Day 30 – New York to New Jersey

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Today was expected to be a relatively short drive of around 200 km and less than 3 hours so we figured we might let some of the morning peak hour traffic subside before heading out. Although I woke at 7:00 am, I rolled over and did not hurry out. We eventually showered and went down for breakfast, pausing on the way to use the WiFi in the lobby to check overnight messages. Majella had the pancake breakfast and I had a bagel with cream cheese.

After breakfast we finished packing, checked out, and were on the road around 9:30 am. I had checked a route on Google Maps and the recommended track was through Brooklyn and across the Verrazano narrows bridge downstream from Manhattan. Although that bridge had a steep toll of $13 it seemed to make more sense to go that way than to risk trying for a toll free path across Manhattan with the morning traffic. I allowed the GPS to plot a route including tolls and it took us some way toward Manhattan on Queens Boulevard before directing us onto the express way toward the Verrazano narrows. Along the way we had some good views of the Manhattan skyline though photographs were marred by the speed of travel and the barriers on the side of the highway. Traffic flowed smoothly and we had no difficulty in clearing the city and reaching Staten Island.

With the signs indicating the New Jersey Turnpike and tolls of unknown dimensions I decided it was time to reset the GPS to avoid tolls. That would take us longer but we had plenty of time and the route on minor roads would likely be more interesting with chances to stop if we wanted to see things along the way. There were some initial glitches while we got clear of the major roads but then things settled down and we cruised into New Jersey and on past signage announcing campuses of Rutgers and Princeton. Progress was slowed a bit by traffic lights and the recalculated time on the GPS for avoiding tolls added about a hour to the estimate.

A little after 11:00 am Majella pulled off into a mall near Lawrence to pick up some supplies for a picnic lunch and breakfasts. At the supermarket we bought cereal for breakfast and bread, meat, cheese, tomato, and lettuce for lunch along with some fruit. There was a Starbucks across the mall so we paused there for coffees and another catchup on WiFi.

I drove on from there. Not far down the road we spotted a sign for an overlook and pulled in. On our side of the highway the river came close to the road and we could see a Coast Guard vessel on the river and a power station on a bend some distance away. Wondering what it was that we were supposed to overlook we used the overhead pedestrian walkway to cross to the car park on the other side of the highway. There was no indication there of what might be significant either but there were steps leading down to a path that went off into the trees so we went to investigate. The path came to a watercourse that appeared as though it was probably tidal but discoloration on the vegetation suggested there had been a recent flood – probably associated with the same rain event that we encountered on Friday. The watercourse had been canalized with timber lining on each side and a little way along there was a timber bridge. We crossed that and followed a path a little further until we could see clearly across a larger stream that went under a road bridge to the river and had a number of boats moored. We still do not know what it was that the overlook was for but we did get a walk in the woods and a little exercise.

After an hour or so of driving it seemed time for lunch and we thought about finding a spot to pull off and eat. They were few and far between but luckily, some time after the road had narrowed to one lane each way and there was an impatient truck looking to pass the car behind us, I spotted a turn off. That was to Atsion Lake. Although the signs announced that parking cost $5 for residents and $10 for non-residents there was nobody attending the entry so we drove in, parked, and ate our lunch in the shelter of the facilities block with a view across a lake with a sandy beach. It was an ideal spot for lunch.

I drove on after lunch and we reached Atlantic City around 3:00 pm. Checkin at Showboat was simple enough but finding our way from the multistory parking garage to our room was more of a challenge. The garage access was some distance from the lobby and we were in the tower furthest from the lobby. Once we found the room Majella checked the bed and pronounced it up to her best Goldilocks standards – not too firm, not too soft, but just right.

Our hotel fronts onto the boardwalk but getting out for a walk involved crossing what seemed like a hectare of floor filled with gaming tables and machines. Once out on the boardwalk we walked north to the next building, Revels, and went in there for a look. It is a tall glass tower that had attracted our attention with a sloped roof adorned with a sphere on a pole that looked at first like a giant golf ball but turned out to be a light show of sorts with moving bands of colour. Neither of us was interested in another space full of gaming opportunities so we exited and walked south on the boardwalk, past Showboat, Trump Taj Mahal, Resorts, Bally and other casinos. Along the way we walked down to the water so that Majella could feel the Atlantic again and visited some of the gift shops. We also stopped at a Ben and Jerry’s shop where I had Coffee, Coffee Buzzbuzzbuzz and Majella had raspberry frozen yoghurt.

We walked down as far as the convention hall where the light show that was introduced for July 4 this year is featured each night. I was wondering how to break it to Majella that we might need to walk back again after dark to see it but the shows for tonight were cancelled because of ongoing maintenance. That was a pity because what I had read and seen in Internet video suggested it was well worth seeing. On the way back we stopped at the first of the massage parlours we had seen on the way down and Majella had a 20 minute full massage for $20. Apparently that fixed all or most of the problems caused by much walking and the too firm bed in New York.

We had dinner in the Crossroads restaurant in our hotel. Majella had a salad and I had Juicy Lucy, a burger with beef and bacon patty stuffed with cheese and served with roasted jalapeƱos and fries on the side. I needed a beer to help with that but Majella managed with raspberry ice tea after discovering that the ‘special’ was available only in the bar outside.

After dinner it took us a few minutes to find the bar on the gaming floor that served $3 draft beers (for me) and $8 Hurricanes (for Majella). I’m not sure what was in the Hurricane but it induced a relaxed glow in Majella. Her good fortune on the roulette wheel, turning $5 into $15 in 4 spins before cashing in her chips helped with her mood. We retired relaxed and ready for rest.

Distance today was about 230 km on the tracking software and my pedometer clocked up 15000 steps. It was another active and fun day.