2019 Bike Blog Day 2: Huntingdon to Orbisonia

Blogger: Janet Swim

 Following our longer pathfinding ride on our first day where we became acutely aware of the power and necessity of our legs to carry us long distances and climb two steep and long hills, we were able to have a relaxing second day.  Although some of us had our sleep challenged by cold temperatures and train noises in the room that had windows open all night, the rest of us had plenty of time to sleep. 

At 10:00 am we, along with Cricket and her two daughters Molly and Betsy, met Greg Williams at Detweiler park where were contributed to his visionary efforts to regenerate an area next to the Juniata river that had previously been covered in invasive plants. We saw many new plants previously uncovered by invasive plants, pulled out additional invasive privet with long roots, and planted gray dogwood trees and elderberry bushes which will live in a grove of tulip trees.  The long roots were notable because of how sturdy they make plants. Roots metaphorically are also important for people in various ways as well. We learned much from Greg including being enlightened by the concept of the umwelt —the world as seen through the experience of others, including a tick who is just living life when she sucks out our blood in the last minutes of her life.

From the park we “miffled” our way to lunch at the Standing Stone Coffee Company. We met our driver, Chris Davidson, and Mary from Stone Church of the Brethren.  Her congregation generously sponsored our lunch with its delicious options and beverages.  We relaxed at the cafe because it was a beautiful day, there was a huge Connect Four game, and we had plenty of time to travel over the next 23 miles to arrive in Orbisonia by 4:00 pm.

Too much of the first ten miles of the ride was on a terrorizing portion of route 22.  We were passed by trucks on the left and two trains passing each other on the right while we squeezed our self on to the small shoulder on the road.  Apparently those of us who traveled this rout before were more immune to having road than our new rider. Unfortunately, the previous relaxation made me (as one of the leaders) a bit too lax because I did not worn our new rider about this portion of the ride.  We all recovered in the rest of the ride, however.

When we were bypassing 22 we resumed our views of beautiful landscapes, including the patina from the vegetation and forests along the road and the Juniata river that flows through the natural landscape.  At about mile 12, we, along with our driver, Chris, stopped for ice cream at the Q, continuing the joy of the same treat from the day before.  From there we passed through Mt. Union and saw interesting street names such as Wrangletown Road. Then we continued along 522 until we reached Orbisonia. The rest of the ride yesterday and today allowed us to feel more hopeful about our ride and the joy of bicycling which gives us time to breath in fresh air and breath out the stress and distractions in the rest of our lives.

We were greeted by Pastor Don and his wife Ann at the Church of God and Prophecy when we arrived in Orbisonia. They, especially Ann, had spent much time preparing dinner for our visit. They shared wonderful pots of chili and soup and delicious rhubarb and apple crisp.  We sang a round for our blessing which revealed that we had a refreshingly harmonious group of cyclists.  After our “word for the day,”* we also got into a philosophical discussion about the impacts and control of invasive species—including plants, people, and goats! Pastor Don had to leave to ponder his sermon for Mothers’ Day which may include memories of his childhood paring potatoes for his mother and watching Batman, that happened to show up on TV today. At the end of the day a group walked to see the trains at the nearby museum and then played a game of “heads-up”.

Through all of these joint experiences of tree planting, cycling – both the good and the bad, eating, sharing, singing, exploring, and playing games together, we are forming deeper connections with each other, bonding with those we meet and as a group.

*At the end of each day, we share one word that captured our experience for the day.  The words for our first and second day are listed below.  See if you can find them above!

Orbisonia was once a mining town.

Day 1 —  Ben: Breath, Casey: Patina, Dean: Beautiful, Dorothy:  Flow,Janet:  Pathfinding,Jason: “Miffling,” Marali: Ice cream,Noah: Legs,

Day 2 — Ben:  Roots, Casey:  Trains, Dean: Hopeful (& Terror), Dorothy:  Regenerative, Janet:  Lax, Jason: Umwelt, Noah:  Connections,Marali:  Wrangletown Road,Pastor Don Pflugh:  Memories, Ann Pflugh : Sharing

Follow the trips on Instagram and Facebook and with the hashtag #paiplonbikes for lots of photos and videos