It was the end of August and when I woke up in the morning I spent a little time looking through my Strava app, comparing my stats with those of my friends. When I came to the screen showing my year-to-date, I noticed the bicycle portion was 489 miles and I thought to myself… this simply will not do!
As would be the same for any of you that are avid cyclists, I have a few set routes from my house that I enjoy, but lately I have had an interest in exploring more around me while also trying to use my camera more. You see, it used to be that when I wanted to go on a photo excursion, I would drive there. I no longer have a desire to drive anywhere. It uses gas, there is wear and tear, tolls, slight discomfort with the endless supply of potholes on our underfunded streets and bridges (Thanx Christie), and a whole bunch of other lame excuses that I use to avoid sitting in the car. I simply lost interest… Maybe if only I…
Well.. that’s a topic for another day. While I am still residing somewhere in the confines of reality, I shall pedal.
So the Sony RX100IV allows me to fulfill the desire to take photos,get in a little shape by being a convenient addition to the bicycle, and still travel to new places around me so as to not feel a little stale from being in one environment for too long. As I mentioned on my previous post On Cycling, it fits neatly in a top tube bag that normally is reserved for energy packs. I use two energy gel packs to soften the vibrations from the road (see: need money for roads).
In Moonachie, I found myself under the rail line that ferries people from the city and Secaucus to the Meadowlands Sports Complex. I’d say MetLife stadium but we all know sponsorships have the integrity and perseverance of tumbleweed: Here today, Chapter 11, convicted, and disposed of tomorrow. So this was just a few miles out and you might not be able to tell in the photos here, but this was an exceptionally beautiful blue-sky and super low humidity day! Perfect for tackling a couple of ridge lines I mentioned some time ago…
This is a picture of the Gethsemane Cemetery in Hackensack, New Jersey. I took the shot through the fence- it is locked and entered by request through the city, it appears. Let me tell you a little bit about this:
[The Gethsemane Cemetery was] Purchased in 1860 for the ‘colored population of Hackensack’ and in 1901 incorporated by African-American Trustees as the Gethsemane Cemetery. The one acre lot has about 500 interments of free blacks, former slaves as well as a number of caucasians. Few stones survive but there are grave marker artifacts of Southern black influence traceable to African burial practices. Since 1985 the site has been owned and restored by the County of Bergen. -Bergen County Historical Society
Small world. But what also is interesting is this cemetery now is the cornerstone of a small neighborhood. New Jersey is an interesting state. Most of it is actually considered rural, but where I live in the Northeast.. well.. google maps just shows gray, not green. But I say that to say this: New Jersey has always been very much in touch with its history and its place in the short history of the United States. We don’t comb over cemetaries here.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there are not some parts of cemeteries that could use a good comb-over! This building is nowhere near its original form. Like so many of the cape cods and colonials in the area, the original and shapely exteriors have been more or less wrapped in a plywood and vinyl siding wrap that just makes the structure into a big boring box- all to maximize interior space. Look at the roof of the carport- you can see a small part of the original – or former- refit hiding under the rather unsightly vinyl siding panels. Sheesh. Moving on.
So we continue down the road to a place that I passed near once before in Hackensack- The USS Ling and New Jersey Naval Museum. Right smack in the middle of Hackensack, and on the shores of the Hackensack River near the Fort Lee Road Bridge stands a decommissioned WW-II U.S. Navy submarine!
The site, kind of like the Cemetery Office above, is a bit run down, unfortunately. The gangway leading from the shore to the submarine is badly damaged- possibly another scrap of evidence from Hurricane Sandy a few years back? Maybe it is just about serious lack of funding for this site? Who knows- but while the place is closed for tours, I had a nice few minutes walking around amongst history and looking at the different pieces displayed in the yard.
The mini submarine above is a personal suicide coffin. Kaiten means “turned towards heaven,” and the purpose of this single-occupant submarine vessel is for the driver to steer its explosive payload towards the enemy and blow himself up. …And you thought your job was crap? The learned kamikaze mindset is a powerful reminder to remain vigilant and remain a free-thinker. The book “1984” is never too far from becoming our reality- it has happened time and time again throughout history- Like with these subs.
This German Seahund (Sea Dog) is a shallow water submarine that had a two man crew. Unlike the Japanese- the Germans had the novel idea of launching a payload of two torpedoes from these submarines- instead of just driving the thing into the side of a boat in a blaze of pretend-glory. The torpedoes were mounting on the external rails you see in the photo.
Here is a fiberglass 30-something foot twin engine boat from the Vietnam era. When I first took a look- I thought if it was polished white, then it would make a decent pleasure boat. Well.. read the associated plaque and you might get the “Oh.” that I followed that thought up with…
So here is the history lesson for the day: War has always ruined regular folk’s lives and we should probably do more to prevent it. Like just send the bosses in to a ring like in Fight Club. Leave the minions out of it!
After the Navy Museum, I continued the rest of the way to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, filled my bottles, took this snap, and headed back home. Its a 38 mile ride from the house and I enjoyed the sights on this one. The trouble I am having with writing a journal or story-type blog, aside from being inexperienced, is that I become fairly competitive with myself and don’t care to make too many stops along the way for taking pictures. I’m going to continue working on that, along with a couple other things in an effort to make this site a pastime to be proud of.
Matil, of course, has all the right answers and it takes me days (weeks, YEARS!) to finally come to grips with that. She has suggested I get a regular bicycle to ride around in since when I am on my road bike- it is always like “the non-stop ride of the century” in my own mind. That’s probably a good idea, and I may use my older road bike for that purpose since I can probably differentiate the task in my mind that way. As in, Specialized is Tour de France mode and Giant is- well whatever. (Still a hot bike though.)
A complaint about this website is that in order to “like” this post, you have to become a member of WordPress or at least sign up in some way. I am going to try to address that as well as convert the style into a more customizable theme. I like how this post works flawlessly between desktop and iOS, but I’d also like to see the pictures post about 50% larger- especially on desktop. Presently, they are the maximum size already.
So yeah- the goal is to have free interaction without signups and such, have larger photos, and continue to work on a theme-based blog (like city reviews, or place reviews, or something of that sort) while still getting good exercise and enjoying the weather before “The Gray” settles in at the end of October.