Back from the river

Just a quick note to anyone concerned about our well being:

We are back from the river. Everyone lived, nobody capsized.

My digital camera has officially shit the bed. I took one of those disposable waterproof ones along, so pics will have to wait until tommorow night at the earliest.

Klinutus took some digital pics, but his internet connection is currently foobar.

Stay Tuned…

Behind the Scenes

To give my readers some insight into what goes on behind the scenes here at, I’m posting an email exchange (slightly edited for formatting) between myself and Mr. Klinutus regarding safety precautions related to a possible kayaking trip this weekend.

Bone wrote:
According to the temp gage in Renovo, the water is sitting around 49F. What’s your safety floor? I’m thinking 45ish?

Klinutus wrote:
Safety floors are for wimps. If the water isn’t frozen I’ll go.

Bone wrote:

Klinutus wrote:
We shall burn and pillage Muncy.

Bone wrote:
I’m going to blog this little exchange to give the fans a behind-the-scenes look at how we died.

Fundamentalist Atheism

Richard Dawkins has written an interesting article about religious tolerance. The message seems to be that we should not be tolerant of people who believe in stupid things.

The political ascendancy today values embryonic cells over adult people. It obsesses about gay marriage, ahead of genuinely important issues that actually make a difference to the world. It gains crucial electoral support from a religious constituency whose grip on reality is so tenuous that they expect to be ‘raptured’ up to heaven, leaving their clothes as empty as their minds.

I don’t necessarily think taking such a hard-line is a good idea, but it’s an interesting article nevertheless. There is a really nice counter-argument to the famous “watchmaker argument” that I hadn’t heard before. To paraphrase:

If the universe is too complex to have been created by natural phenomena, any supernatural intelligence you invoke to explain it is necessarily even more complex… Therefore, you are retarded.

Dawkins has written an entire book about the watchmaker argument, by the way. Maybe I’ll get around to reading it one day, but I’m starting to tire of people who try to convince me of things I’m already convinced of.

More LVRT Foolishness

I’m not sure why people feel the need to preach to bicyclists on the trail, but they do.

All have sinned and blah blah
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

I’m no theologian, but I was always under the impression that this little piece of biblical wisdom was meant to inspire humility. Like, “don’t be so high and mighty, we’re all fuck-ups in God’s eyes.”

Instead, this line is always delivered with mounds of fire and brimestone, and seems meant to inspire shame and guilt. “You are a fuck up, but look at how righteous I am, with my sign preaching to bicyclers on the rail trail!”

In any event, after I snapped this pic, I pedaled my ass away from there post haste. People like these have been burning people like me at the stake for a long time, and I wasn’t taking any chances.

I made a video (8.6 MB) of my harrowing escape. I was using Brandi’s camera yesterday, so this one even has audio.


Brandi’s sister is in town, and they went off to do the girlie stuff (shopping, or whatever girls do). Anyways, that left me with a day all to myself to go riding, lollygagging, goofing off, etc.

Poorly composed panorama

I rode up the Conewego Recreation Trail, and then on up the LVRT. It was about a 30 mile ride. I haven’t been doing too many longer rides lately, and it was fun having that horizontal tornado of leaves chasing me around.

Pretty, eh?
This was the view where I stopped for lunch

I really couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.


Towards the north end of the trail, the grade steepens very slightly. It’s just enough to slow you down, but not enough to make you realize that you’re going uphill. It’s kind of demoralizing until you turn around.

Spooky Hiking

Tuesday, Brandi and I were still a little worn out from Sunday’s hike, so we postponed our AT hike another day. Instead, we went to Boyd’s Big Tree Preserve to poke around.

This place is pretty cool. Apparently, some rich dude saw all the sprawl coming up over the mountains, and he bought about 1000 acres of woods, and donated it to the State Park Service. That kicks ass! When I become a rich dude, I’m gonna do that too.

Anyhow, one of the cool things about this preserve is that it’s got a really old cemetery on it. Some of the grave markers were from the 1740s! Many of them were still in German.

Born 1741

For those of you who do not sprechen Deutsch, this fellow was born June 2, 1741, and died May 15, 1819. He lived to a rather ripe old of age of 77. It was also intereting to see how many of these old german tombstones had little american flags on them. There were german-speaking revolutionary and French-Indian war vets buried here.

Something the “Welcome to America, Now speak English” types would do well to remember.

Anyhow, it was a really cool, overgrown, creepy cemetery. Looked like something right out of a bad haloween movie.

Willkommen nach Pennsylvania, sprechen jetzt Deutsches


I think I’m finally getting the hang of this panoramic image stuff. Brandi and I had a picnic at negley park today. I took about 5 pictures and used Hugin to stitch them together.
I’m actually pretty proud of this one. Click it for the big (7MB) version.
Harrisburg Skyline
Harrisburg from Negley Park

Creative Commons License

Lebanon Valley Rails to Trails in Topo USA

I spent a little time today working out a route for a triumphantly manly bike ride. I’d maybe get some pictures of TMI, cruise up the Conewego Recreation Trail, and on Up the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail. Unfortunately, even after a $50.00 upgrade, Topo USA 6.0 still doesn’t include the local rail trails!

Before: An abandoned RR line
See, it only show an abandoned RR line

Well, that sucks a big one. So, I went ahead an created a routable road that follows the course of the trail, and exported it.
After: A routable Road
That’s better!

Now, you can download the file, import it and create routes just like any other road.


AT – Shippensburg Road to Caledonia

Brandi and I took advantage of the nice weather yesterday to chew off another 10 miles of the Appalachian Trail. The leaves are really starting to hit their groove, and it was pretty.


The past few times we went out, we screwed around with various stoves, backpacker meals, etc. This time, we decided to leave all that crap at home, and just eat trail mix and baloney sandwiches for lunch.

My baloney has a first name

That worked out much better. Far less hassle. I think I’m going to trade in my powerbars for Peanut butter sandwiches on my next bike ride.

Our progress so far
Our past two hikes

Brandi and I are both on vacation this week, and we are thinking of trying another ten miles tommorow.

There are 229 miles of the AT in Pennsylvania. We have about 209 left to hike.