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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

CAPTURING THE EXTRAORDINARY

There is a folder on my computer titled PICTURES. Currently, it contains (as of this writing) 1,919 sub folders which house (again...as of this writing) a total of 41,307 photographs...the oldest of which are some old family photos that I'd inherited from my mother.  Heck...just in the sub folder named 2018 there are 6,049 pictures! I love pictures and the memories that they contain.  Cell phones and muliple gig memory cards have made capturing memories easier than it has ever been.  Every once in a while, I'll manage to take a picture that really resonates with me. Not that I think that any of my photos are worthy of winning any photo contest...but because, by blind luck, I managed to do justice to what I was actually seeing, and feeling, in that moment as I pulled out the cell phone to capture the beauty surrounding me.  So...out of the over 6,000 pictures I took this past year...I think I found the twenty best from the past twelve months. Only one of the pics features another human being...the other nineteen capture ordinary places and objects in, I think, extraordinary ways...making these, in my opinion, my 20 best photographs of 2018. Enjoy. 

This picture was taken near the Visitor Center and underneath the bridge (that makes up a section of the Great Allegheny Passage) that crosses over the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.  I had just finished an amazing ride down Baughman Trail and was celebrating with an ice cream cone.  I thought that my bike, all covered in mud, looked super cool (and very appropriate) leaning against the mural of a mountain biker.  -- June 21, 2018


This pic of, the now drained, Lake Williams was taken from the Water Street bridge which  crosses over Lake Williams in York County, Pennsylvania.  I was most impressed with the man made structures (which are below the normal water lever of the lake) that can be seen in the extreme left and right of this photograph.  -- October 26, 2018


Normally, the view from the TOP of Pole Steeple in Michaux State Forest provides the best pics...but I love this pic of the early morning summer sun shining through the forest on our way up to the  Pole Steele Vista. -- August 1, 2018


Chris Keller and I rode in Swatara State Park shortly after a major wind storm ripped through the area...making the landscape look almost surreal.  --  April 7, 2018


A number of people have told me that this is my best pic of the year.  I'm not sure if it is the best, but this picture of  Tom's Run in Michaux State Forest...with the morning mist rising off of it...is super cool. -- August 7, 2018


The view from Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park looks like this...a glistening sheet of water pouring off of the cliff above you.  -- June 30, 2018


The Hershey Medical Trail System was especially muddy on the day the Matt, Tim, Adam, and I chose to do our first (and hopefully annual) Ugly Sweater Ride.  I took this pic of my drive train after the ride.  I didn't expect it to be anything out of the ordinary...but it does a great job showing just how "peanut butter-like" the trails were on that particular day. -- December 2, 2018


While pedaling up Park Street in Manchester, Pennsylvania, I caught this glimpse of the the Autumn sun poking through the clouds hovering over the farm fields.  -- October 31, 2018


I find the desert captivating and incredibly beautiful.  I was fortunate enough to be able to take my brother's old Cannondale out for a ride while on my brief visit to Arizona this past summer.  Superstition Mountain can be seen in the background. -- June 10, 2018


In our little corner of the Earth, the Fall foliage is usually at it's peak during the first weekend of November.  This year didn't disappoint.  I took this pic of the forest...covered in yellows, oranges, and reds...while hiking at Rocky Ridge County Park  with Robin, Alex, and Emma. -- November 4, 2018


Ohiopyle State Park is known for it's waterfalls and the rapids of the Youghiogheny River...but after a torrential rainfall, the entire landscape  became a seemingly endless string of waterfalls.  I took this picture while hiking Beech Trail with Alex, Mike Graham, and Devin. -- June 20, 2018


The overcast skies couldn't dampen the colors of the fall foliage on either side of the Conewago Creek  near York Haven, Pennsylvania. -- October 28, 2018


One of my favorite pictures of 2018...I took this picture of a rhododendron plant in full bloom while riding on Gargamel's Trail in Michaux State Forest with Tim and Ben.  Mountain Creek is in the background. -- July 10, 2018


I honestly didn't think that the florescent orange color of my bike was also a color that naturally occurred in nature...but this large amount of orange fungi at Rocky Ridge County Park proved me to be incorrect. -- September 21, 2018


This is...in my opinion...the best picture I took in 2018.  The forest surrounding McCune Trail in Ohiopyle State Park was totally engulfed in a heavy fog after an evening of heavy rain. -- June 21, 2018


Rocky Ridge County Park is known well in York County for it's Christmas Magic light display...but this festive tree was found deeper into the woods near trail #5. -- December 8, 2018


On what was possibly the coldest ride of 2018, I took my mountain bike on the trails behind the Bedford Springs Hotel in the single digit temps.  This picture of the frozen landscape was taken near Davey Lewis' Cave. -- January 14, 2018


Ben Kelly and I took a ride on the Parkway Trail System in Harrisburg to celebrate the Winter Solstice.  My helmet and Stumpjumper seem to blend right in with the winter colors. -- December 21, 2018


December means short days in south central Pennsylvania.  I'm usually able to squeeze in an hours worth of riding after school before the the sun sets for the day.  I took this pic of the December sun setting just as I was wrapping up one of my afternoon rides. -- December 19, 2018


The only pic on  my top 20 list that another person in it...I took this picture of my niece, Jackie Raymond, on her first trip to Ohiopyle State Park.  I love her look of excitement and amazement as she experienced Cucumber Falls for the first time. -- June 30, 2018


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- December 26, 2018


As far as ice cream goes...the best surprise of the year was when I found out that the Bobcat Creamery had begun making their own homemade ice cream!  The black raspberry is amazing! -- December 8, 2018


Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from rides and hikes 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

Friday, December 14, 2018

RECYCLING

Hanging out at the bike shop is always fun.  A shared love a cycling gives any bike shop a unique sense of community....bringing all types of people, from all ages and backgrounds, together.  It's a place where you feel welcome and accepted.  I've always felt that sense of "community" and "belonging" at Gung Ho Bikes...which is one of the reasons why I was so excited to be welcomed as a part of the staff there this year.  Working at the shop feels as if I'm giving back the the community...whether it's in the form of building a new bike a child's birthday present, tuning up someone's bike for a summer of riding, or teaching a customer how to fix a flat tire.  I basically just feel good about sharing my love for cycling and the outdoors with people.  But, last week, this sense of giving back to the local communty was taken to a whole new level for me.  

The staff of Gung Ho Bikes:  Ryan, Penny, Jay, Jim, Clark, Ben, Dave, and Joel. -- December 5, 2018

Last Tuesday, when I showed up for my evening shift, I helped Jay and Clark pull over two hundred used bicycles out of storage and carry them down to the shop level.  These bikes (which had been donated to the shop over the course of the past twelve months) were about to get, some TLC from the staff at Gung Ho Bikes.  The plan, conceived by Penny and Jay Zech, the owners of Gung Ho Bikes, was to convert as many of these bikes as possible back to riding condition so that they could then be...for lack of a better word...recycled back into the community for people who were in need of them.  


A sea of donated bikes, waiting to be fixed up, occupied the sales floor at Gung Ho Bikes last Tuesday and Wednesday. -- Decmeber 5, 2018




Ben and Clark fixing a couple of the donated bikes. -- December 5, 2018


Jim Seevers putting the finishing touches on this BMX bike. -- December 5, 2018


Ryan and Jay working out on the floor. -- December 5, 2018

The donated bikes ready to be picked by local charities in the community.  Photo by Penny Zech. -- December 7, 2018

Everyone on the staff showed up on Wednesday evening and donated their time to fix up the sea of bicycles that covered the floor of the bike shop.  It was the first time, since I've been there, that all eight employees were there and working together...laughing, joking, and fueled by a lot pizza (thank you Penny & Jay.) I think what amazed me the most was how quickly and efficiently we were able to transform over 150 unwanted bicycles into what could end up being a child's first bike...or possibly transportation for an adult who needs a reliable way to work.  For some people...just having a reliable bicycle is a game changer.  I wasn't able to be there last Friday when all of the bikes that we worked on were lined up outside of the shop for local charities to pick up...but I didn't need to be to know that what the staff  of Gung Ho Bikes did last week truly made a difference in the lives of a lot of people...and this holiday season, I'm so proud that I was able to be part of it.




Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- December 14, 2018


Jay, Ben, and  Clark taking a pizza break. -- December 5, 2018


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

Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73

 #OptOutside


"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Sunday, December 2, 2018

RECENT GROUP THERAPY

We all need "me time," but nothing pulls me out of a seasonal depression funk better than time with family and friends.  I think about this a lot this time of year when...as the sun sets earlier and the temps hover around the freezing point... the amount of time that I spend outdoors and the frequency that I am able to get together with friends to soak in some Vitamin N drastically decreases.  A little GROUP THERAPY can go a long way...it doesn't matter if it's a hike in the woods with my family or hitting the trails with the guys in my mountain biking circle...togetherness feels amazing.  So yeah...nothing seems better for my mind and body than doing things that I love, in places that I love, with people that I love (yes...that includes you too, Glenn).  So, here are (in no particular order) some pics of recent group therapy spanning the past two years.  Enjoy!

Taken after we had just finished riding Grave Ridge Trail in Michaux State Forest...this photo ranks as one of my all-time favorite group pics.
 Back:  Tim Sindlinger, Glenn Medice, and  Matt Linnane.  Front:  Dave Raymond -- August 15, 2017


A rafting trip on the Youghiogheny River has become an annual tradition...it's four-ish hours of of wild and fun group therapy!
 Left to right:  Devin Seiger, Alex Raymond, Chris Lowe, Dave Raymond, & Cliff the Guide. -- June 19, 2018


Local hikes at Rocky Ridge County Park provide easy access to Vitamin N and group therapy.
 Left to Right:  Alex Raymond, Emma Sadowski, Dave Raymond, & Robin Raymond. -- November 4, 2018


Taking a break along Gargamel's Trail in Michaux State Forest to listen to one of Glenn's stories.
 Left to Right:  Dave Raymond, Glenn Medice, and Matt Linnane -- July 25, 2017


Pausing during an extremely hot and humid hike on Beech Trail in Ohiopyle State Park.
 Left to Right:  Mike Graham, Alex Raymond, Dave Raymond, and Devin Seiger. -- June 20, 2018


Time for some extreme cold group therapy with my neighbors.  Mike Alicea, Brent Shirk, and I braved single digit temps to ride a few miles on the Parkway Trails in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Our faces were frozen...but we were smiling on the inside! -- December 28, 2017


My kids are all grown...so I jump at the chance to share my love for the outdoors with my neices and nephew.  This past summer, Robin and I took them to Ohiopyle State Park for a weekend camping trip...which included a super cool hike down and around Cucumber Falls.
 Left to Right:  Sophie, Jackie, Isaac, Robin, and Dave Raymond.  -- June 30, 2018


Group Therapy comes in all forms...even in the form of fixing one of Tim's flat tires while riding in Michaux State Forest.
 Left to Right:  Ben Kelly, Tim Sindlinger, and Dave Raymond. -- July 10, 2018


Hiking to the top of Tumbling Run in Michaux State Forest is always a treat.  It was especially fun with this group.
 Left to right:  Alex Raymond, Emma Sadowski, Blythe Arnold-Scott, Dave Raymond, & Mike Graham. -- August 1, 2018


Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, and Matt Linnane pausing for a pic in Swatara State Park at the exact spot in which Tim and I met Matt a few years prior.  -- June 6, 2017

Matt Linnane, Tim Sindliner, Adam Zeigler, and I were all smiles as we donned our best holiday attire for our first ever UGLY SWEATER RIDE.  Thanks to the never-ending rain, this ride on the HERSHEY MEDICAL CENTER TRAIL SYSTEM was one of the muddiest recent memory!  -- December 2, 2018

Some post-adventure food and group therapy at our campsite in Ohiopyle State Park.  Good food and great friends!
  Left to Right:  Chris Lowe, Mike Graham, Alex Raymond, Dave Raymond, Devin Seiger, and Cliff the Guide. -- June 19, 2018



Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- December 2, 2018


Some of the best group therapy happens at the GUNG HO BIKES.  Nothing beats fixing and selling bikes with the group of guys that I have the privilege to work with.  Left to right:  Jim Seevers, Dave Raymond, and Ben Kelly. -- November 29, 2018


Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73


Here are the GARMIN maps and data from rides and hikes 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 YOUR TRUE NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, WHITE WATER ADVENTURES, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Thursday, November 15, 2018

SWEET TRAILS


People love Hershey, Pennsylvania.  It is, after all, designated as the "Sweetest Place on Earth."  Twice, within the past two weeks, I've made the thirty-ish mile trip from York to Hershey, to ride the area's sweetest new attraction...a brand new, super cool mountain bike trail system located directly behind the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

My Stumpjumper resting near trail W3 on the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Trail System. -- November 3, 2018

Thanks to SAMBA (Susquehanna Area Mountain Bike Association)...the same group that put together the Parkway Trails in Harrisburg, PA...I now have another place to add to my list of local spots to mountain bike.  Tim and I made our first visit to the HMC Trail System two weeks ago.  Neither one of us knew exactly what to expect...but we  knew that this would be something special from the moment we left the parking lot.  The first thing we came across was an outdoor "lounge" equipped with chairs, recliners, a table, and trail maps.  The place brought a smile to our faces before we even got onto the single track!


Just a few feet out of the parking lot, you come across this super cool "lounge" just prior to jumping onto the single track. -- November 3, 2018

This ten mile trail system is compact, twisty, and just...fun.  Speaking for myself, the most surprising aspect of the trails was the condition that they were in.  I visited the HMC Trail System the past two Saturday mornings...each of those mornings came after days of torrential rain.  I (and I assume Tim, too) expected an absolute mud-fest.  That's not what we experienced though.  Any water that may have been there the day before had drained off leaving the trails in great condition...another testament to the trail building skills of SAMBA.  The trail system is split into the East and West side...with the trails on each side numbered 1-5.  We came across a few rock gardens...but, for the most part, Tim and I experienced nothing but fun, fast, twisty single track that was nicely marked, labeled, and expertly built into the surrounding landscape.  

A map of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Trail System.  You can view and download the map HERE


The twisty trail system in incredibly well marked.  The trails are categorized as BEGINNER (green), ADVANCED (blue), and EXPERT (black).  --  November 3, 2018


The build-ups along the trail system are consistently perfect. -- November 3, 2018


Tim Sindlinger and I pedaling down the single track that is expertly carved into the landscape. -- November 3, 2018



Tim took this pic of me on the HMC Trail System. -- November 3, 2018


Tim Sindlinger navigating the leaf covered trails. -- November 3, 2018


Tim Sindlinger and Dave Raymond enjoying the HMC Trail System.  -- November 3, 218


My Stumpjumper blending into the surrounding landscape. -- November 10, 2018

Two weeks ago, our time schedule didn't allow for Tim and I to ride more than half of the HMC Trail System...so I headed back last week on my own to ride the rest of the trails.  What appeals to me the most about this new set of trails is that they are directional, well maintained, and meant for mountain biking.  I also noticed that the entire area was posted as NO HUNTING.  Please don't hate...(I'm not against hunting in any way, shape, or form)...but I am pretty excited to know that I  now have a local place for me to do my "thing" when the hunters are out doing their "thing."  And...if I have to drive to Hershey to do it...that's ok with me.  Those trails are pretty sweet.

Heading home after a sweet ride on the HMC Trail System. -- November 10, 2018


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- November 15, 2018


One of my favorite Hershey memories...back in 2013, my brother, sister-in-law, and my nieces & nephew were visiting from Arizona.  One of the must stops for the kids was Hershey's Chocolate World.  Left to right:  Jacob, Kristi, Isaac, David, Robin, Alex, Jackie, and Sophie Raymond.  -- July 5, 2013


Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM 

@mountnbiker73


Here's the GARMIN maps and data from my first two rides on the HMC TRAIL SYSTEM.  Happy biking!








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 YOUR TRUE NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WEEKEND OF THE YEAR (So Far)

As far back as I can remember, Fall has always been my favorite season of the year.  The summer time humidity has faded, the cool, crisp, Autumn air has taken a firm hold, and the leaves on the trees have begun to show their true colors.  We've had an abnormally wet and warm year around here...and, up until a week ago, most of the leaves on the trees were still green.  Finally, this past weekend, York County,  Pennsylvania landed in the sweet spot of the season...the convergence of beautiful weather and peak Fall foliage.  It was the perfect weekend to be outside and I was able to enjoy the amazing weather and soak in that all important Vitamin N with family, friends, and both of bikes.

This graphic has been posted each week for the past month by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  Finally, York County is in the orange!  -- November 2, 2018


  Tim and I expected, after the deluge of rain that fell on Friday, a mud fest when we hit the trails on Saturday morning...but instead we found nothing but perfect conditions on our first-ever visit to the MILTON S. HERSHEY MEDICAL CENTER TRAIL SYSTEM in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Other than briefly losing the trail (freshly covered by falling leaves) a couple of times...we enjoyed a super cool ride,  exploring a brand new trail system, and sharing the orange and yellow forest with local wild life.  It was the nicest Saturday we've had around here in a long while...and the perfect morning for mountain biking with a good friend.


My Stumpjumper on the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Trial System. -- November 3, 2018

Tim Sindlinger and I enjoying a beautiful day on the trails. -- November 3, 2018


Tim and I yielded the trail to this small herd of deer.  Only two are in the pic...but I counted seven.  So cool. -- November 3, 2018

Riding in the sun and through the leaves on the new trail system behind the Hershey Medical Center. -- November 3, 2018

 Sunday was a carbon copy of Saturday...the sun was out, the sky was blue, and the foliage was just about perfect.  After breakfast I got out for a hike at Rocky Ridge County Park with Robin, Alex, and Alex's girlfriend, Emma.  The park was far from empty when we arrived.  I find it encouraging to see just how many people were at the park the same time we were...some hiking and some mountain biking...all enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.  I'm always excited when I notice different things in the forest when hiking the trails that I normally mountain bike.  Just a couple of feet down the trail, the four of us came across a lean to that someone had build just next to a trail I frequently ride.  As we made our way down the ridge, the morning sun highlighted the colors of the forest, making this hike one of the more beautiful ones I've taken in a while.  Sharing the experience with my family made it all the more special...and beautiful.


Enjoying the weather and the Fall colors with Robin, Alex, and Emma Sadowski. -- November 4, 2018


Just a few feet off of the trail that I normally mountain bike, Robin, Alex, Emma, and I came across this lean to at Rocky Ridge County Park.  It's amazing what you can find when you slow things down a little bit. -- November 4, 2018

The morning sun shining through the Fall foliage at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 4, 2018


Robin and Emma S. making their way down the trail at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 4, 2018


So happy to be outside on a hike with this lady! -- November 4, 2018


Robin and David Raymond in Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 4, 2018

Rocky Ridge County Park was amazingly beautiful this weekend. -- November 4, 2018

Saturday night Day Light Saving Time ended and our days are now shorter...but, before the sun set on Sunday, I managed to sneak out on my Roubaix for a quick road ride.  I didn't ride long or far...but I just wanted to get out one last time before the rains came on Monday.  The scenery on the back roads around the neighborhood and down by the river was absolutely spectacular...making this, hands down, the most beautiful weekend of 2018...so far.


The scenery was just as amazing on my road bike this week.  The Conewago Creek, near York Haven, Pennsylvania, lined by the beautiful Pennsylvania Fall foliage. -- November 4, 2018


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- November 6, 2018



Glad to have Donny Arnold (the world's best brother-in-law) up for a visit!  After my ride in Hershey, he and I chilled out at Smokin' Hogs in Manchester, PA...the best barbeque and corn bread I've ever had! -- November 3, 2018

Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM @mountnbiker73


Here's the GARMIN maps and data from our ride on the MILTON S. HERSHEY MEDICAL CENTER TRAIL SYSTEM, our hike at ROCKY RIDGE COUNTY PARK, and my end of the weekend road ride...Happy biking and hiking!








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 YOUR TRUE NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin