“Fuck! How could I be shit on again this summer?”

I think was the only thought that came to my mind when I got back to my car to see that my clothes, and computer were stolen out of my car while I was out mountain biking.

My side window was smashed, and they stole my messenger bag and the contents (my clothes and shaving kit) as well as my laptop and some hardware that went along with that. Including my iPod.

This all went down as I was having a great ride in Wilkes Barre, Pa at the tubs. “The Tubs” are in a county park. These natural rock water slides and pools of water have attracted swimmers for centuries probably. They are seven pools of freezing cold water that have “slides” into them. There are only a few times a year that you could go there without it being too cold to swim, since the water comes from a cold spring.

I used to go swimming there when I was in High School, but I have not been back there for years. I knew that there were some great trails up there that I really wanted to ride. I saw some reviews on MTBR.com and I decided to go for a ride there since I knew where some of the trails went to and where I could add some of my own stuff in there.

After work, I pumped up my tires, changed to some riding clothes, threw my laptop, my courier bag full of clothes, and the other normal stuff I travel with each week, and off I went towards the tubs. I got there around 6:30 or so, and I wanted to get on the trails quickly since there is a ton to explore, and I usually end up doing a bit too much exploring while riding, or maybe I am just slow! Whatever, I decided to park on the outside of the gate, since they were going to close it before the sun went down, and I did not want to get locked in there, while I was exploring these trails. I pulled back down off the road and parked my car at the gate, got my bike ready, and took off on a ride. I took some nice trails that vary from ATV trails to hiking paths to rock outcroppings. I then crossed the train tracks to the other side of the woods and rode around there. I had my heart rate up pretty good since the trails were wide, and I heard some unleashed dogs that didn’t seem to happy that I was skirting their land. I liked this part of the woods, since I could tell nobody rode back here. I could tell because all of the branches of the trees small trees were low. If you ever get to a section of trail, and the little “wispy” branches are hitting your face or helmet, you know nobody had been back there this season, since the branches have not been broken off.

I rode up to a really neat clearing in the woods. There were a few fire pits, some trash, and some stomped ground that looked like some folks used this area to camp in. At the back of the campsite there was a huge outcropping of rocks. They looked like they could be bear caves, or snake dens of some sort. The area seemed like it has been a hang out for a long time. It was probably used as a camp by the original railroaders that laid train track coming out of Pittston and Wilkes Barre. It was kind of creepy, since I could feel eyes on me, and thought it would be in my best interest to get out of there.

I left the woods, and crossed the tracks. I was going to take the tracks back to the initial trail that I came in on, as to not have to go back through the woods, and have to deal with the branches hitting me and the mad dogs barking. I started to walk my bike along the tracks, since there was really no good way to ride there, and I looked down the side of the tracks where the electrical wires were, and I noticed a big burnt stump. It looked like it had been struck by lightning sometime pretty recently, since it was still very dark. After walking a few more feet and looking at this stump, I realized that this stump had a big brown nose, and it was moving its head around! It was a black bear just chillen by the side of the tracks. He must have been looking for dinner (there are great blueberries and black berries back there), and I startled him. We stood and looked at each other for a good little bit. It is not often that I get to see a bear, and I just wanted to observe him for a little bit. We checked each other out, and since I realized he was not moving till I walked away, I turned around with my bike and started to walk the other way. When I looked back to see if he was coming after me, or still there, I happened to catch the back of him running away back into the woods. After he was gone, I started back on my path towards my car, and some more trails. I walked my bike so I could make sure that I didn’t disturb any other bears, or this one didn’t decide that he wanted me for dinner more than twigs and berries.

Back on the bike, I rode down the tracks, since the gaps between the ties were well filled in with rocks. I did find some neat railroad spikes and collected them. Walking/Riding the tracks and picking up spikes just reminds me of being a little kid and going for long walks with my dad. I used to pick up all sorts of railroad artifacts as we went on our walks, and bring them home with the thought that I would sand them and paint them.

After my collecting and riding, I found some single track that seemed to go back towards my car or at least towards the tubs. I jumped on and rode this tight twisty downhill that was filled with rocks and roots. My front tire was a little low on air, so I had to be a bit more cautious than normal, since I did not have the ability to cut or turn too quickly. This tire situation mixed with the fact that I had almost no idea of where the trail was going to take me, and random bears in the woods, this is compounded by the impending darkness, and threat of bad weather.

With minimal hike a bike over some scethy areas, I made it to the bottom of all seven tubs. I rode over the bridge that transverses the lowest pool of water. I stopped to watch some teenagers swimming. Just sort of reliving some of my past through them

I really wanted to jump in since it was so nice, but I had nobody to watch my bike, and no towel in the car.

I took off down the hill a little further onto one of the old mining bridges that we used to dive off of into the creak below. I found out that the bridge was destroyed by county engineers to stop people from riding ATV’s and driving cars further down the road, after I asked the couple that was sitting on the other side of the bridge having a few after work beers. I took a quick ride on a trail down there, and I started my assent back to the car.

The only road in this place is a very steep 11/2 lane road that goes straight up to Route 115. I decided to really pump up this hill in a pretty high gear, and use a zigzag approach to getting to the top. I always found that zig zagging a really steep climb gets me there with less effort, and I am not cooked for the final crest of the hill. I made it up this incline pretty quickly considering the gear I was pushing, the method I chose, and the grade of the hill.

When I got to the top, I saw a few cars parked there with bike racks on them. I figured I would look to see if they left me a note on the car, hoping that I would have someone new to ride with up there. That is when I saw what was done to me car!

First I called jess, since I was so shocked, then I called 911 to see if they could get someone to me. Then I called and left a frantic message on my sister’s answering machine. While I was waiting, some other Mountain Bikers came out of the woods. I told them what went down, and I asked if they saw anything. They didn’t seem to know anything about it, so we just talked for a while till the ranger got there.

The ranger told me that they have a ton of break ins there and that they have caught a few of the people that did this stuff in the past few weeks. The cop arrived and he took my information down, and we talked for a while. He seemed like a good guy.

As we were talking, a really ratty car went up the hill and beeped at us. It seemed strange, but we kept doing the report and just talking about the incident.

I could not get in touch with my mom, so I went to her cousins house since I knew she would be there. As I arrived, my sister was calling her in a panic, since my message was so rushed, she thought I was hurt or something. I ended up talking to my mom, her cousin Anita, my sister and bro-in-law most of the rest of the night.

Before I went home, I had to go and talk to Kyle, so I went to Litsi’s, where I met his new girlfriend and talked to him for a while. Around 1 or so, I finally got to bed.


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