28. Testing . . .

This is an experiment to see if I can write and post a travel blog on my iPad2. I am basing it on a ride I took recently to the beach. Due to technical difficulties unforeseen but predictable, I am struggling to complete this exercise at home two weeks later.

Last September, when I rode several hundred miles east from St. Louis, the iPad2 was a powerful addition to my outfit, giving me internet access almost anywhere, and serving as a GPS when the scale of my maps was too large to be of use.

I started my bicycle blog two years ago with a 4-year-old iBook. The iPad has an important advantage beyond eliminating my dependence on wifi spots. It’s much lighter and smaller than a laptop.

The following trip lasted five days and four nights, at the end of May and beginning of June. I was on the road at 5:30 in the morning on a Wednesday, and I reached my destination 85 miles later, between 5 and 6 that evening.

The iPad would not connect to Verizon. Fortunately, I had four county maps with me and had studied the route, so I didn’t get seriously lost.

It took me an hour on the phone the following day to get the matter straightened out — at ten cents a minute on my cheap go phone, which I only use when I travel. Even then, the signal was poor on the beach, so connecting was hit or miss.

But I switched from google maps to the standard iPad app when riding home on Sunday. I got a good signal once I left the beach, and the iPad proved its value after I missed a turn off somewhere along Hwy 33 east of Freehold.

Packing on the eve of departure brings a long planning and assembly process close to its intense conclusion. I slept about three hours that night, which is usual for me before a significant departure. Part of my intention was training for a trans-continental ride, so I brought more stuff than I used or needed, and I experimented with different ways of loading gear.

I appreciate my Surly Long Haul Trucker more all the time, four years after I bought it, with the fresh coat of paint I gave it in March. I used to think the Trek 520 I rode for 25 years was as good as it would get, but surely my Surly is the king of all bicycles.


This was one of my rest stops, most of the way to the beach.

After I got south of Point Pleasant Beach, I was surprised to see so much devastation so many months after the hurricane. Sand bar islands, maybe ten blocks wide, run north and south along the Jersey Shore. The hurricane appears to have submerged the island completely in some places while holding back somewhat in others.


Rubble and sand


Whole areas were swept clean, which had once been thick with everything from pricey little bungalows to minor palaces.


The old and the new


Flotsam house

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The topography of the sand dunes was all shifted around, old game trails erased, but there was still plenty of cover – thick scrubby brush – with access here and there through a maze of passages.


A fully loaded touring bike is heavy. Pushing it across a hundred yards of sand is no mean feat.



Coffee water heating on the stove


An awning for  my tent, shelter from the early morning sun, so I can sleep in a bit


Bob’s Beach, NJ — looking south


Time for a swim


Public beach, strong winds, icy cold water


Bob’s Beach, looking north. There must be thirty million people within a seventy-mile radius of here. Yet in all my years of poaching pleasure on this little piece of paradise, I’ve never seen a sign of company. Proving once again not only that the best things in life are free, but that very few are ready to avail themselves.


Packed for day tripping, swimming trunks still hanging out to dry


Inside the tent. Mosquito netting is essential almost everywhere. The down sleeping bag’s a comfort too. Nights out here can be chilly, and this summer’s been an unusually cold one.


Getting loaded for an early start the next morning


Soft Sunday beach town road going north at 6 a.m.


Best early bird beach breakfast


North into Point Pleasant Beach


Looking east from the bridge


Highways 35 to 34 to 33 — easy to remember


Semi-rural scene, nice road — lots of shoulder, flat, good surface, little traffic


Back in the urban blight

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Miles of war zone — Newark area


Side street to nowhere


Apartments entombed


Barren business

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There’s no place like home . . .

Well . . .
. . . blogging on an iPad is even more finicky, time intensive and annoying than it is on a laptop. But it can be done, and I’ll probably get a little better at it as I practice.
I confess that I just did my final editing on the laptop — which I judge to be between a third and a fourth as troublesome as using the iPad.
But the experiment essentially succeeded. I can leave the laptop at home and travel with my iPad, feeling reasonably secure that, should the spirit move me, I can add some entries to my blog.
Till then . . .



  1. John says:

    Very nice!!!

  2. Dube says:

    Good work, Bob! I enjoyed the pictures of your trip. I tent with a motorcycle, but can’t get as far out as you. Yet I recognize the layout preparatory to loading and departing. I’ll look forward to Dom’s for breakfast.

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