For over two hundred years, people have been coming to the New Jersey shore to relax, unwind, and breathe in the clean ocean air. Whether you are playing tourist in the nation’s oldest seaside resort town of Cape May, indulging in living the high life at one of Atlantic City’s casinos, checking out the latest upcoming band in one of Asbury Park’s music venues, or hiking through the coastal wilderness of Island Beach State Park, the Jersey coastline has something for everyone. Since the 1950s, however, the spot for teenagers and 20-somethings has been only one town: Wildwood!
Although a resort town since the late 19th century, the completion of the Garden State Parkway in 1955, as well as the post-war economic boom, transformed Wildwood into a destination hot spot. The town also played a major role in the founding of rock and roll. At a Wildwood hotel in 1954, Bill Haley & His Comets first performed “Rock Around the Clock Tonight,” in what has been described as the first major rock and roll performance. The first live performance of “The Twist” by Chubby Checker took place in Wildwood in 1960 (via Wikipedia).
Set amid the backdrop of rock and roll, the beginning of outer space exploration, the era of atomic power, and an idea that the future was right around the corner, hotel owners in 1950’s Wildwood embraced “Doo Wop” architecture. The new style incorporated metal, glass, and an endless amount of neon lights to create futuristic styles that were designed to entice tourists to stay at the numerous hotels throughout the town (via Wikipedia). Although this style is more commonly associated with Miami and Las Vegas, there is still plenty of neon in Wildwood!
Let’s take a trip back in time to the 1950s and explore the architecture that put Wildwood on the map. Along the way, we’ll eat great food, stop by a familiar spot for cool bird photos, and share some automotive updates. Let’s begin!
Rather than commenting on every single building, sign, and plastic palm tree, I thought I would let the photos from the rest of our tour speak for themselves:
The Wetlands Institute
Over the past several years, I have been fortunate to have met several other owners of Hondas and Acuras who have the same nerdy interest that I do: seeing how many miles they can put on their odometers! Today I wanted to share an impressive achievement from a friend in Texas, before closing with some automotive updates closer to home.
The 800,000 Mile Accord
With only 200,000 miles to go until his car crosses the 1 million mark, I asked Justin if he would be interested in a short interview, and happily he agreed!
Q: Wow! 800,000 miles! How’s the car holding up?
A: It’s doing great! I have no concerns about getting this to a million miles. It continues to perform well with no major issues.
Q: What have you had to do for maintenance since we last saw the car at 650,000 in May of 2020?
A: Looking back at my maintenance log, here’s what I’ve done over the last 150k:
Inner and outer tie rod ends
Front end alignment
2 sets of tires
Lower ball joints
Inner fender well
Fuel system cleaner
Transmission fluid change
Timing belt and hydraulic tensioner
Power steering reservoir
Oil seal around VTEC actuator
Clutch slave cylinder
10 oil changes (Editor’s note: Yes folks, that works out to about one oil change every month)
That may look like quite the list to some people, but it’s also about the lifespan (150,000 miles) of how long most people would keep a car.
Q: Given how many miles you’ve put on your car, you’re probably the expert on the 7th generation Accord coupe (2003-2007). Is there anything you wish Honda had designed differently?
A: I understand this is a sporty style coupe and has firm seats. Mainly the side bolsters are too firm, in my opinion. Guess they didn’t think someone would drive one of these 400-500 miles per day! In later 7th gen models, the steering wheel controls were lit. I wish mine would light up. Another thing that would be nice would be a quick release to slide the driver’s side seat forward without using the power controls. It’s quicker and easier to access the back seat from the passenger side with the manual seat.
Q: Is there anything you plan to replace in the near future as you approach 1,000,000 miles?
A: The original struts lasted 320k. The replacements also lasted 320k. I’m assuming I’ll be doing them again at 960k. I may have to replace the front axles again before 1MM. Otherwise I’ll just address issues as they come up.
Q: Once you hit a million miles, do you think you’ll keep the car? Trade it in for something else? Build a pedestal on your lawn and display it for posterity?
A: I really can’t imagine getting rid of it. I may get something else to drive if I’m not doing deliveries, but I know we’d regret letting this go. Our daughters were little (they’re both adults now) when we got it, so it’s been part of the family for a long time.
Q: Have you given a thought to where you want to roll the magic million?
A: Based on how my life has gone lately, I figured it would be late at night along some desolate highway in Texas. I think it would be fitting if a trip was planned to hit a million by visiting the factory in Ohio where it was made or to Honda HQ in California. I ran that by my wife and she liked the idea. We’ll see what life has in store for us at that time.
A Jeep Update
I continue to be amazed at how many fascinating places exist in our nation, many of which are right near our front door. While I had seen the memorable signs and buildings in Wildwood for years, I had no idea of the back story of the Doo Wop design movement. The next time you are at the New Jersey shore, it’s well worth a visit!
Thanks for coming along on this history-filled journey down the open road ahead.