2012 - 2017 Travel Map - Now in the Bad Lands National Park, South Dakota

New Jersey/Pennsylvania Friends and family


Friday – Friday December 6 - 14, 2012 

We just ended the third leg of our family and friends holiday visiting trip in NJ/PA. We are now back in Cheektowaga NY where we started our trip almost 4 weeks ago.  We will be here for the weekend and then fly back to our RV house in Fort Lauderdale FL on Monday morning. 

After leaving New Stanton PA last Friday, we traveled another 300 miles to Tom and Michele d’Arcy’s house near the NJ border in PA for the night.  It is always a good time when we meet.  Tom and Michele were our roommates at the beach house (we called it the shack) we shared in Highlands NJ.  They shared stories of the storm Sandy and its effects on the shack.  The water was 9.5 feet high there which about i feet high inside the shack.  Tom and Michele are in the process of remaking the shack into a nice bungalow with support from the owners.  We are sure that the finished product with be quite nice.

Michele made a great pot roast for dinner and after many drinks and stories we were off to bed.

We said our goodbyes on Saturday morning and headed for the NJ coast.  We decided to first take a coastal drive through Long Branch, Sea Bright, and Highlands before heading to our friends Rob and Cindy’s house in Keyport NJ.  The first effect we saw of the storm Sandy was just after we entered the Monmouth Beach area on the way to Sea Bright.  There are lots of pictures on the internet of the damage so I didn’t take any more pictures. 

The area from Long Branch to Sandy Hook in the Highlands is lined with mostly large houses, a few restaurants, numerous beach clubs and marinas on one side; and a large rock and concrete sea wall on the other.  Behind this area is bay water that is also connected to the ocean.  Due to the storm hitting with just over 100mph wind at high tide and a full moon, the tidal surge was up to 17 feet.  This tidal surge completely submerged the entire area with around 13 feet of sea water.  What was left was blown out houses and buildings and marina boats everywhere.  Also the area was covered in up to 3 feet of sand.

Patty and I’s history at this part of the shore goes back to 1995 when we were first together.  We watched this area of the shore be rebuilt during the real estate boom days of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  It’s now sort of surreal driving through here 6 weeks after the storm.  People are working everywhere and there are literally hundreds of piles of debris all along the road.  Very sad.

We went to the shack and took a walk through.  You can clearly see where the water came to inside and outside the building.  Tom and Michele have gutted the place and are now letting it dry out.  It was very interesting to see the place in this shape after our 6 year history there.

The shack after Sandy

The water line.

Saturday night after arriving at Cindy and Rob’s and after settling in we went out to an Italian restaurant with a gang of 13 friends.  We had a great time and it was very nice to see everybody again.


Picture of a picture

More friends


Mike with a straw pea-shooter.

Sunday we went to our friends Connie and Tony’s house in Spring Lake Heights for dinner.  Tony had just gone through a hip replacement and wasn’t able to go out with us on Saturday night.  Connie made a great Chicken Cordon Blue.  It was maybe one of the best I have had and definitely better than one I have made.  Thanks Connie and Tony for a great time and dinner.

Monday we went out to dinner with Patty’s son Chas at the Harvest Moon in New Brunswick.  After dinner we got a tour of his new apartment he shares with 2 other roommates.

Patty getting the mail at Chas's apartment



Tuesday we again went back to New Brunswick and had lunch with Chas.  Great news, Chas is in line for a manager’s position in a brand new store in Brick NJ. The new store should open in the spring and Chas with be in charge of it.  Congrats to Chas!  He has come a long way since living in our basement!

Tuesday night we chilled out with just Cindy and Rob at their house.  Rob used his new Dutch oven to make a large lamb roast and I had Salmon.  I am not a lamb eater.  Patty definitely liked the roast and I like the smell and my salmon!  Thanks Cindy and Rob!

Wednesday we went out to dinner with my daughter Jennifer and her husband Christian in Mount Olive NJ.  It had been a while since we had seen them so it was extra special for us.  They read the blog so they knew what we had been up to but we wanted to hear what they had been doing.  We had a great visit but soon it was over and we departed back to Keyport.

Thursday Patty and I split up for the day.  While Patty went to a local tavern with Cindy and Rob to Karaoke, I went to Newark by train to an OBC (Old Bastards Club) meeting.  This is a group of guys I have worked with for years and have also traveled a lot of the world with.  We get together whenever enough of us are available and drink lots of alcohol, catch up, and tell old stories.  It was a good time for sure.

Cool art work at the train station.

Train coming in to take me to Newark from Aberdeen.

Friday we quickly got ready to leave NJ and Cindy and Robs by 9:30 am.  We traveled the 400 miles back up to Cheektowaga in 6.5 hours and arrived just before 4 pm.  We went out just after to a local restaurant for a fish fry with Patty’s parents and brother-in-law Joe.  We really do like to have a fish fry when we are in the area as they do know how to do it right.
We will be here for the weekend and then head back to Fort Lauderdale on Monday morning.  We really are now ready to get back home!

Stay tuned!

Stay tuned!

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