Sunday, November 22, 2015

FITTING IN-- November 22, 2015

Last year, the week of Thanksgiving, south central Pennsylvania got it's first significant snowfall.   Once that happens, it puts a serious damper on any road cycling.   It's not just the snow that keeps me off of my bike.  When Penn DOT is through clearing the roads they are covered with gravel, cinders, and salt...which make for treacherous riding and unhappy drive trains.   
One of the many stone, one-lane bridges you will find in York County -- November 22, 2015
All the more reason for me to enjoy the weather so far this year.    No snow yet...and according to the local weather guys...none in the near future.  With the outside temperatures holding steady at 40 degrees, I pulled on the amazing GORE jacket that my wife bought me four years ago, and down the driveway I went.  There was a time when I thought that every road ride had to be "epic."  Every ride had to take me somewhere far from home.   Today, without going any further than Emigsville, I was able to get 15 miles in.    To a lot of cyclists, fifteen miles isn't very far....but this is my idea of a "lazy" day.    A chance to turn some pedals, enjoy the outdoors, and then relax the rest of the day with my family. 

In the past, my rides consumed my day.    Not anymore...they fit into my day....and that's perfectly fine with me.  Life is a journey, not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- November 22, 2015

Be sure to check out the website for ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM to see all of my ride pictures, favorite ice cream stops, and much more.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

TIMMY'S LAST HURRAH -- November 21, 2015

Tim and I have been mountain biking together for over fifteen years.  When we began, the only place that we knew to ride was Rocky Ridge and the Lakes.   It wasn't until we began riding with Mark Lentz in 2006 that my mountain bike world was really opened up.  In the beginning, It was just Tim and I.  No special gear, unimpressive bikes, and we definitely did not wear proper cycling clothes.  Heck...I would often ride in blue jeans.  There was even a time, back in those days, when we wondered if we would still be riding when we were 35.  Now, well into our 40s, our circle of biking friends has expanded, the list of places where we can ride has grown significantly longer, and Tim and I are still going strong.

My 2011 Stumpjumper next to the entrance to the small & narrow tunnel that passes underneath Interstate 83 -- November 21, 2015
Today's ride at the Lakes was special, though.   On Monday, Tim is having neck surgery and will be on the shelf until March or April of next year.  Yeah, we're still going strong....but I guess our bodies aren't what they use to be.   Long ago...when we started riding together...and neither of us had heard of places like Michaux, Rattling Creek, Potapsco, or French Creek...our favorite "epic" ride was the one that took us through the tunnels at the lakes.   For us, a journey under the interstate was just about as exciting as it got.  This is the ride we chose to do today.   

The beginning of Trail 7 at the Lakes -- November 21, 2015
Tim riding ahead of me on Trail 7.  Through the trees you can see Interstate 83 -- November 21, 2015
Crossing the dam, and climbing up Trail 1, we came to the "jumping off" point where trail 7 begins (or ends...depending on your direction).  Once you make this turn you are committed to the ride.   The narrow single track leads down a steep slope directly towards, and then underneath, Interstate 83.  This first tunnel is crazy narrow and dark.  Because it slopes slightly downhill, there is no need to turn the pedals the whole way through it.   The trickiest part is coming out the other side.   The trail turns abruptly to the right.   If you miss it you will go head over handle bars into a three foot deep pool of cold November creek water.   

The light at the end of our first water filled tunnel today -- November 21, 2015
Exiting the northernmost tunnel at the Lakes -- November 21, 2015
Coming out on the east side of I-83, Trail 7 winds back and forth up the hillside.   At times, the trail rides the ridge directly above the interstate...with only two feet of earth and a few trees preventing you from falling 50 feet down onto the highway.  

Three miles into our ride it became apparent to me that the long sleeve Under Armour that I put on this morning was overkill for the 40 degree temperatures.  Taking a break, I shed the unwanted layer and stuffed it into the rear pocket of my cycling shirt.  Tim and I then continued on towards the backwater of Lake Redman where we rode last week.    

One of the many wooden bridges covered with chicken wire to prevent your tires from slipping on the damp wood -- November 21, 2015
Hooking onto Trail 5, we retraced last weeks path through the often muddy and mucky areas around the back of the lake....hopping logs and crossing bridges covered with chicken wire.  Unlike last week, when we skipped the tunnels to avoid getting wet (ironically, it was colder today than a week ago), we made our way to the other side of the interstate through a much wider southern tunnel.  Even though I'm not required to duck in this tunnel, it is more difficult to navigate because of the numerous large rocks lurking just below the surface of the water.  

Tim's last hurrah...taking on the darkness, the cool water, and loose rocks in the southern most tunnel that passes under Interstate 83 -- November 21, 2015
Crossing over Hess Farm Road, we passed the boat docks and the Lake Redman sign that is visible to travelers on the highway on the other side of the lake....ending up back at the parking lot near the dam.   Even though this isn't Tim's last ride ever...I sure will miss riding with him the next few months.   We use to wonder if we would be doing this when we got to be 35 years old.   Now I can't imagine us not doing it.   Just as long as we keep on pedaling and keep on moving forward.

Life is a journey, not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- November 21, 2015
Be sure to check out the rest of today's ride pics on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM web site.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

THE LEGACY OF WILLIAM H. KAIN -- November 14, 2015

William H. Kain (1912-1998) was a nationally known York County lawyer.    He is best remembered for his work as the president of the York County Water Company which supplies water to half a million people in South Central Pennsylvania.  In an effort to allow the use of Water Company Reservoir lands for county park purposes an agreement was struck between the York County Parks and the York Water Company.  The result was the creation of William H. Kain County Park in 1977.  The park, consisting of two lakes, Lake Williams and Lake Redman, covers over 1600 acres and is enjoyed by nature lovers of all kind.  

A beautiful day to be at Lake Kain County Park with Tim -- November 14, 2015
It was the perfect place for Tim and I to ride on a windy and cool November day.  Parking at the dam on South George Street, Tim and I headed towards the twisty trails that loop around the backwaters of Lake Redman.  The trails on this side of the lake are so much fun but I don't get over here often as I would like.  In the late spring and summer they are flood prone and overgrown.   Today, they were perfect.   Coming out of the boat dock and pavilion area, Tim and I took a quick trip down Hess Farm Road and then turned into the trail head after crossing the Lake.  

The November sun glistens on the backwater of Lake Redman -- November 14, 2015
To me, the most interesting part of all of these trails is that I can see that I am riding over the foundations and porch stoops of old homes.    I truly am a nerd...and I wonder who once lived there.  In the spring daffodils still bloom around some of these porches.    Amazing.   As Tim and I cruised along, my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of the walking deck that juts a few feet out into the lake.   I've seen the deck many times but I never checked it out.  From the trail, I assumed the deck was only a few feet long.   To my surprise, it stretched about 100 feet and provided educational signs explaining the water cycle and plant and animal life in the area.  So cool.   

Checking out the nature signs on the walking deck at William Kain County Park -- November 14, 2015
Coming out on Iron Stone Hill Road, Tim and I turned up a long double wide trail that looped across South Pleasant Avenue and connected onto Trail #5.  When mountain biking I completely prescribe to the idea of maximizing my fun.   The incredible downhill that leads back to Iron Stone Hill Road brings a grin and smile to my face the whole way down...and it makes grinding ride up more than worthwhile.  

Doubling back on Iron Stone Hill Road, Tim and dropped into a section of trail that winds and turns and squiggles around a flood prone area of the park.   A few bridges, covered with chicken wire for traction, and gravel, which has been strategically dumped along a few sections of the trail, makes the area easier to navigate.   Trail #5 then heads back towards Hess Farm Road on a ridge above the lake.  The short, quick ups and downs of this trail make it one of my all time favorites.  Normally, Tim and I would ride through a tunnel under Interstate 83 in order to get back to the boat dock area of Lake Kain.  That tunnel, however, has a creek that runs through it.   In the summer, we don't mind getting wet feet.  Today...not so much.  Turning down towards the lake we rode back to Hess Farm Road to avoid the tunnel.  

Kain Memorial -- November 14, 2015

Coming through the pavilions and parking area around the boat launch area we passed the Kain Memorial.   How is it, that all the years I've been riding here, that I've never noticed this?  Dedicated in 1987 by members of the York County Students Against Drunk Driving, the memorial stands in remembrance of York County victims of alcohol and drug related crashes.  It contains the names of 68 victims of alcohol and drug related crashes in York County since 1980.  It stands in the HOPE that the monument will help others choose NOT to drink and drive.

Lake Redman -- November 14, 2015
Once we got back to George Street, Tim and I crossed the road and did a short little section of Trail #4 that brought us down towards the lake and back out to the road.   Just the cherry on top of a fantastic ride.  It was a great day to be out on the bike today enjoying life, nature, the company of a good friend, and the gift left behind by a man named William Kain.   
Life is a journey, not a destination.  

David A. Raymond -- November 14, 2015
Be sure to check out the website for ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and take a look at past entries, ride pics, trail maps, and so much more!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

TOTAL BULL (Road) -- November 8, 2015

I got home from my ride today about a half an hour later than I expected.    I guess I'm not as fast, or as strong, as I use to be.  I haven't ridden the length of Bull Road for a while.  Today seemed like the perfect day to check it out.   It's a fun ride...and a beautiful ride...but getting to the far end of Bull Road is a round-about route.  
A Pennsylvania Historical Marker stands at the entrance of Bull Road -- November 8, 2015
Pedaling out of the development today I headed to towards Route 74 and Dover, PA. It was a great day to be on the bike.   The sun shining, just a slight breeze, and the 50 degree temperatures felt amazing.  On a Sunday afternoon, the traffic on 74 wasn't too bad.    Six miles northwest of Dover, I made a right turn onto Rosstown Road and passed through Gifford Pinchot State Park.  

Pinchot Lake from Rosstown Road -- November 8, 2015
Named after Governor Gifford Pinchot, the park is a destination for hikers, campers, and fishermen.   Gifford Pinchot served as Pennsylvania's governor from 1923 to 1927 and again from 1931 to 1935.  He was a tireless worker for the people of Pennsylvania.   During the Great Depression, Governor Pinchot set up work camps that built over 20,000 paved roads throughout Pennsylvania for "taking the farmer out of the mud."   His programs made it easier for Pennsylvania farmers to get from farm to market and they became the model for President Franklin Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, the lake that bares his name, looked beautiful from Rosstown Road.  

A large stone marker stands at the same spot that Governor Pinchot stood on July 23, 1931 -- November 8, 2015
At the beginning of Bull Road travelers are greeted with a stone tablet marking the spot where Governor Pinchot turned the first spade of dirt that began the paving of Pennsylvania's rural roads.   From North to South, Bull Road is nine miles of cycling bliss starting with a fast ride down towards a one lane bridge that passes over a beautiful creek littered with rocks and boulders.    I don't get here often...but it is one of my favorite places to ride.    

The lowest point of Bull Road take you across this beautiful stream -- November 8, 2015
Around the next turn, I crossed over the Conewago Creek...then the uphill climbs begin.  Gradual at first, the incline begins to get steeper and steeper, eventually climbing over 500 feet in less than four miles!  It makes the downhill ride to Canal Road feel so good.  Canal Road between Bull Road and Manchester is heavily traveled and has no shoulder.   It's no one's first choice to cycle on.    Today I took it to get back home as quickly as I could.   As mentioned above...I'm not as fast as I once was...and I was late for a lazy afternoon with my wife.   I wouldn't miss that for anything...that's no bull.

Life is a journey, not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- November 8, 2015
Be sure to check out the new website for ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM to see all of our ride pics, trail maps, and so much more.

Friday, November 6, 2015


I will never complain about my work.  I'm one of those lucky souls whose job is also his hobby.   Everyday, for the past 21 years, I've had the cool responsibility of teaching history to 8th graders.   You should hear the comments I get from people when I tell them this.   "You must be a saint!"  "How do you put up with it?" "You must be insane!"  Actually, like I would tell my Grandma Rose, the kids today really are great to work with and I have a lot of fun doing it.  My days usually are fun...but they are ALWAYS full of energy.   Sometime, like today, my energy was zapped.

The sun peaking through the clouds over the baseball field in Mount Wolf, PA -- November 6, 2015
One part of me wanted to just go home lay down in front of the TV.  The other part of me wanted to go out and enjoy the 70 degree November weather.   After all, I can't expect this warm streak to continue much longer.   So....after a little bit of a tug of war in my I went on my bike.   With no destination in mind I just pedaled and enjoyed the weather.   

The Conewago Creek near Park Street -- November 6, 2015
There was a smell in the air today that is unique to this time of year.    With the warm temperatures and a touch of humidity in air, the fallen leaves gave off a sweet, but sour, smell. That's the best I can explain it...but I love it.   Crossing in and out of Mount Wolf, I no longer had any conflict in my head about whether I wanted to be out on my bike or not.    No matter how tired I am when I begin, I feel completely rejuvenated by time I get home...and I never regret it.  After is a journey, not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- November 6, 2015
Be sure to check out the website for ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM to see more ride pics, trail maps, and so much more!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

TOUR de MANCHESTER -- November 3, 2015

If someone would have told me that touring the town I live in on my bicycle would culminate in a fourteen mile bike ride I would never have believed it.   Manchester, Pennsylvania isn't that big of a town.   As a matter of fact, the town, with the exception of development and traffic, really isn't that different than it was over 150 years ago!  

Manchester, Pennsylvania Founded 1740 -- November 3, 2015
Founded in 1740 by an heir of William Penn, John Nickey, and originally named Liverpool, the borough is small with only one main street.   The road through town served as an access to the cities of Harrisburg and York.   On June 28, 1863, during the American Civil War, the 17th Virginia Cavalry, on a mission to burn bridges, stopped in Liverpool (Manchester) and Mount Wolf to purchase shoes.  They paid with Confederate money.   After the Civil War the town's name was changed to Manchester.   By the early 1900s, the York Haven Street Railway Company ran a trolley through the town to York.   A focal point was Cold Springs Park...the present site of Cold Springs Apartments.

Welcome To Manchester -- November 3, 2015
With afternoon temperatures in the mid 60s I set off on my bike to just explore the town I have lived in for three years and worked in for twenty one.  I just started zipping in and out of all the developments, behind the GIANT grocery store, and then down Forge Hill Road.    I had never been on this road and was really surprised how big the loop around the development was.   From there I head towards Northeastern High School and Middle School and then shot down towards the Conewago Creek.   Before crossing the creek I turned up Park Street.   I never knew WHY it was called Park Street until I learned the history of the York Haven Trolley.  There are pieces of history all around us.  All you have to do is look.  

By the time I arrived back to my house I was amazed that I put together a fourteen mile ride that included roads I had never ridden,  buildings I had never seen, and, for the most part, avoided traffic.   So....instead of wondering where you will ride, jog, or walk today....just go out and explore where you live.  You might be surprised what you find.   After is a journey, not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- November 3, 2015

Be sure to check out the new website for ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM to see all of our ride pics, trail maps, and so much more!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

TWENTY YEARS DOWN THE ROAD -- October 31, 2015

Living in Manchester, Pennsylvania, any bike ride north will take you to, or near, the Susquehanna River.   Today's ride did just that.  The Susquehanna River flows south out of New York, through central Pennsylvania, and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.   It is the boundary between York and Lancaster Counties.   York Haven, in northeastern York County, is located directly next to the river.   The first time I ever saw York Haven was in 1995.   Just after I was hired to teach at Northeastern Middle School I was taken on a tour of the school district by, then assistant superintendent, Dr. Fred Hainley.   

York Haven, Pennsylvania -- October 31, 2015
I will admit that my first impressions of York Haven were not good.   To a twenty-one year old, the town seemed run down.  With only one main street running through the town...there definitely wasn't much going on.  Today's ride took me down that street.  My mind went back to 1995....driving through the town.   I can still remember the conversation.  Dr. Hainley explained to me, with pride, about the town's past.   Founded in 1814, York Haven once was the home of  the York Haven Paper Company.   At the time it was built (1885), the York Haven Paper Company was the largest ground pulp paper mill in the United States.  The mill closed it's doors in 1971  due to cost cutting measures.    The next year the remnants of Hurricane Agnes severely damaged the empty mill.   Shortly after, it was torn down.  As a history teacher, I have much more appreciation of the town now than I did back then...and, riding my bike through it, I always imagine the possibilities for the community.  Maybe someday the industry will come back.

The Susquehanna River and Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant -- October 31, 2015

A view of Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant from Grandview Road -- October 31, 2015
Riding out of York Haven a view of the Susquehanna River and Three Mile Island nuclear plant opens up.   I can still remember the first time I saw the power plant.  It was the same day I saw York Haven for the first time.   When Dr. Hainley turned the corner and I saw the towers I practically jumped through the roof of his Dodge Caravan.  I couldn't believe my eyes.   Today, it is just part of my normal landscape. Most of the kids I teach in my history classes have never heard of the 1979 accident that nearly rendered the area uninhabitable.  Time moves on.

River Drive headed northwest out of York Haven -- October 31, 2015
A beautiful day to be out riding.   Cragmoor Road west of York Haven --October 31, 2015
On that August day in 1995, Dr. Hainley drove me and a few other new teachers around the remainder of Northeastern School District.   Mostly a lot of back roads and farmland.  I remember thinking, "Where am I?"  "There's nothing to do here!"  It's so funny how perception and perspective changes over time.  Today I pedaled some of those very same roads back to my house.  Today, there is some much to do here.  So much for me to see. So much to appreciate.    Today I know exactly where I am....I'm home.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond  -- October 31, 2015
Be sure to check out the new website for ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM to see all of our ride pics, trail maps, favorite ice cream stops, and a whole lot more!