Farmingdale


raspberries!

Wild raspberries in Allaire State Park.

Unless they’re mulberries.

But I’m pretty sure they’re closer to raspberries.

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Wheeeeeee!

(Pine Creek Railroad fun at Allaire!)

geese

Why did the geese cross the road?

…well, wouldn’t you want to hang out with your friends?

bridge

Three days a week, I drive south on the Garden State Parkway and marvel at a rickety footbridge that passes overhead. At some point, it occurred to me, “OH! That must be the Manasquan Bike Path!” [It’s formally known as the Edgar Felix Bike Path.) And, since it seemed to be on my way to and from Ocean County College, and since I like to try new places to in-line skate, I decided I’d stop and check it out at some point.

I read that the eastern portion (the beginning in Manasquan) was rough (not fun if you’re on skates with unforgiving hard rubber wheels), so I began at the western portion (the ending in Allaire Village’s parking lot).

At first, it was pretty enjoyable. There was some debris in the trail, a few annoying road crossings, nothing major. And then I arrived at the part I’d been looking forward to: the bridges over the Garden State Parkway!

Eagerly, I rolled one foot onto the bridge.

And almost fell over.

The wooden planks were UNEVEN, UNSTABLE, and had GIANT GAPS between some of them: my wheels kept getting caught!

(The video below is poorly shot and may make you dizzy. Watch at your own risk. If it doesn’t work, the video at OTDP should work.)

If you watch that video, the “thunk th-thunk” sound is one of the loose planks making racket as I tap it with my foot. Timewise, because my one-handed video skills suck, you can see the boards move around 0:07. NOTE THE TRAFFIC zooming below (at 65mph in a 55 zone. They just changed the speed limit from 65 to 55 within this past year, and drivers haven’t embraced the change yet.).

After it became very clear that skating wasn’t working, I managed to make my way across the bridge by grabbing a railing (see that thing in the top picture that’s hanging in pieces? that.) and pulling myself across the bridge, hand over hand, slowly and very unsurely.

I repeated this procedure for the second bridge. (Two bridges for two directions of parkway traffic… and one median between them.)

On the way back, I actually took off my skates and walked across both bridges in my sock feet. I have never been desperate enough to do that before.

I didn’t manage to do the whole trail. Shortly after a really obnoxious road crossing…

(I looked at this and said, “You’ve got to be KIDDING me”), the trail becomes so bumpy and gravel-like that skating without falling over becomes impossible. I turned around and headed back.

This is a bike path. It wasn’t set up with Rollerbladers in mind.

P.S. I’ve updated my original in-line skating post with this trail.

rail line

Last January, I featured a photo of Naval Weapons Station Earle due west of Sandy Hook.

The part of Earle shown above–a rail line used for transporting weapons and such–is located much further inland. Earle, as it turns out, is actually two bases (“Main-side,” located around Colts Neck, and the “Waterfront Area,” located around Sandy Hook) connected by Normandy Rd., a 15-mile rail/road line.

For more information, read Globalsecurity.org’s summary.

steamroller

There is a little steamroller by the side of the road on Route 33 in Farmingdale. I don’t know what its history is, but according to my dad, it’s been there as long as he can remember (and he’s lived in NJ for the vast majority of his life). Given that the steamroller has not rusted into the ground but instead sports a fresh coat of vivid red paint, someone has apparently maintained it. A sign on its roof seems to read–as far as I can tell– “EAS EMT.”

hubcap farm

My mother and I were driving along Rte. 33 the other day–rather, she was driving and I was fiddling with my camera, as I often do.

“You going to take pictures?” she asked.
“Yeeeeahhhhhhh,” I said. “I mean, I’m… well… most of them won’t be much good, I know, from a moving car and all, but I’ve been trying to get a shot of the Hubcap Farm for several months [see below], so I’m gonna try for that.”
“The Hubcap Farm? Where’s that?” she asked.
“Ummm… somewhere between Neptune and Freehold. Thereabouts,” I replied.
“You want me to pull over so you can take pictures?”
“Nooooo, no no no, that’s okay. Part of the challenge is trying to catch it as we whiz by,” I said.

A little later, after I’d blathered about some of my innumerable bad photography habits for a while, I suddenly said, “Ooh! I think this is the Hubcap Farm coming up!”
“Where?” cried my mom, clearly interested in seeing the Hubcap Farm for herself.
“Right up here, right before the steamroller and after the golf course!”
“Right here?”
“Yeah, right here!”

So she pulled over for me.

“Moooommmmmmmm!” I squealed. “People LIVE here! You can’t just STOP here if you’re not going to buy hubcaps!”
“Why not?” she asked.
…I didn’t have a good response for that, so I awkwardly stepped out of the car, hastily took a few shots, and encouraged my mom to DRIVE! like a bank robber in a getaway car.

(…Thaaaaaaat’s my mom for ya.)

DSCF0013_1

Interesting fact: Bruce Springsteen (who grew up in this area)’s song “The Angel” mentions “hubcap heaven,” which was apparently the previous name of this business.

Here are some of my previous attempts at capturing the Hubcap Farm. Hover your cursor over any image for information on the shot (date, shutter, aperture, ISO), and click any image to see it larger.

11/22/07 12/25/07

12/29/07 1/20/08

(For further information, check out comment #2 below!)

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