Travel

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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  • Eeww!  Poutine?  In New Jersey no less!  (Although I really hope it was poutine, being in Jersey and all.)  *gag*

    Oh, did I mention I don’t like poutine? Heh, heh.

    I had a similar miscombobulated incident (i.e. going to the wrong lane) crossing the border into Buffalo.  It involved a shark, some auto parts and shards of glass (but that’s another post).

    Still, it sounded like you had a great adventure which is, by definition, the reason for a road trip!

    😉

  • Well from the looks of the pictures with Meleah on facebook it looks like you had some fun.  Thank God for that because the trip there sounds like a flippin’ nightmare.  I think the NJ Turnpike is not well marked at all.  I have been lost a few times myself on that road.  AND I think the myriad of people that I asked directions of purposely left out important details so I would remain lost.  I can’t be entirely sure of this as it doesn’t seem like people would do that, but I would find my way to my destination “in spite” of the directions.  Things like they said go right when I needed to go left. 
    Hope the trip back to Canada went smoother.

  • I hate mapquest, and google maps, I also hate Garmin for not offering free updates to my gps, instead they want 75 per year to update my maps, I haven’t ever updated them, they’re 5 years old now, what’s the point. I’ll just be lost and enjoying my adventure. Glad you got there and back without getting whacked.

  • So no one in New Jersey knows where they’re going yet they have poutine? A Montrealer like you must have felt right at home!

  • SP

    Swamp detour?

  • I have no idea if the poutine was “real” or not! I didn’t try it since I’m not much of a fan either!!

    I’d love to read that story Dozo!

    I did have a great adventure, you are exactly right about that. And every person I asked for directions was super nice and helpful. I was just too Canadian to understand! 🙂

  • We had as much fun as it looks like in the pics! The trip really wasn’t all that bad, just the Turnpike part got a little hairy, and that was really the shortest part of the trip. I think I have to take most of the blame for being lost, I really couldn’t figure out how far 5 miles was, so I may have turned left before or after I should have. Plus, I would then have to drive around to find my next helpful Samaritan! The trip back was smoother, I only got lost once! 🙂

  • Hah! Yes, it turns out that despite having 3 names and being a girl I met online, Meleah is really not a serial killer!! And neither were any of the other 8 million people who helped me find my way there. 🙂

  • I’m pretty sure they knew where they were going Dufus, they just didn’t know where I was going! Yup, they have poutine, but they call them cheese fries. I did feel right at home, mainly because of the vodka though. 🙂

  • Nope, didn’t see a single swamp.

  • Shieldmaiden1196

    Hmm. I grew up in New Jersey (Exit 2, holla!). I miss:
    –24 hour Greek diners
    –blueberry picking
    –riding my bike on FLAT ROADS

    I grew up in the much less confusing-to-navigate half of the state; when I was a kid South Jersey was a lot of soybeans and pepper fields. Now its a lot of former Philadelphia area refugees who decided they’d head east for their .8 of an acre and 3 BR 2 1/2 Ba piece of the ‘merican Dream.

  • LOL! I already miss people saying “Holler!” I was really impressed with the roads in NJ. Montreal is known for potholes big enough to eat your car whole!

  • We love the town of Lambertville, NY.. lots of galleries, small shops, etc.  You can walk accross the bridge to New Hope, PA as well for more shops.  HIGLHY RECOMMEND!

  • I can’t even handle how funny this was! Between the NJTPK signs, exit 8A, and the Hampton Inn/Holiday Inn – I am CRYING laughing so much at this post!

  • Good to know, I had my suspicions.

  • Thanks Little Johnny! I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m visiting Meleah…’cause there WILL be a next time 🙂

  • Hihihihihihi! I’ll give you a break then, and not tell you the really hysterical story of how I ended up on Highway 80 East instead of the Rt 17 N , got off in Garfield, NJ where I finally met the 1 resident out of 30,487 who knew that the way to Rt 17 N!!! 🙂

    I love a road-trip adventure!!

  • Sounds like your visit was awfully wonderful and your trip was wonderfully awful.  Glad you didn’t get on the George Washington Bridge.  I haven’t been across it in many years, but as I remember it was most confusing, and you need to know where you’re going ahead of time.  No time to change your mind if you mess up.  You’re going somewhere else first.

    Travel in the Northeast can be a pain in the tail.  Glad you had a safe trip, and met millions of new folks.

    A GPS does come in handy…most times…unless it tries to direct you somewhere you can’t go because the street is closed, and by closed I mean dug completely up.

  • “Sounds like your visit was awfully wonderful and your trip was wonderfully awful.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    I was actually terrified of getting on the GW bridge. I’ve heard horror stories about it and I just kept picturing myself stuck there for HOURS!!

    So, a GPS is kinda like Mapquest? Mapquest once told me to go straight for “about 5 miles” except that I was facing a huge parking lot with a 12 foot tall high-voltage fence!!

  • Shut Up! That’s where Gramma Evelyn lived!!!!!!!!

  • Hmm.. what’s the swamp reference all about? *scratches head*

  • No WAY!! She must have been looking out for me! 🙂

  • What the hell is “poutine?”

    It’s a good thing you like to drive and in the end it was all worth it, because you had an awesome time!   

  • I’ve got a fun fact about NJ:  A certain not-really deity was there checking these comments for responses every hour or so to see if you wanted to swing by for a drink or firehouse tour.  Oh well

  • You don’t want to know!!

    I did have an awesome time, and the drive wasn’t even that bad because it was a gorgeous day, the windows were down and the music was BLARING!!

    Now I’m looking forward to my next trip…California, here I come! 🙂

  • God, you should have said so! Your last comment was that I was southeast of you. Seemed kind of noncommittal and I didn’t want to impose! I would have LOVED a drink and a tour of the firehouse!! Tell you what, next time I will definitely stop in. I’ll even bring cheese 🙂

  • Um. no. Gramma Ev lived in GarWOOD,  Route 17 is in GarFIELD.,  But, Hey!  It’s New Jersey isn’t it???

  • I hafta tell you I absolutely LOVED this post!  It’s so funny because it’s totally accurate!  Hope we see you again soon!  Love & Hugs, Gramela Pamela

  • E-mail on your CA trip plans.

  • Whoa, Girl!  Now we know Meleah is not a serial killer whacker type, but IIWG, we really don’t know that much about, except the hose thing.  Heck, I’d go by for a drink just on that alone.

  • I’ve never been to NJ but I’ve heard it is gorgeous.  A friend goes to the Jersey Shore every year and loves it!  Still, without GPS it might be daunting.  I think where you live would be hard, Nicky, because all the stuff is in French.  I mean, that’s fine if you speak French, but if not, not so much….  Your trip sounds like a blast.  Plus, you did find your way.  When you fly into SF, I will meet you.  I don’t want you lost in California.  It totally would not make me happy.

  • I thought about on my way home, because of Meleah and Amy wanting to visit! The thing is, the names of the highways are numbers, so there’s no confusion there, and the names of the streets and towns are the names of the streets and towns – so, Mapquest or GPS wouldn’t translate them and potentially confuse the driver.

    I’m so looking forward to visiting California!

  • Hahaha! Thanks Pam and thank you so much for welcoming me into your home! I had a lovely time and will definitely be back! xoxoxox

  • Will do!

  • C’mon, he’s God! How dangerous could he be 🙂

  • Talk about adventurous.  Tackling NJ with only Mapquest directions?  Crazy!  I remember the days before my iphone.  Although we still get lost with our smart phones because google is often way off.  So is Mapquest for that matter.  Last year it put me in a field North of Tulsa, OK instead of the Tulsa airport.  I think it thought I wanted to catch the plane on the runway.

  • Indeed!!!!!!!!!!!

  • OH!!! My bad!!

  • LOL! K, do I really have to find a witty comment to insert here? You’re hilarious. And just think, thanks to being directionally challenged, you got to meet all the other directionally challenged New Jersey folk…sorry, kind of witty comment, right?

  • Oh I’m so jealous! I want to go on a road-trip to NJ, too! Then again, I have no idea how many liters a mile is, so it might end badly.. I’m glad Meleah wasn’t a crazy psycho killer, though.

  • Hahaha! Maybe it mixed up “as the crow flies” for “as your car flies”!! Mapquest is a hoot! I love it, ’cause it gets you close enough to find your way, but mixed up enough so you get to see some interesting sites before you get to where you’re going!!

  • Thank you Sandra, I am here all week! 🙂

    And hey, I’m not directionally challenged! Mapquest is directionally challenged! Unfortunately, I can’t defend the people of New Jersey!

  • Silly Ziva! There aren’t any litres in a mile! You have to calculate the number of PINTS in a mile. I found more than 2 pints and I ended up miles off course! 🙂

    You and Officer Hottie both!

  • Yeah, God never hurt anyone (who didn’t deserve it.)

  • Glad you had fun Nicky. When I get a life I hope to go somewhere and have fun too.

  • Thanks HS! I highly recommend NJ 🙂

  • Anonymous

    You have my sense of direction!  I could get lost in my own home.  Oh, and those GPS systems aren’t all that fantastic. I’ve gotten lost mulitple times using them.

  • I just read Meleahs post about your trip – sounds like you guys had a great time.  All I know about New Jersey I learn from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jerseylisious, and Jersey Shore (although I’ve never really watched that one) – So, was there a lot of big hair, smokey eyes, orange tans and fights for no reason?  

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad you’ve found your way! Next time, do as that early NJTP brochure says: “Follow this symbol (Yes, follow the one you photographed, that green hexagon with the big “TP” in the middle!) to the Turnpike.” Got that? Oh, and I have a huge-ape fetish for that!

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