...I feel about as close as I get to depressed.  I just don't do well when when either my mind or my body isn't stimulated.  My wife often says that I get more done in a day than anyone she knows.  I don't know how true that is...but I do belief that for me, at least, it's a survival technique.  It's one of the reasons I love mountain biking so much.  Nothing else can make both my body and my mind work so much at the same time.  It's impossible to daydream while mountain biking...and I sure as hell can't slouch off a whole heck of a lot.

Taking a break with Kristian on Gargamel's Trail near Mountain Creek in Michaux State Forest -- August 28, 2016

It's proven that exercise will increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain and helps with the production of endorphins.   That's a pretty fancy way of saying what I've always known...when I'm active, I'm happy.  It's one of the reasons I, long ago, fell in love with mountain biking...and, in particular...mountain biking in Michaux.

Kristian taking on an utlra-kool rock bridge which crosses a dry creek bed on Gargamel's Trail -- August 28, 2016

This afternoon, Kristain and I spend two hours pedaling through some of the best that Michaux has to offer.  Starting at Pine Grove Furnace, we headed straight for Tom's Run Trail and began making our way up the ridge.  At our highest point...1,300 feet above sea level...we were only halfway up the mountain.  That was today's plan...keep the ride as level as possible and maximize our fun on some of the best technical, rocky, and rooty areas that Michaux State Forest has to offer.

Navigating the rhododendron on Gargamel's Trail -- August 28, 2016

Our 13 mile ride in the 90 degree August heat included low hanging rhododendron, rock gardens, and stream crossings.  It included boulder riding, bone dry single track, log build-ups, a section of a dusty ATV trail, and a short hike-a-bike.  It included time to stop and enjoy the amazing beauty of Mountain Creek as it meandered past Gargamel's Trail.  It included a doe and a three fawns that crossed my path near Dynamite Shack and huge freakin' spider sunning itself near the water.  Kristian said it perfectly halfway through the ride..."I need this"...and honestly, so do I.

Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- August 28, 2016

This big brown spider stood still long enough on this rock at the edge of Mountain Creek.  I love the reflection of the surrounding forest in the water -- August 28, 2016
All pics taken by SQUIRRELS WITH CAMERAS.

Friday, August 26, 2016

HAPPY HOUR -- August 26, 2016

My favorite way to celebrate the end of the work week is to take a bike ride.  Not a long one...just a ride.  It's my "happy hour."  I often tell people I have an addictive personality.  I'm pretty much "all in" when I decide to do something.  It's a great quality to have when it comes to things like relationships, teaching, and cycling.  Not so great when it comes to other things like drinking....so I just stay away from the stuff.  Instead, my drug of choice, is my bike.  It's really weird.  No matter how tired I am at the end of a school day...strapping on my helmet and turning those pedals rejuvenates me and gets me ready for a great evening out with my wife.  
So, with the kiddos gone for the weekend and date night planned for later this evening, I rode off for thirteen miles of relaxation, exercise, stress relief, and a clear head.  That's my kind of happy hour.  


I took a break to admire the view from behind the Northeastern School District Administration Building -- August 26, 2016


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- August 26, 2016

I came home to find that my wife posted this on my Facebook page.  I'm looking forward to date night, too!  -- August 26, 2016




Thursday, August 18, 2016

TUESDAY'S GONE -- August 18, 2016

Ten years ago, when I first started riding in Michaux State Forest, Mark, Glenn, Tim, and the rest of the group were kind enough to accommodate me by riding extremely early in the morning so I wouldn't take too much time away from my son who, at the time, was only seven years old.  I'm beyond that stage in life now...but now it's Timmy's turn.  With his hectic work and family schedule he's only able to get about one ride in a week.  Now it's my turn accommodate him.  So...for the past few years during the summer months...we have a standing Tuesday mountain bike date each week.  Sometimes it's just Tim and I...but this summer was special.  The summer of 2016 saw the return of Glenn, Kristian, Mikey, & Bill...Mark was able to make most of the rides...and Matt was able to get time away and join us a couple of times.  Regardless of who is in the group, our Tuesday rides have become one of the things I look forward to each and every week...and I'm happy that I can help Tim get out and ride with us.

This week Mark, Glenn, Mikey, Bill, and I head back to our classrooms....thus ending our weekly Tuesday rides for another summer.  So...to quote Dr. Seuss..."Don't cry because it's over...Smile because it happened!"  Here's a look back on our Tuesday fun.  Enjoy!

Tim Sindlinger and I in Michaux State Forest -- August 9, 2016

Tuesday,  June 21, 2016 -- Michaux State Forest

Tuesday June 21 was also National Selfie Day.  Great ride with Matt Linnane and Tim Sindlinger. -- June 21, 2016

Tuesday,  June 28, 2016 -- Michaux State Forest

Glenn Medice came out of retirement to join Tim and I for a super fun ride in Michaux.  Glad to see Glenn's all smiles and thumbs up! -- June 28, 2016


Dave Raymond, Glenn Medice, & Tim Sindlinger -- June 28, 2016


Glenn was on top of his game for his first Michaux ride in almost 7 years! -- June 28, 2016

Tuesday,  July 5, 2016 -- Michaux State Forest

Billy Graves & Mikey Nardelli made it out with Glenn and I for a hot and humid early July ride in Michaux State Forest. -- July 5, 2016


Mikey sporting a very appropriate shirt for today's ride! -- July 5, 2016

Tuesday,  July 12, 2016 -- Michaux State Forest

Trust me...I did ask him if he was okay before I pulled out the camera to take this pic.  Glad Tim survived to ride another Tuesday! -- July 12, 2016

Tuesday,  July 26, 2016 -- Michaux State Forest

This ride saw the biggest group of the summer:  David Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, Matt Linnane, Glenn Medice, & Mark Lentz.  Mark guided us all up Vista Trail for an amazing view of the forest below. -- July 26, 2016


Matt meets Glenn.   No one is ever the same after they meet Glenn! -- July 26, 2016


Probably my favorite pic of the summer.  This is why I love summer.  This is why I love Michaux.  This is why I love mountain biking. -- July 26,  2016

Tuesday,  August 2, 2016 -- Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake

He's back!  Kristian Hains joined Glenn and I for a Tuesday trip to Raystown Lake to ride the nationally known Allegrippis Trails -- August 2, 2016


David Raymond, Kristian Hains, & Glenn Medice at Raystown Lake -- August 2, 2016

Tuesday,  August 9, 2016 -- Michaux State Forest

Tim Sindlinger and I tackled Grave Ridge in Michaux State Forest for the first time in six years -- August 9, 2016

Taking a break on Grave Ridge -- August 9, 2016

Tuesday,  August 16, 2016  --  Michaux State Forest

Wrapping up the last Tuesday ride for the summer of 2016:  Mark Lentz, Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, & Nate Hake -- August 16, 2016


The last ride of the year gave me (hopefully) the last flat tire I'll have for a while -- August 16, 2016


Mark made a post-ride friend in the parking lot of Pine Grove Furnace State Park -- August 16, 2016


For 2016, Tuesday's gone.  Taking our time packing up after our last ride of the summer -- August 16, 2016


Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- August 18, 2016

Wrapping up my final Tuesday ride with a triple scoop of Hershey's ice cream with Mark and Tim at Mountain Creek Campground! -- August 16, 2016

All pics taken by SQUIRRELS WITH CAMERAS.

Monday, August 15, 2016

KEEPING AN EYE ON THE CORN Part 2 -- August 15, 2016

Just as the steam rising from PPL Power Plant helps me gauge the direction and speed of the wind during my bike rides...the height of the corn in the the fields of central Pennsylvania helps me gauge my summer break.  As I wrote earlier this summer...I first heard the phrase "knee-high by the Fourth of July" from my father.  Well...it's safe to say that the local corn has hit it's peak which means...at least for me...another school year is about to start.  Personally, I really don't mind heading back to school.  As a matter of fact, my biggest pet peeve is listening to people I work with gripe about it.  We are giving 3 amazing gifts:  June--July--August.  I try to make the most of all three of them.  When I can't mountain bike...I head out on the road.  What I find is sometimes just as breathtaking.  Here are a some of my favorite road cycling pics from the summer of 2016.  Enjoy!

Keeping a eye on the corn.  Today's ride was my longest since my back surgery in March -- August 15, 2016


The Haines Shoe House is a has been part of the York County landscape for a long time.  This photo was taken from Shoe House Road east of York City -- August 15, 2016


One of my favorite views of York County is along Ore Bank Road east of York City -- August 15, 2016


This beautiful mill pond is located along Lower Glades Road northeast of York City -- August 15, 2016


My summer began with a trip to the desert.  My brother allowed me to borrow his old Cannondale and take a spin -- June 7, 2016


A trip to visit my dad and Mary Jane in Bedford, PA took me past Fort Bedford -- July 6, 2016


The Bedford Springs Hotel once served as the summer White House for President James Buchanan.  It was also frequented by President James K. Polk...which makes it ultra cool to me.  Recently the town of Bedford created a bike trail that easily will take you to this beautiful and historic spot -- July 6, 2016


On West Pitt Street in Bedford, Pennsylvania you will find this slice of Americana...the Coffee Pot -- July 6,  2016


One of my favorite views of York City is from North Point Drive -- July 15, 2016


Blue chicory along North Sherman Street Ext just outside of Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania -- July 29, 2016


On a ride through Saginaw, Pennsylvania I captured this super cool pic of  a butterfly sitting next to the Susquehanna River -- July 29, 2016


Getting my "nerd" on with Mike Alessandroni on our own personal bike tour of the Gettysburg National Battlefield.  Behind us is Sachs Covered Bridge -- August 3, 2016

A view of Sachs Covered Bridge from Pumping Station Road -- August 3, 2016
Sachs Covered Bridge -- August 3, 2016


Confederate Avenue in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania -- August 3, 2016

The railroad cut northwest of the town of Gettysburg.  Fierce fighting between the Union and the Confederacy happened here on July 1, 1863 -- August 3, 2016
Mike Alessandroni and I rode our bikes to the top of Culp's Hill -- August 3, 2016


Devil's Den located in the southern part of the Gettysburg National Military Park -- August 3, 2016


Cemetery Ridge and the "High Water Mark" at the Gettysburg National Military Park.  In the distance you can see the Pennsylvania Memorial.  It is the largest memorial in the park -- August 3, 2016

A view of the Gettysburg National Military Park from the top of Little Round Top -- August 3, 2016

From the vantage point of Little Round Top you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and to the south.  You can also get a great view of Devil's Den -- August 3, 2016

The statue of Gouvernour K. Warren stands watch on top of Little Round Top in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania -- August 3, 2016


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- August 15, 2016



The only thing that changes once school begins is the head gear!  Life is a journey...not a destination.














Friday, August 12, 2016

THE MICHAUX I LOVE -- August 12, 2016

Eight miles to the southwest of Pine Grove Furnace State Park and near the top of Shippensburg Road...right in the middle of Michaux State Forest...you will find the Big Flat Parking Area.  Big Flat offers access to multiple ATV and snowmobile trails that are in the area.  It'll also...if you're brave enough...provide a mountain bike ride that you soon won't forget!  I know, for a fact, that today was the first time in almost eight years I began a ride at Big Flat.  Partly because the starting point is near the top of the mountain...which means that the ride will inevitably end with a good climb...and partly because there is no way I am physically capable of riding this kind of terrain all the the time!

My 2004 Silverado parked in the Big Flat Parking Area located in Michaux State Forest -- August 12, 2016

Thing is...today's ride with Mark and Nate was a great reminder of what Michaux is...and why I love it so much.  Riding the trails in this section of the forest is most definitely a challenge worthy of the best mountain bikers.  Wildcat Trail dropped us almost 500 feet in only two miles!  Abigail Trail and Anthill Trail (not to mention Birch Run Road) helped us accumulate the nearly 1,700 feet of climbing in just under 13 miles of mountain biking!  Along the way we navigated trails that were littered seemingly endless rock gardens.  We rode trails that apparently had only had one direction...up!  And...for Mark and I...trails that required a old fashioned "hike-a-bike."  

 Mark, Nate, and I had an early start today...leaving Manchester, PA by 6:15 AM to beat the August heat and humidity.  No such luck.  Temps were approximately 85 degrees at 5:20AM this morning -- August 12, 2016

I paused to get this pick of Wildcat Trail and all of the rocks that make it up -- August 12,  2016

A couple pics of my good friend, Mark Lentz, taking on Wildcat Trail -- August 12, 2016
Some may call this  punishment...but I truly love it.  Why?  It's simple.  Along the way...throughout the entire ride...we also encountered things you just don't see anywhere else.  Trails lined with mountain laurel, white pine, and wild blue berries.  A random pile of rocks, overlooking a valley, that seems to have been undisturbed for centuries.  A beautiful reservoir and dam that provides water for a nearby community.  Anthills that are at least two feet tall!  You really never know what will be around the next corner or over the next hill!


If you look closely, you can make out Mark Lentz and Nate Hake in the distance riding across the dam which holds back Long Pine Run forming the Chambersburg Reservoir -- August 12, 2016

The view on the opposite side the Chambersburg Reservoir is amazing -- August 12, 2016

Nate Hake on his last Michaux ride before heading back to college -- August 12, 2016

Mark Lentz sight seeing on the dam near the Chambersburg Reservoir -- August 12, 2016

Yep...a random pile of rocks.  Mark  said it was quartzite...and the pile of rocks was formed naturally -- August 12, 2016

Me, the rocks, and the valley below -- August 12, 2016

Yes!  Huge anthills!  All I can think about when I see these is that scene in the fourth (and in my opinion...worst) Indiana Jones movie when that guy is attacked by mutant ants!  -- August 12,  2016

The best part of the experience is letting it sink in when I get home.  Sometimes I'm in total amazement of what I had seen and done and accomplished before 11:30 AM.  I'm totally grateful that I have the time, the resources, the ability, and an understanding wife that allow me to enjoy life...and Michaux Forest...the way I do.  

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- August 12, 2016


Got to love the...um...primitive DCNR bathroom facilities.  No uni-sex outhouse here!  They are clearly labeled -- August 12, 2016