A great start to the long weekend. July 4th is a special day for all of Americans and for all of the world. It was a victory over the mighty English from what started as a bunch of colonists. The concept of freedom from imperialism opened up new avenues for the settlers and set a great example for those starved of freedom around the world. Came back late night yesterday from San Francisco and couldn’t go to bed till after midnight. Three hours of sleep and I was wide awake. The time zone difference might have been a factor. But might not have been as 3 AM EST is midnight PST and I should be ready to sleep deep. It couldn’t have been the excitement of the morning biking venture that was on cards. We were going to Lake Nockamixon for our first serious biking venture of the summer. Last week it was Peace Valley Park.
I started at 7:10 AM from home. My prius’ GPS was way out of touch with the maps. It took me over an hour to get there. I should have just followed Google maps, but trusted the Prius instead. It took me through rt. 476 and Quakertown – an old route I used to take long time back when I was working on my first client assignment at Whitehouse station. But too many small roads just took the bite out of the ride. However, it felt nice to ride through small-town America a day before July 4th. Most of the roads were empty and the sun had just started warming up the grass. Small lanes, houses small and close-by and towns passing by within a minute or two of driving at 35. It makes you wonder how life could be so different just 30-40 miles apart.
When I finally got to the Hancock boat launch site off Rt. 563, it was about 8:15. There were already a few cars parked. We had to ride on 563 for a minute or so before we got to the access point to the Hammer loop. Then began our adventure over stones, wet ground in a few places, a lots of ups and downs, squeezing through trees just a couple of feet and a bit more apart. As you go downhill, the ground was oozing tree roots, high enough to trip you. You have to be sure not to just use the front brakes – it is a sure-fire way of getting catapulted off the bike and face down onto the ground. After about 25 minutes of biking, we reached the edge of the Hammer loop and decided to take the Cold spot. Then it started getting a bit more rough. We reached a low point and water streaming over some hard stones. Took some pictures and headed away from it. Thinking we should be going back as it was well past the hour since we started, we crossed the stream. Should have turned left, instead the right took us further south. The Cold spot is a much longer trail and I had the feeling we were lost. We stopped and looked at the compass and it took us a while to figure that we were heading away.
In the meantime, my bike’s seat had gotten loose and it was wobbly. As I was sitting, I was pressing the seat into place. But this wouldn’t help as I rode over stones and hard ground. It was a bit of a challenge. There were many ups that we just walked and downs that we descended on foot. There were a few other fellow riders that passed us. Being the slow ones, we yielded the path for many a thank you. The compass app really helped when network connection was non-existent on my T-mobile phone, but the iPhone was pretty good in getting to the maps.
Finally, after two hours of riding what was supposed to be an hour’s ride, we could hear the vehicles roar past on the road. Back at the boat launch area, picnic and food was great. Riding back to the main entrance and then walking another hour got to us and the children. The walk paths that are paved have one disadvantage – they aren’t covered as opposed to the trails in the wood. So one could tire easily. But, all in all, it was one heck of a morning!