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That was our goal. We just didn’t know it at the time.

Start – Stop: Poe Valley State Park, Pa – Bald Eagle State Park, Pa

Distance: 30.7 mi

Elevation Gain: 2727 ft

Riding Time: 5:00

Time Awake Spent in Pursuit of The Trip, Roughly: 7:00

Weather: The same as yesterday. Warm-ish, humid-ish, pleasant-ish.

Day 02 Objectives & Points of Interest

  1. Pizza at the Original Italian Pizza in Millheim.
  2. Buy strawberries from a prepper sect.
  3. Eat free hot dogs from Judy.
  4. Basically the goal is to find Judy, we just didn’t know it at the start of the day. To know her is to love her. She’s the camp host at Bald Eagle State Park.

Here’s what you need to know: most of the crew on this trip also took part in the #maddwikkidtoouah expedition. Nearly all of us experienced the riding, the waiting, and the driving, OH THE DRIVING! The driving was a long, dull commute from Montpelier to Old Saybrook and then over to State College (Benedict kept saying he would prefer being strapped to the roof—such is his animal nature). So by the second day of our State College ride the crew was feeling run down. And we were all airing complaints about sore throats and slight fevers.

“Physical and emotional fatigue was obvious, and had manifested throughout our troop.”

Yesterday’s section was memorable for being long and grinding. After all day in the saddle we had arrived at our camp at dusk; we had no time to swim, we barely hung out, and there was a sense that we had embarked upon a forced march. The route had delivered exactly was asked of it, as our brief to Chris “Buck Wild” Tank was that we should aim to cover about 60 miles a day and to emphasize gravel roads, single track, and (if necessary) low-traffic back roads. But this is only what we thought we wanted. As the old adage goes, be careful what you wish for. So last night we had a all-hands meeting to discuss our wants and desires for this trip. The takeaways were as follows:

  1. Cut out the extraneous, just-for-the-mileage miles.
  2. More swimming.
  3. More naps.
  4. More goofing.
  5. Bring the joy back to bikepacking.

With these points in mind we set off on a more straightforward route. One that we hoped would have us at Bald Eagle State Park with plenty of time for some sunlight-backed-liquid-refreshment-recreation.11aka swimming One that we hoped would take us to an Original Italian Pizza joint for lunch. One that we hoped would give us a chance to nap in the shaded picnic area of a grocery store/gas station while Amish horses trotted along the nearby roads.

“Did our dreams come true? You’ll have to read below to find out.”

Waking Up in Poe Valley

Our telltale hearts told us to enjoy ourselves.
Coffee number three? Why not?
This was the first deployment of our Hyperlite Mountain Gear Tarp/Tent/House/Cabin.
Pretty swank right?
If memory serves, Poppi burned his shirt last night in a unprecedented goulash accident. Either that or he simply flexed a bit too vigorously. But my memory knows no master, and shouldn't be trusted.
Never let go. NEVER!
Oh jeez.
Obviously, these are Poppi's products.
There are those who lead, and those who follow. Moi Medina always leads.
Fourth coffee anyone?
Benedict getting in a pre-ride kip.
When we showed up to Poe Valley the camp host was nowhere to be found, meaning there was no wood to buy. Meaning there was no fire to keep us warm—and more importantly, entertained. I bet if we raided this little transient domicile we would have found the host inside, comfortable and entertained, oblivious to the needs of us paying campers. The tyranny of the privileged is not to be taken lightly. Sisters, Brothers, join me! This cannot be allowed to continue.
There is no doubt in my mind that the netting you see down there is meant to keep Great Whites out. Did it work? I can tell you that none of our well-traveled and knowledgeable contingent dared to set a foot in that water.

Leaving Poe Valley

We DID leave, eventually.
Benedict pantomimes one of the most critical steps in his "patented" Sasquatch mating ritual.
We rode up this hill out of Poe Valley. At the top we decided, "Hey we don't need to do this, let's turn around and go the other way."
So we turned around and went the other way.
Sarah, in her gravity mercenary costume.
Okay. So Daniel and Poppi stopped here to buy some berries. Well, Poppi stopped to buy some berries and Daniel stopped to photograph Benedict buying some berries. It turns out that the young towheaded boys living on this farm had never seen a tattoo'd, topless and bronzed Norseman accompanied by a highly colorful biographer before. I mean, talk about living in the sticks! All reports are that the kids just couldn't peel they're washed out blue eyes off Bene. I guess it just goes to show that Bene's charisma isn't a product of postmodern society. It's feral, it's in our DNA, it's undeniable.

Arriving in Millheim

The Original Italian Pizza Center of Penn’s Valley.
Is "horsepower" too obvious a joke?
Anachronistic juxtaposition. It was fascinating to observe the Amish interacting in the world of us "English." The many ideas, observations, and musings regarding their choice and its interaction with our choice could fill libraries. This is just a lowly caption, but I would still like to say that I have since spent a significant amount of time contemplating this interaction.
Gas Station Naps, fig. 1
Gas Station Naps, fig. 2
Gas Station Naps, fig. 3
Gas Station Naps, fig. 4
Gas Station Naps, fig. 5
Gas Station Naps, fig. 6
"Are you John Connor?"

Where Eagles Dare

Bald Eagle State Park
Post-rock? Alt-Country? Psych Rock? Twee? We're looking for a band name. If you have an idea please tweet it to @yonderjournal. The winner not only gets to name our band but also wins a Golden Buffalo T-shirt. Happy naming.
Majestic. You buet.
Honestly Mary, you're so fucking cool.
Juuuuudy. The world's best camp host not only gave us firewood from her personal stash but brought us free hot dogs and buns. If you plan on retracing our route, you can pretty much skip Poe Valley State Park. That park was the pits. Just head to Judy and Bald Eagle State Park. You won't be disappointed.
Sarah. Whatcha doin' there?
"So I'm like, 'Double Shaka guys' and they're like, 'Dude this guy knows whats up.' And that's how I got to take a tour of the Large Hadron Collider."
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