Alps' Roads Special - Central Jersey Road Meet

Central Jersey Road Meet, August 13, 2011

My third major meet as host kicked off at Prestige Diner in Hightstown. I headed down I-287 to NJ 18, US 1, and US 130 to NJ 133. The meet immediately started right out with plenty of construction, taking NJ 33 west to the NJ Turnpike and north through the ongoing widening (adding new Outer Roadways between Exits 6-9) to NJ 18. The meet then crossed the Raritan River on US 1 for a view of the Raritan River bridge, and back onto 1 to I-287 south. Once that becomes NJ 440, we took US 9 north to NJ 184 and to the Turnpike Authority's Transportation Management Center:

Bottom row: Alison Long, Leigh Koven, Jeff Taylor, Ian Ligget, Mike Pruett, Rob Sargent (who helped make this possible!), Carl Tessier. Top row: Keith Thomas, Michael Temme-Soifer, Al Kotchi, Mike Tantillo, Ray Martin, Chris Mason, Doug Kerr, Adam Moss (getting help), me (below the railing, clearly in need of help), Scott Davis, Adam Winkler and father, Dylan Lainhart, Kevin Brownlie and father, Laura Bianca, John Housty, Valerie Deane, Anthony Costanzo.

Mr. Tantillo is distracted by the shiny objects in the control room. Many thanks to the NJ Turnpike for accommodating us, especially in the midst of incident management. (They can't just stop operating the roadway when we come in.)

Following that awesome tour, we retraced our exact steps to US 1, this time passing NJ 18 and heading to the service roads north of Milltown Road. We stopped on the northbound side for a photo of an NJ 1 error shield, then continued north to Ryders Lane and the new roundabouts on NJ 172. The meet crossed the Raritan River on NJ 18 to the new end of the freeway, then continued on Hoes Lane to Centennial Blvd. to access I-287 NB. We followed Weston Canal Rd. from Exit 12 to CR 533 and south on Bypass 533 around Millstone, then west on CR 514 to the area of Hillsborough Bypass. We turned left on US 206 and left again on Homestead Rd. to check out the bypass construction on foot. The meet went back to US 206, over the Northeast Corridor on the old bridge with the new bridge being constructed to the south, and to CR 518 where we turned east. We cut down Kingston-Rocky Hill Rd. to NJ 27 to the old Millstone River bridge in Kingston. That was our last planned stop, but as I was trying to corral people to head back so that some of us could see a baseball game, the mass of people decided they wanted to explore this bridge considerably more than I had anticipated.

So much for "this is not a formal stop." Since this was a road meet, not a hockey meet, I went with it. We eventually headed back north on NJ 27, east on Heathcote Rd., and over to US 1 SB to the CR 526/CR 571 circle. We circled around to head southeast through NJ 64 and then stayed on 571 to NJ 133 and back to the... no, not back to the restaurant, because the meet was held right next to Interchange 8 construction. So, instead, we stayed there and played around in future toll road dirt for awhile, crossing over and under the new Milford Rd. bridge across future Interchange 8. The best part of the meet by far happened when we were about to part ways after much tomfoolery. Still feeling excited about playing in dirt, a few of us spotted an ice cream truck turning down Milford Rd., seeming to be done for the day and heading home. I rather loudly suggested that people might want ice cream, and several people vociferously took up the cry. About a dozen of us started running toward the bewildered driver, flailing arms and shouting for his frozen wares. Amazingly, it worked! He stopped, we partook, and the best meet ever finally came to a... no, it didn't end there. We stayed together for what I counted as the largest post-meet dinner ever assembled (18, if I remember correctly). I'd call that a rousing success.

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