A quick, 5 mile out-and-back ride along the Ridge Trail in the Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain, New Jersey.
The Gold Camp Road runs through the Rocky Mountains south of Pikes Peak in Colorado. For over a hundred years, it has been traveled by tourists, first on passenger trains and later in automobiles. The Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District Railway was built around the turn of the twentieth century to bring gold ore down from the mines around Cripple Creek and Victor. By the 1920s, the railroad was out of business and the route was soon converted into an automobile toll road for tourists.
It remains a popular destination. We rented a couple of KHS mountain bikes from Challenge Unlimited and they drove us in their van up the unpaved and potholed Old Stage Road to St. Peters Dome, roughly halfway between Cripple Creek and Colorado Springs. Our driver dropped us off with a couple water bottles, a photocopy of a hand-drawn map, and a little backpack with a pump and repair kit, in case we got a flat tire. From there, it was all downhill.
The first eight miles or so are closed to automobiles, and we were riding on a Monday after the summer tourist season ended, so we had the gravel road to ourselves. We rode through two tunnels, stopping several times to take in the views. After about an hour and a half, we reached Tunnel #3. In 1988, this tunnel collapsed (which is why cars are no longer allowed), so we had to walk the bikes along a trail that goes over the tunnel. Below Tunnel #3 there was a parking lot, cars, and more hikers and bikers, but it was definitely not crowded. We continued downhill through more tunnels and rock cuts.
Whitesbog is where, in 1916, Elizabeth White and Frederick Coville produced the first commercial crop of blueberries. Before that, Whitesbog was a cranberry farm, and before that, it was part of the Pine Barren’s bog iron industry. It’s now part of New Jersey’s Brendan Byrne State Forest and sand roads surround its cranberry bogs.
Remember that time in the 1990s when Volkswagen gave you a Trek mountain bike if you bought a car? Here’s one of the original brochures for the 1996 Jetta, as seen on A2resource.com.
Browsing a garage sale, I examined a plastic bag full of watches. It was mostly junky stuff, including a lightweight piece that said “Rolex” on it, but there was also one Casio G-Shock.
Not that I needed another watch, but I had been casually looking at new Casio G-Shocks, which have a reputation for toughness at affordable prices. This one, however, had been sitting in the sun all morning and when I picked it up, the plasticky looking watch felt like it was melting. I ended up paying a dollar for it, the price helped by the fact that the bezel surrounding the watch face cracked in my hand while talking with the seller.
From Outside Online, Two Locals Share their Favorite Hikes in New Jersey.
Last year, three teams brought back a mostly forgotten and unjustly maligned baseball icon, the bullpen cart. The cart’s purpose was to transport the relief pitcher from the bullpen to the mound, avoiding the exertion of jogging that distance. A true bullpen cart has a bottom shaped like a baseball, and a top that is a giant baseball cap. Bat-shaped columns bridging the two are optional.
Predecessors of the bullpen cart date back to the 1950s, and include a Harley-Davidson scooter (Milwaukee, of course) and a hearse (Casey Stengel was allegedly involved in that one). Then there was that time the Dodgers’ catcher drove the pitcher to the mound, let him out, and then ran into him. This article at Cut 4 details everything that is known about cart history, but was unable to solve the mystery of who first introduced the round, cap-topped cart. Could it be the New York Mets? Their cart may have been introduced in 1967, and its penultimate appearance was in 1986 when an enthusiastic Mets employee jacked it and took it for a joyride around the field when his team clinched the Division title enroute to their World Series victory. The cart resurfaced recently when it sold at an auction for $112,000 dollars.
The carts cruised through the seventies, but fell out of favor and finally disappeared sometime in the 1980s. But in 2018, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers re-introduced the carts. Unfortunately, most relievers refused the ride. Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle was the first visiting pitcher to use the Arizona cart, and he reportedly was instrumental in the Nationals debuting their own cart later in the season.
This winter, the Nats held tryouts for the job of bullpen cart driver, and over 400 applied. Tryouts were supervised by hard-luck ex-president/racer Teddy Roosevelt, who, in a cruel twist, was beaten in the opening day footrace by rival ex-president Tom Jefferson, who rode the bullpen cart to an unjust victory.
Could the Mets bring back their own bullpen cart? Signs suggest yes, and at least one of their relievers isn’t afraid to ride in style.
You think having more bald eagles is a good thing, until two of them take their courtship ritual onto the New Jersey Turnpike.
Video by jboi4 on reddit, from South Jersey (Salem County?).
Edit: The original video was deleted from reddit; here it is on YouTube: