Day 58: Pipersville, PA to Brooklyn, NY- 85 miles, Total 3577.6 miles
We couldn’t have found a better place to spend our final night. Chris Shaw’s home proved nothing short of an oasis and such a great closure to our sleeping away from home. Thanks again, Chris!
Eager to hit the road, we did a number of our daily routines for the last time (though quicker than usual): consumed breakfast, did a final check for our stuff and locked the door on our way out. Already somewhat familiar with the roads in the area, with our short drive to the grocery store last night, we knew what to expect for the early part of our day. Up and down on crazy backroads with plenty of amazing stone house scenery, things felt very much like New England (home to us both). Wooded roads, with barely enough space for two cars, twisted through tight corners and fast descents.
Once we emerged into a more commercial area, we happened upon a McDonald’s. Many days of the trip, we flirted with the idea of an Egg McMuffin breakfast, but it wasn’t until today, our final day, that it became a reality. To make our endeavor count, Edie and I both consumed two each. We left having used most, but probably not all of our taste buds (current billboard marketing reference).
We now found ourselves very close to New Jersey. The towns on both sides of the river that separated PA and NJ were extremely cute and full of old world flair. Upon crossing said bridge (well, walked it, as instructed by signage and a pedestrian), we entered New Jersey. Lambertville marked our first sights within the state that bordered our very own. The original plan was to have spent the night here with Jed, but the mileage hadn’t worked out to do so. We’ll get the mileage right for the next trip and hopefully Jed’s offer will still stand.
A hill lied just outside of the main street area and we climbed out of town and up into New Jersey. Atop the hill we passed Wheelfine Imports, but they weren’t open yet. We had looked forward to checking it out, but our sights were now set on a 4:30 ferry out of Highlands. The weekend schedule lacked the regularity of the weekday, making it 4:30 or 7:30. The 7:30 would put us into the city well after dark, a scenario far less than ideal.
Regardless, we pressed on to this road and that road and a series of turns. Some of the roads were a bit sketchy and full of traffic, though we were never on a road for too long, so our attention was mainly paid to finding the next road. We continued to turn and turn and turn. With some confusion over where Ridge Road did and did not merge with another street, a wrong turn backtracked us. Ending in a five to six mile error, we managed to correct it soon enough to stay on schedule.
As we continued with the turns and constant checking of the iPhone (for fear of another wrong turn), we drew nearer to the beach. We began to make a step like pattern with the streets until it stepped us all the way to the water. There it was, Atlantic Highlands and just across the water Brooklyn lingered in the distance. Sure, we’d have to go into Manhattan first and then back out to Brooklyn, but, regardless, we’d be home via the 4:30 ferry. Though, we still had another two miles to get to our ferry. This location only ran during the week.
The distance between the two wouldn’t have been an issue if the bike/recreation lane to take us there wasn’t closed. But alas, it was closed and no one seemed to have a good answer as how to get us to our actual destination. We headed back to the multi lane road that brought us in and took it from there. With the iPhone’s help, we mapped a new route and made it in time. We headed onto a floating vessel for our tickets and even had time to spare for a sandwich.
Not enough time to enjoy the sandwiches anywhere other than on the ferry, though. We boarded an undersold ferry with our bikes at our sides. I don’t think I would have been as calm if they were anywhere else. After we ate, Edie set out for photos from the deck, but the Noreaster high winds lingered and she returned photo-less and damp from ocean spray. The high speed ferry really was just that, we were going under the Verrazano Bridge before we knew it. Edie recounted various NYC Marathon starts as she gazed up at it. It really is a massive structure. The scenery was now extremely familiar, there it was- our beloved city. We were home, not home to our actual home, but home none-the-less.
We rolled off the ferry and I’m still not sure what we felt. A mix of excitement, fear, conquest and uncertainty lumped together with nearly every other type of feeling. As we stood there in a daze of sorts a man approached us and Edie seemed to know him. Before I knew what was happening, Edie’s co-worker and dear friend, Meghan ran up to Edie. Having pulled off one of the greatest non planned surprises in the history of ferry arrivals, Meghan and her husband were off nearly as fast as they appeared. It turns out they were New Jersey bound on the same ferry we had just arrived on. The same ferry they were about to miss, but didn’t after a quick goodbye.
Ok, back to just the two of us again with our overwhelming feelings. Naturally, we decided to take the Brooklyn Bridge for it’s scenic value and, naturally, it was crowded with tourists (once we found it, that is, our NYC navigation skills were a bit rusty). Happy to have made it over the bridge without any serious incident, our home grew near. We began to pass one familiar restaurant, store or deli after another until we hit Prospect Park. We now rolled car free in the park taking in the bustling area of physical activity. Some finished up runs, some walked and we even encountered a cyclist. We briefly recounted our journey for him to which he responded “you two look as fresh as daisies.” Edie and I both smiled at each other, said farewell to the cyclist and turned out of the park. A neighbor greeted us on our street welcoming us home and then there home was, plastered with a welcome home banner. It was all surreal, but we were home and our cross country honeymoon cycling adventure was over.