Coffeeneuring Ride #6: Espresso Joe's
50 West Front Street Keyport, NJ 07735
This was a bit of a mixed emotions type of ride.
We were up in Keyport to visit my sister-in-law and her family for Halloween, so that my daughter could trick-or-treat with her cousins. They all had a blast, and the candy was flowing like I've never seen before. While walking around I came to the realization that just a year ago, there was no Halloween here; it was taken from them by SuperStorm Sandy. So in community strength and togherness, people found joy in remembering what Sandy had done, and this Halloween was a show of defiance that nature could try it's best to destroy them, but they still remained strong.
It also helped to have a stinking cute kid in a cute costume to garner extra candy:
That weekend, I took a ride through Union Beach, much like I did two weeks after Sandy hit. Union Beach was hit especially hard, as it's waterfrond is the most east-facing and sea-level of the area nearest to our family.
Entire houses were gone now, and businesses and other buildings had been razed or were just vacant.
This is now an empty slab next to a parking lot.
The field next to the fire department is thankfully now empty, and not a tent village.
Ron's Place is gone... Replaced with a single townhouse under construction:
The Whale House:
Is now an empty lot, with a bit of commentary on the situation:
Other lots are empty:
Or Boarded up:
Union Beach still has a long way to go to get back to where they were before Sandy.
And the Sandy Tree:
Is looking a bit worse for wear:
After riding through Union Beach, the Henry Hudson Trail, in an effort to raise my spirits, provided an amazing display of fall foliage to make the rest of the ride worth while.
I stopped to prove I've ridden my bike on Broadway... (ok, not *That* Broadway):
I also stopped in Atlantic Highlands, with a pic of NYC in the distance:
The goal of this ride, other than getting Coffee, was to make it over to the Highlands, where we used to live. It was a devastated ghost town when we visited last.
One of the obstacles on the way is the climb up to Mount Mitchill, which is the highest headland on the east coast south of Maine.
After taking in the views, it was down the hill to the Highlands.
The Claddagh Pub was still there.
And Bahr's was a full parking lot and no notice of issues.
Veteran's Memorial Park was whole:
But riding back towards my house through the neighborhoods showed that the vast majority of houses were in a state of disrepair. They were either being raised (6-8 feet) onto cinderblocks/etc, or had boarded up windows or doors, and a lot of debris still in peoples' yards.
The house where I used to live seemed no worse for wear. The water line was no longer visible on the outside (it was above the top of the front door):
And the 20 foot tall pile of trash/debris was no longer in the parking lot across the street.
I had wanted to make the Water Witch
my coffeenuring stop, but they close at noon on Sunday.
I did stop at the Little Free Library though:
Well, then I figured I'd stop in Leonardo at Jersey Shore Coffee Roasters
, since they were open on my way out to the Highlands.
I stopped at the Quick Stop, because I didn't have to be there today:
But when I got to JSCR, they were closed... It was 3:25, and they closed at 3pm. Oh well.
I rode hard to get back to Keyport just incase Espresso Joe's was going to have the same time closure issues. However, along the way the bike trail was closed, with what seemed to be a couple of police cars.
A woman on a cruiser told me that the trail was closed, and that she had found a dead body along the side of the trail... This is the same way I came before. I was shocked. I didn't notice a dead body, but then again I was riding very fast. All sorts of questions went through my head... Was it someone who was on the trail, or just a dumped body? Could it have been me, and I just happened to miss whomever did this? How awful it must be for someone to find a dead body. I felt much sympathy for the woman on the cruiser, and for the unknown person she had found.
After backtracking, I rode through West Keansburg in a haze; something like that reminds you of all your blessings and you should not take them forgranted.
Eventually I made it back to Keyport without anything else dramatic happening, and got a doppio for my troubles:
When I got back to my in-laws house, I took my eldest niece and her little brother out for a ride.
I am so blessed.
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