From the D&R Canal to the Rail

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

After purchasing the latest issue of Weird NJ and reading that there are abandoned trains along the D&R Canal, I wanted to go check it out for myself.  Unfortunately I was not in the right area but that was okay since I had plenty of energy that Sunday afternoon, so did not mind the long miles of riding.  Suppose all of those days spent going up hills and whatnot are having effect on my physical capabilities.  Then again, cycling past endless green scenery on a beautiful Spring day is hard to compare to other activities I wasted my time with in the past.  Occasionally you come across other people, and politeness keeps you to one side of the path so that all parties may pass with ample room, and for some reason they are inclined to vocalize a friendly greeting.

Just being able to ride along the water with nature all around tends to remove any bullshit that may have built up.  What can I say?  Apparently the exposure to the concrete jungles of urban neighborhoods where patches of grass were scarce and parks were places of ill repute that you stayed far away from have made me appreciate the opportunity to be outside without having random annoying assholes shouting things at me when I am  trying to relax.  Though there are certain thoughts that cross my mind, for the most part I tune everything else out and concentrate on maintaining a good pace so I don’t tire myself out too quickly.  Wound up riding four hours without even realizing it, but I was exhausted by the time I got back to the house.  Somehow that feeling was a welcome one and I slept really well which is usually difficult for me.

The following day I rode for about half an hour longer, and while I keep myself hydrated with cool water, I have to admit that I am unsure of what keeps me going.  Passing through the woods, there is a limitless amount of scenery that captures the interest, and I don’t care how silly it sounds, I could stare at trees and plants for hours without getting bored.  The trail took me under highways and over Route 1; the D&R Canal is of historical value as well, so there are signs scattered about which detail some of the more significant points and events connected with it.  The exact length of the entire trail escapes me, but from where I get on, it branches off either towards New Brunswick and goes all the way into South Boundbrook, or towards Lambertville though I forget where it ends.

Since the last two rides had been in the Lambertville direction, I decided to go the other way.  For the most part, I had not traveled very far that first time, but that was on account I had just received the bike and was testing it out to ensure it was suitable and did not need adjustments.  Have been going on rides almost every day and all that time on two wheels is definitely changing me physically, even if only a little bit.  Then I realized how far I had gone the day before without having much of a problem and riding suddenly became a challenge to surpass that.  Me being the adventures girl I am got sidetracked by a path that led into the woods, though after following it I only discovered a small river.  Wondering if that path was supposed to actually go anywhere or not, I continued onward until once again I was distracted by another path that directed me into the woods.  It was called the Silver Maple Trail, and this little dirt path led me deep into the trees as it wound close to the river.  The walk was a bit rough, but I love me a good adventure.  After a brief rest and some water consumption, I walked back to the main trail and noticed that unlike the Princeton side of the D&R Canal, the sand on this portion was littered with sticks and other natural debris; not as smooth but still a good ride.

Some millstones were laid next to the path, authentic agricultural artifacts that were used to grind up grain and held some historical value.  There was also reconstruction of a bridge keeper’s house that I had passed; the bridge keeper is someone who raised and lowered the bridge over the canal for ships to pass by.  After about an hour and a half of riding, hunger was tugging at me and I should have brought something to at least snack on.  That was the only thing that persuaded me to turn around and head back, though I still took my time and enjoyed every single minute.

Last Thursday before Electric Sideshow took the stage at the Rail, my partner and I had been invited to have a chat with the guy who runs the whole thing, as he wanted to talk to us about the good and bad points of our performances.  He said that we “have skill”, and not to have an ego here but that is something I already know since this is not my first rodeo, even though I tend to be humble when people recognize that.  Was not offended by him saying we are not great talkers, and honestly it is something I do out of necessity on account we have no one else to fill the role, and I know that just having the patter memorized does not mean I am good at delivering it.  There is an enormous amount of talent one must have to be a phenomenal talker, and in my mind you have to be able to sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman wearing white gloves on a hot Summer day.  There are very few who fit this standard, and without meaning to I became distracted by thoughts of Jon as I agreed that not speaking at all adds to the mystery one builds for the audience.  It is something I did when I was doing shows at the Cove; I never spoke a word when I took the stage, did my thing and then walked off again.  Various explanations of why I was silent were concocted and fed to the crowd, as people are likely to believe whatever you tell them so long as you have some conviction in your words.

He also gave us tips on how to expand the skills we currently posses, so acquiring new props will be in order when we save up some funds.  Would like to work on my stage ware since there should be some separation of who I am as a person versus who I am as a sideshow performer.  My character has always been an exaggerated version of myself, since for some reason people are intimidated by silly things like hair, makeup and clothes.  There are so many other performers who go for the glamour and there is nothing wrong with that, but I prefer embracing the alternative and fucking with people’s heads as they try to figure out what I am.

The meeting ended rather well but I was already in show mode, not really paying attention to much of anything else as we stopped to have something to eat so we would have enough time to change.  Four hours later we arrived at the Rail where there was a sizable crowd eager for sideshow antics,  plus a few familiar comrades were in attendance which always puts me in a good mood.  Hilarity and fun ensues when you introduce alcohol into people’s systems and then hit them with some brilliant sideshow acts.  Definitely enjoyed being silent for Electric Sideshow’s routines, using hand gestures and facial expressions instead of words, which worked really well and received receptive reactions from the crowd.

Even though I had spent hours removing the tiny and most likely dangerous shards from my glass pile on Tuesday, I still managed to cut the bottoms of both my feet.  At this point I no longer care since I am not going to grind it down; that would be cheating and as much as I enjoy selling bullshit to rubes, I will not outright lie to them.

After the set I got my drink on with whiskey and a shot of Liquid Heroine, the latter of which was consumed in toast made with James towards the continued success of my career.

No matter how fulfilled I feel post-show, I always wind up consumed by thoughts of the one person I owed much gratitude towards, wondering where he was when I wanted to do just that.

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One comment on “From the D&R Canal to the Rail

  1. 0.0 – Pick up the towpath above the Washington Crossing parking area and head south, crossing over Pennington Rd. Mostly flat and level typical towpath though we hit a little gravelly bumpy areas in spots. There is an exercise station section and several parking areas (without porta-johns) along the way.

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