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Sunday, March 26, 2017

RIDING IN STYLE

Glenn showed up to ride Michaux with Tim and I this past June with a button down short sleeve "hiking" shirt.  It was a new look for Glenn.  Gone were the bibs and super cool cycling jerseys.  He said he was going for comfort.  (Personally, I'm convinced his new mountain biking gear is doubling as his "teacher" gear!)  Let me be clear...I'm definitely not making fun of Glenn.  I have absolutely NO room to talk when it comes to mountain biking fashion (if you go back and read THOSE FIRST TRAILS you'll know exactly what I mean).  Glenn wasn't the only one who was sporting a new look last summer.  With the purchase of my "highlighter orange" Stumpjumper, I completely updated my mountain biking look and decided to move away from the red and black color scheme I'd been sporting the last few years. 

Showing off my green Brevard, NC t-shirt while riding Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland -- October 15, 2016

Last summer marked the beginning of a new chapter for our group...so I thought, like Glenn, I'd make a fashion overhaul.  Bag to baggies (super comfy gray and black shorts that could be worn with just about anything), a new florescent green helmet, and whatever t-shirt grabbed my fancy that day.  I don't worry about matching my bike anymore....but it's still ALL ABOUT THE COLOR.  As for the rest of the guys...Kristian loves sporting the camo shorts (and, for one ride in August, a new mohawk hair style)...Mark's sleeveless cycling shirts will be all the rage with the kool kids this summer...and Timmy wins the award for "MOST CONSISTENT FASHION" with his white tank tops.


Glenn riding the Allegrippis Trails in his button down dress...uh...mountain bike shirt -- August 2, 2016

I have always been jealous of Kristain's desert camo cargo shorts! -- October 15, 2016

Taking a break in Michaux State Forest.  The most consistent of us all...Timmy and his white tank tops -- June 28, 2016
Today is Timmy's 44th birthday!  Happy birthday, bud!

Mark's fashion is all about comfort.  Whatever works, my friend! -- July 26, 2016

Mikey is the "King of Kool Cycling Shirts"...but my favorite is his "I JUST WANT TO RIDE MY EFFIN BIKE" t-shirt!

So, with winter fading away...with Timmy's recovery from shoulder surgery winding down...with my back getting stronger and stronger after my last back surgery...with Glenn now in possession of his brand new mountain bike (we ALL saw that one coming)...and with more of Mark's cycling jersey sleeves left lying on his living room floor...it won't be long before we will be back out on the trails.  We might not be riding fast...but one thing's for sure:  we'll be riding in style.


Life is a journey...not a destination.




David A. Raymond -- March 26, 2017

Oh dear, God...this summer may be interesting.

GARMIN  MAPS and other DATA from the rides I featured:

-Michaux State Forest with Timmy and Glenn (June 28, 2016)

-Michaux State Forest with Mark, Glenn, Timmy, and Matt (July 26, 2016)

-Allegrippis Trails with Glenn and Kristian (August 2, 2016)

-Patapsco Valley State Park with Kristian (October 15, 2016)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

SOUTH JULIANA STREET

I had a good childhood.  A really good childhood.  My mom (God rest her soul) stayed at home with my brother, Jake, and I.  Dad says she did a great job raising us.  Dad was a high school teacher and also worked evenings at the Gateway Restaurant in Breezewood, Pennsylvania to make sure that my mom, brother, and I had everything we needed.  He's happily retired now (and recommends retirement for everyone).

Riding my bike behind Harry's barn.  Just beyond me is the Henderson's yard.  The tall bushes belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Brown.  Love the "All Kids 12 and Under free Pirates Hat" I got at Hat Night at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.  I still have it and it is still my hat of choice. Let's Go Bucs! -- 1980

I grew up in Bedford, Pennsylvania.  South Juliana Street to be exact.  We rented a house on the south corner of South Juliana Street from Mrs. Witt.  Harry Keller lived next door to us.  His house (which my parents would buy in the  early 1980s) was the original farmhouse in the area.  He had a barn in the back yard with a large driveway behind it.  Harry worked for Bedford  Borough and, based upon how he treated my mom and dad, was a really good man.  Going down the street...the Henderson's lived next to Harry...Mr. and Mrs. Brown lived next to the Henderson's...Mrs. Witt lived next to Mr. and Mrs. Brown...the Showalter's lived next to Mrs. Witt...the Heming's lived next to the Showalter's...the Clark's lived next to the Heming's...and the Corle family lived on the north end of the block.

Harry and Francis Keller -- 1977

David Raymond standing in front of Harry Keller's house on South Juliana Street.  The sidewalk on South Juliana Street would be the place all the neighborhood kids rode bikes on long, hot, summer days -- June 1976

Jake and I weren't the only kids on the street.  Beau and Lacey Henderson lived two doors down and Robbie Clark, Chris Corle, and Heidi Corle lived at the end of the street.  Robbie, Heidi, and I were the same age.  Rob and I played high school football together.  Two years behind us were my brother Jake and Heidi's brother Chris. Beau was one year behind Chris and Jake in school...and Lacey was two years behind Beau.  There were other kids in the area, too.  Charles and John Koontz lived near Jake and I.  Shannon Rogish lived near Robbie, Heidi, and Chris at the other end of the block.

Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson (sporting IRON MAN Underoos), Robbie Clark, David Raymond -- Summer 1979

Jacob Raymond (yes...ROBIN Underoos), Robbie Clark, David Raymond -- 1979

Mom would allow us to sell the cucumbers she grew in the garden to people driving by on South Juliana Street.  10 cents each.  What a bargain!  Lacey Henderson, David Raymond (wearing ultra-kool AQUA-MAN Underoos), Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson -- August 1980

Top Row:  Beau Henderson, Jacob Raymond, Sheila Rogish, Lacey Henderson, Heidi Corle, Shannon Rogish
Bottom Row:  Chris Corle, Robbie Clark, David Raymond

My first real bike was  sparkly blue and had a red banana seat.  I loved that bike. We kids would spend our summer days riding bikes "down the hill" from my parent's house to the Clark's house.  We had a Big Wheel, too!  The kind that had a side hand break...which allowed us to spin in circles as we careened down the side walk!  To this day, I still remember how uneven and bumpy the sidewalk was in front of the Showalter's and Heming's house.  We'd ride the sidewalk...our own little piece of South Juliana Street...all day long.  Over and over and over again.


My father, Dave Raymond, resting  behind Harry's barn -- Summer 1977

Thanks, to Harry, we weren't just regulated to the sidewalk.  Harry gave us permission to ride our bikes "behind the barn" on his big driveway.  Sometimes mom and dad would come back to supervise...but not always.  Hell, it was the 70s and 80s...we drank out of garden hoses, let our feet dangle from the back of pick up trucks, and used Big Wheels with side brakes...none of which killed us.  Yeah...I had a really good childhood.  Parents who loved me...friends to hang out with...neighbors who were good to us...bikes to ride...ice cream cones...push up popcycles...and a street that connected all of it together.  Growing up in Bedford was really good.  Growing up on South Juliana Street made it extra special.

David Raymond in the Henderson's back yard.  You can see part of Harry Keller's driveway on the left.  Loving my authentic YODA t-shirt -- 1981


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- March 19, 2017

David Raymond (age 3).  Riding my tricycle on South Juliana Street -- September 1976

Where did you ride as a kid?  Tell me about it in the comments...I would love to hear your story.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

OUTSIDE IS FREE

A couple of years ago, Mark and I were mountain biking near State College, Pennsylvania.  We began our ride from a parking area in Penn Roosevelt State Park.  I'm not sure if Mark's car was the only car there when we began our ride...but for some reason, as we wrapped up our day on the trails, I took notice that it was.
  
Mark Lentz and David Raymond riding near State College, Pennsylvania.  We began this amazing ride in Penn Roosevelt State Park -- June 28, 2014

With the bikes on top of the car and with less sweaty clothes on, Mark and I walked down below the parking are to explore the near empty lake and the dam that contained it.  I remember Mark walking towards the lake and I headed out to the dam.  All around me I saw empty picnic tables and signs put up by the DCNR which were meant to educate the  public on the plant life and wildlife which is native to the area.  My mind raced back to my childhood and the amount of time my family spent at Shawnee State Park in Bedford County and Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County.  Memories of picnics, charcoal grills, hiking, exploring, and family time.  Again...the realization that our car was the only one there came to the front of my head...and I asked, out loud, if people still made use of the state parks like we did 20-30-40 years ago.  Was this park always this empty now...or is it possible that we just happened to be there late in the afternoon on a Tuesday?

My bike and Mark's bike in the parking area of Penn Roosevelt State Park -- June 28, 2014

Mark's Mini is the only car there -- June 28, 2014

An empty Penn-Roosevelt State Park -- June 28, 2014

 If you live in Pennsylvania then there's a pretty good chance that you are currently within 50 miles of one of the Commonwealth's 121 State Parks.  I'm not sure if that is most in the nation...but it's got to be near the top.  Combined, Pennsylvania's State Parks offer over 200,000 acres for hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, and yes....mountain biking!  From my house in Manchester, PA, I'm only 18 miles from Sam S. Lewis State Park, 22 miles from Gifford Pinchot State Park, 24 miles from Codorus State Park, 52 miles from Swatara State Park, and 57 miles from Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  That's pretty cool!

This map shows you the 4 regions in which Pennsylvania is divided and the locations of Pennsylvania's State Parks.  Click HERE to access the DCNR website that will help you locate a State Park near you!

Valley Forge State Park (now Valley Forge National Historical Park) was the first state park in Pennsylvania.  In 1893, Pennsylvania's governor, Robert E. Pattison, signed Act 130 "for the acquisition of ground at Valley Forge for a public park."  This act also created a commission that would work to acquire more land for public use.  In the early 20th century, Joseph T. Rothrock headed the Commission of Forestry.  As a medical doctor and a forester, Rothrock set up camps in the parks for people suffering from respiratory illnesses.  Following the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps established 113 CCC camps in Pennsylvana (2nd only to California) and, along with helping to fight fires and build roads, helped to create many of of Pennsylvania's State Parks.  

So...back to the question I had while exploring Penn Roosevelt with Mark on that June day in 2014...do people still use the parks like they use to?  The answer, in my opinion, is a resounding YES...and here's the proof:  
  • I have no trouble remembering the first time Mark took Timmy and I to Michaux...Memorial Day weekend 2006.  After a hard mountain bike ride we passed through an extremely crowded Pine Grove Furnace State Park (I can still remember salivating when we pedaled through the smell of the hotdogs cooking over charcoal grills).  
  • I dare you to try to find a parking spot near the Natural Water Slide in Ohiopyle State Park on a Saturday or Sunday!
  • Go ahead, just try to find an empty camp site anywhere in Pennsylvania on Memorial Day weekend.  Good luck with that.
Over the past 40+ years I've been to a bunch of State Parks for a variety of reasons with a variety of people.  Here are (in no particular order) all the Pennsylvania State Parks I've been to (so far)...with a few of my memories attached.  Hope you enjoy!

PENN ROOSEVELT STATE PARK


Penn Roosevelt State Park is a small, 41 acre park, located in the Seven Mountain Region near State College, PA.  All of the pictures are from a ride Mark Lentz and I took in Rothrock State Forest which surrounds the park -- June 28, 2014


PINE GROVE FURNACE STATE PARK

For me, Pine Grove Furnace and mountain biking go hand-in-hand.  Since 2006, we've used the parking lot and picnic area of the park, as a launching point for 99% of our mountain bike excursions in Michaux State Forest.  This 696 acre park is located in an area known as South Mountain (the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains).

Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Our mountain biking gear after one of our first rides in Michaux (2006); Bill Graves and Mark Lentz washing up after a day of riding (2006); packing up the vehicles after our last summer ride (August 2016); Dave Raymond & Mark Lentz on a ridge overlooking Pine Grove Furnace (July 14, 2014); Post ride grilling (July 24, 2014)

Check out this photosphere which shows the Furnace Stack Area of the park.

OHIOPYLE STATE PARK

I'm not sure where to begin!  Ohiopyle has been a family tradition for more than 70 years!  My parents began bringing my brother and I to Ohiopyle when we were very young.  I've made a point to continue the tradition and it's become a favorite place for both my wife, and my son.  Located on the Laurel Ridge in southwestern Pennsylvania, Ohiopyle State Park is 20,500 acres of pure awesomeness!  Hiking, camping, mountain biking, white water rafting...if you want it...it's probably there!

Top to Bottom//Left To Right:  Me mountain biking Sugarloaf Trail (2006); Taking on the Natural Water Slide (July 18, 2014); My son, Alex, and I near Cucumber Falls (July 14, 2015); Cooling off in the Yough! (2006); Hiking with my wife, Robin (May 24, 2015); Amazing pic of me near Cucumber Falls (July 14, 2015); Robin and I (July 20, 2014); A visit from Mary Jane and my Dad while camping (June 17, 2016); "Hiking" with my daughter, Emma, near Cucumber Falls (July 18, 2014); My son, Alex, taking on the Natural Water Slide (July 18, 2014); and Alex skipping rocks (July 14, 2015)

Videos Below:  Taking on the Natural Water Slide (July 18, 2014) and the main falls at Ohiopyle (July 19 & 20, 2014)
To see how much of a family tradition Ohiopyle has been be sure to read:  PASSING ON OHIOPYLE





SHAWNEE STATE PARK

Shawnee State Park is the park of my "growing up in Bedford" childhood.  I remember summer mornings, boarding a school bus, and heading out for swimming lessons at Shawnee Lake...the focal point of the the 3,983 acre park.  As an adult, I've ridden my road bike out there from my dad's house in Bedford and taken hikes with my wife, son, dad, and step-mom.

Left to Right:  My bike near Shawnee Lake (July 10, 2015); Fourth of July hike with dad, Mary Jane, Alex, and Robin (July 4, 2014)

POE VALLEY STATE PARK

Poe Valley State Park is a 620 acre park located near Bald Eagle State Forest in Centre County, Pennsylvania.  Mark and I were just a couple of "poe" boys mountain biking there on our last day of riding in the forests around State College, PA -- June 29, 2014

POINT PARK STATE PARK

Point Park State Park is located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, PA.  Known as the "Forks of the Ohio" this ground was the site of France's Fort Duquesne and then Great Britain's Fort Pitt.  This strategic piece of North America was key to the control of the fur trade in North America and was fought over by the French and the British in what we know as the French and Indian War (globally known as the Seven Years War) -- July 2014

GIFFORD PINCHOT STATE PARK

Encompassing 2,338 acres of land in York County, Gifford Pinchot State Park is ideal for boating, fishing, and camping.  I've ridden my road bike through the area numerous times.  I've been part of quite a few summer time "teacher debriefings" at Pinchot with colleagues.  My wife, Robin, and I also took my nieces Jackie & Sophie there on their first camping trip!

Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Mike Ritts & Pedro Mena winding down after a long school year (June 2013); Preparing dinner (June 2013); Mike Ritts & David Raymond (June 2013); Sophie, Aunt Robin, Jackie, and Uncle Dave enjoying the campfire (July 2014); Sophie & Jackie Raymond (July 2104); Robin and David Raymond (July 2014)

 SWATARA STATE PARK

Swatara State Park is a favorite mountain biking destination for the guys in our group.  Miles and miles of twisty, turny, fun single track!  The 3,520 acres that make up Swatara State Park are nestled in the Swatara Valley north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Top to Bottom:  David Raymond & Tim Sindlinger (July 1, 2014); David Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, Matt Linnane, and Brent Shirk (September 5, 2015)

Below:  Video of David Raymond & Tim Sindlinger mountain biking in Swatara State Park (2015)



GREENWOOD FURNACE STATE PARK

Greenwood Furnace State Park is on the western edge of the Seven Mountains in northeastern Huntingdon County.  The park covers 423 acres, including a six-acre lake, campground, hiking trails, and a historic district. The park provides access to backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, hunting, and fishing in the surrounding 80,000-acre Rothrock State Forest.  Mark and I passed through the park on multi-day mountain biking trip in the area around State College, Pennsylvania -- June 28, 2014.

CALEDONIA STATE PARK

Caledonia State Park straddles Adams and Franklin Counties.  The 1,125 acre park is surrounded by Michaux State Forest.  Just west of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Caledonia is a favorite destination for hiking, camping, and picnicking.  Mark Lentz and I explored the area on our mountain bikes on Columbus Day 2015.

Left to Right:  Robin & David Raymond (Memorial Day Weekend 2012); My 2011 Stumpjumper resting on the Thaddeus Stevens Iron Furnace (October 2015)

 TROUGH CREEK STATE PARK

I first experienced Trough Creek State Park as a kid.  My mom and dad took my brother and I there for a picnic after a day of riding the water slides near Raystown Lake.  The 541 acre park, which cuts through Terrace Mountain, includes some super kool attractions such as a balancing rock, water falls, an ice cave, and a swinging bridge.  I've revisited the park twice as an adult.  First with Mark and Mikey after mountain biking the Allegrippis Trails near Raystown Lake and then on a brief hiking trip with my wife, Robin.

Top to Bottom//Left to Right: David Raymond on the swinging bridge (August 8, 2015);  Robin and I hiking in Trough Creek State Park (August 8, 2015); David Raymond, Mark Lentz, & Mikey Nardelli next to the balancing rock (October 14, 2013)

 PROMISED LAND STATE PARK

Promised Land State Park includes approximately 3,000 acres and is located on the Pocono Plateau (about 1,800 feet above sea level).  I was only there once...and I don't remember much.  In June of 2009, Kristian Hains, Jay Zech, and I participated in the Cradle of Liberty 24-hour Adventure Race.  It began in Promised Land State Park and was one of the toughest events I've ever participated in!

 FRENCH CREEK STATE PARK

French Creek State Park is the largest block of contiguous forest between Washington, D.C. and New York City.  Located in the Schuylkill Highlands, the 7,730-acre park is perfect for hiking, fishing, camping, and biking.  The mountain biking in French Creek is some of the toughest around and it was the sight of the French Creek Fling 2-man adventure race.

Top Right:  Dave Raymond mountain biking the trails in French Creek (2009); Remainder of the pics:  Bill Graves and David Raymond in the 2010 French Creek Fling Adventure Race (October 10, 2010); 

 RAYMOND B. WINTER STATE PARK

Mark Lentz, Mikey Nardelli, and I spent 3 fun days mountain biking and camping in Raymond B. Winter State Park in July of 2011.  This 695 acre park is located within the extreme eastern edge of Bald Eagle State Forest.

Below:  Mikey taking on a wooden bridge near Raymond B. Winter State Park



BUCHANAN'S BIRTHPLACE STATE PARK

Okay...this one brings out the complete NERD within me!  Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park is an 18.5-acre park nestled in a gap of Tuscarora Mountain in Franklin County. It is the site of the the birthplace of our nation's 15th president, James Buchanan.  I visited the park just last week with my wife, Robin, on our way home from my dad's house in Bedford.  No mountain biking... this small State Park offers picnic areas, trout fishing in Buck Run, and a chance for history teachers, like me, to completely get their NERD on!

Check out this ultra kool photosphere I took while I was there!

Pennsylvania's state parks have been such a big part of my life.  Ohiopyle has been, and continues to be, a family tradition.  Shawnee brings back so many childhood memories.  Pine Grove Furnace has become, for me, synonymous with mountain biking.  The parks are beautiful...they are convenient...and, best of all, they are free to the public (even for all of you out-of-staters)!  Today, they are run through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  Improvements are constantly being made (yep...no more smelly green bathroom at Pine Grove Furnace).  So...whether your thing is camping, or hunting, or hiking, or mountain biking...whether it's with your family, with your friends, or on your own...check out a state park near you.  The only money you'll need is for the ice cream on the way home because, in Pennsylvania, the OUTSIDE IS FREE!

Just me and Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park -- July 14, 2015 

Life is a journey...not a destination!



David A. Raymond -- March 11, 2017


My mom, Kathy Raymond, helped PASS ON OHIOPYLE to my brother and I -- 1980

If you enjoyed this post, then by all means, feel free to TWEET IT.

Here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post:

(JUNE 28, 2014) Riding Penn Roosevelt State Park and Greenwood Furnace State Park with Mark Lentz

(JUNE 29, 2014) Riding in Poe Valley State Park with Mark Lentz

(SEPTEMBER 5, 2015) Riding Swatara State Park with Tim, Matt, and Brent