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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

ALL SUMMER LONG

The first Tuesday of the new school year is one of the hardest days of the year for me.  Those who know me well know that I don't mind going back to school and I usually look forward to it.  I have a passion for what I teach and I look forward to the routine...but that first Tuesday back is rough.  You see, all summer long, Tuesday is my designated "mountain biking in Michaux" day...my day dedicated to riding with my friends and soaking up as much Vitamin N as possible.

Taking a breather and just loving the moment. -- June 25, 2019

Our Tuesday rides in Michaux were especially fun and highlighted by a few things.  First...I was completely stoked to be asked by the bike shop to lead an intermediate ride for Gung Ho Bike's annual Michaux Fest.  Approximately 15 people signed up for what ended up being 14ish miles of nothing but super fun single track.  I loved having the opportunity to share my knowledge of the trails with the great group that was with me and I already have a plan for next year's event.  Secondly, the purchase of a Purple Lizard map of the forest payed dividends all summer long.  Each ride (with the exception of the Michaux Fest ride) included at least one "new to me" trail...eliminating that "same old ride" feeling and making each weekly excursion and brand new adventure...allowing us to find (intentionally and sometimes not so intentionally) new trails, new vistas, and new ways to link the forest together.  Another highlight was the weather...all summer long, nothing but sun and blue skies awaited us when when pulled into the parking lot at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  And finally, it wouldn't be summer riding in Michaux if it wasn't for the guys who make the rides what they are.  Tim and Matt made it for most of the rides...but Ben Kelly was able to enjoy three of the rides, Brent Shirk was able to take time out of his busy schedule to ride with us, and two of the young men who work at the bike shop with Ben and I (Josh Coleman and Brandon Shirk) were introduced to Michaux State Forest for the very first time.


Finding "new" vistas with Ben Kelly in Michaux State Forest -- June 6, 2019

My neighbor and Gung Ho employee, Brandon Shirk, came to help me pre-ride the trails that I planned to lead a group ride for Gung Ho's annual Michaux Fest --  June 25, 2019

Leading the Michaux Fest intermediate group on a 14ish mile ride through Michaux State Forest -- June 30, 2019

Michaux Fest Intermediate group. -- June 30, 2019

Special thanks to my neighbor, and good friend, Brent Shirk, who served as my "sweeper" during our Michaux Fest ride  -- June 30, 2019

For our first ride of July, Matt, Tim, and I decided to do a patriotic, July 4th theme.  -- July 2, 2019

Tim, Matt, and I sporting our red, white, and blue for our pre-July 4th ride. -- July 2, 2019

Matt, Tim, and I exploring the area near the Chambersburg Reservoir -- July 9, 2019

Matt descending down the rocky trail that makes up the southern end of Abigail Trail in Michaux State Forest  -- July 9, 2019

I love riding the trails that snake underneath power lines!  -- July 9, 2019

Riding along Community Service Trail with Tim.  -- July 16, 2019

Ridgeline Trail took us through this incredibly beautiful section of the forest that  seemed to be an endless sea of ferns. -- July 30, 2019

Matt riding the single track that parallels Ridge Road in Michaux State Forest -- July 30, 2019

Dave Raymond, Ben Kelly, Tim Sindlinger, and Matt Linnane in Michaux State Forest -- August 6, 2019

Ben Kelly riding Grave Ridge Trail in Michaux State Forest -- August 6, 2019

Dave Raymond riding Grave Ridge Trail in Michaux State Forest -- August 6, 2019

For our final Tuesday Ride of the summer, we tried to piece together as much of the "new to us" trails that we had explored over the previous weeks.  Left to right:  Ben Kelly, Josh Coleman, Brent Shirk, Tim Sindlinger, and Dave Raymond -- August 13, 2019

Josh Coleman...one of the most super cool kids that I know...had a blast riding the rocky sections above Vista Trail in MIchaux State Forest. -- July 13, 2019

 Ben Kelly riding in Michaux State Forest -- August 13, 2019

Twice...on my first and last rides of the summer...I was thrown over the handlebars by the same freaking stump!  At least the landing spot was soft.  -- August 13, 2019

Our helmet tree at the Vista in Michaux State Forest -- August 13, 2019

I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a tad bit bummed out sitting in staff development this morning...the first Tuesday of the school year...wishing that I was on my bike with my friends.  But, back to the classroom I go... getting back to a routine and looking forward to what I'm sure will be another great and rewarding year with my 8th graders.  Obviously, I will keep on riding throughout the school year...and I'm sure that a few more trips to Michaux are in the cards before the end of the year...but our summer Tuesday rides are now on hiatus until next June...at which time...hopefully we will once again continue our tradition of riding each Tuesday...all summer long.

I began my summer with a ride with Ben Kelly...and I ended it the same way.  When it was over we took a well deserved rest on the lounge chairs near the trail head at the Hershey Medical Center  Trail System.  -- August 16, 2019


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond --  August 20, 2019



Yeah...there was plenty of ice cream after each ride...but the post-ride picnic provided by Jay and Penny Zech as part of this year's Michaux Fest was super amazing!  -- June 30, 2019


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@mountnbiker73

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from our Tuesday Michaux rides featured in this post.  #OptOutside




















All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at 
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"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Friday, August 2, 2019

OUR LOVELY (and nerdy) ADVENTURE

The third week of July has become one of my favorite weeks of the year.  It is the week that Robin and I celebrate our wedding anniversary...and the week that we continue a super cool tradition of surprising  each other with an anniversary trip.  This year, it was Robin's turn to plan the trip...and what a wonderful, lovely, (and nerdy) trip it was.  Robin put together an adventure that took us to central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.  Our four day celebration included good food, tours of the homes of four U.S. presidents, one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever taken, and an excursion through the awe-inspiring Luray Caverns.

David and Robin Raymond at the entrance to James Madison's Montpelier. -- July 20, 2019

We arrived in Charlottesville, Virginia just in time for the 100+ degree heat that was blanketing the East Coast last month.  Fortunately, the extreme heat didn't prevent us from doing anything that we had planned.  The first stop on our journey was the home of James Madison, Montpelier.  Robin and I had been here once before...so this time we took a tour that focused on Madison's most significant contribution to our nation...his role in drafting the U.S. Constitution.  The tour was excellent, but the most moving part of our day at Montpelier was our time at The Mere Distinction of Colour exhibit which is on display in the basement of the mansion.  Focusing on the lives of the enslaved people who lived at Montpelier, the exhibit was extremely moving and impactful in it's simplicity.


About to take the Constitution Tour at James Madison's Montpelier. -- July 20, 2019



Standing behind James Madison's desk in his study.  It is very possible that the backbone of the U.S. Constitution...the Virginia Plan...was devised at this very desk! -- July 20, 2019


Touring The Mere Distinction of Colour exhibition and learning more the realities of the enslaved population at Montpelier. -- July 20, 2019


Having a lively discussion with POTUS #4...James Madison! -- July 20, 2019

Leaving Montpelier, Robin and I headed for a evening drive in Shenandoah National Park on Skyline Drive.  For three hours, we drove from look out to look out to see the breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley.  By 8 o'clock, we decided to find a place along Skyline Drive to hike and watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains.  We chose a spot, which is part of the Appalachian Trail, that led us to a place known as Black Rock Summit.  The two mile hike to the summit turned out to me so much more than we expected.  We reached the opening in the summit just as the sun was setting...illuminating the sky and the surrounding landscape into one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen.

Virginia's Shenandoah Valley seen from Skyline Drive. -- July 20, 2019


Virginia's Shenandoah Valley seen from Skyline Drive. -- July 20, 2019

Hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail to get to Black Rock Summit. -- July 20, 2019


Hiking to Black Rock Summit. -- July 20, 2019


Reaching Black Rock Summit as the sun is setting. -- July 20, 2019


Watching the sun set over the Shenandoah Valley from Black Rock Summit. -- July 20, 2019


David Raymond at Black Rock Summit. -- July 20, 2019

Robin and David Raymond at Black Rock Summit. -- July 20, 2019

The nerdiness didn't stop on the second day as Robin and I visited the homes of James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson.  I was eager to get back to James Monroe's, Highland.  Robin and I were here in 2012 to tour the home...only to find out in 2016 that the farm house that was presented as James Monroe's home wasn't actually his house.  Since that time, an archaeological dig has been instigated on the site revealing the remains of James Monroe's true home.  Three miles away, Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, never ceases to disappoint.  Because we have both been to Monticello, Robin and I wanted to tour the home from another point of view...so we participated in the Sally Hemings Tour which presented the home from the perspective of Sally Hemings and the others who were enslaved at Monticello.  After the tour, as Robin and I were walking around Monticello, we began to hear thunder in the distance.  The winds from the approaching storm cooled the summer heat and made for a very memorable hike down the mountain and back to the visitor center. 

Getting especially nerdy with President James Monroe. -- July 21, 2019


Standing near the newly excavated foundation of President James Monroe's home. -- July 21, 2019


The flower were in full bloom at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. -- July 21, 2019

David and Robin Raymond at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. -- July 21, 2019


I was especially proud of this pic that I took of Thomas Jefferson's home reflecting in the pool near his house. -- July 21, 2019



A summer time storm rolling our way.  This pic was taken near Mulberry Row and Thomas Jefferson's gardens. -- July 21, 2019

That evening, Robin and I arrived at Steeles Tavern Manor near Staunton, Virginia.
Since we've been together, Robin and I have been to many Bed and Breakfasts...but this one, I think, is my favorite.  Our hosts, Dana and Trey were amazing, and the house was absolutely beautiful.  Robin couldn't have picked a more perfect place for us to stay on our anniversary night.  After breakfast at Steeles Tavern Manor, Robin and I headed out for the last day of our anniversary trip.  We decided to tour the birthplace of president Woodrow Wilson in Staunton, Virginia and then a captivating tour of Luray Caverns.   

Steeles Tavern Manor Bed and Breakfast in Steeles Tavern, VA. -- July 21, 2019


Happy anniversary to David and Robin. -- July 21, 2019

My beautiful wife and I headed out for our anniversary dinner. -- July 21, 2019


Touring Woodrow Wilson's birthplace in Staunton, VA. -- July 22, 2019

Saw this super cool "velocipede" at Woodrow Wilson's birthplace. -- July 22, 2019

David and Robin Raymond touring Luray Caverns. -- July 22, 2019

The ceiling of Luray Caverns being reflected in a pool of water directly below.  Super cool! -- July 22, 2019


The Great Stalacpipe Organ in Luray Caverns, VA -- July 22, 2019


I love traveling with my wife...we do it well together...always finding fun and adventure wherever we go.  Thank you, Sweetheart, for planning such a lovely, and equally as nerdy, adventure.  I'm sure that year seven will be just as wonderful!  I love you!

Enjoying an anniversary dessert at the Split Banana in Staunton, VA. -- July 21, 2019



Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- August 2, 2019




Happy 6th Anniversary, Robin....Here's a look back at our adventures over the past year. 

Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the hikes featured in this post.  #OptOutside






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


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