Gravel, Dirt & Blacktop (Ride Everything)

60F on December 13th! I could end this post here, that’s how nice of a day it was, but I won’t. If I did, I would not be able to share today’s fun ride on a mixed bag of terrain. Will, Eric, and I rode out of Action Bikes and Outdoor in Milford a little after noon. I over dressed, again (the only one not in shorts). We headed out to Milford Road, and climbed up to Conashaugh Road. With the pavement behind us, we rode the trail on Long Meadow Road and onto Zimmerman Road. Zimmerman is a mix of gravel and dirt, and leads right into the old Zimmerman Farm. It was the home of noted artist Marie Zimmerman (1879-1972). It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1979.

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This late in the fall, the leaves cover the trail

At the farm, we ran into Norman and Jamie. They were having a lot of fun on their awesome Fat Bikes. Zimmerman Road dumps you onto Rt. 209 for about 200 feet, then back up Zimmerman Road and into the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

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A Barn on Zimmerman Farm that has not been renovated yet
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This Barn stands tall! The wood and beautiful harware are still intact.

We climbed up and over a dirt section, and across 2 dried up river beds that sat a bit lower than the trail, and our bikes had to be walked. I was never a fan of hopping off the bike, but on a day like this, it just adds to the mixed bag of terrain we enjoyed.

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We came back to Rt. 209, and crossed over onto the McDade Trail. We rode the gravel for a few miles, and had to come back out onto the pavement for a mile and back on the McDade before reaching the Dingman’s Bridge. A wooden surface bridge that actually has a toll of $1.00. A Toll taker stands out in the middle of the bridge, between both lanes, and continues to turn around to take the toll from drivers travelling in each direction. It certainly takes you back to a simpler time.

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After crossing over the Delaware River into New Jersey, we turned left on Old Mine Road, and cruised down to Van Ness Road, a dirt and gravel road that leads into a section of single track, past an old baseball field in the middle of the woods.

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Van Ness Road climb

We then came to a climb that appeared from about 200 feet away to be a dirt wall. At the top, my legs burning by now, the road went back into single track for a couple of more miles of ups and downs. Then we came out onto Jagger Road. Turning left, we descended down to Old Mine, and hung a right towards the Milford Bridge. On The Pennsylvainia side we went down Metz Road past the old ice house and onto River Road, a short gravel section with a steep climb back up to 3rd St. A Quarter mile and 10 minutes later, we were sitting in the Frisky Goat Coffee House (in the same building as the bike shop), happy to have ridden this incredible route when it usually is covered in snow by now!

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Walpack & Back

Is it really December? As I am just getting over a nasty head cold, I thought I would spend the day today just relaxing and watch some football. I woke up early, and checked the weather: 37F at 8am. Looks like it might hit 50F. Change of plans. If I layer up and cover my head, I could take advantage of this incredible late autum warmth and get a ride in.

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Milford Bridge Bike Lane going in to Milford

I decided to do one of the areas most popular rides: Milford to the Walpack Inn. I left from Action Bikes and Outdoor in the heart of town, and headed to the Milford Bridge. Bicycles are only allowed in the bike lane on the side of the bridge, a narrow steel surface about 5 feet below the bridge’s vehicle lanes, giving you an awesome view of the Delaware river. Once over the bridge and into Montague, NJ, I climbed up Deckertown Turnpike for 2 miles and made a right onto New Road. New Road rolls down at about a 1% grade for 3.5 miles through a residental area and a couple of horse farms.

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A nice refurbished barn with an old style billboard advertisment

Crossing over Rt. 206, I went left onto Layton Hainesville Road. Littered with farms, churches, and old homes, Layton Hainesville Road drops you right into the small berg of Layton, NJ. A General Store turned Greek restaurant, an old hotel turned pizza parlor and an old mechanic shop are the focal points of a revived town with a reputation for good food. A few more miles and I rolled through Peter’s Valley (an artists’ colony), and made a left on Walpack-Flatbrook Road (Rt.615), a roller coaster type road that rises, descends, and winds throughout the Walpack Recreation Area. At about 16.5 miles, I turned around at the Walpack Inn, a restaurant set in the wooded landscape among every creature the area has to offer.

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The Walpack Inn – A popular weekend eatery.

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Heading back on Walpack-Flatbrook Road, you pass by the Walpack Center, a small former village, consisting of an old US Post Office, a museum, and a few old homes. I went straight at Peter’s Valley and up the backside of the Peter’s Valley Climb. This is the easier direction to climb the hill, but it can get steep, especially right at the beginning. This drops you at Rt. 560, riding straight across on to Old Mine Road, a quiet country road that connects the Dingmans Bridge with the Milford Bridge. Mostly flat, Old Mine Road zig-zags for 7 miles past 2 very old cemetaries in as picturesque a setting as you could imagine, and with almost no traffic.

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Old Mine Road at the switchback

I turned left at the end, and back toward and onto the Milford Bridge for one more view of the Delaware River before returning to Milford. In total, 31 miles, and just over 2,100 feet of climbing. I’ll take a December ride anytime mother nature wants to give it to me!

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Strava map of the Walpack ride