Fun Facts About New Jersey

Do you know any fun facts about New Jersey? Any facts at all? Until a couple of weeks ago, all I knew was that NJ was where Snookie, The Situation and the Sopranos live. And Meleah, of course. But on my road-trip to New Jersey, I learned some very important facts about the state you may find very helpful should you ever go.

people, gathering

There are 8,791,894 people in the state of New Jersey. They're not all in this picture

On my road-trip, I learned how many people there are because I met them all getting directions. See, I don’t have a GPS, and my cell phone is actually just a cell phone (WTF, I know!!) so I had to use Mapquest to get directions.

Mapquest told me that I needed to take  Rt 3 E to get to the Turnpike. I’m here to tell you there is no Rt 3 E. There’s Rt 4, but no Rt 3. And I know there’s somebody somewhere who is going to read this and say “Sure, Rt 3 E is there! It’s right after you take Rt 17 S!” And I say to that someone “No. No, it’s not. Go away now.”

So I end up heading to the George Washington Bridge. I managed to get off before the bridge, then proceeded to drive around in circles trying to find a sign that says: Yo! Stupid! The New Jersey Turnpike Is This Way!!

Unable to find the sign, I asked 8 million people where the Turnpike is.

On my road-trip, I learned that about 4 million people have just moved to New Jersey and don’t know where the Turnpike is.

I had to ask all of the other 4 million+ people of New Jersey since everybody kept giving me directions in miles. “Go straight for 5 miles then take a left. You’ll see the sign for the Turnpike.” Great. Except I don’t know how far a mile is. How many kilometers is that? Stupid freakin’ metric system!! I would drive along for what felt like 5 miles, take a left and start looking for the sign. Which I wouldn’t find. So I’d have to drive around some more until I found someone else who could tell me to just follow the sign after I drove for 6 miles and took a right.

I ended up finding the Turnpike by mistake. I realized why I couldn’t find the signs everyone was telling me about. It’s because there is no sign that says “New Jersey Turnpike”.

On my road-trip, I learned that the Turnpike has a logo and that is what is on all the signs.

New Jersey Turnpike sign

Ok, maybe it seems obvious now, but it didn't at the time. Really, from far away, and when you're driving only slightly more than the speed limit, this sign is invisible.

The Turnpike is a toll route. After driving on the road for a few minutes (while doing my happy dance because I realized I was finally on the right road!!), the 4 lane highway split, 2 lanes left, 2 lanes right. The sign on the right said “TICKET”, the sign on the left “NO TICKET”. I had no ticket, so I veered left.

On my road-trip, I learned that “NO TICKET” doesn’t mean you don’t have a ticket, it means you don’t need a ticket. It’s for EZ Pass holders. I am not an EZ Pass holder.

I needed to get off at Exit 8. I saw Exit 16 and thought “Yay! only 8 more exits and I’m there!!”. Then I saw Exit 15. And Exit 15 A, B and C. Then Exit 14, 14 A, B and C. With a sinking heart, I realized it would take a little longer than I expected!

My spirits did rise when I saw a lack of alphabet for Exit 9. Only 1 more to go!! I sped up. I ended up behind a truck and decided to pass him, even though I wanted to stay in the right lane because I would be getting off soon. I passed and a couple of minutes later, found myself coming up on Exit 8 A. No!! I missed the stupid exit! How? I just passed a truck! How could I miss the exit?!

On my road-trip, I learned that for some strange reason, Exit 8 A is actually BEFORE Exit 8!! Oh, and I had to explain why I didn’t have a ticket. I was chattering away nervously, expecting to be led off in cuffs, when the toll guy finally cut me off and said “$5.75 please”

By getting off at the wrong exit and rendering my Mapquest directions useless, I met the remaining 700,00+ residents of NJ asking for directions to the Hampton Inn. When I finally got to the street where the hotel was supposed to be, I ended up at the end of the street where I had no choice but to make a left or a right. I looked left and saw trees. I looked right and saw trees. Directly in front of me was a Holiday Inn. There was a cab in front of it. I figured I would ask, yet again, for directions. I drove straight into the parking lot, and asked the driver if he could tell me where the Hampton Inn was. He looked at me like I was crazy. Then he slowly lifted his hand and pointed ACROSS THE STREET!

Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, New Jersey

On my road-trip, I learned that I am an idiot.

Oh, and one last thing! On my road-trip, I learned that they have poutine in New Jersey!!

french fries, gravy, cheese, poutine

Thank you to Meleah, her family, her friends and all the residents of New Jersey who helped this Montrealer feel right at home!!

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