Route 22 Adventures

by Jack Keegan


To do some target shooting in the dumps we need rifles. To obtain weapons we travel to a friends house in High Bridge. One evening after Bill finishes work he, another friend and myself take off in my fathers car for the hinterlands. Using old Route 22, we arrive at his family's house, have a beer. Picking up two rifles we are soon traveling back to Newark.

Heading east on Route 22 we sail along at a good clip. Soon we are slowed down by beer trucks from Pennsylvania heading for the big city, as they slowly climb the hills of Route 22. Waiting for them to crest the rise and seeing a clear roadway ahead I accelerate and pass the truck #1. I do the same for Number Two. Beyond looms beer truck Number Three, and I patiently wait for it to reach the summit. When it does and I have a clear view, I hit the gas pedal and fly past at a great rate of speed. Surprise, surprise traveling in front of that beer truck is a New Jersey State Troopers Cruiser.

Soon I'm aware of red lights blazing and sirens screaming behind my vehicle. Pulling over to the side of the road, I await those denizens of the law. Stopping their car in front of mine, one trooper shines a searchlight at us and appears to be holding a rifle or shotgun pointed in our direction. Now two other officers approach my car, one on either side. The one on the passenger side orders my friends out and has them stand with their hands on the radiator, while he searches the glove compartment. The trooper on my side requests Driver License and Vehicle Registration . He questions about car ownership and reason for travel.

I explain to him about the two weapons in the back seat and he asks me if I'm going hunting. I reply that it's illegal to hunt with a rifle in New Jersey and he chuckles. After a few more questions he indicates that we may proceed. He walks back towards his cruiser and after a few paces he abruptly turns and returns to my window and says "By the way young man, the speed limit on this road is forty five miles per hour".

Now we are on our way back to Newark. Later we learn the reason for the three troopers in that car, an unusual practice at that time. That evening three extremely dangerous inmates had escaped from prison and a major manhunt was in progress. Hearing that we were all very happy that we had not made any false and fast moves when being questioned by the policemen.

Then it's home at last Down Neck. All's well that ends well.


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