Day 8: West Plainfield, NJ to Evansburg State Park (PA) – 85 miles

Hello cornfields, silos, tow paths, canals, farmlands and horses. There were hours today were no cars passed me. So nice being on paths just for pedestrian travel. Time for more advice for Fort Mill and Charlotte. You don’t have to over complicate this. When you build or expand roads (take the Fort Mill or Tega Cay ByPasses for example), just make room for a single strip of 10-12 foot wide paved paths separated by cheap wooden fencing. You’d be amazed how many people are biking, running and walking around in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. 

Today I slept in until 6:40 and didn’t roll out on the bike until 8am. It felt kinda good. Sunday morning traffic was light as I made my way in the general direction of Princeton University. Much of this early route was along an old canal tow path. Small bits of crushed gravel (think ball field gravel) made for a nice trail.  I did take my first fall of the trip on this path – a sharp incline caught me out of gear and most know the drill from here. A long, slow, awkward tiiiiimmmberrrrrr. No real damage beyond my ego. 

Princeton was busy with new student activities. Signs everywhere for club sign ups, directional signs to various halls, etc. I grabbed a coffee and a sandwich and sat in a park and watched it all go by me. Until Poppie showed up and took a keen interest in my travels. She and her husband had just returned from a week Bath, Maine and they thought it was funny that we were likely all there at the same time and yet were meeting here in Princeton. The conversation was pleasant. 

I have noticed on this trip that I’m most comfortable somewhere between Newark and Princeton. Not location, but in terms of atmosphere and pretense. Fort Mill gets that about right for me. I also noticed today that I have fewer miles left than I have ridden. 580-ish left vs 675 ridden. 

After Princeton it was about 50-55 more miles to Evansburg. Mostly farmland, a few small towns and decent roads the entire way. One notable was crossing the Delaware at the spot where George Washington led the troops to take on the British at Trenton. Cool grated narrow bridge crossing at a town aptly named Washington’s Crossing. I played tourist for 20-30 minutes and then pressed on. 

What did I love today: Talking to Cindy, Charlie and Will.  Truth be told, I’m a little homesick. I also enjoyed relaxing through the morning. No real push for miles made for an easy going morning.  

Oddity: Deer in Pennsylvania are everywhere and almost expect you to move for them. I caught four of them plowing through a field of soybeans and they were like, “yeah, so?  Scram you.”

Zen moment: Riding on the Delaware Raritan Canal Trail or riding through the corn fields. 

Not-so-zen moment:  Waking up in HoJos? Crashing on the Delaware Raritan Canal Trail. 

Who did I meet: Poppie and her unnamed husband. 65-70 and wanting to take a bike tour in the coming year. I put them onto Backroads. 

Food I ate: Raisin Bran and bagel with cream cheese at the hotel. Breakfast sandwich from Starbucks, large coffee and banana for morning snack/lunch 1, sour cream donut (I think I’m over Donuts), bar on the bike, 1/2 subway tuna sub, chips and two cookies I’ve been holding onto since Fairfield.

Pictures: 1) Top – rolling fields of PA, 2) Princeton, 3) Washington Crossing Bridge, 4) Delaware River, 5) Delaware Raritan Canal. 

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