Showing posts with label Patapsco Valley State Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patapsco Valley State Park. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


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 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 getting in an out of cars or looking for parking spaces.  Sometimes these rides are 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 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, I cruised down the streets in my home town of Bedford, 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 


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 


Monday, December 31, 2018


There wasn't anything normal about 2018. It's been a year of extreme humidity, single digit temperatures, and more rainy days than I can remember in my lifetime.  Even on the "dry" days riding conditions were challenging,  at best.   Mud and water and more mud seemed to be the recurring theme of the the past year.  With the exception of a ride I took in Mesa, Arizona, I don't recall a single time this year when the trails were dry and dusty.   Regardless, the conditions didn't stop me (or my riding partners) opting outside to turn some pedals.  As a matter of fact, I rode (and cleaned my drive train) quite regularly and quite often.

My Stumpjumper nestled in low hanging clouds and resting on the sign in Michaux State Forest marking the border of Cumberland and Adams Counties. -- July 31, 2018

Throughout the course of 2018, I rode my mountain bike in, at least, sixteen different places...making my normal trips to places like Michaux State Forest, Swatara State Park, and Rocky Ridge County Park and returning to Patapsco Valley State Park and Camp Tuckahoe for the first time in a few years.  I also rode, for the first time, on the trails behind the Bedford Springs Hotel, the Bedford Heritage Trail, the Milton Hershey Medical Center Trail System, and in Shawnee State Park.  This year is the first year that I began to explore other riding options...using my mountain bike for road cycling when winter conditions just weren't cooperating.  Joining me this year were Mark Lentz, Chris Keller, Tim Sindlinger, Matt Linnane, Adam Zeigler, Ben Kelly, Brent Shirk, Mike Alicea, and my son, Alex.  No ride is a bad ride and all rides are fun in their own unique way...but the following ten rides stand out to me as the best of 2018.  I didn't list them in any particular order except that the ride I have in the #1 spot really was my favorite ride of the past year.  I wish a safe and happy New Year to all...and I hope to see all of my riding friends out on the trails again in 2019.  Enjoy!

#10. DESERT BIKE RIDE -- JUNE 10, 2018

On a brief visit to Arizona to see my brother and my nieces and nephew, I slipped out for morning ride (on my brother's 1990s Cannondale) in the Arizona desert.  The early morning temperatures had already reached 95 degrees and, about five miles out, I realized that my water bottle had fallen off of the bike.  Not willing to risk anything, I turned back for my brother's house.  This was, by far, the driest ride of 2018!

Taking a break during my morning ride in Mesa, Arizona. -- June 10, 2018

My brother's old-school Cannondale.  Superstition Mountain is visible in the distance. -- June 10, 2018



Alex and I didn't ride far...but any ride with my son is special.  The fact that it was also the last day of the school year made it even more memorable.  This is the only ride on my Roubaix that made my top 10 list this year.

Celebrating the last day of the 2017-18 school year with a road ride with my son, Alex. -- June 7, 2018



This late July ride in Michaux State Forest came the morning after a torrential rain (as did most of the rides this year).  The humidity was thick and the clouds were hanging extra low...completely surrounding the forest.  This ride included the best rock garden in Michaux, fun descents, twisty single track, and multiple stream crossings.

Taking a break after Tim, Matt, and I finished riding one of my favorite rock gardens in Michaux State Forest. -- July 31, 2018

The wet weather turned minor streams in treacherous crossings. -- July 31, 2018



So much of my childhood was spent at Shawnee State Park in Bedford County...but up until this past March, I had never ridden the trails there...making this "homecoming" ride super special.  I'm looking forward to going back and riding the trails in drier conditions.

I began, and ended, my first-ever ride in Shawnee State Park on Field Trail. -- March 30, 2018

This section of "trail" near Route 30 in Shawnee State Park was a massive mud pit. -- March 30, 2018

Field Trail overlooking Shawnee Lake. -- March 30, 2018


Mark showed me that not all "road" rides need a road bike.  Helping me channel my inner nerd, Mark took me on a super cool tour of York City to check out all of the old painted signs on the brick structures in the city.  Some were easy to read, like the Pullman's sign below, and some where not...but the ride ranks as one of the best of 2018.

Super cool graffiti and painted sign ruled the day. -- March 31, 2018

In the top right you can see the sign for York's Pullman's Automobiles. -- March 31, 2018



This year, the Winter Solstice happened to fall on the last day of school prior to Christmas break.  Because of my early dismissal from school, I was able to meet Ben Kelly at my house at 1:30 to drive twenty miles up to Harrisburg for a ride on the Parkway Trails.  Even though it was extremely muddy, this ride was my favorite ever on this trail system.  Ben and I rode as much as we could in the 2 hours we had before the sun set on the first day of winter.

Ben and I racing the sunset and enjoying a muddy ride in Harrisburg City. -- December 21, 2018

My Stumpjumper leaning on Harrisburg City graffiti. -- December 21, 2018

#4. BEDFORD SPRINGS -- JANUARY 13 and 14, 2018

My first two rides of 2018 were also the coldest of the year.  While visiting my father in Bedford, Pennsylvania,  I geared up for the single digit temperatures and headed over to the trails behind the Bedford Springs Hotel.  I had hiked these trails as a child...and as an adult...but this was the first time I had ever been there with my mountain bike.  The cold temps kept each ride down to about an hour in length, but the frozen landscape...and the coolness of riding someplace where I hiked in my youth...made these two rides some of the best of the year.

Pausing for a picture next to the frozen limestone spring near the Bedford Springs Hotel. -- January 13, 2018

Posing near Davey Lewis' Cave. -- January 14, 2018

Taking in the frozen landscape while riding the trails near the Bedford Springs Hotel. -- January 14, 2018



Matt came up with the idea of getting together for an "Ugly Sweater" ride...and hopefully it is a tradition we keep going.  Tim, Adam, Matt, and I got into the holiday spirit for what turned out to be the absolute muddiest ride of 2018.  The unrelenting rainfall turned the normally sturdy trails of the Hershey Medical Trail System into a peanut butter-like mess.  Very memorable!

First ever Ugly Sweater Ride.  Left to Right:  Matt, Dave, Tim, & Adam. -- December 2, 2018

Riding the Hershey Medical Trail System with my ugly sweater. -- December 2, 2018

This ride was, hands down, the muddiest ride of 2018. -- December 2, 2018


Brent and I have a tradition of heading out for a ride during the week between Christmas and New Years Day.  This year we made our way down to Patapsco Valley State Park.  I thought I had this place completely mapped out...but in the 2+ years since I was last trails have been built!  Valley View Trail is one of the coolest trails I've ridden in a long time!  I can't wait to get back there and ride it again.

Brent and I riding Valley View Trail in Patapsco Valley State Park. -- December 27, 2018

Taking a break near abandoned houses now located in the heart of Patapsco Valley State Park. -- December 27, 2018


My surreal solo ride in Ohiopyle State Park ranks as my favorite ride of 2018.  Alex dropped me off at the Sugarloaf trail head for the start of a crazy ride that took me around the Sugarloaf Area and then to McCune Trail.  The forest was completely engulfed by low hanging clouds and streams of water from the down pour that soaked the area the night before.  McCune trail, lined with enormous boulders, will be a must ride for me from now on.  I took Baughman Trail (which was, at that point, a flowing river) down the mountain to the town of Ohiopyle.  After pausing for some ice cream, I rode the Great Allegheny Passage to the the trail that acts as a connector between the GAP and Kentuck Knob Campgrounds.  The whole ride was so perfect...making it my favorite of 2018!

Riding McCune Trail in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 21, 2018

The shear size of the boulders which lined McCune Trail in Ohiopyle State Park is amazing! -- June 21, 2018

My Stumpjumper at the base of the two-mile-long Baughman Trail in Ohiopyle.  The trail was literally turned into a small river from the rain that fell the previous night! -- June 21, 2018

Celebrating my ride in Ohiopyle State Park with an ice cream cone from the Ohiopyle General Store. Photo by Alex Raymond. -- June 21, 2018

Hanging my soaked and muddy gear from our cabin's railing to dry in the June humidity. -- June 21, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- December 31, 2018

The best ice cream stop of the year was after my final mountain bike ride of 2018.  Brent and I stopped at the Ice Cream Cottage in Arbutus, Maryland after riding Patapsco Valley State Park. Not only do they have some of the best ice cream...but the nice lady behind the counter makes amazing roast beef sandwiches! -- December 27, 2018

Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 


Here are the GARMIN maps and data from my favorite rides of 2018.  #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