Archive for the ‘Injuries & other stupid things’ Category

Was Action Park the most dangerous park ever?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/danm3/35-horror-stories-that-prove-action-park-was-the-6wr

this article says yes. My main memory of the park was the looping water slide. Picture a hotwheels stunt track but it was a tube not a slide and it featured you and not a toy car and there you have it. Words can’t convey how much abuse it put your body thru. it was short, fast and brutal. IIRC you had to be a minimum weight and height because if you weren’t there was a risk you wouldn’t make it thru the loop. My neck and head felt horrible afterwards and I wouldn’t ever do it again.

Advertisements

My experience exploring North Brother Island

If you know nothing about NBI, here is my original entry detailing the long and varied history of this unassuming island in the Bronx River. it’s well worth a read and I won’t repeat it here because this is about my own journey exploring the island. I don’t recall exactly where I first heard about it, but I had known about it for well over a year. I had researched it thoroughly, making particular note of the dangerous currents and tides. I was also keenly aware that it was very close to Riker’s Island, which presented a security issue. I certainly did not want to be mistaken for someone escaping the infamous prison. What became clear was that if one was going to go to the island it would have to be by canoe, so one could scuttle the boat on shore. After numerous aborted discussions i finally found someone w/a canoe and someone else crazy enough to make the trip. We made the trip in January 2006. It would be approximately 1,000 feet from shore to shore and I am woefully out of shape, I cant remember the last time I was in a canoe. Complicating things is the fact that the tides are vicious and the water was ice cold. There had been a nasty ice storm the night before so air temperatures were sub-freezing. I can’t imagine what the water temperature would be like. Even with a life jacket, hypothermia could easily set in before I could reach shore. If you haven’t figured it out, this journey probably ranks as the most unintelligent exploration I have ever taken.

As fate would have it, I made the trip over successfully. The island is home to numerous birds which nest there and it’s a a protected bird sanctuary. The hospital buildings are all in severe disrepair. Many stairs are crumbling and there are holes in many walls and floors. This has allowed many thaw cycles to do further damage to the facility as snow and ice have gotten inside and rotted away the wood that held it together. There are 3 main buildings as you can see in the aerial picture below from google. There was almost nothing left in any of the buildings except for rusted out desk and chairs. The one area that was most interesting was the kitchen which still had purchase orders for the patients. In here I also found a 1950 phone book. I found it amazing to see phone listings as KL5-3325. Unfortunately the pages crumbled in my hands so I could not take it home as a souvenir. We spent several hours carefully poking around, but our visit was cut short because we wanted to go back when the tides were just right. Below are several pictures, but you should really check out all the pics on flicker

North Brother Island

If you know nothing about NBI, here is my original entry detailing the long and varied history of this unassuming island in the Bronx River. it’s well worth a read and I won’t repeat it here because this is about my own journey exploring the island. I don’t recall exactly where I first heard about it, but I had known about it for well over a year. I had researched it thoroughly, making particular note of the dangerous currents and tides. I was also keenly aware that it was very close to Riker’s Island, which presented a security issue. I certainly did not want to be mistaken for someone escaping the infamous prison. What became clear was that if one was going to go to the island it would have to be by canoe, so one could scuttle the boat on shore. After numerous aborted discussions i finally found someone w/a canoe and someone else crazy enough to make the trip. We made the trip in January 2006. It would be approximately 1,000 feet from shore to shore and I am woefully out of shape, I cant remember the last time I was in a canoe. Complicating things is the fact that the tides are vicious and the water was ice cold. There had been a nasty ice storm the night before so air temperatures were sub-freezing. I can’t imagine what the water temperature would be like. Even with a life jacket, hypothermia could easily set in before I could reach shore. If you haven’t figured it out, this journey probably ranks as the most unintelligent exploration I have ever taken.

As fate would have it, I made the trip over successfully. The island is home to numerous birds which nest there and it’s a a protected bird sanctuary. The hospital buildings are all in severe disrepair. Many stairs are crumbling and there are holes in many walls and floors. This has allowed many thaw cycles to do further damage to the facility as snow and ice have gotten inside and rotted away the wood that held it together. There are 3 main buildings as you can see in the aerial picture below from google. There was almost nothing left in any of the buildings except for rusted out desk and chairs. The one area that was most interesting was the kitchen which still had purchase orders for the patients. In here I also found a 1950 phone book. I found it amazing to see phone listings as KL5-3325. Unfortunately the pages crumbled in my hands so I could not take it home as a souvenir. We spent several hours carefully poking around, but our visit was cut short because we wanted to go back when the tides were just right. Below are several pictures, but you should really check out all the pics on flicker

A warning on what not to do when driving in the Pine Barrens in a non 4×4

We drove down to Tabernacle, NJ, deep in the Pine Barrens to do a Jersey Devil Hunt,but the trip was not without incident. Whats a JD hunt? It’s an event sponsored by the Pinelands Preservation Assn. The partipants meet near the Carranza Memorial. There’s a camp fire. You roast hot dogs. Marshmellows are toasted. As the sun goes down Russell Juleg tells stories about the Pine Barrens and by the 9PM it is totally dark out. At this point everyone heads out for an hour hike in the woods looking for JD. I imagine at some point this becomes something like the Blair Witch project. I wouldn’t know because we never made it…. well we made it on a second trip but that night we were waylaid by the sands of the Pine Barrens.

We left North Jersey at 530 to go 100 miles on the NJTPK at rush hour on a Friday in summer. Seemed pointless but the trip actually went quite well and we arrived in the general vicinity by 730. We knew that as long as we got there by 745 or so we’d be ok, only missing the camp fire stuff. We would still make the main event. At this point I should point out that GPS units do not know the difference between real roads and paper roads. Paper roads are roads that exist on paper but which are unpaved and often not meant for travel if you do not not own a 4×4. Well thanks to the Garmin thinking that a trail through the woods qualified as a “road” we took an unpaved road that eventually wound into what appeared to be someones back yard. Real Hee-Haw territory. All I needed to see was a mangy dog and chickens.

We made a bat turn then headed for the Carranza Memorial. The directions claimed it was just past the Memorial, so I drove past it, saw an entrance for some campgrounds and well, its the right place it seems, they mentioned a camp fire, so I checked it out. It was a dirt trail, clearly useable by cars…. I go past a few families having a cookout, a few more empty areas, a little farther, a little farther, finally i say, “No, this must not be it, lets turn around.”

I pull off road to make a u-turn. My wife sees it is sandy. I don’t. She doesnt manage to get out words of warning before I hit the sand. Now this isn’t just sand, it’s more like…. quicksand. I go 3 feet off road and just come to a halt. Now the fun begins.

I cant go foward. Cant go backward, Try rocking myself out. nope nope & nope. I am buried. I take the lid to my storage box in my trunk and start digging. Both wheels. Rockrockrock. Nopenopenope. We have been there maybe 5 minutes total when (thats the sounds of angels singing btw…) here comes jeff and his Jeep Cherokee!

jeff

This guy just shows up and says “need any help?” Hmmm.. I’m stuck in sand, and he’s got a tow rope and a 4×4. HELL YEAH I COULD USE HELP! Did I mention this guy used to drive for AAA?

So he pulls off road (and doesnt get stuck mind you) and hooks up a tow rope. He starts pullin me out but I’m wedged too tight in the sand. In the picture above he is running to fetch some boards to stick under my tires. In probably no more then 10 minutes he has us pulled free and clear. I know I would’ve been there way past darkfall waiting for AAA if Jeff hadn’t showed up…

Sierra Exif JPEG

This shows how much crap I kicked up spinning my wheels. I am still wondering if I got sand into any intake or anything. I haven’t driven since the incident, but I did drive 100 miles to get home without incident so I believe I am ok.

Sierra Exif JPEG

My bumper made nice smooth sand as I was ragged. Shame is I ripped something off from underneath the bumper in the process, a rubber cover. This happen once before (losing the cover, not getting stuck in the sand ) and I had it replaced. I seem to recall it was $300 but I may be wrong & I’m hoping to replace it back into its spot myself… we’ll see

Sierra Exif JPEG

This shows how deep I dug in spinning my wheels.

so let this be a lesson to you all. Don’t be stupid and stay on road, unless you have 4 wheel drive!

The other side of the Kill Yourself Bridge

kill2


Up until this point I had never gone night riding (exploring spooky roads at night). I’ve always gone during the day, not because I was afraid but because I often would be visiting other places that would require daylight to see by. I decided to go night riding one Saturday to see if these spooky roads would be any different at night. I drove on Clinton Road, Split Rock Road and finally headed for the Kill Yourself Bridge. Most of the roads were more creepy, but the Kill Yourself Bridge was something else…

I had previously visited Water Works Rd but got stopped half way down by a mound of dirt from construction. This time I approached from the other side. It appears there may have been a gate across the road but it was smashed aside long ago. The road here is much more narrow and much rockier then the other side. There is barely enough room for one car to make it through, and if you encountered trouble you’d have to back up on that road, no simple trick.

While driving down I kept the windows shut, the doors locked and the heater running (it was below zero with the wind chill) I kept the moon roof open and snapped pictures through the roof. Hey it beat keeping the window open, so any crazies would have to jump onto the car and try to come over the top. Otherwise they could just reach through your window and who wants to risk that? I found the bridge with no trouble …

kb

The real scare came after I passed the bridge. I saw lights to the left and I said “more houses!” but it was nothing more then a sign in the woods which reflected the moonlight quite brightly. The biggest scare was yet to come…. I’, driving and all of sudden saw “a mental patient in a hospital gown” down the road. Then I realized it looked a tad too bright in the car headlights and drove closer, and I knew what it was, but I couldn’t get the words out I was fumbling and I thought “skeleton” and of course that made it worse … finally got close enough to see …

doll

doll2

…that it was a WWE inflatable doll. Someone clearly has a good sense of humor. I laughed my ass off afterwards. I drove down and encountered the same dirt mound and turned back around.

The Ice Tunnel of Byram

The Roseville tunnel is also known as the Ice Tunnel of Byram because it so cold that the water forms giant icicles and often there are piles of ice on the tunnel floor. The Lackawanna Railroad was considered an engineering marvel as they built concrete overpasses rather then allowing for crossings. Read more here. It is part of the same line as the Paulinskill Viaduct and was the line that replaced the Manunka Chunk line. The construction used 14,000,000 cubic yards of cuts and 15,000,000 of fills including the 2.5 mile long 110 foot high Pequest Fill. Read more here

trailtotunnel

The rail line runs along a park near Roseville Rd & Sleepy Hollow Rd in Byram. You can park anywhere you want, but you must head into the woods as close to Roseville Rd as possible, and walk about 1/3-1/2 mile down the old railine to the tunnel, otherwise you’ll be scaling a 50 ft rock face which you don’t want to scale (you’ll see why later on this page). The Roseville tunnel is also known as the Byram ice tunnel because the tunnel remains abnormally cold all year long. In fact it’s so cold that even in summer you can find ice stalactites & stalagmites.

I parked in the parking lot and headed directly for the tunnel. After a short walk I found the tunnel entrance but there was a 50 ft drop to reach it. A smart person would’ve hiked back to where the descent was less or even non-existent. Instead I thought I could just climb down the rock face. My shoes don’t fit 100% snugly and I had a big yellow flashlight that I clips to your belt loop. I was wearing sweatpants, ergo no belt loops to attach it to. I start descending trying to hold onto anything that would support me or brace me. I was knocking rocks down, breaking tree limbs, and the last 8 feet was an unprepared jump.

The tunnel itself is only 800 feet long and completely straight so there’s always enough light to see. As with most tunnels there was lots of water in it, but it was so cold that there was ice everywhere, forming great stalctites hanging from the ceiling. This made for great atmosphere but I was more impressed with the Manunka Chunk & Fairview tunnels. I got halfway in saw the rest was the same and decided to bail because it was late. I walked perhaps 1/3 of a mile before finding a spot that was marginally ascendable. Another couple of hundred yards would’ve made the return to the parking lot another 50% easier I think. But I got back without risking my life. Much.

outtunnel

I begin driving off and I realize that at some point I must’ve turned my ankle because it is hurting. I had no gas so I pulled into the first gas station I found. While waiting I noticed my sock had a dark spot. Dirt? I pulled it off to reveal a cut 2 inches long and several layers deep. I could see the fatty layer so I knew this might mean stitches. I picked up my son from the babysitter, then went to the E/R where I got 4 stitches. I now have a permanent scar on my ankle as a reminder of how stupid I was that day for climbing down a rockface needlessly.

anklewound

4×4 adventures

So we were up in Sussex County on 206 and I passed this place I’d seen numerous times before and wanted to check out but never did. John pointed out there was a water tower (something I’d never noticed) So I wasn’t planning on stopping but decided, why not? So there was no place to park so we turned on a side road and I see a dirt trail with tire tracks and I said *I’ve got a 4×4!!!!*.

Dude, it’s a Honda CRV. get a grip. Well I drop down this trail and I quickly realized the trail was meant more for ATV’s then wanna be 4x4s. So after I take one difficult turn I her something.. odd. I stop and find that a tree branch about the thickness of a … I dunno, but it was about an inch and a half wide and 9 inches long so you make your own analogy… was wedged between the rim and the … (I’m lousy at naming auto parts) .. ummm.. rear axle.

I managed to free it and i see that the hose leading to the brakes is mucked up. but I’m not leaking anything. Brakes tested ok. I got kinda freaked (cause my wife hates when I offroad with the car) and decided going further into the mountains with iffy brakes wasn’t my idea of fun. We explored, then decided to explore some of the wonderful barns and buildings we had seen on the drive up along 206/15/94 and so forth. God that whole area is like heaven.

Anyway, today I went to the mechanic across the street. turns out if was the emergency brake line. a metal wire encased in a rubber tube. No harm, no foul (it worked fine). Had this been the other hose I would’ve had no brakes at all.

Gotta be careful out there!

Originally posted April 2005