Saturday, January 28, 2006

Toms River, New Jersey

We have been at the Elks Lodge in Toms River, New Jersey (map) for the last couple nights, just a block or so from Barnegat Bay. We have been visiting my parents, who live just a few miles from here in Brick Township. We had a nice visit, and my dad is making a quick recovery from his surgery.

We also picked up our mail, which we had directed here when we decided to come this way. I also ordered a couple items on the internet while we were in the area, and those arrived yesterday. One item is a Paladin 1258 three-level coax stripper, so I can finish the cable repairs on the satellite dish when we are in warmer conditions. The tiny RG179 is very difficult to strip properly unassisted, as the center conductor is prone to breaking.

The other item we ordered is a brand new Zoll AED-Plus Automatic External Defibrillator. While neither of us is in the high-risk group for sudden cardiac arrest, we do spend considerable amounts of time well outside of the critical 5-minute response footprint of the nation's emergency medical system (EMS). It's actually a bit alarming to look even at this map (link updated 11/09), showing 10-minute response circles for the nation's life-flight helicopters (ground-based ambulance footprints are, of course, even smaller). The AED adds a critical component to our already extensive self-rescue capabilities, which also include firefighting and first aid equipment. Since we are also both certified AED responders, having one aboard also gives us an important tool to help others who may be in need.

This morning we will pack up and head out of New Jersey for warmer climes. While it is tempting to head due south down Cape May and take the ferry across to Delaware, as we did last November, we need diesel, and the cheapest fuel we will see on the east coast is in Carney's Point, the last stop in NJ on 295/95 south. After we cross the Delaware, we will turn south down the DelMarVa peninsula, heading for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. This will bypass the cities of Baltimore and Washington and their associated traffic. We do intend to spend some time in the capitol district, but we will save that visit for a time of the year when the weather is more cooperative.

We are heading for the outer banks, a section of the coastline that we bypassed last year to visit relatives in Raleigh. From there, we are thinking of maybe heading to the Florida keys, but only if we can get some campground reservations. The keys are notorious for prohibiting the sort of stealth boondocking that we usually do, and all of the state parks in the keys prohibit pets in the campgrounds, so commercial parks are our only option, and they tend to be full (and expensive) this time of year. On top of that, many places are still recovering from Wilma (which was probably our big chance to boondock in the keys, but we were busy in Baton Rouge at the time!). Suggestions (or offers of parking spots) are welcome.

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