Friday, 28 May 2010


In the morning I approached the car with some trepidation. This is the second time that the hire company have given me a Chrysler Sebring convertible. AA2 there was no problem. AA3 until yesterday there had been no problem either.

The Americans like to change the oil in their cars a lot maybe due to the vast distances they tend to travel. There are constant ads for “Kwik Lube” type places where you drive in they change the oil and air filter and you drive out again about £20 lighter.

On American Adventure 2 the cars on board computer decided to tell me that an oil change was due.

This car is the very latest 2010 version which only had 1000 miles on the clock when I collected it in Seattle.

It too was bleating for an oil change. It also was flashing an engine management problem warning and when stationary would suddenly overheat and a red thermometer symbol would light up with an ominous “bong”.

As the engine was cold I opened the “hood” and saw that the expansion tank was nearly empty so borrowing a pair of plastic cups from the Motel reception I filled it up to the marker. Would this do the trick?

Actually yes. We had no more problems and the engine management warning light never showed after that. I also checked the oil level which was normal. Blimey I am an engineer!

So to Asbury Park with its Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny connections.

At one end of the prom there is a monument to musicians who had contributed to the


The Sound of Asbury Park.

In common with Atlantic City it has a boardwalk on the sea front. However the place has obviously seen better days. For some reason we were expecting an industrial landscape rather than a run down seaside resort. It had a sort of air of Bexhill about it. The good news is that there appears to be a lot of redevelopment going on.

The Dark Lady and l booked into the Empress Hotel which has a fabulous 50’s feel to it and has obviously just been redeveloped.

Quite a number of rather camp men wandering about. It was only when we had a look at details of the hotel and the resort we realised it is a renowned gay resort with the hotel and its nightclub being one of its focal points.

Onto the beach in the sunshine and we just had to have a swim as it would be our last chance before New York. The surf was quite high so a number of men were trying and I may add largely failing to stay upright on their boards.

Last time I had been in the sea was in Delray Beach Florida. Where despite it being the Atlantic it was pretty warm. In New Jersey it was as cold as Bexhill!

We didn’t stay in long ……

Mid evening we sauntered along the boardwalk and eventually found a bar called “Wonderbar”.

There was us and a couple of men in there and in the corner a DJ was setting up his wheels of steel. Wednesday night was 80’s night so a debate ensued between the DL and me over some track that was playing. Was it Simple Minds or Depeche Mode?

A large screen told you what was playing and the title of the album….

It was Tears for Fears!

The woman tending bar was probably only about 24 but she had travelled. Which was a rarity for the U.S.? Although she hadn’t visited the UK. We are on her list.

Earlier in the day the hotel receptionist had quizzed us about where she should go on her 7 hour stop over in Britain in a week’s time.

Something had been nagging us for the last few days. The Bartender was a friendly face so we decided to ask her.

“I gather it is Memorial Weekend this weekend. It appears to be a holiday. What is it about?”

She pondered for a moment and said:

“I don’t know. I know I should. We regard it as the first day of summer.”

Internet researches reveal it to be a day to remember and honour war dead. Bit like our Remembrance Day I suppose.

Whilst she was talking I couldn’t help noticing her cash till.

It was electronic computerised and programmable. We had a tab open which I think is an eminently sensible way of going about things. We were down as “Couple” and the two blokes were down as “guys”.

Many of the drinks and cocktails were listen on the screen.

America is a cocktail nation and there are often ads in newspapers and magazines for bartending courses. New York even has its own Cocktail school. It is quite an art.

Having seen people rustling up the most complicated concoctions in an instant and serving them with a smile even in some of the roughest back woods bars does make me think of my time as a teenage barman back in the 70’s when the closest thing that I ever got to serving a cocktail was a “Snowball” or maybe a “Mackeson and Vimto.”

However on the list of cocktails on the cash register screen was one that stood out mainly for its lack of taste.

You may remember from American Adventure 1 me being in a New York bar which had a wall devoted to the memory of IRA Hunger strikers.

Well pop down to “WonderBar” In Asbury Park New Jersey if every you fancy experiencing the heady delights of an:

“Irish Car Bomb”.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Alex When you get back you can moonlight as an aa /rac man to save for AA4 you have the expereance haveing fixed an american car at the road side we have had some fantastic blogs from you looking forward to the shoe on monday have a safe trip home