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The eponymously named State College, PA is a college that begat a city, and it happens to be located in what is quite possibly the most pastoral landscape I have ever seen. To the north and south vast stretches of blue-green hills extend from horizon to horizon, looming tidal waves that have threatened the valley for millennia.

“The valley floor is a rumpled quilt of emerald and gold—it seems that everything can and will grow here, leading to us to understand that this is no doubt a land of prosperity.”

Our humble troop of adventurers arrived in town a few weeks after class had let out for the summer, and with the student body’s exodus to their summer jobs, internships, and three months worth of late mornings spent “catching up” on their parent’s couch, wandering around the city gave one the sensation of walking in a pair of shoes five sizes too big. What we felt was a vacuum, a void; what we felt was the uncanny, as if we were peering behind the walls of a movie set. Despite the vacancy we were able to procure necessary supplies, namely a hacky sack, a bandana with a constellation print, and two trekking poles.

There were riders in our group who had intimate knowledge of Vermont and Virginia, but for State College we had no native guide. Daniel had been here on a road ride a half decade ago and Chris Tank (acting as our de facto local) had whipped up a course via internet resources that more or less followed our requirements: gravel, camping, and no more than sixty miles per day. But none of us knew what to expect and for this reason we allowed ourselves to be flexible with our route. There were no expectations so we followed our heart, marched to our own drum, figured it out.

Our ride in State College was as much an exploration of the region and the area as it was an investigation into our concept of what bikepacking could be. This was our time to ride, our moment to experience. It didn’t matter if the route called for 60 miles, if we could shorten it and get more swimming time in, who’s to say that was the wrong thing to do? No one. That’s life. So we called audibles, we looked for shortcuts, we enjoyed our evenings, we camped longer, slept in, took swims, went off-route for gross pizza and delicious candy bars. We controlled our own destiny, we were not slaves to the route map, servants to the GPS.

“This was free jazz, Ornette Coleman bike packing. Just one long beautiful solo. You should try it some time.”

The moral of the story here is that if you allow yourself to be flexible, with both your mind and your route, good things will happen, good things like ice cream outposts and free stuff from your camp host. We’re not advocating that you audible every ride, only that you listen to your heart and the hearts of those around you, and if those hearts are saying “audible” you audible; it’s like our saying here at Yonder Journal: “Don’t trust me, trust you.”

Official East Coast Tour Artwork By Dan Funderburgh Creative Brief The East Coast is old and colonial or whatever, and as such it's rich in tradition and history. But tradition and history are boring unless someone tricks you into consuming tradition and history by hiding them in stories. Stories are exciting and engaging. Nowadays we mostly tell stories using the Internet and Snapchat, but back in the Pilgrim days we didn't have electricity or words so story telling was often done orally. Early settlers also used "physical objects" like the printing press and quilts to tell their stories and pass down their histories. Story quilts don't require a formal education, just talent, creativity and some yarn. For that reason and that reason alone, we worked with visual artist Dan Funderburgh to create a talisman in the form of a quit, or "tapestry," featuring key elements of our East Coast Bikepacking Campaign, something that would protect us and guide us, and precede us. If it helps, you can think of it as as a visual emissary and banner under which we launched ourselves into the heart of early American History.
Mary Lytle, aka @maryroselytle.
Chris Tank, aka @ctankcycles aka "BuckWild".
Moi Medina aka @moi_is_moi.
Sarah Swallow, aka @swallowbicycleworks.
Kyle von Hoetzendorff, aka @newantarctica.
Benedict Wheeler, aka @ultraromance.
Daniel Pasley aka @yonderjournal.

POPPI’S PUBLIC RESTROOMS & PIZZERIA: RECIPE #2

Poppi is a full service Bike-Packing Guide and East Coast Aficionado. Does he know where to find the covered’est of bridges?, you bet he does. What about the primo dirt roads?, the ones with a buffed-out surfaces, no cars and countless dead possums?, ummm, duh. Haunted Tunnels anyone??? The nearest artisanal co-op? Poppi knows it all! But his instruction and guidance doesn’t end there, he also knows how to (safely) subsist on weeds and wild edible plants and trash found on the side of the road and behind abandoned buildings. With this in mind, Yonder Journal is proud to present a series of recipes from Poppi’s forthcoming cookbook called Poppi’s Public Restrooms and Pizza.

  1. Ingredient #1: Boiled Milkweed Flowers. This you should know how to make cuz you read the rest of the article.
  2. Ingredient #2: Soba Noodles. They’re buckwheat, which confusingly isn’t wheat, so kinda better than the stuff you get at Olive Garden.
  3. Ingredient #3: Coconut Oil. One spork’s worth.
  4. Ingredient #4: Nut Butter. Another spork’s work.
  5. Ingredient #5: Garlic. A whole head.
  6. Ingredient #6: Salt to Taste. That’s the surprise!
  7. Step #1: In yer titanium pot cook yer noodles accordingly.
  8. Step #2: Once they’re done, just dump out the water, hold the lid on a little so you don’t loose yer noodles. That’s for amateurs.
  9. Step #3: Now using yer lid, sauté the boiled milkweed in coconut oil and garlic.
  10. Step #4: Add a pinch of salt and cook until lightly browned.
  11. Step #5: Add milkweed to noodles that are still in yer pot, then toss in the nut butter and more salt (the surprise).
  12. Step #6: Stir around to combine, and then eat paired with the house red.

Five FYIs

  1. Foreign Belief Systems. Expect to interact with or at least observe religious communities that appear to belong to another time. Don’t worry, I am pretty sure you won’t have traveled back in time—they’re just Amish. They’re cool. Don’t worry, they don’t want anything to do with you anyway.
  2. Styrofoam. If you’re like me and you live a sheltered, styrofoam-free life in a hippie commune city on the West Coast, then prepare yourself. Styrofoam is everywhere here. If you need a positive spin on this just think: that cup you sipped a liter’s worth of cola out of, well that cup will be like a tyrannosaurus tooth for some future paleontologist (will they even be called paleontologists then? Or will they be called holocentologists? Neither you or I will ever know, but there is a modicum of joy in the act of speculation, isn’t there?).
  3. Surprise Private Property. We did our best to minimize our trespasses. I think, all told, we maybe flirted or possibly went whole hog into private property twice over our three day trip. The thing is, you’re riding along on a public road, then all of a sudden it’s private. But your GPS says not more than a quarter mile ahead is the road you need to connect with, so you can either risk it or spend ten miles circumventing this little strip of road. Hey, listen, we’re not advocating trespassing. That’d be irresponsible. Yonder Journal 100% acknowledges that you are responsible for you. And that we are not responsible for you. What we’re saying is that you need to do you. Trust your heart.
  4. Skeeters. Get on that DEET.
  5. Judy at the Bald Eagle State Park Campgrounds. She is literally the best camp host we’ve ever experienced. Say “Hi!” for us.
Packing List

Food

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Freeze-Dried Meals 1/day Mountain House Mexican Rice and Chicken a la King Pro Paks
  • Oatmeal 2/day Quaker Oats Brown Sugar & Maple
  • Bar #1 2/day Clif Mojo
  • Bar #2 2/day Clif Kit's Organic
  • GORP 3oz/day Bulk aisle
  • Jerky 3oz/day Teriyaki or Mangoes
  • Candy 3oz/day Haribo Bears
  • Chips 2oz/day Kettle Sea Salt
  • Tortillas 10 Fajita-sized, flour
  • Cheese 8oz Extra sharp cheddar
  • Salami 1 log Artisanal
  • Coffee 3/day Stumptown
Packing List

Clothing

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Bibshorts 1 Specialized SWAT
  • Overshort 1 Mission Workshop The Stahl
  • Gloves 1 Specialized BG Ridge
  • Cycling Cap 1 MFS!
  • Socks 2 Outlier or Swiftwick Merino
  • Shoes 1 Specialized Recon
  • Helmet 1 Specialized Airnet
  • Shell 1 Mission Workshop The Meridian: Phase
  • T-Shirt 1 Mission Workshop Linear Merino
  • Underwear 1 Icebreaker
  • LS Baselayer 1 Icebreaker
  • Camp Hat 1 Pink Poler Rayon
  • Camp Shoes 1 Crocs
  • Glove Liners 1 Wool or synthetic
  • Camp Shirt 1 Cotton Poler tee
  • Camp Shorts 1 Poler River Chino Shorts
  • Puffy 1 Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
Packing List

Gear

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Seat Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket Mr Fusion
  • Frame Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket
  • Handlebar Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket MCA
  • Top Tube Bag 1 Specialized Burra Burra
  • Mini Tool 1 Specialized EMT PRO MTB
  • Patch Kit 1 Rema
  • Tubes 2 Freshies
  • Tire Levers 2 Whatevs
  • Bottles Lots Something colorful!
  • Mini Pump 1 Specialized Air Tool Flex
  • Parts 1 Leatherman with pliers, tire boots, spare tire levers and tubes, chain links, shifter cable, nuts & bolts, derailleur hanger, zip ties, Gorilla Tape, etc.
  • Tent 1 Hyperlite Mountain Gear Cuben Flat Tarp (w/ Ruta Locura poles)
  • Sleeping Bag 1 Mountain Hardwear Phantom
  • Sleeping Pad 1 Thermarest NeoAir X-Lite
  • Knife 1 Leathern Wave
  • Headlamp 1 Snow Peak Mola
  • Cup 1 Snow Peak Ti Double-Walled
  • Spork 1 Snow Peak #sporklife
  • Bandana 1 Something with a map on it
  • Teeth Stuff 1 Dentist Recommended
  • Book 1 Paul Beatty's The Sellout
  • Lighter 1-2 Bic
  • Sunscreen 1 High SPF + waterproof
  • Sunglasses 1 Oakley Frogskins
  • Repair Kit 1 Needle/thread, sleeping pad patches, Tenacious Tape
  • Sharpie 1 Wrapped in Gorilla Tape
  • Wet Wipes 1 Soft Pack
  • Water Filter 1/2-3 people MSR Sweetwater
  • Soap 1 Dr Bronner's Almond
  • Stove 1/2 people Snow Peak GigaPower
  • Fuel 2/week/stove Snow Peak Giga Power 220g
  • Cord 50ft Paracord
  • First AId Kit 1/3 people Homemade
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