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  • Patrick Baechle

In a pinch, just ride away

I lay in my wet tent in the damp morning, on the hard gravel parking space of the Pinch Point campsite dreaming that I was a wildcat semi-truck driver barreling down the Pennsylvania Turnpike with loose steel plates bouncing up and down and banging on my flat bed, jamming on my jake brake every 5 minutes and honking at the guy in front of me, with the giant super loud exhaust pipes to move over to the right. but, then I woke up and I realized it wasn't the adjacent freeway noise that had triggered my dream. It was a guy driving a front end loader back and forth on the campsite road, from one end to the other. at 8 o'clock in the morning.

I got up and made some coffee, and tried to concentrate on packing and getting my tire fixed but this guy in this loud clanky machine kept circling the road around my campsite, back and forth and back and forth, carrying one bucket of gravel at a time about 200 yards, over and over and over, for two hours. I was getting ready to wack him with my tire pump. I thought campsites were calm and peaceful places for rest and relaxation.

For a brief moment I thought the driver looked directly at me and smirked, as if this was his pleasure in life and there was nothing I could do about it.

All pumped up now and back on the road, I treated myself to a nice breakfast at the Porch and Pantry in Mount Gretna, a peaceful, quiet idyllic community with no noisy machines.



From there I entered the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail which turned into the Conewego Recreational Trail which took me to Elizabethtown. "Keep on connecting these trails". That's what I say. Life would be so much better if all our communities were connected by trails.



I reached the Susquehanna River at Three Mile Island. No thermo nuclear steam clouds were pouring out of any of the cooling towers so, I guess someone forgot to turn on the switch today.



The rest of the ride into Harrisburg was a little gritty. I was impressed with the number of steel mills that lined the Susquehanna River south of Harrisburg. I did not know all this existed.



I entered the city head on into a major thunderstorm. The winds got so strong I had to move away from the river for fear of being blown in. I took shelter under the canopy of an Indian restaurant while it poured rain. No camping for me tonight and no hotels either. I sat for an hour trying to book a room and every room in Harrisburg was booked because of Phish and not because they were falling from the sky. Phish was playing for two nights at the Hershey Amphitheater.

Curses. I always have the worst luck! I should have bought tickets. Anyhow, I had to stay in Camp Hill instead. There's that Pennsylvania word again. You know what that means.


Hope to make Mifflinburg today, however, weather is looking a little wet.

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