Monday, June 17, 2013

Suddenly, it's mid-June?!? (Part Two)

Following my week-long trip to Alexandria, Baltimore, and Atlantic City, it was lovely to be back home with my boys! Our weeknights were uneventful, but on Saturday we had a grand motorcycle adventure. In order to allow both sets of grandparents equal time with Mallorie on Mother's and Father's Day this year, much like we did with Mother's Day, we split Father's Day weekend and designated Saturday was "Wolf Day." 

Since I'd just been down in Baltimore last weekend, we decided to meet halfway at Duke's Riverside in Enola, PA (across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg along US 11/15). To help keep Mallorie on a normal feeding and sleeping schedule, Bill suggested we do an early lunch (11 AM). I shared this information with Chris and he mapped out a route for us to get to Duke's that would take 2.5 hours.

Dubbed "the Carlisle Shuffle," our route took us out Marengo Road to PA 45 to PA 26 to PA 305 through Greenwood Furnace State Park and Belleville to Jack's Mountain Road to US 22. In McVeytown, we turned onto PA 103 to get to PA 333, which runs parallel to US 322/22 across the Juniata River. In Port Royal, we picked up PA 75 to PA 74 to PA 944, which runs all the way into Enola. 

Raising a new barn.

I like this Shaker-esque house!

It was a gorgeous day for a motorcycle ride!

These hairpin signs are always good.

Notice the opposing arrows and's a nice, tight turn on PA 74.

The view of Waggoner's Gap atop PA 74.

The view of Harrisburg from across the river on US 11/15.
We arrived at Duke's at 11:20 AM. Mom and Dad had just arrived five minutes prior. Bill, Casie, and Mallorie were running late because Mallorie wasn't feeling well. We had a very nice lunch. For the majority of the meal, Mallorie sat in her stroller and just kept an eye on everyone. Toward the end of our lunch, she started to get fidgety. Luckily, I'd finished my lunch and I snagged her out of her stroller while everyone else continued to eat. When Chris was done with his lunch, Mallorie hung out with him for a little while.

I'm not sure whose expression I like better?!?

What a little cutie!
When we were done, we all walked to the parking lot together because Dad had crab soup for me and I had wine glasses for Casie and Mom. I carried Mallorie to the parking lot and we had a little photo shoot there.

She's a little too small to reach the handlebars and foot pegs.

THREE-UP on the Concours!

Oooo, this top case is just my size!

What do you mean I can't ride in here?!?
Once we parted ways with my family, we headed north on US 11/15 to the Sheetz in Duncannon to fill up. While we were there, I notice this jughead:

Apparently, they don't teach reading in Connecticut?!?
We continued north on US 11/15 to Liverpool where we turned onto PA 17 to get to PA 235. We followed PA 235 all the way up to PA 45. Once we turned onto PA 45 and knowing that there was a picnic area nearby, I asked Chris if we could stop for a stretch break. We stopped at the Hairy John Picnic Area along PA 45. 

An absolutely STUNNING day for a ride!

PA 235 offered some very nice views...

...and some interesting traffic!

Mowing. You're doing it wrong!

Hairy John? Yup. Read the story here.

Check out that hottie!
We stopped again shortly after the picnic area because we realized we were both parched. In Millheim, we stopped at Harvey's Food Mart for iced teas and another stretch. Back on the road, we took PA 445 out of Millheim to PA 64 to Hublersburg Road to PA 26 through Howard to US 220 to Port Matilda and over the mountain to home. Along the way, we managed to capture one of two odometer palindromes from the day.

We missed 41814, but caught 41914.
We arrived home about nine hours after we left with 300.1 miles for the day. It was nice to see my family again so soon (especially Mallorie!), enjoy a nice lunch with them, give my dad some well-deserved Father's Day presents, and enjoy a fantastic day on the motorcycle with Chris. And that quickly, it was mid-June!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Suddenly, it's mid-June?!? (Part One)

How did that happen?!? Wasn't it just June 2nd when Chris and I were riding our bikes on the Lower Trail? Where did the time go?

Oh, that's right! I traveled for a week from June 5 - June 11, followed by three days in the office, and then this weekend. And THAT is how it became June 16th in the blink of an eye.

From Wednesday, June 5th through Friday, June 7th, I was in Alexandria, VA for the ERAPPA summer board meeting. We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Old Town and conducted our meetings at "the mothership" - the APPA offices. Old Town Alexandria was pretty neat. I liked how everything was so walkable. It was just quaint enough for me to start thinking, "I could live somewhere like this." Then I left Old Town Friday afternoon on my way to Baltimore, and the precious bubble of quaintness was burst. Traffic, traffic, and more traffic! I'll stick to Central PA, thank you very much!

Friday afternoon, I traveled to Baltimore to stay with my parents and visit with my family for the weekend. That night, we all met at Pizza John's in Essex for dinner. Apparently, when you can't enjoy the delicious Pizza John's pizza, it's easy to get bored.

Saturday morning, my mom and I drove out to the Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company for breakfast before meeting Bill, Casie, and Mallorie at Smyth Jewelers in Timonium. At Christmas, Mom promised Casie and me a new Pandora charm once the baby was born. It was time for us to pick out our beads. Mom and Casie  picked out the Pandora baby carriage; I selected the Pandora "M" block bead for Mallorie. Following our bling-shopping, Mom and I returned home to pick up Dad and met Bill, Casie, and Mallorie out at White Marsh Mall for some more shopping and lunch.

Later that afternoon, I decided to take a walk to Walther Gardens for a snowball. I worked at Walther Gardens during the summers of 1991 and 1992. Back in the day, a small chocolate snowball with marshmallow was $0.90. Last weekend? $2.25! Holy smokes! Nonetheless, it was delicious!

Saturday evening, Bill and Mallorie came over for dinner (Casie was out for the evening with her friend, Amy). Earlier in the week, Mallorie rolled over for the first time! Bill brought her play mat and I hung out with her on the floor. She rolled over a few times and then we took some pictures.

The next morning, I packed up my stuff for the third time (first: when I left my house, second: when I left Alexandria), bid my parents farewell, and headed up the road for Atlantic City. But first, I met two of my high school friends - sisters Debbie and Brenda - for breakfast at Sunshine Grille in Fork, MD. It was great to spend the morning catching up and chatting over omelets and coffee! Debbie (R) and Brenda (L) even gave me some pointers for Atlantic City. 

Once breakfast was over, it was time to get on the road again. Three hours later, I arrived in Atlantic City.

I went to Atlantic City for a site visit and host committee meeting with the ERAPPA 2014 host committee from NJAPPA. I arrived at Revel, checked in, and settled into my room on the 42nd floor. I had the itch to get outside and get my toes in the sand, so I headed out for a stroll on the boardwalk. I walked 2.5 miles down the boardwalk, out onto the beach, up the beach to the shops at Caesar's Pier, and then back to Revel on the boardwalk.

Sunday night, I enjoyed a wonderful meal of Spanish tapas at Jose Garces' Amada restaurant at Revel. Monday, we spent the day touring the resort and visiting offsite venues for potential special events locations. That night, we dined at American Cut by Marc Forgione. Tuesday morning we had a host committee meeting and saw a two final venues. Following lunch, everyone went their separate ways. I took all of my stuff to my car, but then returned to the casino. I couldn't leave Atlantic City without doing a little gambling. I played the slots for a little while; was up, down, up, down, and up again. I finally cashed out having won a whopping $0.30...but I still won!

I hit the road for home at 2:15 PM and pulled into the garage 5.5 hours later. Unfortunately, my route home put me through Philadelphia and Harrisburg at 4 PM and 5:30 PM respectively, so I did hit some traffic. When I arrived home, Chris had dinner ready so we sat down, ate dinner, and got caught up. After dinner, I unpacked my stuff and just chilled for the rest of the evening, happy to be home!

Come back for Part Two these chaotic ten days - a ride for Father's Day!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

We Saw Things!

Two weeks ago, Chris accompanied me to the Lower Trail for the first time. I rode my bicycle 23 miles and he walked eight. No sooner did we arrive home after that morning's trek than Chris was pulling his old GT Timberline FS out of the shed. He thoroughly inspected it and determined that he would be able to get it ride-ready for about $100 in parts. It needed an entire new drive train - front and rear derailers, new chain, new crank, etc. Two weeks later, we packed BOTH of our bikes into Chris' truck and left the house at 8 AM this morning for our first bicycle ride together in several years. (The last time was probably nine years ago on vacation in Ocean City.)

We drove to the Mt. Etna Station on the Lower Trail and started riding at 8:51 AM just as it started to rain. Around the first bend from the Station, Chris saw a snapping turtle laying eggs!

As many times as Chris has told me he's seen a snapping turtle on the side of the road while riding his motorcycle, I've never seen one "in the wild." Momma Snapping Turtle was laying eggs on the side of the trail. I didn't think that was the wisest of choices until I read about the mating/nesting habits of Snapping Turtles:
Mating occurs from March to November. The nesting period for snapping turtles is usually three weeks (mid-May to mid-June). Snapping turtles dig nests in loose sand, loam, railroad beds, plant debris or sawdust piles. Clutch sizes may vary from six to 100 eggs in each nest, but individual snappers usually lay 25 to 50 eggs. The incubation period depends on temperature, usually requiring 60 to 90 days. (Source: Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission)
We continued south on the trail through Williamsburg. Just past the Grannas Station, Chris saw another snapping turtle!

Another Momma Snapping Turtle laying her eggs. I have to believe that Chris noticed both of the Snapping Turtles because they were on his side of the trail...that and he's very observant!

Between the Grannas Station and the Flowing Spring Station, Chris saw a snake!

I was tooling along the trail and Chris said, "Snake!" I looked down and realized I was just about to run over it! I swerved to the left, stopped, and got my camera out of the CamelBak. I ID'd it as a Black Rat that had very clearly recently ingested a mouse or chipmunk as it was quite full in the middle. 

When we reached the Flowing Spring Station (the southern end of the trail), we proceeded beyond the end of the trail to enjoy a very brief road ride before turning around. We stopped at the pavilion at the Station to get out of the rain, stretch, and have our snack. Chris had a peanut butter chocolate chip Clif Bar; I had an apple pie Lara Bar. I'm a huge fan of Lara Bars - all natural ingredients and usually only five or six of them! You'll have to forgive the fogginess of some of the pictures - it was 3,000% humidity!


Chris' rehabbed ride!

Out of the rain for a few minutes.

I don't know why, but I love this picture, LOL!

Conquering the Lower Trail!
Ready to roll again.

We spotted this bird nest in the corner of the pavilion.
That bird is smart! Cool and dry all the time!
On our way back, it stopped raining and the sun came out! We passed the second Snapping Turtle again. She was still hard at work laying eggs. We stopped at Grannas Station for a bathroom break.

Grannas Station

Our bikes


My new bicycling buddy and me!
We reached Mt. Etna Station 0.88 miles short of 25, so we continued north for 0.44 miles before turning around to head back to the truck. Along the way, we took some action shots of each other.

When we reached the truck, we'd ridden 25.05 miles! We headed home to get cleaned up and then hit the road again in search of lunch and tractors. This weekend was the Spring Show of the Nittany Antique Machinery Association at Penn's Cave outside of Centre Hall. Unbeknownst to us, Sunday afternoon at 3 PM isn't the best time to show up to see things. We were under the impression that it went until 5 PM, but apparently lots of folks leave early on the last day. There wasn't much to see. But what we did see was pretty cool!

The Spring NAMA show is the "small show" anyway. Admission is free. The fall show (admission is $5 per person) is the one to see. Friday evening, they have the old steam tractors participate in the tractor pulls and the sparks make for quite the light show! The Fall NAMA show will be September 5 - 8, 2013. With any luck, we'll be able to get to the show and see LOTS of tractors this fall.