Saturday, September 21, 2013

Oh What a Beautiful Morning, Oh What A Beautiful Day ....

At Laurel Hill Cemetery overlooking Kelly Drive
and the Schuykill River. It was a gorgeous day!
So I spared my friends the agony of listening to me sing out loud but that song was my earworm for the day. As one of the organizers of the ride said "You could ask for a better day, but you wouldn't get it.".

The Cycles and Cemeteries ride is organized by the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area. And very well organized at that. For a very modest fee we were well fed, hydrated and cared for the entire day. I was alerted to this event by my friend Kristi Y and she and her fiancé Tom and I did the event together.

We arrived shortly after 8 am at Montgomery Cemetery in West Norriton (not to be confused but often is with Norristown). After checking in we were treated to a tour of the cemetery. Our guides gave us the history of Winfield Scott Hancock, Samuel Zook, and nurse Elizabeth Brower who was a Norristown native.

You knew I would take this one:)
At 10 am we started off on our 14 mile ride to Laurel Hill Cemetery. We rode the street for only a couple of blocks until we got to the Schuylkill River Trail. I only wish I had a helmet camera. It was such a beautiful day. The trail was packed though with riders, runners and walkers. Our morning trip East toward Laurel Hill was a bit nerve wracking in a few spots, especially when some cyclists tried to pass between people going in both directions. Along Kelly Drive the trail was packed with volunteers and participants of the 20 in 24 event which had been rescheduled from July. They certainly lucked out with the weather! As we approached Laurel Hill along Kelly Drive I was already figuring I was going to have to walk my bike into the cemetery. If you've ever ridden this stretch you know that you have to look UP...way up to see the cemetery from the street. Fortunately we entered at a lower point off Kelly Drive. We made it safely to Laurel Hill Cemetery in about an hour and a half.

I enjoyed seeing how all the trails connect. Previously, I've only ever gone east as far as Conshohocken from Valley Forge on the SRT. I've come west from Manayunk along the tow path as far as the old abandoned train station with Pete and the trail group but usually turned around there. Today I saw the piece in between. I also made the connection from Lock Street at the start of the towpath to where the trail comes down off Forbidden Drive. It all makes sense now!

At Laurel Hill we were fed a very nice lunch. Salads, sandwiches and cookies as well as iced tea, water and Gatorade. We spent some time walking around the cemetery before taking the return trip back to Montgomery Cemetery. For the return trip the trail was much less congested.

I had a great time and have set my thoughts on the next year's ride. They announced today that they are planning a 3 day ride from Hopewell Furnace to Valley Forge to Independence Hall. The trip includes a tour of Independence Hall. It would be very cool to take that ride and get the tour from Tom who is a National Park Ranger at Independence Historical Park.

I had a great time today.  I'm very glad the 28 miles was broken in two parts. If I want to do longer rides (like next year) I must get bike gloves and padded shorts!

Here we are with Major General George Meade

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