Author Topic: Delmarva  (Read 6828 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline HikeBikeCook

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 497
  • Touring for over 50 years and still learning
Re: Delmarva
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2022, 02:45:34 pm »
I think it boils down to the contractual agreement with Reserve America, which seems to have a monopoly on state park reservations. Once your are past the reservation window it is up to the park staff's judgement. If you have alternatives, just showing up may work most of the time. The Reserve America system is pretty ludicrous - I wanted a single night and there were campsites with people checking out one day and then reserved again only one day out - basically leaving the site empty, but out of play in the reservation system.

Goodwill by staff is a crap shoot. I would take my chances solo, since I could sleep in the bushes on the side of the road, but not traveling with my wife. I also remember being turned away at Lake of the Clouds Hut just below MT. Washington during my AT hike. Big sign says something like "entering an area where the most severe weather in the world has been recorded - turn back now if bad weather." AMC policy is to make room for through hikers if dangerous weather. Weather board in the hut said Severe Thunderstorms Forecast. The Cru Manager at the Hut turned me away. I got to the summit of Washington and checked in at the weather station. They said okay for now but things could change in 15 minutes. You are well above the tree line here on a mountain where hundreds of people have died. I made a dash for the next shelter and got caught in a horrible hail and lightening storm with 65 mph gusts. Lightening was striking the peaks around me and I kept getting blown over. I squatted in some scrub pine I found for an hour.

Some much for relying on the good will and judgement of the person in charge of the facility.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline dan_t

Re: Delmarva
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2022, 09:31:05 pm »
I haven't ridden the whole route, but I'm planning to ride either the east or west route to Virginia Beach next month, and I've done a fair amount of riding in eastern MD, Delaware, and the Outer Banks. In my opinion, the western part of the route in Maryland seems like it would be better than the Delaware part. I've done a few rides through Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, and it's awesome. Basically a road through a swamp. The coast all looks the same, so to me, that further tilts things to the western route through Blackwater.

Further north, the East Coast Greenway around Wilmington and New Castle is one of the most impressive urban trail systems that I've ever ridden on. I'm not sure if the ACA route goes through there. I don't have the maps yet.

On the coast, the big variable is the wind. I had a 25 mph tailwind heading south through the Outer Banks in May 2020 and it was great, but there was a pair of tourers heading north into that wind, each with a four pannier set up, and they looked absolutely miserable.

Offline Ty0604

Re: Delmarva
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2022, 04:13:03 pm »
For anyone staying in Chincoteague, the hotels in town are almost the same price as the 3 campgrounds. Each campground is $50-$60/night so we ended up booking at a nice hotel for $66 after taxes.
Instagram: tyjames0604

WI—>WA—>CO

Offline dan_t

Re: Delmarva
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2022, 09:56:02 pm »
Just got back from the Delmarva route. My plan was to do 2.5 days (about 260 miles) on the Maryland alternate from the top of the Chesapeake Bay to the southern tip of the VA eastern shore, where I'd meet my girlfriend, who was running a marathon in Virginia Beach. On the last day, I had some strong headwinds (20-30mph) and knew I wouldn't be making it to the end of the peninsula by dark, so I quit after about 40 miles, just a few miles into VA, and caught a ride with my girlfriend. It was a bummer but that's how rigidly planned tours sometimes turn out.

A few observations:
* Chestertown hotel prices are steep -- $120+ taxes for a Red Roof Inn in March, which is still the Eastern Shore off season. I imagine that all the hotels will be very expensive during the summer. I stealth camped around Chestertown and stayed with a friendly Warmshowers host in Salisbury the next night.
* The roads are generally good quality, and either low traffic roads or busier roads with wide shoulders. I went over the Chesapeake City and Chestertown bridges during rush hour in the rain, and I was fine.
* I highly recommend taking Wildlife Drive through Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. It's just south of Key Wallace Drive. It's a narrow road through a marsh. It's one way, so if you're riding south, you'll have to do a loop.
* There is a road closed on the route SW of Vienna, MD, but there is a well-marked detour.
* The Wicomico River Ferry stopped at 6pm, which I did not make it to, so I went through Salisbury.

Offline Ty0604

Re: Delmarva
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2022, 11:01:33 am »
Just got back from the Delmarva route. My plan was to do 2.5 days (about 260 miles) on the Maryland alternate from the top of the Chesapeake Bay to the southern tip of the VA eastern shore, where I'd meet my girlfriend, who was running a marathon in Virginia Beach. On the last day, I had some strong headwinds (20-30mph) and knew I wouldn't be making it to the end of the peninsula by dark, so I quit after about 40 miles, just a few miles into VA, and caught a ride with my girlfriend. It was a bummer but that's how rigidly planned tours sometimes turn out.

A few observations:
* Chestertown hotel prices are steep -- $120+ taxes for a Red Roof Inn in March, which is still the Eastern Shore off season. I imagine that all the hotels will be very expensive during the summer. I stealth camped around Chestertown and stayed with a friendly Warmshowers host in Salisbury the next night.
* The roads are generally good quality, and either low traffic roads or busier roads with wide shoulders. I went over the Chesapeake City and Chestertown bridges during rush hour in the rain, and I was fine.
* I highly recommend taking Wildlife Drive through Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. It's just south of Key Wallace Drive. It's a narrow road through a marsh. It's one way, so if you're riding south, you'll have to do a loop.
* There is a road closed on the route SW of Vienna, MD, but there is a well-marked detour.
* The Wicomico River Ferry stopped at 6pm, which I did not make it to, so I went through Salisbury.

Thanks for your input! Won’t be riding the alternate but good to have some feedback regarding it. Sorry to hear about the headwinds.

Which Wicomico Ferry did you attempt to use? There are two available, the Upper Ferry and Whitehaven Ferry. Regardless, they have the same operating hours and are closed several days a year.

March 1st to May 15th 7am - 6pm.
May 16th to September 15th 7am - 7pm.
September 16th to October 31st 7am - 6pm.
November 1st to February 28th 7am - 5:30pm.

Both closed on:
New Year’s, MLK Day, Presidents Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth National Freedom Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans day, Thanksgiving, Native American Heritage Day, and Christmas

I leave for my tour on May 5th and will report back after I finish around May 15th.

Instagram: tyjames0604

WI—>WA—>CO

Offline Ty0604

Re: Delmarva
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2022, 07:30:28 pm »
Left Philadelphia today and began Delmarva. Did 60 miles to Lums Pond State Park in Delaware.

Will do a full recap when I reach Charlotte next Friday.

One minor detail: The bicycle shuttle across the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel is $14, not $13 as listed on the map.
Instagram: tyjames0604

WI—>WA—>CO

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Delmarva
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2022, 10:39:59 am »
FYI...Anyone planning to stay at Cape Henlopen State Park would do well to check availability.  I have a dollar to a donut that weekends are fully booked through the summer.  I was there for two nights (Friday and Saturday) this Easter weekend.  I made my reservation in mid-February and the place was almost booked solid at that time.  Also,  there is a two night minimum, at least on weekends.  (I have never tried to book during the week.) The good news is that the place is worthy of an extra day.  Lots of areas to explore in an around the park.  Many of them can be accessed via bike trails.  And good dolphin spotting during much of the year.  I came over from Cape May, NJ via the ferry to Lewes.  Nice ride, and we diverted course a bit to get a better look at a whale.  Another option during a day off there is to hop the ferry to check put the tony beach town of Cape May, NJ.  $10 each way.  No surcharge for bikes.  About a 90 min. sail.  The center of Cape May is about a 5 mile ride from the ferry terminal on flat roads with wide shoulders.

Offline Ty0604

Re: Delmarva
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2022, 10:44:47 am »
FYI...Anyone planning to stay at Cape Henlopen State Park would do well to check availability.  I have a dollar to a donut that weekends are fully booked through the summer.  I was there for two nights (Friday and Saturday) this Easter weekend.  I made my reservation in mid-February and the place was almost booked solid at that time.  Also,  there is a two night minimum, at least on weekends.  (I have never tried to book during the week.) The good news is that the place is worthy of an extra day.  Lots of areas to explore in an around the park.  Many of them can be accessed via bike trails.  And good dolphin spotting during much of the year.  I came over from Cape May, NJ via the ferry to Lewes.  Nice ride, and we diverted course a bit to get a better look at a whale.  Another option during a day off there is to hop the ferry to check put the tony beach town of Cape May, NJ.  $10 each way.  No surcharge for bikes.  About a 90 min. sail.  The center of Cape May is about a 5 mile ride from the ferry terminal on flat roads with wide shoulders.

Just happened to be stopped for lunch when I saw your reply.

All Delaware State Parks have a two night minimum on weekends and some holiday weekends require three nights but apparently not Easter.

I stayed at Killens Pond for two nights but it was well worth it as a Nor’easter pounded the area. I upgraded to a cabin and took shelter during the storm.

Quick update: I’m about halfway between Chincoteague and Cape Charles, where I’ll stop today to catch the shuttle across the bay in the morning.

The causeway from the mainland to Chincoteague isn’t for the faint of heart. Especially not during the wind and high tide. Nasty ride yesterday.
Instagram: tyjames0604

WI—>WA—>CO

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Delmarva
« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2022, 07:49:50 am »

Just happened to be stopped for lunch when I saw your reply.

All Delaware State Parks have a two night minimum on weekends and some holiday weekends require three nights but apparently not Easter.

Cape Henlopen did require three nights Easter weekend even though I was only staying for two.

Offline Ty0604

Re: Delmarva
« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2022, 04:02:16 pm »
Okay so we're done with the ride. Here's a recap.

Day 1: Philadelphia ---> Bear, DE: Getting out of the city was fine. Unfortunately, there were a lot cars parked in the bike lanes and the traffic lane paralleling the bike lanes have train tracks as well so going around cars can be dangerous, especially through U Penn's campus. We avoided the section through campus and stayed on the road paralleling the route. You have to walk your bike through campus and didn't care to push a loaded touring bike on my first day. We stayed at Lums Pond SP, a short distance off route. Nice park.

Day 2: Bear ---> Felton: I got onto US 13 after Leipsic. The road, while containing high speed traffic, had a wide shoulder and/or a bike lane. Had our first and only flat near Dover. Highly recommend going into Dover and walking around.The receptionist at the State Archives Visitor Center watched our bikes for us while we did some sightseeing. We stayed at Killens Pond SP for two nights. We originally had a tent site booked but because of the Nor'easter we switched to a cabin. Delaware SP's were really cool about it and just let us pay the difference. Cabins here have full bathrooms and kitchens but no towels, bedding etc provided.

Day 3: Felton --> Milford & Fenwick --> Chincoteague, VA: Rode 10 miles to Milford to attend church and still had 110 miles to ride in a bad storm so we accepted a ride to Fenwick and rode the remaining 65. We drove the ACA route though and looked good. Had a 35mph tailwind that pushed us effortlessly down the MD and VA coast. The bridge from Ocean City to West Ocean City has a pedestrian path across it but if you're going south, it's on the opposite side of the road, going against traffic. It was super windy and I actually got blown off my bike on the bridge about haldway across and ended up walking the rest of the way. The ACA maps warn about the causeway between Wattsville and Chincoteague for good reason. It's narrow with no shoulder and, at high tide, the water is splashing up onto the road. I would not ride this at high tide or when it's windy

Day 4: Chincoteague ---> Cape Charles: I rode the ACA route as far as Modest Town and then headed over to US 13 at Nelsonia which I rode the rest of the way to Cape Charles. Again, high speed traffic with a shoulder and/or bike lane. It was too windy to tent camp so the folks at the KOA put us up in a cabin at no charge. The KOA is 1/4th mile or less from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel offices. We called the day before and set up a ride over the bay. The number is listed on the map.

Day 5: Cape Charles ---> Knotts Island ---> Virginia Beach: When catching the shuttle head into the admin offices near the tollgates and go into the police station to let them know you're there. Our shuttle was scheduled at 8 but we arrived at 7 and they accommodated us. It's $14 per car, not per person. You pay as the shuttle goes through the toll gate. Cash, debit/credit or Apple pay. From there we followed the ACA route to Knotts Island escept for a small section in Virginia Beach due to flooding. Locals said a lot of streets flood daily at high tide. When we arrived in Knotts Island to catch the ferry to Currituck, the end of Delmarva, we were told the ferries were canceled for the day due to high winds. They don't run when the winds are over 35mph and/or the water is too high. They said it'd be Thursday before the ferries were running again. You can check the ferry conidtions on their Twitter. Google "NCDOT Ferry Division." The only way around the ferry closure is to go 26 miles back to VB and take US 168 through Moyock, NC 54 miles. The additional 80 miles didn't seem worth it to us so we went back to VB and called it a trip. Make sure you check to see if the Knotts Island/Currituck ferries are running!

All in all the trip was okay. The weather was terrible but such is life. Tomorrow we're riding to Norfolk and catching Amtrak to Charlotte where we'll be until Monday. Hoping to get a ride in this weekend into SC from the metro area.
Instagram: tyjames0604

WI—>WA—>CO

Offline Ty0604

Re: Delmarva
« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2022, 04:04:18 pm »

Just happened to be stopped for lunch when I saw your reply.

All Delaware State Parks have a two night minimum on weekends and some holiday weekends require three nights but apparently not Easter.

Cape Henlopen did require three nights Easter weekend even though I was only staying for two.

Good to know! Unfortunate when campgrounds have these minimums. Several times on tour I've not stayed at one because they wanted me to stay two nights. NBD if you need a day off but otherwise unfair IMO.
Instagram: tyjames0604

WI—>WA—>CO