Saturday, October 10, 2015

OVER THE NEXT RIDGE -- October 10, 2015

There are many reasons why I might limit one of my rides.   Time is a reason.  There sometimes seems not to be enough of it.  Weather sometimes limits me.  It just doesn't always want to accommodate me with perfect days like today.  And...I hate to say it...but sometimes the ridge to the north and west of my home in Manchester limits me.   Anyone who cycles in York County is familiar with names like Bull Road, Lewisberry Road, and Copenhaffer Road.  

In the distance you can see the ridge off to the north that is the home of Lewisberry Road and Copenhaffer Road -- October 10, 2015
Don't get me wrong...I'm not afraid of those roads and I'm fully confident in ability to ride them.  But sometimes I just look at them and think to myself, "No."  They are a challenge.  But like any challenge the reward is great. Today I wanted the reward.  Leaving the house today I decided to take a quick detour though Emigsville  to get an extra few miles in.   The other thing that sent me through Emigsville was the fact that I hate to backtrack on roads.   Just a stupid quirk of mine.  I figured that by taking this route to get to the other side of Interstate 83 I would eliminate any doubling back on today's ride.  

St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Emigsville, PA -- October 10, 2015
Today's ultimate plan:  up Bull Road, down Andersontown Road, and back up and over Copenhaffer. 
Daunting...but I really was up for it today.   Heading out Canal Road ( one likes riding a bike on Canal Road) I came to Hake's Grocery.  Hake's is the quintessential small town grocer and today it seemed to have everything...pumpkins, harvested cornstalks, and a local fire company doing a chicken barbecue.  Gotta love small town Pennsylvania!  

Hake's Grocery at the intersection of Canal Road and Bull Road -- October 10, 2015
Turning right onto Bull Road I put my head down and just began to turn the pedals.  I knew what was coming...but I really didn't mind.  I was looking forward to it.  Climbing Bull Road really has never bothered me.   It goes up...levels off...goes up.  Just put your head down, find an easy gear, and go.  After coming up and over Bull I intersected with Andersontown Road.  I love this part of ride.  The road just rolls parallel to the ridge, through beautiful countryside, and past a cool little chapel that looks like it belongs in a movie.  

The autumn colors are beginning to show on Andersontown Road -- October 10, 2015
Mountain Grove Church on Andersontown Road -- October 10, 2015
Just past Mount Grove Church, Andersontown Road becomes Copenhaffer Road.   Now the real fun begins.  The north side of Copenhaffer is a category four climb.   Whoo Hoo!  Again.  Let's focus on the reward...not the climb.   And here it comes...the reward.   The view.  The feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. The "high" of a great work out.   Then, finally, the descent.  There are no words to express the giddiness that overcomes me as I fly down the south side of Copenhaffer Road.   It's exhilarating.  

The power lines on the top of Copenhaffer Road looking east towards Manchester, PA -- October 10, 2015
Isn't that what life is suppose to be?  Exhilarating!  Rewarding!  I think so.   All you got to do is remember to press on over the next ridge.  Focus on the reward...not the climb.

David A. Raymond -- October 10, 2015

Thursday, October 8, 2015


I never plan to be off my bike for over a week...and when it happens it is usually because central Pennsylvania is in a mid winter deep freeze.   But because of the long periods of rain at the end of last week, a trip to visit my Dad and step-mother in Bedford over the weekend, and a busy after school schedule all week it has now been eight days since I last turned the pedals

The steam coming from Brunner Island was going straight up today.  Crystal blue skies, warm weather, and calm winds made for a great ride today -- October 8, 2015
I couldn't of asked for a more perfect day to get out.  Unseasonably high temperatures (in the upper 70s), crystal blue skies, and an absolutely calm wind was more than enough to entice me out  after school today.  Before I left the house I had in mind that I would stay pretty close to home and just kind of zigzag though the Manchester, Mount Wolf, and York Haven area.  

The Bobcat Creamery on George Street has become a local favorite in Manchester -- October 8, 2015
Heading out of some of the neighborhoods around my house I took George Street through Manchester.   I took a moment to stop at the Bobcat Creamy. This blog IS called All Trails Lead to ICE CREAM after all!  The Creamery is absolutely ingenious.  The owner recruited students from Northeastern High School's FBLA group.  Located on the main street in town, it was designed, built, and managed by local high school students.  The Bobcat Creamery has become a favorite in the community.   And...I can has absolutely amazing root beer floats.

Wago Road between Mount Wolf and York Haven was just tarred and chipped.  Ugh!  --  October 8, 2015 
Heading out of Manchester and across the tracks into Mount Wolf I decided to power down Wago Road past Brunner Island power plant.  There was no "powering" down anything today.  To my frustration (yes, I said "frustration" when talking about a bike ride) Wago Road was just tarred and chipped. was JUST tarred and chipped.   Soft rocks and tar and just miserable conditions for a road bike.   I figured it would only be until I got to the  power plant.  After all, the township just worked on the road by the plant about a year ago.   Nope.  Stone and tar all the way into York Haven.  No worries though.   Great weather, crystal blue skies, and calm winds.  Life is good.

The Conewago Inn sits next to the Conewago Creek between Manchester, PA and York Haven, PA.  Prior to and during the American Civil War it served as a station on the Underground Railroad -- October 8, 2015
Riding around the town of York Haven I eventually came near the Conewago Creek and past the Conewago Inn.  The Conewago Inn is one of my favorite buildings in this part of the world.  Not only does it have great food but it has an incredible history.  Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette passed near the inn in did author Charles Dickens in 1841.  Prior to and during the American Civil War the Conewago Inn served as a station on the Underground Railroad.  The basement of the Inn served as a hiding place for African Americans searching for freedom. 

Riding past the Inn and across the Conewago Creek I decided to take Park Street back into Manchester.  My legs felt great coming back up the hill towards my house.   It was good to be back out on the bike.   Yep...great weather, crystal blue skies, and calm IS good.

David A. Raymond -- October 8, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


A helmet is a must when mountain biking.   Knock on wood...I've never forgotten mine.   With clipless pedals on my Stumpjumper...biking shoes are also a must.   I've forgotten them once.  Today, at Rocky Ridge with Mark, I forgot my gloves.   Nowhere near as serious as forgetting shoes or helmet...but a big inconvenience.  

Power lines coming from TMI were filling the air with electricity today -- September 29, 2015
The weather guys said the rain was going be over the area after 5 PM but the atmosphere was already like a sponge and, like an elderly man in the middle of the night, unable to hold it's water.  I did okay without my gloves for about 20 minutes but, after I began to sweat and after the rain began to come down, things got tricky.   Rocky Ridge can be tough in dry weather.   Add a little rain, sweat, and bare palms and it gets pretty interesting.  

After riding up "Forbidden Four" and then back down "Rusty Chair" Mark and I came up Trail One.  It's a nice wide walking path that connects the northern ridge of the park to the southern ridge.

Trail One looking back toward the north.   The circular patch in the middle of the picture is a duck pond that has completely dried up because of the extremely dry weather in central PA the past few months -- September 29, 2015
The trail meanders underneath the power lines that come from Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.  The air was electric.  Literally.   You could hear it and you could feel it (at least I could...can't speak for Mark.)   Take a listen for yourself!

Mark's plan today was to ride for about an hour and then commute on his bike to his home in York City.  Considering the conditions and the short time we ended up getting in a fun ride.   A few big climbs and a few excellent descents.   We split up at the bottom of trail 8.  He headed down and out of the park to Druck Valley Road.  I climbed up and out and back to the truck.   Soaked with rain and sweat and feeling pretty good.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- September 29, 2015

Look out on the northern ridge of Rocky Ridge -- September 29, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

FINDING MY GROOVE -- September 27, 2015

My entire life has been centered around structure...Catholic school, altar boy, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, high school football....yep, structure.  I've always been early to rise and ready to get on with my day.   Even as an adult I plan my workouts before my work day (or day off) starts.   I'm at my worst when there is no structure.   My brain tends to go into either panic or shut down mode.   I know this about myself.  Don't get me wrong...I work on this...but sometimes it's hard.   God bless my wife because she has so much patience with me. 

Stone wall on Lewisberry Road looking north -- September 27, 2015
I say all this because I went to bed last night already with today structured in my head.   Get up...have breakfast with my wife...take Alex to his baseball games...and then, like last Saturday, go for a ride while I wait for his games to start.  I even had my route planned out.   I was going to take some back roads that I had never ridden into Red Lion and then swing back past Lake Redman just in time for the games to start.

Lewisberry Road in York County -- September 27, 2015
Great plan...except it didn't happen.   Here comes "shut down" mode.  Robin had to go away and wasn't back in time for breakfast.  Our breakfast date turned into a lunch date.   There's absolutely no way I'm missing a date with my wife.   The solution was easy...just go for a ride this morning before she got back.  I know this sounds simple but it was not how I planned my day.    Twenty years ago I would have let his shut me down.  Thing is, I know that even though I felt thrown "out of my groove," going for a ride is exactly what would solve my problem.

Looking northwest from Bear Road -- September 27, 2015
Off I went...but now with a new dilemma.  In my mind I had already formulated what I was going to write about this afternoon:  new roads and the lakes.   Scrap that.   As I headed out and began to turn my pedals down Board Road I even began to question if I needed to write about anything.   I mean, is it necessary every ride?  Then the most amazing thing began to happen.   I just rode and everything came into focus.    I finally got my groove.   My mood changed and, as I began to see the beauty around me, thoughts of my original plans faded away.   My mind stopped thinking about a ride lost and began to appreciate the ride I was on.   Amen to that.

David A. Raymond -- September 27, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

AGAINST THE AUTUMN WIND--September 26, 2015

Autumn in Pennsylvania is beautiful.   Jerusalem School Road lined on both sides by corn stalks about to be harvested -- September 26, 2015
Pennsylvania in the Fall is absolutely beautiful.   The foliage hasn't begun to turn yet but harvest season is in full swing.   The air is crisp and the breeze is comfortably cool.   My favorite time of year.  It felt great to be out on the bike today after such a long week...not having any real destination in mind.   After meandering through a few neighborhoods in Emigsville I ended up in the miniature community of Glades, PA.   Talk about small town, rural Pennsylvania!  
Talk about a small far as I can tell this is the only public building in Glades, PA -- September 26, 2015
Descending towards the Codorus Creek from Glades I passes a few old stone walls, stone buildings, and a really cool looking mill pond.  Sometimes I wish I could glimpse back in time to see what the area looked like one or two hundred years ago.  

Gravel Road between Saginaw, PA and Mount Wolf, PA -- September 26, 2015
Climbing back towards Manchester I survived the amazing foul smell of the East Manchester Waste Water Treatment Plant.  Just how long CAN someone hold their breathe while cycling!  A right turn onto Jerusalem School Road put me back onto some country roads.  The fresh air was welcome!  By now I had decided that I was going to head down towards Codorus Furnace and then home through Saginaw.  

I've mentioned the furnace a few other times in past blogs.   It was built by William Bennett in 1765 and eventually purchased in 1771 by James Smith, York County resident and signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Codorus Furnace is one of the best preserved iron furnaces in Pennsylvania and is the oldest remaining landmark of the iron industry in York County.  

Rode to Codorus Furnace today -- September 26, 2015

Large pieces of iron ore and salamander (residue left in the bottom of the furnace) line the entrance to Codorus Furnace preventing cars from driving too close -- September 26, 2015

Visible on the hill behind the furnace stack are the remains of the structures that helped service the furnace -- September 26, 2015
From the furnace I passed through Saginaw and then headed towards Gravel Road.   Just recently tarred and chipped I've been avoiding gravel road all summer.  Mainly because I hate pulling tar and gravel off of my bike.  I figured it would be okay today.   Heading up the hill I noticed all the walnuts that had fallen form the trees to the road surface.   My mind went straight back to growing up on South Juliana Street in Bedford, PA.  As a kid we had a walnut tree right in front of the house.   My my brother and I (along with the neighborhood friends Robbie, Beau, and those that I can't remember) would pick up the walnuts and either crack them open to eat them...or throw them across the street to see who had the best arm. Usually they were thrown...and we were in trouble.

Growing up on South Juliana Street in Bedford.   My mother, Kathryn Raymond, had an amazing garden and would allow us to sell her massive cucumbers to people who would stop by.   Left to right...Lacey Henderson,  David Raymond, Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson -- 1980
Riding through Mount Wolf, and then Manchester, I came to Main Street.   Sitting right on Main Street in Manchester is a brick building that serves today as a Chiropractic office.  What a lot of locals don't know is that the building, constructed in 1816, was once a tavern that hosted  the Marquis de Lafayette on his 1825 and 1826 tour of the United States.    I think that's pretty cool.  

Today the brick building in Manchester is a chiropractic center.   In the 19th century it was a tavern that hosted the Marquis de Lafayette--September 26, 2015
To the best of my knowledge there isn't a historical marker on the building.  I only found this out when a pickup truck accidentally drove into the building and the local newspaper, the York Daily Record, reported on it. 

Only two miles from home my mind turned to the steak I have marinating, the ice cream in the freezer, and the Pirates //Cubs game.   Time to go home to eat and Raise the Jolly Roger! #raiseit 

David A. Raymond -- September 26, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

SLOW RIDE (TAKE IT EASY) -- September 21, 2015

I love the fact that Rocky Ridge is only 15 minutes from my house.   I can be home from school by 3PM and at the park by 3:30.   Plenty of time to get a quick ride in on my mountain bike with Mark Lentz.   Mark and I both teach at Northeastern.   He and I have been riding together now for ten years.   Mark is good at what he does...both in the classroom and on his bike.   The best part is that he doesn't brag or show off in any way.   He's one of the few people I know that, at a moments notice, is there to help. Yesterday he raced and proudly "won a beer for his wife."  Today he just wanted to do a slow ride.   You know...take it easy.  

Getting ready to ride with Mark Lentz at Rocky Ridge -- September 21, 2015
We almost didn't get to ride.   Mark brought his "husky" bike.   He's been having trouble with the wheel set.   About a tenth of a mile down the trail his back tire blew up on may face and covered me with Stan's.   I guess I should explain.   Both Mark and I have tubeless tires.   Stan's is a liquid that is put into the tires to help keep them inflated.   It's wonderful (as long is it works).  It's sticky if it doesn't.  

Amazingly we were able to inflate Mark's tubeless "Husky" with just my hand pump.  Can't miss the Stan's painting the outside of his 3" tire -- September 21, 2015
Coating the parking lot with Stan's -- September 21, 2015
Amazingly we were able to get his big (not fat) tire inflated with just my pump.  That in itself was a workout.   Off we went...and take it easy we did.    That doesn't mean that we didn't burn a few calories.   We climbed out of  "Gut," rode up "Forbidden Four," & navigated Trail 8.   All things most people wouldn't do when they are going for a "slow" ride, but, as Mark always says, "If it's too hard for everyone else, it's just right for us."

David A. Raymond -- September 21, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Normally I plan my rides for early in the morning.   I've always been an early riser and I love getting my daily workout in before I have to do anything else that day.   It sets the tone for the rest of the day.  My wife says that she loves this about me.   I needed to sleep today, though.   I've been extremely tired.  My body woke me up at 8AM today....just in time for my weekly breakfast date with the beautiful Robin.  There were other things on the agenda today, too.  Alex had two baseball games.   I just decided to take my bike to West York and ride during the first couple innings of his first game.  

Sprenkle Road heading west towards Spring Grove, PA -- September 19, 2015
I started today's ride about 200 yards from my old house.   It was a weird feeling to be back in that neighborhood.  I wanted to ride things I haven't ridden for a while.   Turns out that I rode some roads that I've never been on.   Leaving Shiloh I headed towards Spring Grove, PA.  I didn't have any thoughts of actually going beyond Spring Grove.  I wanted to be back to see the last couple innings of Alex's first game.  
The farm fields in south and west of York are some of my favorite destinations on my road bike.  Those back roads just roll and roll and seemingly do not end.   Sometimes it feels like you can just ride all day long.   Riding out Route 116 I had every intention of turning right and doubling back towards Thomasville, PA; but, as you probably have figured out by now, when I'm on my bike I very rarely stick to my original plan.   Turning left put me on Stoverstown Road.   New territory for me.   Cool.

Train tracks on Grandview Road looking North towards Spring Grove, PA -- September 19, 2015
The "greenest" pond I've ever seen.   Sunnyside Road -- September 19, 2015 
Sunnyside Road turned out to be a treat.   Up and down and fast.   It was here that I passed the "greenest" pond that I had ever seen.   These back roads didn't disappoint.   Picturesque farm fields and train tracks.   Just what I was looking for today.   Eventually I did head back towards Thomasville and then turned left onto Route 30.   Not the best road to ride on...but traffic wasn't heavy.  

Thomasville Airport and Rt. 30 -- September 19, 2015
Passing the Thomasville Airport I turned onto Lake Road.   I've ridden this road many times....just not in this direction.   It brought me to roads that I am extremely familiar with:  Canal, Big Mount, and Admire.   The late September farm fields provided an excellent backdrop.   It was nice to be out today but I love watching my son play ball.   Time to head back and cheer him on.  What a great to be outside.

David A. Raymond -- September 19, 2015