Epic Journey: North America cross country drive, New Jersey

So much about writing regularly about all my adventures, yeah. It’s been awhile.

I don’t know if anyone still remembers my existence, but a promise is a promise (and that does include post cards which I promised many people… they are sitting next to my bed waiting to be written) so here I am, trying to catch up.

I made it to Australia, I got to tour the Sydney and Melbourne regions a bit and I’ve been working on a farm on the Liverpool plains for the past two weeks. It’s everything I dreamed of when I decided on this part of the Epic Journey so you won’t be hearing any complaints from me! (Except maybe on how expensive the internet is, which is a major reason I haven’t been around but that’s a topic for another day.)

But before we were so rudely interrupted by my lack of writing, I was telling about my drive across the continent. I believe I left off while I was staying with Ed in New Jersey. It seems right to pick up from there.

I did originally write part 2 of the Epic North America Drive as one big post, but even by keeping my writing to the depth of “we went to x and it was fun“, it was too long to be worthwhile. So to make this travelling journaling more readable, I’ll feed it to the blog bit by bit.

Oh and I was going to make a nice map of the whole drive to make visual types, like myself, happy, but I realized I don’t have any imaging software on this computer and not enough data to download one. So you’ll just have to look at the one on the previous post and imagine the line being all the same colour. (The map isn’t 100% accurate regarding my itinerary, but it’s close enough.)

The second part of that journey leg was really different from the first. No less hectic – I don’t know how to be not-hectic, but instead of exploring my focus was more about reconnecting with (and showing Ed) places that are significant from me. Because, no matter how much I try to escape it, I was born and raised on the East Coast.

New Jersey

When you’re driving, you know when you cross the invisible border between the Midwest and the East Coast. Your thoughts go from “why is everyone driving so slow?” to “HOW THE HELL CAN EVERYONE DRIVE SO FAST?!?!” Your bladder becomes easier to empty, the gas prices skyrise and you longingly reminisce on having 6 lanes to yourself as you try to squeeze into the one, winding, hilly lane that somehow fits two directions of traffic, several packs of joggers, a lost herd of cattle and a pair of cyclists (plus that guy who finds some way to pass you).

I’ve always kinda wondered how anyone could live in New Jersey. It has the knack of being too crowded and too sprawled at the same time, it has very little local pride, it’s stupidly expensive for no reason, and, besides beaches and Atlantic city, it doesn’t advertise any really memorable feature. Since sampling its driving conditions, I REALLY wonder how anyone can live in New Jersey and be willing to step outside their houses.

But regardless, it’s Ed’s home state and we had plenty to do. (“What are we going to do at your place for almost one whole week?” I asked. Silly me.) We met up with our guild leader for most of a day (which is something I always look forward to when I got to New Jersey. Meeting up with guildies is like my favorite to do and our guild leader is a super cool guy.) We went to dinner with one of Ed’s clients/friends and her brother in New York (Becco’s – a higher end but still super reasonably priced Italian place in…um… a part of NYC that looks a lot like everywhere else in NYC), also a fantastic evening. Thinking back, I should have used the oppertunity to dress up, with it being NYC and all but… I think by the time I reached the East Coast I was so tired of packing and repacking that I was just wearing one of two outfits (nice outfit or comfy outfit) all the time.

Then Ed talked me into canoe-camping.

Generally I’m the outdoorsey one in the relationship. He’s a great sport (and i mean it – a really great sport. I’ve dragged him to do so many crazy, uncomfortable things and he NEVER complains) about eveything. Camping, though, is one of those things I did lots of as a kid/teenager and I feel like I’ve been there, done that about it. But Ed loves camping. And he likes canoing. I don’t play well with others so kayaking is my sport. My canoeing excursions generally end with me turning my paddle into a weapon. But since he always follows me on my adventures, I gave it a go. And it ended up being really fun.

Canada 2 and Australia 1 024

We floated down the Delaware River Gap, which runs between Pennsylvania and New Jersey (and not Delaware, at least not at that height).


I can see why a lot of canoe camping journeys use it: it was perfect. (If you’re looking to do the same thing as us, the company we went with was Kittatinny Canoes. They did a good job and, as far as I can tell, they were easy to book/deal with.)

The water is calm, but there’s enough of a current to keep us from having to work hard. I asked for a shortish route, so we did 21 miles and we probably could have finished in one day. (But what’s the fun in that?) The whole river is beautiful (I swear! My pictures just kinda suck.) and there are nice campspots to choose from along the way.

We were lucky with the weather (besides the lack of light not being ideal for photos). It did rain. And thunder and lightning and flash flood warnings and everything, but it did so after we finished supper and got our campsite all ready. So we barely go wet at all. I was nervous about the canoes getting washed away, but clever thinking had us pull them way up on the shore and tipped outside down, so everything was fine the next morning. (Other people we met were not so lucky: one group had to hunt down an escaped canoe at 3 am. If any of my childhood canoe camping in a wet climate adventures taught me anything, its how to keep canoes from fleeing into a swollen river.)

By morning, the rain had almost stopped and by the time we were ready to set off, it had dried up completely. I know. Look up “lucky” in the dictionnary and you’ll see a picture of our faces.

As a side note, I got really dirty. Like, really, really dirty. No matter how much I scrubbed, it took me a good week to get all the dirt off me. I realize how old and no-fun I’m getting: there was a time where being THAT dirty would have been the coolest. Ah well.

Next stop, the Westernish part of La Belle Province!

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2 Responses to Epic Journey: North America cross country drive, New Jersey

  1. Jemmy says:

    Lovely to see an update, I’ve been wondering how your trip was going. Welcome to Australia, yes our internet options are horrible, sorry about that.

    • Ophelie says:


      And yeah, the internet is SO bad. It’s definitely not the end of the world (internet problems while on extended holidays probably qualify as the quintessential first world problem) but I wasn’t expecting it. Everyone back home was asking me if I thought I’d have internet in Asia, but no one suggested that Australia might be problematic.

      But maybe it’s a good thing – instead of being glued to the computer, I’m forced to get out to discover this super beautiful country.

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