A sunset, an elephant, and a drive.

When I was a little boy, on Sunday afternoons my grandfather would rush everyone into his 1978 Ford LTD and we would go for a Sunday drive, and then stop for dinner at a nice restaurant. There usually was not a specific destination in mind; it was driving for the sake, and pleasure, of driving. The Sunday Drive was a tradition that was popular in the mid 20th century, and it seemed have become less popular with the rise in gasoline prices in the 2000’s, as well as more people working on Sundays and having less weekend time for leisure. Today, I accidentally brought back the tradition of the aimless Sunday drive. More on that later.

For this weekend, my plan was to take a trip down to the shore to see a very old roadside attraction on Sunday. Before that, however, I met up with my family at Menz restaurant for dinner on Saturday night. Yes, I just posted about Menz two weeks ago. What can I say? It is a family favorite! Here are a few of the items that we ordered. Mouth watering can begin in 3… 2… 1…

Wanting a relaxed Sunday morning, I stayed at my family’s shore home Saturday night. Since I was near Cape May, I drove to the end of Beach Avenue to take some photos of the Cape May Lighthouse from a distance. And of course I grabbed some shots of the Accord as well.

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Obviously I started with another photo of the Accord!
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Watching the waves breaking on this jetty was hypnotic, and very relaxing.
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Sunset in Cape May, with the Cape May Lighthouse in the distance.
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While waiting for sunset, I caught these birds playing in the surf.
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After sunset, things became very, very red.

Sunday morning, I awoke and departed northbound for one of the oldest tourist attractions in New Jersey: Lucy the Elephant. Built in 1881, and constructed of tin and wood, Lucy is 65 feet high, 60 feet long, and 18 feet wide. Originally built to help sell real estate, Lucy has been used as a restaurant, a tavern, and an office, among other duties. It was renovated into a tourist attraction in the 1960s after almost being condemned, and has functioned as a “must see” destination for over 135 years (via Wikipedia).

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How many times in your life are you able to tell Siri to take you to Lucy the Elephant?
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I have the Accord in the foreground, for scale. It’s a BIG elephant.
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Lucy, taking a very long drink of water. Hard to see, but her toenails are painted, and get repainted depending on different events and times of the year. Because a girl has gotta be stylish.
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Between the gift shop, the burger and cheesesteak stand, and the restaurant, this place screams “tourist trap.” Still… it’s definitely worth the visit.

My curiosity satisfied, I got on the road to return home, and managed to get completely and totally lost. I missed a turn to the Garden State Parkway, and instead took a series of county roads through much of Atlantic County. Finally making my way to the Atlantic City Expressway, I took another wrong turn and ended up driving into Atlantic City before turning around and driving home. For perspective, I probably did about 50 miles of unnecessary driving this afternoon. Not a very relaxing Sunday drive.

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One little milestone broken during the unintentional exploration of New Jersey: 59,000 miles on the Accord.

While heading home, I drove past one more item of interest. The Black Horse Pike is one of the original roads to the Jersey Shore. It originated in 1855 as a route to Atlantic City. Along the way, you see New Jersey as it was before many of the major highways were built, including many oddities that have not been torn down. One bit of roadside americana is this former “Miss Uniroyal” statue at Werbeny Tire Town in Blackwood, New Jersey. Now dubbed “Miss Nitro,” the statue represents a lost slice of American history, when statues such as these were used to attract customers. Built for the Uniroyal Tire Company, there are thirteen of these statues surviving across the U.S., including this one in Blackwood (from Road Architecture).

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Miss Nitro (formerly Miss Uniroyal). A small piece of the American past.

Thanks for coming along on another Voyage of DH. Despite a long, unintentional excursion this afternoon, I had a wonderful weekend trip. Have a great week, and thanks again for stopping by The Voyage of DH.

‘Til Next Time.

5 thoughts on “A sunset, an elephant, and a drive.

  1. The Miss Nitro reminds me of those “Muffler Men” statues that you see around the country. I can’t believe Lucy has been around since 1881! That’s one old elephant. Sorry to hear about the unintentional NJ exploration, but hey, congrats on the 59,000 milestone either way!

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