I made it to Philly! Had a great stop in Princeton to split up mileage. Also lucked out on weather considering it was low 60’s and a mix of sun and overcast skies. Here is a rundown of each day. If there are spelling mistakes or wonky sentences, I wrote this on my phone without the chance to proofread. I will clean up later…
Started off from NYC, rounding the southern tip of Manhattan’s battery, to take a ferry to Atlantic Highlands. Taking this route allows one to avoid the congestion of the Jersey City and Newark areas. Met a journalist from the Atlantic Herald, Allan Dean, who snapped the official “wheel in the starting body of water” photo. Thanks Allan!
Had a pretty leisurely ride from Atlantic Highlands to Princeton, which was about 40 plus miles. My cue sheets and route created from Ride with GPS, worked flawlessly. I stopped midday to stretch and snack at a huge open field with some benches and trees. This turned out to be a veterans cemetery, just off of Texas Rd. A very peaceful place, with mainly WWII vets and family members, it had nice protection from the sun.
I arrived in Princeton around 3:30 pm, just as my host for the evening was finishing up her day. Meeting Sandy at her place, she provided a warm welcome, a tour of her home and amenities. My legs were feeling it a bit, but nothing I haven’t felt before after an extended ride.
After cleaning up and charging various devices, Sandy provided a walking tour of Princeton. As a Princeton Adminstrator, she parlayed her 25 years of vast knowledge about the town and University. Sandy, then treated me to an amazing meal of Indian food at Méhéks and fantastic conversation. Once we walked home I was able to meet her husband, Ron before retiring for the evening.
Woke up at my own pace and was greeted by Sandy with a nice breakfast and send off treat of chocolate walnut balls, similar to cookies, but not quite. I then spent some time repacking my bags to better distribute the weight evenly in the front and rear pannier bags.
After the delicate dance of weighing oneself then re-weighing with bag or bags, shuffling items then doing it all over again, I found that my original packing was not far from where it should have been. Congratulations to me! Rule of thumb is to put 60% of weight in the front racks. One must also consider the max weight of most front racks is around 20 pounds.
Sandy offered to show me out of town. After the bike was packed Ron and I said our goodbyes, we then road through campus, which was awesome! She offered an extended tour taking me by the Princeton battlefield, a turning point in the Revolutionary War. We passed through many other trails seeing a vast wooded area used by one of the graduate programs. We ended on the road outta town and off I went! Huuuuge thank you to, Sandy and Ron!
A few miles down the road I ran into a wonderful couple who asked me what I was doing. These very friendly folks were interested in my setup. I informed them of my plan and we spoke about our enthusiasm for cycling. Turns out Mike and Theresa ride to Manhattan all the time and power through the congested areas, taking the GW Bridge to enter the island. I may not be able to make it up the tight eastern ramp access to the bridge given the width of my bike. Mike and Theresa offered to put me up for the night or provide any supplies (read: food) I may need. Had I not left Sandy and Ron’s place just an hour earlier, I may have taken them up on the hospitality. Thank you, Mike and Theresa!
I then charged towards Trenton, stopping at a bike shop for a rear view mirror and a few spokes. The shop was very helpful and gave me some tips about traversing Trenton and the Calhoun Street Bridge. Sadly I attempted to find an alternate route on the Pennsylvania side, a canal path for better views. After narrowly avoiding a Canadian goose attack, the path abruptly ended and I decided I double back to my planned route. At this point I needed some energy, so I inhaled Sandy’s chocolate chip walnut balls. I intended to save some later, but before I knew it I was down to 3 and could not bring myself to stopping.
Travel then went smoothly. Lots of friendly faces of people smiling, saying hi or complimenting my bike. Drivers in PA are a bit less concerned with providing additional space. Share the road, people!!
I made it into Philly, arriving at my brother’s house by 4:30 pm. He was still at work so I decided to kill some time at my old stomping grounds, Bishop’s Collar, to have some much deserved food and a beer. I was able to stand for a bit and let my wrists relax. My brother then came by to join me for another cerveza before heading back to unwind.
Alex and I caught up and had some visitors. My dear friend Joe popped by and provided some on the road electrolytes and energy supplements! My brother’s sweetheart girlfriend, Christina, came by and did my shirt laundry as my brother is in the process of updating his basement and I completely forgot we unhooked his washer/dryer two weeks ago. Thanks, Christina!! Then an old friend Colin stopped in. It was great to catch up with him as I crushed a double burger Alex grilled up.
I then plotted the course to the PCA for the May 12th kickoff event. Alex, my friend Emily and myself will get a tour of the facility meet a bunch of staff and take some photos. Looking forward to this morning!
Solid start to the trek, I could only hope each day is this smooth! Next stop, Delaware!