Man, I loved that place. I worked there for 3 weeks at the Alpine Slide. I’ve got a couple cute stories about it. My fondest memory is of going to a party at the home of one of my supervisors. There was drinking so I asked my host if I could stay the night so that I might drink safely. The party was going pretty well. Then at about 2 am, the host told me in my stupor that the party was over and I had to go home. I very clearly remember arguing with him, “But I’m drunk, I can’t drive… But you said I could spend the night…” He argued the counter-case, that I had to get out because the party was over.
I drove 1/4 mile to a spot on the road where I could pull over. I spent the next hour and a half walking around, doing jumping jacks and push-ups in a dirt pull-out on the side of a rural-residential road near Vernon NJ. Nice host, eh? I finally felt well enough to drive and proceeded home.
About 2/3 mile from the north entrance of Smoke Rise on 23 South, there is a short straight-away. I was going a steady 50 mph. My window was open just a bit to let in fresh air, the car’s heat was turned on comfortably, the pop music was playing softly on the radio. At that point, I fell asleep. I held the wheel straight while the road curved gently to the left. I opened my eyes with a start, seeing a green mile-marker sign at an odd angle leaning toward me about 4 feet in front of my face. I saw the tips of a tree branch coming at me from the right so I swerved to the left. One frame later, the green sign was out of my field of view. I made it the 5 minutes to home with 1 quart of adrenaline in my blood. Even with that, I was astounded that I almost fall asleep on the road again.
The next day, I took a look at the car in the driveway. It was a white LeBaron. There were a few green scratches on the hood and no other damage. I drove out to the spot and was amazed. I found the mile marker post and the sign a hundred feet down the road. I put the sign in my trunk. I followed my tire tracks off the road, into the dirt, over the sign post and then curving sharply to the left where I woke up. What gave me terrible shivers was how incredibly close my tire tracks were to the telephone pole. I actually couldn’t believe that the tire tracks could be so close without some side-damage to the car, or worse. The track came 1 inch away from the pole; the tires on the car are set in at least 2 inches from the outside contours of the bumper and body. I don’t know why it didn’t catch, ripping off a bumper or scraping the whole side of the car. And I thought how lucky I was that I hadn’t been 1 more inch to the right; the bumpers would have been torn off. Or if I had been 1 more foot to the right. I was wearing a seat belt but that’s no guarantee that I’d be here writing this story.
Well, maybe my memory of Action Park isn’t so fond.