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Tuesday, August 24, 2004
season's first wooly worm, turning leaves, and details of the NJ Odyssey
Listening to:nada
Weather:81, slightly overcast just now
It crawled across the Gladesville Road as I straddled it with my car on the way home from work today. All black, from where I could see, no stripe. The local old people probably have a prediction for the nature of the coming winter based on the lack of stripe. Also saw my first noticeable chunks of red and orange amidst the bundles of green maple leaves today.

The Jersey Odyssey play by play:

Day 1, Sunday: lovely day, woke up and casually got my shit together, nothing elaborate, just a small wheelie suitcase of clothes and a backpack with camera, PDA, minidisc player and discs of the night before's Chestnut Ridge show, chargers, maps, train schedules. 11:45 Lar, Liv, and I hopped in the car and headed out 68 east. Mapquest said stay on 70 to the Baltimore beltway north to NJ turnpike and GS Parkway. We were skeptical (used to heading north on I-81 and going PA turnpike), but suspended our disbelief and went with the proposed route. Stopped 3 times, including a lunch break, reached Red Bank in less than 7 hours. Cruised through the town bit, then back out to a Marriott on Halfmile Rd. Got a room, somebody was making a film in the room next door! We chatted with one of the actresses, dangling her feet in the hottub for hours as we swam and she awaited her film call. The film is called Pin Up, a mob movie, she's a CIA agent. Kinda bubbleheaded, she didn't seem to know much about the area and had never heard of Kevin Smith. Dumbass. Anyhoo, we ordered a delivery of chicken piccata and veggies and a small pizza and salad for supper around 10pm, yum.

Day 2, Monday: Took a morning swim, got some BK breakfast, found an internet computer and checked email, then hung around the room till checkout time. Off to Red Bank to the Stash. Bopped around the cute little town on foot, hit the Stash. Then into the car, Liv immediately falls asleep. We take a little drive toward the ocean. Through Rumsford, wealthy hood, on to Monmouth Beach. Kudos to Daria for giving us the 411 on that free beach, no big sign or anything, nobody would find it without knowing it's there. Had a splendid 2 1/2 hours in the ocean, beach to ourselves, I eschewed my bathing suit, much to Liv's chagrin. The water was warm and wonderful, nice waves. We had no gear to be burdened with, just ourselves, which was great. Then a drive south toward Asbury Park through the ritzy town of Deal. AP was a crack-infested ghetto. Gay renaissance my ass. Witnessed a drug deal in the parking lot of the Stone Pony. On southward, in to the gated and weird little Methodist village of Ocean Grove, etc. Then back up and a little west to Tinton Falls where we stayed at a something Suites, just in time for the free happy hour, which Lar took full advantage of. Ordered in more italian food, not as good as last night but not bad.

Day 3, Tuesday: Swimming and whatnot till checkout, and a weird movie with Carol Burnett, John Ritter, Michael Caine, Marilu Henner, etc. called Noises Off. I went to Kmart for underwear and a beach umbrella. Left at noon for a day at Sandy Hook. Hauled too much crap out to the beach (chairs, umbrella, little cooler, books, bla bla bla), hung out on the beach for about 4 hours till I was more than ready to get the hell out of there. The beach wasn't quite as nice, a little rocky, and no waves because of the huge sandbars sheltering the place. Then north and west to Madison, where my granny lived when I was a kid. Awesome little walk around granny's apartment building and the town. The old stores I remember were still there. Scouted out the train station and whatnot for tomorrow. Hit the Library of the Chathams for a little email check. Had to drive to hell and back for a room, even though there are two colleges in that town (Drew U and Fairleigh Dickinson, only one hotel and it was booked. Finally, tired out, we found a room in East Hanover, only a hundred bucks.

Day 4, Wednesday: Parked the car in front of granny's, walked to train station, took a 1 hour train to Penn Station, Manhattan. Took the subway, one transfer, to a few blocks from Liv's Uncle Steve's office (the NY Roadrunners Club) on east 98th. Hot and sweaty, we met Steve, got directions to his house, and walked there. Marit and baby August were home, we hung out in there tiny little closet of an apartment till Steve came home with chinese food for all. Went back out for the tour of Central Park, Summer Stage, the Boathouse club, round of drinks, and various paths through Central Park. My foot was aching and I was ready to quite walking about a mile before everybody apparently was. Went back to the apartment, shot the shit till after midnight, and then slept on matresses on the floor (just like home!).

Day 5, Thursday: Massive sweaty speedy walking tour of Central Park, Strawberry Fields (my favorite part), etc. Did you know there's a stand of American Elms in Central Park? Escaped the Dutch Elms disease because it's an island. Walking is hardly the word for it, racing from bus to train to crosswalk, mostly seeing things in the proverbial rearview mirror. Steve is both a speedy New Yorker and a typical Boland with ADHD, so I mainly saw the back of his head all day as I tried not to lose them. Staten Island Ferry ride (didn't even sit still there, Steve had us walking back and forth on the boat looking at shit) then dinner by the river outdoors, quite lovely. Drank 3 $25 dollar pitchers of Rheingold, a nasty resurrected local brew with a strange acrid citrusy aftertaste. Then off to Times Square and whatnot. Man, I guess Giuliani put every body in jail or something, because the subways are clean, Times Square is not scary, and graffiti is getting hard to find in NYC. Practically ran into Mickey Rooney, whom even Livi recognized, what a long career.

Day 6, Friday: Sleep in, pack up, early afternoon head for subway and train back to car in Madison (got a parking ticket, oh well). Also drove over to Chatham to my mom's childhood home and snapped a few photos. Then drove into Newark with Steve to catch a Newark Bears game (Steve's their announcer). Newark driving sucks, it's the crappy town you've always heard it was. So skanky you have to be buzzed in to the bathroom at BK. Keeps the junkies out, I guess. K, lovely ball park, very friendly staff (except for one who was a bit of a self-important weenie, but he shall remain nameless, the web goes everywhere, ya know), fun game, saw Ricky Henderson, some homers, between-inning antics, Liv and Lar did the Ragu Ringtoss and won a little bag of Ragu stuff. Then around 9 or 9:30 we head out of there for home, so Liv can make her softball party at 11:00 am Saturday. The drive home kinda sucked, hit plenty of hard rain, some fog, shitty PA roads (we took the usual northern route then down 81 back). Home by 4:45am, Lar drove the last couple of hours. Phew.

Overall a splendid vacation. I spent only a bit more than my budget, and we packed a lot in. Took the weekend to recover, then back to work Monday, to prepare for being monitored Tuesday (today). Good to be home, too.

permalink posted by cat 6:53 PM

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season's first wooly worm, turning leaves, and details of the NJ Odyssey