829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Monday, April 30, 2012

Comfort Zone

Seaside Park Race Finish, 1969.  Now that's a committee boat.

Many bloggers recently have been taking Tillerman's latest writing
 assignment very personally, and I'm no exception.  The New Jersey
Shore is my sanctuary.  When I daydream, this is where the dream
usually takes place.  It's re-assuring to know that a mere hour's
drive to the east gets me to my comfort zone, a place where I've
spent endless days and where I am drawn to still.  If you didn't
know by now, I'm a nostalgic kind of guy, and the Jersey Shore,
 the Barnegat Bay in particular, is the Top Sailing Destination
on my Planet.  If I've bored you before with this, bear with me.

Where did I put my sandwich?

When I was little, the shore was always there, waiting
for me, staying exactly like it was when I last left.
The smells down there were summer smells:  in the
garage was turpentine, bottom paint and plywood. The 
kitchen smelled like limes, quinine, toast and bacon, and 
out front there was bayberry, spearmint, salt air, 
Coppertone and that sulphury sedge gas, mixed
in with an occasional Newport or Garcia Vega .

No Diving!

There was always a dock to be out on.  Something about being
over water is very cool for me.  Riding bikes on the dock was 
fun too.  I used to keep my Laser out on the end of that dock.
When we weren't sailing, we fished and crabbed from the dock.
On really hot days, my Dad and Uncle would float in tire tubes
and hang on to the underside of the dock and drink beer.
Under the dock.  Cool.

Uncle Don (Mojo's Dad) and Mom in Cedarcroft, up the Metedeconk

As with our parents before us, there were always boats to play in, 
on land or in the water.  Every family had boats, didn't they?  It was 
just a given that the shore houses would always be there and 
we'd be down the shore all summer long, for the rest of our lives. 

There were always cousins around, and they were expected to be
there.  I mean, that's where I usually saw my cousins.  If we got
there first, I would stay awake and look up South Drive for
headlights to come down to the end of the street.  It was hard
to fall asleep until they arrived later that Friday evening.

As the cousins got older, they all came down at different times,
with different friends, with different agendas, in different cars.  
But once they got there, they all seemed young again.
At least for the weekend.  I miss those days terribly.

An older photo, this looks south from somewhere in the Tice's
Shoal area, with the Barnegat Lighthouse around the bend.
This is much like what the pirates and merchant ships from 
hundreds of years ago saw while exploring the shallow estuary 
known as the Barnegat Bay.

I don't know much about inland lake sailing, but there's a
certain warm and fuzzy feeling I get from coming back to the
dock completely encrusted in salt. The windier and
rougher the bay is, the crustier you become.  And knowing
that a certain someone's ashes were lovingly sifted into 
this bay eight summers ago, I gotta believe that a little part
of him comes home with us every time we sail.  Goddamn,
I wish we had more time with him.

In retrospect, that cover was made for this post.
Imagine our surprise at the airport newsstand!

October sunset up the Metedeconk, 1964

Spectacular sunsets are the norm, if you're paying attention at the
time and not bending over with your head in the cooler.  But hey,
while you're down there...........

July 4th, 2010 at Tice's Shoal

I've been blessed for having grown up near and on the water.
It's awe-inspiring here, where earth ends and heaven begins.
The Barnegat Bay is my obvious choice for The Top Sailing
Destination on the Planet. And to have this resource in my
back yard is more than I could ever ask for. Come visit.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shad Fest 2012

Lambertville, New Jersey on Sunday, April 29, 2012.  The second 
day of 2012 Shad Fest.  I'm sure the vast majority of visitors today
had no intention of having shad, but the writer had only one thing on
his mind.  And it turned out to be more difficult to get some than he 
had anticipated.  Go figure.

I didn't pry for an answer, but apparently the shad harvest sucked
this year.  So all of my visions of shad corn dogs and shad and chips
and shad sushi and shad pad thai and shad wellington and shad pho
and shad ceviche were all dashed in an instant.  We locked our bikes
to a wrought iron fence and took off to find some good eats, despite
the bad news about the shad shortage.

There were multitudes of local merchants, and one of the only tables
to really catch my eye was Mamoucha Soaps.  There's something
 about showering with handmade soap.  I'm  partial to the citrus
scented soaps and I took home 3 different bars.  Say what you
want, but when I smell good, I feel good. 

So I thought the shad tacos would be a slam-dunk.  They weren't.
They could have been a little more creative than broiled
shad (if that's what the fish actually was-I'm thinking due to the 
shortage they subbed tilapia after they 86'd shad) and cabbage 
with vinegar on it.  On a blue corn tortilla (ooh ahh).  Exotic.
Hook line and sinker and I had two for ten bucks.  Douche.

We shoulda taken a ride on the steam ferry 'Splash'.  If it cost 4
tacos it would still have been worth it.

On the way back to the bikes, I noticed this little market featuring
a few shad dishes, though the one I'd have gone with, Shad Po' Boy,
was sold out.  With a Post-It exclamation mark. Beer-battered fish 
on a roll with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.  Who knew it would 
be so popular.  I knew we should have gotten there earlier.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Do me a favor.  If you see me, just say hello.  Or hi.  Or hey.  Or yo.  
Or don't even say anything at all.  You can nod, or smile, or just 
widen your eyes in my direction.  Wave.  Tip your hat.  Salute me.  
Ignore me.  Flip me the bird.  They're all good.

But don't ask me how I am.  Don't ask me how I've been.  Don't ask 
me what's goin' on.  Or how it's goin'.  Because unless you really
 know me, you don't give a shit.  And everybody does it.

Good morning.  Good afternoon.  Good evening.  All fine too.  
Simple salutations that really don't require you to think of a response 
other than to return the salutation, or to say hello, hi, or hey.  
Or not even say anything at all.

Don't mention the weather.  That's the biggest cop-out for a lack of 
something original to say.  Forget saying 'how-about-them_______s?'
Chances are, your team is them_______'s archrivals.  And nobody 
really wants to know how life is treating you, unless it's worse than 
life's treating them.

I went to buy a half a sub today for lunch before my bike ride.  After
ordering, there was the awkward couple of minutes standing in front
of the counter while they constructed the sandwich.  Finally, the girl
said, 'will that be all?'  Yes, thanks.  'How've you been?' she asked.
Defense mechanisms automatically kicked in, knowing that I hadn't
been there in a while.  'Good.  I haven't been in in a while, and I got
the hankerin'.'  She got me.  She meant well, but immediately I felt
guilty in a way for not having been in more recently.  It was weird.

I went and ate my sandwich and then rode my bike for a couple 
hours.  I burped oil and vinegar the whole time. I should have had 
something at home instead.  My dog doesn't give a shit about how
I'm doing.  And that's fine with me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fish last Friday

Stockton Market in Stockton, New Jersey, on the Delaware.


and came home with a few savories for dinner.

This is why I always save shrimp shells in my freezer.

This may be overkill, but sometimes you just have to go for it.
3 1/2 inch Cotuit oysters on the halfshell with uni from Maine
and wasabi.  Briny, creamy, pungent, and ultra-fresh.

The beginning of softshell season.  
I absolutely could not pass these up.

Freshly shucked Maine diver scallops, seared and served
on top of roasted fingerlings, and asparagus from New Egypt.
That shrimp stock was reduced and mounted with some 
whole butter.  It's nice that the back patio herbs are here again.

The Rain Song

I've felt the coldness of my winter
I never thought it would ever go
I cursed the gloom that set upon us
But I know that I love you so

These are the seasons of emotion
and like the winds they rise and fall
This is the wonder of devotion
I see the torch we all must hold
This is the mystery of the quotient
Upon us all a little rain must fall

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wooden Ships

This is sort of a sailing blog, right?  In 1974, can you
 imagine the aromas emanating from that arena?

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  I was by then well aware
of the music, but a year or two away from the aromas.
These guys were some more of my American Idols.
(and if you click on American Idols, there's a split-second
tribute to Dick Clark in there)
I wish Neil was out front with them.  Anybody could
have been back there playing the keyboard.

And who would have thought the guy named Dave 
would have a big old sailing boat?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where Einstein Sailed and Tillerman Ran

Carnegie Lake in Princeton New Jersey where, among other
places such as Peconic Bay, LI, Saranac Lake, NY, and
Zurich, Switzerland, Albert Einstein sailed.  And I thought to 
give Tillerman credit for the photo until I found it on the Google.
Thanks anyway, Tillerman.

112 Mercer Street, where Einstein lived.  Long after his death
the house continues to generate garbage, apparently.

Down Mercer Street, which somewhere turns into Princeton Pike,
is the Institute for Advanced Study.  Albert thought and postulated
and theorized here.  I would have driven down the road but.........

Back to town, where Einstein often ate.  But when he ate there,
there were less horses and more cars.  Same building though.

Albert Einstein's framed picture on the end of the glass case
separating the two halves of the main dining room.  It hung
directly over the two-top where he preferred to dine.

Directly behind that wheelbarrow is where the picture used to hang,
and where the two-top was pushed up against.  This was about a 
month and a half ago.  I know that the ceiling and 3rd floor above are
now gone, as well as the old roof.  You can look in through the front
windows and see blue sky.  It's just not right.

Back down Mercer Street, south of the IAS, is Princeton 
Battlefield. A photo of the 300 year old Mercer Oak, before a 
storm brought the old girl down in 2000.  After having worked in the 
town for 15 years to that point, even to me it felt like 
a member of the family had died.  

The new Mercer Oak.

Across Princeton Pike from the Mercer Oak is the other half
of the Battlefield.  That structure was not originally there, but
moved from an existing mansion somewhere else and re-erected.
It still looks cool.

The Princeton University boathouse on Carnegie Lake.  This might
have been one of the scenes the Tillerman saw while jogging that
particular section of the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath , 
stretching right across the much-maligned state of New Jersey
from the Pennsylvania border to the ocean.  

He may have gazed upon this stretch of canal during his woozy
jog.  It was unusually warm for March 14th, and his run would
end sooner than he had planned.

He never mentioned seeing any turtles sunning themselves...

There were no rowers that day, just a couple of guys fishing
and two women in a canoe.

Nope, none of these guys either.

I wonder if he made it as far north as the Heathcote Brook Spillway

directly across the towpath from the Kingston Dam.

This is in my estimation, the widest part of Carnegie Lake, where
the finish line for the rowing regattas is located.  It's also where
most of the minimal sailing is done.  There was a small Laser fleet
here at one point, and one of the sailors was a customer at the 
restaurant.  Back in the seventies, the Region II Penguin fleet
held an annual Fall regatta here called the Gobbler Bowl, 
sometime before Thanksgiving.  The wind was always really
shifty and unpredictable, and I think the sailors attended for the
beer, comradery, and the Princeton home game at Palmer 
Stadium in the afternoon.  The last regatta I remember sailing in
ended with a Colgate game.  I thought it was weird that they
named a college after toothpaste.

I'd be surprised if  Tillerman saw this sight as I did today.
It's a little south of where he was sweating profusely.
It's a strange activity with which I am not familiar.  If you
participate in this, you clearly do not sail a boat.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dog is Our Co-Pilot

Jesus, was she beside herself yesterday when we left her at home. 
 The boat was going in and it wasn't the most convenient 
situation for her to be with us.  Later on last night when we were 
home watching TV, rather than being 'on top of us', she held her
distance on the chair along the adjacent wall.  There was this
'you left me at home while you went to the boat' air about her
that was unavoidable.  It was hard to ignore.

Maybe I should back up a touch.  This dog lives for the boat. 
 Ever since puppyhood, she's been with us on the water.  Her 
short legs provide great stability on a pitching and heaving surface.

  She trots fore and aft along the decks, scouting for crumbs (non-
stop eating as soon as one steps foot on this boat), barks at dogs on 
land as we pass by, and at dogs on passing boats as well.  She's a 
true and reliable crewmember.  Never a last minute 'can't make it' 
call.  She would drive the car to the boat if we allowed her to.

I know some of my very few readers scoff at the thought of 
being able to poop on the boat, or having pillows for comfort's 
sake, or the lack of hiking straps in the cockpit.  Understood. 
 But there's nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth
 having as your dog with you on your boat.

Born Again

I walked behind the Travelift with the dregs of the paint can in my 
hand, waiting for the guys to stop and allow me to patch the six 
unpainted spots where the boat sat on the jacks all winter.

I felt as if I were walking in a funeral procession, taking slow, 
measured steps, making sure not to get in the way of the huge 
blue frame that cradled my ship, rolling slowly toward the point
at which she would be lowered into her final resting place.
The few random people that were in the yard stopped and 
watched in reverence, as the behemoth crept the last few feet
past the boatyard dog, who was wandering aimlessly close to
 the rear wheel of the marina owner's pickup truck.  
No worries, he was leased.       

Far from a funeral, it was a rebirth a mere five months after the ship
was untimely ripped from the Bay's womb, having fallen short of 
fulfilling her Captain's dreams of sailing those waters well into the 
winter months.  That quest has begun again, today, with goals set anew.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Signs of Spring

The marina owners actually paid someone to make this sign.

This one is probably just the owner's falt.

Ready or not...........