But I didn’t meet my mother in the USO.
(Check the reference.)
This past weekend, I was in the Philadelphia area and was interested in making another foray into southern New Jersey. I intended to meet up with Vince, since he lives there, and telegraphed my intention. He heard, obliged me, and we made it happen.
This, gentlemen, was a good sign. Beware those people, men and women, who drag their feet and pussyfoot around.
This weekend’s trip wasn’t the first time that I had been in the state. I’ve made many trips to northern Jersey, particularly the Hoboken and Jersey City area, for work. Those are directly across the Hudson from Manhattan, and, in my view, are much nicer than Manhattan itself. Both are historic and have their well-kept areas intact and well-groomed.
It wasn’t always such, though. What is now the Newport area in Jersey City was once a dump and superfund site in the 1970s and 80s. I wasn’t there at the time, but have seen the pics. Gander at them to see truly what a shithole the NYC area was at one time, before gentrification and the “I Love New York” tourist push from the late 1970s onwards.
New Jersey’s nickname is “The Garden State,” which is testimony to the number of farms in the southern part of the state. I saw several of these farms, along with lots of trees and lots of green, following Vince to our destinations for the first half of the day. This was the furthest I had been in the southern part to date, and much of that area is indistinguishable from other states here on the East Coast, once you get out into the rural areas.
My first stop was at Vince’s humble abode, which abuts a golf course and country club. I delivered some previously purchased coffee and French crullers for Vince’s gullet (I had already scarfed mine down five minutes before), exchanged a fist bump (COVID is still with us, after all), some pleasantries and chit-chat about Antifa, and then were on our way, in separate cars. We were heading to the village of Batsto in the Wharton State Forest.
Batsto is an American colonial village, known for the bog ore it produced during the time of the Revolutionary War, and for the forests that were used to make charcoal for smelting the ore. The town appears to be well-kept and it abuts a nice lake. Vince pointed out that the lake has a deep blue and brownish tinge to it, the latter of which comes from the silt, which has a high tannin content. It was good for sailors to drink to avoid problems with water as they were sailing up and down the coast, dealing with the scourge of privateers who were hiding in the inlets and barrier islands of the Jersey coast.
Vince and I hiked a bit in the forest and saw some bogs. (Actual ones, and not figurative ones like you see in my neck of the woods, Washington, DC.) We talked more, having warmed up with the visit to his pad, then started busting some mutual acquaintances’ balls, in their absence. (Readers, this might be you — but neither Vince nor I are telling.) Then, time to turn back and head to our next destination.
From Batsto, we made it out to the memorial to Emilio Carranza, who is sometimes dubbed the “Charles Lindbergh of Mexico.” Vince began the story at Batsto, and continued it at the memorial, which was a modest thing erected in the late 1920s, not long after Carranza’s doomed flight and subsequent crash. A touching line from the information there on the memorial is that it was built using stone quarried from Mexico, and paid for by Mexican children’s pennies. Very nice. A true hero to those kids.
But I also wonder if any Mexican kids today remember this guy.
From the memorial, we made our way to the last destination, Haddonfield. Haddonfield is a classic historic town with that classic historic feel. (I told Vince that it kind of reminded me of Princeton, which I visited some years ago.) After parking, and after mercilessly ridiculing (between us) a handful of George Floyd-related protestors that appeared to be coming from the center area, Vince made our way to find some grub. Sadly, because of COVID, many of the eating and drinking establishments are closed or only doing take-out. One was an English fish-and-chip shop. Closed. So, we settled on some Chinese food and two Diet Cokes. The best we could do, under the circumstances.
The fried rice was good.
The Diet Coke was refreshing.
And, the conversation stimulating.
Vince and I talked about women (of course). But not about tits and ass. We continued to rib those we know and who are absent. (Easier to do, since they can’t defend themselves.) But not in a malicious way. Then, we talked about jobs, which is kind of inevitable in most conversations. I finished that part of the conversation with the idea to maybe talk Vince into doing something this year about working in IT, since the both of us have been in the field for a long time. That, and maybe Vince’s previous background in counseling.
Maybe that’s a rich vein of proto-Red Pill insights. TBD.
The time was 3 pm, and it was time for us to part ways because I had some other exploring to do, and Vince wanted to get back for his stuff. We shook hands (flaunting the COVID precautions), said our goodbyes, and drove off separately. But, not without also discussing Vince’s interest to visit me here in the DC area.
TBD, and that might be the subject for another online chat.
From Haddonfield, I made my way north to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (MDL), which is the largest military base in Jersey. Because of my job and my ID card, I can access military bases, and I wanted to see what MDL was like. It didn’t disappoint. A large base, with airfield, and a well-sized, and stocked, Post Exchange and commissary. As I had a headache, I stopped into get some Excedrin, water, and a snack before filling up (the only time I’ve been in Jersey where I pumped my own gas and didn’t have an attendant do it). Then, I hit the road.
Next stop, Freehold and Manalapan. Actually, I just drove through on the way to a Wegmans in that area, where I was going to pick up some pastries and seltzer water. Nice area. And, looking at the map, I was under one hour away from NYC. While driving to Freehold, I thought, had I still been in the military and stationed at MDL, I could have gone to NYC often. But, that wasn’t my path . . . and thankfully so, because Germany, and Europe, was much more interesting when I was there in the late 2000s.
Now, it was time to head back to Philly, so I went the toll-free way west, which included Trenton, the state capital.
Crossing the Lower Trenton Bridge from Trenton over to Pennsylvania, I immediately saw PA cops and SWAT teams, with MRAPs.
Oh, shit . . . this is getting real.
I breezed through and the continued on my way. Finally, I got on I-95, heading south, and then took the longer way back to my friend’s place in western Philly. Center City was closed off. A curfew was in effect, because of the rioting and looting that had taken place on Saturday night.
But, back to my friend’s, and then it was time for cider and dinner. Topping off a great day.
Next time, I hope to see the Jersey Shore proper, and maybe be at the house that Vince rented. I promise not to sleep for four hours and not drink all the rum. Just wine, beer, or cider for me . . . I want to be alert, functional, and coherent.
Summer is upon us. Despite the shitshow, I have places I want to see on the coast. I plan to make that happen.