DAY 1: Fri. Sep. 9 Trenton to Allentown [66-mi, 5:34, 432-ft]
I started at the Trenton Battle Monument because it was close to Allen Ross’ home. Allen’s wife, Rose, was a good friend and colleague of Cathy’s who died during Covid, and this was her first chance to visit the burial site.
The Delaware and Raritan Canal trail ran right past the monument, so I was off and rolling. The trail wasn’t much used, poorly maintained and poorly marked so I had to ride a few blocks on quiet city streets. But quickly the path improved, and the riding became very pleasant. It was a fine sunny day and riding next to the water with the geese, turtles, a doe and even an osprey was great. There were only a few other cyclists, joggers, pedestrians, and fishermen to be seen. I stopped for a snack at the bakery in Lambertville, which is a lovely cutesy town.
A bridge was out on the trail, but a hiker on the other side of the canal yelled across giving me instructions on how to get to his side by going back to an old railroad bridge. People had nailed down scraps of lumber to make a walkway. Five miles later a second bridge was out, and it was clear I had to go up on the highway for a few miles. I saw a cyclist riding by, caught up with him to talk about conditions ahead and draft on him. Got back on the towpath and met Cathy for lunch in Frenchtown NJ.
Then I crossed the Delaware River to Pennsylvania to pick up on the Delaware and Lehigh Canal towpath trail. Both trails are part of their state park systems. This trail was minimally developed and maintained up to Easton, but rideable. Easton to Bethlehem I came across great sections, some even paved but had some trouble. It must have been at the Rt 33 access point, the trail just seemed to disappear in a parking lot. I went down the boat ramp to the river, I cycled a couple miles out the entrance road and just couldn’t find a way. I went back to the parking lot and talked to a guy who gave me enough of a hint to find it. Indeed, there was a little 3x3 inch arrow sign pointing down the ramp and in the corner there was a dirt path. It was about a mile of riding on an unmaintained single-track path – very strange. Past a gun club firing away. Then back to a perfectly OK trail. At Bethlehem I crossed the river for the night’s lodging with Cathy and a very nice dinner in Bethlehem with colleagues of Cathy’s from OVR. We both thought Bethlehem to be an attractive, interesting town worthy of more exploration someday.