Tuesday, I headed over to a Central New Jersey beach at Point Pleasant, hoping to see a friend, if the timing was right. Hurricane Sandy devastated so much, I wasn't sure what I'd find.
The town seemed to be in good shape, but when I got to Jenkinson's Boardwalk, I saw some damaged homes, one was being raised to be approved for flood insurance. That's just sad, but living so close to the water has always been a dangerous thing. I watched the hurricanes tear through Florida in 2004--some on the TV set, and some outside my door. It was a difficult year but I didn't see any devastation, although many did.
A few nights before that, my buddy sent a Twitter message asking for sandbags. The day I was there, it started to rain--and flood.
In any case, I spent some time on the boardwalk. It had the typical games and restaurants, and there were rides away from the boardwalk. I managed to get New Jersey-style frozen custard from Kohr Bros. of Atlantic City. When I lived in Florida, they had at least one store, although even that is gone now. I'm not an expert on frozen custard but it's the best I've had, and it helped my day.
After taking some photos, I went to get lunch at Surf Taco. Someone commented about how the fish tacos were just like those from California. I hate to think where that person ate. I became sick after eating the first one and went to the rest room. When I returned, I grabbed the drink and food and I emptied the basket into the trash, throwing away most of $11.00.
I ended up at Burger King and got a very plain cheeseburger. I was amused by the map, as I was between Richmond Avenue and Cincinnati Avenue--I happen to live in Richmond and travel to Cincinnati frequently, so I'm often between the two anyway.
My buddy ended up with zero time, so I ended up a bit empty.
Wednesday, I went to another diner that had been around the Clifton Heights, PA area for quite a while, unlike the former Steak & Ale on Tuesday. I'd also been to Olympic Diner a few times, so I knew that it was a quality joint. It didn't disappoint, nor did it make me ill. Not only was the food great, but the characters in the place made me smile. It felt like I was home again. I love Philly (even though Clifton Heights isn't Philly--it's a suburb).
So, the trip has been interesting, but not terribly happy, so far. I still have hopes--maybe the passenger side of the car will be damaged before I return home, so I'll have a matched set.
Yelp seems unhappy to absorb all my new photos and reviews but they are few for the Philly metro area.
Still uncomfortable with traffic but the trip has been energizing. I've talked with so many people all over the place. It's as though I belong here...again.
I returned to the same pizza place where I got my Italian hoagie the first night and I got a cheesesteak as my final meal here. I haven't had a real one since 1996, I'm sure. Even the trips in 2005 and 2006, I ate sparingly. Strangely, I feel no heavier but having two breakfasts this week should have tipped the scales.
I went into Center City this morning and retrieved my mum's ring from the jewelers, surprisingly. I figured that they would say that they'd never had it. I had plans to fall apart. I considered dropping my camera on one of the cases, but put my camera away before they even talked to me at all. I didn't want to be tempted. The jeweller sort of remembered and they had removed the main stone but they found everything within a few minutes. Some of my faith in humanity has been restored today.
I was surprised at the new Visitors Center in the Independence Hall area. They had a little building on Third or Fourth Street previously and there wasn't much room for anything. The Route 76 bus would stop outside and they had a pamphlet or two. Now, they have a huge building with many displays and artwork, guides, and businesses, plus there is now a Constitution Museum.
I'm shocked at how much governments have spent locally. They don't have the money for all this, even with the tourists paying some small fees. On the other hand, the Philadelphia Parking Authority charged me $17.00 for 3 hours, 15 minutes of parking. The other day at Point Pleasant, NJ I paid $4.50 for 2 hours. Something about a union comes to mind, unfortunately.
I'm on my way home now--at Washington, PA already. Found another Madonna of the Trail statue and photographed it. That makes 4 and the one in Wheeling tomorrow will make 5, if I can find a place to stop. I really miss Philly already, bad stuff and all, because there is a lot of good stuff there.