Today we crossed the Land Between Rivers (the Hudson and the Delaware), otherwise known as New Jersey. Above you see nighttime and daytime views across the Hudson, from Jeffrey’s apartment. Below is the view back toward NJ across the Delaware as we crossed from Trenton to Morrisville, Pennsylvania.
We got an early start this morning: 6:30 AM. The bright-eyed sendoff committee included Rob Friedlander of Human Rights First, Jenny Hamblett (whose presence we’ll explain another day), Rebecca Heller (Jeffrey’s daughter who graduated from Grinnell College, finished an AmeriCorps assignment working with the developmentally disabled, and will start grad school at Columbia University in the fall), and Nancy Freund Heller, Jeffrey’s brilliant, charming, and patient spouse – even when rousted out at the crack of dawn. Nancy rode her bike with us for the first 5 miles.
HRF gave Jeffrey a snazzy new Jersey for the trip:
Last year, to get on our NW route, we rode across the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey. This year, to get on our SW route, we took the PATH train from the World Trade Center site. We biked through downtown Newark, noting new brick pavers and the same old rundown commercial buildings.
Here’s Newark City Hall. Like Newark, once it was grand.
In Newark, we got on NJ 27, the beginning of the famous Lincoln Highway. We stayed on it most of the day, with a few detours when Jeffrey made wrong turns. Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway, Edison, Metuchen, New Brunswick, Highland Park, Princeton, Trenton. Sounds like a train announcement! Much of NJ 27 was fairly wide and not too heavily trafficked. It passed by historic sites (George Washington was here a lot in the “Cock-pit of the Revolution”) and through a bit of carefully preserved farm country near Princeton, but most of it looked like this. And true to NJ’s reputation as the Most Diverse State, we saw people of every description. In Highland Park, street banners welcomed us in Spanish and Hebrew. Look at the “sign language” visible in one photo: English, Korean, Japanese, Chinese.
In pretty, rich Princeton, we heard the first angry honks. Rich kids playing with their toys, perhaps. Otherwise, today we had lots of smiles, thumbs-ups, whoops for “human rights,” etc. Just outside Princeton, we took a wrong turn and found ourselves passing Drumthwacket, the governor’s official residence.
Outside Princeton, we rode for several miles along the Delaware & Raritan Canal. It was flat terrain like any canal towpath, and very pretty. But much of the trail was loose sand and gravel. It took all of our concentration and balance to stay up, and to avoid falling into the canal. We met some bicyclists and fishermen who gave us directions and talked with us about Human Rights First.
Tired of the gravel, we finally got on U.S. 1, which has a wide smooth shoulder. We reached Trenton, navigated the crumbling downtown and the Soviet-style state office areas, crossed the Delaware, and met Pablo and Geisha, who took Jeffrey’s picture so he took theirs. Pablo is from Trenton, Geisha is from The Bronx. They said the meeting made their day, and they offered blessings and prayers, which Jeffrey did not refuse.
All in all, it was a good day. Brisk headwinds did not seem bad behind the Chopper fairing. The bike and tires took potholes well. The road made long descents into the Princeton area, which means we must have ridden long uphills (having started at sea level!), but Jeffrey didn’t notice – the Lightning climbs well! There was sun, but it wasn’t oppressive. And we were happy to be back on the road.
Come back tomorrow!