We're treating our kayaks like floating La-Z-Boy recliners, the three of us leaning back, legs stretched out on the decks. Here on the Delaware River, New Jersey lies to our left, Pennsylvania to our right. It's been several minutes since we needed to paddle. As Interstate 80 comes into view, we dip our paddles into the water to guide our boats around one of the thick concrete pillars of the highway overpass, the noise of cars rushing overhead crowding out the river sounds. "It's all right here," says my friend Leslie.
Indeed. That is the best and worst of New Jersey summer up. With 39,000 miles of public roadway paving the 8,723-square-mile state, it's easy to get to everything and, it can seem, hard to get away from anything.
Read more about my NJ road trip on the National Geographic site or in the October National Geographic Traveler.