Friday, October 30, 2015

THE LONG SHADOWS OF AUTUMN -- October 30, 2015

As much as I love summer, the long shadows of Autumn create scenes that seem to come straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.   Today my after school bike ride took me out though the town of York Haven and back.  It felt great to be outside in the cool, crisp air.  The sun was lower in the sky, peaking through the purple and white clouds, and highlighting the last of the orange, red, and yellow leaves hanging on the trees.  The long shadows of the season helped create a backdrop that was nothing short of amazing...turning ordinary sights into colorful and amazing works of art.  Sometimes pictures ARE worth a thousand words.   Allow me to just let my pictures speak for themselves today.  
Pumpkins line the field at Farmer Dan's Pumpkin Stand near Manchester, PA -- October 30, 2014
The Little Conewago Creek was turned into a shimmering ribbon of water today -- October 30, 2015
The tops of the trees lining the farm fields west of Manchester are still covered with bright foliage -- October 30, 2015
Once bright yellow, this field of sunflowers near Manchester, PA  makes for a really cool autumn scene -- October 30, 2015
David A. Raymond -- October 30, 2015
Be sure to check out the new website for ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM to see all of our ride pics and so much more!

Life is a journey...not a destination.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


The remnants of Hurricane Patricia will turn tomorrow into "washout" Wednesday here in south central Pennsylvania.   The soaking rain and wind will, more than likely, bring an end to the colorful foliage that has provided an incredible backdrop for my bike rides this autumn.
As November nears the leaves begin to fall -- October 27, 2015
I really wanted to get out after school today to enjoy the Fall colors while they last. Cruising out of the neighborhood, I decided to head over to Starview Road.    Starview a nice, long climb that opens up to an incredible view and an orchard.   When I ride I usually follow a few simple rules:  One, have fun.  Two, be safe.  Three, carry what you need to fix your bike in case of an emergency.  Four, if I ride with someone (or in a group) I will always wait at the top of a hill and, if someone in the group is faster than I am, I ask that they do the same for me. 
Fixing my flat tire on the side of Starview Road -- October 27, 2015
Starview Road -- October 27, 2015
Why rule number four?   Starting from a complete stop in the middle of a climb is no fun.   But, when you blow a tire halfway up, there is no avoiding it.   Yep...good thing I had what I needed to fix my bike gave me the opportunity to soak in the scenery around me.  Ten minutes later my tire is fixed and I'm back in the saddle.   

The levels of the Susquehanna River near Saginaw, PA will surely be higher after tomorrow's rain -- October 27, 2015
I thought a quick trip down through Saginaw and to the the Susquehanna River would be fun.    Coming back out of Saginaw I took a short ride on Long road, headed through Mount Wolf, and then back into Manchester.   By this time, I could almost hear the Turkey Hill black raspberry ice cream calling my name from the freezer in the garage.
Poison ivy overtaking the pole at the entrance to my neighborhood -- October 27, 2015
Even the poison ivy is pretty this year -- October 27, 2015
As I was about to make the final turn into my development my eyes caught the brilliant colors climbing up the electric pole on the corner.    The pole that I avoid like the plague in the summer time.   The pole that in inundated with poison ivy.  Yes...this year even the poison ivy was pretty.  I love autumn.   I'm holding out hope that tomorrow's rain won't completely wash it away.

David A. Raymond -- October 27, 2015
Be sure to check out the new website for ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM to see all of our ride pictures, maps, and so much more!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

BOB ROSS WOULD BE HAPPY -- October 24, 2015

In the early 1990s I went to college at California University of Pennsylvania.   For  two years I lived in McCloskey Hall with Chris Lowe.    Each weekday, at 2 PM, we would come back to the dorm to watch THE JOY OF PAINTING WITH BOB ROSS.  The show was a stress reliever.   A time out from our day.   An opportunity to see Bob Ross fill his canvas with amazing colors and"happy little trees" and "happy little rocks." 

Lake Williams from the top of trail 4 -- October 24, 2015
Bob Ross would have loved to be on our ride today.   The Lakes in York County were a canvas of colors.   If the foliage isn't at's darn near close.  Tim and I were here last week but our ride was cut short and we didn't get to ride all that we wanted to.   Today we set out to ride the fun stuff we missed out on a week ago.  Today's ride very nearly didn't happen.   I take a lot of pride in the fact that, 99% of the time, I can fix and maintain my own bike.  There are those times, however, that I

Riding up a connector trail between trail 4B and trail 4 -- October 24, 2015
rely on the services of the best bike shop around, GUNG HO BIKES.  I need to express some serious gratitude to the guys at the shop; James, Clark, and Derrick, for making sure I was even able to get out this weekend.    

Cruising clockwise around Lake Williams on trail 4 you begin to see entrances to Richard Nixon Park.   Donated to York County in 1968 by the Bob Hoffman family, and set on 187 acres of meadows and woodland, Nixon Park supports a wide variety of  of plant and animal life.   Because it is a nature preserve the trails are for foot traffic only.  

Taking a break on the ridge that overlooks Lake Williams -- October 24, 2015
Trail head for Hardwood Trail in Nixon Park -- October 24, 2015
Skirting the outer perimeter of Nixon Park, Tim and I made out descent off the ridge back down towards the Lake Williams Dam.   Across the dam, and on the other side of the lake, Tim and I made our way down to trails that, in the summer time, we wouldn't even consider riding.    In the heat of June, July, and August, these trails are overgrown with thorns and poison ivy.   Today they were perfect!  With a solid trail underneath of us we soaked in the beauty of the trees and the lake as we easily maneuvered around and over branches, rocks, and logs that crisscrossed the trail.

Riding single track at the Lakes with Tim -- October 24, 2015
Nearing the end of our ride, we began making our way up the next ridge.   The trails, 2B and 2C, cross small creeks and streams...wind through cut lines for local power lines...and eventually drop us off at the lake near our starting point.   

This millstone is all that remains from the Keystone Grist Mill -- October 24, 2015
For an odd reason I deviated from my normal path back to the truck.   Tim and I ended up passing an millstone.  I've been riding the Lakes now for 20 years, but today I learned that the area was once home to the Keystone Grist Mill.   The mill operated from 1832 until 1910.   It was shut down when it's water source, the Codorus Creek, was dammed to create Lake Redman.   

An amazing canvas of colors at the Lakes today -- October 24, 2015
After rides like today, I wish that time could stand still.    As we move closer and closer to end of October I know that the autumn colors and foliage won't last.   The leaves will fall and the canvas will change.   But just like watching an episode of Bob Ross, I'm sure that the changing seasons will provide more beauty and colors to paint the landscape.

David A. Raymond -- October 24, 2015
Be sure to check out the new website for ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM to see all of our ride pics and so much more!

Friday, October 23, 2015

A REASON TO RIDE HOME -- October 23, 2015

After I got married in 2013 a weird thing began to happen to me when I was on my bike.   About half way through each ride I would have the urge to go home.   For the first time in my life I had a reason to go home.   My wife.    Don't get me wrong....Robin fully supports my riding and even encourages it.  Even on a beautiful late October day like today....the foliage is almost at one hundred percent,

The foliage is near 100% at the corner of Chestnut Street and Main Street in Mount Wolf, PA -- October 23, 2015
the sky is blue, the temperatures in the 60s...I began to miss her.   One of the things I love about Robin is that she and I often seem to share a brain.   As I was riding past the Conewago Creek, and began to turn towards home, my phone rang in my ear.   I heard her voice ask me how far I was from home.   

Today I turned up Conewago Creek Road to head back home -- October 23, 2015
"Just about 15 minutes from the house..." I told her.    She was missing me, too.  How incredible it is to have that special someone to share your life with.   Someone who misses you when you are not there.   I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.

David A. Raymond -- October 23, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

LIFE LONG LEARNING ON A BIKE -- October 18, 2015

 The Battle of Gettysburg was fought on July 1, 2, & 3, 1863.   Just recently, we, as a nation, commemorated the 150th anniversary of the battle.    I've been to the battlefield many times both for my own personal education and with the students in my American History classes.   Today I learned something about the battle that I did not know.   

I passed this farm on the Hanover Pike today headed out of Hanover, PA.  A beautiful autumn picture. -- October 18, 2015
My son, Alex, had a fall baseball game in Hanover, Pennsylvania today.  I had some time to kill before his first game naturally I brought my bicycle with me.   My ride today took me from Hanover to Littlestown.   I rode in a straight line out and back on the Hanover Pike taking in some really beautiful York & Adams County scenery.   The cold front that was passing over south central Pennsylvania today provided a brilliant autumn sky.   

Pedaling through Hanover I was startled to see the Civil War statues and artillery pieces that were in the town square.   I shouldn't have been surprised.   I knew that both Union and Confederate troops passed through Hanover during the Gettysburg Campaign...but I had never actually heard of the Battle of Hanover.   Serving as the eyes and ears for Confederate general Robert E. Lee, J.E.B Stuart, and his cavalry unit, rode north towards Pennsylvania and around the Union army.  In the process he would gather information about Federal troop movements while also disrupting communications and supplies.   Stuart would then report directly back to Robert E. Lee.  Before crossing into Pennsylvania, Stuart captured a large Union wagon train full of provisions...but it slowed him down.  As he crossed the border into Pennsylvania he found that there was a portion of the Union army between him and General Lee.  He had no way to report to his commander.  

Artillery pieces used by the Army of the Potomac.   Restored and on display in Hanover, PA.  -- October 18, 2015
Monument commemorating the Battle of Hanover.   The statue was erected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1904
-- October 18, 2015
Approaching Hanover on June 30, 1863...the day before the Battle of Gettysburg...Stuart's cavalry unit encountered a Union cavalry division led by Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick.  (An interesting side note:  Kilpatrick's unit included Brigadier General George A. Custer's brigade.)  After severe fighting in the streets of Hanover, the Confederates were chased out of the town by Federal horsemen.   Without word from Stuart, General Robert E. Lee began to mass his troops near the town of Gettysburg.   The wayward Stuart did not arrive in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania until late on the second day of the battle.  The rest we say...history.

A beautiful autumn day to watch my son play baseball.   He is up to bat in this picture -- October 18, 2015 I tell my students...I am a nerd.    I'm just fortunate that I live in an area that affords me the opportunity to ride my bike, continue my life long learning, and catch my son playing ball.  Way cool.

David A. Raymond -- October 18, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Most of the people who mountain bike in York County head to one of two places...Rocky Ridge County Park or the Lakes.   If time permits, I will always choose to go somewhere other than these two places.  I sometimes take both of these parks for granted...but it is so nice to have two amazing trail systems so close to home.   

Lake Redman on a beautiful October morning -- October 17, 2015
The Lakes provide water to York County.   The first of the lakes, Lake Williams, was constructed in 1913 using mule-drawn wagons to haul dirt away.   By 1968, Lake Williams was no longer big enough to supply water to the growing population of York.   It was then that the York Water Company began construction on Lake Redman.   Combined, the two lakes hold 3.1 billion gallons of water.   In 2004, a pipeline connecting the lakes to the Susquehanna River was completed.    It is capable of drawing millions of gallons of water from the great river to help keep the lakes full!

Like the trails at Rocky Ridge, the trails at the Lakes are numbered.   Tim and I started today's ride at the dam near George Street.  A quick ride across the dam led us to trail #1.  Nothing like a nice little climb to the top of the ridge to get the blood flowing and help us forget about the morning chill.  

A beautiful morning at the Lakes -- October 17, 2015
Tim Sindlinger on the dam at Lake Redman -- October 17, 2015
The trails coming off of the top of the ridge north of the dam are some of my favorite in the park.  As I twist and turn down the hillside I lose myself in the beauty of the woods.   Before I know it, Tim have completed a loop and are back at the dam.   Next on our agenda...up an old and abandoned trail that takes us to the other side of Lake Redman and to the boat docks.  

Tim Sindlinger riding at the Lakes -- October 17, 2015
David Raymond riding at the Lakes -- October 17, 2015
Lake Redman -- October 17, 2015
This little loop is one of the first trails I ever mountain biked!  Interestingly enough, my brother, Jake, showed me this trail.   Jake now lives Mesa, Arizona, but when I moved to York, Jake was attending York College of Pennsylvania.   He brought me here over twenty years ago.    Over time, parts of the trail have changed or have been rerouted...but they are still here.   

The Lake Redman sign can be easily seen from Interstate 83 -- October 17, 2015
Visible on the other side of Lake Redman is Interstate 83 -- October 17, 2015
One thing that hasn't changed is the Lake Redman sign that sits along the trails facing Interstate 83.   Often the weeds and grass along the sign are overgrown...but today they were cut back allowing Tim and access to the area.   The view of the lake from there is nothing less than spectacular!
Lapping the boat docks, Tim and I headed back towards George Street to get to the Lake Kain side of the park.   Then...SNAP!   There goes Tim's chain.   

Tim fixing his broken chain -- October 17, 2015
It didn't surprise me.   This is a common occurrence when he and I ride.   No big deal.  A few minutes later we were back on the bikes and headed towards Lake Kain.  Now I am on on time limit.   I promised Robin I would be home in time to help her get the house ready for company.   No worries....I have a plan that would allow Tim and I fun ride and still get me home in time.   

Tim Sindlinger & David Raymond on Trail 4 near Lake Kain -- October 17, 2014
Like a lot of plans... these ones were thwarted, too.   Our ride around Lake Kain started out great.  Down to the lake...up and across the ridge...down my favorite single track on that side of the park...and right back to the lake.   

View of Lake Kain from Water Street -- October 17, 2015
The view of Lake Kain from Water Street is one of my favorites.    From there, Tim and I began our trek back to the parking lot.   I figured we could do it in about 15 minutes.   Then it happened...again...SNAP!  Tim's chain broke in half a second time.    This time I got a verbal promise from my good friend that he would purchase a new one.  
Tim fixing his chain for the second time today -- October 17, 2015
Tim and I got back to our vehicles later than we expected today.   Sometimes that is just the way it is.  Broken chains and delays happen.  You can't foresee them or prevent them.    What you can do is appreciate time spent on a beautiful morning, with a great friend, doing the things you love.

David A. Raymond -- October 17, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

MICHAUX LESS TRAVELED -- October 12, 2015

Each year, on Columbus Day, Mark Lentz and I try to go mountain biking.   This year, in the spirit of the day, Mark and I decided to head to Caledonia State Park and explore the southern end of Michaux State Forest.  
A fantastic fall day planned mountain biking in southern Michaux State Forest with Mark Lentz  -- October 12, 2015
Exploratory rides are so fun...but one of two things can happen.   Number one:  You can ride all day and keep back tracking out of trails because you find out that you have wondered onto land that you are NOT suppose to be on.  Or...Number two:  you have what happened today.   We found fantastic fire road, miles of old logging roads, fun single track, fast downhills, or two hike-a-bikes. was 26 miles of mountain biking fun!

Mark Lentz climbing up our first single track of the day.  You can see the blue blazes marked on the tree in the middle of the picture.  When the blazes are off center, as they are here, it is an indication as to which direction (in this case, to the left) the trail flows --October 12, 2015
No plan.  No maps.   We did have our cell phones...but they are only for emergency purposes.   Time to explore.  Heading across Route 30 we began turning pedals up Rt. 233 looking carefully for trails or access roads off to either our left or our right.  About a quarter of the mile up the road Mark noticed a trail marked with blue blazes.  Jackpot!  Up and off we go.  On a morning like this, when the temperature is cool and crisp, beginning on an uphill climb is a welcome thing.   It gets the legs spinning, the heart pumping, and the blood flowing.   Before long, we completely forgot the 40 degree morning temperature.  
David Raymond & Mark Lentz...somewhere on South Mountain -- October 12, 2015

To our delight the local foliage seems to be almost at 100%.  The colors around us...the reds, the oranges, the yellows,  were so vibrant.   Our path seemed picture perfect.  Headed up South Mountain, our trails turned into old logging roads.   By the looks of things nobody had been on these roads for ten or fifteen years.   One of the roads began to wind up and up and up some more.  
Taking a break on a random rock somewhere on top of South Mountain -- October 12, 2015

By this point, all I know is that I'm somewhere near Caledonia, in Michaux State Forest, on South Mountain, south of Route 30...and it doesn't matter.  We have all day.  This is what exploratory rides are all about.   Exploring, finding new trails, not knowing what is around the next turn, and just enjoying the moment.  This particular trail ended up looping back down to the logging road we started on.  On we go until, a little up the trail, we found our first NO TRESPASSING sign.   People who live way up here have those signs up for a reason and I'm sure they don't want to see me on my bike passing through.   This was the only place, all day, that we turned back to find another path.

Carbaugh Reservoir and dam -- October 12, 2015
Carbaugh Reservoir on a perfect autumn day -- October 12, 2015 
Mark Lentz heading across the dam at Carbaugh Reservoir -- October 12, 2015
It actually tuned out to be a great thing.   Coming down the logging road we found Carbaugh Reservoir.  How beautiful!  Mark and I took a moment to soak it all in...then continued across the dam to the other side of the lake.  The trail on the other side took us either up and away from the lake or down towards it.   I didn't even have to ask which way Mark wanted to go.   Up we went.   

Flooded trail above Carbaugh Lake -- October 12, 2015
Mark making his way through the mud -- October 12, 2015
The trail above the lake turned into a flooded out muddy mess.   There was no way avoiding this....but that is part of not knowing what is up ahead.   Mark and I have ridden things much worse, so, all things considered, it wasn't all that bad.  It just confirmed for me that me, my bike, and my shoes would need a shower when I got home!

Amazing view from a cut line somewhere on South Mountain -- October 12, 2015
Coming out of the mud we found a single track that was an absolute treat.   You know it's  a great trail when the conversation stops and we just ride...enjoying every moment.   Halfway through it we came across a cut line in the mountain where the gas lines are buried.   An amazing view of southern Pennsylvania (and possibly northern Maryland) opened up to us.   This is what today is all about!

By this time we realized that we needed to think about getting back.   Our trail ended up dumping us off on Cold Spring Road approximately eight miles from Caledonia State Park.   Amazing.   In my head I envisioned where we would come out...but I had no idea that we had meandered this far from where we started.   Cold Spring eventually intersected with Route 233.   We ended our ride today with a four mile down hill blast straight back to Caledonia State Park.   

A reconstruction of Thaddeus Stevens' iron furnace in Caledonia State Park -- October 12, 2015

A reconstruction of Thaddeus Stevens' blacksmith shop sits along Route 30 in Caledonia State Forest -- October 12, 2015
Crossing Route 30, and entering the state park, you can't miss the old iron furnace that is visible from the main road.   The furnace was owned and operated in the 19th century by Thaddeus Stevens.  Stevens was a member of the United States House of Representatives and served in congress during the American Civil War and Abraham Lincoln's presidency.   The furnace was destroyed by Jubal Early's Confederate division as it marched through the area in 1863 prior to the Battle of Gettysburg.  The furnace stack that stands today, as well as the blacksmith shop a few yards away, are reconstructions that were built in the 1920s by the Pennsylvania Alpine Club.

Now for the ice cream!   Not so fast.  Today Mark and I decided to check out Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium.   Just up the road from Caledonia, Mr. Ed's is an oasis of fun!  With  over 12,000 elephant figurines, whimsical gardens, circus souvenirs, and AMAZING homemade fudge, Mr. Ed has something for everyone!  Today I went straight for the fudge.   I figured, that after a 26 mile mountain bike ride, I could treat myself to a chunk of chocolate and peanut butter fudge.  My favorite!   I devoured it in two minutes!
Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium located east of Caledonia on Route 30 -- October 12, 2015.

The inside of Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum -- October 12, 2015
Homemade fudge!   I went straight for the chocolate and peanut butter!  --  October 12, 2015
How awesome!  Today I got to meet Mr. Ed!   -- October 12, 2015
If Mr. Ed's wasn't enough...on the way home, Mark and I passed the historic Round Barn.  It's one of only a few true round barns still in existence.    Along with fresh fruits and vegetables, you can also get homemade jam, jelly, and baked goods.  My stomach lead me right to the sugar cookies and whoopie pies.   It's a weakness of mine.    

The historic Round Barn located about 8 miles west of Gettysburg, PA -- October 12, 2015
Plenty of fresh fruits to be found at the Round Barn.
I went straight for the sugar cookies today!  Don't judge!  -- October 12, 2015
Columbus Day didn't disappoint this year.    A perfect day of trails, new sights, amazing treats, and a great appreciation for the beauty and history around us.  

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- October 12, 2015