Cape May

Erik took us to the Hertz rental car depot. It was a grubby portable home, the offices were grubby and the car was grubby. Amy spoke so quickly it was hard to understand, but mentioning various sums of money it seemed that our account had not been fully paid as we were led to believe. She showed us to the little green Ford Focus and, guided by Erik, we set off across Washington township for the main road south.
Erik waved us goodbye. It wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated, driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. With Mary navigating we negotiated the traffic, not sure if this was a freeway or expressway, but keeping pace with the other vehicles seemed to be a good ploy rather than dividing the mph by five and multiplying by eight to see what pace we were going.
Through acres of greenery we drove. On both sides of the road verdant trees grew – oak, liquidamber, maple perhaps. A few more months and the colours would be glorious… and then they would be bare throughout the winter.
Behind the trees lay we knew not what. Could it be wilderness? Or farmland? Jersey was the ‘garden state’ which meant that vegetables and fruit were grown around here. We didn’t imagine the gfarms had much in the way of livestock.
It was an easy journey through to Cape May, which proclaimed it was a city. I had agreed to talk to Cape May children at 2pm at the library as part of their ‘Catch the Reading Bug’ program. We found the library and met an interesting group who later told me they enjoyed my talk; they were pleased to learn things about NZ they hadn’t previously known. Some of them had known nothing.
The town was packed with tourists. Mary and I drove down to the beach and enjoyed the view of the Atlantic and the cooling seaside breeze. There were plenty of Monarchs, egglaying and nectaring – also on several occasions we saw a large lemon-coloured butterfly, about the size of a Monarch.
Many people had planted habitat – it was great to see. Beach houses had colour-filled gardens to the edge of the road, no fences separating the habitat. This was something we notice about US gardens – very few have fences delineating their boundaries. Lots of colour Buddleias – and the tree that was flowering to perfection was the Crepe Myrtle.
Mary is a great companion, identifying so many plants that I don’t know. I particularly love to hear ‘stories’ about plants, their history, their relationships, their latin names.
A sign proclaimed that a Farmers Market was being held in Cape May; we found it and bought our tea – barbecued pork in a bun, cole slaw, and sweetcorn. Yum! I topped mine with a freshly squeezed lemonade from a lemonade stand. We sampled summer fruit and found our way back to the car.
We checked into a small motel, having bought our breakfast needs, only to find the unit sported a fridge, a TV and beds but very little more – no kettle, no cutlery, no plates or bowls. It looks like we’ll get breakfast on the road tomorrow.

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