July 22, 2016 – Sun, 95 degrees
Miles Today: 104
Miles to Date: 13,448
States to Date: 34
Some days you just have to pedal. After so much nostalgia and lots to ruminate upon, I looked forward to the fifth century of my adventure, pedaling through the Jersey Pines to historic Cape May. Five miles outside of Toms River, I entered the Pinelands, a land of scrub pine and package stores. I was never far from either the rest of the day.
Mishaps are an essential part of a long cycling day. When I missed a turn and wound up on a dirt road, GPS showed the highway I wanted was only two or three miles beyond. I thought I could handle that. Unfortunately, dirt roads in South Jersey aren’t dirt. They’re sand. In a few spots I had to push Tom through the soft white stuff.
With the thermometer flirting with 100 and a steady wind in my face, I drank over 300 ounces of water, Powerade and lemonade along the way. Twice, I stopped at Wawa, New Jersey’s preeminent convenience store, to camel up. They are the nicest quick road stops anywhere. The fresh made subs, ordered via computer, are better than anyone could expect at a convenience chain.
Along the way I had several stretches of excellent cycling. Ocean County 537 south to Tuckerton has smooth pavement and wide shoulders. Cape May County 661 is short but memorable; the trees create a full canopy over the road. My last twenty miles, along Highway 47 on the west side of Cape May, is a real treat. Besides being a good surface, the unspoiled area has many beautiful historic buildings, small farms and produce stands that offer the goodness of The Garden State to anyone willing to stop.