Asbury Park, Long Branch, NYC Trip 2018 | Part I: The Arrival

Last Saturday I returned home from a wonderful trip to Long Branch and Asbury Park, NJ with a stop in New York City. I would like to tell you about my trip and share some photos with you. However, I will share them in a few posts.

I woke up at 5:30 AM to catch the 6:15 AM train to Philadelphia – I swore the bus from Philadelphia to Asbury Park left at 8:10 AM – and when I arrived at Jefferson Station at 7 AM, I decided to charge my phone for a half an hour. It turns out that I memorized Saturday’s bus schedule (since I had a pressing need to be somewhere early on Saturday, I didn’t really have a pressing need to be in Asbury Park early on Wednesday, though I wanted to be there early); when I arrived at 7:30 AM to the bus station, the Asbury Park bus had just left at 7:25. The next one would leave at 9:15. Let me tell you, that left me feeling salty, but I went to Starbucks and hung out for an hour and a half.

I went back to the station at 9 AM, as not to miss the 9:15 bus, and I was greeted by pigeons. Pigeons are one of my favourite birds and I enjoyed watching them until it was time to board the NJ Transit bus. While I was feeling salty earlier, the bus driver I had for the 9:15 AM trip was very kind. He helped me with his luggage and when made one stop along the way, he made sure I was doing okay. It was a 3 hour, 50-minute bus ride with one bathroom break an hour away from Asbury Park. His kindness changed my saltiness to gratitude.

I arrived at Asbury Park on Wednesday, 25 July at around 1:15, right as my WRTI At Your Request’s request finished playing my request (yay! Water Music!). As soon as I exited the bus, the driver said to me, “we made it baby girl! Welcome!” He helped me with my luggage and he agreed to a selfie with me (I am going to add this to a travel album). I thanked him for everything and I was on my way.

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The sun was out and I was happy that I could get to the beach eventually. I was hungry and saw that there was a café across the street from the transit center. The transit center even had gluten-free options and I ordered a gluten-free bagel with radish spread and avocados. As I was eating, a young woman sat down next to me and after I finished my bagel, we started to chat. She was from California, but living in New York City for a few months and handed me her card to keep in touch. I then started talking to someone else about the best way to get to Long Branch from Asbury Park. The young man suggested the New Jersey Transit app because I could buy tickets and check schedules. I followed his suggestion and I’m glad I did, but since I had luggage I ended up taking Lyft to the air bnb. I wanted to drop my luggage off before going to the beach in Long Branch (I decided that the Asbury Park beach was too far with luggage).

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When I dropped off my luggage, I realized I wasn’t right next to the beach, I would have to walk. I texted Jared about if he knew the area and he gave me some directions. By that point, it was drizzling a bit, but I still wanted to check out the beach. The walk was only ten minutes and by the time I arrived at the beach, the rain had stopped. The water was rough from the storms and I could only go up to my waist. I still enjoyed the water for forty-five minutes and had fun playing with my GoPro. I took a few pictures, but I was cautious because I didn’t want my GoPro to be swept up by rough waves. The waves made me tired and that is why I decided to leave. I was also hungry. By the time I left the beach, it was raining.

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After I situated myself back at my Air bnb, I looked up gluten-free dinner options and decided that I would take an impromptu trip to New York City for a delicious dinner and walk around, I wanted to see the city at night. I was only a two-minute walk from the train station and since I could order tickets on the NJ Transit app, I booked the 6:33 train to New York City. I loved riding through New Jersey, I even passed South Amboy, where Jared lives. I texted him a picture of the station, but he wasn’t home at the time (he wish he was), but he was glad I was exploring New York City. I loved looking at Northern Jersey through the train window.

I was in New York City by 7:45 and at Friedman’s at 8. I decided to eat at Friedman’s since it was close to Penn Station and they had gluten-free Reubens. I was dying for a Reuben since I hadn’t been able to eat them since going gluten-free. Let me tell you, it was delicious! The dining experience at Friedman’s was amazing, the waitstaff was attentive and helpful, and the restaurant wasn’t expensive for NYC ($30 for the Reuben with French fries, a lemonade, and a gluten-free brownie to go). I loved my waiter and he agreed to a picture that I could put into my Happiness Box.

New York City is gorgeous at night. I decided to walk around Madison Square Garden and the experience at night was awesome. New York is truly a city that never sleeps. I saw a statute of lego humans and murals around Madison Square Garden. I asked a young man in a Wu Tan Clan shirt to take my photo in front of the Madison Square Garden sign, then he agreed to a selfie for the Happiness Box.  I visited some shops and took photos of some of the interesting statues in the area. I am glad I could visit the shops and see the sights before it started to pour. When I was walking to Penn Station to head back to Long Branch, it started pouring. I arrived in Long Branch at midnight, I fell asleep with the sound of pouring rain hitting against the window.

Thankful Thursday 2 August 2018

WOW! It’s August already! This is so hard to believe. I’m back from vacation and I am sorry for the lack of updates – I went back to working both jobs this week and I have felt exhausted when I arrived home.

I will admit that I scheduled a post last week and that is why it was so short. I needed a break and I didn’t want to blog (or be on the computer for that manner) during a vacation, but I didn’t want to miss Thankful Thursday. I knew I would feel grateful for my vacation, but I have something to be grateful beforehand. Last Tuesday after I attended the WHYY event, I went to Panera. I love their poppyseed strawberry chicken salad and I was craving it. As I was eating, the franchise owner walked by and asked how everything was. I told him about the last time I was in, his manager took the time and had the patience to go through allergens in the food with me (since I had to go gluten-free and totally dairy free). I told the owner that I appreciated the patience. He came back with a gluten-free cookie, said, “I know going gluten-free isn’t the easiest, but I hope this gluten-free chocolate chip cookie will help a little.” I ate it at the beach and it was delicious. I felt grateful.

I also had a great trip and I feel thankful that I met up with Joe. After Jams on the Sand, he waited with me until Lyft came. He also held the car door opened for me and was very patient about waiting. I feel grateful for his friendship and I feel thankful that he was kind enough to wait with me.

This week I feel thankful for Christina and my other friends. Christina is one of my best friends and knows me well; she went to Warped Tour in Maryland on Sunday and took a photo of Twiztid for me. Grateful and that made my day.

 

What are you thankful for?

Turks Head Music Festival | 15 July 2018

Last Sunday, Everhart Park in West Chester, PA held their 36th Annual Turks Head Music Festival. I knew I wanted to go and a few weeks ago, I saw the schedule posted and told Christina about it. She enjoyed the music festival last year and was up to going again.

Sunday was predicted to be very hot and sunny. As dad was driving me to Christina’s house in West Chester, it started to rain. Before we left, mom said: “I think it’s going to rain.” Dad chuckled and said, “it’s just a rogue little rain cloud, nothing to worry about.” That rogue cloud turned into rain for two hours. I’m thankful Christina hosted me at her house until we could walk to the Couch Tomato for lunch and then go to the Turks Head Music Festival.

When we arrived at Everhart Park, Pepperwine was performing and they were amazing! A band from Asbury Park, New Jersey, I loved their sound and ended up getting a CD. Unfortunately, they won’t be playing in Asbury Park next week when I visit, but they will be playing at the Asbury on 10 August 2018 (darn, I am missing them by two weeks). I would like to see them again, maybe next time. Christina enjoyed the band too and the lead singer even agreed to a Polaroid picture with us, for my Verklempt/Happiness Box!

We watched a few other performances before deciding to go to the gazebo and listen to music from the gazebo. It was sunny, hot, and humid at that point and we wanted to sit somewhere cool. Christina and I caught up while listening to some great bands like Waiting for December, a Christian heavy metal band. I ended up buying their CD and getting a photo with them (I might frame it for the Happiness Box Project Initiative display case next year).

We spent a good five hours just grooving and jamming. It was wonderful spending time with Christina and enjoying some great music.

Thankful Thursday 19 July 2018

I am so thankful for my friends! I have the best, the most wonderful best friends ever! On Sunday, Christina and I ventured to the Turks Head Music Festival and had a blast. I’ll post more tomorrow, but I am thankful she came with me and entertained me for two hours beforehand since rain delayed the event a bit. I am thankful for Christina.

Yesterday, Claire sent me a thank you card for the visit from almost two weeks ago. She also printed the selfie we took and gave it to me as a small little gift. I put the letter into my Happiness Box – er verklempt box – because the gesture made me verklempt!

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I’m also thankful for the library – Denise approved me for setting up a display case in March 2019… I will be displaying my Happiness and Verklempt Box project. I’m super excited, even if it’s 8 months away. It’ll give me time to finish scrapbooking 2017’s (I am getting back to it tonight after a month hiatus… I’m about finished July 2017) and it’ll give me time to write some informative flyers about the project that I can display. I’m thankful for this opportunity.

What are you thankful for?

Van’sWarped Tour 2018

After walking fifteen minutes from Snap Kitchen to 15/16 Locust Street Station to catch Patco, I felt at peace walking through Rittenhouse Square Park. Mountain Chickadees playing in the fountain, preening their feathers with the spray from the waterfall, while taking their pictures seemed to remove any anxiety I had about walking through Camden. After shooting a few pictures, I knew it was time to get on my merry way to catch the Patco from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Camden, New Jersey.

The walk to the Patco Station from Rittenhouse Square wasn’t far, maybe about ten minutes, though it was a nice day and I didn’t mind the walk. The humidity hadn’t settled in yet and there was a refreshing breeze that made the walk even more beautiful. However, the train station and the train itself was air conditioned and that was nicer; New Jersey Transit is a lot cleaner and cooler than SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority), that I wished I could bottle up some of the cool air to bring to the concert with me. In the fifteen minute train ride, I saw a few people that looked like they were going to Warped Tour as well: dressed in black or plaid, coloured hair, your ultimate punks and goths. As soon as I saw them, I knew I wanted to stay close and follow them to the venue once we hopped off of the train.

I caught up with a couple as we hopped off the train and we walked to the Warped Tour together—since the last time I went to see a concert in Camden was eight years ago and a friend at the time drove,  I wasn’t sure which way to walk.  I know I could have used GPS, but I didn’t want to get stuck in a wrong neighborhood in one of the most dangerous cities in the US. The couple I met was kind and they were fun to walk with in the thirteen minutes it took to get to the venue.  Before we were separated for bag check, I asked if I could get a selfie with them for my Happiness Box. Of course they agreed and were friendly about it. We shook hands, wished each other well, and headed into the venue.

After I made it through bag check, I bought a schedule—$2 for a printed piece of paper; I could have installed the app, but I wanted to save battery. I sat down at a table in the shade and saw that Twiztid was last to perform at 8:10. I checked Instagram and saw that their meet and greet was at 5:45. I jotted the time down and began to plan my day. As I was planning, there was a band standing on a table next to mine with a megaphone announcing their performance time. They sang songs, cajoled crowd members, and anything else that would grab attention. Their voices, though loud, were slightly silenced by the voice in my head that was planning the day.

Ice Nine Kills were on during the meet and greet, but the stage was in Twiztid’s area; I could listen to Ice Nine Kills as I was waiting to meet Jamie and Paul, then see Ice Nine Kills after the meet and greet. Reel Big Fish coincided with Hatebreed, but I could see both by dedicating 20 minutes to each. Warped Tour has five different stages since they have dozens of performers that the tour needs to accommodate; the stages were in different locations and for some groups, I knew I couldn’t make it in time. Bowling for Soup was one, but I was only familiar with 1985 and wanted to see Motionless In White instead.

All of the headlining acts were scheduled for around the same time in the evening, but all of the lesser known or unsigned bands played first. I love supporting up and coming artists and decided to walk over to the Mutant Red Dawn stage since most of who I like would be performing on that stage, I wanted to get an idea of where it was located and how much time I would need to allow myself to get there from other performances. Once I had it figured out, I decided to stay and watch a heavy metal band by the name of My Children, My Bride. I am glad I stayed because I ended up loving their performance.

I rocked out and I loved watching—at a distance—the mosh pits that were starting. Standing at 4 feet, 10 inches, mosh pits scare me and the idea of claustrophobia send chills down my spine. I was caught up in the moment that when the performance ended twenty-five minutes later, I was taken by surprise. The performers announced a meet and greet at 2:10 complete with sweaty hugs—sounded like a date to me and I jotted it down on the schedule.

I had two hours until the My Children, My Bride meet and greet, I decided to walk around and as I began walking, I heard hi-hop coming from a tent. A female rapper was breakdancing and I enjoyed her sound, I decided to check out the Transform tent. The nice thing about Warped Tour is that there isn’t one genre of music playing, there is something for everyone (as someone who listens to everything, this is heaven). Dark Matter, a hip-hop group from Reno, Nevada, was performing their hearts and souls out. They performed for fifteen minutes, followed by a ten-minute interlude of breakdancing. That was fun to watch and photograph. I thought about trying, but decided against it for health reasons.

Next a Linkin Park styled group that combined hip-hop and metal performed. Sky Swamp Orange, a New Haven, Connecticut based group, was amazing. I was bouncing and jumping along, it felt nice to groove to the beats and their sound. For one of their songs, “Eastside,” the lead singer wanted us to sing “you can meet me on the Eastside” and singing along was fun too. I loved their sound so much that I bought their CD and the band signed it for me (as well as my Warped Tour ticket).

After bouncing around in the hot sun, I knew it was time to eat the gluten-free turkey sandwich I packed. I walked across the train tracks and saw that the BB&T Pavilion had places to sit. I sat outside, underneath the awning and pulled out not only my gluten-free sandwich, the schedule as well. As I was planning my afternoon and resting my feet (Converse All Stars are not the shoes to wear for lots of walking, bouncing, and jumping), a group of teenaged boys approached me and asked if they could take a picture of the schedule—the print-out was $2, I know teens don’t have a lot of money—I graciously let them borrow the schedule. They handed it back within a few minutes. I decided to rest my feet some more and checked my phone. I had a text from Christina and we swapped locations, but she wasn’t where I was, I turned my phone back off to save battery, and wandered to the Journey’s Left Foot stage.

May Day Parade was performing and about half-way through, I had a novel idea: I wanted to see if I could find Simple Plan’s booth. While they are not one of my favourite bands, I thought it would be cool if they signed my Warped Tour ticket. As I walked over the train tracks to the other half of the venue, I wondered if I missed their meet and greet; I didn’t even know where their tent was! As I was wandering aimlessly, Doll Skin handed me their set time sticker and other groups handed me swag as well.

I couldn’t find Simple Plan’s tent, but Moral Support’s tent caught my attention: their logo of a paper bag with a smiley face made me smile. I missed their set; they performed while My Children My Bride performed. I bought one of their CDs and the guy selling the merch agreed to a selfie. I thought he was in the band, but who knows if he was or not. I then walked over to the Journey’s Right Foot stage and watched a heavy metal band that was performing. I liked their sound and I liked watching the moshers groove.

I knew I needed to visit the hydration station for more water and I wanted to cool off a bit. I had an hour until My Children, My Bride’s meet and greet and after seeing two bands, I wanted to cool off. The air conditioned venue was opened. While inside, I asked about gluten-free options, but they couldn’t tell me if they had any; I was glad I still had my food left and I am glad I was able to bring it. While cooling off, I met a kind family that I chatted with until 1:55 when I headed for the My Children, My Bride meet and greet.

Making my way over the train tracks again, I found My Children, My Bride’s tent was two tents up from Twiztid’s tent, I stood at the back of the line and made sure my Polaroid camera was ready—the girl managing the merch table told me earlier in the day that pictures with My Children, My Bride and Twiztid were cool, but Motionless in White doesn’t allow photos. When it was my turn, both guys in the band thought the Polaroid camera was the coolest thing since sliced bread. The one had just bought his sister a Polaroid camera and couldn’t wait to see how the photo turned out. The picture was snapped, he started shaking it and the other one said, “dude, you can’t shake those, it says not to.” We laughed and they signed the undeveloped Polaroid (before I left, it was developed and it looked great). I also asked if I could have a sweaty hug, like what they promised after the performance. They both laughed and said, “well we’re not sweaty anymore since we just showered, but a hug sounds great.” I have found musicians love bear hugs.

While I was waiting in line, someone standing next to me said I could get free monster if I was willing to wait in line—people could try as many flavours as they wanted and that caused long lines. I had no wait time and could watch two separate performances. I tried two different flavours of monster; I liked Mutant Red Dawn over the White Lightning flavor. I had the perfect spot to rock out to metal bands sharp tooth and Harm’s Way; I could also watch the crowd surfers float on a sea of hands. I texted Christina and she was near. We met up and watched the Amity Affliction. I missed Simple Plan, but I enjoyed the Amity Affliction and I enjoyed watching a set with Christina.

I headed over to the Owly.fm tent to watch Doll Skin. Doll Skin is an all-girl punk band from Phoenix, Arizona. They almost reminded me of Joan Jett mixed with the Donnas and the Gits, and I liked jumping to their music as well. I didn’t follow them to their merch tent because it was time to catch Reel Big Fish. I loved Reel Big Fish in middle school and I left when they started playing the same song over again, but had different dance moves. I went to watch Hatebreed, but watched as I waited in line for the Twiztid meet and greet.

Meeting Twiztid Again

I was fangirling and hyperventilating a bit after meeting Twiztid again – I know I was crying tears of joy. I decided to eat, then made my way to see Motionless In White. I didn’t have a great view of Motionless in White, but I decided to wait where Twiztid was playing and listened to Motionless in White as I waited for Twiztid. I could see Motionless in White since the stage was next to Twiztid’s stage, and I loved Motionless In White’s performance. I also loved Twiztid’s performance and by the end of it, I was front row since taller people let me get to the front from the second row, especially since I am not a fan of mosh pits. Twiztid killed it, but they always do.

Twiztid was the perfect end to Warped Tour. When the tour was over, the streets near the venue were closed. I had to walk to the main strip and before I exited, I was walking with a father, son, and two of his son’s friends. They were familiar with Camden, walked with me, and waited with me until Lyft came. They said, “we don’t want you waiting alone in Camden. We don’t mind staying with you.” They were super kind and I was grateful. They made sure I arrived home safely.

Meeting Twiztid Again

Yesterday I ventured to the Warped Tour, the final Warped Tour ever, but I will make a separate post at a later time because right now I want to talk about meeting Twiztid again. I think I might have to rename this blog “the Verklempt Diaries” because I had another verklempt moment last night (I had many of those moments).

Twiztid’s meet and greet was for 5:40, but they were a bit late and I was middle of the line. I had to wait about 45 minutes, but it was totally worth it. I brought my Polaroid camera to get a photo with them and they could sign it. They graciously were cool about it and signed it. However, this was the most magical part of the meet and greet: Twiztid was so happy to see me! Both Mono and Jamie smiled when they saw me, then extended their arms out for hugs. Both Mono and Jamie gave me big hugs and said they were so happy to see me. I should also hang out more often. I wished Mono a happy birthday, he smiled, said thank you, gave me a bear hug, then Jamie gave me a hug before I left. I was fangirling and I still am. I love both Jamie and Mono.

The signed Polaroid went into my Happiness Box. I handed my phone to another Juggalo and he took the digital photo.

 

The set they put on was amazing as well! I was blown away; it was a great way to end the evening and a great way to close out the Warped Tour.