Bumspringer Day 01
SECTION No1 Day 01 Intro & Stats
START – STOP: State College, PA – Poe Valley State Park, PA
DISTANCE: 60.9 mi
ELEVATION GAIN: 5989 ft
RIDING TIME: 7:00
TIME AWAKE SPENT IN PURSUIT OF THE TRIP, ROUGHLY: 10:00
POINTS OF INTEREST / OBJECTIVES: Gorge on Sticky Bunz at Ye Olde College Diner. Get wow’ed by the view from the Nittany Valley Overlook. Avoid getting shot at while doing some light trespassing. Cross a bridge that’s no longer really a bridge. Watch a horse knock over a little girl (it was funny).
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CUE SHEET: KML DOWNLOAD
WEATHER: Sunny, no wind, and humid. The weather was perfect if you were riding between 10-13 miles an hour and you weren’t going up any hills. At that rate, our corporeal swamp coolers were at max efficiency. Any faster and we were overheating despite the increased sweat production. Any slower and we were just standing around being hot. But this is silly. The weather was so close to fine you’d need a magnifying glass to see that the needle wasn’t actually resting on fine. So let’s just call it fine, shall we.
Here’s the thing: we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Okay, we knew we were getting ourselves into the Pennsylvania countryside, and it wasn’t like there was a dark ominous cloud in the shape of a skull, or a tactical nuclear weapon, or a Trump hair implant menacing the horizon. But still, this was new territory for all of us.
Chris put the route together on his computer, and dude is pretty good at it—he’s helped us with routes before. Remember Australia? Well we didn’t die down under, even though just about every bit of flora and fauna down under wants to snuff out your light. How much of our survival is directly related to Chris’ route is hard to say, but as we fueled up on Sticky Bunz, I thought about it and decided to attribute a healthy portion of our Australian survival to Chris and his planning because every self-help guru will tell you that the only way to succeed–read survive–is by manifesting the reality you want to experience in the world. I thought about the dangerous creatures that we might run into over the next couple of days, and it was looking like we were going to be in pretty good shape. Sure, there’s the legend of the Nittany Lion, but I’m fairly confident that those über felines were wiped out when Sam Colt and Bob Winchester came to town. We wouldn’t be worrying about Lions or Tigers. Snakes? Maybe. Ticks? Point taken, but having just come from the tick retreat that is the state of Vermont without any outward signs of Lyme’s, the crew was starting to feel like maybe we were putting too much into this Lyme’s panic. So what are we left with, maybe a few pissed off truck drivers and an overzealous guard dog or two? We can handle that. Get that hacky out and let’s get an around the world going, everything is going to be just fine.ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Turns out one of the dangers of designing routes via computer is the chance that the map details are not entirely accurate. A road that exists on the map could have washed out, disappeared, or fallen into private hands. How much of a problem this presents depends on the character of the group. Are you cunning/stupid enough to scramble across the remains of a steep mudslide? Will you blindly bushwhack your way down a path that has long since given up? How do you feel about trespassing? How do you feel about trespassing in a region where gun ownership is highly encouraged and there is a particular distaste for unwelcome guests? What about if by committing an act of trespassing you’re able to cut ten, twelve, or more miles off your route? What if not trespassing means there’s no way you can hit up the MiniMart for Cokes, Snickers, and chips? Do you risk it?
Before you answer, I need to make something absolutely clear: Yonder Journal and our staff by no means encourage trespassing—ever. That’d be grossly irresponsible, negligent, and dimwitted. However in the name of full disclosure I will tell you that if faced with the “entirely hypothetical” situation outlined above, we’d probably end up with Cokes, Snickers, and chips. What I am trying to say is that we did end up with Cokes, Snickers, and chips. And we learned that Nittany Lions be damned, the real danger here is a hidden homeowner with a cannon who cannot abide intruders. Not that we had any run ins, but we didn’t have any run-ins with Brown Snakes in Australia either, and that doesn’t mean we weren’t constantly on edge thinking about them. My point is often times the most dangerous fauna you’re going to encounter out there is your fellow man. So before taking any cunning/stupid action, consider for a minute how badly you need that Coke. And then, of course, forge ahead.
Preamble: The Commute from Vermont In which we meet Prada and Benedict behaves like a caged animal.
We were definitely in Pennsylvania, and we were definitely stopped at a gas station. It was probably a Sheetz. Doesn’t matter. We needed gas because that’s what vans eat. So we’re milling around the Sheetz, Benedict’s grazing on some 'fresh' air,11Poppi doesn’t do car rides, he feels to hemmed in, too suffocated. and Daniel’s walking around shooting photos and finishing up a phone call with our web guy about our website. Pretty standard stuff. Thus far the drive has been long and we still have a lot of Pennsylvania to cover. America, it turns out, is big. Not just Texas, but all of it, all of it is big and no matter where you are it’s going to take forever to get anywhere.
So we’re at this Sheetz and Daniel runs into Prada. She’s hawking her CD. Prada is a rapper trying to catch her big break. Now I can’t say that this Sheetz in Nowhereville, PA is the best place to try to blow up, but it’s not the middle of a desert or the depths of a jungle. There’s traffic (literally) coming through, and you’ve got to work with what you’ve got.
We make a deal. If we buy her mix (cash only—Prada does not fuck with Square), then she’ll do a quick photo sesh with Benedict and spit a few bars into Daniel's iPhone . I have to say, in terms of a gas station experiences this one is pretty up there, especially when you consider your surroundings. An hour later we’d be eating Chipotle in the city of Scranton, PA of The Office fame (a town chosen for its average averageness, because it is an average city par excellence). So thanks Prada, you alone were a shining star in the verdant pleasant wasteland of middle Pennsylvania.
Go buy Prada’s CD, like her on Facebook, upvote her on Reddit, send her gifts on Amazon. We support you supporting her.