Bulls, Bucking Bronco, Boots-n-Swingers and Bikers...
Well Stephanie finally got her ride to the rodeo. It may have taken a few riding seasons and one long day’s ride, but she did arrive.
The day started with breakfast at Pantagis Diner in Edison, food is always a good beginning! Then there was the riddle of the day, ‘are locked up valuables safer if the key is locked inside as well’? The determined answer was no, because the lock can still be picked in less than 3 minutes by a locksmith, but… the valuables are slightly more inaccessible. We were now ready to start our journey with Carol armed with a new set of spare keys for her trunk.
The ride down was a tapestry of NJ. My initial impression was, we were taking tours of NJ industrial parks, and then we went past Harold’s. I remember wondering is it was too early to break for lunch? My mind detoured… reminiscing the flavor of Ruggala Cheesecake and the next thing I was aware of, we were traveling on Route 35 over the bridge into Sayerville.
We took back roads through Monroe Township, which I discovered was really quite large. The ride meandered through scenic back roads complete with the Spokes-Women mandatory U-turns. These serve to keep our riding abilities sharp and our sense of direction keen. We rode and then rode some more this much I know. We took a detour off Rt.571 that took us through the Assunpink Preserve. Cookie swears the gravel roads were not supposed to be there. I’m not sure where they were supposed to be if not here. We persevered. We went past the Horse Park of NJ, a beautiful equestrian center, where horses live better than some people I know.
We stopped for lunch at the Plumsted Grill outside of Cream Ridge. The restaurant had typical American bar-restaurant menu items and the quality was above average. I don’t know if this was a planned stop or based on a late start was a sudden pick but it was certainly adequate and served to recharge us all for the remainder of the trip. The amusement here, for me, came from my left eye contact, which had folded upon itself after rubbing my eye, had the effect of giving me kaleidoscopic vision. Though I decided it wasn’t a good way to ride and fixed it before leaving.
Resuming the journey, we headed south towards the Pinelands and managed to find the short cut “scenic route” that ran through the Pinelands heading west. Laura knew about it and the location, but wasn’t certain of the exact name. I had ridden in this area before but never on this particular road. (Pasadena/Savoy Rd). I do know that every time I managed to find and read a road sign it had a different name. I think the name changed with every town we came upon. We arrived in the town whose name escapes me, that has the cranberry festival (Chatsworth) every year after this it was new uncharted territory for me at least.
Then we meandered for many more miles until we arrived at our Hotel for the evening. Due to time constraints we only stayed briefly. We stayed just long enough to check-in, take a relieving pit stop and leak some gasoline on the entranceway carport. (Laura overfilled her tank) From here it truly was a short ride to Cow Town, and joining Lynn.
Cow Town is unique. It is a couple of acres oasis that exists in southwest NJ where East meets West literally. Here is a scene which could have been in “Back to the Future” where you’re experiencing but not quite believing it. Clearly for the locals it was a way of life. I personally have not seen so many people and underage people smoking and chewing snuff, in long time. A sea of uniformed plaid cowboy shirts, worn jeans, boots and cowboy hats that were worn so much that hair styled itself along the contour of the hats. Let’s not forget the belt buckles larger then the family jewels they guarded.
Then of course there was the main attraction, “The Rodeo”
itself. I guess these attractions could be considered sport; as the participants are abusing their bodies and to a certain extent, challenging themselves but I’m not sure I see the gain or a real purpose. Raised in the city I found it more bordering on animal abuse, although no animals died during this entertainment fair.
There were a few comical moments during the Bull Riding when
the bulls were behaving, well, bullish. Outstanding was the big black bull
that upon release took a few steps and lay down and no amount of coaxing was agitating enough for him to get up. The rider eventually just stepped off him and then the bull calmly stood and walked away. Gotta love the ones with attitude! There were the few, when their job was done, did not feel the need to head straight back to the ole corral and were frustratingly chased around the arena.
Sadly, there was one incident where a bronco had enough of the banner waving cheerleader on his back and
bucked her off. Judging from the impact of the fall I’m sure more than her ego was bruised. Then there was the speed and agility race around the barrels, one of the contestants was an acquaintance of Lori’s. One issue I had was I couldn’t understand the man on the bullhorn and there was not an updated scoreboard, even though I watched I never knew who won any of the events. Although I’m not sure it would have changed my reaction to experiencing the rodeo! Then it was over.
I consider us very lucky to have Lynn, a member of Spokes and a local, able to guide us back to the hotel through the pitch black farmland roads. Here we could return to the real North-eastern lifestyle. We were able to hang and relax around a bar adjacent to the lobby. Food was obtained by Lynn’s husband from a local convenience store, liquor from the bar, and still more free amusement from a lobby replete with “ladies of the night” providing their skills and services at the bachelor party currently in house. Amazingly these “ladies” wore boots, just like the folks in Cow Town, it’s just they Barely wore much more! Ahhh! We’re back once again to civilization.