Although Doré may not sound like it, for a significant period of her life (i.e., her childhood), New Jersey was home. (Her parents were born and raised in Chicago, so ‘Chicago’ was always spoken at home.)
We found another canal towpath to ride, further strengthening Doré’s determination to never ride on one again: The Delaware & Raritan Canal Path, another 31 miles at 8.5 mph. The crushed stone surface wasn’t that bad but every mile or two there was a spillway that was lower and often ‘paved’ with boulders that weren’t rideable.
We skipped a day and went to lunch with another of Doré’s old, I mean former, classmates. This time it was Frank DaVito, Red Bank Catholic, class of 1966. Frank is one of those interesting people who everyone knows but no one remembers from high school. For past twenty years, he has become the chronicler of the class, having amassed an impressible morgue of photos and lists of addresses and emails.
We met at the venerable Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank; no one thought to take a picture; isn’t that Frank’s job? We did get a picture of another lunch at a New Jersey diner.
Joyce’s Subs was one of Doré’s after school hangouts, around the corner and down the street from 107 Jumping Brook. It’s still there, run by people who didn’t know Joyce and have changed the menu. We forgot to take another picture.
When in Jersey, go to the beach. We went to the beach and rode from the Gateway National Recreation Area to Seabright, having lunch in The Highlands. Part of the land was certainly much higher than other parts but it was a very, very steep road getting down to the tourist parts of town.
The Sandy Hook path is Doré’s kind of path: flat, smooth, fast asphalt through the woods and along the ocean. But not long enough; we ended with about 47 miles for New Jersey.
The north end of the Hook is military, Fort Hancock. While parts are still in use (we did encounter a group practicing their marching or going to lunch en masse.) other parts are in serious need of maintenance. During WWII, this was an important piece in our first line of defense; I don’t think they are that concerned about an invasion by sea at the moment.
Below that are miles of public beaches that when we were there in September were very much in use by surfers. Florence was still making waves. This beach shot shows neither the surfers nor the waves.
(I couldn’t decide where to put commas in that last paragraph so I left them out.)
Below that, in the Seabright area, the ocean front is lined with expensive looking beach houses, mostly very new with some vacant lots and some construction in progress. The new construction is all on stilts with very little on the ground floor.
The view across the path from the houses isn’t the ocean; it’s a new seawall, maybe ten feet high. Most of the owners seem to have built decks on the seawall and stairs to access them. There are lots of signs saying, “Private”, “Keep out”, and “No trespassing” so it raises a question about who paid for the wall. Maybe the British?
We saw many deer in New Jersey on Sandy Hook, more than anywhere else we have been. Or maybe we saw three deer many times.
The lighthouse was turned off during the war.
One of the few old houses that survived the last hurricane and some new multi-family that are intended to survive the next.