Visiting Philadelphia – Our North American RV Tour

Downtown Philadelphia
Downtown Philadelphia
Friday, October 20 – Day 52
We woke to a warm and humid sunny morning with heavy dew, like a rainstorm had passed overnight. The east coast is much more humid than the west coast, high humidity sucks.
Lois isn’t much better still a pain in her side, Henry is feeling slightly better, so the group decided we could afford to take a day off and rest.
Ralph, Henry and I have some RV maintenance to take care of on the rigs and the ladies are always good with a day to read, craft or quilt and I also need to catch up on my travel journal.
The weather is perfect again today climbing to the upper 70’s, upper 20’s Celsius, glorious weather for the third week in October, we are very fortunate.
At home in BC, the weather is not so fantastic, winter is on the way with freezing temperatures. Hopefully, we can keep ahead of the fall temperatures on the east coast as we make our way south.
In Canada, Thanksgiving celebrations happen mid-October. We missed our annual family gathering, turkey, and all the trimmings. Away from home during family times yanks at the heart, but we knew this would happen, suck it up buttercup.
We spent a relaxing day puttering and enjoying the great weather.
Shady Pines RV Park near Atlantic City
Shady Pines RV Park near Atlantic City
Saturday, October 21 – Day 53
The morning brought cooler temperatures and fog. Today’s plan is to take the train to Philadelphia. Lois was still not feeling well enough to tag along, Ralph kindly stayed behind with her.
Henry, Allyson, Lynda and I drove a couple of miles to the train station where we met a young black girl (no offense, I’m not sure what the latest politically correct statement is) who was kind enough to help us with the train ticket machine and provide advice about Philadelphia.
The hour-long train ride was pleasant through forests of fall colors and rolling farmlands. Once we arrived at the Philadelphia train station we headed to the subway and hitched a ride to the hop on hop off bus and another Groupon savings. To our surprise, the subway is free for seniors, another perk of getting older.
Philadelphia City Hall
Philadelphia City Hall
We rode the hop on off bus past the statue of William Penn the city’s founder in the 1600’s. Passed by Betsy Ross’s house, the maker of the first American flag, and many other historic buildings. One of the stops was the Reading Market where we planned to take a break for lunch.
Betsy Ross's House Philadelphia
Betsy Ross’s House Philadelphia
The Reading Market, Philadelphi
The Reading Market, Philadelphia
Most cities have one of these gathering places where one can enjoy many different flavors. Our goal to find a café that made Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. The indoor market was huge probably a couple of football fields in size and packed with people, as crowded as New York’s Grand Central station.
The Reading Market, Philadelphia
The Reading Market, Philadelphia
Every food vendor was busy attending long lineups of customers 20 to 30 deep. We found a vendor claiming the world’s best Philly Cheese Steak and joined the line. We soon realized the line we joined was to place your order, another line followed to pick up your food. Surprisingly the line moved quickly.
The girls managed to find a table while Henry and I waited in line. The sandwich cook was something to see, wheeling a large cleaver with lightning speed, chopping the steak furiously while adding, onions, mushrooms etc. whatever the customer wanted.  Henry and I were surprised this guy still had a  full complement of fingers.
After all the hype, and waiting in line, the sandwich was nothing to write home about,….. this was the first Philly Cheese Steak sandwich Lynda and I’ve had,….. not impressed.
The cheese was probably the most disappointing, a soft cheese spread on the bun and the steak was like a course hamburger. I guess we will need to try it again elsewhere.
We headed back to the bus stop to rejoin the tour. Philadelphia was the first capital of the US, home to the Liberty Bell a symbol of American independence and Independence Hall where the signing of the American Declaration of Independence took place by the founding fathers, including the likes of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe and Benjamin Franklin.
Indipindince Hall, Philadelphia
Independence Hall, Philadelphia
A handful of men who shaped the United States and the world.
The rest of the tour was ordinary, I think we’ve had our fill of historic sights, old buildings, churches, and graveyards. Although, our interest in old pubs and new ones for that matter never seems to wain.
We managed to find the oldest bar in Philadelphia. McGillins Old Ale House, built in the mid-1800’s. A two-story back-alley building dwarfed by the city’s surrounding skyscrapers.
Henry & Mcullins Ale House
Henry & McGullins Ale House
We ordered a pitcher of the beer, the most bitter beer I have ever tasted. The girls couldn’t drink it. As I mentioned previously, every city bar or pub has their own line up of craft beer, virtually no recognizable labels so ordering is a shot in the dark.
Henry and I managed to finish the beer and the four of us left for the bus stop. After the hop on/off tour, we wandered over for a peek at the Liberty Bell, an hour long line discouraged us, so settled for a glimpse through a side window.
The Liberty Bell, Philadelphia
The Liberty Bell, Philadelphia
Our next stop Independence Hall, a short walk from the Liberty Bell and another lengthy line.
This was the end of our Philadelphia tour, we hopped the free subway back to the train station and climbed aboard the train for the hour ride back to camp. Philidelphia was interesting, but the group has definitely had our fill of old buildings.
I hope our next stop is Washington DC has more to offer.
Philadelphia architecture
Philadelphia architecture
Sunday, October 22 – Day 54
Sunday morning brought a heavy fog, the worst we’ve seen. It’s a traveling day and by the time we hit the road the warm sun had reduced the fog to a mist.
A historic street Philadelphia
A historic street Philadelphia
We opted for a secondary route versus the expressways and interstates hoping for a pleasant drive.  Even though it’s Sunday morning the traffic was heavy, we are beginning to realize the east coast is busy any time of any day or night.
Our destination today is Cherry Hill RV Park between Washington DC and Baltimore, from here we can take in either city.
Not long after we left Shady Pines Lynda and I smiled at each other, and it wasn’t about what happened last night after the sun went down, it was no ‘Ding Ding, the repair worked…….hooray.
The drive west from Atlantic City along highway 40 was scenic through small towns, farms and rolling hills. The route was slower than the freeways but less stressful.
The traffic was moderate until we reached the Delaware River. Crossing the river into Delaware was a shock, the toll was $20. for my truck and less than half for the others.
Once across the river we swung south on highway 301 to avoid downtown Baltimore, the GPS doesn’t like taking an alternate route, we fooled it by adding waypoints and deleting each one as we got close.
 Note – Don’t make the mistake Lynda and I did, forgetting to delete the waypoint and being directed to the city center. If you enter a city in the GPS without an address it will take you to the center of town, a disaster if you’re driving a large rig.
Another side note to drivers and RVers before you head out on a trip, practice using your GPS, read articles, manuals, reviews, whatever you can get your hands on.
There are many not so obvious features that will help to navigate. For instance, the shortest route vs fastest, avoid tolls, avoid freeways, avoid slow traffic, avoid ferries, and many more. If you are not familiar with the features of your GPS it may cause plenty of frustration.
Lynda and I were almost involved in an accident as we traveled through northern Maryland, a car in front of me stopped in the middle of the road, I hit the brakes and swerved barely missing the idiot, fortunately, no one was tailgating me. My guess the person missed a turn and panicked.
Our alternate route worked well avoiding heavy traffic until the end when we traveled the Baltimore ‘belt road’ the same as ring roads or bypasses. We arrive at Cherry Hill RV Resort early afternoon to sunshine and warm temperatures.
Cherry Hill RV Resort is a perfect home base for visiting Washington DC and Baltimore although pricey at $70 per night.
At 4 pm daily the resort staff holds an information meeting about resort amenities, local attractions, and transit alternatives to Washington DC. The girls headed out just before 4 while us guys finished setting up for our weeklong stay.
The evening cooled off quickly the propane fire helped keep the chill away. We spent the evening going over the information the girls brought back from the meeting and planning our tour of Washington DC.
Washington DC has always fascinated me, I’m looking forward to seeing the experience.

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