Bicycling the Delaware River

by Perette Barella

This travelogue follows a journey from Empire Haven in Moravia, New York to South Brunswick, New Jersey, then Princeton, then following the Delaware River to the headwaters of its west branch, and from there to home in Rochester, NY.


1. Empire Haven, Moravia, NY

2017-08-06 17:12

David and I spent the day at Empire Haven campground swimming and sunning. He left now, so I guess my adventure is starting.

2. Cortland, NY

2017-08-07 09:40

Just eating second breakfast and borrowing the wifi at a Dunkin' Donuts outside Cortland. A third of the way for today.

Perette's bicycle
My bicycle, getting loaded up for the day at Empire Heaven.
Valley vista
Vista over the valley north west of Cortland, New York.
Perette's bicycle
My bicycle, resting against a tree while taking a rest.

3. Chenango State Park, Chenango Forks, NY

2017-08-07 14:18

Made it here safely. Bike running well. It was sunny this morning, got overcast as I went south. A few light sprinkles around Chenango Forks and a light rain on arrival but overall a good day, could have been worse.

Camping at Chenango Forks State Park
Camping at Chenango Forks State Park.

4. Keen Lake, Waymart, PA

2017-08-08 18:53

Today was brutal, but I made it to Keen Lake safely (if exhausted).

I planned a route through Susquehanna, PA but somehow the cue sheets didn't get made that way. I ended up unnecessarily going through an extra river valley (and having all the climb that goes with that).

I got bonus miles because of a poorly signed detour, and Camp Tioga turned out not to be a campground but a kids' summer camp, obligating me to press on to here.

Two of the roads climbing out of river valleys were dirt. Awesome! (not)

On the positive side, 70 brutal miles today means a rolling thirty tomorrow, a forty on Thursday, and a 52 on Friday. I can do this.

Perette at the Pennsylvania border
Perette at the Pennsylvania border.
Vista near Camp Tioga
Vista on the top of the hill after passing Camp Tioga
Tenting at Keen Lake
Tenting at Keen Lake Campground in Pennsylvania

5. Riverside Camp Site, Milford, NY

2017-08-09 16:50

Pennsylvania is a hilly state. Today's were at least paved and mostly less steep.

At lunch I checked on the campground and it is now a private rv association. I located an alternate one on the Delaware on the outskirts of Milford, so the day was 45 miles instead of 30, but it wasn't as bad as yesterday and I arrived safely.

I passed a bike shop in Milford where I borrowed a pump to top up my tires.

Maximum Speed: 62.3km/hour
My maximum speed for the day: a crazy 62.3km/hour
Perette at Riverside Camp Site, Milford, PA
Perette at Riverside Camp Site, Milford, PA.

6. Panther Lake, Whitehall, NJ

2017-08-10 15:00

Arrived at Panther Lake Camping Resort. A little expensive for a campground ($51) but they have a hot tub.

There were hills coming into New Jersey, but it's leveled off now, just rolling hills. The rail trail was unpaved and sometimes muddy, but was also flat and shaded.

Entering New Jersey
Entering New Jersey.
Cresting the hills
Vista from atop of the mountains after entering New Jersey
A rail trail
Bicycling down some J. Random rail trail in northwest New Jersey
Wetlands along a rail trail
Wetlands along a rail trail in New Jersey
Rail trail overpass
A rail trail passing over an old, arched stone bridge

7. Paul's house, Dayton, NJ

2017-08-11 16:10

I made it to Paul's, where he had an eat-in chicken ready for me to eat, with potato chips on the side. Mmmm, salt!

I wish I could have gotten a photo of the light shining on my tent last night. The bike crank stuck out in just the right place to project its silhouette on the door's mosquito netting, like a kind of "bat signal".

Roads crossing sign
A road-crossing sign that might be a useful advisory
Bike skyway
A bike/pedestrian skyway to get over some highways
Distance to Paul's house: 450km

8. Ringing Rocks, Upper Black Eddy, PA

2017-08-14 16:50

I'm working my way toward home now. Today was a little over 50 miles to Ringing Rocks campground--Dogwood Haven was right next to the trail but no one was around. It was fairly spooky, it just needed a storm door with a bad latch and in need of oiling, slamming in the breeze to complete a Cabin in the Woods slasher/horror film motif. There are people around at the Ringing Rocks so it is less weird, although their definition of a tent site is pretty much "camper site with some wood chips put down instead of gravel."

Robertson Hall on the Princeton campus
Robertson Hall on the Princeton campus.
Perette's bike along the Delaware & Raritan Canal
Perette's bike along the Delaware & Raritan Canal.
Tenting at the Ringing Rocks Campground
Tenting at the Ringing Rocks Campground.

9. Driftstone Campground, Bethel, PA

2017-08-15 15:24

Belvidere NJ is an incredibly sad place to see, a town in decay. Don't go there unless you want to be depressed. Some of the other towns have been gentrified and become cute little tourist places, Easton seems to be struggling but trying. Belvidere feels like they gave up the fight.

Arrived safely at Driftstone Campground in Mt Bethel PA. Got a spacious site, grassy, for the biker rate of $9. Yay!

Rain last night, drizzly travel today but things are supposed to dry out soon.

D&L Canal Park in Easton, PA
Park at the north end of the Delaware and Lehigh canal in Easton, PA
Foul Rift
A view over Foul Rift
Tenting at Driftstone Campground, Bethel, PA
Tenting at Driftstone Campground, Bethel, PA.

10. After-dinner update

2017-08-15 18:38
Orange moth
I had a visitor while eating leftover Chinese food tonight.
Orange moth
The moth seemed to like the bright colors of the potato chip bag.

Sun has some out so I'm going to go sun and dry by the pool.

11. Delaware Water Gap, Water Gap, PA

2017-08-16 10:40

I've passed through the Delaware Water Gap, where the river squeezes through the mountains. I'm stopped at a little greasy spoon on US-209 for second breakfasts.

Trains in the Delaware Water Gap
Trains parked on a siding just south of the Delaware Water Gap.
A mountain overlooking the Delaware Water Gap
A mountain overlooking the Delaware Water Gap.
Delaware Water Gap
A view of the Delaware Water Gap from the south, looking north.
Delaware Water Gap
A view of the Delaware Water Gap from the lower viewing area.
Delaware Water Gap
A view of the Delaware Water Gap from the upper viewing area.
Appalachian Trail crossing & ice cream
The Appalachian Trail crossing in Water Gap, Pennsylvania. Sadly, the advertised ice cream shop was closed when I passed through.

12. Riverside Camp Site, Milford, PA

2017-08-16 16:51

I pressed on past Dingman's Campground because I had more in me and there was no comms there. So I'm back at Riverside with the soothing white noise of I-84. I went swimming in the river when I got in, which was nice.

Going north from here, I'll be off the beaten path and I'm not sure how mobile service will be.

Friday's weather is looking crappy, but Paul has a wedding in northeast Pennsylvania on Saturday, so we're talking about getting together and sharing a room in Hancock NY Friday night. It would be a perk at the end of a yucky day to have a nice, cozy room with a cuddly friend.

US-209 in the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area
US-209 in the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area.
Riverside Camp Site, Milford, PA
Tenting at Riverside Camp Site in Milford, PA.

13. Narrowsburg, NY

2017-08-17 14:47

I made it as far as Narrowsburg, NY today. It's been kind of hilly but manageable. It's about 40 miles tomorrow to Hancock where Paul and I have a room reserved tomorrow night.

There were some pretty areas today that reminded me of the Blue Ridge. I liked the aqueduct too.

Fishing vs bicycling sign
Fishing vs bicycling sign.
Delaware River
The Delaware River, a little north of Port Jervis
Roebling's Aqueduct
A view of Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct, which formerly carried the D&H canal across the Delaware river.
Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct
Roebling's aqueduct has been de-watered and converted to a single-lane crossing of the Delaware River.

14. Upper Delaware Inn, Hancock, NY

2017-08-18 13:06

I made it to the inn/motel safely. After mowing down an order of General Tso's chicken yesterday evening, I went into a protein coma before the sun was even down. I got up and on the road early... It had been raining overnight, I'm not sure how hard, but had stopped while packing up. I hit a few drizzles but mostly it was just foreboding, until the last 15 or 20 minutes of riding. It's raining now too.

Linear Roadster Recumbent
My recumbent parked outside the Upper Delaware Inn.
Confluence of of the Delaware
The confluence of the Delaware river is just beyond the bend in the river.
Lumberyard in Hancock, NY
Lumberyard in Hancock, NY.
Bridge across west branch of Delaware River, Hancock, NY
Bridge across west branch of Delaware River, Hancock, NY.

15. Buena Vista, Delhi, NY

2017-08-19 16:50

Paul sent me off with a filling breakfast at Circle E diner in Hancock. I made my last pass through Pennsylvania to get to Deposit, NY, where the west branch switches from northwest to northeast.

When I reached the Cannonsville Reservoir, built in the 50s and 60s to meet NYC's water needs, mom caught up with me and I offloaded gear to her car. The reservoir was probably 25km/15miles. We had ice cream in Walton, then went on to Delhi. We're in a nice little motel called the Buena Vista.

Today's distance today was 94km = 57 miles.

Outskirts of Deposit, NY
Vista outside Deposit, NY
Cannonsville Reservoir
Cannonsville Reservoir along NY-10 between Deposit and Walton, NY.
Farm near Delancey, NY
Farm near Delancey, NY.

16. Little Lake Campground, Jefferson, NY

2017-08-20 14:31

Reached the headwaters of the Delaware west branch today, and moved into... Well, I'm not sure what basin I'm in: Mohawk, Schuykill, Susquehanna or something else entirely.

Camping with mom at the Little Lake Campground in Jefferson, NY. Monday onto Cooperstown.

Covered bridge over the Delaware River in the Catskills
Covered bridge over the Delaware River in the Catskills.
An old stone bridge in the Catskills near the Delaware river
An old stone bridge in the Catskills near the Delaware river.
An old stone bridge crossing the Delaware River in the Catskills
An old stone bridge crossing the Delaware River in the Catskills.
Delaware River West Branch
The Delaware River West Branch snakes through a field near the headwaters outside Stamford, NY.
Vista near Stamford, NY
A vista outside Stamford, NY.
Pond on Delaware River West Branch
A pond at the headwaters of the West Branch of the Delaware River.

17. Cooperstown Family Campground, Cooperstown, NY

2017-08-21 18:51

Arrived at the Cooperstown Family Campground hot & tired but healthy. Mom is still traveling with me, which is nice.

Interstate 88
I-88 near Chaseville, NY.
Train crossing
A train crossing near Chaseville, NY.
Sundown at Cooperstown Family Campground
Sundown at Cooperstown Family Campground.
Camping with my mom at Cooperstown Family Campground
Camping with my mom at Cooperstown Family Campground.

18. Hubbardsville, NY

2017-08-22 13:50

Camping with mom a few miles from Hamilton NY. There were some crazy and some erroneous routes today, but it was only 30 miles. Some nice, long downhills, although I paid for them afterwards.

Going into town for BBQ tonight. dreams of meat

Farm in Burlington Flats, NY
Farm in Burlington Flats, NY.
Owl statue
An owl statue in the gazebo on the green, Burlington Flats, NY.
The green in Burlington Flats, NY
The green in Burlington Flats, NY.

19. Green Lakes State Park, Fayetteville, NY

2017-08-23 16:35

Staying in Green Lakes State Park a little east of Syracuse.

Mom departs back to CT tomorrow so I'll be back to a full load, but just two days. I'm glad she came, it made some of the toughest sections less tough.

Today I had a headwind that got tiring but there were fewer hills. It was a good day, we got to swim in the lake here at the park. We're camping next to Jesus loonies who have continuous Christian country playing. Ugh. God, please save me from your followers.

Country roads near Peterboro, NY
Country roads near Peterboro, NY.
Farm near Peterboro, NY
Farmland between Peterboro and Canastota, NY.
Wind farms near Peterboro, NY
Wind farms near Peterboro, NY.
Wind turbine
A wind turbine outside Peterboro, NY.
Canastota, NY
A vista overlooking Canastota, NY.
Perette Barella
Perette on the Old Erie Canal path near Fayetteville, NY.
The Old Erie Canal towpath
The Old Erie Canal towpath near Fayetteville, NY.

20. Oak Orchard Marina, Savannah, NY

2017-08-24 15:24

I'm camping tonight at Oak Orchard Marina & Campgrounds, at the edge of the Montezuma swamp at the north end of a Cayuga lake. There's some mosquitos now, I'm betting more at dusk.

Today's weather was weird... Too hot to cycle with a shirt, but chilly in just a sports bra. At times it seemed like I was going to rain, but did little more than a few drops. Other times the sun was out.

A lot of today was on towpath of the Old Erie Canal. Tonight I'm camped between the modern barge canal and the original; the marina opens on the barge canal.

Tomorrow to Rochester and completion! My own bed, Sticky Lips, and snuggling with David! And my washing machine, because some of my clothes are really starting to need it.

Linear Roadster loaded up for touring
My bike loaded up with all my gear.
Aqueduct on the Old Erie Canal
Aqueduct on the Old Erie Canal.
Tenting at Oak Orchard Marina
Tenting at Oak Orchard Marina.
Boat on the Erie Canal
A boat passing by on the Erie Canal, at Oak Orchard Marina.
Purple flowers
Purple flowers in the wetlands at Oak Orchard Marina.
Mixed flowers
Flowers in the wetlands at Oak Orchard Marina.
Goldenrod at Oak Orchard Marina.
Daisies at Oak Orchard Marina.
A bird in its nest at Oak Orchard Marina.
A bird in its nest at Oak Orchard Marina.
Erie canal overflow
Water overflows from the Erie Canal near Palmyra, NY.

21. Home, Rochester, NY

2017-08-25 15:40

I made it home! I hope you enjoyed the pictures and adventure of the last few weeks.

Overall, it was a good adventure--but, I've resolved that I will no longer tolerate problem dogs. After today's encounter, I stopped and called 911, then waited and filed a police report. I'm going to track down the dog warden for the county I had the problem in the other day, and write a letter. And I'm going to acquire some dog spray and a mount so I've got easy access on the bike. I am not going to let shitty dog owners and poorly trained animals fuck up my experience anymore. Enough is enough.

Odometer at the end of the trip: I cycled 1300km.