Sunday, October 22, 2006


I lay awake last night trying to decide not only where to ride, but what to ride. Now that I have another one-speed bike in the quiver, it adds new variables to my ride location choices. Should I go back to Michaux and try to figure out more of the Dark Hollow trails? Or, try the Tuscarora Trail west of town? I'd heard the Tuscarora Trail had been neglected for a long time, but had recently been opened up again by the PATC. I knew I'd be taking a chance on this trail, as I know it gets far less bike traffic than the popular Michaux trails.

Leaving the house, I pointed the Subaru toward the west, and the mountain gap on Route 30, between Fort Loudon & McConnelsburg. Getting dressed at the trailhead and ready to lock up one bike. Which bike? I still hadn't decided which to ride yet. I stall on that decision for a couple more minutes while loading up the camelback. Hmm,what size tubes to take, 29er or 26er? Finally made the call for the 29er, since I didn't know the trail or where I'd actually be riding, and rain was expected, I opted for the easier bike with a freewheel.

The Tuscarora is a mini Appalachian Trail, for bikes! It's 252 miles long from near Carlisle, PA to Skyline Drive in VA. It goes through the Sleepy Creek WMA near Winchester, above the Cove Campground in Gore, VA, through the Wolf Gap area, through Elizabeth Furnace, and ends at the AT in Shenandoah Nat'l Park. The Bear Wallow descent is part of this trail, as is the climb and descent of Shawl Gap.

This trail begs for further exploration and epic rides. The short section I rode today was very well maintained and recently blazed. There were numerous side trails for loop options, many of these were not on the map, even though they were named & blazed. It was rocky, technical, ridge riding, just as it is down in Virginia. If the rest of the trail is like this, I'll spend a lot of time on it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

dinner with the new neighbors

Our new neighbors invited us over last night, and with the help of Tiffany's babysitting (again), we happily accepted. Somehow, we have ended up in a part of town with distinguished neighbors. The invitor has been a pharmacist in town since 1964. Their son is a doctor, and is Kim's mother's physician. His stated goal is to practice medicine and not have to charge anyone for it. He's leaving his current practice next year to work more towards that goal. The other neighbor & guest is also a doctor, and we have a Wilson College art profesor right across the alley from us. On the other side of us we have a truck driver & motorcycle rider, who also happens to be a Vietnamese soccer player. His job is to drive a double-trailer to Roanoke and back, 5 days/week. So I guess I won't be complaining to him about my 2-hour commute to VA. I'm hoping they all become good friends.

Our neighbors and Kim already knew each other's families, and their connections astound me at every turn of the conversation. Kim, and they, are well-rooted in this community. A wonderful meal and setting was provided, along with great conversations about the overuse of farm chemicals in the valley; incidence of birth defects; homebirth midwives; hunting trips; cabins, farms; geography, and the people and places of the area. I think, we're in a fine place.

the new old bike

The Fat Chance fixed gear after it's maiden ride in Michaux yesterday.

Mountain biking with a fixed gear has always reminded me of this quote by an elite pro skier describing telemark skiers "I likened telemark skiing to purposefully cutting off a few fingers before rock climbing".

Fixed gears ruin the downhills I thought. But, I also knew it has to be a skill builder, and should provide me with good motivation to get out for short 1 or 2 hour rides in Michaux whenever I have small windows of time. And, with the nearest Michaux trailhead about a 15-minute drive from home, I'm hoping for lots of those windows.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

our big move

We're getting settled in a bit, having been here about 10 days now. This is a wonderful place, I've always liked it here, and to borrow a quote, "I'm not from Chambersburg, but I got here as fast as I could".

But, we left a great place too. At least, our little neighborhood in Centreville was great, which we never really discovered until having Oliver. We didn't realize what a great kid community was right there, or the value of having a school & playgrounds within easy walking distance. I also certainly liked my easy, safe, 10-mile bike ride to work at VDOT. Now, I'm about a 2-hour drive away, but am attempting to make that trip as little as possible and work from home most days. I'll also miss the great bike community there, especially, the Bike Lane folks, and even a certain trail that I wrote about a month ago in a sappy piece that I didn't post until now.

Oliver was not very happy on the move-in day. A whole lot of big changes his way in a short time. New school, new family, new 'hood, new rooms to play in. He would light up whenever I found a box containing some of his toys or beloved track & trains. As soon as he set up his first track, he started getting more comfortable. He turned 4, four days after we moved in, and Kim created a wonderful party with family and some of Oliver's numerous cousins and our new neighbors (who have 3 young boys).

this is Oliver's cousin Tiffany singing him a birthday song that she wrote herself.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

new e-mail

So, I tried to send a bulk BCC e-mail to everyone I recognize in my address book (hand selected of course), informing everyone of my new e-mail address in Chambersburg, PA. But, my new server (or maybe Outlook Express?) stops at each bad address, and there were many before I even got past the letter "C".

So, my address is here:
larry dot camp at comcast dot net

I've updated it on the various forums I use, so I can always be reached that way too, or from the regular work address.