A real gas
No “shortage” of skiing at Campgaw Mountain Reservation
It was the winter of 1974. Richie Cunningham and The Fonz and the rest of the Happy Days crew took us back to the ’50s on TV. Mel Brooks had us laughing around the campfire with his box-office smash Blazing Saddles. “The Way We Were” topped the music charts, and New Jersey’s own Kool and the Gang had a hit with “Jungle Boogie.”
This was also a time when the country was experiencing a serious gas shortage where Americans often wondered if each time they filled up, it might be their last tank of gas. Gas was rationed in Bergen, and residents were divided in half by the numbers on their license plates. Odd and even schedules were set up based on the last digit of the plate. Odd numbered plate, odd day of the month at the pump and so on.
I recall my mother getting up well before dawn to get in line at the Esso station that was at the corner of Paramus Road and Ridgewood Avenue. She would wait for hours in the cold, hoping that the gas would not run out before it was her turn. The energy crisis of 1974 would lead to national conservation efforts, including a maximum speed limit of 55 mph.
In those days, it was “if you can’t walk there or take the bus, you can’t go there.” Gas had to be conserved for necessities, not for leisure activities.
Lucky for locals, there was enough snow and cold weather to make skiing and ice skating possible. Residents traded the resorts up north for the slopes at Campgaw, which were bustling with activity as ski enthusiasts flocked there for winter fun.
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