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Old 03-24-14, 12:23 PM   #1
perspiration
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USA Cross Country trip -- Getting from CT to VA route options

Hey all, I'm going to be biking cross country in April (ahh so close) and I'm just looking for some input about route options.

I'll be starting in Bar Harbor, and heading straight towards Providence RI and then Killingly CT. From there, I basically just need to get to VA and don't really know the best way to go from CT. I might pick up the ACA maps to get an idea of it.

I'm also curious about getting into/out of NYC. There's a friend I'd like to visit in Manhattan, and even though I've spent a lot of time in Chicago, the concept of NYC kind of scares the hell out of me. Is getting into/out of NYC even possible by bike, without going through some really bad neighborhoods or getting clipped by traffic?
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Old 03-24-14, 01:54 PM   #2
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Getting to Manhattan is easy.

Head clear across CT. to Brewster, NY and catch the Putnam Rail Trail south to where it becomes the Westchester County North County Trail, south to a 1 mile detour in Elmsford, NY then the South County Trail to Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. That's 40+ miles on rail trail and is a painless way to get into NYC. Then over the Broadway bridge on the Harlem River to any convenient NYC bike lane or trail south to wherever. Maybe over to the GWB and south on trail along the Hudson River.

Getting out, I'd research taking the ferry from lower Manhatten to Sandy Hook, NJ then thru NJ to the Cape May - Cape Henlopen, Delaware ferry, as one option. Or mass transit to New Brunswick, NJ then the Delaware and Raritan Canal trail to Trenton. Then work your way around Philly. to the west.
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Old 03-24-14, 06:14 PM   #3
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If you need help with the Elmsford detour, I can help, I live right near there.But yes, the trail down to the city is easy and well paved for the most part, although from Yorktown to Briarcliff there are some patchy parts. Also, immediately after the detour in Elmsford there is a bit of a sketchy part of the trail and sometimes there is broken glass across it (I have gotten a flat on it twice). From there it should be smooth sailing. Also, if you want another route, you could head down through CT to Kensico Dam in NY and pick up the Bronx Bike trail (paved) there and it will also take you down to the city.
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Old 03-25-14, 12:49 PM   #4
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If you are planning to hook up with ACA's TransAm route in VA, I would spring for the ACA Atlantic Coast maps. I think you would only need two of them. The Atlantic Coast route has a spur from Summit, NJ. The idea is that you take the train between Manhattan and Summit as you cannot actually ride west out of Manhattan directly into NJ. The spur then takes you to Lambertville, NJ where you pick up the Atlantic Coast route proper. If you want to take the train farther out from NYC, I have a nice route from Lyons, NJ to Lambertville. Lyons has a high platform so you would not have to carry you bike down train steps.

If you opt to foregoe Manhattant, I highly recommend the ACA route through the Delware Water Gap National Recreation Area to Lambertville, NJ. I have done that entire stretch three times (planning to do it again Easter weekend) and the section south of Belvedere several times more as pat of day rides. The route goes right by the campground in Worthington State Forest, which is a nice place to camp along the river. One of the group sites has a bear locker. There are definitely bears in the area as evidenced by the bear-proof trash cans you see at some of the historical sites along the way. The only drawback is that there are no food sources on the way there aside from the Walpack Inn, which is expensive and may not be open for lunch at that time of year. You can pick up supplies in Matamoras, across the river from Port Jervis. Alternatively, you can drop you gear at Worthington and continue on route to Delaware Water Gap, PA, where there is a diner, a pizza/hoagie place and a small c-sotre attached to a gas station, then ride back to camp. IIRC, it's about 3 miles each way. Port Jervis to Worthington is about 35 miles. In April, traffic should be very light to non-existent in places. Belvedere to Phillipsburgh should be the same. The nice thing about that stretch is that there are hight and width clearence restrictions due to old railroad bridges, so you don't get trucks back there, and there are some pretty views of the river as you ride through quiet communities.

Phillipsburgh sucks, but it's not that big. Once you get out of town the route becomes traffic light to traffic free again again until Milford.

Further south, there is a campground (Dog Wood Haven) in Upper Black Eddy. It's just off route, on the PA side of the river across from from Milford, NJ. Milford has everything you need, including restaurants and a grocery store. The campground owner is a nice guy named Mark who has always given me a decent cyclist rate. From Frenchtown south, you can take the D&R feeder canal trail to Lambertville. The route south from Lambertville to the trail in Conshhocken, PA is one that I contributed to ACA. Despite all the suburban sprawl, it's not that had assuming you don't ride it during a weekday rush hour. I would try to time it so you ride the stretch on a Saturday or Sunday.

Let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 03-26-14, 06:38 AM   #5
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^^I like that route, for getting as far as Lambertville NJ. For getting across the Delaware, there are a few bridges before Lambertville, one at Lambertville, and two after that. I would take the Washington Crossing bridge, which is the one after Lambertville; from there take the Bike Pennsylvania S route at least as far as the Susquehanna River. It's a nice route, well marked, that will get you past Philadelphia and its suburbs painlessly. You go right through Lancaster County, which is lovely, and the city of Lancaster, which is not bad at all. After the Susquehanna you can continue on to Gettysburg on the S route, or you can veer south earlier, go through Hanover or whatever.

Easy routes into DC from the north include the Rock Creek Park bike path and the C&O Canal.
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Old 03-26-14, 07:46 AM   #6
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I rode Route S east from Bedford to around New Holland, PA, where I took a different way to Morgantown and French Creek State Park before rejoining Route S at St. Peters Rd. and PA 23. I was touring from Pittsburgh to Philly. Route S spends too much time on PA 23. Staying in the Conestoga Valley until N. Red School Rd. is much prettier and virtually car free. The way I went from Morgantown to St. Peters is more scenic and usually has very low traffic. It also takes you through the park, where there is a nice campground.

Continuing east Route S stays on PA 23 then turns north on PA 100 to Pughtown Rd. Taking Daisy Point from PA 23 to Pughtown is much nicer and avoids what can be a busy PA 100.

The best detour off Route S, however, is the abandoned section of PA Turnpike, which is now an unofficial bike trail. You can get on a bit west of Hustontown. Route S uses N. Hess Rd. Just before it makes a hard right and crosses the current Turnpike you make the left on Pump Station Rd. About .5 miles down Pump Station, just before the ballast retaining wall that was built after an old bridge was removed, there is an access road that takkes you to the abandoned PA Turnpike. The section you can ride is about 8 miles long. There are two tunnels. Heading west, you hit the first one shortly after getting on. It's about 1 mile long and not lit. Good liighting is required unless you want to walk with a small light and follow the median striping. The second tunnel is about 3,800' and is also unlit. I rode the stretch on a warm, humid day. The coolness of the tunnels was a welcome relief. If you go udirng cooler weather, a jacket is a good idea.

It's really neat back there. I felt very isolated. The stretch was used in the film "The Road" starring Vigo Mortensen. Rode it on a weekday and saw only two other people who were taking a walk, althouhg I gather you see more cyclists on weekends. 32c tires were fine. I wouldn't try it with skinny tires.

When you get to the end of the rideable section in Betzwood, you go through the Jersey barriers and walk down a small earth berm with a well-worn track. That puts you in a small, dirt parking lot at Tannery Rd. Make a left on Tannery and the immediate right on U.S. 30 and you are back on Route S heading west.

Note that ACA's route goes through Lancaster County and crosses the river at Columbia as Route S does.
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Old 03-26-14, 09:31 AM   #7
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Team 26 from the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington rode from Newton, CT to DC last March and again this year. You might want ask them about their routes. Not all of it would be appropriate since they had police escort at times.
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Old 03-26-14, 11:07 AM   #8
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This is all fantastic information. Definitely a point for posting in the Regional forums vs. the regular Touring forum!! Manhattan is certainly not "necessary" for me...I was going to visit a girl, but she went and got herself a boyfriend

This abandoned turnpike sounds right up my alley, fabz. I'm trying to google maps all these twists and turns to pre-familiarize myself with the landscape, but I'm excited!
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Old 03-27-14, 01:36 PM   #9
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Here is all of PA Bike Route S:

ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf...state_mapS.pdf

If you click on section No. 15 you can see N. Hess and Pump Station Rds. that I describe above. Map section 14 shows Breezewood, where the rideable portion end. The old highway right of way is also marked on Google Maps. It's shown as going further, but the section between Pump House and Tannery Rds. is the only section you are supposed to ride. Some bridges, including one over Puump Sation, were removed some time ago.

But if you are trying to get to ACA's TransAm, this doesn't help much as it runs E-W, and the tunnel is pretty far west in PA.
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