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  • Writer's picturePatrick Baechle

Climbing into home plate

Two days ago I was staying in a place surrounded by million dollar apartments and now I am in a place surrounded by million dollar campers.

It's interesting to see how people reside in campgrounds. You start out with a picnic table and a electric receptacle and you build a home around it. In addition to their mobile home, people here have multiple, curtain draped, pop-up canopies with additional dining tables, kitchen chairs and buffet cabinets. Some have huge 12 x 18 foot rugs laying in the mud below their dining areas. Some have outdoor living rooms with padded adirondack chairs, end tables and portable bars. Many are highly illuminated with Christmas lights, table lamps, chandeliers and 4 ft wide, red, white and blue, brightly illuminated LED American flags. Their campsites are surrounded by large pots of house plants and flowers and cutsie hand painted, cursive lettered signs that say "Happy Campers" or "Grumpy Old Retirees". My sign, written in sharpie marker on the back of my last hotel bill, posted on my handle bar bag reads "Varmits Keep Out"

It's great to be camping again. I've missed it the last couple of weeks. There just aren't any campsites on the East Coast.

Camping gives you a chance to empty all the packs out on the picnic table, reorganize all you stuff and put everything back in its place. I have been very fastidious about organizing, packaging and balancing the load. As soon as you start getting lazy and just stuffing things here and there; then you run into problems.

A couple weeks ago I picked up 3 or 4 mixed fruit jelly packs from a breakfast diner. I thought these would be great next time I cook. I just threw them in my trunk bag. Well? That was pretty stupid. The trunk bag is just like a car trunk. It's filled with tools, knives, metal parts, loose change, the pump and other hard, sharp, loose clutter. After about a week of bouncing, shaking, and agitating, I learned my lesson about always putting the sticky stuff in the 'sticky stuff' zip lock bag.

Today I passed through the Delaware water gap. The one quarter mile wide gap in mountain is a funnel for about a third of all motor vehicles in the North East United States to passing through to NYC

Passing through the Delaware Water GAP means I am back in my home state Pennsylvania, where about half of the road names contain the word "hill", "mount", "mountain", "upper" or "lower"; where the word "shoulder" is simply something to cry on; and where all sewers and manholes, on the downhill side of an incline, are set at a minimum of three inches below the level of the pavement. So happy to be back.

The last two days have been arduous. The route has been busy and there have not been a lot of highlights other than passing through a reserve where 10000 New Jersey revolutionary soldiers camped out during Washington's campaign against the British during one of the most brutal winters in history. This was a place to feel. Photos could not explain.

I have been concentrating on riding, and doing longer distances and a lot of climbing, so I haven't stopped for a lot of photos lately. I am Looking forward to some trail riding along the Lehigh River though

Hope all is well with you. See you soon.

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