I've been waiting to get a bike -ANY bike- out on the road this year, and between work and weather, and just plain bad timing, I hadn't had much opportunity. BUT eventually, even a blind squirrel finds a damn nut...
Today wasn't QUITE as warm as yesterday, so I waited about, killing time by jaunting down to the local Farmer's Market for some breakfast, and kicking it at the house... until FINALLY the temps topped the 40 degree (F) mark. Yesterday, I'd uncovered the good ol R100, and ran it for a few minutes. Today, it was as ready as I was apparently. It fired up with a roar and off we went.
As I rolled down the hill, the river to my left was as still as glass; the arches of the bridges down there reflecting nicely on the water. The sky was as clear as a bell- it was a gen-u-wine blue bird day, and right Spring-like in all its glory. I popped down thru New Cumberland to see if Deuce was gonna be around, but no. So I headed west and was soon in the country.
I rolled out across the great Cumberland Valley, following the Yellow Breeches Creek for a ways down to Boiling Springs. It's the 2nd Saturday of trout season, and all the anglers were out- as well as a few danglers, wandering along the roadways at creekside, noodling around in their pick-em-up trucks, gawking about and generally creatin a nuisance. The crowd at the BS lake was fantastic in its proportions, with even some wheelchair-bound folks out there wettin' a hook, tryin to entice a trout to accept the invitation to dinner.
Having made it thru all that, I swung out to Mt Holly Springs and up into the South Mountain for some... well some more trout fisherpersons, as it turns out. Y'see, there's no shortage of creeks, streams, criks, runs, puddles, drainage ditches, and lakes hereabouts. The South Mountain is no exception to the rule, and the hooks were fairly flyin about the place like so many frisbees. Any bit of water them wily anglers thought there might be a trout lurking, had a gaggle of pick-ups, poles, and people all teeming about.
Had to pee, so I snapped this pic while stopped:
Eventually, the crowd gave way to open roads. Up through the mountain I rode, turning to cross over it, and back out into the Big Valley, riding across PA Rte 233 to cross over the North Mountain into God's Country- Perry County, Pennsyltuckey. Still occasionally dodging trout seekers, passing more than the occasional motorcyclist, I rolled the throttle on and on.
Zig-zagging out across Perry County, I found myself wondering just exactly how a place so beautiful could SMELL so bad? Well of course it's all farm country, and most of them farmers was spreading what we call manure, I suppose with the end-goal (pun intended) of having all that bovine offal kinda re-fortify the ground that their chemicals have stripped of its original essence... but I digress.
Out across God's Country I did ride, smiling in spite of the smell. I meandered along detours, slithered down by-ways, and rolled on into yet another mountain, crossing up over PA rte 850, stopping at the top for some pix.
Up and over the ridge I went, down into some other county... Franklin? Hmmm. not sure, actually. I hot-footed it down to PA Rte 75, and turned east. This is pure Amish country here, but somehow, I passed nary a buggy out here where the speed limit also happens to match the hiway number (shhh! don't tell- it's a secret that few are hip to). I flippin FLEW down "75" going, well, you know. I began to measure the sun's angle, combining that with the lengthening shadows and deduced that it was getting on in the day. Exercising SOME good sense, I made a right turn onto hiway 74, and back up over the ridge I went, marveling some more to myself on just how little traffic there ever is out here in God's Country. Guess he don't like cars, or had everyone (and I mean EVERYone) on a mission for trout 50 miles south, or whatever. Anyway, there's a couple of my fave curves over here on this stretch so I stopped again to get a piccie or two.
Up, over, back down and around I went into Perry County proper, winding south for a ways. I turned east, picking up Rte 850. Towards the river I went, with the sun peering over my shoulder, as if watching my speedo. Following my shadow, I eventually wound up also following some rolling roadblock on a... you guessed it- Hardley Ableson- and lemme tell ya he was moving a LOT slower than my shadow had been just a few happy moments ago. He turned off sooner rather than later, so me and my shadow sped back up, only to run right up on another similar rolling roadlbock... Honestly. I mean what IS it with these @$$holes doing the SPEED LIMIT?!?
Taking the hint, I veered off onto a pleasant little road that winds thru its own secret valley. I seriously could have been killed, as I came around a bend to find some knucklehead fully and completely on MY SIDE of the road in his BIG ass car... Man if I'd been a few seconds ahead of myself...or if the sun had been lower my shadow coulda been kilt... I mean it was that close. Hmmm, maybe those rolling roadblocks had SOME purpose after all, eh? Anyway I'd slowed down for the run along this valley, eventually coming out at the River's edge, below Marysville. Down river I did ride, with the train tracks betwixt me and the cold water of the Mighty Susquehanna.
It was a sweet little hop down to Wormleysburg, and back up the big hill to the Sky Pad. I hopped off the bike, and got a pic of this:
Didn't take too many pix, so I had to make a load of shi... er I mean stuff up to add SOME substance to this here yarn.
Path: Lemoyne to New Cumberland via Bridge St> 114 thru Lisburn> along the Yellow Breeches to Boiling Springs> Mt Holly> 34S veering off towards Michaux State Forest> 233 thru Newville> 850/274 to Blain> over the mountain on 850> 75 to 74> back to 850> New Valley Road> U.S.11/15 back to Wormleysburg. 171.8 miles of smiles.