Oh I looked for the Jersey Devil on this 51-mile ride on the Tour de Pines, particularly around Leeds Point, the eastern-most part of our route and its alleged birthplace.
Was it because it was a warm, sunny day — perfect biking weather, really — and maybe devils prefer nightfall? Or did we need to wander deep into the woods and swamps, rather than head to the end of somewhat deserted yet paved Oyster Creek Road, almost to the Atlantic Ocean and where there’s an seafood restaurant and bar that didn’t try to capitalize on more than 100 hungry, thirsty cyclists? We spotted the Atlantic City skyline in the distance … perhaps the devil prefer doing its mischief in modern casinos?
The devil is said to be the unlucky 13th child of a certain Mrs. Leeds, who was none too happy to find herself pregnant yet again by her drunkard of a husband sometime in the 1700s. Whether she put a curse on the child or whether the child was born deformed in some way .. who knows? But lore says this baby quickly morphed into a creature with horns, bat-like wings and cloven hooves. Oh, and had a blood-curdling scream.
There’s a second version that has to do with Ben Franklin and a rival almanac publisher.
Whatever origin story you believe, people of course have claimed to have seen — or at least heard — the devil.
So we looked. And failed. Not even a devil of a Halloween decoration.
Instead we found plenty of blue water, first along the Mullica River and then Otter Pond, by the seafood restaurant. Just gorgeous.
Had we been staying overnight in the area (there’s one more ride!), we might have gone for turkey dinner at the Germania Volunteer Fire Department, yes, even though it’s a bit early for Thanksgiving and all the fixings. I like these volunteer fire department food events. And who knew that there is a section of Atlantic County where many streets are named after German cities?
Instead we stopped for barbecue on the way home, this time at Christine’s House of Kingfish Barbeque. That’s a roadside stand that started out selling fish, then grilled fish .. and one day BBQ. Delicious, but perhaps not quite the ginormous portions of last year’s Tour de Pines barbecue stop. If you’re camping at Atsion in Wharton State Park, it’s only a few miles away.