Friday, May 20, 2011

Critters, Litter, Clouds, and No Ice Cream

Chris and I talked early in the week about doing a Friday evening ride down to Peachy's in Belleville for ice cream.  As soon as I got home from the grocery store this evening, I changed into riding clothes, braided my hair, tossed a charged battery in the camera, and we prepared to mount up for our ride.  

Because it is practically in our backyard, we decided to take Marengo Road (ST.Ners, go ahead and be jealous) to get to PA 45 and eventually PA 26.  There were plenty of llamas outside at Halfmoon Valley Llamas.  As always, Marengo Road was an absolute joy to ride.  

We headed east on PA 45 into Pine Grove Mills and then south on PA 26 over Tussey Mountain.  My first ride on the back of a motorcycle was up and over Tussey Mountain on PA 26 last June.  This was the first time we've gone over the mountain since then.  The mountain has several nice, long, sweeping turns; it also has 10% grade downhills.  

On the other side of the mountain, we began to notice ominous clouds - ominous clouds that seemed to be right over our destination.  When we got to the split for PA 26 and PA 305, rather than continue south on PA 26, we opted to take PA 305 west back toward the blue skies and sunshine.  As we drove down PA 305, I noticed a large, furry lump on the center line of the road.  I mentioned it to Chris and we both thought it was roadkill.  Until it wound up being a very much alive groundhog who decided to dart in front of us at the last second.  I screamed in my helmet...which, of course, went ride into Chris' ears through our comms.  Oops.  Stupid groundhog.  Right after that, a huge turkey vulture took off right in front of us.  What is with the critters?!?  OH!  And we're pretty sure we hit something (cat, possibly) that neither of us saw, but that we certainly felt hit our boots!  We were busy looking at the ominous clouds and then bump, clunk, thud.  


We wound up back at PA 26 at the base of Tussey Mountain, so we headed back up and over.  This time, I managed to snag a picture as we passed the Jo Hays Vista at the top.  You can see all of "Happy Valley" from that vista - you know, if you get off the bike and walk to the edge.  The picture I took is good enough for a shot from the back of the bike!  Coming back into town north on PA 26, things continued to look stormy to the east.  

We took Circleville Road past Circleville Park; no one was playing Frolf.  When we got to the stop sign at the end of Circleville Road, the person in the minivan behind us blew his horn.  At first, we thought he was being impatient with us, but he continued to honk as if to get our attention as we were making the left turn.  Since we were chatting through our Senas, we agreed that something must be afoot for the guy to keep beeping.  Chris looked down and said, "There's like, a wire or something..." and pulled over.  The guy in the minivan pulled up alongside of us and said, "I noticed that wire wrapped up in your bike and had to let you know!"  We both expressed our gratitude.  Chris proceeded to pull about 18' of wire out from around and underneath the bike.  I didn't start taking pictures initially because I was just so stunned at the tangled mess I was seeing!  We have no idea how/where we picked up that wire, but we are so thankful for the heads up from Mr. Minivan.  

On our way back into the neighborhood, we noticed a huge cumulonimbus cloud billowing over State College.  I waved hi to Brad-Brad-the-Liberty-Dad who was out mowing his lawn; no other neighbors were out and about.  We pulled into the garage approximately 80 minutes after we departed, having traveled 55 miles.

Any ride is a good ride, even if you come home without ice cream.  

"Four wheels move the body.  Two wheels move the soul."  ~Author Unknown

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