Poor Ole Bessie’s in the shop. With two weeks to My Gump Ride, I want to make sure she’s in tip-top shape. Going on 7-years-old (I wonder what that would be in human years?), she needs a little extra TLC these days. With Memorial Day being a literal wash-out and the two-day holiday of Shavuot on Wednesday and Thursday (i.e. shop Monday, cook Tuesday), thankfully yesterday was a perfect weather day for a bike ride. I didn’t plan on going for a long ride. The hubby was smokin’ some meat on the grill, so I wanted to burn enough calories to offset my trough, but be home in time before it all got eaten. I also didn’t plan my route, knowing pretty much every road I can travel, how long each one takes and which ones will not get me run over by crazy holiday drivers.
So I headed down one of my regular paths, Elbo Lane. Before my parents moved to the area (their last home was off Elbo Lane), this road was not even in my sphere of cycling knowledge.
Yes, I realize that “Elbo” is misspelled (there’s a town in Cape May County known as “Dias Creek” that was originally named “Dyer’s Creek” for the farmer whose land butted the waterline…okay, okay…I acknowledge that New Jerseyians are not the best at spelling…). And what I also find comical is that in 4.26 miles length there is only one “elbow” on Elbo Lane – where it starts (look to the far left of the screen where Elbo starts next to the NJ Tpke.) I’m for once content that a road actually lives up to its name, despite its inability to spell correctly. However, I very rarely ride that elbow – I prefer to sneak down Texas Avenue (I wonder if there are any Texans on Texas Avenue…it sure isn’t shaped like the state…). I decided that I wasn’t going to time myself or look at the odometer – I was going to enjoy the beautiful day and just ride for as long as I felt like. If I found something interesting to investigate or wanted to take a picture, I was going to stop.
About two-thirds of the way down Elbo Lane is a little church I’ve ridden by dozens of times. Since I normally take my long rides on Sunday, there’s always a full parking lot. As I approached the church, I felt my body in slow motion, glimpsing a sign I’d never noticed before:
As you can read from the sign, the building to the left of the church is the oldest standing Black schoolhouse and religious meetinghouse in the State of New Jersey. The “newer” church (at 150-years-old) built to accommodate its growing membership, is also known for playing its part in the Underground Railroad pre-Civil War…WOW! I’m constantly amazed at how much historic wealth New Jersey has to offer.
The most interesting aspect of this historic site was that I didn’t even realize there was a cemetery behind the church:
WOW again! Pre-civil war graves of escaped and freed slaves, as well as the graves of Black soldiers who fought in the Civil War right here in New Jersey! (Of course my Israeli tour guide would chide at the idea of something being under 2000 years old, but hey, we’re a lot younger nation dude…) The other interesting thing is that Dr. James Still is buried in this cemetery (remember last Sunday’s ride?!). There are no coincidences in this life…
A little further up the road, Elbo Lane, at some point in its past, decided to turn into Stacy Haines Road – and you’ll be thrilled to know that (YES!) there are people with the sir name Haines living on this road (I’m not sure about Stacy, though…).
Less than 2 1/2 miles long, Stacy Haines Road is home to the Air Victory Museum, which I’ve written about before. However, this time there were actual pilots and students learning how to fly.
Imagine…all day for three hours, all I saw was my beautifully “fake blue sky…” it’s the best drug on the planet…
…but then I missed my turn and ended up on the end of Creek Road (despite my seemingly cognizant attempt to stay away from it) where the entrance to 295 takes over and cyclists are told to, “Get the f**k off the road” at regular intervals, even though we’re allowed to be there (albeit, crazy, but legal…). Managing to not get hit, run over and/or killed, I survived long enough to end back up on the scenic back streets of Burlington County…and then my wonderful fake blue sky grew thick and gray…
Little voice: “You’re so done…let’s just go home and eat barbecue…”
“I’m up ‘n’ I’m down ‘n’ I’m gone, I’m around
I’m driving along with no wheels on the ground
Hang on to me tight ’cause it doesn’t last long
A few hours more and it’ll be gone”
Fly Me High – Moody Blues
“I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours.” – Forrest Gump