Sunday, January 7, 2007

local color

a really, really, really nice day
Yesterday we went for a drive. It was absolutely gorgeous, perfect weather outside yesterday--nearly 70 degrees. In January! So we left our coats at home. We went down Route 9 through Little Egg Harbor and Tuckerton and then we drove down Seven Bridges Road, which I wrote about for the APP as one of my first stories assigned to me.

It's a pretty little road-to-nowhere that ends abruptly. It was originally intended to serve as another route to LBI, but the seabed was too soft to build a bridge across. So it just winds through wild marshes, with only small marinas and abandoned fish factories along the way.

It has several "one-hoss" bridges that only fits the width of one car at a time. A stoplight helps regulate traffic, so two cars don't accidentally end up facing each other on a bridge, where the only way out is backing up. Scrubby pine trees, tall grass and brambly bushes grow alongside the road, which sometimes dips so low, it feels like you are driving on the marsh itself.

At the end of this road is an old red-and-white Coast Guard Station, now home to the Rutgers Marine Field Station. The bushes grow high at the turn-around. The road ends with a metal road barrier, but just beyond that barrier is a small path that goes through the curving bushes. The bushes are like a tunnel and, even if you've been there before, its sort of exciting to see what is on the other end.

Which is a small beach that opens out into the Atlantic Ocean. From there you can see the very tip of Long Beach Island, Atlantic City, other small uninhabited barrier islands and miles and miles of ocean. Seagulls dip and soar and scream and you almost think you can see them scooping up fish, but never manage to actually catch them in the act.

Out on this narrow beach, we spread my "dirty" blanket, huddled under my "clean" blanket and just sat there as the sun set. I thought we wouldn't be able to see it from that perspective because we would be facing east, but the sun set right in front of us, just west of Atlantic City. Luckily the sky was almost cloud-free. Unfortunately, the one place where there were clouds were exactly in front of the sunset, just above the horizon. Nevertheless, we enjoyed most of the sunset, rolling up our blankets a little early so we could enjoy the drive by dusk.

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