It has been approximately two years and three months since I last made an effort to extensively document life activities in a proper blog format, and I would be lying if I said there was not a huge amount of hesitation in deciding to continue doing so. When I first started blogging – admittedly nearly over a decade ago – the phenomenon of posting personal details on the public platform of Live Journal where essentially anyone could read what I wrote was a new and exciting one. Over the years this site became a place to retreat from issues I struggled with in real life as it was somehow easier to vent via a keyboard than a pencil, and I managed to accumulate a small group of followers who often commented on my entries. Apparently they found my outspoken nature to be appealing, enjoyed hearing about my newest modification and were grossly interested in my exploits as a sideshow performer.
Then I began to question why I was even sharing information with strangers who no longer took the time to read or reply to entries, as other forms of social media had taken over and short quips of daily activities that could be read in a stream became more desirable. Certainly there have been plenty of things that happened in the time I last update Live Journal and writing this post that are worthy of being remembered, though they were often devoid of excessive detail so that they could be neatly tied to a few photos of an outing as a caption and posted on Tumblr tagged as personal or journal posts. The same amazement that other people liked this enough to click their mouse to show such appreciation and even go so far as to share the posts on their blog came in small waves, each comment taken with grace while trying to mask confusion as to why someone would admire anything I do. This is only part of the motivation behind writing in a lengthy blog format again, as I came to realize I have been subconsciously taking pictures and making note of certain details in order to share them with my best friend when he gets out of jail, but that is a story for another time.
Recently my husband was transferred into the bakery section of the local supermarket where he works, which means he has shift that begins while I am still sleeping and ends before noon every day, affording us a lot more time to not only spend together but also exploring the many fascinating features of the Garden State. It is my opinion that there are many things which often get overlooked in favor of hating New Jersey for whatever bizarre reason people come up with – I have yet to hear one that actually makes sense and more often than not get a resounding “because” as response. There are beautiful acres of park that offer plenty of activities for all ages, concert venues that attract a variety of entertainers and a very infamous shoreline which was the setting of an MTV reality show. Do not even get me started on all of the stunning chrome diners that are spread across winding highways, local legends that everyone knows and loves and roadside attractions from another era. We even have the Jersey Devil and assortment of other creatures that people tell spooky stories about when gathered around a campfire.
Having spent almost a year living in a community nestled among the Pinelands of New Jersey, I am pretty stoked to be surrounded by farms and woods with the ocean only a half an hour drive away. My appreciation for abandoned architecture is rubbing off on him, and I like to pull out my collection of Weird NJ magazines so we can go through them together and point out the places we have been to or know of. Which has led to investigating back roads usually ignored for the main arteries of asphalt that navigate commuters through the area, discovering personalized properties and decaying structures among the usual structures scattered throughout these quaint little towns.
On Friday our expedition of choice was what appears to be an abandoned air field, the building on the property unused and locked up tight yet is available for sale. The huge glass garage had two pieces of heavy machinery inside and a collection of shells sitting on a red brick windowsill my husband advised me not to touch. Behind the building is an open an empty field which is not enough to indicate a landing strip, and really the only thing we had to even suggestion it was used for such is the airplane that sat perched on the corner of an open deck, as seen in the photo on the left. Adding to the confusion of what this place could have been used for was a pair of ‘No Diving: Shallow Water’ signs that were posted above long windows that were securely shut. It is certainly an interesting piece of property, situated across the street from ranch style homes and on a patch of land that is also occupied by small farms. We wondered how much it was being sold for and how much land it came with as we drove away.
The following afternoon we set out on the search for Blackwater Pond Park, a place we attempted to reach once before but never reached due to having vehicle issues. Since I like to know where we are going before departing, I will go on-line and use Google to see what the area has to offer while also acquiring rough directions. If there is an address we just punch it into the GPS and let it do the navigating, but otherwise we check the map and write down our own route. Having remembered a bit of an issue finding one of the roads last time, I made sure we studied the map and was confident we would be able to find the park.
This dwindled as we made every single turn and were looking for a specific road, unsure if it was the dirt one we passed and attempting to find entrance to the park another way. We parked near an almost hidden wooden sign that notes the park, but there was only a gravel lot and a paved bike path that came to an abrupt end. At least I shot a 360 degree view video, the second one I have made since I started recording parts of our adventures a few months ago. Undeterred, we went the opposite way on the bike path and saw the back of the building we were exploring the day before and were making jokes about how the park didn’t actually exist – the town just said it did to see how many people would be foolish enough to try and find it. The path brought us through the back fields of small farms, voices floating from somewhere in the trees where we had seen a dirt bike trail. While it was slightly warm and sunny, there was a wet, dewy smell that permeated from the trees, plants and other underbrush that surrounded us.
Unfortunately the path led us to the back of an athletic park, so we turned around and got back in the Jeep to drive around some more. At this point we knew that we were close yet somehow still missing out on something. We returned to the dirt road mentioned earlier and the only thing we found there was an abandoned shed and a truck full of immigrant workers heading in the opposite direction. Unsure of where the road would go and not wanting to trespass on private property, we turned around and went to the end of the street to make a left, thereby coming across the one we wanted. Turning down it, I took note of how few houses there were and the swaths of dirt that had either already grown produce or were soon ready to be harvested, and the fact there were no physical signs of the park. Turning down a dirt road, we realized it was the one we had just been on, laughed and decided to go home. Another search on Google helped us figure out that the park is actually inside the woods and we would literally have to walk across a field to get to it.
We are definitely going to try again, but overall I am really happy that the weather was pretty cooperative and allowed us to enjoy being outdoors.