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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

CHANGE OF PACE IN COROLLA

Three days into my summer vacation I found myself pedaling in the North Carolina town of Corolla with my wife, Robin.  This week long trip to the Outer Banks was my wife's idea.  She rented an amazing beach house on the ocean side of Corolla...big enough for everyone in the family.   I've always been more of a mountain than a beach kind of guy...but a week of beach, ocean, and good food with the family was a really nice change of pace.


Yes...this is a serious change of pace for me. -- June 13, 2019

There really was no agenda for the week except that we would all have dinner together each night.  To make things fair, each couple was responsible for dinner each night we were in North Carolina.  We had some amazing pulled pork...we had a taco night...a spaghetti night...and beef brisket.  Robin and I decided...since we were on vacation...that we would host a steamed crab and pizza feast.


Robin and I went out looking for fresh crabs for dinner.  Looks like we found what we needed at the Blue Water Seafood Market- June 11, 2019

My step-daughters, Mia and Blythe, enjoying the crab feast! -- June 12, 2019


My son's girlfriend, Emma, was completely stoked for the crab feast...Alex, however,  was glad that the crabs came with a side of pizza! -- June 12, 2019

Most afternoons, I found myself hanging out with whoever was at the house. Activities ranged from  soaking in the hot tub to shooting pool to spending time at the beach.  Robin and I took a few evening walks along the beach and we were able to experience a couple amazing sunsets.  A group of us visited the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and climbed the 220 steps to the top.  First put into operation in 1875, the lighthouse fell into disrepair by the 1970s.  It opened to the public in 1990.  The view from the top was absolutely spectacular in all directions!


Hanging out (and showing off our hats) with Mia's boyfriend, Kevin. We both agree...sides up on the hats!  -- June 11, 2019


Some fun in the sun (and Spike Ball) with Donovan, Alex, Kevin, and Julien. -- June 13, 2019


Watching the sun set over the Currituck Sound. -- June 15, 2019


Enjoying a moment with my wife, Robin as the sun is about to set. -- June 14, 2019


The Currituck Beach Lighthouse -- June 14, 2019





David and Robin Raymond on top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. -- June 14, 2019


The view of the Outer Banks (looking South) from the top  of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. -- June 14, 2019

And yes...I brought my bike.  Actually, I brought my bike and Robin's bike.  I always find it to be such a novelty to be able to ride somewhere that is completely different from what I am use to at home.  Gone,  for the week, were the hills and valleys of York County, Pennsylvania...replaced by elongated stretches of flat land and wind that came from every direction all at once!  I managed to ride every single day (183 miles total) while I was in Corolla...enjoying the flat and battling the wind.


Corolla, North Carolina -- June 9, 2019

Two rides, in particular, really stood out to me during my week in Corolla.  The first...a ride I did with my step-daughter's boyfriend, Julien (he rode my wife's bike!)...was a 56 mile round trip ride to Kitty Hawk and back.  The history nerd (and bike mechanic) in me really wanted to see the spot where the Wright Brothers flew for the first time.  Julien and I pedaled the 28 miles, through a rainstorm, there not knowing that we would need to get into the Wright Brothers National Memorial. The Ranger took a little pity on us and allowed us to continue our bike ride through the park!  Personally, the ride was a little bit of a victory for me...56 miles made this the longest ride since my back surgeries in 2016.


The Wright Brothers National Memorial -- June 10, 2019

The Wright Brothers National Memorial -- June 10, 2019


The Wright Brothers National Memorial.  Julien Linne and Dave Raymond -- June 10, 2019




The Wright Brothers National Memorial -- June 10, 2019


See...GENIUS! -- June 10, 2019


The second ride that was memorable was a late evening ride with my wife, Robin.  We found some back streets (away from Route 12) and just pedaled for miles.  We were able to talk, laugh, and get some exercise. Towards the end of our ride we made it down to the beach just in time to catch the sun setting.  The whole experience of the ride, the beach, the sunset, and the time with my wife was totally fun and felt really special. 


Evening bike ride in Corolla, NC with my wife, Robin. -- June 13, 2019

Robin and David Raymond -- June 13, 2019


Sunset that Robin and I saw during our evening ride at the Outer Banks. -- June 13, 2019

Like I said at the start...I'm more of a mountain guy than a beach guy...but this week long excursion to the Outer Banks with the family proved to be a great change of pace.  After a more-trying-than-usual school year, it felt good to relax, spend time with my wife and family, and ride my bike.  I headed home with the realization (and excitement) that I would only be spending one night in my own bed...Alex and I were going to be heading off for our annual camping trip.  Yep...the "mountain guy" in me was about to come out.  Time to shift gears and change the pace again.


Yes...one small glitch (about the size of a roofing nail) while riding at the Outer Banks.  All was good with a new tube.  -- June 9, 2019



Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- June 25, 2019


Seven days in the Outer Banks and seven trips over to Wezzy's Ice Cream.  Each night this gentleman meticulously made me the best root beer float that I've had in a long time! 

Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from my rides in Corolla, North Carolina.  #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

Saturday, June 22, 2019

I LOVE IT OUT HERE

A  huge smile came across my face as I was sitting in the passenger's seat of Ben Kelly's car.  The previous day was the last day of the school year (yep...year 24 of 8th grade is in the books) and the two of us, with our mountain bikes secured to the top of Ben's car, were headed to Michaux State Forest.  All winter long I had been studying the big map of Michaux that Jay Zech keeps under the counter at the bike shop looking new-to-me routes through the forest...and today, Ben and I were going to put that map to good use.  I couldn't think of a better way to officially kick off the summer of 2019!


Yes!  On the first day of my summer break I made it to my favorite vista in Michaux State Forest. -- June 6, 2019

Even after more than a dozen years of mountain biking in Michaux State Forest, it never ceases to amaze me how many trails and vistas and  super cool places are hidden in the forest that I've never been to.  They aren't, per se, new trails...just new-to-me.  After all these years of using the parking lot at Pine Grove Furnace as a trail head...I had no clue that Buck Ridge Trail cut diagonally up towards Ridge Road and Vista Trail....giving me access to Vista from the opposite direction that I normally ride.  Thus, for the first time ever...giving me the chance to ride DOWN Vista Trail (apparently, I've been riding it the wrong directions all this time). This, along with a few other offshoot trails, was our plan for the day.  


Ben Kelly navigating the mud and the muck on a lower section of Buck Ridge Trail. -- June 6, 2019

Taking a breather near the top of Buck Ridge Trail.  Ben and I would take an off-shoot trail not far from here. -- June 6, 2019

Not long after Ben and I began our way up Buck Ridge Trail, I started to notice other trails intersecting on both the left and the right...more stuff to explore on another day.  As we began our ascent, the trail got a little more muddy and swampy...then a lot more rocky.  The two of us began talking about how fun it would be end a ride by descending down this trail...but for the time being...up we went, looking for an offshoot to the left before we hit Ridge Road at the top.  The area that we found was recently logged and the trail seemed to disappear underneath the fallen timber.  For a brief while, Ben and I participated in a classic Hike-A-Bike until we finally found our trail again.  


Ben Kelly climbing one of the new-to-us trails that parallel Ridge Road in Michaux State Forest. -- June 6, 2019

You never know what you will find in Michaux.  Ben and I stumbled upon a vista that I had never been to before while exploring the trails below Ridge Road. -- June 6, 2019

 Ben taking in the view from the top of Vista Trail. -- June 6, 2019

What we found was extremely fun... a few miles of single track that cut back and forth along the top of the ridge.  At one point we even came to a super cool rock outcropping that neither of us had ever been to.  Eventually, we crossed over Ridge Road and made our way to some more familiar trails that would take us to Vista Trail and my favorite spot in the forest.  Before heading  the mountain I parked the bike, the helmet came off, and I sat down on on the rocks with the forest sprawled out below...and a whole summer of riding and hiking ahead of me.  What an amazing feeling.  I really do love it out here.


Relaxing and on my favorite rock on top of Vista Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- June 6, 2019



Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- June 22, 2019


I bought these socks back in March (at a candy store in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, of all places). They completely sum up how I feel when in Michaux! -- June 6, 2019


Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73

Here is the GARMIN map and data from our ride in Michaux.

  #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

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

FAMILY, TRADITION, AND ROCKY GAP

It's impossible for me to forget my first camping trip.  I mean, it's literally impossible...I still have the scar on my left ankle where I embedded my father's hatchet when I was 8 years old!  Yeah...irresponsible, eight-year-old, me missed the log my dad told I could practice on and gave my ankle a pretty good whack.  I waited almost two hours until my mother went up the the bathhouse to tell my dad out of concern that both he, and I, would get in trouble!  As much as I like to tease my dad about that incident...I have a lot of memories of those first camping trips to Rocky Gap State Park, which include a lot of firsts:  my first time sleeping in a tent, my first mountain pie, my first canoe ride, my first evening campfires...and yes, my first "hatchet incident."

One of our first camping trips to Rocky Gap State Park.  My father enjoying some dinner with my brother, Jacob, and I in the background. -- 1981

Taking a canoe ride on Lake Habeeb with my dad, Uncle, and cousins.  Ed, Josh and Lucas Rendulic with David (me) and Dave (Dad) Raymond. -- 1984

My dad checking on us while fishing of the dock at Rocky Gap. -- David and Jacob Raymond with Beau Henderson. -- 1983

Evening campfire at Rocky Gap.  Reese Smith and David Raymond. -- August 1986


It's these amazing memories are the reason why I return to Rocky Gap State Park each Memorial Day weekend for a camping trip with my wife, Robin...and I try as much as I can, to share the experience with others as much as I can.  In 2012, Robin and I took Alex there for the first time.  Each year since then, my dad and Mary Jane, make the thirty mile drive across the Mason/Dixon Line to spend time with us and have dinner.  Four years ago, Robin and I invited our friend, Lynn (a recent cancer survivor) to come visit and take a hike with us.  Two years ago, my cousin, Mariaelena, and her family, spent a memorable weekend camping with us.  


David, Alex, and Robin Raymond camping at Rocky Gap. -- July 21, 2012

David, Robin, Dave (dad) and Mary Jane Raymond at Rocky Gap. -- May 26, 2013

Lynn Nichols and Robin Raymond crossing the Mason Dixon Line while hiking at Rocky Gap State Park. -- May 24, 2014

Enjoying an evening campfire with my cousin Mariaelena and her family along with my dad and Mary Jane. -- May 28, 2017

This year was no different.  Robin and  I always look forward to our annual trip to Rocky Gap, but this year we were especially excited because my brother, and his family, came with us for the weekend.  We were eager to spend time camping, and share our love of the outdoors, with our nieces, Jackie, Sophie, and Shalice, and our nephew, Isaac.  Aunt Robin and Uncle Dave made campground dinner and breakfast for the kids and provided all the fixings for smores and mountain pies...trying to give them the same experience that my mother and father gave me.


Robin and David Raymond relaxing at Rocky Gap State Park. -- May 25, 2019



Site 150 in the Fur Loop at Rocky Gap State Park -- May 25, 2019


Dinner time! -- May 25, 2019

Breakfast around the campfire. -- May 26, 2019

Evening campfire.  Shalice Gull, Robin, Jackie, and David Raymond.  -- May 26, 2019

A weekend of camping at Rocky Gap wouldn't be complete without at least one hike...so Robin, Jackie, Shalice, and I set out Sunday afternoon for a hike along the Lakeside Loop.  Along the way, teaching the girls how to skip rocks, and pointing out different aspects of the landscape around us.  Jackie proved to be like her cousin, Alex, wanting to climb on just about everything.  This was one of the first hikes Shalice ever went on...and she did extremely well.  The four of us made it to the dam at the far end of Lake Habeeb before turning back to the campground.  After returning from our hike, Robin and I took the girls down to the beach area and gathered up Sophie and Isaac so we could treat them to some ice cream.  Shalice was amazed that "All Trails Lead to Ice Cream" was an actual real thing!


Shalice Gull and Jackie Raymond getting ready for a hike. -- May 26, 2019

Hiking with my niece, Jackie. -- May 26, 2019

Jackie Raymond at Rocky Gap State Park. -- May 26, 2019

Hiking the Lakeside Loop at Rocky Gap State Park. David Raymond, Jackie Raymond, Shalice Gull, and Robin Raymond -- May 26, 2019

The bridge above the Lake Habeed at Rocky Gap State Park.  David, Robin, and Jackie Raymond and Shalice Gull. -- May 26, 2019



The trail above the dam at Lake Habeeb in Rocky Gap State Park. -- May 26, 2019


A great day of hiking.  Shalice Gull, David, Robin, and Jackie Raymond -- May 26, 2019

A tree on the trail?  Uncle Dave to the rescue! -- May 26, 2019

  I'm not sure if my parents realized, at the time, that they were sparking, inside of me, a serious love for the outdoors inside of me...but they did.  When we went camping as a kid, family was often involved...my Aunts, Uncle, cousins, and even my grandmother would come along with us.  Mom and Dad also allowed Jake and I to bring friends along.  I'm glad I can continue this tradition of family, friends, and Rocky Gap.


Supervising my wonderful wife and making sure that she doesn't have her own "hatchet incident." -- May 25, 2019


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- June 5, 2019


Celebrating our hike with a chocolate milkshake from the snack bar near the camp store at Rocky Gap State Park.  David and Jackie Raymond -- May 26, 2019


Please, feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73

Here are the GARMIN map and data from our hike in Rocky Gap State Park.  #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