Posts tagged ‘down the road’

February 10, 2013

Snowy streets

Snowy streets, bleah.

If you run, the days after a blizzard are a good time to have a gym membership. Running on ice— or through puddles and slush— or through indeterminate patches that *might* be ice but might also be slush or possibly even clear— is never fun.

It’s probably even LESS fun if you’re trying to drive through it.


P.S. I took a bunch of snow photos at basically the worst time of day possible (light-wise), so, uh, things are going to look worse than usual around here this week. Sorry.

October 22, 2012



I’ll stop with all the autumn-themed posts soon enough, I promise. I actually have a backlog of photos that qualify as interesting-but-not-terribly-beautiful-and-therefore-I-need-to-write-an-explanation-of-why-they’re-interesting, but writing takes effort (whiiiiiiiiine). I’m hoping to roll into that as soon as time and patience allows.

(This is Vernon Avenue in Summit. That’s a bridge for the train in the background.)

August 26, 2012

Brookside Drive on a Sunday

Bikers and pedestrians on Brookside Avenue on a Sunday morning

Brookside Drive, which runs north/south through the South Mountain Reservation, is closed to automobiles on Sunday mornings (7am-12pm). While this is a bit of a nuisance for drivers, it allows bikers, skaters (?), walkers, and joggers to safely take advantage of a long flat open road in the middle of a nature preserve.

Inspired by Bicycle Sundays on the Bronx River Parkway, people (including Dan Baer, the first democratic mayor in Millburn’s history) proposed and approved the Brookside Drive plan around 2005.

Unlike Bicycle Sundays in the Bronx, the Sunday morning Brookside Drive closure happens year-round.

When I first heard about this, my reaction was “Why?”, but upon reflection… nature trails are scenic, but they’re rooty and uneven; roads are filled with unsafe traffic; sidewalks are narrow and only exist in unscenic suburbs (and bikes aren’t supposed to be on ’em).

So. Why? Because it’s nice. And I guess it lets you love your town a little more.

For additional information, check this video.

August 3, 2012

Traction Line

Bikin' along the Traction Line

The Traction Line Recreation Trail in Morris County is a two-to-five-mile bike path (the distance depends on your source) that parallels part of the NJTransit Morris and Essex Line, from Madison to Morristown.

You may wonder: Why does this bike path have so much traction? Where does the line come in? “Traction Line” is a silly name.

Well. This bit of land used to be a trolley line belonging to the Morris County Traction Company! It’s officially a rail trail.

Just in case you had any other questions, here’s the rest of what my handy-dandy brochure has to say (with links mostly to Wikipedia dispersed throughout):

In 1981, Jersey City Power and Light Co., now GPU Energy Corp. [now FirstEnergy, as of 2001], donated portions of this property to the Morris County Park Commission. Originally comprising the Morris County Traction Company (a trolley line), this land was designated to be used as a recreational trail. The facility parallels a 5-mile portion of the Morris and Essex Rail Line operated by New Jersey Transit, between Morristown and Madison centers.

Subsequent to additional land donations from GPU Energy and Fairleigh Dickinson University, the New Jersey Department of Transportation has funded construction enhancing the durability, safety, and multiple-use aspects of the trail. The State of New Jersey, the County of Morris, the Park Commission, and surrounding municipalities have promoted the trail usage as a safe off-road linear passage for local residents and commuters.

This link is critical to the Park Commission due to its proximity to the Loantaka Brook Reservation trails system, accessed by the walks surrounding Giralda Farms.

Traction Line map, via

The original 2-mile segment from Washington’s Headquarters to Convent Station was dedicated in 1986. The paved trail is suitable for biking, jogging, and cross-country skiing. An added benefit to the Traction Line Recreation Trail is a nine-station parcourse fitness circuit. The enhancement of this popular facility was made possible by matching grants from Allied-Signal Foundation, Crum and Forster, and GPU Energy. The cooperation of both public and private agencies has been critical to the project’s success, and it is utilized and appreciated by the people of Morris County.

…Dearest Morris County Parks Commission, please don’t sue me for copyright infringement. I’m just tryin’ to spread the knowledge. You totally get credit for writing this. Are we cool?


Morris County Park Commission. (n.d.). “Traction Line Recreation Trail.” (Brochure).

July 31, 2012

Water Street

Lookie look

Check it out, it’s totally Water Street in Morristown!

There’s a plaza off of Speedwell Avenue that sort of overlooks this view.

“Sort of,” because there are some strategically inconvenient plantings blocking your access to this view, and you have to do some contorting and reaching and shooting blind to actually get this shot. (Well. I suppose if you had one of those snazzy swiveling LCD screens on your camera, you might be able to see what you’re photographing, but I couldn’t.)

April 27, 2012

South Mountain overpass

South Mountain overpass

Have you ever seen a bridle trail/ hiking trail that crosses over a highway? I mean, aside from the nonroadoverpasses I’ve shown you recently. (NOBODY is supposed to use THOSE ones.) This is more in the “pedestrian overpass” category, which is totally normal, except that this is a hiking trail, not a downtown area, which is where you’d normally find pedestrian overpasses.

This one can be found in the South Mountain Reservation, allowing the Lenape Trail to safely cross South Orange Avenue.

April 20, 2012

Nike Road: Part 2

The Nike Road bridge over I-78, as viewed from the bunny bridge half a mile away

Remember when I was rambling about Nike Road yesterday? Do you? Today I intend to ramble about the Nike Road bridge.

For twenty years after the Watchung Reservation Nike base was deactivated in 1963, as far as I can tell, both the launcher and the control area lay abandoned and unused.

And then, in the 1970s, I-78 came along.

The interstate was originally supposed to cut right through the Watchung Reservation, but the locals were definitively not okay with that. For years, a war raged between angry locals and equally angry road-builders.

Eventually, in the mid-1980s, they came to an agreement: I-78 would be built, but it would just skirt the northern edge of the Watchung Reservation (which necessitated blasting through the Second Watchung Mountain, which was a pain), and several non-road-bearing land bridges would be constructed to allow wildlife from the Watchung Reservation to migrate across the interstate without interfering with traffic.

One of those land bridges, as I’ve already shown you, was the bunny bridge.

The other land bridge is Nike Road, a little one-lane maintenance road that ran from Glenside Avenue to the Missile Tracking Radar Station.

Nike Road bridge, as viewed from the westbound lanes (actually as viewed from the Bunny Bridge)


While the lore says that Nike Road has always been part of the Nike missile station, the Nike Road bridge is dated 1985; if the missile station was deactivated in 1963, and I-78 wasn’t constructed until the 1980s, there was certainly no reason to build an overpass for an unused road. And there was certainly no need to line it with the same tall grass that’s found on the bunny bridge.

1985? But the control station had been out of use for twenty years by then!


So as far as I can tell, Nike Road bridge was wholly intended to serve as an alternative to the bunny bridge for a wildlife migration land bridge… and maybe some maintenance vehicles from time to time, because why else would they go to the trouble of paving it?

(I haven’t seen this explicitly stated anywhere, so this is my own conclusion; if you have additional information either confirming or denying this, please leave a comment below!)

But as I mentioned yesterday, it seems like vehicles aren’t really a priority, because the road is currently obstructed by logs (which are, generally speaking, not very friendly to things on wheels).

And that’s that. For additional information, refer to my sources below.



Alpert, S. (n.d.). “New Jersey Roads – Nikesite Rd., Union Co.” Alps’ Roads.

Alpert, S. (n.d.). “New Jersey Roads – I-78.” Alps’ Roads.

Bender, D.E. (n.d.). “Nike Battery NY-73: Summit, NJ.” Nike Missiles and Missile Sites.

Harpster, F. (2009). “Missiles in Mountainside: Nike Battery NY-73.” From the Hetfield House (newsletter). (PDF).

LostinJersey Blog. (2009). “Summit Nike base.”

Troeger, V.B. (2005). Images of America: Berkeley Heights Revisited. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738537527.

Wikipedia. (2012). “Interstate 78 in New Jersey.”

April 19, 2012

Nike Road: Part 1

Barbed wire near the missile control area

This is approximately where the Nike missiles in the Watchung Reservation used to be controlled!

You may recall when I wrote about the Nike missile launch site, which used to be located where the Watchung Stables are now. If you don’t (don’t feel bad, I don’t expect you to), here’s a recap.

In 1957, during the Cold War, the U.S. army declared that it would construct a Nike missile base on the Watchung Reservation. Despite locals’ loud protests, the base (NY-73) was completed in 1958.

The base consisted of two parts: the launcher (now the Watchung Stables), where missiles were assembled, tested, and stored in three underground magazines (each of which could hold ten Nike Ajax missiles); and the control area (near the present Governor Livingston High School), officially known as the Missile Tracking Radar Station.

For reasons apparently unknown, the battery started shutting down in 1962, less than four years after they opened it. (It was officially deactivated in 1963.)

While there are reportedly no signs left of the launcher near the Watchung Stables, a little bit of barbed wire and a concrete slab still mark the former control area.

A concrete thing. Entrance to a bunker? Damned if I know.


The interesting part of this is the long, winding, abandoned maintenance road that leads from Glenside Avenue to Governor Livingston High School.

The long and winding road (duh-duh) tha-at leads...


When I visited the control-area road, there were a lot of fallen trees blocking the road, presumably left from Hurricane Irene (August 2011) and the Halloween Blizzard (October 2011). Since the road is currently impassible to vehicular traffic, and nobody has bothered to move the logs for 5-8 months, I suspect the road doesn’t get a lot of traffic.

That big tree in front is about chest height. It's hard to get a sense of scale from this shot.


I did see more joggers and pedestrians than I expected. So the road DOES get used.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Nike Road adventure tomorrow!



Alpert, S. (n.d.). “New Jersey Roads – Nikesite Rd., Union Co.” Alps’ Roads.

Alpert, S. (n.d.). “New Jersey Roads – I-78.” Alps’ Roads.

Bender, D.E. (n.d.). “Nike Battery NY-73: Summit, NJ.” Nike Missiles and Missile Sites.

Harpster, F. (2009). “Missiles in Mountainside: Nike Battery NY-73.” From the Hetfield House (newsletter). (PDF).

LostinJersey Blog. (2009). “Summit Nike base.”

Troeger, V.B. (2005). Images of America: Berkeley Heights Revisited. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738537527.

Wikipedia. (2012). “Interstate 78 in New Jersey.”

March 24, 2012

Stay in your lane!

New Providence High School track!

Last time I had an ankle/tendon/ligament injury, I was very wary of running up and down hills (which was unfortunate because I basically live in the middle of a large hill).

But for the next time that injury flares up… the track at the New Providence High School is— as far as I can tell— open to public joggers.

Labyrinth entrance to the track!

I don’t know if this is standard or not (I don’t go lurking around high school tracks very often), but there’s a little ungated labyrinthine entrance that you can squeeze through, and BOOM! there you are on the track.

Plus, there’s a sign asking joggers to stay on the outside three lanes. Why would they post such a sign if joggers weren’t welcome?

February 22, 2012

Thirteen bumps

Johnston Drive, site of 13 buried witches. Or something.


Back in the days of Feltville, the children of the village kept disappearing. It was eventually decided that THIRTEEN MURDEROUS SISTERS were responsible for the childrens’ disappearances. The “witches” were all hanged and buried beneath Johnston Drive, which was dirt at the time. Because, I mean, obviously, what better place to bury someone than somewhere your wagon wheel could accidentally plunge into a muddy half-rotten grave, right?

But I digress. Their graves created small bumps in the road, as graves in a road are presumably wont to do.

After Johnston Drive was paved in later years, THE THIRTEEN BUMPS EMERGED FROM THE GROUND.

The bumps were removed and paved flat. YET AGAIN, THIRTEEN BUMPS EMERGED IN THE ROAD.

And it KEPT HAPPENING. Every time.

According to the story, if you drive over the bumps and count all thirteen, say “thirteen witches,” and then look behind you, you can see the witches following you. DUN DUN DUUUNNNNNNN!!!

Personally, I didn’t really notice any outstanding bumps when I drove (‘Was that a bump? Maybe that one? Maybe all of these bumps? If they all count, there are way more than 13 bumps here’), so this is just a generic photo of the road. I kept thinking of a quote I’d read earlier: “Every time I go there I’m either drunk or high so I count like 52 or like 5 bumps, so I’m looking around for a hell of a lot of witches or I’m wondering what the hell is going on” (Weird N.J. n.d., para. 2).

(Just to be clear: I was neither drunk nor high, Mom.)

One more reasonable theory asserts that Johnston Drive has lots of bumps ‘cos it’s always been a steep and tortuous road through the mountains, and bumps used to help prevent carriages from sliding backwards down the hills.

For other more reasonable theories, check out my sources below. OR TELL YOUR OWN TALES.



Everson, E. (2011). “The ghosts of Union County: 13 bumps for 13 witches.”

Weird N.J. (n.d.). “Bumps road revisited.”

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