You Can’t Get There From Here

Petticoat Junction it ain’t. But then again, it ain’t that far off. In fact, the railroad used to run through it just like on television. I’m talking about Allenwood, NJ; that sleepy little hollow tucked into a corner of Wall Twsp.

And in the corner of that corner is the crossroads of Ramshorn Drive and Atlantic Ave. That’s where they’re building a traffic light and milling the road. That means road construction and that spells traffic control. This is where Allenwood is making history. Ramshorn Drive runs East to West. Atlantic Avenue North to South. The other day I came down Ramshorn Drive east to west. I hit a blockade with a detour sign that directed me up to Route 34 North which then directed me to a jughandle that put me on Atlantic Ave. north to south. Twenty yards down the road I smacked up to another blockade with a detour sign that told me to take a ramp up to route 34 south that took me to another sign at the first right-hand turn that dumped me off on Ramshorn Drive. The very spot I started from.

My first inclination was to look around for a Candid Camera. No doubt I was being punked. Or maybe they were filming a new episode of Twilight Zone where the motorist spends his life in a a ridiculous spiral that takes him nowhere.

I manuvered around the road barrier and pulled up in front of a cop-car parked there. The resident cop got out to tell me I couldn’t go down that road. That’s the road with the sign “Road Closed – Detour”. Maybe I woke him up. Who could blame him? Spending your day sitting in a car waiting for that one scofflaw who doesn’t believe the road is really closed.

I approached him with the attitude of someone who lives in New Jersey. “Let me ask you something”, I snarled. What freakin’ matzohball designed this clusterbomb?” (Okay. Okay. I didn’t say “bomb”.) I continued to describe the Catch 22 I was stuck in.

He was far more pleasant than my demeanor deserved. “Someone at the Division of Traffic and Safety”, he explained. I would have called but you know and I know I’ll never get a name. No one in any government agency ever outs their own. It might have been an intern vying for the honor of class clown in Engineering School. Or simply grist for conversation at a Traffic and Safety cocktail party: “Hey, did you hear the one about the detour in Allenwood?”

Besides I don’t have the time to investigate the genesis of this puzzle. I have to figure out how to get to the Allenwood General Store and the Post Office without waiting for 4:30 when the workers quit and the road opens back up. My only other option is to head north on Atlantic Ave., travel through Manasquan, and then make one revolution around the earth and come in from the south.

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