The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Bicycling’

Chincoteague VA Vacation (3rd post)

As we had done each morning, while on vacation in Virginia, we got up around 6:00 am on Easter Sunday, April 17th.

We didn’t see the sun actually rise today,
as it was hidden behind clouds.

The temperature was around 50 degrees at sunrise.  The sun did break through the clouds later in the morning and gave us sunny skies.  It was a chilly day, though, with a high temperature of 58 degrees. The weather in Chincoteague was better than back in our hometown of Warren PA.  At sunrise the temperature in Warren was 31 degrees, with some snow on the ground!

Bob prepared Easter breakfast.
We enjoyed a breakfast of corned beef hash, eggs, toast and orange juice.

Late morning we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and parked in the Wildlife Loop parking lot.  We rode our bicycles from the parking lot, alongside Beach Road to the seashore. 

We passed by the Assateague Lighthouse.
We passed by Chincoteague ponies.
We saw a Snowy Egret.
We saw a Mallard Duck.
We rode our bicycles to Assateague Beach.

Back on Beach Road, near Toms Cove Visitor Center, a few birds held our attention for a while.

We saw seagulls in flight.
We saw another Snowy Egret.

The Snowy Egret was alone, until …

A second Snowy Egret arrived on the scene.
The first Snowy Egret chased the second Snowy Egret away.

We returned to the parking lot via Black Duck Trail and the Wildlife Loop (with a detour to Swan Cove).  The wind was fierce at times.  We rode flat ground but, even in first gear, I felt as though I were pedaling up a hill.  We rode 7.85 miles, and that was a wrap for riding our bicycles this vacation. The next day was chilly, windy and rainy.

Bob captured video with our GoPro7 camera, during our three bicycle rides. He prepared a video recap from our bicycling adventures.

We bicycled a total of 17.89 miles, while on vacation.

Our lunch was ice cream at the Island Creamery.  We visit the Island Creamery each time we vacation in Chincoteague. Bob had two scoops of Java Jolt in a cup.  I had two scoops of ice cream in a cup too — one scoop of Cadbuy Crème Egg and one scoop of peanut butter cup.

After “lunch” we returned to Airbnb “Tranquil Shores” and relaxed.

Around 4:00 pm we prepared Easter dinner –  grilled ham steak, macaroni and cheese, mixed vegetables and, for dessert, cheesecake. 

Early evening we returned to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove around the Wildlife Loop twice and drove to the seashore.  We returned to “Tranquil Shores” via downtown Chincoteague. We stopped briefly at Chincoteague Veteran’s Memorial Park. This is a lovely waterfront park, located on Eastside Road. The Park has tennis courts, basketball courts, playground equipment, fishing/crabbing pier, ball field, boat ramp, skate park, pavilion and restrooms. 

Back at “Tranquil Shores” we watched an episode of “Vera”, before going to bed.

Chincoteague VA Vacation (2nd post)

We got up around 6:00 am on Saturday, April 16th. We watched the sunrise. 

Chincoteague Island Sunrise
What a glorious sunrise!

We drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and rode our bicycles.  We bicycled Wildlife Loop to Black Duck Trail to Woodland Trail, back on Black Duck Trail and finished Wildlife Loop.  We rode 7.04 miles. 

We saw a Snapping Turtle on a pond, while bicycling the Wildlife Loop.
Woodland Trail
This is the boardwalk to the pony overlook.

The highlight of our bicycle ride was ponies, lots of ponies, at the Woodland Trail pony overlook. 

I took the next picture, while we were on the Black Duck Trail, returning to the Wildlife Loop.

Bob on Black Duck Trail

We returned to AirBnb “Tranquil Shores” for a light lunch.  We watched an episode of “Vera” on BritBox, a new streaming service that we purchased recently.  I ended up taking a short nap.  

Around 4:00 pm we drove to Ray’s Shanty, where we ate dinner.  It was our first time eating dinner there.   Bob ordered a prime rib dinner; I ordered a fried shrimp dinner.  Both meals were delicious, and the service was excellent.

After dinner, we returned to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove around the Wildlife Loop and then to the seashore and back.  We saw egrets, one great blue heron, snapping turtles, and four deer a long ways off.  I didn’t take any pictures, as I forgot to insert the memory card in my camera.  I had taken the card out to upload pictures onto my iPad that I had taken that morning.  

When we left the wildlife refuge, we drove downtown.  We stopped briefly at Robert Reed Waterfront Park, where we went for a short walk.  We, then, continued down Main Street to Beebe Road and made our way back to “Tranquil Shores” from there.  

We watched another episode of “Vera”.  It was around 9:15 pm, when that episode ended.  We went to bed shortly thereafter.

Chincoteague VA Vacation (1st post)

We spent 5 nights at AirBnb ”Tranquil Shores” in Chincoteague VA. This is the fourth time that we have stayed at “Tranquil Shores”. We plan to return next Spring as well.

We arrived at “Tranquil Shores” around 4:00 pm on Thursday, April 14th. We left Chincoteague to return back home at 7:30 am on Tuesday, April 19th. This blog post and the next few that follow will provide details of and photographs from our Chincoteague vacation.

We got up around 6:00 am on Friday, April 15th. We sat outside on our screened in porch, drinking tea / coffee, listening to the morning bird songs as we awaited the sunrise.

Chincoteague Island Sunrise

We ate a breakfast of eggs, sausage and waffles at “Tranquil Shores”.  

After breakfast we drove to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and bicycled the wildlife loop (approximately 3 miles). 

Wildlife Loop: Tern with Fish
This is one of several ponds found on the Wildlife Loop.

After our bicycle ride, we drove to Assateague Beach, stopping at Toms Cove Visitor Center.  

Tom Cove Visitor Center

We walked on the boardwalk and, inside the Visitor Center, I got my National Park Passport cancelled with a rubber-stamp ink marking that recorded the name of the park and the date of our visit. I purchased a collectible Passport stamp set for 2022.  There are 10 stamps, one National and nine regional. 

We are lunch at Metopkin Seafood. We have eaten here a few times over the years. The food is ALWAYS delicious. Bob ordered a crab bites basket.  I ordered a fish and fries basket.  We added 6 hush puppies to our order.

After lunch we drove to Assateague Island MD.  We stopped at the Assateague Island Visitor Center, where I stamped my National Park passport, and we bought a “Night Sky” buff for Bob. 

“Night Sky” is new merchandise
for the National Parks store.

Before leaving the Visitor Center, we walked the Rackliff House Trail.  The main trailhead is located behind the Visitor Center and is about a 1-mile loop. There is a spur off that loop that connects to another trailhead located at the Assateague State Park headquarters. We walked that trail too.

Rackliffe House Trail
We really liked how the trees
formed a canopy over the trail.
Rackliffe House Trail
Looking across to Assateague Island MD
Rackliffe House Trail
On the left is the Milk House.
Behind the Milk House is Rackliffe House.
On the right is the Kitchen Garden.

We were only able to explore the grounds, as the Rackliffe House was closed.

The trail continues from the house to the Assateague State Park Aviary.  The birds were outside but behind a fenced enclosure.  We were not able to see any of the birds. I haven’t done a lot of bicycling or walking so far this year. I decided to wait at the state park, while Bob walked back to the Visitor Center.  He picked up our car and came to get me.  We drove onto Assateague Island. 

Assateague Pony
More Assateague Ponies

That evening we enjoyed watching the moon rise over Chincoteague Island.

It is really nice that we can see the sunrise and the moonrise from the comfort of “Tranquil Shores”.
The moon was so beautiful that night!

Ohio Vacation Day 6 – Covered Bridge and Waterfall (6/30/2021)

This morning we went for a short bicycle ride. We drove to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We parked in the parking lot across from the Hunt Farm Visitors Center. We rode from the parking lot to the Everett Covered Bridge and back. We rode both the towpath and Everett Road. Total bicycle miles: 2.12 miles.

We parked at the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail parking lot,
located off Bolanz Rd near Riverside Rd,
across the street from Hunt Farm.
Our destination was the Everett Covered Bridge.

Bob rode more miles than me, as he had to ride back to the parking lot twice. The first time he went back for his helmet. The second time he went back for the GoPro, which was lying outside on the back of our car.

After returning to the parking lot and loading the bicycles back onto the car, we drove to Brandywine Falls. This was our second visit this week to Brandywine Falls. We wanted to see the effect of the recent rain on the waterfall.

We viewed the waterfall first from the very top boardwalk (no stairs involved). We didn’t view the waterfall from this vantage point, during our first visit.

Brandywine Falls

We decided to walk down the stairs for a closer view of the waterfall.

Brandywine Falls (Long Exposure)

Our recent rainfall did increase the water flow, as evidenced by these two pictures.

First visit to Brandywine Falls
Today’s visit to Brandywine Falls

From Brandywine Falls we drove to downtown Hudson. I will share photographs of downtown Hudson in my next blog post.

Purple Blossoms

Bob and I went for a bicycle ride late this afternoon / early evening.  We rode to Pioneer Arboretum, located at the north end of the Warren-North Warren Bike/Hike Trail.

Aren’t the blossoms on these trees beautiful?

There are many beautiful trees in the arboretum; however, many of the trees were in the shade and would not photograph well.

I LOVED how the blossoms were climbing up the branches of this tree!

Total bicycle miles ridden: 3.40 miles.

Bicycle Ride Around Lake Wilhelm

We got a later start than on Saturday, but we went on another bicycle ride on Sunday.

We departed home at 8:40 am en route Lake Wilhelm, located at Maurice K. Goddard State Park near Sandy Lake, PA.  We arrived at the Lake Wilhelm Road trail parking lot at approximately 10:30 am and began our bicycle ride shortly afterward.  

Lake Wilhelm Road trail parking

The John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Loop Trail is 12 miles long.  The paved, predominantly off-road trail is a pleasant, largely wooded loop around the northern and southern shores of Lake Wilhelm.  The Lake Wilhelm Road trail parking lot, where we began our ride, is located on the lake’s north side.  This location was a good place to begin our ride around the lake, as the mileage count begins here.  The trail on the lake’s north side contains several sharp bends and short, steep runs that were challenging. Bob referred to the northern portion of the trail as a roller coaster ride. 

Lake Wilhelm trail

I had to walk my bicycle up some of the hill climbs.

We stopped briefly at this shelter to enjoy the tranquility.
The trail was not heavily traveled the day we rode our bicycles.
In fact we had the trail to ourselves much of the time.

Serenity!

We stopped briefly at the Lake Wilhelm Dam, which is about the halfway point around the lake.

The trail on the lake’s south side, some of which shares Creek Road, was much less challenging than the north side, with the exception of one hill climb.  There is a choice there, though, to follow the trail up the hill or stay on Creek Road.  I stayed on Creek Road, as I had my fill of hill climbs by then!  Bob chose to follow the trail up the hill. 

We stopped for a snack and a rest break at Boat Launch No. 1, along the south shore of the lake.  Our snack was whole grain peanut butter sandwich crackers. 

Boat Launch No. 1

Picnic areas are abundant and restrooms can be found at each of the four boat launches around the lake. 

While resting, I took several pictures of a tree swallow that was sitting on a tree branch. 

Tree Swallow

Hello Human. What are you doing down there?

 

I had just packed up my camera, when wouldn’t you know it, here comes an eagle soaring across the lake.  

Later, during our ride, we saw two osprey at their nest.  I didn’t take any pictures of the eagle, but I did take several pictures of the osprey.

Osprey in Flight

Osprey on Tree Branch

Osprey on Nest

Osprey Looking at Me!

I stopped riding at the marina, shortly before the bridge on Lake Wilhelm Road that crosses over the lake. I just didn’t feel like riding anymore.  Besides I had already ridden 12 miles–the distance around the lake.

Lake Wilhelm Marina

Bob rode from the marina rest of the way to the car, put his bicycle on the carrier and drove over and picked up me and my bicycle.  

We rode bicycles around Lake Wilhelm one time before, in June 2017.  The bicycles that we rode in 2017 were folding bicycles.  I expected the trail to be easier with our Specialized bicycles than it was with our folding bicycles.  It was easier, but still strenuous.

We were en route home at 1:45 pm.  We made two stops on the way home.  Both stops were in Titusville, PA.  We made a fuel stop at Sheetz and a lunch stop at Burger King.  We returned home around 4:00 pm.

What a great workout we had on our bicycles this weekend.  We rode 12 miles round trip on Saturday on the Allegheny River Trail and another 12 miles on Sunday.  Saturday’s ride (on a predominately flat surface) was much, much easier than Sunday’s ride!

Where will we ride next?  Stay tuned!

Allegheny River Trail: Emlenton to Rockland

We departed our home in Warren PA at 7:30 am en route Emlenton PA and the Allegheny River Trail.   We arrived on Main Street in Emlenton at 9:05 am.   We followed signs to the Allegheny River Trail.  Road signs pointed us onto the bike trail.  Bob was hesitant to drive on the bike trail.  I encouraged him to do so, and we came upon a parking area quickly.  The Allegheny River Trail is 28.2 miles of flat, smooth, asphalt surface from Emlenton to Franklin.  We chose to bicycle only a portion of the trail, from Emlenton to Rockland Tunnel and back. 

The beginning of the trail is bordered by a white fence for a short time.

Soon the trail is between the Allegheny River and a wooded hillside.

Seen from the trail

Note the 1917 date on the tunnel.

Dotter Access Area

Dotter Access Area. There are beautiful views of the river along the trail. This is one such view.

Dotter Access Area seen from the trail

Rockland Tunnel

The 2,868-foot Rockland Tunnel is pitch black.  Reflectors mark the trail edges and center.  We had strong flashlights mounted on our bicycles.  Bob rode through the tunnel; I didn’t.  Almost as soon as I entered the tunnel, I began to feel claustrophobic.  My arms and legs tensed up, and my balance felt off.   I stopped and turned my bicycle around.  As soon as I could see the light at the tunnel entrance, I began to feel better. 

I walked inside Rockland Tunnel a little ways to get this picture.

Bob has returned from riding through Rockland Tunnel.

We stopped at this bench for a short rest, while on our way back to the Emlenton trail head.

We enjoyed this view, while sitting on the bench.

I took this picture facing away from the bench.

I rode 11.12 miles round trip.  Bob rode a little more than me because he rode through the tunnel and back.  It was 11:37 am, when we completed our ride.

It was an excellent day for a bicycle ride.  It was overcast, and the temperature stayed in the upper 50s to lower 60s.

We plan to ride more of the Allegheny River Trail later this year.

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