Tuesday, September 29, 2015


A helmet is a must when mountain biking.   Knock on wood...I've never forgotten mine.   With clipless pedals on my Stumpjumper...biking shoes are also a must.   I've forgotten them once.  Today, at Rocky Ridge with Mark, I forgot my gloves.   Nowhere near as serious as forgetting shoes or helmet...but a big inconvenience.  

Power lines coming from TMI were filling the air with electricity today -- September 29, 2015
The weather guys said the rain was going be over the area after 5 PM but the atmosphere was already like a sponge and, like an elderly man in the middle of the night, unable to hold it's water.  I did okay without my gloves for about 20 minutes but, after I began to sweat and after the rain began to come down, things got tricky.   Rocky Ridge can be tough in dry weather.   Add a little rain, sweat, and bare palms and it gets pretty interesting.  

After riding up "Forbidden Four" and then back down "Rusty Chair" Mark and I came up Trail One.  It's a nice wide walking path that connects the northern ridge of the park to the southern ridge.

Trail One looking back toward the north.   The circular patch in the middle of the picture is a duck pond that has completely dried up because of the extremely dry weather in central PA the past few months -- September 29, 2015
The trail meanders underneath the power lines that come from Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.  The air was electric.  Literally.   You could hear it and you could feel it (at least I could...can't speak for Mark.)   Take a listen for yourself!

Mark's plan today was to ride for about an hour and then commute on his bike to his home in York City.  Considering the conditions and the short time we ended up getting in a fun ride.   A few big climbs and a few excellent descents.   We split up at the bottom of trail 8.  He headed down and out of the park to Druck Valley Road.  I climbed up and out and back to the truck.   Soaked with rain and sweat and feeling pretty good.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- September 29, 2015

Look out on the northern ridge of Rocky Ridge -- September 29, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

FINDING MY GROOVE -- September 27, 2015

My entire life has been centered around structure...Catholic school, altar boy, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, high school football....yep, structure.  I've always been early to rise and ready to get on with my day.   Even as an adult I plan my workouts before my work day (or day off) starts.   I'm at my worst when there is no structure.   My brain tends to go into either panic or shut down mode.   I know this about myself.  Don't get me wrong...I work on this...but sometimes it's hard.   God bless my wife because she has so much patience with me. 

Stone wall on Lewisberry Road looking north -- September 27, 2015
I say all this because I went to bed last night already with today structured in my head.   Get up...have breakfast with my wife...take Alex to his baseball games...and then, like last Saturday, go for a ride while I wait for his games to start.  I even had my route planned out.   I was going to take some back roads that I had never ridden into Red Lion and then swing back past Lake Redman just in time for the games to start.

Lewisberry Road in York County -- September 27, 2015
Great plan...except it didn't happen.   Here comes "shut down" mode.  Robin had to go away and wasn't back in time for breakfast.  Our breakfast date turned into a lunch date.   There's absolutely no way I'm missing a date with my wife.   The solution was easy...just go for a ride this morning before she got back.  I know this sounds simple but it was not how I planned my day.    Twenty years ago I would have let his shut me down.  Thing is, I know that even though I felt thrown "out of my groove," going for a ride is exactly what would solve my problem.

Looking northwest from Bear Road -- September 27, 2015
Off I went...but now with a new dilemma.  In my mind I had already formulated what I was going to write about this afternoon:  new roads and the lakes.   Scrap that.   As I headed out and began to turn my pedals down Board Road I even began to question if I needed to write about anything.   I mean, is it necessary every ride?  Then the most amazing thing began to happen.   I just rode and everything came into focus.    I finally got my groove.   My mood changed and, as I began to see the beauty around me, thoughts of my original plans faded away.   My mind stopped thinking about a ride lost and began to appreciate the ride I was on.   Amen to that.

David A. Raymond -- September 27, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

AGAINST THE AUTUMN WIND--September 26, 2015

Autumn in Pennsylvania is beautiful.   Jerusalem School Road lined on both sides by corn stalks about to be harvested -- September 26, 2015
Pennsylvania in the Fall is absolutely beautiful.   The foliage hasn't begun to turn yet but harvest season is in full swing.   The air is crisp and the breeze is comfortably cool.   My favorite time of year.  It felt great to be out on the bike today after such a long week...not having any real destination in mind.   After meandering through a few neighborhoods in Emigsville I ended up in the miniature community of Glades, PA.   Talk about small town, rural Pennsylvania!  
Talk about a small far as I can tell this is the only public building in Glades, PA -- September 26, 2015
Descending towards the Codorus Creek from Glades I passes a few old stone walls, stone buildings, and a really cool looking mill pond.  Sometimes I wish I could glimpse back in time to see what the area looked like one or two hundred years ago.  

Gravel Road between Saginaw, PA and Mount Wolf, PA -- September 26, 2015
Climbing back towards Manchester I survived the amazing foul smell of the East Manchester Waste Water Treatment Plant.  Just how long CAN someone hold their breathe while cycling!  A right turn onto Jerusalem School Road put me back onto some country roads.  The fresh air was welcome!  By now I had decided that I was going to head down towards Codorus Furnace and then home through Saginaw.  

I've mentioned the furnace a few other times in past blogs.   It was built by William Bennett in 1765 and eventually purchased in 1771 by James Smith, York County resident and signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Codorus Furnace is one of the best preserved iron furnaces in Pennsylvania and is the oldest remaining landmark of the iron industry in York County.  

Rode to Codorus Furnace today -- September 26, 2015

Large pieces of iron ore and salamander (residue left in the bottom of the furnace) line the entrance to Codorus Furnace preventing cars from driving too close -- September 26, 2015

Visible on the hill behind the furnace stack are the remains of the structures that helped service the furnace -- September 26, 2015
From the furnace I passed through Saginaw and then headed towards Gravel Road.   Just recently tarred and chipped I've been avoiding gravel road all summer.  Mainly because I hate pulling tar and gravel off of my bike.  I figured it would be okay today.   Heading up the hill I noticed all the walnuts that had fallen form the trees to the road surface.   My mind went straight back to growing up on South Juliana Street in Bedford, PA.  As a kid we had a walnut tree right in front of the house.   My my brother and I (along with the neighborhood friends Robbie, Beau, and those that I can't remember) would pick up the walnuts and either crack them open to eat them...or throw them across the street to see who had the best arm. Usually they were thrown...and we were in trouble.

Growing up on South Juliana Street in Bedford.   My mother, Kathryn Raymond, had an amazing garden and would allow us to sell her massive cucumbers to people who would stop by.   Left to right...Lacey Henderson,  David Raymond, Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson -- 1980
Riding through Mount Wolf, and then Manchester, I came to Main Street.   Sitting right on Main Street in Manchester is a brick building that serves today as a Chiropractic office.  What a lot of locals don't know is that the building, constructed in 1816, was once a tavern that hosted  the Marquis de Lafayette on his 1825 and 1826 tour of the United States.    I think that's pretty cool.  

Today the brick building in Manchester is a chiropractic center.   In the 19th century it was a tavern that hosted the Marquis de Lafayette--September 26, 2015
To the best of my knowledge there isn't a historical marker on the building.  I only found this out when a pickup truck accidentally drove into the building and the local newspaper, the York Daily Record, reported on it. 

Only two miles from home my mind turned to the steak I have marinating, the ice cream in the freezer, and the Pirates //Cubs game.   Time to go home to eat and Raise the Jolly Roger! #raiseit 

David A. Raymond -- September 26, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

SLOW RIDE (TAKE IT EASY) -- September 21, 2015

I love the fact that Rocky Ridge is only 15 minutes from my house.   I can be home from school by 3PM and at the park by 3:30.   Plenty of time to get a quick ride in on my mountain bike with Mark Lentz.   Mark and I both teach at Northeastern.   He and I have been riding together now for ten years.   Mark is good at what he does...both in the classroom and on his bike.   The best part is that he doesn't brag or show off in any way.   He's one of the few people I know that, at a moments notice, is there to help. Yesterday he raced and proudly "won a beer for his wife."  Today he just wanted to do a slow ride.   You know...take it easy.  

Getting ready to ride with Mark Lentz at Rocky Ridge -- September 21, 2015
We almost didn't get to ride.   Mark brought his "husky" bike.   He's been having trouble with the wheel set.   About a tenth of a mile down the trail his back tire blew up on may face and covered me with Stan's.   I guess I should explain.   Both Mark and I have tubeless tires.   Stan's is a liquid that is put into the tires to help keep them inflated.   It's wonderful (as long is it works).  It's sticky if it doesn't.  

Amazingly we were able to inflate Mark's tubeless "Husky" with just my hand pump.  Can't miss the Stan's painting the outside of his 3" tire -- September 21, 2015
Coating the parking lot with Stan's -- September 21, 2015
Amazingly we were able to get his big (not fat) tire inflated with just my pump.  That in itself was a workout.   Off we went...and take it easy we did.    That doesn't mean that we didn't burn a few calories.   We climbed out of  "Gut," rode up "Forbidden Four," & navigated Trail 8.   All things most people wouldn't do when they are going for a "slow" ride, but, as Mark always says, "If it's too hard for everyone else, it's just right for us."

David A. Raymond -- September 21, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Normally I plan my rides for early in the morning.   I've always been an early riser and I love getting my daily workout in before I have to do anything else that day.   It sets the tone for the rest of the day.  My wife says that she loves this about me.   I needed to sleep today, though.   I've been extremely tired.  My body woke me up at 8AM today....just in time for my weekly breakfast date with the beautiful Robin.  There were other things on the agenda today, too.  Alex had two baseball games.   I just decided to take my bike to West York and ride during the first couple innings of his first game.  

Sprenkle Road heading west towards Spring Grove, PA -- September 19, 2015
I started today's ride about 200 yards from my old house.   It was a weird feeling to be back in that neighborhood.  I wanted to ride things I haven't ridden for a while.   Turns out that I rode some roads that I've never been on.   Leaving Shiloh I headed towards Spring Grove, PA.  I didn't have any thoughts of actually going beyond Spring Grove.  I wanted to be back to see the last couple innings of Alex's first game.  
The farm fields in south and west of York are some of my favorite destinations on my road bike.  Those back roads just roll and roll and seemingly do not end.   Sometimes it feels like you can just ride all day long.   Riding out Route 116 I had every intention of turning right and doubling back towards Thomasville, PA; but, as you probably have figured out by now, when I'm on my bike I very rarely stick to my original plan.   Turning left put me on Stoverstown Road.   New territory for me.   Cool.

Train tracks on Grandview Road looking North towards Spring Grove, PA -- September 19, 2015
The "greenest" pond I've ever seen.   Sunnyside Road -- September 19, 2015 
Sunnyside Road turned out to be a treat.   Up and down and fast.   It was here that I passed the "greenest" pond that I had ever seen.   These back roads didn't disappoint.   Picturesque farm fields and train tracks.   Just what I was looking for today.   Eventually I did head back towards Thomasville and then turned left onto Route 30.   Not the best road to ride on...but traffic wasn't heavy.  

Thomasville Airport and Rt. 30 -- September 19, 2015
Passing the Thomasville Airport I turned onto Lake Road.   I've ridden this road many times....just not in this direction.   It brought me to roads that I am extremely familiar with:  Canal, Big Mount, and Admire.   The late September farm fields provided an excellent backdrop.   It was nice to be out today but I love watching my son play ball.   Time to head back and cheer him on.  What a great to be outside.

David A. Raymond -- September 19, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

SEPTEMBER MORNING -- September 12, 2015

The weather guys got the forecast spot on today.  If I wanted to get my ride in I needed to do it before 9 AM.   After that I could plan on dodging raindrops.  Setting an alarm for 6 AM on a Saturday morning isn't my favorite thing to do but it's what I had to do to avoid the rain...and get back for a breakfast date with my wife.
Sunrise at the York Fair, "America's First Fair" -- September 12, 2015
North gate of the York Fair -- September 12, 2015
I think I hit the sweet spot of the day.  Leaving the house I didn't see any signs of rain.  As a matter of fact, by the time I got down the Susquehanna Trail the sun was up in all of it's glory.  My goal today was the same as my goal last weekend.  I really wanted to get to Lakes Redman and Kain south of York City.  The most direct route took me past the York Fair.  Yesterday was the beginning of Fair Week in York.  I never saw anything like it prior to moving to the area in 1995.  York Fair is "America's First Fair" and has opened every September since 1765.  I passed the main gates and the some of the fair rides just as the morning sun was rising.  

September morning sunshine highlighting the tops of the corn fields along Hoke's Mill Road -- September 12, 2015
Just west of the fairgrounds I turned south onto Hoke's Mill Road.  By now the sun had fully risen and was making the tops of the drying cornstalks turn golden.  I stopped to take it in for a while and figure out what I wanted to do at this point.  Again, I wanted to get to the lakes, but that was looking less and less likely.  9AM....I need to be home...I have a date with my wife.  

Sun shining over the fields at the intersection of Indian Rock Dam Road and Access Road -- September 12, 2015
If the lakes weren't an option anymore I still had time to take a trip to Indian Rock Dam.  I always thought the dam was neat.  Indian Rock Dam was the response to horrible flooding that happened in the area way back in 1933.  York received thirteen inches of rain in just three days from the Chesapeake-Potomac Hurricane.  The United States Congress authorized the construction of Indian Rock Dam shortly afterward.  Construction of the dam was completed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1942.  It has protected the area from flooding ever since. 

Indian Rock Dam.  Construction completed in 1942 by the Amy Corp of Engineers -- September 12, 2015
South side of Indian Rock Dam with last of day's sunshine poking through the clouds -- September 12, 2015 
North side of Indian Rock Dam with rain clouds moving in -- September 12, 2015
After I left the dam I had the moment when I thought I was faster than I really am.  Instead of doubling back towards Hoke's Mill Road I headed towards the lakes with a delusional hope of meeting my original goal.  Once on Reynolds Mill Road the reality of my time frame set in.   Instead of making a right to the lakes I continued up and up and up  Reynolds Mill.   No lakes today...but a good work out.   A left turn onto George Street gave me a straight shot through York City and back to Manchester.  Just in time to have breakfast with my wife.

David A. Raymond -- September 12, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015


Sunflower field growing on Park Street in Manchester, PA -- September 11, 2015
I would like to say that I always want to ride my bike.   To be honest there are many times that my brain screams "Ride!" but my body tells me "No."   Today was different.  After school ended today my body wanted to go for a ride but my brain kept shutting the idea out.  I get like this when I feel drained...mentally.   The ironic thing is that going for a ride is always the just takes some serious mental convincing to get my butt in gear.

My least favorite day of the school year is September 11.  As an American History teacher I feel it is my responsibility to teach my students about the events of September 11, 2001.  I've found, that the further we move in time from that date, the harder it is to teach my students about it.  In the years  right after it happened I was able to have discussions with my students focusing on our feelings about what happened.  That's now impossible.  Even students who are high school seniors this year were only 3 years old on that fateful day.  The 8th graders I have now were not even alive (and if they were they were in diapers.)  That means that they are emotionally removed from the events of September 11, 2001 just I am emotionally removed from the events of Kennedy assassination or the Vietnam War.  This makes it difficult for me because I still have a physical and emotional reaction to how I felt that day.  I've found that I needed to change the way I teach this to my students.   I now explain to them why their teachers and parents and other adults are so passionate about September 11 and go on to tell them what I remember and how I vivid detail.  They were riveted to me.  For some of my students it was the  first time they were able to understand how people felt that day...and I think....that they have a much greater appreciation of the gravity of the day.

I had to do this six times today.  That might explain why my brain told my body "no" when it was time to get in my after school ride.  Thankfully my body won this fight and off I went.  My goal today was to find as much beauty that I could near the community in which I live.

Ducks swimming in the Conewago Creek along Conewago Road north of Manchester, PA -- September 11, 2015

Sunflowers growing near Park Street in Manchester, PA -- September 11, 2015

 Winding in and out of the side roads around Manchester, PA I found myself down by the Conewago Creek on Conewago Creek Road.  Riding along the creek I notice the sun glistening off the water and what looked like dozens of ducks floating around the old bridge trestle.  Turning up Park Street I saw the most amazing field of sunflowers growing off to the right.  I stopped to take a picture and talked to the gentleman who lived in the house near the field.  He told me that in the 20 years he lived there it was a wheat field.   He was at a loss to explain the unexpected beauty.  

Farm fields west of Manchester, PA -- September 11, 2015
From Park Street I had planned to head straight home, but, for some reason turned down Gross Avenue which is a little more than a glorified alley.  What an amazing decision.  The farm fields looking west were a spectacular sight.  This road took me directly to Northeastern School District's administration building.  I paused here for a moment to take in the sight of the flag which was flying at half staff to remember the solemnity of the day.  

I'm glad I went out today and didn't let my brain win out.  In just an hour was able to clear my head and was able appreciated the gifts of life, health, and nature that surround me and those that I love.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- September 11, 2015     

Here's the GARMIN map and data from the ride 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!


Monday, September 7, 2015

LABOR DAY IN THE CITY OF YORK -- September 7, 2015

Early morning sun rising over the parking lots in North York -- September 7, 2015
I decided to get up early on this Labor Day to get my ride in.  Two years ago, as a Christmas gift, my lovely wife, Robin, promised me trip to Lancaster, PA to visit Wheatland, the home of our 15th president, James Buchanan.  Well, today I took her up on it.  Our tour started at 10 AM so I had to be back from my ride by 8:15.  
All Trails led me to this Friendly's ice cream truck today -- September 7, 2015

Leaving the house I had a pretty ambitious ride in mind.  Once the reality of my time frame hit me I adapted my plans and managed to get a really fun (and nerdy) ride in.  I originally wanted to head out towards Indian Rock Dam...and to do that I needed to pass though  West York.  I decided to take the Susquehanna Trail almost all the way to Rt. 30.  I cut through some shopping center parking lots which were empty with the exception of an ice cream truck making a delivery to the Rt. 30 Friendly's.  Once out of West York, and knowing that Indian Rock Dam was out of the question, I doubled back towards the city and behind York College of Pennsylvania.  

Codorus Creek looking north from College Avenue -- September 7, 2015

Moving towards the city I turned onto College Avenue and crossed the Codorus Creek.  I took a moment to check out the view.  It was a perspective of the creek, and of the city, that I don't think I've ever seen.  Looping around Penn Common, and then zigzagging my way through York City,  I ended up near First Presbyterian Church on East Market Street.  

First Presbyterian Church in York, PA -- Septermber 7, 2015
Buried on the church grounds is James Smith, signer of the Declaration of Independence.  In the 1760s Smith emerged as a leader of colonial rights.  In 1776 he was appointed to the Second Continental Congress which was meeting in Philadelphia.  He served in the congress for two years.  

Grave marker for James Smith, signer of the Declaration of Independence -- September 7, 2015
Pennsylvania Historical Marker outside of First Presbyterian on East Market Street in York, PA -- September 7, 2015
My trip home was literally a straight line down George Street into Manchester.  I got home just in time to leave with my incredible wife, Robin, for President Buchanan's house in Lancaster.  I can't think of a more perfect day.  Time with my wife...time getting my "nerd" on...and time with my bike.  Yep...perfect.

Robin and David Raymond at Wheatland, the home of President James Buchanan -- September 7, 2015

Life is a journey, not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- September 7, 2015

Sunday, September 6, 2015


My wife is truly amazing.  She's beautiful, talented, affectionate, and brilliant.  In the words of my high school English teacher (and now Facebook friend) Michael Hercane...."How did a guy like me marry someone like her!"  Since we've been dating, Robin and I have enjoyed taking hikes together.  Recently, with all of her work travels, those hikes have not been as frequent.  All the more reason to get excited about our hike today at Rocky Ridge

David & Robin Raymond on Trail #9 at Rocky Ridge -- September 6, 2015
We got out early enough today to beat the Sunday mountain biking and picnic crowd.  When we go hiking I usually try to find new areas for Robin.   These are usually places that I would mountain bike.  Today we parked in the lower lot near the power lines.  On this bright and sunny morning you could hear the electricity crackling from the power lines coming from Three Mile Island.  

Sue's Trail looking north towards the lower parking lot at Rocky Ridge -- September 6, 2015
Trail #9 at Rocky Ridge -- September 6, 2015
I took Robin up Sue's Trail and down trail #9... one of my favorite to mountain bike.  When walking the trails and the woods take on a different form.  I see and hear things I don't normally see.  I notice, more than usual, the critters in the woods scurrying around.   And, it is more peaceful.   I love sharing this time and this place with my best friend and the person who I love more than anything.  That is best part of it all.

David A. Raymond--September 6, 2015

Saturday, September 5, 2015

SATURDAY AT SWATARA -- September 5, 2015

Tim told me he would meet me this morning at the house at 8am for our ride.  He was late.  I guess he won't speed on Fox Run Road anymore.  Today turned into a $200 mountain bike ride for him.  He won't be buying that new front fork for his bike anytime soon.
Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, Matt Linnane, and Brent Shirk -- September 5, 2015

We had a fun crew today.   Matt was able to meet us and my neighbor, Brent, was also able to come.   Brent is a heck of a mountain biker, but recently, has been down on his luck.  In the last year he has had knee surgery and shoulder problems.  Today was, I believe, only his second day out on the trails this year.  Good to have him back!

We chose to ride Swatara State Park just to get away from rocks for a while.  The trails at Swatara are twisty, turny, and, for the most part, rock free.  We figured it would be a great place for Brent to get back into the swing of things after his recent woes. 

Mountain bike trail map of Swatara Gap State Park.  The "A" trails are on the left.  My favorite part of the park.

My favorite thing about Swatara Gap is that we rode 12 miles in under one in a half hours.  No big climbs and nothing too technical....yet it is challenging, fun, and you get a heck of a work out in.  Constantly pedaling and constantly moving.  Looking at a map of the mountain biking trails at Swatara will make your head spin.   They loop...and twist...and turn... constantly swooping from one direction to another.  The "A" loops are, by far, my favorite part of the park.  Just plain fun....and it doesn't matter whether you ride them clockwise or counter-clockwise.   They roll both ways.

Matt taking on A2 trail with his new Cannondale -- September 5, 2015

Tim and Brent crossing the stream that divides C trail and D trail -- September 5, 2015
Great to have Brent back in action -- September 5, 2015

As the tallest of the group...some obstacles require me duck -- September 5, 2015

We ended our ride today with a quick detour over to the old iron bridge that crosses the Swatara Creek.  The area was once part of the Union Canal that, at one time, linked Middletown on the Susquehanna River below Harrisburg to Reading on the Schuylkill River.  Construction on the canal began in 1792 during the Washington administration.  Financial difficulties delayed the completion of the canal until 1828.  It provided a critical early transportation route for the shipment of anthracite coal and lumber eastward towards Philadelphia.  Manufactured goods were then brought back to Pennsylvania's rural inland area.  The canal closed for good in the 1880's because of competition from railroads between Reading and Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania Historical Marker for the Union Canal -- September 5, 2015

The Swatara Creek -- September 5, 2015
Iron bridge crossing the Swatara Creek -- September 5, 2015

Naturally, towards the end of our ride today, the discussion turned to ice cream.  We decided to head to the camp shop at Jonestown KOA just down the road from the state park.  One of the best choices that we made today.  We were greeted with a huge porch, rocking chairs, and a huge selection of Turkey Hill ice cream.  It turned out to be the perfect place to relax....and have a little fun.  I will definitely make it a habit on my trips to Swatara Gap.  Heck...they even sold live bate from a vending machine!  Now that's convenience!

All trails lead to ice cream.  Today it led to Jonestown KOA -- September 5, 2015

Tim's not tall enough to sit on the milk cans fitted with tractor seats -- September 5, 2015

Tim and Brent relaxing at Jonestown KOA -- September 5, 2015

Trout minnows:  $3;  Large crawlers:  $5;  Meal worms:  $3; Wax worms:  $3 -- September 5, 2015
It turned out to be a perfect morning.  A combination of good friends, good conversation, good trails, and good ice cream. one (even Brent) got hurt.  That's the cherry on top.

David A. Raymond//September 5, 2015