This was definitely adventure day. Your intrepid group of State College-start cyclists not only rode 42 miles, we also dug out thorns, removed invasive privet, and got chased by thunderstorms. It was a great day! But before I get to all that, Ben Wideman has a few words about our Philly group.
Sunday afternoon, five bike riders and a support vehicle driver will begin their journey from Philadelphia to meet up with the State College riders in Washington, DC. Not only do we have an incredible group entirely made up of clergy (3 Mennonite Pastors, 2 Jewish Rabbis, and a Unitarian Universalist Minister… someone needs to write a joke with that as a punchline), we are also helping to expand PA IPL’s reach and connection to faith communities working to care for our earth. We’ve been humbled by the folks who have already reached out with offers of hospitality as we travel along our route.
Our trip begins at the beautiful John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, and we invite friends, family, and supporters to join us at our cyclist send-off at 1pm on Sunday. Bring along your mom and enjoy a full Mother’s Day exploring the beautiful trail system in the park. See you then!”
Thanks, Ben – can’t wait to hear about your adventures. Meanwhile, after a thunder filled night, State College riders woke to a beautiful morning, coffee, and excellent breakfast food. Micah took us out to the asparagus field to help clear thistles, since they’re easier to pick after a rain.
We packed up and said our goodbyes both to Bethany and Micah and also to Mark Higgins, who rode back to State College. On our way to Huntingdon, we were met by Laura White from the Stone Church of the Brethren who led us to Detwiler Park. This is a beautiful natural area that’s being restored by volunteers who are planting native trees and flowers.
PA IPL board president Greg Williams gave us a brief overview of the work in the area, and we helped by clearing a section overtaken by privet. We also heard about the importance of land management both for carbon sequestration as well as in adapting to events of extreme flooding and heat related to climate change. [event page]
Today we had both: 80-degree weather and huge downpours, but luckily it was beautiful while we were on our bikes. After lunch at Standing Stone Coffee Company in Huntingdon, sponsored by the Stone Church Sustainability Circle, we went back on the road. For part of the way, we were on busy US 22, and it was great to have Alison Jaenicke behind us, driving the support vehicle.
The forecast turned dark as a huge line of thunderstorms set up north of us. It gave us a tailwind, though, and we made excellent time, arriving at the Church of God of Prophecy in Orbisonia just before it hit. What a downpour! We were grateful to Pastor Don Pflugh and the congregation for a roof over our heads.
After a wonderful meal at Pizza Star, some of our group went shopping for breakfast (we’re feeding members of the congregation tomorrow), while others are playing charades. We have had a full, wonderful day and look forward to tomorrow, whatever adventures it may bring.
—Jon (and the other cyclists)
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