This morning I took the first epic bike ride of the season. How do I define "epic"? Basically, it has to be at least 90 minutes long, and has to take me to places I consider to be kinda far away. Yes, it's a highly scientific issue.
I haven't Googled it out yet to figure out the exact mileage, but I can say that I was out for a little more than two hours. The path was basically this:
Collingswood > Haddon Ave east > Warwick Rd. > Cinemark Theater, Somerdale > Voorhees Town Center > Starview Diner (the easternmost point of my trip) > Atlantic Ave. > White Horse Pike > Collings Ave. > Home.
The reason I wanted to hit Cinemark is that I was curious to see how the renovation is going. Half the plaza has already been lopped off to make way for the immense Wal-Mart that's going up. Joy. The rest has been given a rather dramatic facelift, giving it a more "upscale" look. Essentially the facades are designed to make the complex look like a conglomeration of smaller storefronts. Clever? Not really, but it's better than nothing.
The courtyard in front of the Cinemark has been torn up completely. I can see some concrete footings with rebar sticking up from them. Looks like small walls of concrete benches are being installed. Maybe big light posts. Who knows?
After that it was off to Voorhees Town Center to see how that is shaping up. When I was a kid (and it was still the Echelon Mall), that place was my favorite mall. It had everything I wanted, plus I could get there easily via public transit. No other mall had that option available to me.
I then went up Somerdale Rd. to the Starview Diner, where I stopped to snap a photo of my bike and the big sign by the road. Would have preferred to go in and have an omelet, but then I would never have gotten back on the bike. "Honey, can you come pick me up?"
Since I hadn't gone that way in ages, I decided to go home via Atlantic Ave, just a short ride from the diner. It's a narrow, often crappy road, but it's far less well traveled than the Pike, so I don't feel my life expectancy drop as I ride.
I stayed on Atlantic until I got to Wyoming Ave. in Audubon, whereupon I turned right and went into Pine Plaza to check on the progress at the new Little Caesar's. It's open! My buddy Dave told me as much the other day, but I wanted to gather photographic evidence--and get their hours and phone number. I will be calling them soon for some bread sticks.
Since the Pike is far more humane to bicyclists at this end, I decided to take it most of the way back home. When I got to the Newton Diner (yes, Jersey is lousy with great diners), I saw their sign and had to stop. Why? I am continually amused at how poorly the general population spells and uses grammar. It can be downright appalling. I know college grads who are very intelligent, highly engaging and talented people who can't spell for shit. Why, I don't know. Nor does it matter, I suppose. I'm not perfect either, but I have the spelling thing down fairly well.
Here's what I was faced with on that sign:
As a friend pointed out, at least they got the "tie" part right phonetically.
Getting home was then just a matter of continuing west on the Pike, turning right on Collings and hoping my legs had enough strength left to take me the rest of the way.