old highway takes me back in time as I go south. I have not been to this neck of the NJ woods since the 1970s, and only once or twice from the north. Most times I came north from Seaside -- though a rare exception was back almost exactly 40 years ago, when -- just after I brought my 1960s Chevy Impala -- Pauly talked me into driving him to the shore. He said Alf had a bungalo in Point Pleasant we could spend some time in. He did not tell me Alft was working as the manager of a string of bungalos near the boardwalk -- and Pauly was showing up with me, Rob and Garrick unannounced, though Rob and Garrick were making their own way south. He also told Alf nothing of Carol Baskin, who also showed up at Alf's bungalo like some perverted parody of the opening scenes of The Hobbit.Alf had his eye on Carol, but Pauly stole the bedroom and the girl. We all hovered outside the door like pathetic roosters too humiliated to even crow. We later made our way down to Ocean Avenue to an tiny Italian restaurant for dinner. And then to the boardwalk and eventually to a club -- none managing to get lucky except Pauly.This trip this time 40 years later took me down the same old highways, but I could not remember how to get to the beach, stuck in traffic on Highway 35, making wrong turns and finally when I started to head back up to Asbury Park, found the beach and boardwalk ago. The boardwalk had changed -- longer, more rides, even a Zolar Fortune telling machine. There is an aquarium now, but not rock club I could see.
But many of the bungalos remained on the stretch north of the boardwalk games -- including the ones we stayed in that summer in 1975.
Up at the end, near the inlet (my uncle Ted often fished in) condos crowed the newly restored boardwalk.The inlet wall had no immediate access, although fisherman sat on it, and scuba drivers sank near the stone reef, and water came and went with the tides.