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  1. #1
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    My DC to Philadelphia tour plan

    So, I have two days off after the Thanksgiving weekend, and my wife doesn't have the time off ...what to do? Well, a tour, of course, but where?

    I decided on DC as a starting point because I can crash at my in-laws (and I actually like them).

    • Day 0 - travel day.
    • Day 1 - DC to Columbia, MD where I'll stay at my cousin's house. 33 miles, 2000+ feet of climbing. Yikes!
    • Day 2 - Columbia to Bel Air - I have a Warm Showers host lined up for this night. Another 2000' of climbing, but over a longer distance - 49 miles. Still... yikes! and away!
    • Day 3 - Bel Air to Havre de Grace and then on to Newark, DE, 35 miles. I have another Warm Showers host waiting for me here. Thanks to The Historian who pointed out the bridge at Havre De Grace and the bike shop that operates a shuttle across the bridge for cyclists.
    • Day 4 - Newark, DE to Philadelphia, PA - 44 miles. The roads through Delaware are tricky - I wanted to go through Wilmington and along the coast, but the roads don't look rideable. I looked at the East Coast Greenway route through this area, but it meanders a lot - particularly through Delaware. (I probably would have taken it if this weren't a work night.)

    I'd appreciate any suggestions, particularly on the last two days!
    Last edited by neilfein; 11-24-09 at 07:19 PM. Reason: Update map links
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  2. #2
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    [*]Day 2 - Bel Air to Havre de Grace and then on to Newark, DE, 35 miles. I have another Warm Showers host waiting for me here. Thanks to The Historian who pointed out the bridge at Havre De Grace and the bike shop that operates a shuttle across the bridge for cyclists.[*]Day 4 - Newark, DE to Philadelphia, PA - 44 miles. The roads through Delaware are tricky - I wanted to go through Wilmington and along the coast, but the roads don't look rideable. I looked at the East Coast Greenway route through this area, but it meanders a lot - particularly through Delaware. (I probably would have taken it if this weren't a work night.)[/LIST]

    I'd appreciate any suggestions, particularly on the last two days!
    Bring your climbing legs. Northern Delaware is about as hilly as northern Chester County, and you recall how that is. Incidentally the spot you cross Rt. 52 is one mile from where my tour ended in June.

    Wilmington is indeed a pain. It's a pretty city, but it's all rises and highway ramps.

    BTW, if you find the final day too much, grab the SEPTA R3 at Ellwyn, Media,, Rose Valley, Wallingford, Secane, or Swarthmore. It runs into 30th Street.

  3. #3
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    BTW, if you find the final day too much, grab the SEPTA R3 at Ellwyn, Media,, Rose Valley, Wallingford, Secane, or Swarthmore. It runs into 30th Street.
    That's my plan; much of my route for that day stays reasonably close to the SEPTA tracks. If anything, I'm worried about the first and second days the most.
    Last edited by neilfein; 11-24-09 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Spelling
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  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    That's my plan; much of my route for that day stays reasonably close to the SEPTA tracks. If anything, I'm worried about the forst and second days the most.
    There's DC Metro for some of the route while you are in and around DC.

    I don't think you have anything to worry about. You're pretty tough, Neil.

  5. #5
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Recommend something more like this for the North East to Newark segment.

    Newark/Elkton is my hometown. I spent years and years doing many 20/30/40 mile rides back in the pre-driver's license days. Taking a little more time, I could plot out some more alternatives for you. Route 40 is no fun, and there are many nicer rural roads to take in the area. I imagine a lot of your other route could be similarly altered. I'll look at your Newark to points north route next...

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...44014&t=h&z=11
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  6. #6
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    OK, I looked at your Newark to Philly route, and you've made the right choice to head north of Newark on Paper Mill and cut over through the woods/farmland/suburbs around Hockessin. It's nice rolling country through there. As your route moves further east towards Media PA, I'm less familliar with it, but it looks like you have the right idea.

    The coast near Wilmington is pretty much just a rail line that runs along the Delaware. You're right to avoid this long strip of industrial/dangerous ex-industrial urban residential that runs from Wilmington right on up to Philly.

    There is very nice coastal riding in Delaware the beaches or the middle of the state on up to Newark, but that is not where your route takes you.

    An alternate way to go from DC to Newark would be to cross the Chesapeake and head up the Delmarva penninsula. I did two MS 150's when I was 12 and then 13 that ran from Smyrna to Dewey Beach and back.

    Beautiful, flat, scenic coastal salt marsh riding with lots of fresh air. I think you come up Route 9 and it takes you right up into Newark. Designated scenic drive.

    This would avoid some tough DC/Baltimore area riding and take you over through Annapolis and then over to Milford, DE (a little detour) and up around dover and on up through Delaware.

    Extra distance, but fewer hills and less urban riding... otherwise most of the rural riding you'll do is from Havre De Grace to up near the Philly Suburbs.

    Enjoy your trip!

    edit: I didn't see the stay planned for your cousin's house... at any rate, the North East to Newark suggestion should make for a nicer ride. Route 40 is a big boring divided highway that runs through a lot of suburban Shopping in places...
    Last edited by Standalone; 11-20-09 at 10:45 AM. Reason: clarification
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  7. #7
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
    Recommend something more like this for the North East to Newark segment.

    Newark/Elkton is my hometown. I spent years and years doing many 20/30/40 mile rides back in the pre-driver's license days. Taking a little more time, I could plot out some more alternatives for you. Route 40 is no fun, and there are many nicer rural roads to take in the area. I imagine a lot of your other route could be similarly altered. I'll look at your Newark to points north route next...

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...44014&t=h&z=11
    Ooh, this looks nice! Thanks, I'm gonna use this.
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    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  8. #8
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
    An alternate way to go from DC to Newark would be to cross the Chesapeake and head up the Delmarva penninsula. I did two MS 150's when I was 12 and then 13 that ran from Smyrna to Dewey Beach and back.

    Beautiful, flat, scenic coastal salt marsh riding with lots of fresh air. I think you come up Route 9 and it takes you right up into Newark. Designated scenic drive.
    Funny you should mention that. I may save that for a future tour, except on the eastern coast - something like this from Kitty Hawk, NC to Cape May, NJ. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel doesn't allow bikes, but I want to ride across it if they ever have another event where they shut down the bridge to traffic so bikes can cross.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I dropped the bike off at Amtrak shipping in Newark today. It cost me $30 - $5 luggage fee (you have to show your ticket, or it costs more), $15 for the bike box, and $10 for insurance (they charge you extra for any declared values over $500).

    I pulled off the pedals and removed the handlebars - they tell you to just loosen them and turn them sideways, but it wouldn't fit in the box that way - I have fairly large drop bars. After I did all that, I rolled it into the box, tossed in the pedal wrench and two water bottles, taped it up, gave them money, and signed a claim check form. It should be waiting for me when I arrive in DC on Friday. All told, the traffic getting to Newark was the hardest part; the actual packing was fairly painless.
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  10. #10
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    I'd stay off Rt 40 on the Perryville/Newark leg. If you continue on the road you take out of Perryville it will take into Northeast. From there it's a short distance, a mile or two, to RT40 and the previously planned route. After you cross Rt40 there is a serious hill, so bring your climbing legs.

    About your Outer Banks tour: I too am planning a tour that will take me to and through the Outer banks . I'm starting from Cherry Hill NJ and riding south via Cape May. My route looks alot like yours with exception of how to get across the Chesepeake Bay. My route takes me to Crisfield Maryland where I'll take the ferry to Tangiers Island. From there i'll grab the afternoon ferry to Reedville Virginia. It will blow out a day, but it gets me across without any outside help. Something to note, few if any roads in Virginia have shoulders or for that matter, roads with a fog line. Should make it interesting for a day or so!

    Good luck this weekend!
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  11. #11
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC. The trail gets very narrow here.


    ...as you can see. Yes, this is actually part of the trail.


    July Drive, passing over Maryland route 29. Google maps directed me here; it's now a dog-walking park


    This is pretty typical of most roads in the Columbia, MD area


    Horse farm in Riderwood, MD. I meant to focus on the horse, but I love how this turned out.



    a quickr pickr post
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  12. #12
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Reckord, MD - I think on Harford road. Far and away the hardest hill I encountered on this tour. I'm proud to say I made it almost all the way up!


    Capitol Trail (routes 2 and 72) outside of Newark, DE at the intersection with South Dilwyn Road. Where Capitol Trail actually had a shoulder, it was very good riding. I got off the highway as soon as I could.


    Wooddale Bridge over the Red Clay Creek. Foxhill Lane and West Rolling Mill Road in Wilmington, DE. See this picture for the bridge's history


    Hildy at Wooddalle Bridge in Wilmington DE. You can see the stem extension that Bller's Bikes added.


    Smith's Bridge over the Brandywine Creek near Centerville, DE



    a quickr pickr post
    Last edited by neilfein; 12-02-09 at 10:55 AM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Hildy at Philadelphia 30th Street Station. I'm done!



    a quickr pickr post
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  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    You might consider Rt 1 and the Conowingo Dam rather than going to Havre de Gras unless HdG is a goal for some reason.

    If stopping in Parkville would be an advantage we could offer a bed and a meal. Your route has you within about a mile of us when you are at Cromwell Bridge Road and 695.

  15. #15
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Thanks, but I've completed the tour already.

    A local cyslist did mention the dam to me. It sounds beautiful, but pretty stressful to ride on.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    Thanks, but I've completed the tour already.
    OOPS! I should have realized that. For some reason I was thinking that the pictures you posted were someone else's pictures of the route. Sorry I didn't make the offer sooner.

    Anyway I hope you had a great trip. As far as route 1 goes... I find it really pleasant and the dam isn't terrible, but yeah not for the squeamish.

  17. #17
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    Reckord, MD - I think on Harford road. Far and away the hardest hill I encountered on this tour. I'm proud to say I made it almost all the way up!
    I am surprised that was the hardest, I would have guess that some earlier in your trip would have been worse. Overall Harford Road is nice riding though. That section is on most of my longish day rides. I feel fortunate to have such nice riding so close to home.

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    Welcome back, Neil! And thanks for the photos of the covered bridges. I missed them when I toured Delaware this summer. :-(

  19. #19
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I am surprised that was the hardest, I would have guess that some earlier in your trip would have been worse.
    There were hills that were longer, and hills that were steeper. How hard a hill is to climb is determined by how warmed up I am, how tired I am, etc.
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