- To track online our current location, see instruction on the “Ride the Nation Route Plan” page
- Also, follow us on Twitter, search “ridethenation”
- Check out our blog on www.bmxmania.com for exclusive details you won’t find here.
So, if you looked at our mileage above and wondered how we rode 13 miles and ended up at the same place, allow me to explain. Since our GPS says we are only 26 miles from the Westmoreland BMX track … and we are planning to arrive Wednesday, July 6 for the Dominique Daniels Clinic (their Tuesday night practice was cancelled), we decided to stay an extra day in the campground and rest. About mid-morning, we received a phone call from Westmoreland’s track Director who wanted to touch base about how close we were, etc. When he heard we were at the Keystone State Park, he asked if we remembered Bob Tedesco.
Bob Tedesco?? YES! He was the former longtime leader of the National Bicycle League and one of our daughter’s most supportive fans during her early BMX years. We knew we were in Tedesco country but we had no idea what had come of Bob and Polly. The Westmoreland track director told us that they were only 5 miles down the road at a drag strip/motocross track. Hmm. 5 miles? Piece of cake!
We called ahead and confirmed that Bob would be there for the afternoon. We decided to “go light” and took all the unnecessary gear off our bikes. Once everything was stowed and we were just about ready to go, the Beast announced that she’d rather ride her race bike than her road bike, since she was going to a race track. We figured she was nuts but agreed. We entered the address into our GPS, loaded Coco into her kennel, on the trailer, and headed out.
Of course, there were some heavy duty hills to climb and fly down … it’s still Pennsyl-freakin-vania! We made a pit stop at the Sheetz Convenience store and chowed down on sandwiches and iced tea and then remounted our bikes for another mile along busy William Penn Highway to the race track. We parked our bikes, went into the office and the ladies at the front desk called Bob on his cell phone. While we waited, we shared with them the story of our crazy ride. One of the ladies marveled at our adventure and declared she could never do it. I told her I felt the same way a few years ago … but, here I am.
When Bob walked in the front door, it felt so good to see his familiar smiling face. He is a man who has always been kind to us and would often drop by our RV to find out about our latest adventure. He remembered the Beast immediately and recalled stories of her savvy way of separating him from his money during games he played with the young BMXers when they collected their NBL bucks.
We all went into Bob’s office and talked for quite a while about the old days of the NBL and the changes that have come down the pike since Bob retired. Under his direction, I heard good and bad things about decisions he made but I stand by this: You may not have liked how he steered it, “but at least he kept the train on the tracks.” As the boss of a 15 year long event business and as the landlord AND as the parent of teenagers, I often felt like the most hated person alive. I made tough decisions that kept people working, kept affordable housing for decent people and kept my kids out of trouble. I know how Bob must have felt when he made unpopular decisions, too.
We all talked for a while and Bob told us that we were welcome to use his air conditioned camper that was set up at the race track. Although it was a nice offer (I love A/C), we had already paid for tonight’s campsite at Keystone State Park and all of our stuff was pretty well set up there. He told the Beast to pick out a t-shirt or hat from the souvenir shop and she picked a visor emblazoned with “Girls Ride too!”
Then the Beast broke into a full out bike ride down the racing strip where many a driver has come before to show off their best moves. Frankenbutt took pictures and I applauded her racing style. (for video footage, go to www.youtube.com and search “Neva drag racing on a bmx bike”; fyi, we post under the name, Ridethenationfamily.) Little did I know where Bob had gone to while I was occupied watching the Beast ride.
Bob pressed the pedal to the floor and the race car rumbled off the line while the Beast clutched at the roll cage. (for video footage, go to www.youtube.com and search: “Bob and Neva do a gate start”) When they returned, the Beast was smiling ear to ear and announced, “I know what I want for my 14th birthday!” YIKES! Bob, Look what you’ve started!! In all honesty, it was one of the best unplanned days of this bicycling adventure.
We thanked Bob and Polly for taking the time to see us and for giving the Beast a terrific day to remember. We told them we hoped to see them at South Park this weekend and then off we rode on our bikes. Again, we stopped at Sheetz for a few items to cook for dinner. When we parked our bikes, the Beast was still smiling and began talking about drag racing. I think it’ll be a while before that smile fades (probably when it’s time to do the camp dishes).