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Friday, December 8, 2017

PEDALIN' WEST PALM

There's a novelty to riding your bike in places far from home.  I've taken my bike with me on a trip  to the Jersey Shore, to St. Augustine, and on many trips to my home town of Bedford.  I'm still looking forward to the day that I take it on a trip to visit my brother in Mesa, Arizona.  Cycling is such a cool way to explore and experience other parts of the country.

Driving south through Virginia, Robin and I took a short detour on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We were treated to a beautiful sunset along the way. -- November 25, 2017

Each year, Robin and I spend the week after Thanksgiving in West Palm Beach, Florida.  I know that  flying would be easier...but I like the thousand mile drive!  I get to spend time with my wife, see the Country, and easily take my bicycle!  I really look forward to riding my bike along the Florida coast.  It's so amazingly different from riding in south-central Pennsylvania.   You can forget about hills...there aren't any.  Don't even think about packing cold weather gear and  "wind chill"...the temps are comfortably in the 80s.  Pine trees are replaced with palm trees and the seemingly endless Atlantic Ocean takes the place of  Pennsylvania's corn fields.  

Pedaling near Juno Beach, Florida. -- November 27, 2017

Pausing to view the ocean from Juno Pier. -- November 28, 2017

Florida's State Parks sure look different than they do in Pennsylvania.  No pine trees and mountains...just palm trees as far as you can see at John D. MacArthur State Park -- November 29, 2017

The longest ride during my stay in Florida.  I rode from West Palm Beach to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. -- November 30, 2017

Near Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse I came across this old Spanish anchor.  It is nearly 300 years old and was pulled out of the ocean near Jupiter Inlet. -- November 30, 2017

Happy December!  An easy ride near John D. MacArthur State Park with Robin.  We paused near the water to watch the pelicans, kingfishers, and other birds on the water near the park.  -- December 1, 2017

This is a first...I stopped for a pelican.  This not-so-little guy decided to take a rest in the bike lane! -- December 1, 2017

I passed this mermaid on each of my rides during my week in Florida. -- December 2, 2017

A new ice cream shop...Sweet Treats and Ice Cream is located just about 500 feet from where Robin and I were staying. -- December 2, 2017
Robin and I had fantastic weather while we were in West Palm last week.  It rained just once...but not enough to put a damper on any of our plans.  I was excited to get out for a ride each of the six days we were there.  My rides weren't all that long....the longest was just over 27 miles, the shortest just over 10 miles, and the others somewhere in between.  But the length of the rides didn't matter.  I was somewhere new and different.  I found that the wind along the ocean can be just as much of a challenge as the toughest hill climb back home. Riding in Florida proved to be a lesson in patience every time I came to a draw bridge...and I found that I don't enjoy riding my Roubaix over the open metal grate surface that makes up the "draw" part of the draw bridges. Probably the biggest challenge riding along the coast was the wind!   Even though my daily rides were almost completely flat ( I climbed a total of 210 feet in 120 miles of riding) the ocean wind was intense.  It was amazing to pass three separate flag poles...all within 100 feet of each other...with the flags flapping in three different directions!  I seemed to be riding into a stiff head wind no matter which direction I pointed my bike.

The wind coming off of the Atlantic Ocean was super intense!  John D. MacArthur State Park. -- November 29, 2017

I'm not making those comparisons to complain about my rides...actually, just the opposite.  The flatness of the rides and challenges of the wind added to the novelty I previously mentioned.  There were other things too...first, and foremost, the ocean.  I'm always in awe of how beautiful it is.  Riding through, and past, John D. MacArthur State Park I couldn't help but notice the drastic differences between Pennsylvania's and Florida's State Parks...both beautiful in their own way.  In Pennsylvania, I've braked countless times for deer, snakes, fox, wild turkeys, and the occasional black bear...but for the first time in my life, while riding in West Palm, Florida,  I had to stop and yeild to a pelican!  I've come across many fire towers while biking in PA...but lighthouses are rare....on my longest ride of the week I rode out to Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and took in some of the local history.  What was my favorite part about pedalin' the West Palm Beach area?  I guess I would have to say the countless miles of "bike friendly" bike lanes (which shouldn't be a novelty, but unfortunately they are)...which made all of my rides that much more enjoyable.


Robin and I headed to City Place in West Palm Beach for dinner and a movie.  A stop at Sloan's Ice Cream capped a nice evening out. -- November 30, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination!



David A. Raymond -- December 8, 2017

Back home, back to reality, and back riding in the frigid 30 degree air!  Yesterday, I paused at a friend's house to take a pic of his 20 foot Santa Claus.  As far as Bob's concerned, either go big...or go home!  -- December 7, 2017


Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...














Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM and YOURTRUENATURE.COM!

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Saturday, November 18, 2017

LONG SHADOWS AND SHORT RIDES

Time is the one resource that you can never get back.  Now that the clocks have been turned back, and Standard Time rules the day, time is an even more precious commodity...especially if I want to spend any time outdoors during the daylight hours.   I'm extremely fortunate to live and work within five miles of the trails at Rocky Ridge County  Park.  Even so, the the window of time I have to get on my bike and ride (either trail or road) gets shorter and shorter this time of year.  

The view from the observation area on the northern side of Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 17, 2017
It was evident to me as I pulled into the parking lot of Rocky Ridge County Park yesterday afternoon that there were others trying to squeeze in some precious Vitamin N before the sun set and the gates of the park closed.  The parking lot was full and there were plenty of people out hiking and mountain biking.  I quickly pulled my bike off the top of the car and, with the sun already at a low angle and casting long shadows on the leaf covered trails,  headed out for what I knew would be a short ride.   At the far end of the park, and with day light quickly fading, I paused and took time to take in the late Fall scenery before turning back in the dirction of the parking lot...thankful for being able to spend time in the woods and go for a ride...even if it was just a short one.

At 4:15 in the afternoon the sun is just about to set at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 17, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- November 18, 2017



Here's the GARMIN map and data from the ride featured in this post...




Interested in mountain biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Sunday, November 5, 2017

FALL IN PA

The early November sun poking through the trees served as my guide while I was mountain biking at Rocky Ridge on Friday afternoon...highlighting the fallen (now flattened) leaves covering the single track.  At one point, I stopped to take in the scene in front of me...it seemed to be raining leaves, the temperature was unusually warm, and the air was filled with the sweet smell of Autumn.  Autumn is, by far, my favorite time to be outdoors.  It doesn't matter if I'm mountain biking, hiking, or on my road bike...I love the Fall...and Fall in Pennsylvania is really kind of special.

The sun helps to uncover the "hidden" trails at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 3, 2017

Tim got this great pic of me at Rocky Ridge County Park with the Autumn leaves in the background. -- November 3, 2017

Tim took this pic of me riding over the fallen leaves and down Trail #7 at Rocky Ridge County Park.  The beauty of the leaves also hid the loose rocks and gravel underneath...adding an extra element to mountain biking.  Caution always rules the day! -- November 3, 2017

Even as a child I loved jumping into the huge piles of leaves that my father would rake up in our back yard.  I also recall that, when I was young, my mom and dad would take my brother and I to Ohiopyle State Park for hikes to see all the colors of the forest.  I have no doubt that it was those trips are what grew into my love for the outdoors.  I have no doubt that it was those trips with my parents that inspired my love of being outdoors.  Here in South Central Pennsylvania, the foliage was at it's peak this week.  We are literally only one big rain or wind storm away from all the leaves being blown off of the trees.   But before that happens, I'm trying to enjoy every last minute of the Autumn colors.

Hiking around Ohiopyle State Park with my mom, dad, and brother.  Left to right:  Jacob Raymond, David Raymond, Kathy Raymond.  -- November 1980

One of the perks of living withing three miles of the school in which I teach is that I can be home and on my bicycle before 3:30.  I'm blessed with the almost daily opportunity to unwind, get some exercise, and take in a good dose of Vitamin N.  My after school bike rides aren't very long...especially now that the seasons are changing and the clocks have been turned back...but they do the trick and the York County scenery is nothing short of spectacular!  

This pumpkin stand is located on Canal Road in Manchester, Pennsylvania.  I pass it often when riding my bike after school. -- October 17, 2017

This old bridge crossing the Conewago Creek is located between Manchester and York Haven, Pennsylvania.  I often ride past it on my after school bike rides.  -- October 17, 2017

In my opinion...one of the best photos I've ever taken.  My red Roubaix resting on a tree near the Conewaga Creek.  -- November 2, 2017

During the school year, I usually try to get all my mountain and road biking in after school and reserve the weekends for hanging out with (and usually taking a hike with) my wife, Robin.  This weekend was especially awesome because, my son, Alex, was home from college.  Yesterday was a picture perfect day for a hike...so the three of us headed over to Michaux State Forest to take in the sights of Autumn before they disappeared.  Apparently, I wasn't the only person who had this idea.  In all the years I've been visiting Michaux, I've never seen the Pole Steeple trail head parking lot filled beyond capacity.  Even though there was a lot of traffic on Pole Steeple yesterday, it didn't take away from the adventure of the trail or the beauty of the valley below.  Actually, part of me was very encouraged that so many people were taking time out to just be outdoors.


Alex took this picture of me just as I was making my way to the top of Pole Steeple Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- November 4, 2017

Michaux State Forest as seen from the vista on top of Pole Steeple. -- November 4, 2017

Alex and David Raymond on top of Pole Steeple. -- November 4, 2017

David and Robin Raymond on top of Pole Steeple. -- November 4, 2017

 Afterwards, we took a much more secluded hike through an area of the forest that I usually mountain bike in. We parked along Route 233 and hiked down towards Mountain Creek.  On this short hike we didn't climb up a mountain  and experience a vista with a grand view...but we were able to meander through the Mountain Laurel, walk along the rushing water of Mountain Creek, hear the sounds of nature all around us, and seemingly have the forest to ourselves for a few moments. 

Alex, Robin, and David Raymond near Mountain Creek in Michaux State Forest. -- November 4, 2017

Mountain Creek in Michaux State Forest. Notice the green Mountain Laurel lining the creek and the Autumn colors up above.  -- November 4, 2017

In between our hikes on Saturday, Robin, Alex, and I stopped to skip rocks in Fuller Lake.  -- November 4, 2017

The sun glistening on Fuller Lake -- November 4, 2017

Hiking past the creek and surrounded on all sides by Mountain Laurel, I almost forgot that it was Autumn.  At eye level, everything around me was green...and then I looked up.  The air was crisp, the sun sky was blue, the sun was shining, and the trees high above were filled with the oranges, yellows, and reds of the season.  It was a perfect Fall day in Pennsylvania...and I was loving every minute of it.

A cherry on top of a perfect day in Michaux State Forest.  After a day of hiking, Robin, Alex, and I visited the Twirly Top ice-cream stand on it's last day of operation for the season.  I forgot how good the food is there! -- November 4, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- November 5, 2017


One of my favorite childhood memories of Autumn.  In Bedford County we were allowed to burn our leaves.  Kind of dangerous...but one of the sweetest smells you'll ever encounter.  My mother took this picture of my Father and I watching the pile of leaves go up in smoke. -- November 1979


Here's the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...












Interested in mountain biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A HEALTHY DOSE OF VITAMIN N

A few February's ago, my wife and I stepped out of Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport and into the warm dessert air.  Robin looked at me with a smile on her face.  When I inquired about the big smile she respond that she was reacting to my smile.  Six hours previous to that moment we boarded a plane at BWI and escaped the deep freeze of winter.  I couldn't help but be excited about being outside...and apparently, the expression on my face said it all.

I've been doing a lot of solo mountain biking after school this year.  Last week, while riding the Lakes, I paused to  the appreciate the amazing Autumn Pennsylvania weather and take in some Vitamin N. -- October 19, 2017

I crave nature and I crave being outdoors.  I don't know the science behind it but I feel better and I'm happier when I'm outside.  There are plenty of studies out there that say that exposure to nature helps with depression, high blood pressure, anxiety, ADD, and just about any other infliction that comes to your mind.  Recently I read a book by Richard Nouv entitled VITAMIN N:  The Essential Guide to a Nature Rich Life....kind of a guidebook for those who need reminding that daily exposure to nature is fun, exhilarating, and potentially one of the most powerful drugs available.  


On a sunny Sunday afternoon, I choose to sit outside and read my nerdy history books! -- October 22, 2017

I'm not just talking about how exercise increases the levels of sarotonin and dopamine in my brain...which helps me battle ADD.  All that it true...but it does't explain why I feel better, both mentally and physically, simply by stepping outside on the porch.  It doesn't explain why reading a book while sitting on a rocking chair in the garage with garage doors wide open  is more appealing for me than reading a book while sitting in the house.  Nor does it explain why sitting around the firepit in my back yard is more exhilarating that sitting on the couch in my living room.  Some might just say that these things are my preference.  Maybe so...but I know others who believe a healthy dose of Vitamin N is not just beneficial, but essential.  Here's what some of my friends and family had to say when I asked them what benefit (physically or mentally) they derive from nature.


My wife, Robin, says that the quiet of nature has a spiritual effect on her that cannot be replicated any other way.  Picture taken in Sedona, Arizona -- February 18, 2015


Tim told me that Vitamin N is his antidote for work and his cure for cabin fever!  Picture taken near Raystown Lake on the Allegrippis Trail System -- July 11, 2017


Matt says that surrounding himself in nature is the best way to clear his head.  Picture taken in Michaux State Forest -- July 25, 2017


According to Glenn, it's one of the few places where his heart can "red line" or "flat line" and he would be smiling either way!  Picture taken near Raystown Lake on the Allegrippis Trail System -- July 11, 2017


The Boss, Mike Alessandroni, says that Vitamin N is needed for his skin and his soul!  Picture taken at the Gettysburg National Military Park -- August 3, 2016


My son, Alex, says nature is the best drug because "it's natural!"  Picture taken in Point State Park -- October 27, 2017


Spending time outdoors and exploring the world around me is such an important part of my life and my identity.  Nature helps to calm my mind, stimulate my senses, and strengthen my body.  It provides relief from stress and adds to my sense of overall well being.  I'm happier and more productive when exposed to Vitamin N.  Is nature a drug?  Yeah...I think so...and I think I'm addicted.  If I've got to be addicted to something, it might as well be something that is good for me.
As far as I'm concerned...I can never get too much Vitamin N.


Last week I got my brother-in-law, Donny, out for a short walk and a healthy dose of Vitamin N.  He really enjoyed the view of York County from the observation deck at Rocky Ridge Couny Park -- October 26, 2017



Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- October 29, 2017



VITAMIN N by Richard Louv


Here's the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...











Interested in mountain biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Monday, October 9, 2017

I'VE JUST BEEN RIDING

I've been getting out on my mountain bike at least once or twice a week after school the past month and a half.  Within 45 minutes of my students leaving my classroom, I can be on the trails at Rocky Ridge County Park or the Lakes.  A few times I've ridden solo...but most of the time Mark or Chris are able to ride with me.  Our rides haven't been epic...but they've been fun.  Chris and I rediscovered the fun of decending down (and climbing up) Trail #7 at Rocky Ridge.  Mark and I rode what he called "the Agitator" at the Lakes....a nice ride around Lake Williams in both directions.  It's probably the hardest ride you can do at the Lakes.  I've been challenging myself and switching up the trails...making each ride new.  There hasn't been much stopping for photos and there hasn't been may rests.  There's just been a lot of riding...and it's been fun. 


Tim snagged this pic of me at Rocky Ridge a few weeks ago. -- September 15, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- October 9, 2017


My amazing wife didn't forget about my birthday!  When I got home from a day that included a ride with Mark at Rocky Ridge, dinner, and dance class...Robin had a quarter sheet of chocolate cake with buttercream icing waiting for me.  It  took me four days to eat it...the countless calories make a great excuse to do more riding! -- October 2, 2017


Here's the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...





Interested in mountain biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Saturday, September 23, 2017

STAYING BALANCED

Friday morning I loaded my mountian bike and my gear into the back of the truck before I left for another wonderful day in 8th grade.  The plan was to meet Mark at the Lakes immediately after school and kick off the weekend with a mountain bike ride.  Circumstances, more important that mountain biking, brought me directly home instead.  I felt bad texting Mark at lunch time and cancelling...but I would have felt worse had I not come home to help my wife.  I hope Mark got to ride (I'm not sure)...but I felt good with my decision and I know that he understood.

I didn't expect to be able to ride today.  I made sure to make my way up Starview Road. -- September 23, 2017

It's not just Mark...I'm super blessed with friends who love to ride but who also understand that family comes first.  As much as we would all love to get together and hit the trails...it can't come at the expense of our loved ones.  I didn't expect to have to cancel yesterday...but I also didn't foresee the opportunity to get out on my bike today.  By time I knew I was able to ride, Timmy was already pedaling the trails at the Lakes (squeezing a ride into his busy family schedule), Mark was in the process of laying down a new walkway in his back yard, and Glenn was lounging somewhere near the ocean with his wife.  

Channelling his "inner-Dave," Tim took these pics of his ride at the Lakes today.  Pictures by Tim Sindlinger. -- September 23, 2017

Mark sent me this pics...some serious digging!  He's removing to sod and laying new brick.  Photo by Mark Lentz. -- September 23, 2017

Glenn's view today!  Photo by Glenn Medice. -- September 23, 2017

I really didn't expect to ride today.  I spent most of the morning doing yard work for a friend who just had hip surgery and then trying to reclaim some sort of organization in my garage/bike area.  -- September 23, 2017

The weather turned out to be perfect today...a beautiful Pennsylvania September Saturday with low humidity, temps around 80 degrees, and a crystal blue sky.  Actually, it was more than perfect...it was completely sublime!  You couldn't ask for a better day to ride a bike...but it was also perfect for doing yard work, helping a friend, laying a new side walk, sitting on the beach, and spending time with family.  Riding a bike is about staying balanced...but so is life.  Cycling is such an important part of my life...but it's not the MOST important part.  I'm glad that the friends I surround myself with strive to strike the same balance.  It's what keeps our friendship moving forward.


On my road ride today I stopped to check out my favorite view of York, Pennsylvania (North Point Drive looking south towards York City). -- September 23, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destinaton.



David A. Raymond -- September 23, 2017


September 23, 2017


Here's the GARMIN map and data from my road ride today...


Interested in mountain biking or hiking some of the trails I feature in my posts?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin