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Heritage Explorer Bike Tour: Celebrating Rails-to-Trails

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yesterday was an enjoyable 50 mile ride heading "south" of the NY / PA border for a stretch of rail-to-trails extending northward through little burgs above Scranton, PA. We followed the Delaware and Hudson Rail-Trail (packed gravel surface) through Carbondale into the Endless Mountains to Union Dale.

From their web page

"Join us for the 2nd Annual Heritage Explorer Bike Tour on Saturday, June 18, 2011, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Mellow Park in Peckville, PA. Hosted by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority (LHVA), the Bike Tour is a non-competitive, family-friendly event with something for every rider. Last year, more than 300 people of all ages participated in the inaugural event."

I think they topped 500 riders this year! What a wonderful thing to see so many volunteers out there helping to put this event together and showing so much pride in what their community has been able to accomplish!

Figuring that parking at the event might be tough and ALSO wanting to add a few more miles to the 44 mile event I left the van at the hotel and rode my bike up to Peckville. 50 miles has a MUCH better ring to it than! Fortunately my DW happens to know an old friend who lives in the area and they were able to take off and visit with each other while I rode.

Here is a rough map of the 44 mile round trip we rode: There was probably around 50 of us from my bike club who traveled down for the event. I caught up with a fellow member (another Don! :-) ) and we hung with each other for the most part with very complimentary pacing to our rides:

At various points I could hear the Lackawana River rushing alongside the trail so I would hop off the bike and wander off the trail so I could treat myself to hidden nooks of nature such as these:

The weather was picture-perfect with mid-80s, lots of sunshine and many rest stops with ice cold water, apples and oranges. The volunteers at the upper end of the route in Union Dale were particularly enthusiastic and took such pride in their rail-to-trail. One gal spoke of how they have to fight off the four-wheelers who try to take over the trail which is clearly marked with signs of "no motorized vehicles allowed." The four-wheelers have such a cocky sense of entitlement and attitude! At many points of the trail there are gates designed to be narrow enough to allow walkers & cyclists but blocking larger motorized ATVs & four-wheelers.

Challenges of the ride? Being off-road! I'm a pavement kinda! Now I have little difficulty with hard-packed dirt with some crushed stone, but there were stretches of rocky trail which had me beside myself navigating the path of least bone-rattling resistance...whew! Slowed me down CONSIDERABLY! Technically, my ride is a cyclocross (Specialized Tricross) which is designed to handle mud & dirt, but there is no suspension as many mountain bikes have. I have a little more width and grip to my tires though, for which I was grateful yesterday! I don't wear gloves when I ride. My hands never complain and I figure one less thing I have to remember to take which would probably only make me feel the heat even more! But I have to say: Yesterday for the first time my hands were sore after that ride!

There were stretches of the trail with large puddles spanning the width of the trail, causing one to oh-so-carefully skirt around the edges of the puddle hoping not to slide or topple into them!

At times the crushed stone was loose enough that my tires would do some scooting around to keep 'er moving! Made me MUCH appreciate being back on pavement! :-)

Here's a few of us cyclists at the end of the line in Union Dale taking a break:

And the old mill behind the market in Union Dale:

A few more pics along the way:

All in all, a most satisfying ride!


PS...forgot to update my total miles for the season so far: 588!

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
FRACTALMYTH 7/25/2011 3:49PM

    What pretty scenery :D Thanks for sharing the story of your ride! Sounds like great fun and a good challenge too.

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CANBDONE 7/25/2011 2:34PM

    Listen to yourself! 50 MILE RIDE....could you imagine blogging that a couple of years ago? Does your wife feel like she's remarried? You rock!

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DAD2GETFIT 7/21/2011 8:48PM

    Cool! Nice pics too.

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BAM-MA 7/13/2011 7:30AM

    Great Pics as always! Thanks for sharing!

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JOYATLAST 7/11/2011 11:40AM

    Sounds like a true thrill! Just like life.

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L*I*T*A* 7/4/2011 5:05PM


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UUCEEJAY 6/26/2011 11:22PM

    Great pictures! What a lovely ride! Thanks for your comments on my GOBA trip. I do intend to keep on taking organized bike rides. Met some wonderful people on my trip. Seems that is cyclists are a pretty friendly crowd! emoticon

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DAVEINSEOUL 6/26/2011 8:53AM

    Sounds like a great ride - although I would definately have my hybrid out for that one. Like your Specialized, my Cervelo would have me feeling every bump in the road.

You're right. 50 miles sounds a lot better that 44 :-).

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IMSMILEY88 6/24/2011 7:37PM

    Beautiful! I'm kind of frustrated that the biking season down here in TX seems to be from Jan-Apr. Not much going on! Can't wait to really get involved in biking!

Love the photos!

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MRDPOLING 6/24/2011 2:52PM

    Beautiful photos!!!!

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FRECKS96 6/21/2011 4:39PM

    Sounds like a wonderful ride!! So glad you were able to enjoy the weather. That looks like it would make a beautiful running trail as well.

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LADYGWEN25 6/21/2011 9:24AM

    oh i'm right behind you in mileage: 510.17miles! i'm catching you!!! Nice scenic ride... you doing the Tioga bike ride?? and if so which day?

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RSILVERSEA 6/20/2011 3:27PM

    Nice pics! Can't say I envy you the ride though. I think I'll stick to paved roads though.

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JCORYCMA 6/19/2011 10:48PM

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures! It is awesome how you've gone from a guy who never exercised to a guy who has ridden a bike 588 miles already this season! You always remind me to stop and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us all. Way to go!! emoticon

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OUTDOORGIRL71 6/19/2011 9:43PM


Sounds like a fantastic ride. The pictures were great,

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MEGA_MILES 6/19/2011 9:35PM

    What a great ride. Dirt is definitely different from paving. Vive la differance!

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CANBDONE 6/19/2011 8:27PM

    Thank you for sharing...I always feel like I've had a mini-vacay after reading your travel logs!

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VARMINT3 6/19/2011 6:40PM

    What a lovely ride!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/19/2011 5:35PM

    Great pics. They make me miss kayaking, though! LOL

I like wearing gloves even for road riding. They protect my hands in the case of a crash or fall... Plus provide padding for long rides.

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OSUBUCKI101 6/19/2011 4:11PM

    A friend of mine works for Rails-to-Trails so she'll be thrilled so many took part! Love the pictures...looks like a great place to spend the day and relax!

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JLITT62 6/19/2011 4:09PM

    Lovely, as always. Glad you had a good day for it.

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LUCYSUNFLOWER 6/19/2011 4:02PM

    What beautiful pictures - it looks like a wonderful ride in nice weather (as it rains here...). Thanks for sharing! Your 'odometer' total is impressive...

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TOOTHFUL99 6/19/2011 3:09PM

    What a beautiful ride! Another good one from you, Don!

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ZELLAZM 6/19/2011 2:51PM

    What a beautiful tour! Thanks for the photos and WTG on getting in some good mileage. Rails and Trails - I like that! it kinda rhymes :)

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L*I*T*A* 6/19/2011 2:45PM

    awesome pictures!!!
thanks for sharing...........
blessings and hugs......lita

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PUNKIN175 6/19/2011 2:13PM

    That is awesome!!!! I got a bike this year and I am working on being able to ride it for longer and longer. The longest ride I have been on so far is 15 miles, but I cant wait to be physically able to do more! Your pictures are amazing and your whole post is very inspiring! Thanks for sharing!!!

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W5VEOTX 6/19/2011 1:19PM

    Fantastic ! Wonderful pictures and thanks for posting them. Wish we had some rails to trails here in the Texas Hill Country. There are some nice ones in Iowa that I am aware of.

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WATERMELLEN 6/19/2011 12:39PM

    Gorgeous pics, and what a beautiful (if in some places kinda scary) ride it must have been!

Canada was in some ways created by the national railway. And a number of bike tracks here are converted rails to trails projects as well. But they always makes me think about the challenges for the original builders of those railway tracks as well . . .

Knowing your love of music, here's a link to Gordon Lightfoot's "Canadian Railway Trilogy" . . .

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