Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Biking’ category

Lancaster County Bike Ride

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41℉ at 5:00, high of 64℉

Monday, October 31, 2016

I went to Nissan in Lancaster to have a pinion seal replaced. Suddenly I was just like everyone else, rushing to get somewhere. At 6:15 in the morning, there was a lot of traffic. I wasn’t expecting that at that time of day. I wouldn’t have made it without the GPS telling me where to go.  It was nice to catch up on posting with their great WIFI. As I drove back I saw Martha walking home from shopping. She had seen some good things, so we went back. I needed a snack, so we went to the pretzel shop on Main Street. A young Amish girl greeted us, and we asked for two whole wheat pretzels. She suggested we sit outside while she made them, and she would bring them out. I got a freshly squeezed lemonade and we sat outside. Fifteen little chickadees knew the routine. Sitting on the railing, in a bush and on the deck, they watched our every move. Once the pretzels came, they really got excited. The pretzel was so good, hot, soft, but I should have requested massive amounts of salt. Otherwise, it was a perfect pretzel.  I saved a few crumbs for the birds. 

There is a great jam and jelly store, where they make everything right there. I watched them for a while cooking and stirring, and loading jars. There were several cool things about this store. One, you could watch them making it, so you know that part is authentic. Two, you can taste everything with sampling jars and chips or crackers all around. Three, there are some concoctions I have never heard of. I wanted to try them all! 

On the way back, we passed a beautiful Vis-a-Vis carriage. Two young ladies were removing the gear from two beautiful Percherons. They had come to take a disabled girl for a carriage ride. I wish I had seen all of this in action, but we had a nice chat as I imagined driving this beautiful rig.

After lunch Martha took me for the bike ride she had done yesterday, along the Scenic Road, along Ridge Road and to the ice cream store on one of the farms. This was a good ride through beautiful country. Little children were happily walking home with their bright yellow alert vests on. We turned into Lapp Valley Farm, up the drive and past the house. Across from the barn where someone was feeding the milk cows was an ice cream store. A porch surrounded it with tables and chairs arranged around it. I pretty kitty cat greeted us from the railing. Three young Amish girls greeted us. As she scooped our chocolate and raspberry ice cream, I looked around the store. There was a window behind the counter, and realized people were driving around back to order from their cars. There was a pretty steady line. A gentleman walked out with a bag of pints of ice cream. They don’t take credit cards, so there was a handy ATM machine to the side. Two tall rotating racks were filled with Amish books. I thought several would be interesting reading. We headed out tot he porch in the sun and sat down. The kitty followed and soon was crawling down Martha’s arm to get a taste of our ice cream. Her twin followed. I politely put them on the ground several times. Surely the girls would be watching, and they were very cute cats. We had turned out backs to the table, trying to protect our prize. When we finished I held the cup shoulder level. Both kitties put their feet on my shoulder and put their heads into the cup, quickly cleaning it. 

Riding back over the hill and turning along a ridge, a buggy turned out behind us. I could hear the lovely clip clop trot behind me. On level ground he was catching me. I love that sound! I looked at my bike speedometer that registered 11mph. That’s a fast trot! When I was eventing horses, I used to say a horse walk was 4 mph, trot 8mph and canter 12mph. Of course a racehorse can run 40mph. This trotter behind me had to be doing 12mph, which is a fast trot. We came to a down hill stretch where I coasted at 15mph, putting some unwanted distance between us. I will miss seeing the horses on the roads, in the barns and working the fields. 

We went back to Kauffman’s for some sausage to go with the sauerkraut. Then I went to a couple of antique stores looking for campfire tools, but couldn’t find any. I have been so amazed by the tracks and  grooves the buggies leave, I took some pictures. On one, you can see the wheel tracks that are rimmed with steel, but the other amazing thing is the deep groove the horses make in the paved road.

Wear of the road outside Intercourse where the horses trot along

Biking Lititz in Lancaster County

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59℉ at 6:00 am with high of 82

Sunday, October 30, 2016

We have enjoyed our neighbors so much. A young couple from Alabama, Page and Jeremy. They were packing up to leave, so we visited some more and said our goodbyes. Then we loaded Martha’s bike to go for a bike ride in Lititz. While waiting for Martha to get ready, I talked with gentleman hooking up a Nissan Titan to his giant trailer. He was in the horse business and used to haul horses all over, driving diesel dually trucks. I said I was worried about my transmission since I downshift so much on big hills, but he said it is a lot harder on the truck if you don’t downshift. Like me, he was worried about it being enough truck to pull the trailer that weighs 7,600 pounds, but he said it does great. He hardly knows the trailer is there, and he loves the engine. He said he measured his gas mileage at 19.5! I don’t measure mine very often, but it’s more like 15. 

We drove through the cute little town of Lititz, where a lot of shops were open on Sunday, and it was pretty busy when we drove in. I thought we were biking in a park, but Martha handed me a piece of paper with 28 turns on it and the mileage between turns – Sheez! We rode right up main street with cars parked on both sides and traffic coming through. A few turns later the route carried us along a pretty stream and past beautiful farms and some very expensive houses. Then it came out on a busy highway with a narrow bike lane. I wasn’t happy. Then through neighborhoods and back down main street. I felt like the Amish driving their buggies – fortunate to have survived. 

Then we drove across the county to the Toy Train Museum, which is very cool. It is built and maintained by toy train enthusiasts. Built like a train station, it seems to be in the middle of farm country. We chatted with the nice lady behind the desk before paying the senior rate with a AAA discount, of $5 each. There were maybe 21 different exhibits or setups, some with small trains and some with large. Pushing buttons, you could activate a train or equipment. A little boy was telling his mom all the details of what was going on in an exhibit. He was so excited. A bent old gentleman was doing the same with his patient wife. The lady at the front said once a year there is a toy train convention. People come from all over the world, bringing the same enthusiasm, trading and buying cars and accessories. 

Next to the museum is a caboose hotel where you can stay in one of a whole bunch of cabooses. What a cool idea. As we drove through to the far end, we heard a train whistle. There is a little train station there, but this train didn’t stop today. It was a sightseeing train with many cars and a lot of people touring Amish country. This would be a great way to see it. 

It was supposed to rain today, but it hadn’t come when we got back. I wanted to go out to the ridge road at sunset and take some pictures, but by the time we showered, the rains came in hard with a lot of wind. We settled in with a glass of wine and listened to one of the Neil Young CD’s I bought from Ken.

Lancaster County Day 2

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32℉ at 4:30

Saturday, October 29, 2016

I can’t get on the WIFI….again! We did laundry in the Beacon Hill Campground. They have a very nice laundry with good machines. The showers are also very good. You can borrow movies in the office, so we watched Robert Duval in “One Night in Mexico”, which was fun, but won’t win any awards. We get 20 channels on TV here, a first, but we just kept rotating channels trying to find something. 

In need of a haircut, I went over to Paradise. It didn’t open until 9:00 on Saturdays, so I walked around a bit. When I got back, Ken was opening up. Walking in to the two-chair shop, I was struck by hundreds of records in the small room. CD’s were arranged in boxes, some being for sale. As his new kitty tugged on my blue jeans, Ken began cutting. Of course we talked about all the music. There was an impressive array of equipment in the corner – turntable, receiver, CD player etc. He has collected since he was a kid. He said he has rooms of music in his home. He was proud of his new laser record player he got from Japan for $13,000 that will play very old, scratched up records without a flaw. He played a CD he recorded from WWII 78’s. It was flawless. I bought some CD’s as we continued to talk. This is a man who loves music, a very interesting fellow. I am so happy I needed a haircut! If you are ever in Paradise and need a haircut, or you love music, go see Ken at Sweigart Barber Shop!

We went into Intercourse (finally). Martha wanted to visit the bike shop to get some routes to ride. I walked the street and got a few pictures. I counted 8 tour busses parked a block off Main Street. It’s only a few blocks of town, but it looked like Bar Harbor. The Amish were also doing business and shopping on this Saturday morning, carriages and horses in the middle of busy traffic. They are allowed to use bikes without pedals, so we saw several using them. We drove up to Kauffman’s Store. Although the parking lot was full and a tour buss across the street, they moved people through quickly. All kinds of apples, apple cider, a great meat counter and all sorts of other goodies. We loaded up.

By the time we got back and had lunch, I didn’t feel so good and had a nice, long nap. Martha went for a bike ride through the beautiful farms. I hated missing that, but felt better. As you ride through the farms, you can find all kinds of treasures. Vegetables are everywhere, along with pumpkins, and watermelon. Some have baked goods, pies and breads. Some leave things on the corner to buy on the honor system. We passed a shoe store with five buggies parked in the front, and there is a hat store on a farm up the hill from our campground. 

Lehigh Gorge

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With heavy rains, we couldn’t explore much, but we did walk down the the Lehigh River. It is a 32-mile gorge with raft rides and bike paths. You can put your bike on a train and then ride back to the town, Jim Thorpe, a 25-mile trip with a slight down hill train slope. You can also kayak or canoe it, but it is not for amateurs. A lot depends on how much water is released from the dam. There are a number of free shuttles to carry bikers to towns for lunch or exploring. 

The Lehigh River flows for over 100 miles and is the largest tributary to the Delaware River. According to dryflyfishing.com there is a healthy population of brown and rainbow trout. There are also smallmouth bass “that fight like hell.”

Between the Delaware River and the Lehigh River and Hickory Run State Park, this area has a lot to offer. I’m sure it gets busy in the summer.

Acadia National Park Carriage Road

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45℉ at 5:00 with high of 74℉

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

It rained all night and didn’t clear up till mid-morning, but once it did, it was a perfectly beautiful day. We biked the “Around The Mountain” Carriage Road in the park. Between 1013 and 1940 John D. Rockefeller, Jr financed and directed construction of 57 miles of Carriage Roads for use of hikers, bikers, horse riders and horse-drawn carriages. 16 beautiful granite bridges cross streams and crevasses. Fine crushed gravel covers the roads that are wide and smooth. I walked some of these four years ago that I remember being grass. I can’t imagine more beautiful bike roads, where no cars are allowed. Having ridden horses most of my life, I can only dream of driving a carriage through these beautiful forests. The pictures speak for themselves.

We had lunch on a bench in Northeast Harbor, imagining life on one of these beautiful sailboats. Martha wanted to see the “Thunder Hole” on the eastern edge of the island where waves crash through a trough in the rocky coast. The views along the coast are spectacular and are part of the Park Loop Road. Thunder Hole wasn’t crashing on this spectacularly beautiful day, but we enjoyed the walk and scenery.

Martha wanted one more seafood dinner before leaving the area, but most of the restaurants are closed for the season. After researching and calling, we decided on “Coda”, which turned out to be very good. The treat was having Cindy Bubble join us. In 2012 Martha took a bike tour here and Cindy was one of the leaders. I was healing from shoulder surgery and couldn’t ride, but every day Cindy mapped out a plan for me, mostly hikes. She told me to go see the Gilley Museum and the Hinkley boatyard and take certain drives. She was great, so it was so nice to be able to reconnect with her and hear her stories. She had just returned from hiking in Baxter State Park for nine days. Soon she will go to Aspen, where she is a ski instructor. It was a pretty perfect day!

Lobster and a Bike Ride

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44℉ at 5:00 with a high of 77℉

Friday, October 7, 2016

It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, so everyone is out, and the campground is quickly filling up. The weather forecast is great, except Sunday it is supposed to rain. We needed a few things from the grocery, so we drove to Saint-Louis (not THAT St. Louis!). As we crossed the river into town, a huge Acadian flag greeted us, waving in the light breeze. It is a French flag with a star on it. Martha had read about an outdoor store, so we stopped in. Obviously a busy place, they were well-stocked for fall, winter and hunting season with coats, gloves, boots, ski pants and shirts. Martha found a mid-weight coat she liked. 

There is a south end of the park here, so we asked how to get there. Following the road in front of the store, we arrived at a dock with fishing boats, a little sandwich shop and sheds where boats could store their gear. Martha read a park sign and thats all there was. There were no trails, just the docks. Martha said, “Let’s see if we can buy some lobsters”, so I followed her. Several crusty locals were talking on the dock, and she walked right up to them, her purse slung over her shoulder. They were quite happy to tell us how it all worked, and yes, you just wait for a boat to come in and go ask. A huge tractor trailer was pulling a boat of the water for the season. One gentleman was particularly friendly, talking about how warm it had been, and how it had been a good season for lobsters. Martha asked how you cook them, and they gave their directions. A younger man, looking more worldly came out of a building. His English was excellent. He had been an underwater welder, working in the middle east for a while and living in Vancouver for a long time. He had a girlfriend in the Bahamas, but had move back here to look after his sick father, and was working here as a boat mechanic. 

They pointed out a boat that had somehow slipped by us while we were talking, so we thanked them and went over to talk to the captain. One fellow pulled out his plastic bag to put lobsters in. I ran up to the truck to find something while Martha asked all about lobsters, how to cook them, whether you want girl or boy lobsters and what size is best. Only a little grey-haired lady could get away with asking all these things, but they were very friendly and answered all the questions and talked about other issues as well. A young man working the boat grew up right here next to the docks. Another gentleman lived nearby. When the government started the park, they gave the young man’s grandmother $1000 for her house. The older man said he had 35 acres on the other side of the river and they gave him $400 for it. There was no negotiating. Then the older guy got onto US politics. Everyone here is fascinated with the election. They watch the debates, and they all think Trump is crazy. I don’t talk politics, so I tried to redirect to Canada’s new president. They seem to like him, saying the previous administration did nothing. We bought four “market” lobsters at $6.75/lb. The others bought “canners”, smaller lobsters they said tasted better. We bought females, as they suggested eating the eggs.

As we drove back to the grocery store for some other things we needed, we debated about when and how to cook the lobsters. We settled on cooking them for lunch, so we started a fire, got out the kettle and other things. While Martha tended the fire, I went to the beach to get sea water, one of the suggestions. We decided to cook two and eat them while the other two cooked. Then we would pick the second ones and later make a lobster Newburg. It was a great feast! It was also a big mess, but we were glad to have newspapers and a picnic table to eat on, with trash cans nearby.

After resting our tummies for a while, we rode the bikes upriver for an hour. There are extensive bike paths, which are fine gravel roads – very smooth with no ruts. Signs marked directions for marathon runners, who will race here Sunday. I couldn’t understand the signs, but since Martha has run a few half marathons, she translated for me. Some signs were for half marathoners, some for 10K, and they directed them into different turns and told them how far they had run. It is a beautiful place for a marathon, especially with the leaves in full color. We passed some kids picking apples off a tree with sticks. We commented about how the bears would come by here tonight. I counted 12 bear poops in the trail along our journey. 

Tomorrow we will try kayaking one or two of the rivers. One more kayak would be nice. It was interesting to sit out in camp and watch the campers rolling in – big campers! Kids were having a big time riding their bikes around, while others chased on foot. One trailer across from us had some kind of light show after dark while little kids ran around chasing lights, screaming with joy. Some had set out carved pumpkins and balloons. Thankfully, things quieted down at bedtime. I’m sure they slept well.

Biking Kouchibouguac to Kelly’s Beach

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Driving Rt 11 south for an hour, we switched to 117 that goes along the coast of New Brunswick. It’s a rough, bouncy road that only gives you views of the water every now and then. Finally the road enters Kouchibouguac National Park and becomes nicely paved. Moose warning signs were all along the route. By the time we arrived at the Visitors Center, we were tired and hungry. It was a perfect day, sunny and warm, so we made sandwiches and had lunch at a picnic table. The leaves are in full color now. Ladies at a table near us were wearing tank tops and shorts. 

We found our campsite, got settled and took the bikes out for a ride along the coast. The park is on the east coast of New Brunswick and is known for its beach and great bike trails. We passed two bear poops on the bike path.  Arriving at a bridge and boardwalk across a bay to the beach, we parked the bikes and walked across. Several Blue Herons were dining while seagulls sat content. This looks like a pristine, undeveloped Outer Banks of North Carolina with a barrier islands protecting a bay, but there are also two major rivers entering the bay adding fresh water to the mix. There are lots of marshes, some having boardwalks to explore. It doesn’t look like a big park on the map, but it would take a long time to really explore it. We walked on the beach and in the water. It was cold, but you got used to it. Were it a little warmer I might have gone in. We passed a couple and the lady had been swimming. She works as a lifeguard, so it was required training. She said it is warmer than the water in June. Unlike the Outer Banks of North Carolina, this water is very clear.

Back at camp, we built a fire and cooked breaded Cod chunks, potatoes and peas over the fire. With a good forecast we are excited about exploring the park tomorrow, maybe some kayaking along with more bike exploring.

Caraquet and The Acadian Isles

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40℉ at 7:00 with a high of 72℉

We are camped at a lovely campground facing Chaleur Bay at Camping Caraquet in the cute town of Caraquet. We drove to the tip of Acadia Isles that define the southern tip of Chaleur Bay. As we crossed a bridge, lots of cars were pulled over and people were out looking at something, so we followed suit. A group of dolphins have been stranded in the bay for several days. There is a plan to lead them out today with sonar. People were feeding them from the bridge.

Stopping at a park, we learned all about peat bogs with their beautiful fall colors. Signs told us about all the berries in this type of growth – Huckleberries  raisin berries, and others I can’t remember. Suddenly, looking at the bushes took on another meaning and we saw all the berries. Like blueberry fields, you could walk through there picking a whole bunch of berries if you knew what you were doing. Hard to come by, they would be made into jams and chutneys for special occasions. I have always heard of huckleberry pies, but have never seen one. 

We drove to the end to see the lighthouse and a bunch of inukshuks on the beach. We saw incredibly beautiful marshes, but not many ducks. It was hot! By the time we stopped for lunch, we were in shirtsleeves. At a diner overlooking the fishing boats in Caraquet, Martha had trout, veggies and fries while I had Cod, veggies and a salad. She won! The Cod was good, but the trout was great.

There is a great bike trail that goes for 43K that goes through town all the way out to the lighthouse. Not wanting to take the bikes off for a short trip, we walked it for an hour before heading back to camp. It was a great evening to sit out, but mosquitoes soon drove us inside. We were lucky to have reserved a campsite in Kouchibouguac National Park for three nights as it was the last one available on the last weekend they are open.

Bike Isle-Aux-Coudres

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Fred also told us about going to Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive and taking the free ferry over to an island in the St. Lawrence, where you can bike all the way around. We decided to take the truck across, which was a good decision, as the road off the ferry is quite steep and long. We parked in a municipal building’s lot and headed into the wind north. Fred had told us the winds can be tough, especially if you hit them on the return side of the island. It was difficult to keep the pace as there were so many photographic opportunities – views of the St. Lawrence, cute little houses, old barns and farmer’s fields. We stopped by one bay where the wind was particularly strong and a man was wind surfing with a kite. Fred had told us he used to wind surf, so I sent him a picture of this guy, who really knew what he was doing. Fred replied that the 3rd best woman kitesurfer in the world is from that island – Catherine Dufour. Also Dominique Maltais is from here, and is 3-time world snowboard champion in the X-Games. She is his daughter, Laura’s, idol. It is a beautiful ride around the island, and we would never have known about it if Fred had not told us. 

We cleaned up and went to Chez Truchon for dinner just a couple of blocks up the street. It’s a beautiful restaurant with excellent service and food. Martha had a yellow beat salad, cream of leek soup and cod. I had a nice halibut and vegetables, and we shared a sinful desert. I had been clearing my throat all day, thinking it was allergies, but now a pretty good cold was catching up with me. After two glasses of wine and dinner, I was ready to go to bed.