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Light Trespassing

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One of the dangers of designing routes online is the chance that the map is out of date.

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

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.

Day 01 Objectives & Points of Interest

  1. orge on Sticky Bunz at Ye Olde College Diner.
  2. Get wow’ed by the view from the Nittany Valley Overlook.
  3. Avoid getting shot at while doing some light trespassing.
  4. Cross a bridge that’s no longer really a bridge.
  5. Watch a horse knock over a little girl (it was funny).

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.

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

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 (Poppi 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 <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Prada</a>. 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.

State College, PA

Just like every other start town in Dead Reckoning history: unpack bikes, get coffee, buy snacks, ride away.
"I'm not racing, I'm just sprinting."—Lil Wayne
Who's got nothing but time? Dis Boi.
This is a KNOWN spot in State College. They serve all the regular diner jams plus Sticky Bunz. The Sticky Bunz were big and glazed. Were they good? Let's just go with yes.
Mary, mid Macarena.
No pain of sickness here.
As you can see, Moi still has the pain of sickness in his eyes. But now you can tell he's pissed off about it: Come on Moi. Fight it. You've got to FIGHT IT!
See that in the distance? That's the tidal wave I was talking about.

Looking Out from Nittany Valley Lookout

We braved semi trucks, narrow shoulders, and sticky bun-induced stomach cramps to get here.
Fortunately we weren't riding trucks, so descent was short and thrilling.
Once we hit gravel we saw one other car all day.
Did you order up some dappled light? How about we throw in some arboreal steroids with that?
Because of the lack of cars we could own the road like a squadron of fighter jets strafing the gravel.
Okay, maybe more like a squadron of horse-drawn buggies creeping over the gravel.
Being from Ohio, Mary and Sarah were excited about this one. BFB would have been excited too, if he still had the ability to get excited.
Eye of the tiger? No. Eye of the Lion!
There's no "I" in team. But you bet your ass there's an "A."
Working titles for this after school special: Foreign Oaks. Ivy and Anvil. The Sunset Club. Miss Mark's Place. Shooting for the first season starts this fall.
We went right. #nightmoves
This image does not paint our navigational skills in a good light.
"There are two opposing schools of belief regarding the derivation of the name. The term hex with occult connotations may derive from the Pennsylvanian German word "hex" (German "Hexe", Dutch "Heks"), meaning "witch." However the term "hex sign" was not used until the 20th Century, after 1924 when Wallace Nutting's book Pennsylvania Beautiful was published. Nutting, who was not a Pennsylvania native, interviewed farmers about their distinctive barn decoration. Before this time there was no standardized term and many Pennsylvania German farmers simply called the signs "blumme" or "schtanne" (meaning flowers or stars). However one farmer used the term "Hexefoos" in his description. The term became popular with Pennsylvania Germans themselves during the blossoming tourist trade of Southeastern Pennsylvania."—Wikipedia
There's a metaphor here, I'm sure of it. Also, Eggleston, are you out there?

Snack Stop in Milroy

Field of Dreams; I mean, definitely not my dreams, but someone’s dreams.
Whose a lil hider? #lilhider
What you can't see in the bottom of this pit are the panthers, vipers, zombies, and those people who stand outside Trader Joes and solicit you to sign petitions. Needless to say this challenge was terrifying.
After a couple cold IPAs, BuckWild did some water witching.
Slurp, Slurp, Slurp.
This is what it looks like when your bikepacking bags barf on the camp table.
Pretty sure Egon and Ray had the same device in Ghostbusters. Mary, what do you see?
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