Monday, August 27, 2012

Kansas, Rockies, Whiskey and Natives

August 20 - 26

Jesse and Family, Kansas hosts
It was two full days to get through the great state of Kansas.  Big thanks to Jesse and his wife and kids for hosting me midway on Sunday evening through this straight... and I mean no curves...straight journey. Jesse offered up a very scenic camping spot on his property. He has some lovely acerage near Salina, Kansas with rolling hills and prairie grass pasture.  They plan on building their house INTO the hillside for both aesthetic and geo-thermal reasons.  Very cool.  I can't wait to see the progress.

waking up in Jesse's yard
The next morning I awoke bright and early and headed straight for Denver. Jesse recommned an alternate route to avoid the highway for a few hours. By taking smaller routes you can really appreciate the landscape as you pass through small towns and terrain that you would not normally see via a highway.  The eastern and middle part of Kansas is lovely, with rolling hills and grasslands. As I entered the western part of Kansas I had to get onto I70 and things got blustery and boring.  I traveled over 8 hours before I arrived into Denver proper and  needless to say I was wiped out.

Did you know Paradise is in Kansas?
I have been visiting Colorado for the better part of 10 years. Some of my oldest friends live here. It's always a treat to see familiar faces after 16 hours of motorcycle riding especially over some beers.  My friends Corey and Sarah hosted me in Golden for two nights and I got to spend the next day in Denver running around, sorting out motorcycle things and visiting one of my old dear friends and artist, Tara aka Toughy T.  I was hoping to get to the botanical gardens so I could explore some native plants, but it closed early for a concert, which was probably best because I was really wiped out from the past two days of riding and didn't have a lot of energy to, well... learn.
Colorado Rest Stop

Lucky for me Corey and Sarah have a sweet hot tub and after a soak, I was ready to roll onto my next destination... Buena Vista, Colorado where the soon to become infamous Deerhammer Distilling Company is located... and subsequently owned and operated by one of my oldest and closest friends, Len and his wife Amy.

Len has been the main reason I have been visiting Colorado all these years. We were college roommates in Philadelphia for four years and have been close ever since. We have both worked in the graphic design / web world for years.. A long time home brewer / distiller, he and Amy made the leap to open a Whiskey Distillery and Tasting Room last year.  I couldn't be more proud of his success. You will never meet a more humble, passionate and driven person. And dayum does he make some good whiskey. Check out the movie below for a quick look into Deerhammer Distillery and Tasting Room!


 Check out his website for all the details.  I might mention that Len also outfitted most of my camping gear for this trip.  Tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad.  Basically I am sponsored by Deerhammer.

Len and I have been riding motorcycles for years. In fact we both took the motorcycle safety course together in '98 in Philadelphia. In anticipation of my arrival (so I like to think) Len upgraded his dirt bike to an adventure bike, Kawasaki KLR.

riding with the aspens
 I arrived in Beuna Vista around 11am on Wednesday morning, a 2.5 hour trip from Golden. Len hasn't had a break from the distillery all summer so no sooner did I get there, did we make plans to do an overnight camping trip into the Gunnison Forest in the Rocky Mountains on the bikes.  We left around 2PM and headed out on dirt roads through some of them most gorgeous mountain scenery you can imagine.   Of course I made us stop quite often to take pictures and document native plant specimens (at least I thought they were native!).  We arrived in Crested Butte before sundown and made camp at Oh Be Joyful camping area.

After setting up camp we headed into town for a slice of pizza and brew. Back at camp, a less than impressive campfire was made and a cantina full of whiskey was passed between us.  I awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of rain pitter pattering on my tent.  It took me a few moments to realize all my gear was left out on the bike and was now getting soaked.  I ran out and covered everything up.  Len was less than fortunate and awoke with his gear a bit wet.  Ah well, the 8 hour ride through the mountains we were about to embark on would dry things off.

one of many views
This was the first time on my trip I rode along with someone, let alone a friend, and there is nothing like it. Checking out scenic views, swapping stories of close calls on the bike and generally having someone to talk to while gassing up makes all the difference. I knew this trip would get lonely at times but you only realize it when you have the experience of riding with another. After two days of dirt roads and scenic views, we rolled back into BV where Amy had an amazing meal prepared for our arrival.  Doesn't get much better!

native or not? ... not.
Now, let's talk native plants. The Colorado Rockies are one the eco-regions I'm looking to document native plants specimens. There doesn't appear to be a shortage of native plants you might experience when you are near a big city.  Other than Denver and surrounding areas, urban sprawl is at a minimum and Colorado is vast with wilderness. So on our ride, I documented quite a few specimens I thought to be native. However when I arrived back to civilization, I was hard pressed to find them listed in my native plant guides / database. Arrgg.

Then the serendipitous moment happened. Frustrated about the lack of native plant findings, Len remarked about a gentleman named Garry who specializes in local grasses and seed who happens to have a nursery right behind Len's house.  Oh right I thought, I met this guy a few years ago while visiting.  We were there because Len was interested in buying grass seed for some land he had just purchased.  I recall this guy having a lot of knowledge so I figured, it doesn't hurt to ask. I went over and met Garry.  After explaining to Garry about my project he was excited to talk to me about all the native plant species through-out Colorado and gave me a walking tour of what is considered to be Colorado's largest native plant nursery. OH YEAH!  It was like finding the holy grail in your (or your friends) backyard. Garry has acres of native plants, shrubs, trees, etc. and could very well be Colorado's leading expert in native plants. We talked for a while and he allowed me free run on his property to explore, learn and photograph. And over the next few days I did just that.

Unfortunately, most of the people buying plants in this area are not very interested in planting natives in their backyard and Garry's business relies mostly on non-native ornamental, etc which makes his retail business a struggle as he specializes in natives. You could almost hear the sadness in his voice when he pointed out a row of native shrubs that he would soon have to pull because they were beyond the point of full propagation.  To drive the point of my project home even further, I showed Garry some clippings of the specimens I found on the mountain pass and 4 out of 5 of were non-native. Here I thought the Colorado wilderness was free of human interaction.

Now, it's true that not all non-natives are growing wild because of human interaction as birds and other animals could have brought them here.  And it's also true that not all non-natives are invasive. But, when 80% of your findings are non-native, well.... just goes to show you don't need a huge populated city to impact the loss of bio-diversity in your area. That is to say, the more non-native species found on your land, the less birds, bees, insects and wildlife that will be flourishing.

Needless to say, Beuna Vista has much to offer in terms of education.  Between learning how to ride my new cycle in dirt, learning about Colorado's native plants, and learning how to distill malted barley and rye to make whiskey, my mind is on overload.... and I'm loving every second of it. Not to mention I didn't even have the change to visit the goat dairy, the organic farm and all the other amazing things this small mountain town has to offer.  There's just not enough time as I need to be moving on.

Today I am waiting for UPS to deliver ink jet cartridges for my printer so I can continue making custom postcards and I am waiting for new motorycyle tires as well.  Even though I probably have about 1000k miles left on my stock tire tread, it's a good idea  to change them now while I can.

Tonight I will print and write postcards and organize my bike, tomorrow I will have the tires mounted and then head off to my next destination, Portland, Oregon by way of Utah and Idaho!  I can't wait to visit the old growth forest and explore what that eco-region has to offer!




Sunday, August 19, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On - The Mid West

August 13 - 18

Wisconsin is amazing.  I had a wonderful stay in Stoughton, WI with my friends Matt & Amy and their boys Jack and Gavin. I also got a lot work done, via some nature walks and the University of Wisonconsin Arborteum. What an amazing place.  They have an extensive display garden of native plants and I was able to learn about the native species growing through-out the upper mid west ecoregions.

While in Stoughton I was also able to sort out the first round of photo postcards for all my kickstarter backers.  If you didn't get a postcard yet.... you will!  My last day I checked out Madison, WI about 1/2 hour  north.  I got there near happy hour. They blocked off a street to do a "LIVE AT FIVE" jazz fest. I found a comfy seat near the capitol building and watched a dog drink out of a water fountain while listening to soft jazz.... I then ate fried cheese curds.  hhmmmmm cheese curds.

On Thursday the 16th I said goodbye to my upper mid west family and began heading south towards my middle mid west family! Feyette Missouri was my next destination, but it was about 10 -11 hours away.  Instead I found another motorcycle enthusiast to allow me to bunk out for a night.  It traveled from Stoughton, WI south to Davenport, Iowa.  The ride was little over 3 hours, but probably my hardest yet.  The wind gusts were nearly 15 mph as the corn fields don't offer much shelter. My bike tends to drift a bit in high winds as my gear/luggage act like a large sail. It's without a doubt a struggle to ride in that condition, but I made the best of it by stopping often, but was very exhausted.

Dave from Iowa
  I met up with Dave in Davenport's neighboring town of Bettendorf, Iowa.  Big thanks to Dave and his lovely family for having host me for the night! Dave was a gracious host and I had a great nights rest on a comfy pullout couch . I was back on the road at 8 am.  I decided to find a local place for a quick breakfast and WOW did I have a treat.  A ton of food, great service and cheap to boot. Also I noted the sign hanging in the cafe that read "Keep Calm and Carry on" - I like that - Big Up Indigo Cafe. Before I left, Dave recommended I travel a few miles west on interstate and check out the largest Truck Stop / Truck Museum in America. Hey, who can resist that!

truckers museum
What was 4 hours and 55 minutes on my google map took me about 8 hours in travel time.  The ride was south from Davenport Iowa to Columbia, Missouri .  I took smaller routes and hugged the Mississippi shore line! And heck I decided to stop off  and try my luck at fishing the mighty missss.  Speaking of miss, no fish again, no matter, was a lovely moment.

While cruising along I became really excited when I saw a sign for the Mark Twain wildlife preserve! I was still excited when I saw the sign for the Mark Twain Creek. I started getting curious when I saw the sign for the Mark Twain Caverns.  I realized  Mark Twain was  being turned out when I saw the sign for the Mark Twain Riverboat and Casino, Water park, RV Campground and Spa.

Meanwhile, while stopping to shoot some roadside goodness, my camera battery went dead. Oops, I forgot to buy a spare for this trip, I'm gonna need a charge.  Luckily, not more than a few miles a away I saw a sign for  Starr Cave Park, Nature center and Reserve.

When I arrived I politely asked if I could plug in my camera's battery charger and of course, learn about Starr Cave Park and Preserve and the native plants.  Turns out this is a big destination for seeing my buddy the Brown Bat, that is, up until a year ago when they closed down the cave due to...yup you guessed it....... white nose fungus.  I'm feeling a bit like batman. I will note that women working at the park were very helpful in talking to me about the natives and they had a lot of signage on display telling you about the different trees and shrubs on the trail, very informative. Alas, my charger was charged and I was on my way again.


scott mcmahon
If you don't already know, in real life I help run a photo arts organization in Philadelphia.  We have a Facility and a Gallery. Our upcoming show next month features two amazing photographers: Ahmed Salvador and Scott McMahon. Both went to school at Uarts in downtown Philly.  Three weeks ago Scott moved to Missouri and is the heading the photo program at Columbia College, which subsequently is the neighboring city to Feyette where my next destination / hosts / friends live. Scott will soon fly back to Philly to hang a show in our Light Room Gallery. I might add that I have been inspired by Scott's photographic work long before ever meeting him, which was just recently in fact so it was a real treat to meet with him over a glass of local beer after such a long trek!  Thanks Scott!

With only 1/2 hour ride from Columbia to  Fayette, Missouri,  I made my way to meet one of my oldest and closest college friends, Janine, along with  her husband Fritz and children Brian and Sidney.  Janine works at a local bar and grille and I arrived just as she was getting off her shift. Not surprising Janine has managed to make time to sort out an amazing studio in the neighboring town of Boonville where she continues her artistic endeavors.

the pond & serious drought conditions

Janine's studio
The next day was spent traveling in and around their 300 acre farm in the heart of Missouri. Janine's husband Fritz is a local arborist and was happy to show and discuss the plants and trees that reside on their property. They are also in the process of hand building a new house which will facilitate not only the family, but farm equipment, glass studio and wood shop.  Not bad!  A quick note to mention this area of country has had no rain in weeks.  They are calling it the 100 year drought and the wildflowers I was hoping to see are all but non existent.  The good news is I will have to come back again to see to visit and re-explore this area of the world.

Brian Brockting-Daniels
 My next stop will be on the outskirts of Wichita, KS where another family I met via the cycle site will host my tent on their property, then it's off to Colorado!!






Monday, August 13, 2012

Riding the Great Lakes and BATS!

August 11 & 12


fishin with Josh
I was grounded in Erie on Friday, August 10th due to the weather. Towards the end of the day the weather began to clear and I decided to break out my portable fishing rod I have been traveling with.  I stopped by a lagoon in Presque Isle, put on a random lore and began to fish. I caught nothing, but enjoyed the peacefulness of it. I then decided I would meet with a group led by Brian Gula, the ranger I had spoken with the day before, and participate in the "great bat count" of Presque Isle. Bats counted from the previous year roost in a maintenance shed located on the Isle.   The idea is that a group of people stand guard at different areas in front of the shed and count the bats when they fly out a dusk to eat. We then compared the number to last years count.  My job was to watch the cracks of a single door for escaping bats.  In total the group as a whole counted near 400 bats.  I counted 1. Despite staring at a door for a solid hour, learning about the soon to be nearly endangered (google: white nose fungus) brown bat was fun and informative. The next morning I said farewell to Erie and headed out towards Sturgis, Michigan.
bat door

Motorcycling is more than just a means of transportation. It's a community.  And to many it's a way of life. Have you ever noticed two bikers waving a hand as they pass each other across the road. Take notice. There is an unspoken bond between bikers that makes you feel as though you are in on something a person driving a car (cager) doesn't understand. Furthermore the virtual online community is robust.  Because of this, within a day I was able to find someone to host me for a night while traveling through the Midwest. Neither of us knew anything about each other aside from we both ride bikes and are members of advrider.com.

I decided to make some time and highway slab the ride from Erie, PA to Sturgis, MI. by way of Cleveland and Toledo (made infamous from Mash's Klinger). It took me approx me 6 hours, 3 thunderstorms and intense gusty winds blowing off of lake Erie to arrive at my host Pete's house on the border of Indiana and Michigan. Needless to say it was some the hardest slab riding I have done to date.

My host Pete at the Dark Horse
No sooner that I pulled into Pete's garage did we and his two friends Eugene and Josh drive off to the local Micro-brewery! Meeting new folks is always best over local brews and flat bread pizza.  The place is called the Dark Horse and is located east of Kalamazooooo. Great spot! By time we got back to Pete's I was exhausted and called it a night. Pete has a new house in the town of Sturgis 10 minutes off I-94 and was a most accommodating host as he allowed me to bunk down on an air mattress in a spare bedroom and left me with some energy bars, almonds and chain grease in the morning!  Thanks again Pete!

Josh, Eugene, me, Pete & Puff
The next day I was up early, out the door and on my way to Stoughton, WI by way of Chicago.  Pete recommended I take Rt 12 towards Chicago as a better alternate, non-highway / scenic route.  He was right, RT 12 was great, although a bit slow, as it took me way longer than expected to get to Chicago.  A lot of that probably had to do with the numerous U-turns I made to go back and photograph random roadside things. As I neared Chicago I got back on the highway, as I had already been on the road for close to 3 hours and wanted to make up some time.  Uhmm, that was a mistake.  Between close to $10 in tolls and dead-lock traffic on the local bypass highway of I-90 it took me another 2 hrs to just get through the skirts of Chicago. This is on a Sunday mind you.  If I do decided to spend a day in Chi-town I will be taking a train. I was now on my bike for almost 5 hours and still had 2 hours until my destination in Wisconsin.

somewhere in Michigan
I had my first odd sketchy encounter north of Chicago, beyond O'hare airport as I pulled off to stretch and gas up.  Unlike every other service station so far on the trip, I decided to take in with me the magnetic tank bag that holds small valuables such as camera, pocket knives, cables, basically small personal items.  Being this to close to a major city, I just know better than to leave something on the bike someone can easily walk away with. All was fine at the Oasis (Chicago's version of a service station) and I headed back to the bike. No sooner that I starter to put my gear back on the bike, some random sketchy dude comes over and asks to borrow my phone to make a call to his mom to wire him some money. Here we go, I thought.

OK, I've seen or have been approached with every scam there is..  ahhh the ol borrow your phone make a run for it bit.  However, I'm at service station off the highway, and feeling much more able than this guy, meaning if he dashes with my phone, I will be right behind him. So...I think, ok, maybe this is a sign, maybe this guy is for real and without a phone.  He looked like he was in his mid 40's, dirty, kinda cut up, and stinks. But, I'm a traveler and perhaps I will be needing a favor like this at some point in my trip, so I reluctantly let my guard down and allowed him to use the phone as long as I dialed the number (like that matters). He says "great, it's a Maine number." I dial it, he uses the phone, an says "oh, you musta dialed it wrong, let me".  Up my guard goes and now I am ready to chase this guy if he bolts. He dials, and still no answer, hands me the phone back and says thanks and walks off.  I don't know, the whole thing still seems shady. My Philly instincts are on fire.  Did this dude just make a drug deal using my phone? Did he bug it? Did he just somehow download all my personal info? He doesn't look capable of any of that so I shrugged it off,  thoroughly cleaned off my phone and went on my way.  I might mention that I sat and watched him for about 10 minutes after to see what his deal was. He was with some other guy who looked shady too and they were picking up butts from the ashtrays.  Maybe they were just down on their luck.  Hopefully my reluctant generosity will be observed by the traveling gods!  Off to stoughton.

"I want my own motorcycle helmet" - Jack Dunn
A couple hours later I pulled into the driveway of my dear friends Matt and Amy who have just moved back to their home state of Wisconsin after living in Philly for over 10 years.  These two are an amazing couple and I was sad to see them leave Philly, but now excited  to have a wonderful place to visit in the Mid-West.  They just purchased a beautiful new house with detached garage, huge yard and garden, and HOT TUB! ... far cry from the South Philly row home they used to reside in. They have two boys, Gavin (2) and Jack(3) and both are amazing.  Jack couldn't wait to get on the motorcycle. Once settled in Amy and Matt cooked up a wonderful dinner.  We were eating outside on their deck and it started to drizzle so Amy opened the patio umbrella and low and behold a Bat flew out!!!!  Looks like they are thriving here in Stoughton!! So that's two I counted. Tomorrow I will go and visit the University Of Wisconsin's Arboretum to photograph their native plants!

In the last two days I have ridden over 700 miles for a total of 12 hours riding time. phew. What a haul!  Check the Map!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Rain, Lightning, and Presque Isle, Erie PA


August 9

It was lovely waking up in the Allegheny National Forest.  I had to haul my camping gear back to my motorcycle about 1/8 mile away.  Once packed up I was ready to ride.  Except one thing.... I had no idea where I was going.  I didn't have any cell, data or GPS.  I was on Route 666, the mark of the beast! I knew I needed to head west, so west on 666 I went.  It had been threatening to rain ever since I got into the park the day before but had held out.

rain shelter, phew.
  For the next 45 minutes I was on a wonderful twisty stretch along a river.  Then all of a sudden I saw nothing but dark and stormy cloud cover.  Uh Oh!  I still had no clue where I was, so I followed a sign to the town of Tionesta.  No sooner that I arrived, it began to down pour!  Luckily I found a carport to pull under and I waited out the storm.  The weather was so severe that a lightning bolt hit the mountain ridge bordering the town and a tree caught on fire.  The locals at the only place to eat, Subway, were saying there was no way for the fire dept. to get to that spot and they were hoping it wouldn't spread.  Needless to say I bought an analog map, picked a route to Erie, and when the rain let up, headed North!

native plants?
Once arriving in Erie I scouted the two camping spots I had read about. The first was overcrowded, and the only available spot was a communal area on the Erie Lake beach waterfront. Not very conducive to motorcycle camping as there was no where close to park, and it was really windy on the water and still stormy. I decided to try another campground about 8 miles away from Presque Isle. This was also on the waterfront, $30 a night, no shelter and mostly RV's.  The woman who runs the campground was really nice and let me know Erie was in store for some serious storms over the next 24 hours.  That was enough for me to find a cheap hotel for the night.

Brian Gula from TREC
TREC










Finally I arrived at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center.  I have been in correspondence with Anne who is an educator there.  Unfortunately she was not available to meet, so I had the pleasure of meeting Brian Gula.  Brian was excited about the "Natives" project and spent an hour or so showing me around the TREC demonstration gardens. They planted tons of natives found on Presque Isle State Park here in the parking lot of TREC and Brian was happy to talk with me about the local native plants and their beneficial properties.  This gave me a well suited idea of what to look for while on Presques Isle. Let me say that TREC is an  AMAZING facility. A big Thank You to Brian for taking the time to educate me on the native plant life here!

Presque Isle State Park, PA
Before sunset I went into the Presque Isle State Park.  I hadn't the slightest idea how beautiful this park would be.  It feels like you are at the ocean i.e. Cape May, NJ.  Brian mentioned a trail that is using natives specifically for land restoration.  I went  and I photographed.  I was up all night working on my images.  Needless to say a huge front is coming through Erie and I seem to be stuck here for another day.  Plenty of work to catch up on so I'm not that upset... though this hotel is crummy, it beats sitting in a tent for 24 hours in the rain. Time to find a some local eats!

Allegheny National Forest


Wednesday August 8

Stone Creek Valley, PA Fire Engine
Woke up at 7am in Greenwood Furnace State Park and packed the bike so I could get an early start. Within five  minutes I sighted a black bear crossing the road.  I got a good look at him.  My first glimpse at wildlife!  It was really foggy and fairly chilly so I pulled over to an old firehouse to put on a jacket liner.  I decided to strap my camera around my neck so I wouldn’t miss any more prime opportunities at photographing wildlife, etc. 

25 miles later I pulled into Penn State main campus, no shortage of wildlife here. I found a coffee shop with wifi. With everything that has happen to Penn State in the last year, I was surprised to see how busy it was early august. I was there for a good 3 hours doing freelance work, looking at maps and updating my blog.  I grabbed some quick snacks at a grocery store and headed out to Allegheny National Forest.  This is the Northern Forest Eco-Region. It’s free to camp in US National Forests.. saaweet! 


camping spot minister trailhead
video3 hours later I arrived and set up camp a few hundred feet from a  trailhead right next to a brook.  I went for a 2 hour walk and explored the forest.  This forest is part of the appellations with an altitude of approx 2000k feet. It’s truly beautiful and quite lush with moss and ferns.  I discovered some wild flowers and other plants I thought to be native to this region. Luckily a friend gave me an Audubon book of wildflowers and low and behold, these were native.  There is no electric or cellular coverage here so I connected my peripherals to my motorcycle and got to work once the sun was set.  I had several people ask me if I was okay as they had no clue what the hell I was doing.  Tomorrow I head to Erie PA where I will visit the Tom Ridge Environmental Center and explore Presques Isle Sate Park!



woody sunflower

fertile soil
aquatic mushroom





Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Journey Begins!


loaded and ready to roll
With only 2 days to go with Kickstarter, I finally left on my epic journey!


Day one started with much to wrap up in Philly.  By 2:00 PM I had successfully loaded the bike with a ridiculous amount of baggage.  Every passerby decided to make an off handed comment regarding the overload of the motorcycle.


Where's the fixin bar?
I left 2024 Wallace street, my former residence and current location of the Light Room Gallery at 3:30 Est. time.  I want to get as far as State College and find a place to camp.  I had one last chore to do before fleeing the city. I recently misplaced my motorcycle registration. Well, it flew out of my wallet on 95N in New Hampshire about a month ago, but that is a story of another time. Now I had to go to across center city, through mid-day heat and traffic to an auto-tag place to get a dup of my registration. Here’s to waiting until the very last minute.  I figured it would be the ultimate test to see how my overloaded cycle would hold up to the fury of a hot august day of driving in  Philadelphia. 

 Aside from what appeared to be a crack head gingerly dancing across a red light will all the leisure of the world, and a slew of maddening horns in response to her exhibition, my registration was safely secure and I was on my way.  Needless to say, it was about 4:15 by time I hit deadlock traffic on I76 through the dreaded Conshohocken curve with the city skyline in my rear view.  An hour later I pulled into my favorite turnpike rest stop where I normally load up on the fixins bar at one of the only Roy Rogers left in the area. This time I would refrain from indulging in all you can pile pickles and re-sort my load as I had very little room for comfort they way I had things piled on.  Comfort is everything on long trips.  ½ hour later I was re-sorted, much more comfortable and on my way.  

Lewistown, PA
 It cost me $7.10 when I exited the turnpike. Christ, I was only on the thing for an hour. Let that be a sign that I should be avoiding all pay highways… all highways for that matter.  Once off the turnpike I started north through mid PA towards state college.  With about 50 miles to go until I reached the campus of the tarnished Nitney Lion, the sun was setting quickly.  I decided to  pull off at the nearby town of Lewistown.  I pulled into a gas station, looked on my iphone for the nearest campground and asked the attendant where I could purchase a six pack to go.  Obviously I have plenty of room on this bike for more shit.  I found a campground about 30 minutes away in a Pa State Park (no alcohol allowed) and the attendant pointed me to a local grill, where I bought a 6 pack  of beer and some chicken fingers.  Once I strapped those necessities onto the bike, I was on my way to the campground.  Let me mention I seem to be in the heart of the Appalachians and there is a large amish population here. I was excited to pass several horse and buggies while approaching the entrance to Greenwood Furnace State Park.  Too bad I haven’t rigged a camera to the bike yet. No sooner that I entered the campground the sun had set and it was getting dark quick.  I found an open spot ($20) , strapped on my headlamp and made camp.  The insects are fucking loud and I have zero phone service.  Ahh the wilderness at last. Next stop... Erie
Camping at Greenwood Furnace State Park