Trip Stats (3/08):
Town visited most:
Most impressive town:
Least impressive town:
Most scenic area:
woods of Pinelands Nat'l Reserve
spot: Boardwalk along Atlantic City beach
salt taffy, mmmm
passed state west to east from Camden to Atlantic City by light rail in
July of 2000, reminded me of
Wisconsin. In a depressed mood passed east to west along I-80 from New
York City to the Poconos in the middle of the night in 8/2007.
This state does not deserve the off-putting reputation it has been given
by snobbish New Yorkers who think their city is the center of the
universe. Of course, I say this with only an afternoon's experience in
First Contact: The
only state on my list I have not driven in at all. I first
entered New Jersey while crossing the wide Delaware River on a
railroad car leaving Philly for Atlantic City in July of 2000 in
Camden. The car was full of old ladies wearing t-shirts
adorned with glittered dice. The ride was through thick woods
soaked by recent rains. People wearing work boots got off at
each stop, leaving just me and the old ladies at the beach. They
had work to do that day... I didn't.
Camden. A very rough neighborhood, undergoing
some serious problems. A poor, desperate, and overlooked
place. I was a bit upset because while I was attending the
Republican Convention in Philly a political group was
sponsoring bus tours of Camden as if urban blight was some
sort of tourist attraction for suburban white liberals.
Hammonton. The verdant woods surrounding this
city remind me of descriptions of the deep forests that
once dominated America from the Atlantic to the Great
Lakes. Egg Harbor City. Once colonists
collected delicious gull eggs near here. Absecon.
Pleasantville. Inland swaps and waterways
separate this working town from the outer islands.
Atlantic City. The place where I first saw the
Atlantic Ocean was on the Boardwalk. The rough
neighborhoods inland are ignored by busloads of geezers
from NYC & Philly who come to gamble. Beaches are
beautiful and alive, filled with real people, not models
and rich kids on break. The Boardwalk is America in a
nutshell. Gluttonous gulls and hordes of beggars swarm
waiting for a few bucks and errant French fries. You can
get your fortune told, get mugged, eat a coney, buy a $5
t-shirt, and blow your life savings at Trump's gaudy
casino. The circus atmosphere of the Steel Pier is
America! I was feeling very patriotic here.
The famous beach at Atlantic City. (2000)
The Delaware River is the border between
Philadelphia and Camden. (2000)
Photos (c) 2000-08 by S. Plencner. All rights reserved.