Monday, September 5, 2011


9/5/2011 8:00 P.M.

Yesterday was a smaller journey than we thought it would be. The drive was under three hours, and with very few hangups. We had to stop at Barb's parent's house to drop off the keys to the apartment, but, other than that, everything went well. We got slightly lost once we got into town thanks to an invisible road sign, but I remembered from the maps that there were only few roads in the town to begin with, so running into the right street was only a matter of time. The cottage that we rented was on a larger property which, with all due respect, was run by people that seemed a bit more backwoodsie than most would like. But the apartment was cute and backstopped by a large stream which was running brown from all the rain over the last few days. We couldn't check in yet as check in wasn't until 2:30, so we took a ride through the town and parked in a public lot. We walked through several small gift shops, head shops, and Buddhist shops (as the place is teeming with them), and eventually decided to eat at the local Indian place. What I found odd was the fact that it was the only Indian food place in the town. Unusual for a place that seems to love Indian culture if you ask me. Either way, the food was excellent and, after more window shopping, we went and checked into our little apartment.

It has the look of a small converted barn, completely with sink, toilet, a small shower, stove and fridge, and a little back porch with a gas grill. The stream runs about 150 feet off the back of the house and the water smells lightly of earth. You can see the ground water leak in through the slate walls on the banks. The overhang trees were anchored in the rock and the dirt in a way so that they seemed like they had been there forever, and I found a rushing stream in heavy rains to be calmer, more tranquil than a quiet day in NJ ever could. Home should be like this. Instead it's nothing more than a clogged artery stemming from New York City, dragging its cholesterol with it. That should not be home.

We spent an hour or so at the cottage, took a walk through the stream, and went out to find food for the fridge when we came upon the greatest health food store I've ever seen. What was crazier was that people were shopping there in droves and their selection was far beyond anything in central NJ. I'd never seen that before. It was grand to see old hippies buy fresh local apples by the bushel. You wouldn't get that in Manalapan.

Afterwards, we returned home and to wait out the bad weather. I had brought my telescope with us in hopes of catching some viewing time, but the rain and the clouds scuttled my plans like a sea-worn schooner with worm homes in her hull. I decided it better to realize the rain had won for today, and it would be better to sleep off the frustration. Today, as I had feared, would be no better.

The rain went all night and the clouds continued to blot out what sun we would have been able to see. We decided on fossil hunting off Rt. 209, about 20 minutes from here. Before we got to the site, we stopped at a thrift store which had very little of what I was looking for, so we perused and left. When we got to the site, we pulled off into a well-worn pull-off that many had used, and used recently. The shale cliffs had been cut right into when they built the road, so getting to the rock was easy. We found a small piece of fossilized coral, the first fossil I'd ever found in an actual fossil bed, but that was it. We may try somewhere else tomorrow. The cliff seemed to be pretty well picked over as there was evidence of hammer and small pick axe use. On the way back we stopped for some more food at a grocery store that we passed. We would have gotten everything yesterday, but meat just never seems to appear in health food stores for some odd reason. The damned hippies must live on nuts and berries.

For the most part, we stayed in today after we got back. I went rock hunting along the banks of the stream, but that really capped off our day. Tomorrow we may search for more fossils and stop at a Buddhist center outside of town.

9/5/2011 8:28 P.M.

9/7/2011 1:37 P.M.

This rain is really killing my vacation. My telescope has been sitting in my car since we got here, and not being able to walk except in 20 minute bursts is not what I call "relaxing". Still, the town is nice and the cottage is cool, even if most of my time is being spent there. Friday and Saturday were, at the beginning of the week, looking good, but now they're forecasts show thundershowers. This reminds me of my trip up to Cherry Springs in April with Scott and Brad. We knew we were supposed to get rain the following day, but even that night was way to cloudy for any real observation time at all. That whole weekend was a wash, so we left the next day.

I may have to wait until November to get any real observation time in, other than what I get at Scott's place. Ugh...

9/7/2011 1:42 P.M.

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