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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

TREADING CAREFULLY

Robin and I took a hike at Rocky Ridge County Park on Saturday.  Typical of my usual self, I started us on a path that lead into the valley and away from the more populated part of the park.  Purposefully, I chose to lead Robin down some of the more technical trails to avoid other hikers and bikers.  Not too far into our trek we were commenting on both the beauty of the exposed forest and just how careful we needed to be as we made our way down the rocky trails which were now covered by all of the recently fallen leaves.

Taking a hike with Robin at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 23, 2019

Fall in Pennsylvania is absolutely beautiful...probably my favorite season of the year.  The color of the foliage...the low sun angle...and the crisp autumn air are all things that I love and look forward to.  Fall is also a time for those who hike and mountain bike in Penn's Woods to tread just a little more carefully. As beautiful as those freshly fallen leaves are...often it is virtually impossible to discern how deep they are and what rocks and roots lie below the newly fallen surface. All this is assuming that  you can even locate the trail that you know is there!

As I was wrapping up a ride at Rocky Ridge I had to stop and take a picture of the beauty of the trail and surrounding forest.  -- November 8, 2019

Taking a break while riding at Rocky Ridge.  The layers of newly fallen leaves are quite evident.  -- November 12, 2019

Carefully navigating the leaves and rocks that make up Trail 7 at Rocky Ridge County Park.  Picture taken by Tim Sindlinger -- November 3, 2017

Looking for the trail that I know is there!  Photo taken by Chris Keller  -- October 25, 2019

Navigating the rocks (and the leaves) on Trail 7 in Rocky Ridge County Park.  Chris Keller and Dave Raymond -- November 26, 2019

The Autumn sun illuminating the trail beneath the freshly fallen foliage at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 15, 2019

Without their leaves, the naked trees allow you to see deeper into the woods making the surrounding forest seem significantly larger.  This illusion sometimes makes it even more difficult to see the already harder to see trails.  Thankfully, Mother Nature has a unique way of helping.   Often the bare trees allows autumn's low sun angle to filter through the trees and seemingly highlight the trails hidden below the leaves.  It's actually pretty cool...and very surreal. So, as you head out there these last couple weeks of Fall, take in as much beauty as you can...and make sure to tread carefully.

Happy Thanksgiving!


As I was carefully treading at Rocky Ridge with Robin, I passed my yearly mileage goal...(2019 hiking and biking miles in 2019)...way too early.  -- November 23, 2019

Life is a journey...not a destination.




David A. Raymond -- November 27, 2019

Nothing like treating yourself to a  a root beer float for dinner at the Bobcat Creamery for dinner after a day in the woods.  -- November 23, 2019



Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73

Here are the GARMIN map and data from the ride 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


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

MY AUTHENTIC SELF

A while back, my chiropractor (and friend), Dr. Nunn, made the suggestion that I start doing yoga.  Like most things in my life, I hemmed and hawed about it for quite some time.  I guess my basic concern was that I would make an ass of myself.  Eventually, I found an "at home" yoga channel on YouTube that was perfect for me.  I was able to prove Doctor Nunn correct...yoga does make me feel better...without publicly subjecting anyone to my "downward dog."  My little at home YOGA WITH ADRIENE sessions have been very beneficial for me...but there is a phrase that is often repeated in those sessions that have weighed on me... "Find Your Authentic Self."  What, exactly, is my "authentic self?"

I think I am at my most "authentic self" when I am with my wonderful wife, Robin.  She is the one who stands by my side and sees all aspects of my authentic self...my highs and lows...the good and the bad...and still chooses to love me through it all.  Thank you, baby.   -- May 23, 2015

Back in August, Jay Zech, my boss at Gung Ho Bikes, asked me if I was ready to go back to school?  My response surprised him a little.  It's not that I wasn't ready to resume my role as 8th Grade History...but I expressed to Jay that I wasn't sure if I was ready to play the character "Mr. Raymond" yet and that I was enjoying my time being "me" at the bike shop.  Ironically, I've already had the discussion with my wife about how I will feel when I someday retire from teaching and my identity as "Mr. Raymond" fades away.   So, the question that has been perplexing me is..."Does this mean that when I'm at school I'm not being my authentic self?"  We all wear many hats during our lifetime.  Currently I can say that I juggle the roles of my wife's husband, my father's son, my children's father, my students' teacher, and friend to many within my circle. Which, of any, of these represents my authentic self?  These thoughts have been churning in my head...often driving me to question who I am and what my purpose is.


Being my authentic self means spending as much time...in this case, a brilliant day at Longwood Gardens...with my most wonderful wife, Robin, -- August 10, 2019

Being my authentic self means being the same loving role model for my children that my parents were to me-- November 23, 2018

Enjoying my time in my hometown of Bedford, Pennsylvania as a son, a husband, a brother, and an uncle. -- July 4, 2019

The crew at Gung Ho Bikes:  Ryan, Penny Z, Jay Z, Jim S, Clark E, Ben K, Dave R, and Joel W -- December 5, 2018

Yes...being my authentic self means visiting nerdy places and having engaging conversations with formerly alive presidents. Dave Raymond and James Madison. -- July 20, 2019

Being my "authentic self" with my Northeastern Middle School Green Team partners in crime:  Emma Melnorn, Mike Graham, Rose Sprenkle, Eryn Nadolny, Christine O'Neill, Deanna Grbich, and Dave Raymond -- August 21, 2019

One of my favorite versions of my "authentic self"...mountain biking in Michaux State Forest (while wearing a completely nerdy I LOVE JOHN QUINCY ADAMS tshirt). Tim Sindlinger and Dave Raymond -- July 9, 2019

  Recently, I was forced to look at this whole idea of "authentic self" from a  completely different perspective.  A perspective that makes sense...but also challenges me.  I've begun to embrace my "authentic self" as not a single role that I engage in...but more along the lines of core values that I embrace.  I see now that it's okay for me to act differently at school with my students than I do with my biking friends on the trail as long as...in each of these roles...my belief systems and values don't change colors.  Being my "authentic self" means being the best possible version of me in every role I find myself in.   Being my "authentic self" means following and living the values that I was taught by my mother and father and passing them onto those I come into contact with...no matter where I am and who I'm with.  It means being the most loving, caring, and dedicated life-partner and husband possible to my wonderful wife...being the responsible person that my mother and father taught me to be...being the role model my children need me to be...being the inspiration to the students within my class...and being reliable and true to those who call me friend.


This is me being my "authentic self" with some very special people in my life:  My wife, Robin; my son, Alex; my step-mother, Mary Jane; the rock star in my life, Galen Black; and my father, Dave Raymond. -- July 4, 2019


So...next time I'm in my downward dog and asked to envision my "authentic self" I'll have a better idea of what it is. Ironically, realizing this may make me feel better...but the challenge it poses is daunting.  Being my true and authentic self is not a role that I play...but living by a core set of values that continuously shines through in all situations and environments.  At all times, standing upright...like all good men ought to...each and every day.

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- October 29, 2019


Sometimes being my authentic self at school means going the extra mile for our students.  I'm glad I have a friend and colleague like Mike Graham who shares the same philosophy!  Dave Raymond and Mike Graham...School Picture Day 2019 -- October 16, 2019



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

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