• Nextpedition

    Patriot Graves

    I did another ground-truthing session along the Delaware Towpath, this time finding (or confirming) the access points between New Hope and Morrisville. I parked (for a fee) at the municipal lot in New Hope and turned around a little past the accessible parts of Morrisville; I was out for just over three hours and rode about 31 miles. This should be the penultimate expedition, since there is now only the last eight-mile section from Morrisville down to Bristol.

    I was not as impressed with this section of towpath, but there were a few highlights: I took the flag photo just north of Washington’s Crossing, where a bunch of unknown Revolutionary War soldiers are buried, and I thought the town of Yardley has potential. (Morrisville was a bit of a disappointment.)

    One other notable event was that I passed the young couple we met over the weekend, when we were doing bike checks at Sand Island. They told us that they were from Philadelphia, had taken the train to Bristol, and were on the outbound leg of a multi-day ride to Jim Thorpe and back. Fast forward a few days and there they were, heading south as I was on my own return leg. I waved but I don’t think they had any idea who I was.

    So that was my day! I’ll leave you with one more photo, a bunch of turtles sunning themselves on a log.

    Turtles on the Delaware

  • More Photo Blogging: Round Valley

    These are from several weekends ago, when we met Joe and Laura for some kayaking at Round Valley. I have not been there in years, and I’d never been on the water — it was always bicycling. Awesome day, and I had fun trying to make correspondences between what I saw from the kayak and where I rode years ago. There were a lot of spotted lanternflies on the water though, which was an unpleasant surprise since we didn’t know they were already in New Jersey (or that they liked water).

    In other photo news, I’ve been doing some more curating of my Flickr photos, and finished uploading the last of them from 2017. Now I am only three years behind.

  • North With Summer

    Anne and I did a pretty long ride yesterday. This has been the trend lately, road rides in the 50-70 mile range, but yesterday was a solid 93 miles: up through Plainfield Township and over Wind Gap, Cherry Valley Road to Water Gap where we met Ben and Candace for some socially distant lunch, then following the more recent Gap Gallop route through Columbia and down to Belvidere, where we picked up Foul Rift Road, re-crossing the Delaware at Phillipsburg and then home. Pretty mellow ride with snack and lunch stops, we were out for just about 12 hours.

    Here are some photos at about our halfway point, crossing the Delaware just south of the Gap:

    This was my first time across the Pedestrian Bridge in Portland, and it led to a quiet and rural corner of North Jersey I’d never seen before. Very pleasant if a bit hilly…

  • Now What?

    One of the pedals on my road bike has developed a squeaky bearing lately, and I thought that maybe it’s time for a new pair. (I’ve used the same clipless pedal system — Speedplay Frogs — for more than 20 years. With pedals on multiple bikes and cleats on my bike shoes, it’s a fairly big investment in the one technology.) I went online to order the new pedals, and found that they have become extremely scarce — like nonexistent, discontinued scarce. Turns out that Speedplay was bought by Wahoo, and they decided to shut Speedplay down while they “reconsider the product line” or whatever they might call it. WTF?

    My immediate options are to see if I can find a new pair on eBay or whatever (no luck yet), or to replace the bearing (which also requires an eBay purchase, but spare parts seem plentiful so far), or just keep re-packing the pedal with grease and hoping for the best — that’s what I did this afternoon. I guess I’ll eventually have to completely replace the Frogs with some new system, and rather sooner than later. Three sets of pedals and two sets of cleats — it’ll be a substantial chunk of change, but I’m not even sure what that replacement system will be yet. It’s a total shame, really, the Frogs are great pedals.

  • Low Energy Week

    Not much riidng this week (so far), it’s just been too rainy. The Delaware towpath is actually closed in many places due to flooding damage, and sections of the Lehigh towpath suffered damage as well. I slipped in a towpath ride (and some lawn work) on Monday when it turned out to be a nice day, but I’ve done nothing since. Tomorrow we’ll try for a long-ish ride west of the Valley, it looks like it’ll be a beautiful day

    In the meantime, there has been a lot of lounging around, reading. I am almost done with The Mirror and the Light, which I’ve been dragging my feet on, and I am re-reading The Rook, and I’ve perused some Python texts… Most of the time I’ve been just staring at the computer like it’s a TV or something.

    (Speaking of TV’s, we finally tossed our old one last week. It’s been sitting in our living room taking up space for years, we couldn’t remember the last time we watched anything on it and it’s now long obsolete — wrong format, not digital. Any TV we watch is on the computers, so Anne brought down her old office desktop with the giant screen to take the TV’s place, and we put the TV on the curb with a “FREE — it works” sign. It sat out through at least some of the rain so that’s probably no longer true, but someone took it — most likely the garbage man.)

    I did get my map updated with trail amenities down to New Hope, and I’ve also had some learning experiences with both Python and SQL. I also have been updating the genealogy stuff.

    We’re thinking that after COVID (which is starting to sound like “after I win the lottery”) we may put together a trip to Germany, possibly like the Ireland trip we did years ago. Anne has German ancestors on both sides of her family, and I have a few as well, so there should be some places we can visit (discoverable through some genealogical homework), that have connections with our ancestry.

    My uncle and cousin did a lot of research on that part of my family a few years ago, which I have but never really looked through until the other day. A lot of it is Ireland, but there is a bit about my mother’s father’s paternal grandparents, who had come to the US separately from different parts of Germany, and met and married in Manhattan’s “Little Hanover.” My great-great-grandfather Heinrich Barth was from Leese (near Hanover) and my great-great-grandmother Helene (Euchen) Barth was from Mehring (just outside Trier near the Luxembourg border).

    Well, bedtime. We’re getting up early for tomorrow’s ride.

  • Rain, Rain

    It looks like it’s mostly over for now, but we’ve had a ton of water come down overnight and this morning. We’ll probably get more (the remnants of Tropical Storm Isaias) as the week progresses.

    So yesterday we went on a ride, and a pretty big one: up to Delaware Water Gap via Cherry Valley Road, then back via National Park Road and the Plainfield Trail, for a total of about 80 miles. Our ride was about eight hours moving time, but we also stopped for (a disappointing) lunch in Delaware Water Gap, a visit to the cave on 611, a dip in the Slateford Creek waterfall, and several stops to say hi to people Scott knew — we went with Scott & Kellyn. Our total time was probably 11 hours, 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. What an awesome day! …and we seized it but good. Dinner was hoagies from Carl’s Corner, and bedtime was a bit early.

    In about an hour we’ll be leaving for our quartet meeting, minus our violist who is dealing with water in her basement. It is currently both drizzling and sunny out; it’ll probably be very muggy but beautiful at the barn where we play.

  • Hot Hot Hot

    We’re deep into the summer heat now. I got in a few rides in anyway last week, and as usual found myself more comfortable on the bike than off — for each one I was fine until I got home, then took a long cold shower and a nap…

    Yesterday was my “ground-truthing” trip down the Delaware Towpath from Tinicum Park to New Hope, to verify all the access points I could find. Just as with the section from Riegelsville to Tinicum, my “find access point candidates with GIS, load them as waypoints on the Garmin, and mark any differences as more waypoints” method worked great; there were only a few problematic locations, easily fixed. What did go wrong, or seemed to go wrong at first, was my drive to the start: I drove down the river, then pulled into “Tinicum Park,” and got the last parking place, but it turned out to be a different section (for access to Giving Pond), miles from my target destination and not particularly near a towpath access point either. Luckily, my own map found me an easy way to the towpath, some singletrack over to a side road… On the way there I passed a woman with her kids, who were also looking for the D&L — they were going to park at Frenchtown but “Frenchtown was a madhouse” — it was a beautiful summer Saturday, sunny and hot, and apparently so many kayakers and tubers and swimmers were out that all the parks and towns along the river were completely full, except the two parking places we found. So my mistake actually paid off!

    Like I said, I was comfortable riding, and there were plenty of others out who chose cycling too, but the Delaware was packed. There were so many boaters and tubers out, individually and in flotillas, that it looked like entire cities were afloat, the entire way down the river. New Hope was also crowded, but not unusually so. I did what I had to, rode back, and then went home to my shower and nap. About 37 miles, maybe 4 hours total riding.

    The riding and the heat are having their effect, I’m happy to say: I’ve been 178 lbs for most of this week. I’ve been flirting with “under 180” for a while now, reaching it and then backsliding, maybe this will be more permanent. I am currently eating diced ham and eggs with diced vegetables, so we’ll see where things go.

  • Chillin’

    Posted on by Don

    We did a “socially-distant bike check” with Scott on Sunday, down at Sand Island. (CAT has done this before, offering free tire pressure checks and air, maps and such like.) There were a lot of cyclists out, and we got a few takers, but not as many as previous weekends. Still, it was a nice, productive way to start the day.

    We finished just before 11, when Kellyn, Diana, and Rick & Shari joined us for a ride down to the rope swing outside Freemansburg. The rope swing was gone — the tree it was tied to had been cut down by the town — but as Anne said, the river was still there, so we parked our bikes and took a dip.

    It was sooooo cooooold! It took a while to get all the way under, but once we got used to it we were in heaven. Eventually John and Donna joined us with the boys, and we splashed about for a good two hours or so. We found a spring feeding into the river, which was even colder… Once again (like at Glen Onoko) we were cold enough to forget what hot even felt like. Anne remarked about having “goose bumps in July” at one point when the breeze picked up. We were reminded of the heat again when we rode home, but we stayed refreshed all the rest of the day.

    When we got home, Anne noticed that we had a dead bird stuck on the front of our car; we probably hit it on our way home from quartet practice on Saturday. I went out and removed it after I showered and changed. The bird itself was beautiful, patterned almost like a hawk though it wasn’t one. It had died a hard death: it got its head caught in our grille, and likely broke its neck when it got hit. It still had an insect in its mouth when I removed it from the grille. The whole thing was funny and sad, and beautiful and kind of gross all at the same time.

    Today was a bit of a low energy day for me at least (Anne was busy), just some laundry and cello practice. I finally got my Trail Amenities database back to where it was before the big OS upgrade dabacle, now I can start moving forward again with exploring the last parts of the trail. I have tto say — upgrade disasters aside — I am really liking this new system.

  • High Summer

    We went out picking blueberries today, a sure sign — assuming we find ripe blueberries — that we’re into the main part of summer. We did collect quite a bucketful, but the season hasn’t quite arrived. It was a bit funny, we went up “with” Donna, parked next to her car and texted with her every so often, but never saw her — she got there before us and was a bit further along the lake. Now that is how you do social distancing!

    We managed to see Ben and Candace this weekend; we met them on Broad Mountain and cycled in to the top of Glen Onoko Falls. We were a little ahead of the crowds and had the place mostly to ourselves for a bit, but eventually the top was inundated with hikers who had climbed up from the bottom. Still it was nice, picnicking and cooling our feet in the icy creek water. We rode from there to the nearest overlook and got caught in a heavy downpour, which we watched move through the gorge. Very dramatic sky and hills, and pleasant despite (or maybe because of) the cold rain, but hikers we saw earlier showed up and so we moved on. It was a shame to have to ride on those old trails, old favorites with a lot of history but now almost ruined by the heavy “ballast” stones the Game Commission put down. (We speculated that they did it to make the trails less enjoyable for bikers, but it’s probably something they had to do to armor them, after allowing motor vehicles on the trails.) Ben and Candace were not on mountain bikes, so the “improved” trails were especially stinky for them, but I think they still managed to have a good time. We grabbed some subs in town afterward, and ate them at the park up the street from where Anne grew up.

    Yesterday was a ride up the towpath with Anne’s friend Bernie, a local blogger and cyclist who is part of her legal crowd. We got up to Catasauqua but took the road from there — Bernie was pretty vehement that the unimproved trail sections were not his cup of tea. Coffee in Northampton, then we took the Nor-Bath Trail and local roads back to Bethlehem.

    It looks like it’ll be hot and rainy for the next few days, so hey! Rest day.