The kids threw on their togs and off we went towards Ocean City it was 98 degrees and a clear day. We stopped in to the office first as there is a law in New Jersey that all beach goers over the age of 16 must have a beach tag
. Huh? What is a beach tag?
It is a way to cover the cost of cleaning the beaches daily. They say you don't need a tag after 6pm to be on the beach, but whether you are swimming or not and you are on the beach before then you need a tag. It costs $2 per day per person. We asked what would happen if we didn't have a tag and we were told they'll find you and make you buy one. "It takes a tough person to be a tagger." Well it was 5pm when we got to the beach so we decided we would take our chances and face the wrath of the tough taggers. We didn't get caught by the nasty taggers and we left nothing behind to clean. Clark's dream of realizing the Jersey Shore had come true. Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel always made it so intriguing. Really, it was nicer, cleaner, and less crowded than expected, no doubt due to the beach tags. It was, however, cold! Very cold. We're in the end of July - can't imagine what it was earlier in the season. Anyway, The community of Ocean City was also pleasant. It was pretty densely populated with well kept, larger homes, each unique in their own way, old and new, covering pretty much every square inch of the area. Traffic was fine and it was all, well, pleasant.
We moved on to Margate and met Lucy. Lucy was born in 1890 and was a 4 story elephant that formerly housed a famous restaurant, now a museum. Now Lucy was cute and all, even on the national register of historic places but we didn't feel that we were willing to part with $35 to go in and examine her guts. Next stop; Atlantic City.
The Griswolds are no strangers to gambling. Even Audrey has made some chunk change at the card table. However, we were unfamiliar with Atlantic City, other than what the media has shared with us
. Arriving from the south, we rode into what appeared to be Beirut. Wide eyed and cautious, we couldn't imagine what was in store for us. Onward to Trump's Casino. Clark left Ellen to gamble and make wages enough to pay for the vacation all the while he and the kids walked down the boardwalk. There were hundreds of thousands of birds flying high above the casino roof tops and Clark became nervous as he thought they would definitely make him their target. Dodging them as best he could he walked from table umbrella to store to whatever he could find cover under. The kids and Clark walked for some time as there was plenty to do and hundreds of people and families milling about. They had music pumped onto the boardwalk and it was lined with arcades, rides, shops, restaurants, ice cream shops, etc. The Boardwalk was wonderful as were the casinos, as long as you didn't go OUT FRONT!
Ellen did okay, but unfortunately didn't pay for the trip. She joined the family on the boardwalk and strolled about with them. Everyone was tired so we decided to make it a night. The other side of the street, OUT FRONT on the other side of the casino, is what appears to be the ghetto or more of that "Beirut look" that seems to be in vogue here. We witnessed a working girl who gave Clark the eye as we passed by and a deal go down in front of our stopped car at a red light. And that's just what we
witnessed in about a 10 minute span! We raced home as fast as we could! Thankful to be home and all in one one piece. Clark had made it past the birds without an assault and Ellen survived the casinos without having to hock any jewelry.
As much as we liked it in Lancaster it was time to leave for some action in Ocean City and Atlantic City. So we headed for the coast again and what we thought was going to be a 2-3 hour drive, became a 5 hour drive. Oh well, but the driving fun wasn't over yet. When we arrived at the campsite and started towards our campsite we quickly realized the route there was going to be the most interesting part of the drive that day. It wove in and around trees and permanent homes. Not only did it have a windy path with trees close together, but the trees angled in at the top making it very difficult to navigate. The kicker was we had to back in around the trees on a bend in the road.