Tag: dirt roads

Making My Way Toward Route 6

Making My Way Toward Route 6

When I woke up and looked out the window, there was a cool fog hanging over everything. The world around me was still asleep when I set off for the day. Because it’s August I had only my mesh jacket – which I suffered with for the next hour. I never would have imagined that even in the mountains it would have been cool enough in the 6 o’clock hour to feel like I might need to switch on my heated grips. But… it was. As my engine thumped, I gave the occasional shudder as a result of the cold.

While you’re in the thick of things, you assume that your circumstances will be same everywhere. But often, if you just keep moving forward you can rise above the clouds and out in to a big hug of sunshine.

Riding out of the valley, I was treated to an incredible cloudless sky. Just behind me, the fog-covered valley along the river looked like the Maloja Snake.

There are so many lovely dirt roads that skirt the aprons of farms throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. I have persistent romantic notions about the lives lived in such places. It’s probably best that I never investigate the truth and carry on with my naïve and wistful ideas. They help to shape my perception of the good life.

A year ago, I talked about how it seems that once you see something, it becomes easier to do it again. Over the last few weeks I’ve experienced more examples of this being true. After never having seen the Starucca Viaduct until a few weeks ago, I found myself once more passing below its arches.

Could it just be that my brain subconsciously moved me through an area that was “familiar”? Probably. But I like to think it’s some sort of magic. Life is more fun that way.

This gorgeous dairy farm was along the way towards Route 6. My romantic imaginings have it occupied by an overall-wearing farmer who drives a tractor with heart shaped smoke that puffs from its exhaust stack. The cows with flower-crowns sing in their stalls. Every day a scarecrow waves good morning.

When I finally made it to Route 6, my first stop was the tiny old Meshoppen Fire Department building. It looked like you could pick it up and put it in your pocket. Instead, I left it where it was for the next person to enjoy and kept going west.

Unlocking the Magic Inside Kellam’s Bridge

Unlocking the Magic Inside Kellam’s Bridge

It was a good thing that I continued riding along River Road. It was not was not in fact closed as the sign had said. Or at least it was not impassable on the KTM. Your mileage may vary in a low-slung sports car.

Following the pink line of my GPS track, I headed southeast to a crossing of the Delaware River and back to the New York.

Sometimes things might not look so great when you’re standing on the outside looking in. Maybe they look drab, unkempt or perhaps slightly dangerous. But when you peel away the outer layer and get to the heart of what’s inside well, that’s where the magic happens. For people and bridges.

Riding on to Kellam’s Bridge looked a little sketchy, a little narrow, a little are bolts going to fall off this thing?

But, once I started going the camera picked up one of my most favorite-est photos in some time. It makes me feel like I’m speeding towards another dimension in a 70’s Sci-Fi movie of the week. I’m wearing a silver spacesuit and eating non-caloric cookies from a pill. Magically I grew to a lithe 6-feet tall and don’t have a wisp of gray hair. No, I’m 25 again and forever, hurtling across space – a perfect human.

And just a quick as it came… it was over. You’ve got to appreciate the magic while it happens.

Wikipedia says that this span is also called the Little Equinunk Bridge. No mention of any magic, though.

Following the Dirt Road Along Factory Creek

Following the Dirt Road Along Factory Creek

On Saturday morning, I set off from Hancock, NY following a track on the GPS that my friend Joe had given to me. Other than being told that it was a loop of dirt roads, I was flying blind with regard to where I was going or what I would see along the way.

When you have no expectations, you can’t be let down. And I wasn’t.

GoPro snapped a picture of me taking a picture. That seems to be a common theme as I scroll through the days photos.

Sometimes I wish that I could take a photograph with my eyes. What comes out of something even like the GoPro is never what I saw. As the dirt roads wound their way through the trees, the light was filtering in through their branches. You could feel the moisture hanging on the air from the rain that had passed through earlier in the morning.

When I came around the corner on Wallerville Road, I was surprised to find a concrete retaining wall keeping the Factory Creek from eating the road. It seemed unusual for a lightly traveled place – so man-made in an otherwise natural setting. That said, it provided a compelling if hard and unforgiving contrast to the easy flowing water and the mossy layered rocks that it penned in.

I followed Wallerville road and the creek to the town of Equinunk under the green canopy feeling lucky to have been there.

A Slow Start to a Saturday Ride

A Slow Start to a Saturday Ride

On Friday night, I fell asleep before 9pm. It was probably a combination of things that knocked me out. I was up before the sun, I spent the afternoon riding in the oppressive heat and humidity, and add the mental relaxation of not having any real responsibilities in to the mix and I was out like a light.

When I came to on Saturday morning and tugged at the window shade, there was no happy blue sky smiling back at me. Soon came the sound of rain funneling off of the canopies and pounding on the roof.

Since I wasn’t riding the Hancock Quarry Run, I didn’t have to hurry up and do anything. Instead, I just lazily lingered in bed with Lilo and listened to the field come alive around me. The rain was sure to add an extra level of difficulty for all the riders who were preparing to head out. I was glad I wasn’t one of them.

“I think we should just hang out here in the air conditioning, dude. Do some snugglin’. Maybe eat some chips. Look out the window…”

All of the event riders were long gone before I got myself dressed to head out for a ride. The rain was little more than a memory and the heat began to rise. The unknown was calling my name.

Away we go.

Oh Deer – Dirt Roads and Deposit

Oh Deer – Dirt Roads and Deposit

After visiting the Starrucca Viaduct I bummed around the backroads, not straying very far. I had to watch my odometer. In an act of luminescent brilliance I left my wallet back in the RV. Since I had a $5 bill in my tankbag, I knew I could ride as far as requiring no more than $5 in gas to get back to Hancock. Thankfully, there was a lot of great “nothing” to see in a small radius.

While I was clipping along I had a close encounter with a deer. It was so close I could see the fuzz on its antlers. I suppose I just didn’t pick up on it fast enough. By the time my brain registered that it was there, the deer took a few strides next to me then darted across the road in front of me and was gone.

The GoPro caught it on the side of the road (upper left) though I didn’t until I was nearly next to it. One glance away from forward, maybe into the mirror and your whole day can change. Gotta keep those eyes scanning.

“Hello. I can’t see deer.”

Passing through the town of Deposit, New York I couldn’t help but wonder how it is such places manage to hang on economically. But I also know that their way of life is a secret to the visitor who is just passing through. They find a way to make it work.

Something about the nostalgic patina of such places tugs at my heart. All of the shop fronts, alleyways, little town parks are like pieces of a puzzle.

The vitrolite tiled State Theater in Deposit, New York was built in 1937 and is still showing current features. In hindsight, I’m sorry that I didn’t cruise through town in the evening when the marquee was lit.

The sign welcoming me back to The Empire State featured a special and very important bit of advice:

Words to live by.

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