Clara Barton Service Area – NJ Turnpike

As the summer comes to and end we have been taking a lot of little trips all over the state to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts.  I’ve mentioned this in the past, that if you need to go really far north or really far south the Turnpike is the quickest way to go, but all the pot holes and massive amounts of traffic can really test once patience.

This past weekend we were visiting some family and ended up on the New Jersey Turnpike.  I took the opportunity to check out another Service Area that was along the way to see how the penny machine was working, and whether the designs had changed (wishful thinking).  The Clara Barton service area is located on the Southbound side of the turnpike located between Exits 1 and 2 in Oldmans Township around mile marker 5.4 (in case you really wanted specifics).

NJ - Clara Barton Sign 2

I ran inside and found the machine located near the restroom area which also makes them a prime place for people to lean on.  There was a gentleman making sure that in case gravity gave out he would ensure the penny machine stayed safely grounded.  I approached and nicely asked to use the machine and he moved aside slightly as I took my pictures and pressed a new set of coins.

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According to my records these designs are the same ones that have been here for the past few years.  I wouldn’t anticipate these changing anytime soon as they are similar to almost every other rest stop in the northeast (except in Maryland but that’ll be for another time).

NJ - Clara Barton 01 Pennies

The machine rolled the pennies very smoothly which is also unique for these machines.  Usually they are pretty tough to crank and you need a lot of elbow grease.  The designs include: I Love You, My Lucky Penny with a Shamrock, The Lords Prayer, and a Unicorn with a leash?!? Maybe a princess necklace.  Who knows, I remember seeing this design a few years ago and being puzzled by it then as well.

With the fresh pressed pennies in my pocket I grabbed a Cinnabon and a frappuccino from Starbucks coffee before getting back in my car and finishing our trip. It’s nice to be able to crank out a few pennies to relieve some aggression when you’ve been sitting in Turnpike traffic for a few hours.

Molly Pitcher Service Area – NJ Turnpike

Another weekend and another trip along the New Jersey Turnpike.  We didn’t have any specific plans but I was looking to revisit a nearby service area to see if the penny machine had changed.  The good news what that the service area is pretty close to our house so I didn’t have to go too far out of my way to check it out, the bad news was that the machine designs hadn’t changed.

The Molly Pitcher Service area is located on the southbound side of the turnpike between exits 8 (Cranbury) and 8A (Hightstown).  On the first day of spring (a few days ago) we had received almost 6 inches of snow, but that didn’t seem to deter to many people from traveling the turnpike.  There wasn’t any bumper to bumper traffic but the service area was busy with people getting a caffeine kick or an overpriced lunch.

At all these service areas the penny machines are located either right by the main entrance or by the restrooms.  As soon as I walked inside I saw the first machine right by the front door but someone was using it so I made my over to the restroom area and used this machine instead.

NJ - Molly Pitcher 01

The unfortunately issue with this machine being by the restrooms is that it’s in a high traffic area.  There are almost always people hanging all over the machine or leaning on it while they wait for the rest of their family.  A gentleman was standing next to the machine but he kindly moved out of the way as I walked up to press the designs.  The machine works great and the man even leaned back towards me for a moment to see what I was doing.  With the designs pressed I showed them to him and smiled.

NJ - Molly Pitcher 01 Pennies

 The designs from this machine had The Statue of Liberty, Good for a Hug and a Kiss (I’m definitely using this), The Lord’s Prayer, and a My Lucky Penny with a Shamrock on it.  Next I moved back over by the main entrance and checked out the other machine.  It was near some of the lines for the quick service food counters but I still had enough room to press the coins.

NJ - Molly Pitcher 02

This machine was also working great and pressed the designs nicely.  The designs included: My Lucky Penny with a Shamrock, a Unicorn, the Lord’s Prayer, and I Love You.

NJ - Molly Pitcher 02 Pennies

As I mentioned in a previous post about these service area locations, many of the designs are the same.  I believe there are about 16 unique designs in total but there are a lot more machines so duplicates are a guarantee.  It was a nice little drive to the service area but seeing how busy it was I didn’t stick around longer than I had to.  I grabbed a Starbucks coffee and jumped back in my car and headed home.  I’m planning on checking out more service areas over the next few weeks and will report back on what I encounter.  You never know what you may find on the Jersey Turnpike.

Joyce Kilmer Service Area – NJ Turnpike

This weekend we spent some time up in the Woodbridge area with my wife’s family.  We don’t live to far away but with everyone having busy schedules we don’t get to see them as often as we would like.

As with most places in Jersey whenever you need to get somewhere it is usually easiest to just take the Turnpike.  Although it can be a gamble on whether you will hit massive traffic (more often than not), or the biggest potholes you have ever seen or possibly driven into.

HOLIDAY TRAFFIC

Luckily for us it seemed that everyone must have been avoiding the turnpike as it was nearly deserted which I don’t think I’ve ever encountered in the 15 years I’ve lived here.

If you do encounter the usual traffic on the turnpike you can take advantage of the numerous service areas on both the north and south bound sides about every 15-20 miles.  As an added bonus if you are a pressed coin collected each and every one of these service areas has at least one machine pressing anywhere from one to four designs.  Unfortunately there are a lot of duplicates, and I believe there are only about 16 unique designs but almost 20 service areas (including locations on the Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway).  A few years ago I took a few weekends and traveled up and down the entire state driving every mile of the Turnpike, Parkway and AC Expressway to collect and document all the machines and designs and as I mentioned above I ended up with a lot of duplicates.

On our recent trip up the Turnpike even though there was no traffic I took the opportunity to stop at the one service area that could be accessed between the half-dozen exits between our house and our destination.  I do this every so often just to see if the penny designs have changed, or have moved locations.  As soon as I walked inside the machine was in the exact same place as last time, these machines are almost always located right outside the restrooms.

Joyce_Kilmer-01

After taking a picture of the machine I went and pressed a new set of pennies (you can never have too many duplicates for trading).  Unfortunately these machines seem to get so much use that they are not always in perfect working condition.  This machine however was working perfectly and all four designs came out great.

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Even though this service area was on the New Jersey Turnpike, for some reason the designs are almost all New York landmarks.  The designs included The Empire State Building, the New York Skyline, My Lucky Penny with the New York Yankees logo, and the Statue of Liberty ( which is technically located in New Jersey but always associated with New York).

This summer as I take my family to the shore, or Cape Map wherever we may decide to go I’ll be sure to stop in to any service area we pass by.  This way I can see how the machine is working, if the designs and have changed, and also to post on this site.  You never know when you may be traveling through New Jersey along the Turnpike, but if you are make sure to stop at one of these service areas to fill up on some expensive gas, a Cinnabon and even a few pressed pennies.