Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Thanksgiving Ride 2008

Monday, December 1st, 2008

The past couple of years I’ve gone riding on Thanksgiving, before the festivities. In the past, I’ve gone mountain biking with my Indiana riding buddy Dave, but since we are now in Pennsylvania, that wasn’t an option. I chose instead to go for a brief road ride. I rode a familiar route, up Bunker Hill/Dug Road to Carverton Road, and rode by Francis Slocum Lake, then took 8th Street back down to the valley. I stopped by the lake to take a few extra photos. The ride was uneventful until near the end, so I’m not going to write much.

Riding under 309
Riding under 309

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Road/topo map on the GPS

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Looking back at the valley below

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Power lines

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Mountains by Carverton Road

As I rode, I found the Frances Slocum State Park mountain bike trailhead on Carverton Road and stopped to look at the trail map. I found a curious sticker, pictured below. After I got home I found the Wyoming Valley Mountain Bike Association’s site, which seems to be related. With a slogan like “Your Fortune Is Pain,” I am understandably intrigued.

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Sticker found by the Frances Slocum State Park mountain bike trailhead

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Dire warning

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The Trucker by Frances Slocum Lake

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Frances Slocum Lake

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Panoramic shot showing the horseshoe shape of the lake

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Me, by Frances Slocum Lake

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Descending on Carverton Road

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Industrial building

Once I got back in the valley, things got a little interesting. I sometimes ride on Shoemaker Ave, which becomes Main Street in Swoyersville. This is a two-lane, low-traffic road that seems like it should be a good place to ride. Cars can see far ahead so they know when it’s safe to pass. Speed limits are only 35 mph.

But this is where I always seem to encounter the most aggressive drivers. It makes no sense: there’s plenty of room for them to pass me, but often someone will honk at me as they pass. For no apparent reason. It was worse than usual on Thanksgiving, for some reason, as 4 or 5 people honked at me, one motioning toward the shoulder, as if to say I should ride there. Well, the shoulder is chock-full of debris, potholes, and puddles, and sometimes suddenly disappears. It’s not a safe place to ride.

I don’t know what it is about holidays, but I always seem to encounter aggressive drivers. Easter Sunday in 2007 comes to mind, and now this. It’s really frustrating; I’d think people would be laid back, having the day off and no time crunch to get to wherever they’re going. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to play out that way.

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Typical stretch of Shoemaker Road

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Heading home

3 Responses to “Thanksgiving Ride 2008”

  1. Jon Grinder Says:

    Maybe they are stressed from having to go eat with relatives?

    My Thanksgiving ride was pretty pleasant, but about half of it was on a bike path.

  2. furiousball Says:

    good thing you didn’t wear that bike helmet with the antlers on it

  3. Marty Says:

    Damn – Jon beat me to it. Relatives make people grumpy, I guess. And conventional wisdom in smaller communities (like where I grew up) is that the shoulder is where the biker’s should be – you know, because that’s where the kids always rode. There’s no concept of the fact that riding on gravel isn’t conducive to a safe, clean ride.

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