To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. -Chinese Proverbs

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Year of Adventure and Solitude

“ . . . I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”   Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard


A life of wandering is what I like. To journey on a bike, unhurried, in the back country and ridges that provide a range of vision, where there are no cars, and to have the opportunity to be quiet and see beauty within and without—that suits me well!

A private spot where I frequently ride--a ridge facing west Rockingham County

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Stokesville Virginia, a Symbol of Flux in America Today

One gets a sense of a once small community when you ride through Stokesville VA with its old railroad depot and tracks. In fact it was flourishing wilderness town in the early 20th century comprised of coal mining and saw mills. The town inhabited over 1,500 residents and workers with their own post office, a school, two hotels and an engine house.

Various environmental and economic forces brought an end to Stokesville’s economic enterprise: decreased forest resources, emerging coal industry elsewhere, a pathogenic fungus (Chestnut Blight), the introduction of the automobile, the abandonment of the railroad (1930) and a devastating flood in 1949, all have left it a ghost town.

While Stokesville is a small reminder of the forces that plague our society today, it has remained on the map as an emerging mountain biking, bikepacking destination. Stokesville is evidence of a kind of flux happening in America today—people taking the remains of detrimental, human, industrial impact and creating healthy alternatives that place human kind in a closer relationship with the earth and her/his body. Not only are there  nearby trails, Stokesville is a gateway to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

Camping at Stokesville Campground

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Regenerative, Sustainable Landscaping

Part of my weekly riding includes passing and often pausing at the beautiful East Campus Hillside of James Madison University. 

Summer 2018

Once a typical, manicured lawn which slopped toward a degraded stream channel, is now a transformed landscape managed as an ecosystem.  This 1.6 acres is an example of how one can use native plants in landscaping projects, plant streamside buffers with native grasses, trees and shrubs while experiencing the benefits of naturalization.

Fall 2018
Winter 2019

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Welcoming Path to an Improved Future

Facing north at Purcell Park

Bluestone Trail has become a welcoming path for daily commuting and brief rides through Harrisonburg. Bluestone Trail is a one mile shared-use path that connects James Madison University at Port Republic Road [north], passes through Purcell Park while crossing Blacks Run twice, and ending [south] at Stone Spring Road (SR 280) that links Harrisonburg’s SR 42 and US 33 and US 11 outside of the city core (complete with bike lanes).

Facing South at 1 of 2 bridges that cross Blacks Run

Bluestone Trail is also a part of Blacks Run Greenway Master Plan which was initiated in 2002 in the City's Comprehensive Plan and is being implemented through projects prioritized in the City's Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, e.g. Bluestone Trail and Northend Greenway.  
SR 280 Between US 11 and SR 42

Rounding Wise Hill, Vectoring Bridgewater Airport

Wise Hill (at center)
Bridgewater Airport

I rounded Wise Hill [38°19'55.5"N 78°58'40.6"W – Elev. 1750] in Augusta County off of Rt. 11 via Rt. 690 to 698 which connects to Airport Road leading to Bridgewater.  This ride provides some moderate hills and good straights for a well-balance ride.  Bridgewater Air Park is a treat for me as my earliest days of riding were from my home town of Hamilton, Ohio to the local airport on weekends and throughout the summer.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Great Sabbath Ride

Armentrout Path (hard dirt & paved)

On this Great Sabbath, I rode to Overlook Retreat and Camp via Armentrout Path (Rt. 722) north bound off of Mountain Valley Rd (Rt. 620). As is my practice on these long day rides, once I arrive to a planned location, I mediate while cooling down, make coffee with a backpacking stove and spend time reading some chosen text. Today a poem, “Musing Hope” and He Sent Leanness by David Head.
Camp Overlook entrance is located off Airey Lane in Fridley Gap  

Many of our most futile prayers are attempts to dodge the divinely [universally] established fact that we reap what we sow.
        And he gave them their request;
        But sent leanness into the soul
David Head

It is almost banal to say so yet it needs to be stressed continually: all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis.
 – Henry Miller, Sunday after the War (1944)                

Monday, February 19, 2018

EMU - Radical Hope and Courage

38.471374, -78.882326
As I sat, rested and mused on the hill above the campus of EMU, I was reminded how eminently grateful I am for the faithful, evolving Mennonite tradition and leadership it provides with the moral limits of liberalism in our land. I am especially grateful for its gentle yet profound activism, change agency and advocacy and adventure for peace around the world.

Currently displayed on EMU's campus is a sculpture, "Guns into Plowshares", created in the late 90's by Esther and Michael Augsburger. It’s original exhibition site in Judiciary Square outside the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. The sculpture contains several thousand handguns, including 10 from the Harrisonburg Police Department. It was recently moved and dedicated on Oct. 10, 2017 at Eastern Mennonite University where it will reside for two to three years before returning to its original site.

Close up view of a section of the above sculpture: handguns dismantled and welded into the larger whole