New Jersey Transit Adventures

A Four Day Pre-Election Day Trip to New York to Drive to a Wedding on the Jersey Shore

Two weeks ago Louise and I flew back to New York City (her first visit with me) to head down to a weeding on the Jersey Shore in downtown Lakewood New Jersey. When I thought I might be heading down to this Saturday evening wedding alone I thought I might save the money on a hotel room and just take the 24-hour Route 139 bus down for the evening. I thought the middle of the night bus right might be sort of fun (at least to blog about). With Louise joining me booking a room in the Ramada in Toms River sounded like a much better idea good idea. Also realizing that the Ramada doesn’t have one seat ride bus service and wanting to enjoy some time exploring the Jersey Shore (and visiting friends on Staten Island one direction) borrowing my parents car felt like the right call.

This didn’t mean our weekend wasn’t transit heavy, on Friday I put Louise on the 6:00am non-stop flight to Newark (she wanted some time to explore New York on her own – as a student her work is also mobile – something I really miss, now with an 8 to 4:30 desk job), waking up at 5:00am to drive her to the airport and then leave her car at her house. I took the 5:25 flight and was going to take an Uber after work at 4:30 but 4x surge pricing meant it was nearly $40.00 so I after leaving work a little early I took the 4:20pm Route 4 Bus which was running a few minutes late with its long deviation to the Excel Center and the Amtrak Station didn’t get me to the airport until about 4:50. For once there was a line at security, due to an Allegiant Air flight at 5:50, I got through at 5:07 (3 minutes before the 15 minute boarding cut-off) and walked to the gate without putting my shoes back on. I panicked for a moment when I saw a closed boarding door but luckily (after talking to another passenger) I found out boarding hadn’t started yet. The flight ended up boarding shortly after I arrived and sat on the tarmac at the runway for 20 minutes because of “evening congestion at Newark”, waiting for a slot time, they luckily let us use our phones briefly. The flight there was uneventful. I arrived, decided not to deal with the AirTrain and took a crush-loaded  NJ Transit Route 62 to Newark Penn Station, where I hopped on the next NJ Transit Train into Penn Station. I found my Louise in the Starbucks at 35th and 8th, and we hopped on the A train uptown to my parents, getting up there at about 9:10pm (not all that long a commute, less than 5 hours after leaving work in South Bend).

Saturday we drove down to the wedding via side trip to Staten Island where I wanted to see friends. Driving by I got a decent picture of the New Dorp Station house before construction began on Monday, closing this entrance.


On Sunday after a fabulous wedding we decided to go out to a nice brunch and the internet directed us to the town center of Manasquan(13 Photos) and the Committed Pig. While we waited for our table I got some more photos of the train station that hasn’t gotten a platform in the more 3 years since my other visit.


After a nice brunch we spent the afternoon driving up following the shore as much as possible. We stopped for a great hour walk in Asbury Park on it’s historic boardwalk, and stopped following the shore when we got to Sandy Hook. I had one required more required stop on the Jersey Shore, getting the Middletown, NJ(72 Photos) train station. The only stop I hadn’t previously photographed. I left Louise (who was doing the driving, a Californian her major preference to being a passenger) who had a nice nap as I spent longer than I thought I would photographing the original low-level and new high-level platforms, walking the length of both to check out the pedestrian tunnel at the other end of the platforms.


We then drove back to my parents in New York City.

With Election Day off I rearranged my work schedule to take Monday off and make it a 4 day weekend and a real genuine trip. Monday was our one tourist day. I saw the evidence of the W train on signs in the Fulton Center. I need to spend the time doing the busy work of getting the BMT Broadway Line correct again with the new routing changes, I might be lazy and just wait until the Second Avenue subway is actually open and I have a chance to visit it to make the major changes.


Tuesday we went on a real transit adventure when I discovered that we could take the Delta Shuttle for $60 Each to O’Hare, I realized the timing was also perfect and booked us on the Capital Limited back to South Bend (about $7 more total, not bad) for the more pleasant and nearly double the speed faster trip back. We decided that having lunch in Jackson Heights would be a fun adventure and took the A train to the 7 train (slightly slower but so much much scenic than the E train).

After a nice Tibetan Lunch at a hole in the wall restaurant, I realized that the one downside to leaving from the Marine Air Terminal was transit access. The Q47 direct bus route runs every 20 minutes, and I wasn’t going to take my chances on Port Authority Shuttle Buses from the Main terminal area if we had taken the Q70 SBS with the fact the main terminal area is a mess from construction. We ended up in an Uber for $12.18 (only $7 more than the bus since it had been more than two hours since we got on the Subway). There I was blown away by the historic architecture of the original terminal.

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There was virtually no line for security (the line-up was actually across an active path), with just Shuttle flights to Chicago and Washington leaving from this small historic terminal. We were through within 10 minutes (felt like South Bend, even with an Allegiant Flight) and into the lounge-light boarding area. There was shelving in the small modern addition of a boarding lounge of free newspapers and magazines that we took reading material from for the flight.


Taking off we saw the planes of both Hillary, and Trump. While we taxied the less well logoed Trump plane had a logo on the outside of it. Now Vice President-elect Pence, coming to New York from my new home state of Indiana for what became Trumps victory party (at that point I was thinking a nice final trip as a soon to be unknown VP candidate before Pence returns to Indiana). We voted in Indiana a week ago!

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The Delta Shuttle flight was uneventful with the added benefit of a free beer (a can of a nice local ale from Long Island) for each of us and the downside of just peanuts and premium nut mix (that the flight attendant handed out each interchangeably) and no Biscoff cookies.

We got to O’Hare at 4:30pm Central Time and had a very long (non premium experience feeling) walk from the end of the E pier to the CTA. There I bought two $5 premium Airport Ventra one time use tickets that were specially marked for the marathon. It wasn’t the most pleasant CTA ride, the Blue Line lurching and a bit overheated. We were happy to get off at Clinton.

From there we had a nice outside walk to Union Station. We stopped at the ribs place for some pulled pork and a spare rib sandwich and got on the Capital Limited, heading out passed the Veterans Cabbage unit on the Pere Marquette.


Boarding for the Capital Limited was a bit of an Amtrak crew being lazy cluster****. We were told along with a large Amish family and a few others to wait by the conductor who soon opened the then empty last coach for us. We boarded, chose seats and ate our nice good dinner.

As the train prepared to leave the conductor announced they were closing the last car. There was quite a bit of scrambling. I asked if it was because of a group and was simply told they did a count and realized that they only needed two Coach cars to accommodate all the passengers tonight. The Coach attendants clearly wanted to be lazy and not provide the most comfort to all customers instead packing everyone in. Luckily they had been good about saving sets of seats so Louise and I were able to still sit together. If I had been alone in Coach, told to double up because the crew wanted to have a car to themselves (I looked back and witnessed the crew hanging out in it) I would have been very annoyed at what I would know would be a night sleeping much less. We enjoyed an Amish couple and their tiny baby in a nice tiny Amish bonnet sitting across from us. We also spent a lot of the ride in Sightseer Lounge Car enjoying the nice darkness (compared to the South Shore Line), on the non-stop ride to South Bend. We arrived in South Bend basically on time if not a little early just before 9:00pm. There were a good dozen of us getting off too. I called an Uber from the platform, it came from downtown in about 5 minutes and it was a straight shot down Orange Street that becomes Colfax Avenue, a 5 minute and 27 second ride, that took us 1.76 miles and cost just $4.69 (probably offsetting the small price of Amtrak tickets by requiring us not to pay for an Uber, and the $1 airport fee home from the Airport Train Station).

At home it was a hard evening and night due to the election that put a bit of a damper on a really nice four day trip!