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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

MY NERDY BIKE RIDES

Last weekend, completely unexpectedly, I found myself putting my Roubaix on top of the car and driving 70 miles east to Valley Forge National Historical Park.  I've always wanted to take my bike there and ride through the park...and, with my Saturday completely wide open, I snagged the opportunity.  Granted...I wish my wife could have been with me...or, for that matter, any of my riding friends...but I was perfectly content to be there by myself.  Just me and my bike and a whole lot of nerdiness.  I've been to Valley Forge quite a few times...but never on my bike.  The thing that amazed me about my bike ride through the area used as a winter encampment by General George Washington and the Continental Army in 1777 and 1778 was how much of more of the park I was able to see by riding my bike as opposed to driving through.  I saw entrenchments, land formations, and smaller monuments and markers that I had never noticed.  So cool...and yes, very nerdy.  All in all...it was a perfect Saturday...allowing me to combine my love for cycling and history.


Standing with a statue of Baron Von Stueben at Valley Forge National Historical Park -- September  7, 2019

Valley Forge National Historical Park -- September 7, 2019

My Roubaix leaning against one of the reconstructed soldiers cabins at Valley Forge National Historical Park. -- September 7, 2019

Standing proudly next to a monument, dedicated in memory of the Continental Army, placed at Valley Forge by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. -- September 7, 2019

I've always been fascinated by how much I can see and explore on my bicycle.  It is, hands down, the best way to see a National Park like Gettysburg....no getting in an out of cars or looking for parking spaces.  Sometimes these rides are planned...like my recent trip to Valley Forge and my many excursions to Gettysburg Military Park.  Sometimes they happen because I'm able to take my bike along on a road trip...like my awesome ride to Kitty Hawk this summer to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial.  But most of the times, they happen by chance because of the close proximity of so much incredibly nerdy stuff within biking distance of my driveway in York County, Pennsylvania.  I've completely channeled my inner nerd as I've pedaled through the Old Gates in Saint Augustine, Florida...as I cruised down the streets in my home town of Bedford, Pennsylvania...as I stopped to admire 17th century anchors on display in Jupiter, Florida...and visited random grave sites of lesser known signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Riding the Gettysburg National Military Park with my friend, Eric Sweitzer. (unknown photographer) -- Summer of 2005


Spending a completely nerdy day with my son, Alex (11 years old at the time) on our bikes at the Gettysburg National Military Park --  July 22, 2010


Riding past the reconstructed Fort Bedford in Bedford, Pennsylvania. -- July 6, 2016


Riding past the Bedford Springs Hotel...once the summer vacation spots for Presidents Polk and Buchanan. -- July 6, 2016


Standing next to the Espy House in Bedford, Pa.  This building was used by President George Washington as a headquarters during the Whiskey Rebellion. -- July 4, 2019


Stopping to check out the massive mural of George Washington located on Pitt Street in Bedford, Pa. -- September 20, 2014

On this particular morning, my bike ride took me past the grave of James Smith, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. -- September 7, 2015

The remains of Codorus Furnace.  Once owned by James Smith (signer of the Declaration of Independence) the furnace was used to make ammunition for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War  -- September 26, 2015

This monument marks the Battle of Hanover,which was fought on June 30, 1863 just prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, in Hanover, Pennsylvania  -- October 18, 2015

Checking out the Cape May Lighthouse in Cape May, New Jersey. -- April 11, 2015

I came across this statue while riding in York City.  It was erected in memory of the citizens of York who served in the Revolutionary War. -- March 31, 2019

Getting super nerdy at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida -- November 29, 2015


My bike parked at the Old City Gates in St. Augustine, Florida -- November 29, 2015

Examining an old Spanish anchor in Jupiter Lighthouse Park -- November 30, 2017

My bike sitting in front of the York Colonial Courthouse.  The structure is a reconstruction of the building that housed the Continental Congress while they were in exiled from Philadelphia in the Revolutionary War.  It was during this time that the Congress drafted the Articles of Confederation, our nation's first working Constitution. -- August 22, 2015

Happily posing with my bike at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. -- June 10, 2019

Julien Linne and Dave Raymond at the Wright Brothers National Memorial -- June 10, 2019

History isn't just found along the road side, nor is it strictly found in urban areas.  More often than you think, I stumble across nerdy historical places in the forests while mountain biking. Sure, I've yet to find a civil war cannon setting along the trail...but there are plenty of remains of 18th and 19th century iron furnaces all along the mountain sides.  Nestled in the mountains of Michaux State Forest you can explore the remains of Camp Michaux which was first used as a CCC Camp, then a secret German and Japanese prisoner of war interrogation camp, and then, in its final form, a church camp.  On my mountain  bike I've found historical survey markers, monuments to historical people and events, remnants of canals which are no longer in use, and even the remains of a long forgotten 19th century resort for the affluent and wealthy of the city of Harrisburg.

Exploring the ruins of Cold Spring Resort located in State Game Lands northeast of Harrisburg, PA  -- June 5, 2017

This marker along the trails in Patapsco Valley State Park indicates the spot where Captain John Smith left a Maltese Cross during his exploration of the Chesapeake between the years 1607 and 1609.  -- December 27, 2018

Showing Ben Kelly the remains of Camp Michaux in Michaux State Forest. -- July 10, 2018

Our mountain bikes resting on the remains of the fountain at Camp Michaux in Michaux State Forest. -- July 10, 2018

My bike leaning against the iron furnace (once owned by Pennsylvania abolitionist and congressman, Thaddeus Stevens) in Caledonia State Park. -- October 12, 2015

While mountain biking near State College, Pennsylvania I took a detour and explored Greenwood Furnace State Park. -- June 28, 2014

I know it is hard to see, but this under grow of trees is growing inside of the remains of the Pennsylvania Canal which once connected the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Construction of the canal began in 1826.  The canal opened in 1840 and was in use until the year 1900.  This picture was taken while I was mountain biking in Swatara State Park.  -- April 7, 2018

Riding past the remains of the Landisburg Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Tuscarora State Forest.  The camp was in operation from 1933-1937 -- July 6, 2017

Sometimes it's really hard for me to believe how many places I've been able to explore while on my bike...I've ridden across battlefields, past cemeteries, down the streets of historical towns, around the remains of once great structures, and even to the front steps of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  These rides have not only helped me meet my need for exercise, satisfied my cravings for as much Vitamin N as possible, and fed my my inner nerd...but, my hopefully help me share my love of history (and maybe even the outdoors) with the students in my history classes...our next generation.  All of this because of my nerdy bike rides.  Cool.



The statue of the Marquis de Lafayette located on Market Street in York, Pennsylvania.  He looks great with my biking gear. -- July 11, 2019

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- September 17, 2019



You never know who you will run into while on a bike ride.  I was so stoked to take this selfie with Dr. Franklin. -- July 11, 2019


Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from some of the nerdy 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 
 and 


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

Friday, August 30, 2019

WHEN I WASN'T ON MY BIKE...

One of my college professors once said that the three best perks about being a teacher are June, July, and August.  I'm not sure if that is true...there are so many aspects of my job that are incredibly rewarding...but I have to admit that I do love my summers.  My boss likes tells us to use our summers for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.  The amount of actual "rest and relaxation" I gave myself the past few months is up for debate...but I can definitely check off the rejuvenate box.  And so, with August rapidly coming to a close, Labor Day just around the corner, and the 2019/2020 school year already in full swing...I'm beginning to take stock of just how many ways I've had to rejuvenate mind and body over the past three months.
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Enjoying an amazing hike to Black Rock Summit near Skyline Drive in Virginia. -- July 20, 2019

It's a poorly kept secret that I ride my bike as much as I can during the summer months...but there are so many other things that I love to do with my June, July, and August.  I'm not one that is very good at sitting still.  For me...being at rest is not necessarily being at ease.  Conversely...being at ease doesn't always equate to being at rest. So...when I'm not on my bike...what does rest and relaxation look like?  It means a lot traveling with my wife (one of my absolute favorite things to do) and spending time with family and friends.  It includes camping trips, white water rafting, and hiking.  It might take the form of nerdy "8th grade field trips" to historical sites...a trip to Pittsburgh to watch the Pirates play ball at PNC Park...musicals at the Hippodrome in Baltimore...and taking in the beauty of Longwood Gardens.  Basically, all of the things I love to do that DON'T require my bicycle.

David and Robin Raymond at the top of Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, North Carolina. -- June 14, 2019


A wonderful Father's Day gathering in Bedford, Pennsylvania.  Left to Right:  Jennifer Gull, Jacob Raymond, Jackie Raymond, Dave Raymond (father), Jane Black, Mary Jane Raymond, Galen Black, Sophie Raymond, Alex Raymond, David Raymond, Isaac Raymond, Blythe Arnold-Scott, and Robin Raymond. -- July 16, 2019


Alex, David, and Jackie Raymond exploring (and apparently guarding the gate at) Fort Ligonier. -- June 17, 2019


David and Alex Raymond relaxing around the campfire at Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 19, 2019


Braving the rapids of the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park.  Left to Right:  David Raymond, Jackie Raymond, Mia Arnold-Scott, Devin Seiger, and Alex Raymond. -- June 18, 2019


Yes!  My new Chevy Silverado.  And...I purchased it from a former student of mine at Thornton Chevrolet...William Greenfield.  Thanks, bud! -- June 29, 2019


An amazing evening with my gorgeous wife at the Hippodrome in Baltimore, Maryland to see HAMILTON. -- June 29, 2019


Nothing like spending the Fourth of July with family!  Left to Right/Top to Bottom:  Robin Raymond, Alex Raymond, Mary Jane Raymond, Galen Black, and my dad, Dave Raymond. -- July 4, 2019


Hiking excursion with Robin through and around Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park. -- July 5, 2019


Hiking behind Cucumber falls with Emma Sadowski, Alex, and Robin. -- July 5, 2019


Hiking to Jonathan Run Falls in Ohiopyle State Park with Robin, Alex, and Emma Sadowski. -- July 6, 2019


Touring Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece, Fallingwater with Robin, Emma Sadowski, and Alex. -- July 7, 2019


Out to dinner in Carlisle, PA with some of my compadres from NMS.  Left to Right:  Charlie Lenhart, Kirby Brubaker, Jeff Plummer, Russ Blake, Eric Gimbi, and David Raymond. -- July 10, 2019


My nerdy self toured the homes of four U.S. Presidents with my wonderful wife, Robin.  Left to Right/Top to Bottom:  Woodrow Wilson's Birthplace (July 22, 2019), Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (July 21, 2019), James Madison's Montpelier (July 20, 2019), and James Monroe's Highland (July 21, 2019)


Hiking to Black Rock Summit in the Shenandoah National Park with Robin. -- July 20, 2019


Touring Luray Caverns with Robin. -- July 22, 2019


A day at Delgrosso's Park in Tipton, PA.  Left to Right:  Julien Linne, Blythe Arnold-Scott, Jackie Raymond, Shalice Gull, Mia Arnold-Scott, Robin Raymond, Isaac Raymond, David Raymond, Sophie Raymond, Mary Jane Raymond, Dave Raymond, and Jacob Raymond. -- July 25, 2019


Hanging out with Jackie and Shalice at Delgrosso's! -- July 25, 2019


Hiking through Round Top and Devil's Den at the Gettysburg National Military Park with Shalice, Isaac, Sophie, and Jackie. -- July 26, 2019

Exploring the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. with Jackie, Shalice, Alex, Sophie, Isaac, and Robin. -- July 27, 2019


Hiking at Rocky Ridge County Park with Robin, Isaac, Sophie, Shalice, and Jackie. -- July 28, 2019


Jackie, Shalice and I visiting my Aunt Deb Morosky to work on the family tree. 


Touring Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA with Jackie, Shalice and Mia. -- August 8, 2019


Eric Gimbi and Dave Raymond...two nerdy history teachers checking out the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA.  -- August 8, 2019


Enjoying the beauty of Longwood Gardens, near Kennet Square, PA, with Kevin, Mia, and Robin. -- August 10, 2019


Longwood Gardens with Robin. -- August 10, 2019


Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Mike Graham and Alex. -- August 14, 2019


Tailgating outside of PNC Park before the Pirates/Cubs game.  Alex, Sophie, Robin, and David Raymond. -- August 17, 2019


Enjoying the Pirates/Cubs game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Alex, Sophie, Robin, and David Raymond -- August 17, 2019

I'm not sure how much traditional "rest" I got this summer...but I sure was energized and rejuvenated by spending as much time as I could with the people I love the most, stimulating my mind with as much nerdiness as possible,  and exposing myself to a ton of  Vitamin N.  It was a great summer...possibly one of the best ever...thanks, in no small part, to all of the amazing people I was able to hang out with and the awesome places I was able to experience when I wasn't on my bike.


In between all of my summer activities and bike rides I worked at Gung Ho Bikes with some of the best and most friendly people that I know!  Left to Right:  Ben Kelly, Joe Hydrick, and Dave Raymond. -- August 15, 2019


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- August 30, 2019



Enjoying an evening dessert at Vacarro's with my beautiful wife, Robin. -- August 2, 2019



Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from some of the adventures 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