After a roller coaster of a day I needed to find a place to rest my head, and the rest of my carcass. I grabbed the map, took a gander and settled on the Fish Creek State Park. After riding down nearly every road in the park I finally found a spot that looked bedroll worthy. A little turnout off of Shed Road. It was 11 pm or so by the time I was settled into my sleeping bag beside my mule.

I laid there looking up and the stars through the moonlit trees thinking about the day that was just behind me. It was definitely full of some ups and downs. The day began with the continuation of drama that I have been trying to put in the rearview. With any luck that will happen sooner than later.

Then my thoughts went to the Pleasantville Covered Bridge where I met three wonderful people. I had been hearing about the area’s covered bridges but had not seen any, and here I just stumbled onto one. And great people as well. Double bonus. The covered bridge people would be Kevin, daughter Shannon and high school friend who was visiting from California, Cynistar.

So after the introductions, came the usual questions. Where am I riding? What is model Ducati is that? Etc. The door was opened, out came my story and what the ride is about. We talked about colorectal cancer. The importance of early detection and knowing family history. Cynistar told me that she had just had a recent colonoscopy, not her first. She has a family history of polyps. Kudos to you Cynistar for being proactive by having your scopes.

Love this, hearing a group of older gentlemen having their morning coffee and sharing stories/banter. One of them reminds me of my grandpa Joe. Sorry, I get easily distracted at times. I’m sitting her in a McDonald’s in Pottstown, PA using their wifi and slurping down a drink.

Now back to the covered bridge people. So we talked for a bit more then I asked if Shannon could take a few photos of me in front of bridge. I noticed she had a camera and seemed that she had an interest in photography. She said yes. It turns out that she is planning on going to art school next year to study photography and graphic design. Which is exactly the path that I went down. Small world n such. I told her briefly how I would like the shot to look and then we set up the shot. As you can se she did a great job.

 

PLEASANTVILLE COVERED BRIDGE

 

Kevin and Cynistar even participated in the photo shooting by photographing Shannon and me.

 

SHANNON AND ME

 

After the the covered bridge photos were taken, Kevin told me that they were going to go see an oak tree that is over 500 years old. A local local landmark that is a national treasure. I asked if I could tag along, Kevin immediately said yes. I was quite excited. Kevin told me that the tree was a native american spiritual place. I anxiously followed the three to the great big oak.

We arrived at the location, parked the bike and car and were soon in the middle of a half mile walk along a cornfield to the impressive n then some oak. As we walked, I talked with Shannon. She spoke with so much passion and excitement about the future. About photography and design. Other miscellaneous chatter happened as well.

While we were walking and talking, I found my eyes constantly fixed on the tree line to the right, looking for the legendary oak. We began to approach a clearing in the woods to the right. It was the Sacred Oak, like how I kept the name of the oak from you until now? Though so. It is set back about 50 yards into woods. Just a short walk down a grassy footpath and you’re at the base of this incredible oak.

I was amazed that such an impressive landmark was not surrounded by cars and masses of people click click clicking photos. I was so used to such a thing at every monument, scenic overlook and historical site while I was in the west. The Sacred Oak was a spiritual site for Native Americans. Specifically, the Delaware tribe. This was a significant spiritual spot, I could feel it in every part of my being. Perhaps it was the fact that my dad was born and raised on the Menominee Indian Reservation. I have always been very proud of my native heritage and quite connected to it.

Click here to see a post on the 2012 DESTINATION X RIDE website, it is a post about the 2011 Menominee Nation PowWow. It contains video and photography I shot. Just thought I share some of my heritage with you.

We continued to take photos and investigate all aspects of this remarkable location. As seen in the photos below.

On the walk back to the vehicles, Shannon and I talked about photography and what she envisioned as her future. So much ahead of her. I know she will make a wonderful dent in this world. Sock it to ’em Shannon.

Much thanks to the Covered Bridge Three for making my day a much better place to be. The absolute best to you.

 

THE SACRED OAK

 

SACRED OAK PLAQUE AND OFFERINGS

 

NATIVE FLUTE OFFERING ON SACRED TREE

 

HEADSTONE AT SACRED TREE SITE

 

SACRED TREE ME

 

My mind drifted back to the starry moonlit night I found myself in. I do believe there was a bit of a smile appearing in the moon shadow of my ride steed. Thank you so much Kevin, Shannon and Cynistar such a lovely afternoon. ‘Twas a true gift. I am so blessed to have such wonderful people come into my life. I guess I have a knack for that. Gotta keep yourself open to the world around you.

Then I believe I drifted off into slumberland. Besides waking up because of the hornet’s nest that resides in my abdomen, I slept fairly goodish. And oh yeah, I woke to a large critter in the darkness that was leaf crunching and brush cracking within 30 yards of me. I’m sure it was a deer. I don’t know if black bears reside in the area. I fell back asleep after the woods went silent again.

I woke to the sound of a vehicle pulling up. I opened my eyes and saw that it was a ranger truck. A ranger walked up and said good morning, it was light by that time. He told me that camping outside the official campground was illegal. Guess I’ll have to find a new place to lay my carcass tonight. I told him that I pulled over and needed to sleep. That I was quite tired. Which was very true. He then said “I spose it’s better than ending up in a tree”. I began to tell him about my ride and that colon cancer and two rare disease diseases that I have were the reason for the ride. That I was spreading awareness for them. Also, that I was photographing survivors across the country. He took my information and said that he would not give me a citation. I then gave him a card. He said that he would leave, give me fifteen minutes to pack up and go, before he came back. He shook my hand and thanked me for what I was doing and said be safe.

Thank you so much Ranger Dave for letting me slide and for seeing something in what I’m doing.

There you go, another tentless Tent Tale. Until the next rest stop, scenic overlook, truck stop or national forest, take care campers.

 

FRENCH CREEK STATE PARK