Archive for the Bridges Category

Dark Hollow Geo-Cruise 11-22-10

Posted in Beer, Bridges, Geocaching, Images, Rides, Stories on December 1, 2010 by vinnylombardo

The weather in November has been fairly mild this year, with temperatures averaging in the high 40’s and low 50’s. The month offered a few days with warmer weather to ride, but with my work schedule at 6 days per week, it’s hard to get in serious saddle time. I’ve put on a few joyful miles here and there before work a few times this month. I have Mondays off, and a few of them it rained or I had other things to do like get my car fixed, or run errands, or watch my niece, etc… But on  Monday, 11-22, the temperature reached the low 60’s. The day started out much colder at dawn, but by 9 a.m., it was in the 50’s. I showered, dressed, and loaded up my GPS unit with geocaches to find. By 10 o’clock, I was on the road.I gassed up, and cruised around for awhile, zigzagging my way north along Swamp Rd. toward Rushland. Up until 1800, this place was known as Sackett’s Ford, as the Neshaminy Creek is shallow enough to reach the mill and store there. This is where I found the first cache of the day, near the end of Old Sackett’s Ford Road.

This seemed like a good spot for a hide. I really liked the isolated feeling of the dead end road there. I found the cache, and headed on. There were a few more caches nearby, so I  headed over to Dark Hollow Park, a place I’ve been to before, on my old Honda Shadow. Its a really great spot, but located right near private property.

Of course, I couldn’t resist the temptation to ride across the bridge  for a photo.  As I was getting back on my bike, a property owner came out and started yelling at me, so I took off empty handed without finding the cache here. Dark Hollow Rd. is broken up into sections, so I cruised around,  and hit up some of the fun stretches of asphault nearby (Mill Creek Rd, Penn’s Park Rd., Durham Rd. and Forest Grove) to get to the north side of Dark Hollow Rd. I was led to an abandoned lot, near some large power lines, and a long strip of county land . I hiked into the woods to find the cache, and it was located near Robin Run Lake. It was a nice little spot, tucked away from the utility lines. When I opened the cache, there was a diposable camera inside so I excitedly took a few pics on it, but forgot to take some of my own there! Ooops! Anyway, I hiked back out to my bike, and rode over to another cache a little further north on Dark Hollkow. It was on the opposite side of the lake, and when I parked I had to hike about three-tenths of a mile to locate the spooky tree!

Back to the bike, and onward to some other caches. I hit some familiar roads and ended up on Pineville Rd.,  which I haven’t been on since May 2009!

Yes! It is still NOT closed to me!

There was a multi-cache located here at the bridge. It was my first attempt at a multi-cache! For those unfamiliar, there are questions to be answered in order to get the proper cache coordinates. In this multi-cache the number of names on the bridge stone was combined with a geography and history question.

It took a bit of thinking, but I figured out the proper coordinates and located the cache. As I was perusing the contents, a LEO drove up, and slowly turned along New Hope Rd. but left me alone. I grabbed a token for a free beer at Triumph Brewery, left some swag in the cache, and took a snapshot of Pidcock Creek at dusk.

Pineville Rd. was a blast with no cars for almost two miles! I headed onto Stoney Hill Rd.  and hit up Aquetong Rd.  Last month, this tree was full of brilliant orange leaves.  On this day, it was barren.

I headed over to Van Sant Covered Bridge, where I discovered a cache that was hidden there! I also discovered that the scarecrow was still there too!

It was getting dark, and I had to find one more cache on my list, appropiately named, Run Dark Hollow. It was located in Dark Hollow Ravine not far away in New Hope. I found the cache quickly, and as I was signing the log, some muggles dressed in deer outfits were spying on me.  I took their photo, but they only showed me their eyes!

From here, I sneaked by the muggles to my bike,  and  headed over to the Triumph Brewery to  (cache) in my free beer token for a pint of Rauchbier. It has a smokey flavor, as the malted barley is dried over open flames. It was a delicious treat to end the day and unwind. I relaxed for awhile at the pub after one pint, and eventually headed home under the nearly full moon.

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Fall, Foliage, Fun, and Photos – 10-25-2010

Posted in Bridges, Geocaching, Images, Rides, Stories on October 30, 2010 by vinnylombardo

Autumn foliage around these parts peaks in mid to late October, as the leaves change from green into a brilliant array of fall colors.  The temperatures have been moderately warm for mid-October, so the colors might last a little longer this year. But once we get a morning frost, those leaves will star drying out and turning brown, leaving the trees barren until springtime.

With Monday off from work, I decided to take an afternoon motorcycle cruise, and capture some of the autumn beauty before it disappears. I really didn’t have a route planned, but knew that I wanted to find a few geocaches towards Upper Bucks, and ride over into New Jersey a little. I hit up some familiar roads close to home, and decided to take some photos right away.

Chinquapin Rd.  is a short, fun,  little, detour road that links Bristol Rd. with Holland Rd. and Buck Rd. As you can see, there is still a lot of green left on some trees…

While others have peaked and are starting to drop leaves.

I motored up Chinquapin, and then turned around….

Heading back to Bristol Rd, I  then went north on Bridgetown Pike. The SEPTA West Trenton rail line runs over this road and it is quite a crazy corner.

The temperature reached the low 70s and the warm sun felt nice this late in the year. It provided some awesome shadows, too.

Some hooligan came buzzing through on a BSA while I was taking photos.

I wanted to get this angle to show the dramatic colors of the season.

From Bridgetwon Pike, I ended up on Woodbourne Rd. in Middletown, still not far from home. The sign promoting apple cider at Styer Orchards caught my eye, so I pulled in.

As a kid, my parents would bring me and my sister here. In the fall Styer makes great cider, and they have hayrides where you can pick your own apples right from the trees. They are also known for making the best pumpkin pies, and around Thanksgiving they always sell out fast. I went into the market, and grabbed a cup of cider. They have a big juice dipenser with cups, and use the honor system with a box for coins. This month Styer Orchards are celebrating their 100 year anniversary.

The sign says… “From November 25, 1910, until the present, The Styer Family Orchards have passed from generation to generation, dedicated to the cultivation and harvesting of produce for sale to the public and to the preservation of the site for the education of future farmers. The Styer Family has conveyed this 107 acres to the township of Middletown to remain in perpetuity as a living testimonial to our agricultural history.”

I rode around the farm a little to look for the old tractor we used to play on as kids.

The tractor gets moved from time to time. This year it is on display out near the pumpkin patch.

I headed off to find more fall foliage, piloting my ride over to familiar turf through Yardley. I turned off Sandy Run Rd. onto Reading Ave, and went past St. Ignatius, where I attended grade school, then checked out the beautiful colors on Oxford Valley Rd.

I motored on from here, through Yardley…

and went north along River Rd.

Along the way, my odometer turned another milestone!

Having hit 25,000 miles on the Vulcan, I have  considered selling it soon, and buying a  larger motorcycle.  But for now, it’s mine, and it’s still all smiles!

From River Rd., I went up to Lurgan Rd, and turned on Covered Bridge Rd.

Legend has it the Van Sandt Covered Bridge is haunted, so I figured with Halloween around the corner maybe the ghosts might be a little restless. All I saw was this guy off in a nearby field.

I wasn’t scared, but I did get out of there fast! There were more colors awaiting over on Aquetong Rd.

I headed along Sugan Rd. and stopped at another familiar spot.

Even though I’ve gone past them hundreds of times, the only time I explored the Mills ruins in New Hope was at night about 20 years ago, and I was high on magic mushrooms,  so I felt like it was a good time to see them once more.

The sign reads, “MILLS In 1700 Robert Heath aquired 1000 acres of land from an original William Penn grant to Thomas Woolrich. As part of an agreement with Penn, Heath built a grist mill here on the north bank of Aquetong Creek. The mill was powered by the contstant flow of water generated by the great spring. Mills continued to operate at this location for over two hundred years. The ruins of a grist mill and a cotton mill converted to silk mill still exist on the south bank of the creek. These mills and their workers were immortalized in several paintings by Robert Spence in the early 1900’s. New Hope Historical Society”

This is a view from inside the silk mill, looking out onto Aquetong Creek.

I was enthralled by these ruins, and took quite a few shots here.

The colored ivy growing on the walls was very pleasing to me.

This is a view from inside of the grist mill.

Another view from inside the grist mill.

As I was about to leave, I heard the New Hope Ivyland heritage steam train  going by, and snapped off a quick shot.

I left and went a few miles to find a geocache.

Success!

This spot led me to a road I had never known about, which ends in Union Square, the site of New Hope’s train depot. There is a dead line here and some old trains.

This old train looked very interesting.

Originally built in May 1963, this diesel locomotive was repaired, repainted, and restored to service in February, 1997. It carries freight and work trains, and is a substitute passenger engine.

I went into town, and ate some pizza before crossing over the bridge into Lambertville, N.J. My plan included finding some geocaches in and around Sourland Mountian, but it was getting late, and I was really enjoying the foliage in this preserve, while riding on some roads I’d never been on.

This was on Mountain Rd. in West Amwell, NJ.

I cruised a little more, and took a picture on Orchard Rd. as the sun was going down through the clouds.

I only had enough light left for a few more quick photos of fall foliage.

This was on Linavale Rd., also in West Amwell.

I filled up my tank in NJ, and headed down Bear Tavern Rd. to the Washington Crossing bridge. On my way home, I stopped for one last photo on Woodbourne Rd. near Lake Luxembourg.

All in all, it was another fabulous time spent riding. The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and the birds are flying south, so I really cherish these last few warm days of the season. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get in a few more good rides before winter!

Cruising to the Catskills – August 2009

Posted in Bridges, Images, Rides, Stories on October 20, 2010 by vinnylombardo

In late July, 2009 my bike got  new tires put on,  a new chain and sprockets installed, and had a leak fixed in the engine. While it was in the shop, I had them do an oil change too.

In early August I managed to take a few days off from work. I had been filling in for other co-workers, and they owed me. I had four days off beginning Sunday 8/2/09 and didn’t have to be back in work until Thursday 8/6/09. I decided to head north and check out the Catskill Mountains in New York State. Years ago, I attended a conference in Callicoon Center NY, and I remembered that the drive there was through some beautiful mountain roads. My plan was to leave Bensalem early on Sunday morning, head north through the Pocono Mountains in PA, and eventually get to the Catskills to ride the area, and visit some of the covered bridges around there.

I got up early Sunday, excited about some time off to ride, but my joy quickly turned to frustration when I looked outside to see dark skies and a steady rain falling. The forecast was calling for rain through the day, and rain it did. Over 3 inches fell across the region in just a few hours. The rain caused a mudslide along the Schuylkill Expressway, while area creeks and rivers flooded some towns.  By the time it stopped raining, it was 4 p.m. and the roads were still wet. It was a mess, and I wasn’t about to ride a few hundred miles in that! So I stayed in.

On Monday morning I double checked that I had packed everything I would need for a 500 mile road trip. My plans to go through the Poconos changed when I learned there was a big NASCAR Race in the area that day. I wanted to avoid all the traffic that would create,  so I decided to head straight to the Catskills, and see the Poconos on my way back. I left my house around 10 am, headed north through Bucks County to New Hope, and crossed the Delaware River into Lambertville, New Jersey.

After the first few miles my Garmin Zumo GPS unit started cutting in and out. The cable which runs power from the horn directly to the unit, has a short and the power kept switching to the unit’s internal battery. It was very frustrating, but I managed to navigate to the New York state line in about three hours, which included a 45 minute lunch stop at the River Star Diner in Hackettstown NJ.

There was no “Welcome to New York” sign, but I stopped for a quick photo anyway. Within an hour, I arrived at the Monticello Casino in Monticello, NY. It’s a racetrack and slots parlor. They only have video slots, so I walked around for about twenty minutes without making a wager. I left there and rode along Route 17, checking out a few nice side roads. Eventually, I came upon the Bendo Covered Bridge located on Conklin Hill Rd. in the town of Rockland, in Sullivan County, New York.

Bendo Covered Bridge is one of 29 historical covered bridges in New York State. It is a lattice truss design.

A single span of 48 feet, Bendo Covered  Bridge crosses over Willowemoc Creek.

The Bridge was originally built by John Davidson in 1860, and was located in Livingston Manor. The Bendo Bridge was cut in half, and moved to its present location in 1913.

After spending a few minutes there, I headed off to find some more nice roads, and shelter for the night. I made my way over to Liberty, New York, ate a sandwich, and passed out.

In the morning, I woke up before dawn, showered, dressed and gathered up my stuff. I grabbed some coffee and a muffin at the hotel, and headed out of Liberty to go explore the Catskills.

The morning air was cool but it felt good. There were very few cars out at that time, and I enjoyed cruising along at a spirited pace. I turned off the main road, onto a bridge over the Neversink River and stopped for a quick photo.

From there I cruised some more and found Frost Valley Rd on my GPS.

It looked like a fun twisty, so I turned left, and cruised along, until I noticed a waterfall.

I decided to snap a few shots.

I rolled along Frost Valley for a few miles until it became Olivera as it switched back up the mountain. When I reached Big Indian, I went left onto NY28 in Ulster County, near Shandaken. From there I turned onto Park Rd, and saw the Friendship Manor Covered Bridge.

The Friendship Manor Covered Bridge sits at the base of Bellayre Mountain, and serves as the entryway to the Day Use Area there, crossing over Birch Creek.

Friendship Manor Covered Bridge is 72 ft. long, 22 ft. 4 in. wide, and has a 9 ft. 6 in. height limit. It was built in 1992, and is a pre-cast structure, known as an Inverset bridge which is made of steel beam and concrete decking.

I turned back onto NY 28, and stopped for fuel a few miles up the highway. There was a neat little roadside shop and cafe there too. So I walked around a bit, looking at all the trinkets and baubles, but left without making any purchases. Eventually I turned on Dry Brook Rd, and cruised along until I noticed I was approaching a small covered bridge to my right.

The Forge Covered Bridge, built in 1906, currently sits on private land. It is a 27-foot long single-span, known as a Kingpost truss. The Forge Covered Bridge is the only one of it’s kind in New York state.

A few miles SE of there, in Hardenburgh, I came upon a very strange looking structure called Myers Covered Bridge.

It is a two lane bridge that is 47 feet long. Myers Covered Bridge crosses Dry Brook Creek.

Built in 1990, Myers Covered Bridge is a steel stringer bridge with a concrete deck.

Cruising on, I hit some nice roads and gorgeous scenery, but my GPS unit, which had been okay most of the day,  started cutting in and out again.

This fact made navigation a bit stressful, but I persisted and made my way to Millbrook Rd. in Hardenburgh, where I saw the Grant Mills Covered Bridge, AKA the Millbrook Bridge.

Apparently there is some controversy over the actual name of this bridge according to a Notice posted inside.

The Millbrook is a single span, Town lattice truss bridge, and was built in 1902.

The bridge was bypassed in 1964 when Mill Brook Rd. was relocated a short distance to the south, but it remains in excellent condition and is still open to foot traffic.

As I was getting back on my bike, I spotted a few deer running across the road.

Bambi’s Mother turned and posed for the paparazzi before darting off!

By this point in the day it was about noon, and I had nearly completed a loop in and around the southern portion of Catskills Park. I cruised around until I found Beaverkill Bridge Park.

Beaverkill Bridge, also known as Conklin Bridge, is a 98 foot, hemlock lattice truss covered bridge, located along Campsite Rd. (aka CR 30) in the Town of Rockland. It was erected in 1865, and crosses Beaverkill River. The bridge was an early step in bringing civilization to a remote area that, at the time was largely unsettled.

I stayed here for awhile, enjoying the warm sun as I ate some of the food I had packed. On my way out of Rockland, I passed through the Livingston Manor Covered Bridge.

Built in 1860, this bridge too, has some controversy about it’s name. It was once known as Mott’s Flat Covered Bridge, and then Van Tran Covered Bridge. A single span of 117 feet, this Town truss with a laminated arch, crosses over the Willowemoc Creek. It is one of the neatest looking covered bridges I’ve seen.

The Livingston Manor Covered Bridge is nestled in a small park on Covered Bridge Road off Sullivan County Route 179. State Route 17 can be seen from the bridge and the park.

With my GPS going in and out, I got on CR 149 heading south, and passed through many  small towns with cool sights. Near Youngsville, Ny, I took SR 52 South, and eventually crossed the Delaware River back into Pennsylvania.

I navigated my way past many lakes, and fun roads to get to the Poconos. Despite that I was feeling too tired to stop for many photos, I did pull over for one, as my bike had reached a milestone!

I bought this bike in August 2007 with 221 miles on the odometer, so it felt like it was a personal milestone for me as well as the machine. 20,000 smiles on this bike and counting!!

Within an hour I was playing slots at Mt. Airy Casino, where I nearly lost all my money, but then started winning it all back, a little at a time. Then I got lucky and hit for $1000 jackpot. I cashed out and left there ahead $800!

I cruised on some awesome roads for awhile and found some geocaches before I went to a hotel in nearby Mt Pocono. Again though,  I didn’t bust out the camera. I ate some pizza, and grabbed a six pack of Yuengling Lager, before watching some baseball and falling asleep.

In the morning, it was a bit overcast with a potential for rain in the area, so I wanted to get up and out of there early. On my way out of town, I lamented the fact that I missed some good photo ops, as I pulled over for one quick shot.

The story ends like this: With my GPS cutting in and out, I missed an exit off Rt. 611 near the Deleware River Water Gap, and ended up in Northern NJ. Eventually the GPS’ internal battery was completely drained and I got lost. But it was one of those feelings of not really caring that I was lost. I knew I was headed south, and as long as I stayed close to the Delaware River, I’d eventually find some familiar roads. It was actually some very pleasant riding. I ended up on quite a few interesting backroads, in small mountain communities, before I got to Frenchtown, NJ, which crosses the Deleware River into Upper Bucks County, PA. Turning south on River Rd. I made my way back to New Hope and had breakfast at Cafe Lulu’s on Main St. I rode a little more that day before heading home and going back to work the next day. All in all it was a fun trip, and I hope to see more of those places again someday.

06-30-09 In the Mood to Ride

Posted in Bridges, Images, Rides, Stories on July 1, 2009 by vinnylombardo

I haven’t been riding as much lately, due to family obligations, rain, and a hectic work schedule. But with the nice weather yesterday, and a few hours to kill before work, I decided to go check out the last covered bridge in Bucks County which I hadn’t yet scene.

moods cb 4

The Mood’s Covered Bridge is located in East Rockhill Township, near Perkasie, and spans the Perkiomen Creek.

moods cb 2

Originally built in 1874, Mood’s Covered Bridge had a height limit of 11 feet 2 inches. It was damaged by a truck in 2004, and closed to traffic. Shortly thereafter, arsonists set the Mood’s Covered Bridge aflame, and it’s frame was completly destroyed. The state Department of Transportation put up $733,000 to rebuild it, and Mood’s Covered Bridge was reopened in Feb 2008.

moods cb 6

The new structure has a 12 feet height limit, 15 feet width limit, and it is 121 feet long.

moods cb 1

To me, Mood’s Covered Bridge is the least impressive in all of Bucks County.  As I rode through, the wood still smelled fresh. The outer paint was too clean. The surrounding neighborhood is reflective of the urban sprawl which consumes a lot of Bucks County. Their is a nice little park next to the bridge, but it all seems phony, as if the city planners here are trying to recreate the history of this bridge that was lost when it was burned down.

Take the Long Way to Work 06-16-09

Posted in Bridges, Images, Rides, Stories on June 19, 2009 by vinnylombardo

Monday, June 15 was Ride to Work Day. Of course, it was also my one day off from work! My commute to the restaurant where I work is 10 miles each way, and I ride my motorcycle to work everyday, so Ride to Work Day isn’t such a big deal for me. Needless to say, I used my day off to run some errands, and do some other things. Maybe I should have gone on a ride though. The weather on Monday was sunny and warm, but an overnight thunderstorm  left the roads damp, and the sky gray on Tuesday… But I digress. On Tuesday, I woke up feeling a bit depressed that I didn’t get in an epic ride on my day off, so I decided to take the long way to work, adding about 100 miles to my commute! I left the house at 9 a.m. which gave me six hours of riding time before having to clock in.

I started heading west toward Quakertown, to see a few more of the covered bridges in Bucks County. Along the way I was stuck behind a dump truck that was leaking some brown sludge, which splashed on my helmet. I dropped back a few car lengths, and when an opportunity to pass presented itself, I gunned the throttle and got in front of it. A few miles later I stopped for a bagel and some coffee, and wiped the sludge off my face shield. After refueling my body, I headed back out on some nice back roads to find the Shear’s Mill Covered Bridge.

1- sheards mill bridge way

At a length of 130 feet, the Sheards Mill Covered Bridge is one of the longest in Bucks County still open to traffic.

2- sheards mill side 2

It’s height limit is 12 feet 1 inch, and it’s width limit is 15 feet.

3- sheards mill wheel

It spans the Tohickon Creek up stream from Lake Nockamixon between East Rockhill and Haycock Townships.

4- 1 sheards mill side

Sheards Mill Covered Bridge was built of native hemlock and pine in 1873, and was named after David Sheard, who owned a nearby mill.

4- sheards mill inside

As I was taking my last photos at Sheards Mill, a car drove through the bridge, and the gentleman driving asked if I wanted a photo of myself. After he snapped  a quick shot, I noticed the Florida plates on the car, and asked where he was from. He and his wife live in Ft. Lauderdale, and were passing through Bucks County on their way to vacation in Canada. They decided to check out the covered bridges. It was a quick chat, and he jumped back in the car and drove off. I soon departed as well, grateful for the photo.

5- sheards mill vinny

A few miles from there, in Springfield Township I arrived at the next covered bridge, the Knecht’s Covered Bridge!

6- knechts mossy ledge

It crosses Durham Creek, which was formerly called Cook’s Creek.

7- knechts side

Built of hemlock in 1873, this bridge is also known as “Slifer’s Bridge.”
8- knechts caution walk

Knecht’s Covered Bridge has a height limit of 11 feet 6 inches, a width limit of 15 feet, it is 110 feet long and can support 3 tons of weight.

9- knechts looking out

After departing from the Knecht’s Covered Bridge, I cruised along Slifer Valley Rd, which is a fun little twisty.

10- slifer valley rd 1

I went right past this cool dam on Small Lake…

11- slifer valley rd dam 1

and decided to turn around to take a couple photos.

12- slifer valley rd dam 2

Eventually, as I was cruising around, my bike started to feel a little loose under me, and since I needed gas anyway, I pulled into a Turkey Hill station. I checked the pressure in my tires, and they were a bit low, so I added some air, topped off my tank, and headed back out to find another bridge.

13- frankenfield 1

Frankenfield Covered Bridge is on Hollow Horn Rd. in Tinicum Township. It crosses Tinicum Creek two miles upstream from the Delaware River. The area was once known for an abundant turtle population.

14- frankenfield side

It was built of oak in 1872. At 130 feet, Frankenfiled Covered Bridge is one of the longest covered bridges in the county still open to traffic. It has a height limit of 11 feet, 3 inches, and a width limit of 12 feet.

15- frankenfield inside

There is a lot of interesting history about the Frankenfield Covered Bridge. It appears to be undergoing yet another facelift.

16- frankenfield backside facelift

After leaving the Frankenfiled, it was half past noon, and I wanted to cruise some more, and check out the last two covered bridges in Bucks County that I hadn’t seen. But I had to start making my way towards Richboro, where I work. I rode a few back roads heading south, and ended up on Fleecydale Rd, which runs along Paunacusssing Creek. It is a fun, goaty, old road.

17- paunaucussing brigde bike

I crossed this old stone bridge which was built in 1844, and continued on toward River Rd. I cruised south on River Rd. for about 15 miles and took Washington Crossing Rd, into Newtown, to get to Tyler State Park, where the Schofield Ford Covered Bridge is located.

18- schofield ford sign wheel

I pulled into unpaved road into Tyler Park on an unpaved road, and eased along until I reached the trailhead. The path to the bridge is off limits to motor vehicles but is accessible by foot, bike, or horseback.

19- schofield ford trailhead

I headed along the trail to the bridge, and checked it out.

20- schofield ford bridge 2

At 170 feet long, 13 feet high, and 16 feet wide, the Schofield Ford is the largest covered bridge in Bucks County. Formerly known as the Twining Ford Covered Bridge, it was originally constructed in 1873 of hemlock and oak. It spans Neshaminy Creek.  In October, 1991, the original structure was destroyed by an arson fire, leaving only the supports and approaches standing in Neshaminy Creek.

21- schofield ford fire

After the fire, it was rebuilt according to original specifications (with the addition of windows on each side), and rededicated in 1997.

22- schofield ford window 1

After checking out the bridge, I still had a little time before work, and decided that I was going to get my bike down to the bridge for a few photos, rules be damned!

23- schofield ford bridge frontside bike

I left the park, cruised over to Worthington Mill Rd. and with the help of my trusty Garmin Zumo GPS unit, I found a back way into Tyler Park along the Dairy Hill Trail. It’s a paved bicycle path which leads to the backside of Covered Bridge Trail!  At the bottom it is unpaved, so I gingerly approached and got a few more shots of the Schofield Ford Covered Bridge with my bike!

24-schofield ford bridge inside bike

With under fifteen minutes to go before work, I rolled on, leaving the Schofield Ford in my rearview.

25- schofield ford bridge mirror

Richboro is a stone’s throw from Newtown, and I arrived at work with 5 minutes to spare, clocking in at 2:59 p.m.

26- jakes

Sure, I’d have rather kept riding, but I need money for gas!

R.I.P. Ride 06-08-09

Posted in Bridges, Images, Rides, Stories on June 12, 2009 by vinnylombardo

Sometime on Memorial Day, the fan switch on my radiator blew out, causing my engine to overheat slightly. My bike was due for an oil change anyway, so the next day before work I took it into Bucks County Kawasaki located in Bristol. Their mechanic changed out all the fluids, and did their ‘Spring Tune-up Special.’  The shop also ordered the new fan switch part for me. But it was coming from Japan and took over a week to arrive, therefore, I didn’t get a chance to ride much except to work and back. Once the part arrived, I replaced the fan switch myself, and replaced the engine coolant.

After a long, busy work week, I had Monday off, and needed a R.I.P. Ride (Restoring Inner Peace Ride). I managed to get in a 140 mile ride, even though I didn’t have as much time as I wanted. My father’s birthday was on Sunday, and I had plans to take him to dinner Monday night.

I thought about cruising towards the Jersey shore, as I’ve been craving the ocean lately, but figured it’d be best to stay closer to home, and go find some more covered bridges in Bucks County. I’ve become a tad bit obsessed with seeing them all!

I hit the road at 10:30 a.m. and cruised north along Bridgetown Pike to Langhorne-Yardley Rd. There isn’t much open space in Lower Bucks where I live. It is basically an extension of Northeast Philadelphia, with congested roadways, schools, housing developments, and shopping centers. But if you travel about twenty miles north into Central and  Upper Bucks you get into an interesting mix of preserved forests, farmlands, million dollar mansions, and some interesting history. I like riding around there, but wish it were even less developed than it is.

When I was six years old, my family moved from Northeast Philly to Yardley, as part of a great escape from the city into the countryside. It was a very small town then with lots of forests, open fields, and old farmhouses. Today, while it’s still a small town, too much of it is developed and there are many new homes there, and roads, and shopping centers, and schools. It’s kind of sad. I rode past a CVS Pharmacy on Edgewood road that was at one time a cornfield. It reminded me of the Talking Heads song, Nothing But Flowers.

I cruised through Yardley to River Rd. and cruised along the Delaware River until I hit Aquetong Rd. in Solebury Township, riding it for miles until it ends. From there I took some neat roads, until I reached Geigel Hill Rd. and ultimately found the Erwinna Covered Bridge.

erwinna wheel

I parked my bike, and checked out Bucks County’s shortest covered bridge, and one of the oldest.

1 erwinna bike

County records suggest the Erwinna Covered Bridge was built in 1832. The bridge is only 56 feet long. It’s height limit is 11 feet, and it’s width is limit 15 feet. The Erwinna Covered Bridge can support up to 29 tons of weight.

erwinna side

It spans the Lodi Creek, which white settlers called Swamp Creek. The Erwinna is a lattice type bridge.

erwinna inside

After snapping a few photos, it was time to go. I hopped back on my bike, cruised through the Erwinna, then went north on Upper Tinicum Church Rd. which twists up a small mountain for about three miles. From there I turned on Uhlerstown Hill Rd. and crept down this goat road which is closed to traffic from December through April. The road is steep and only partially paved, but fun nonetheless! At the bottom, I found the Uhlerstown Covered Bridge!
uhlerstown sign

Of all the covered bridges I’ve seen so far in Bucks County, this is my favorite one!

uhlerstown bike 3

The Uhlerstown Covered Bridge is unique, as it’s the only one in Bucks County that does not cross a creek, but spans the Delaware Canal.

uhlerstown window 1

This bridge is 101 feet long. It has a height limit of 11 feet 3 inches, a width limit of 15 feet and a 12 ton weight limit.
uhlerstown front

The Uhlerstown Covered Bridge was constructed of oak in 1832.

uhlerstown inside 1

The bridge was reconstructed in 1985, and rehabilitated in 2008.

uhlerstown side 1

There are some old homes in the immediate vicinity of the bridge. I reached my arm over a fence into private property to get this shot.

uhlerstown side 2

Ulherstown was once known as Mexico. It was later named for Michael Uhler who owned a canal boat building yard and operated a string of canal boats. After a few minutes at the bridge, I headed back up Uhlerstown Hill Rd. and made my way to Ringing Rocks Park.

ringing rocks bike

This place is an enigma, wrapped in a puzzle and shrouded in mystery. Located in the woods of Upper Black Eddy, Ringing Rocks Park is 128 acres of quiet trails, and streams, and contains Bucks County’s largest waterfall. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Well, also within the park is an 8 acre field of boulders, which is located at the top of a hill, meaning it didn’t result from a rock slide. There is also no evidence to suggest that these were dropped here by a glacier as glaciers were not thought to have come this far south. How did this boulder field get to be like this?

ringing rocks field

But wait…. It gets even more strange! If you hit one of the rocks with a hammer or another stone, it will produce a high pitched ring like the sound of a bell! It is very odd. The area has been studied by geologists for decades. They’ve determined the rocks to be made of diabase, which is essentially volcanic basalt. The rocks have a high content of iron and aluminum, scientists say. Though much has been speculated about the origin of these rocks, no definitive answers exist, and scientists, as well as curiosity seekers are still scratching their heads.

I checked out the rocks, and then walked along some of the parks wooded  trails, pulled in by the sounds of rushing water. I scampered along as the sound grew louder.

ringing rocks water fall 1

Yep, I found the waterfall! While it’s not Niagra Falls, it’s a beautiful and peaceful experience watching the water flow down along the rocks.

ringing rocks water fall 2

Walking back to my bike, I spotted a butterfly! Cool!

butterfly

I left Ringing Rocks Park, vowing to return someday with a hammer to strike the rocks. Then, I cruised around the area, checking out a few other roads, before heading out to Perkasie to see another covered bridge.

perkasie cb 3 welcome

The South Perkasie Covered Bridge was built of pine and oak in 1832.

perkasie cb 4 1832

In 1958 it was moved from it’s original location where it crossed the Pleasant Spring Creek and is now landlocked in Lenape Park in Perkasie. The bridge is 93 feet long.

perkasie cb 2

It is closed to vehicular traffic, but  I still managed to get a picture of my bike in front of it.

perkasie cb bike

There is another covered bridge nearby in East Rockhill that I wanted to check out, but time was running short. I had to get home and cleaned up for dinner with my father.  On my way home a light rain started to fall, as I navigated through the late afternoon rush hour traffic. It was a  bit of a disappointing end to an otherwise fabulous day of restoring inner peace on the bike.

Road (Not) Closed – Memorial Day Ride – 05-25-09

Posted in Bridges, Images, Rides, Stories on May 28, 2009 by vinnylombardo

The weather was warm, and I had the day off, so I headed out of the house around 9 a.m. for a short ride on Memorial Day. I made my way to Yardley and went north along River Rd.

01- washington crossing

I passed the spot of Washington’s Crossing, then  turned on Lurgan Rd. and rode up to Bowman’s Hill Tower, which is usually closed Monday’s, but being that it was Memorial Day, the road to the tower was opened. It’s not a paved road, but that didn’t stop me.
02- bowman's tower sign

Begun in September of 1929, Bowman’s Hill Tower was completed in June of 1931 as a commemorative monument to George Washington and his army, as this hill was the lookout point for Washington’s troops to watch the banks of the Delaware River for enemy activity. Bowman’s Hill Tower is 125 feet tall and its base measures 24 feet on a side. Native stone quarried from Bowman’s Hill and nearby quarries in Lumberville, Pennsylvania and Lawrenceville, New Jersey was used to build it.

03- bowman's tower

After coming back down, I continued along Lurgan Rd.

04- lurgan rd

Next, I hit Street Rd. for a bit, then Pineville Rd. It was a nice little ride, until I hit the Road Closed signs. But I wasn’t going to let a pile of rocks and a few signs stop me! So I went through that, and had the whole road to myself save for a single bicyclist!

05- pineville rd closed
From Pineville Rd., I hit Five points, and turned onto Lower Mountain Rd, then hit up Holicong Rd, Durham Rd., Forest Grove Rd. and Swamp Rd, before turning onto Old Easton Rd. and checking out the Doylestown Airport.

07- airplanes

I continued from there to Stump Rd., then hit Wismer Rd. and went a couple miles before encountering another road closure.

08- wismer rd closed

Again, a few signs weren’t going to stop my progress!

A mile and a half down, there was another road closure, by the Loux Covered Bridge. This pile of rocks was a little intimidating at first, but I got over it, litterally!

09- other side wismer rd closed

Next thing I knew, my bike was making a funny noise! I started thinking The Loux was a haunted bridge and the ghosts were trying to scare me away! But it was just the engine coolant boiling, so I hit the kill switch and let it cool off while I checked out the bridge.

10- loux closed

Like the Cabin Run Covered Bridge, The Loux also spans Cabin Run Creek.

12 loux side 2

This spot was known as a dangerous place to ford, and after the drowning of Reed Myers, a popular young man, the “Loux Mill Bridge” was built in 1874.

11 loux side 1

Hemlock was the material used in contruction.

15- loux inside

The Loux Covered Bridge is 60 feet long, with a height limit of 11 feet and a width of 15 feet.

13 loux side flower

It can support 15 tons of weight, since it’s been reinforced with steel beams on the underside.

14  loux under side

While I was checking out the Loux, I heard the familiar clippity- clop of horses. Two women were out riding and enjoying the warm weather.

17- loux br. kelly horse

Later a group of British tourists came by. They had parked their car up at the road closure, and walked down to the bridge. They photographed my bike and we chatted a bit. Soon after, I made my way across the bridge, to Carversville Rd.

18 - carversville rd closed

I started to head for home, turning right on Dark HollowRd.

20 dark hollow barn

Then I went along  Wormansville Rd., Tory Ln. and turned on Cafferty Rd., where I stopped at an old cemetery.

18- cemetary wheel

I dismounted from the bike, and checked out some of the old graves. Being that it was Memorial Day, this one seemed quite fitting.
19- stover grave

The headstone reads: “Sacrificed on the Altar of the Country John H. Stover Co. I 3rd Reg. Pa. Art. Wounded in Battle at Cold Harbor, Va. while acting with Co. B 188th Pa. Inf. June 1st, 1864; Died at Campbell Hosp. Wash. D.C. June 30th, 1864; Aged 21 years & 17 days. He gave his soul to Christ in Baptism Feb. 22nd, 1863 And his Life in Defence of his Country in the Great Rebellion.”

From Cafferty Rd., I went south on River Rd, passing a couple of slow moving Harley riders. Holiday traffic was backed up in New Hope, and they caught up to me, a little miffed that my “Jap Crap” smoked their asses! I quickly turned on a couple side streets in New Hope, and headed towards Bensalem along Windy Bush Rd. Ninety six miles round trip. It was another fun day of riding.