Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Out and about, part 1

Some days you just have to smile...

While heading for my mother's nursing home this morning, doing the 55 mph speed limit or just slightly above, I was noticing a lot of oncoming cars flashing their headlights.  In the USA that is typically a sign that the "boys in blue" are enforcing speed laws up ahead.

A non-descript older Japanese coupe with a loud "fart-can" muffler rolled by me at 70 mph-plus, followed shortly by a pretty dark blue Maserati going even faster, apparently trying to catch up with it.  How they both missed seeing the flashing headlights is beyond me...

When I crested the next hill a couple of miles further up the road (yes, there really are small hills on the Delmarva), there they were, parked on the shoulder...   An officer had pulled BOTH of them over - the Maserati still behind the Tuner - and they sat there awaiting their just desserts.  Maryland's general fund will certainly appreciate the significant boost from their fines.

But it was pretty sad that the Tuner was able to stay ahead of the Maserati...which is supposed to be a fast car.  Maybe the driver just didn't know how to make it go faster?

One of the places we visited with our group of car friends was the Cape May (New Jersey) lighthouse.  It guards the entrance to Delaware Bay.  Built in 1859, it was the third lighthouse built in this area, replacing earlier ones from 1823 and 1847. (Those other locations are now under water.)  We've been there before (in 2004), but hadn't been able to get pictures in light quite this perfect.   The weather was simply ideal...

Cape May Lighthouse...

Before you ask...no, I didn't climb to the top.   Did that last time, when I was younger - and I still have the pictures.  So the prospect of dealing with 199 steps each way wasn't particularly appealing...

Next, we stopped at the Cape May County Zoo.  Their lush country gardens and the well-kept, extensive natural areas were impressive, particularly because it was county (as opposed to state) funded.  The over 550 animals in residence (representing over 250 species) entertained us with their antics.  This swan was having a good time in the duck ponds, just paddling around and enjoying the sunshine. 

Swan at Cape May Zoo

Then it was off to the Wildwood Naval Air Station's aviation museum at Rio Grande NJ, in former hangar #1.  The airport began life in 1941 as the Naval Air Station Rio Grande.  But there was lots of confusion with Rio Grande, Texas.  So in 1943 it became NAS Wildwood, and used for training dive bomber pilots.  Following WW II it was deemed excess to US Navy requirements and was deeded to Cape May County.  It transitioned to a civilian air field, which is still in operation today as Cape May County Airport.

Here they had interesting samples of various flying machines from many eras, and their ancillary equipment, all housed in former hangar #1.  Yours truly got to try out a simulator, and pose with a military Jeep...

Wildwood Naval Air Station, Aviation Museum, Rio Grande, NJ

You might wonder what kind of a necklace is around my neck...  That's not a necklace.  It's my car keys, on a lanyard. It totally eliminates the possibility of accidentally being locked out of my car, since I always lock the door with the key around my neck.  Been there, done that - see my post from 3/21/13 titled "Cars, Skirts and the Waltons."

My wife and I  stopped for lunch with a male friend of ours...others in the group had gone elsewhere.  We were wondering about the food...but as it turned out, we had no worries.  Great little restaurant.  It was interesting that the staff of young folks there universally addressed me as "Ma'am." From the time we arrived until we left.  That included directing me to the women's room, which I had no choice but to use because the men's room was occupied by our friend.   Good thing my wife stayed at the table to watch his camera and our purses - it might have been a bit awkward for me to be washing my hands in the women's room as she entered.  A more realistic concern was that I'd end up emerging  from the women's room just as our friend came out of the men's room!  Fortunately, it didn't happen.  But it certainly would have been tough to explain...even though he had heard the staff's many "miss-identifications."

After lunch, we had a wonderful chance to sample some pretty fall foliage...mostly shades of yellow.  So far, color has eluded us on the Delmarva.  At home, we're stuck with leaves that are "brown or down."   It's been a very dull autumn...so everyone loved to see a more pronounced show of colors, such as those in the picture below.

Pat, I was thinking of you as we drove past Flemington, and under the railroad tracks of the Black River and Western on some little country by-way.  It's too bad we didn't have time to go into town and look around...maybe next time.

Fall Foliage -  Central New Jersey

More to follow....


  1. The visit to the lighthouse must have been fun. There is a old, not too tall, light house in Sea Girt that has its own museum of artifacts. It has limited hours. We have also been to the Montauk and Jupiter lighthouses. I find the history of these light houses to be interesting. Each lighthouse had its own sequence of flashes so that approaching ships would have some idea where they were.

    It seems like a good time at the eatery. I can only imagine your thoughts as you were in the ladies room. I find the fact that you are more often referred to as a woman than a man to be interesting and that your wife and your male friend just pass it off as not being a big deal.

    There are some parts of western NJ that are pretty. I do not know the Flemington area other than when I drive through it on the highway. The Jersey shore, however, is another issue. You may have noticed that the local denizens will refer to themselves based on the mile marker of their exit on the Garden State Parkway. Down the Cape you may have seen cars with bumper stickers that read "Mile 0". Up in my neck of the shore you will see a lot of people with "Exit 98" decals on their cars.

    1. We hope to one day get to some more lighthouses - particularly ones that we can go into.

      I did get quite a bit of "sir" on this trip, since folks we were with know me as a guy. But I'm satisfied being accepted as female by those who don't know me. And I think the guy we were with simply accepted the "miss-identification" as a factor of my long hair and purse. It was fun to be assigned to the women's room!

      Strangely enough, I was so busy trying to avoid being run over by errant NJ drivers (who seem to like passing already-speeding cars on hilly curves with double solid lines) and my wife was so busy trying to read maps, that we didn't notice the Mile marker phenomenon. We'll be on the look out next time!


  2. Jersey drivers are the total pits. If you are ever stopped for a light and do not hit the gas a second before the light turns green you are likely to get the Jersey beep

    1. We weren't in center city, thus that didn't happen to us. But they showed many other forms of impatience, such as tailgating our car going 67 in a 65 zone, so closely that if I had been in reverse, the proximity alarm would have been buzzing...I estimate 1 to 2 feet off our bumper. You couldn't see his headlights or grille. This happened a lot. Had I been forced to hit the brakes, there would have undoubtedly been a wreck. And we were unsafely passed many, MANY times. I got used to hearing tires screech behind me as I stopped for red lights (the other drivers weren't happy campers.)

      Note: that also happened in Delaware a lot. There are many ex-Jerseyites who moved to Delaware because of much lower taxes. And old driving habits die hard. Let's just hope those old habits don't cause others to die hard!