Maps sate the desire to wander.
Do you fantasize with maps?
Pouring over roads and potential places to ride generates ideas and excuses to make trips without need or purpose. As is often the case, routes are weighed against possible places to eat.
A few days ago I found myself puzzling over a road across Stone Mountain leading into Big Valley in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. A road I had not traveled before and wondered if it was paved. And if not, what condition it was in.
I’ve ridden enough dirt and gravel roads now on the Vespa to discern the differences that present themselves. Packed dirt like encountered by this powerline provides a smooth, easy ride. But that’s not always the case.
The weather is cool in the morning — hovering in the mid-40s as I made this photograph. The Gerbing Electric gloves were in the top case but not needed as the heated grips provided just the kick necessary to feel warm.
Arthritic finger joints appreciate a little heat in cold weather. My mind always does.
I don’t know why I keep venturing down these little wooded paths. They’re clearly not intended for serious traffic and often lead nowhere. But one never knows what treasure may be revealed in some unexplored world.
The Barrville Road crossed through Rothrock State Forest and on over Stone Mountain. I had hoped for pavement but accepted a relatively well mannered gravel road. The forest is quickly changing as leaves and needles change color and drop. Soon the hunters will appear in force and the feel of the place will change. With my bright yellow riding jacket I feel comfortable I won’t be mistaken for a deer as I move through the woods.
After some miles of new, loose gravel the Vespa emerged into Big Valley and the pleasant feeling of pavement. While the Vespa is capable of dealing with dirt and gravel, it’s small wheels and street tires require far more attention to detail that one would on a motorcycle set up for dual sport or dirt riding.
I tell myself the experience builds character. Especially if you don’t fall down.
The sun emerged along with the scooter. The transition from forest to farm fields just expanded the visual experience.
So many roads to explore in this part of the state. Not sure why I don’t ride more in this area. It’s heavily populated with Amish and Mennonite farms and families. Passed two horse drawn wagons hauling firewood and several buggies on the road.
The air smelled of cow manure and woodsmoke. That takes me back to my youth. And the “right” manure fragrance will transport me to Germany and my grandfather’s home where I spent time in summers nearly 55 years ago.
Differentiating various manure fragrances — odd that I can do that.
And so unraveled the morning. Found my way to the Honey Creek Inn Restaurant for breakfast and spent some time with a journal thinking about the day. Sated with food and thought I made my way home to expectant dogs by way of an expressway — a high speed alternative to the slow travel through the forest.
Gravel or pavement? Depends on the moment. One, both or neither may be a good choice. I try to just let the spirit move the scooter and I on down the road.
What a fine way to spend a morning.