by Cricket Moore
In the late eighties, when my four children were all teenagers, my eldest daughter went off to college in New York state. My son, a high school senior, had just gotten his driver's license. At the end of the school year, we all piled in the new Dodge van and went to pick her up. After loading the college room into the van, we started toward our home in northern Virginia. As we came south on the New York Thruway, my son was driving. Suddenly, I realized that we were crossing the GW Bridge into Manhattan! He had missed the turn for the New Jersey Turnpike. Being a male, he refused to stop and ask how to get out of town and back on the road.
Finally, after navigating through New York City, we were finally on Interstate 95. Despite my pleas to stop, we were well into New Jersey before he pulled into a rest area. I hauled out the map and discovered that we were at the juncture of Interstate 195-and we were only forty miles from the Atlantic Ocean! For people who live a minimum of four hours from the ocean, this was wonderful news.
We turned east, and spent the afternoon walking the boardwalk at Point Pleasant, New Jersey, eating French fries, and gazing at the waves. For the rest of my eldest's college life, we would stop at Point Pleasant on the way to school and spend the night at the beach. It made a parentheses for the summer-the trip back from college was usually on the Friday before Memorial Day (the last night before hotel rates doubled for the summer) and the trip to school was just about Labor Day. The motel we stayed at was U-shaped, and the archway kept our college-room-laden van from sight. I cherish the memories of our Jersey shore stopovers, which we would never have had if my son had not gotten us lost and refused to ask for help getting back on the right path.