June 7, 2022
Day 3: Up through New Jersey
- Start: 29,745
- End: 29,995
- Miles: 250
Today was another beautiful day for riding, and the BMW R 1200 GS was up for the task. The highlight of the day was the ferry from Lewes, RI, to Cape May, NJ which broke up the day’s riding nicely.
Since I booked my ferry passage at 12:15, I started a bit earlier this morning to make sure I’d travel the 130 miles or so in plenty of time. I have to get there early, you know, and the ticket warns that I could forfeit my spot if I’m not there at least a half-an-hour before. I was aiming for about 11:00 to be safe.
The road through the cape was lovely. Little traffic meant I could use the cruise and enjoy the morning as I zipped north. Much of the ride was like this, until I crossed into Rhode Island. It’s as if I hit the town all of a sudden. The usual corporate establishments and plenty of traffic greeted me. My progress was slow from that point. In Millsboro, the GPS had me turn off the four-lane road down a two-lane, state road 24. There were moments of nice movement, but most of this was backed-up traffic, too. This road eventually spilled out onto a six-or-seven-lane beast near the port. A few more miles had me entering the ferry terminal right about 11:00. I stopped at the gate while an attendant checked my ticket; since I was early, she could put me on the 11:30 ferry for an additional $1. I splurged. I was first on, and tucked the GS right on the bow of the ship backed up to the gunwale.
The passage was pleasant, though I must admit, I did worry about the bike toppling over a couple of times. The boats rocked a bit, but all was good. I lounged on a comfortable chair with a coffee for most of the ride, though I did finally get the SL out for a few photos. I would estimate that the trip was a bit over an hour, but I don’t know for sure, since I was excited to get back on the road.
New Jersey: I was finally in state, but I had the length of it still to ride. I put the new hotel address in the GPS (More on that snafu later), and headed north. It was slow-moving at first as the GPS led me anywhere but to the Jersey Turnpike, it seemed. At one point, I was even riding right next to it as it seemed to taunt: you should be on me right now actually making some progress. Traffic through the town was slow, but eventually I was on the turnpike and zipping north. I knew I was in toll country, so I had attached my Uni e-pass to my windshield. I wasn’t sure that it would stay, so I kept checking it at first. It seemed pretty secure and didn’t give me any trouble.
That said, I was nervous about it actually working. Yesterday, at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge toll, the e-pass did not automatically raise the guard rail. Fortunately an attendant was in the lane I chose, and she was able to awkwardly scan the side of the pass to pay my toll. I was worried that I would have to do the same on the New Jersey tolls, and I wasn’t sure how many there would be.
I soon found out. I approached a toll lane that I was sure had an attendant and slowly went through; The readout blinked and said “toll paid,” and that was it. OK, no worries. Maybe these are like the readers on the HOV lanes in Atlanta that read the device electronically, rather than scanning a barcode like the on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Well, I wasn’t going to worry about it any more.
The Jersey Turnpike was as-expected: a bit trafficy and not too picturesque. However, I was at the hotel by about check-in time, even though at the end I thought I would never get there through all the streets, turns, highways, byways, roundabouts, and cut-throughs the GPS found for me. Is there no direct route to anything in Jersey? I still have my doubts.
While unloading the GS, I saw a couple of my Mailer peeps: Mike and Donna arrived shortly after I did, then Bonnie and Matt pulled in. We met in the lobby for dinner, adding Mashey, Ray, John Buffalo, and Barbara to our party. Dinner was like old times; we sat outside and talked and talked. I really missed these folks, and I was looking forward to the next couple of days.