June 17, 2006: Trip to Wildwood

I have to fall back to my old system of doing the dailies of writing the post to a text editor and then uploading it later because the server that hosts SGL is currently down. I don’t know how long that it has been down because it was up when I left North Brunswick to go to Atlantic City this morning but it was down when I went to write this (which is actually being written on Sunday afternoon because I haven’t seen a computer since I left) so this might be a recent outage or maybe it has been going on for two days. Sorry, I just don’t know. Hopefully we will have this situation fixed shortly. If you are reading this then, it has been.

Dominica and I both slept in a bit this morning. We knew that it was going to be a long weekend so we wanted to be well rested before it started. There is a lot of driving to be done today. Dominica’s car would normally be the car that we would take but her tires are a little soft so we are taking mine which means that I am doing all of the driving because it is a manual and she can’t drive it (or at least that is what she says so that she never has to drive but she drove manual for a long time when she lived in Texas.) We didn’t get up until around 11:00. We got ready and packed quickly and got out the door in time to be able to go over to the Omega Diner and Cafe and get a late breakfast before leaving town.

It was around 1:30 when we finally left North Brunswick. Google Maps had predicted that it would take a little over two hours to get down to Atlantic City where we have reservations at the Ramada Limited in West Atlantic City just on the mainland side of the intercoastal. The trip down was uneventful. Traffic was sluggish through East Brunswick on NJ18 but once we got past the Brunswicks it picked up and we were able to make good time the whole way.

When we arrived in Atlantic City Google’s directions really failed us. We should have done nothing more than gone to exit 38 off of the Garden State Parkway and driven east and we would have found the hotel right there on our right but instead Google sent us to a different exit and told us to take little road after little road which would have been fine if those roads would have existed but most of them didn’t. We ended up just driving around and coming across the hotel. It was super easy to find as long as you didn’t use directions from the Internet. 🙁 It was 3:30 when we checked into the hotel. So it took us just two hours including getting lost to get to the hotel.

We had been worried about getting a room at a Ramada because they can be really unpredictable but this one was quite nice and had a nice view of Atlantic City across the intercoastal. In fact, the Ramada Limited sat directly on the intercoastal so we were technically waterfront. We didn’t have long to spend at the hotel, however, because we still had to drive another hour down to Wildwood down on Cape May at the southern tip of New Jersey. We stopped just long enough to make sure that the hotel was all taken car of and we dropped off all of our stuff so that it wouldn’t be sitting in the car. Then it was back onto the road.

It took a little less than an hour to go from Atlantic City to Wildwood and the drive was really easy. We got to Wildwood and were totally unimpressed by what a crappy, shabby little place it is. It was awful. Everything was dirty and nasty and the people were so trashy. It was gross just being there. I thought that Wildwood was supposed to be some cool travel destination but that is the last thing that it is. Even if you like going to the beach and doing absolutely nothing with your summer this is not the place that I would ever want to go. We didn’t see a single nice hotel or restaurant the entire time that we were there. It almost seems like a resort town in a third world country that does not cater to the richer first world set. Like a local resort town in Honduras. Image what that would be like. I almost felt like there should be little kids begging or picking pockets on every corner. No wonder we didn’t find any hotels near here. No respectable hotel would build in this area. Ick.

We had to pay $15 to park at the Wildwood Convention Center. That wasn’t very impressive. We were a bit early so we took Oreo out so that he wouldn’t be stuck in the car for so long and we walked a little ways up and got some ice cream at a local place called Sea Shells. It was really warm out and the car would be unbearable for Oreo. The air was warm but the sunlight was intense. Oreo had a great time walking with us and smelling everything everywhere that we went.

We got him back to the car and waited with him for a little bit with the car doors wide open to keep the car cool before we had to lock him in and head to the convention center for the drum and bugle corp competition. We thought that we would be able to go right in but there was actually quite a line of people trying to buy tickets to get in. We probably had to wait in line over twenty minutes to get tickets. That was pretty surprising.

I managed to record about forty seconds of the opening number from the Rochester Empire Statesmen’s 2006 “Catching Some Rays” Performance at the Wildwood Convention Centery in Wildwood, New Jersey and you can watch it on Ourmedia. The movie is 9.2MB. I think that it turned out pretty well. I wasn’t able to listen to it when I was writing this so I have no idea what the audio is like. I just know that the video turned out okay. I should get a chance to listen to it soon.

After the show Dominica and I took Oreo for a long walk to get him some fresh air after being in the warm car. He had a great time. The car wasn’t all that hot and it had cooled off a bit since we had dropped him off. He was only alone for two hours. He had just the best time exploring Wildwood. We, on the other hand, continued to be grossed out by the entire place. I can’t believe that people voluntarily drive here from other, nicer, places and spend their time getting drunk. There is nothing else to do here and the entire town echoes with the sounds of the drunks on the rooftops and balconies. It is a like a Mecca for trashy Americans. I know that all beach towns on the east coast get pretty nasty but I have never seen one like this.

We dropped Oreo back off at the car and went to explore the boardwalk. A sign on the boardwalk proclaimed it to be America’s original boardwalk but I find this hard to believe. According to Wikipedia the Atlantic City Boardwalk, which opened in 1870 and is by far the most famous boardwalk in the world followed by Coney Island in New York, was the first boardwalk anywhere, ever. The Wildwood Boardwalk often makes the claim of having more rides than Disney World but I cannot find any number to substantiate this claim and even Wikipedia states the same thing and notes that it cannot find references to back this claim up.

The boardwalk was nothing more than a beachfront little town amusement park. It was silly and not hardly something that I would denote as an “attraction”. In fact I would not hesitate to say that it totally detracted from what seemed like it probably would have been a nice beach if the boardwalk had not been there. The boardwalk is gigantic, loud, and is full of flashing lights like a 1960’s state fair would have had. It has all of those “attractiction” like throwing rings over bowling pins or shooting water into a clown’s mouth to win junk that you wouldn’t want if someone just stood around handing it out for free. The kind of “attractions” that really make you desire to be elsewhere. There were all of the usual suspects at this kind of place: salk water taffy, pizza, ice cream, fried dough and funnel cakes, t-shirt shops, sunglass shops, etc, etc. ad nauseum. Exactly all of the things that you never want to run across but can’t seem to avoid. And to add insult to injury the prices were outrageous and no one who worked there could speak English so you couldn’t ask anyone for help. Shopping was practically impossible.

We did go into a fudge shop because Min wanted some fudge and the prices were good and the fudge was really good and although the girls that worked there were really struggling with their English they were very friendly and helpful. That was the end of the highlights. One nice fudge shop. Ouch.

After everything wrapped up with the drum and bugle corp competition Josh and Amanda who plays the mellophone with the Statesmen met us on the boardwalk in front of the convention center and we went down to a restaurant on the boardwalk (because there isn’t anything not no the boardwalk for the most part) and got some dinner. We decided to just get a pizza and some appetizers to split between the four of us. It took probably close to forty five minutes to get our appetizers and it was at least an hour before our cheese pizza arrived. People that Josh knew that had arrived and ordered after us were done eating before our food arrived. It was ridiculous. And the quatities of everything were horrible and we didn’t even get free refills on our small sodas. A meal of a single, late, cheese pizza with no toppings at all and a few appetizers came to $50! We were not impressed.

Bottom line: I will never return to Wildwood, New Jersey.

Dominica and I really couldn’t hang out down in Wildwood because we had to get Oreo back to our hotel room in Atlantic City. So we said goodbye and hit the road north. It wook less than an hour for us to get up to Atlantic City with the roads being as empty as they were. I had never been to downtown Atlantic City before and Dominica had never even seen it (not being one for the scenery she had also missed the view of the AC skyline from our hotel when we had checked in earlier today) so we decided to go past the hotel and right into the city to see what it was like. We just drove down on Albany and then made a loop down Atlantic and back on Ocean. AC really is a lot like Vegas. It was pretty cool to get to see but being as late as it was and having Oreo in the car with us we didn’t want to stop anywhere so we just drove through and then went back to the hotel to get some sleep.

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