Pennsylvania

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Journey to the East: 24 July 2012

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

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Now I'm really in the NE

SAYING FAREWELL AT THE MONASTERY AFTER HEARING THE OLD MASTER LECTURE ON “RETURN TO THE SOURCE”
 
At the last turn in the path
                “goodbye–”
                –bending, bowing,
              (moss and a bit of
                    wild
                        bird-)
down.
 
-Gary Snyder

Back East
It was a miserable night last night as it never really cooled down and hot nights are my nemesis. The second of these bad nights in a row. The days ride however was much better, though the tiredness sometimes had me casting a jaundiced eye on things. Anyway the route was again mostly along Lake Erie and at first it was fairly urban as I rode through the city of Erie and its suburbs but then I was more out into the country and the traffic dropped off and the amount of vineyards dramatically increased. There was a good long stretch without any towns right on the route and during this portion of the ride I saw a fully loaded touring bicycle leaning against a railing. I stopped to check it out and up from the river where he’d been brushing his teeth emerged M__ from Montreal. He was riding Montreal to Chicago in a rather seat of the pants style – no set route, wild camping and so on. Not really a big deal except he had a limited timeframe: 8 days. Well I definitely wish him the best of luck. I also saw a group of four or five touring bicycles parked in front of the KOA. There is a popular circle route of Lake Erie so I’ve been expecting to see more tourons, but I gotta question anyone camping, excuse me, Kamping at the KOA unless they have no other choice.

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Sunset over Lake Erie

Just a few miles later I crossed into New York State; the Northeast at last. Ohio had felt transitory from the Midwest to the East and the little bit of Pennsylvania even moreso, but NY, now that’s the east. There had been just a fantastic tailwind all day and I definitely feel for the westbound riders in the area, but it definitely helped on what was a moderately decent amount of miles. But more vitally while it got pretty warm, it is summer after all, the higher heat of the last couple of days has broken. Anyway around five pm I arrived at Evangola State park where I got an absolutely stunning campsite on a bluff over the lake. The wind off the lake was nuts, which I admit made cooking more difficult, but as this is my last night on Lake Erie, totally worth it. The sunset, as pictured above, was glorious and as it set a thin crescent moon came out from behind the trees. This is what it is all about.

blown across the sand,
by the summer wind,
a solitary leaf

the fiery sun
falls behind the blue line —
the crescent moon emerges

Journey to the East: 23 July 2012

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

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State number twelve

HOW POETRY COMES TO ME
 
It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light
 
-Gary Snyder

A change in the air
This morning dawned overcast and later began to drizzle – reminded me a bit of the Pacific Northwest especially with the endless grey lake stretching out like the ocean. It did clear up though and the day once again reached the low 90s – too hot. But there was a feel of a thunderstorm brewing and with strong northward blowing winds I was propelled right along. The route once again was along the lake but would duck inland at various times, usually to get around something on the lake edge – a nuclear power plant for instance. After not seeing any other tourons since Illinois I talked to two eastbound riders today (and yesterday I saw a ‘bent rider I’m pretty sure was touring). The first, J__ was an older gent pulling a BOB and he greeted me by asking “I’m old enough to know better, what’s your excuse?” No excuse needed,I replied, just touring to tour. He was going cross country in stages and was focusing on seeing, as he put it, “America’s industry before it returns to nature”. So he’s off to Detroit of course and ending this section in Chicago. The second touron I met was a solo girl whose name I didn’t get. She was riding Boston to Seattle to do graduate work at the UW. I ran into her just past the small port town of Ashtabula which had an excellent coffeehouse and roaster: the Harbor Perk. Not long after this I rode through the decrepit town of Conneaut and the route turned inland and I was in Pennsylvania. The route angled back to the lake but spent many miles going though farmland in the now beating sun. Finally back on the lake in increasingly more urban areas I turned off route toward Presque Isle which is a big state park and this week happens to be Presque Isle Week meaning its packed. I stayed at Sara’s Campground a private ‘ground fit on the edge of the state park. It was jam packed and they had the tenters check by jowl.

traveling day after day –
forgetting what I used to do