Friday, July 19, 2013

New Jersey Trip

I found out a few weeks ago that I'd be traveling to the Atlantic City area of New Jersey for a few days of work.  There was a meeting scheduled at the FAA Technical Center about a new system.  I was to attend the meeting to offer some input from a technical operations perspective.  Since the facility where I work near Atlanta is at one of the few facilities not currently actively using the system, I was a bit skeptical about how much real input I could offer.  Undaunted and with no other volunteers, I decided to go.  I expected to take the opportunity to learn a bit about some of the issues that other facilities might be dealing with regarding the new system and continue my Ironman training, of course.

As I made my travel reservations I did an on-line search for places to run and swim near my hotel.  I wouldn't have my bike with me so I resolved myself to a week of running and swimming.  My search eventually led me to Facebook and the South Jersey Triathlon Club.

My travel plans had me departing Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL) for arrival in Philadelphia Airport (PHL) on a Monday via Airtran.  From Philly I'd rent a car and drive to Egg Harbor, New Jersey where I had reservations at the Residence Inn.

The tarmac at Atlanta Hartfield-Jackson Airport
After lift-off I could see the clouds that have plagued my training schedule for weeks.

Clouds as far as the eye can see
Shortly after lift-off we banked to the left right over Lake Spivey, my open water swim practice course.

Lake Spivey from the air
As my flight neared Philadelphia the same cloudy weather we've been having in Atlanta was right there with me.

Cloudy weather in Philly

Fasten your seatbelts
In Philly I picked up my Chevy Cruze rental car with only 200+ miles on the odometer .  It was a free upgrade from the Chevy Spark.

2014 Chevy Cruze
From the Philadelphia airport I headed out on the 45 mile drive to Egg Harbor, New Jersey.  

Downtown Philadelphia in the distance 
There are two things you'll notice right away when driving in New Jersey.  The first thing is that traffic tolls are a major source of income.  The second thing is that there are few, if any, billboards along the roadway.  A third thing that I noticed coming from Atlanta is  the lack of trash.  In Georgia far too many people use the roadside as their trashcan.  One thing that is not different is that people drive like idiots and rarely use their signals when turning or changing lanes.

The Atlantic City Expressway

The Egg Harbor Residence Inn
When I checked-in to my hotel I was informed that I'd been upgraded.  Click here if you're interested in seeing the full album including several additional pictures of my room.

My room at the Residence Inn in Egg Harbor, New Jersey
Right around the corner from my hotel is the Beacon bike shop.  Since I brought my old wetsuit along on my trip I went by the bike shop for some Body Glide.  Since my trip to Charleston for the Tri Charleston 70.3 I'm missing two containers of Body Glide and an unused can of Trislide.  While at the shop I bought a few gel packs too.

Beacon Cycling and Fitness in Northfield, NJ

Dinner at Burger King - Yuck!

The Garden State Parkway headed down to Stone Harbor, New Jersey
The South Jersey Triathlon Club swim in Snug Harbor in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.  Stone Harbor is just a 30 mile drive south of Egg Harbor on the Garden State Parkway.

The Yacht Club at Stone Harbor

The channel southwest from Great Sound 

The channel northeast to Great Sound

Snug Harbor to the north

Snug Harbor to the south

Me, Jim, Susan and Debbie (l-r) before our first lap in Snug Harbor

I also ran three times that week, twice in Stone Harbor and once from Somers Point over the new bridge to the Ocean City boardwalk.  Stone Harbor is a quaint little town with a lot of nice homes which were obviously untouched by hurricane Sandy.   Second Avenue in Stone Harbor is a wide boulevard with landscaped dividers which make it easy to see traffic.   It's a good place to run.  Ocean City on the other hand is a mess.  The bridge was a fun place to run but the traffic between the bridge and the boardwalk is too much of a challenge for me.  And then there's the boardwalk.  This time of year it is full of people enjoying the carnival type trappings that a child might enjoy but are not conducive to running.  

So, my training continues with little interruption from my short stay in Jersey.

Lastly, good luck to my new south Jersey friends who will be competing in the 15th Annual Stone Harbor Triathlon on July 21st.

Thanks for reading.