Friday, July 29, 2016

A WEEK ON THE ROAD -- July 29, 2016

In 2012, I set (and achieved) the obnoxious goal of riding 3,000+ miles on my road bike.  As cool as that was, it had a negative effect on the amount of time I spent mountain biking with friends.  I usually tend to ride my road bike alone.  I consider it my "me time"...and I personally have a hard time holding discussions with my friends as cars zip past us!  The past few years I made sure to make my cycling goals be a combination of miles ridden on both the trail and the road.   It's been a nice balance....and I haven't ditched any mountain bike rides (or friends) because I was calculating how many miles I needed to get in on the road that particular day or week. 

Blossom Drive and Starview Road -- July 29, 2016

I only had one mountain bike ride planned this week which provided the opportunity to get out on my road bike each day but one.  It was a nice reminder of why I love road cycling.  My rides haven't been back can't handle anything more than 15-20ish miles...but they've been fun and enjoyable.  Late July is one of my favorite times to get out on my red Roubaix.  The south central Pennsylvania blue sky, white clouds, seemingly endless green corn fields lined with blue chicory, and countless local farmer's produce stands form a picturesque back drop for any ride.  A ride that include helping a lost motorist find where he needed to go.  A ride that provided  the opportunity to run a few errands and leave the car parked at home.  A ride that include unexpected turns down a road I didn't know existed.  A ride that include conversations about the architecture of a stone bridge with two random strangers near the Susquehanna River in Saginaw.  All of which were rides that brought me a sense of well being and happiness.'s been a great week on the road.

The blue chicory that grows along side of the Pennsylvania roads and highways is my favorite wild flower -- July 29, 2016

Today I took a ride down to the Susquehanna River near Saginaw, PA.  It wasn't nearly as high as I thought it would be after last night's storms.  I captured this pic of a butterfly along the edge of the water -- July 29, 2016

The Harvest Moon Roadside Farm Stand along North Sherman Street Ext is one of my favorite places to stop for locally grown corn, watermelon, other fruits & vegetables -- July 29, 2016

Heading out on my bike to run a few errands the other day I caught this great view of the Codorus Creek and York City -- July 27, 2016.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- July 29, 2016

Still KEEPING AN EYE ON THE CORN! -- July 29, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

TRAIL TALK -- July 26, 2016

It's hard to say what's going to be discussed (if anything) when a group  goes mountain biking.  This morning while riding in Michaux State Forest with Mark, Glenn, Timmy, and Matt,* I found myself in the middle of the pack which gave me access to all kinds of conversations.  Mark led the ride because...well...Mark can (as Tim says) find a trail anywhere.  Matt and Glenn brought up the rear because they had never ridden on this particular trail.  Mark and I really wanted to take Glenn up to our favorite vista overlooking the forest.  After a quick ride down the "rail trail" near Fuller and Laurel Lakes we began our nearly 3 mile climb up the the ridge.  It's not the shortest way up...but, as far as we know, it's the easiest way to ride up (yes, you can choose a shorter "hike-a-bike" trail.)  

After reaching our destination at the top of the trail today we took about 15 minutes to relax, cool down, and appreciate the vastness of Michaux State Forest  -- July 26, 2016

Riding in the front with Mark the two of us discussed how we were going to get around the newly logged area that we usually ride in.  Drifting towards the back I was privy to conversations that went from movie special effects, to the oppressive humidity, to wondering why Glenn didn't wear a shirt that unzipped, to Glenn comparing himself to a 1970s Volkswagon (I still not sure what that was all about.)  

Matt experiencing Glenn's humor for the first time -- July 26, 2016

Unlike Glenn, Mark dressed for the weather today -- July 26, 2016

It was too bad...but there was a short hike-a-bike included on today's ride -- July 26, 2016

Timmy took this pic of me appreciating the view below -- July 26, 2016

Looking good, Mr. Medice! -- July 26, 2016

Yep...a little fire road was necessary to get around the newly logged area on top of  the ride -- July 26, 2016

Thing is...regardless of if you like trail talk...or if you would just rather ride...the conversations mean that everyone is together, doing okay, smiling, and having fun.  That's what it's all about.

Life is a journey, not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- July 26, 2016

* was the first time that Mark, Glenn, and I have ridden together since July of 2009.  How freakin' awesome!  Also, today was the first time that Matt rode with Mark and Glenn...and the first time he was exposed to Glenn's humor.  I sure hope he comes back!  

Sporting my newly purchased White Squirrel socks from Brevard, NC -- July 26, 2016

Friday, July 15, 2016

MY BEST FRIEND -- July 15, 2016

In less than a week I will be celebrating my third wedding anniversary.  Robin and I were married on July 21, 2013.  It was, up to this point, the best day of my life. She really does bring out the best in me.   Actually, she's my moral compass.  Robin's opened my world to a whole new spectrum of things:  Korean food (yeah, my favorite restaurant is Nam King in Baltimore, Maryland), movies that don't involve Rocky Balboa or Han Solo, traveling farther than Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Eminem (didn't see that one coming!)  She's taught me to explore more  things, try to see the best in everyone, about my feelings.  What have brought to her world?  Well...I guess more than anything...I think I've let her know that it's okay to be silly and completely let your guard down.  Sometimes I catch myself laughing out loud as she allows me to take pictures of her being completely silly.  She never would have done that six years ago.  

Getting silly with Robin in downtown York, PA -- 2014

When I met Robin I found someone who wanted to be with me because I'm me....and she wanted to participate in the things that I love to do.  To be completely honest, it shocked me when Robin first told me that she liked to go for hikes in the woods...I was in total disbelief when she told me that she liked to go tent camping...and I was super pumped that she was interested in going for bike rides with me.  The last three years of our marriage (six years if you count the time we were dating and engaged)...taking trips, hiking, exploring, camping, and bike riding with Robin...have been absolutely amazing.  

Parasailing in the Bahamas.  This was the firs time we traveled together -- October 28, 2010

This may have been the first time that Robin and I took a hike together.  We took a spring time walk through Rocky Ridge County Park -- April 11, 2011

Robin and I went camping on Memorial Day weekend of 2012 in Caledonia State Park.  It was so hot that weekend...but the hiking was super cool -- May 27, 2012

Robin and I took a hike to the top of Tumbling Run in Michaux State Forest.  It was there that I proposed to her -- June 24, 2012

We found out that state parks in Florida are very different than state parks in Pennsylvania on our hike in John D. MacArther State Park -- November 27, 2012

Out for a 4th of July bike ride with  Robin -- 2013

Exploring Parc National du Mont-Tremblant in Canada on our Honeymoon -- July 31, 2013

Yes!  I convinced her to do an alpine slide while at Mont-Tremblant -- July 31,  2013

Hiking Superstition Mountain and Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona -- January 23, 2014

Hiking Evitt's Mountain in Rocky Gap State Park -- May 24, 2014

Camping and hiking in Ohiopyle State Park -- May 24, 2015

Traveling home from Bedford we made a slight detour to go hiking and exploring in Trough Creek State Park -- August 8, 2015

We began our New Year with a hike in Rocky Ridge County Park -- January 1, 2016

Camping in Rocky Gap State Park -- May 27, 2016
I didn't just marry my girlfriend....I didn't just marry my wife...I married my best friend.  Someone who loves me, brings out the best in me and wants to share a life with me.  It's the most amazing thing in the world.  Back when we were engaged we ran into a couple that were on their anniversary trip.  They had a tradition that, each year, they would take turns surprising the other with a destination for their trip.  We loved the idea and decided to do it ourselves.  This year it's my turn to surprise Robin.  We are leaving tomorrow morning for a destination unknown to my beautiful wife.*  I told her how long we would be gone and what the weather forecast is where we are going.   Tomorrow I get to go on another adventure with my best friend.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- July 15, 2016

Road trip with my wife -- June 26, 2016

*July 25, 2016:
Robin and I had an amazing trip which included two nights in New Orleans, LA, a night in Chattanooga, TN, and four nights in Brevard, NC.  Here are some of the highlights of our trip!

Taking in the French Quarter in New Orleans -- July 17, 2016

Touring the site Chalmette Battlefield (the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans) -- July 18, 2016

Jackson Square in New Orleans -- July 18, 2016 

Robin and David Raymond in Jackson Square -- July 18, 2016

Robin and I found a fantastic restaurant in Chattanooga, TN...the 212 Market Restaurant -- July 19, 2016

We took time to explore a few places near Chattanooga.   One was Rock City.  A super cool place!  -- July 20, 2016

Robin & David Raymond at Rock City -- July 20, 2016

The passenger incline on Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga gave a great view of the valley below -- July 20, 2016

Ruby Falls was absolutely amazing!  --  July 20, 2016

The town of Brevard, NC offered four days of relaxation -- July 21,  2016

Robin and I stayed at the Red House Inn Bed & Breakfast in Brevard, NC.   Thanks to Daniel and Tracie for making our anniversary stay so wonderful!  -- July 21, 2016

Robin  and I took a hike near the waterfalls in Dupont State Forest -- July 21, 2016

We took a break from relaxing to try zip lining for the first time!  -- July 22, 2016

The Blue Ridge Parkway provided great views!  -- July 21, 2016
Celebrating our anniversary at the Bouchon in Asheville, NC.  Love you, Sweetheart!  -- July 21, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

CROSSING PATHS -- July 12, 2016

I usually end my writing with the same sentence:  LIFE IS A JOURNEY...NOT A DESTINATION. The credit for this seven word statement goes to the band Aerosmith.  It's a brief lyric halfway through their 1993 song, AMAZING.  The phrase has always stuck in my head and I think it's appropriate because we never really know, for good or bad, what paths life has in store for us.   

Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond, & Mark Lentz soaking in the view on our new favorite rock vista in Michaux State Forest.  The view is astonishing!

Mark Lentz showing me the view from these rocks northwest of Laurel Lake -- June 13,  2016

I think it's also safe to say that none of us are on exactly the same journey and for reasons that no one understands we get pulled in different directions.  From my own experience, I know that I've chosen paths that differed from those of my friends thinking that, because of choices made, our paths would never cross again.  It funny how our lives twist and turn and meander (kind of like the trails in Michaux)...eventually bringing people back together.  Five years ago I'd have bet the bank that I wouldn't be mountain biking with Glenn and Mikey and Billy again.  I would have told you that the idea of all of us (Tim, Mark, Glenn, Billy, Mikey, & Kristian) getting together for a ride would have been impossible.  Too much had changed and we had all chosen paths that took our lives in very different directions.  

Bill Graves, Mikey Nardelli (with a very appropriate biking shirt), Glenn Medice, & Dave Raymond enjoying Tom's Run Trail in Michaux State Forest -- July 5, 2016

Then I had to get all nostalgic and start writing the THE LEGEND OF THE WHITE SQUIRREL.  I knew it would be difficult...because I knew how it ended:  with the original group no longer together.  But life's funny like that.  I chose to write it at a time when all of us seem to be in a better place.  A place where it became possible for our paths to, once again, come together.  We've not all gotten out together at the same time yet...but it's actually beginning to happen!  Two weeks ago, Timmy and I rode with Glenn for the first time in almost seven years.  Last week Billy and Mikey joined us for a great time in Michaux.  Today it was Mark and Tim and I.  We just have to find a way to make it all come together (and that will surely be a great story to tell) but for now it's nice to be in a place where we are crossing paths again.  Now we just have to find Kristian.  


David A. Raymond  -- July 12, 2016

Timmy wrecked today and...after making sure he wasn't hurt...I captured the moment.  Glad to see a smile on his face!  -- July 12, 2016