Saturday, August 7, 2010

Search for Sandy Hook Lighthouse

I biked from Asbury Park NJ to Sandy Hook National Seashore today, about 35 miles round-trip.  I visited there years ago, and wanted to see it again.

When I got to Asbury Park, I was surprised to find a triathlon going on.  My first encounter was that the boardwalk was closed.  Participants were finishing their ocean swim, and were running along the beach and across the boardwalk.  Most passersby were waiting patiently for the finish, but I was wearing rando reflectivewear, sneaked through an opening in the runners, and no one challenged me, hehe.

My second encounter was a mile northward, when I got off the boardwalk onto surface roads.  Ocean Ave was blocked off for several miles and towns for the bike portion of the race.  Woo hoo, I biked in my first triathlon.  I'd never seen so many plastic bikes.  Every time one approached buzzing and creaking, I thought I had something caught in my spokes, but luckily not.  At one point, I stopped to help a racer fix a flat tire.  No one else stopped, no surprise.  Unfortunately, the guy was not in the mood for help.

But enough about Asbury and the triathlon.  I continued biking north through several oceanfront towns, some rich, some richer.  Eventually I got to the Sandy Hook park.

Sandy Hook is a gorgeous barrier island which extends the Jersey Shore northward for miles toward New York City.  It is completely natural except for the historical military fortifications which pop up at every turn.  A paved bike path runs the length of the island, from the entrance to a beach at the far north.  The trail goes through wide-open windy flat sections, as well as tunnels of overgrowth.  It passes huge parking lots for beachgoers every half-mile or so.  The trail becomes a mesh of trails at the north end, after going through Fort Hancock.  Several trails end right at beach access areas, and bike racks abound.

I wound around the trails for a good while looking for the lighthouse, enjoying new sights and surprises at every turn.  (See the stop sign photo for one such surprise.)  Every so often I could see the lighthouse through an opening in the trees, and then it would disappear.  After finally finding it and taking the obligatory photos, I explored the beach a while, then headed back south.  A glorious morning on the bike.

Verbosely captioned photos:  photos

30-second video of riding in the triathlon:  video

1 comment:

dean furbish said...

I enjoyed the picture tour. Congrats in knocking out an early month Permanent. Did riding in the bike portion of the triathalon inspire you to want to become a triathlete?