Gang, for the first time in my life, I was in the Garden State, beautiful New Jersey. So I though, why not, let’s review a state. Heck, if you like it, I may review my state someday, when I can’t think of anything else to write about. (I live in the corn part of Illinois)
Leading up to my trip, I received a few videos about how crazy the drivers are, since it’s by New York, how rude people are, and a general how dirty the state is. In fact, my mom was kind enough to drive me to Midway, and the last thing she said was “Tell me if it stinks as bad as people say”
So I got on my 5:30 AM flight, read a book for an hour and a half, and landed. My first impression of NJ was the airport, and as they go, it was very clean, not too big, and very easy to navigate. Not near as nice as Pittsburgh, but not the shithole LaGuardia is.
I met my beautiful friend Sara, and off we went, out in to the fr….. well, air of NJ. The smell that hits you makes you think that NJ is decomposing into itself. It smelled like hot garbage and brimstone. But, there is a reason for that. As we drove away from the airport, there are refineries all around the airport. So you get the lovely smell of rotting dinosaurs as they are being processed. It is also nice to know that I will be flying into Philly from now on, since Southwest is cutting back on going to smaller airports, and if we went down and I survived, the burning fuel will not get me.
One of the first thing I noticed is that everyone drives fast, but they are very polite about it. They may be going 80 mph, but they pace each other, don’t switch lanes a lot, and some actually use a turn signal.
I drive in Chicago, where we also go 80, people are switching lanes like it is a basketball weave drills, I’m surprised turn signals are an option on a vehicle, and you don’t want to start beef, because probably 30% are carrying some sort of weapon on them.
But after that we stayed in an Air BnB. This was my first time staying in one, and it was a little odd, but a good enough place to hang out before doing things. I live in the sticks, and you can get two things with grubhub there, pizza, and subs. There, you can get menus of whatever you want.
The next day, we went to the Jersey Shore. The hardest part about visiting the shore is finding parking unless you get there at 7AM. We did not. We drove up and down until, by good luck, someone opened up a lot, and we pair $40 to park. My hat is off to the guy who opened the $40 lot, because all the other lots are $30. But if you sleep late, and let them fill up, suckers will pay $40 all day long…literally
Now the boardwalk and beach was amazing. If you have an ocean near you, it probably isn’t, but once again, I am in a land of corn and beans, it was amazing. Fun fact, a week before I went there, there was a shark sighting in NJ. Not sure where, but I assumed that it was at the exact spot I was. I made sure that I was never on the edge of a group. That just seemed like the smart thing to do.
There were people from all over though. I’m pretty sure that there wasn’t a race, religion, or country not represented by the time we left. We were set up halfway between the boardwalk and the ocean when we got there, and it was pretty much full by the time we left. The sand was right around 140 degrees, I’m positive I got second degree burns on my feet, and that it didn’t take me long to figure out you go from towel to towel, and if you wet your feet, coat them with sand, that helps. Or wear flip flops and carry them. I did a combination of all of them, and my feel have finally sluffed off the dead skin.
We drove back, exhausted, and spent the rest of the night talking about our sunburn, eating ordered in food, and rehydrating, with rum and wine.
We then spent the next day and a half in PA. I won’t bore you with that trips details, but we did go to a restaurant on the river in I think Wilkes Barre, I did my first escape room (made it with 2 minutes to spare), and drank at a biker bar.
Two quick things though. Firstly, my brain doesn’t think along the lines of an escape room, nor am I that type of competitive that I was desparate to get out. If you ever want to do a room for me, you best be an alpha, competitive, and need someone who is a calming influence on the group, or we are wasting money.
Secondly, for some reason I though people from PA were drinkers. Granted, I had a very small section to go from, but I was a bit disappointed. I’m used to WI and IL. WI is like Europe without taste. They drink a copious amount of cheap beer and whiskey. They start early in life, and the alcohol kills all germs, so they live to be 90. It’s science, check it out. IL is a step behind them in pockets, yet wine and White Claw are taking over.
PA, not so much, and on the East end of PA, you can’t find the nectar of the gods Iron City Light, so really, it was somewhat of a wasted trip. I settled for rum, but was a bit let down.
Now to the important part. On the way back, I got to go to one of the Nerd Mecca’s. We went to beautiful Red Bank New Jersey, and I got to go to Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. Walt and Mike were there. It was later on a Saturday, about an hour to close, and it’s nice to know that celebrities are just as excited to get out of work at the end of a day as us regular folk. They were very nice, but you could practically hear the clock ticking in their head.
As a shop, there was a huge wall of new releases. Their back issues were really quite small, and honestly, not that impressive. We were there right when The Walking Dead ended, so every customer who came in there, excluding myself and the people with me, asked if they had a last issue, which got annoying to me, I can imagine how they felt.
About a quarter of the store was devoted to paraphernalia from the Kevin Smith Empire. There were a ton of autographed items, pins, patches, shirts, posters…really anything you can imagine, they had it. If you go online, you can see all the stuff they have.
When I saw the location, I wondered a bit how they could afford the rent. It is in a nice downtown area, and the shops surrounding it are not the comic book crowd type of shops. Then you realize that Kevin Smith probably autographs stuff every six months or so, and they slow release it to every tourist that goes into the store. Granted, as a collector, his autograph is about worthless, because like Pete Rose, there are a ton out there by now, because you can buy them there. As a fan, they are priceless, and you are going to go and buy something autographed, because they sell the stuff at the same price as they would otherwise almost. Exclusive Funko’s from there go for about $30. But an autographed one goes for $35. Or you can get a gift bag, a pin, and the Funko for $40. All high quality, and look great at my house, thanks for asking.
And I don’t blame him. It is hard enough, in this day and age, to keep a brick and mortar shop open, let alone one that you sell your wares $5 at a time. The tourist aspect allows them to stay open comfortably, sell things at a reasonable price, and be a tourist spot as well.
After that, we went to the Quick Stop. It was bigger than I expected, and where the video store was, there ws another building as well, that was a martial arts place I think. It also was in a seemingly sketchy neighborhood, and I took a picture from the car. It was fun to know that all the places he’s mentioned in his movies, actually exist. It’s like a mystical land, that smells like any other place.
So the moral of my story is if you are ever in New Jersey, wear feet protection if you go to the ocean or you burn the soles of your feet, always keep small children between you and open water, because they are bite size, less mobile, and replaceable, if you live in a city and have that type of food delivery options, there is not one good god damned reason why you haven’t tried Pad Thai Sara, and going to Red Bank is worth it, stop in at the Secret Stash, and there’s a fondue restaurant that I will be going to in November, that is supposed to be good.
And if anyone has an All Star Western #10 lying around for a reasonable price, get in touch. eBay keeps teasing me…sigh
Have a great day! Listen to each episode of Spoiler Country twice, then move on to the rest of their universe. If for some reason you want to reach me, I’m @jaycanchu on twitter. Or you can probably track me down when stalking the Overlords of Spoiler Country.