“If you wish to go fast, go alone. If you wish to go far, go together.” – African proverb
Our four-day journey up the Delaware River to its source begins on the hottest day of the year. It is near 90 degrees as my girlfriend, Cori, and I pack “Big Red” (my 2005 Suzuki V-Strom). We set off, happy to at last be underway and as always, to simply be together.
Traveling north along the easterly side of the Delaware on Route 29 from Lambertville, PA, we follow the twists and turns of the river, and enjoy the shade. After a brief jaunt on I-80 just across the river from Portland, we turn onto Old Mine Road, one of the oldest continually used roads in the U.S., which has become one of my favorites. Old Mine Road is a 250-year-old roadway named after the mines at Pahaquarry, which meanders through Worthington State Forest. It is closed during the winter, is a single lane in sections, and its terrain varies from pavement to dirt to stone. The road is completely isolated, and we feel at one with the forest.
Old Mine Road eventually brings us to the town of Port Jervis, NY, and one of the more exciting roads in the area that is part of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway known as Hawk’s Nest. Route 97 through Port Jervis has heavy traffic but once through town we climb away from the noise. Hawk’s Nest was originally built as a one-lane dirt road in 1859. In 2002, it officially became part of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway and is named for the birds of prey that nest in the area. This stretch of road features a sheer rock face to the right and breathtaking views of the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware to the left. It ascends hundreds of feet above the river, twisting as you ride, and features several overlooks for photo opportunities. The cautionary speed limit is 25 but the posted limit is 55. We take it at a fairly brisk pace until we run into some slower traffic.
An Evening High Above the Delaware
Our destination on day one is Barryville, NY, a tiny one-light town along route 97. We’re staying at the ECCE (pronounced et chay) Bed and Breakfast—the house is perched right on the cliff face. The Carriage House is highly recommended by a few of the other guests, so we head there for dinner and discuss our plans for the next day. We leave ECCE after having made new friends with owners Alan and Kurt, and with a promise to return for an extended stay in the near future.