Hi Eurovan fans. This post has been sitting here as a draft for quite some time. It’s not quite finished but it deserves to see the light of day! I’ll finish transcribing my phone entries (see below) but, for now, here’s what happened last Thanksgiving!
This is the second year we have owned the Eurovan and Thanksgiving offers each of us a couple of days off so we can hop in the van and disappear.
This year, Pammie cooked up (sorry!) a great trip down to Philadelphia, up to the Allegheny National Forest, up to Toronto and then back home via Montreal! The trip was fantastic. We had some weather, nothing like they had back home, and we had tons of fun. We both took a bunch of pics and I tried dictating into my phone instead of typing because I’m super slow at typing and a lot of my time was spent behind the wheel of the party van. I’m going to leave the dictation intact here (in block quotes), because it’s pretty funny what the phone hears sometimes, but after each dictation, I’ll translate so you might actually have a clue what was really happening!
Took off around 3:30. First big traffic jam around the 290 exit off 495. Another big one near sturbridge. A couple fender benders that stopped the whole shebang! Dinner stop around 7:30 in tollend ct rest area. Rice bake thawed from a couple weeks ago! Yummy! Chocolate cake from dp! Yummy! 603 amber ale. Yummy! Time to get back on the road 7:58
The paragraph above is pretty accurate! We left home sometime around 3:30 and had a fairly uneventful start to the journey. We were heading for Philadelphia ultimately but planned to take it easy and enjoy the trip.
Traffic got a little thick down south a ways but the scenery in the sky was incredible so we enjoyed the show and ignored the traffic. Things cleared up fairly quickly and we made it to Connecticut by late evening. We pulled into a rest stop near Tolland Connecticut for a dinner stop. Pam heated up some leftover baked rice and vegetables and we watched the scotch movies while we dined. Quite a hubub of holiday traffic. The news had been broadcasting a pending storm on Wednesday so a lot of people left early. Every sign on the highway was warning of the storm as well. Plan ahead, leave early!
Back in Holley nj! 12:01am. Best Western parking lot about 50 feet away from where we stayed last xmas on our way to virginia. Small world, eh?
Last year, when the van was brand new to us, we took a trip to Virginia Beach at Christmas time. On that trip, we made it to Mount Holley New Jersey on the first night. We remembered staying in a Hampton Inn parking lot near the exit. This year, we wound up in the exact same area when we were feeling the need to call it a night. There weren’t anywhere near as many cars in the lot this year so we looked around for a safe place to park. After parking briefly and just starting to get settled, we decided to try and use the bathroom at Appleby’s before retiring. Unfortunately, they had just closed so we got back on the move looking for another spot near a bathroom.
After driving a bit we came to WalMart and decided to give it a try. We went in and used the bathroom and I found a manager to inquire about staying in the lot. It took a while but I was able to find the manager and he said it was cool to stay. We’d have to park in the front of the lot and be out by 7 or 7:30 at the latest. No problem! We found a spot and opened up the bar!
Blew off bw and went to the burlington walmart. Got up this morning about 815. When into Wally world and get some coffee took a leak to wash my face and now oh yeah we didn’t get coffee I was wrong about that we had to go to target to get coffee. Now it’s about 9 o’clock and we’re cruising towards the campground in pouring rain that is kind of turningover to snow. Pam says. Pam says.. Pam says. Period.
We didn’t quite make the 7:30 AM checkout time at WalMart but we were close. The weather was getting a little wooly but the party van is FEARLESS in the winter so we grabbed some joe in a nearby Target and headed to the campground…
9:26 AM we made it to the Timberlane campground. She wasn’t going to let us in but Pam charmed her got her to smile and relax she gave us a different spot and here we are in our spot yeah hey. The FedEx guy just went by. I don’t think our neighbors are here but looks pretty quiet at the Timberlane campground probably go take a shower and then we’re going to Philly and find a cheesesteak go to Oscarsno says p.m.!.
As Siri transcribed above, we rolled into the Timberlane Campground at 9:26 AM or so, well before the 1PM checkin time. Our hostess wasn’t too impressed with our idea of checking in early and taking a shower but Pam charmed her! She gave us a different spot than the one she had reserved for us and let us check in! That was above the call of duty and we appreciated it very much! Our hostess warmed up a bit when we started inquiring about the local area for food shopping and hipped us to an Amish Market nearby.
10:33 AM Pammys in the shower I’m hanging out Dylan around we’re going to head into Philly soon and it’s raining not quite snowing yet looks like start mixed with freezing rain storm of the century on the way more later.!…… Circle done
We parked in our “campsite” and Pammie quickly grabbed her fresh clothes and personal items and went to check out the shower scene. I did the same. I was back to the van first so I puked the little text you see just above this paragraph into my phone while finishing off a tepid cup of joe and perusing the map and rules of the campground. I love this shit. You pay 35 bucks to park on what amounts to a driveway with a 3 foot strip of grass on either side and the list of stuff you can’t do is longer than the list of amenities by far. Don’t get me wrong. I love hanging out in campgrounds because I can get my snoop on! The minute we pull in I’m ‘vestigatin’ like a hound dog. Who’s doing what with whom? I’m sure the stuff I dream up in my head is probably more exciting than what’s really going down but…YOU NEVER KNOW! C’mon, you like to spy on your neighbors too, right? Right?!
Pam returned from the showers sparkling like a Christmas bauble and raring to head out on our Journey to Philly. Our plan was to hit the Amish Market for some stuff to throw in the fridge for consumption later in the trip. So, I uplugged the beast and we fired ‘er up and took off.
The rain was falling pretty steadily and mixing with snow. There had been storm warnings all night on the road and the weather down in Philly said rain turning to snow in the early afternoon. Bring it on! I LOVE to drive in lousy weather. Makes things way more cozy. We came upon the Amish Market in a strip mall type place in Mullica Hill NJ. From the outside it looked like nothing special but the minute we got inside I knew this place was the SHIT! FOOD EVERYWHERE! Pretzels. Fried Dough sticks with salt OR sugar and cinnamon. Home made pies, bread, muffins, rolls. Coffee everywhere. Chacthkis…NOT INTERESTED…but, we’re Christmas shopping too so don’t be a jerk, Matt! But, but…sausage, sirloins, pork chops, shaved steak, hot dogs, i mean, DAMN! The food was E V E R Y W H E R E and it was fairly inexpensive too. We walked around the loop to check it all out and then started to try and single out a few items to buy. I mean, if I had one of those friggin’ bus campers with a freezer and all, I’d have stocked that sucker to gills at this joint!
To the best of my recollection we got a whole pecan pie (Thanksgiving!) a couple of beef tenderloins, some meatballs, some piggies in a blanket, a package of 8 home made dinner rolls, some salty AND some sugary bread sticks and another cup of joe and the total was $34. Heavenly, I tell you! You gotta check this place out if you’re ever down there. The Amish Market!
Off to Philly we go, munching greasy breadsticks, swilling coffee and fogging up the windows in the party bus while the traffic closed in around us as we got closer to the city. I’m pretty sure we crossed the Delaware River on the Ben Franklin bridge and then we started looking for a place to park the bus and hop out for some exploring on foot. The weather was pretty bad at this point but still just a wet mix of very light snow and somewhat heavy rain.
1242 were in Philly yeah hey. Pam’s getting her boots on and we’re going to hike maybe hike to the restaurant will see what happens going to try to take the bus who knows who knows what’s going to happen but we’re ready for anything talk to you soon.
We got into Philadelphia around 1. It was raining and just starting to turn over to snow. I drove around a bit looking for a place to park. Because the van is tall, it’s limited for parking garages so I was looking for a space on the street or, better yet, a lot. We found a small lot on the corner of Appletree street that was not quite full yet so we pulled in and got ready to do a little sightseeing. It was pretty messy out so we both bundled up. I can’t remember exactly when this happened, whether we were still in the van or just starting to walk a bit, but we quickly discovered that the restaurant we were headed for was 2.5 miles or so away. We had already parked and zipped up the van for city parking, shades all pulled and stuff all stashed, so we decided it would be fun to just hike to Distrito. We’d get to see a bit of the city.
1:21 warmup stop for a yards ale at Drinker’s Pub on chestnut st
It didn’t take us long to get soaked, slippery and shivering so we slid into Drinker’s Pub for a nice COLD BEER to warm us up! This Drinker’s (we passed another Drinker’s up by Drexel) was kind of homey. There were a bunch of folks having lunch and chilling out. We peeled off our soggy layers and ordered a couple beers. We chatted, watched the scotch movies, let our clothes dry a tad and then bundled back up, payed our tab and continued the soggy slog to Distrito. Don’t get me wrong though, I love shitty weather. I love being outside in it, I love driving in it and I love being inside and cozy when it’s shitty outside!
About half way into our walk we crossed the mighty Schuylkill River. At the time, I didn’t know this to be the fact but later discovered that we had been crossing the Schuylkill here and there during this trip. Pal Charlie Kohlhase has immortalized the Schuylkill for me with his composition, “Thrill Kill on the Schuylkill”. Thought you ought to know that. Plus, it’s fun to say and to type. Say “Schuylkill” a few times to yourself…right now. Fun huh? Okay, if you’re tired of reading this blather, go spy on your neighbors for a bit. Or have a snack.
Had lunch about 230 at Distrito Distrito and then walked back passed out in the van probably I’m on 430 5 o’clock and then we went to the museum it’s been a long time in the museum to museum is incredibly beautiful.
We finally made it to Distrito. It was after lunch so the place was kind of empty but dry and inviting. The door man took us to the corner spot in the dining room and we began peeling off soaked layers. Our waiter was attentive but pretty giving off the vibe that he was ready to be done with waiting on tables for a bit. No problem, we took our time, starting off with some warm chips and salsa that were DELICIOUS and WARM! I know I said that, but we were pretty chilled at the time. We ordered some margaritas and checked out the menu.
Distrito is kinda like tapas. The lunch special features three items for a fixed price so we each ordered three different items and shared. The food was delicious and plentiful. We each ordered another margarita too! What the heck, we were walking! Our seat was in the corner of the downstairs dining room where the walls are lined with Polaroids of previous diners mugging for the camera after they’ve had a pitcher or two of booze. They all look very happy. We were happy too…or too happy. Shit, I can’t recall!? No, just kidding. We loved the place and regretted having to leave but were thankful that our clothes were dry, our bellies were full and we had just started our journey.
Our walk back to the van was very fun. We crossed over a block to see some new sights and started to make our way back to Appletree street via Walnut street. We passed a bunch of shops and restaurants. We passed the beautiful Krishna P Singh Center for Nanotechnology where a I took a few pics of the building and Miss Pam. Just before we crossed the Schulkill again we came upon a graffiti laden railway area that caught my eye. Shortly after that we stopped into World Cafe Live to check out the cleanliness of their bathrooms and, once on the other side of the river, we found an Irish pub and got a couple coffees to warm up a bit before the final push back to the van.
Once we landed at home back on Appletree Street I was quite ready to flip on the furnace and check OUT! I think I was crashed and sawing logs in the back seat before Pammie even had her boots off!
When I arose from my slumber I spied Miss Pam sitting at her shotgun perch eagerly awaiting our departure. My fog was a bit thick but I managed to prepare the tardis for a journey across town to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Pam had scoped out the deal that on Thursday nights the museum took a donation of your choosing for admission. We were generous and totally blown away!
We went directly to the Paul Strand exhibit. I was immediately immersed in the photos and rendered speechless much to Pam’s delight. Not being very familiar with his work, I tried to pay close attention to the dates the photos were taken and to try to grasp the scenes in their original context. If you follow the wikipedia link above you’ll see that Strand lived a long and productive life. The Exhibition at the PMA starts very early and travels through Strand’s entire life. It’s mind boggling and inspirational all at once!
From the Strand exhibit we followed the flow of the museum with the impressionists as an eventual goal. The suits of armor were a highlight. The collection is large and contains many different styles, sizes, colors, shapes and accessories. There a lances, swords, helmets, chainmail, shoes, breastplates and so much more.
Another interesting feature of this museum are period rooms located in different areas. You can get a real feel for living in these rooms the way they are setup and because contain numerous items from the eras they depict. It’s fun to linger and imagine living in these rooms but we had to keep moving. Oscar’s was waiting.
Seeing the impressionist collection was a highlight. Having spent many days at Boston’s Museum of Fine Art over the years, viewing the Monet’s and Renoir’s is a favorite. Seeing work by these masters that we have never seen before was a real thrill. Van Goh! Three Musicians! I thought that work was TINY! When I saw it in person I was BLOWN AWAY! There was no reason to take a picture of it. The massiveness of the painting left an impression that will never be erased.
Time to move on. Oscar’s calls! Leaving the the warmth and beauty of the Museum, into the raw, rainy night, we make our way to Philly’s favorite dive bar. I fumble around a bit, drive right by Oscar’s, get a little frustrated and park the party van to hoof it on over. It’s a short walk from our parking spot and, within moments, warmth and an alternate beauty have enveloped us. Comfy stools at the bar beckon and the Oscar’s hang gets underway. Yuengling! I’m actually not a huge fan but, what the hell. Perogies? Sure! Why not?
Taking in the scenery, and discussing where to get a cheesesteak after the Oscar’s hang, the decision is made to order one here! Another Yuengling! SURE! Pammie wasn’t digging the beer selection but the dive bar food was keeping her happy. The cheese steak came with chips and some pepperoncinis. I don’t know if this was “Philly Style” but it was good enough for us! Unfortunately, the meal was interrupted by a massive bloody nose on my part. I spent a fair amount of time in the bathroom trying to stop the bleeding and was finally successful. That pretty much put a fork in the Oscar’s hang so, after a brief trip to the ATM – cash only at Oscar’s – the walk back to the party bus commenced and, shortly thereafter, the ride back to Timberlane Campground began.
Pam snoozed briefly on the way back. Shortly after pulling in to the campground, the top was popped, the furnace cranked and Pammie was off to the bathroom to wash up. Shortly after her return it was LIGHTS OUT! Sometime during the night Pam woke up and decided to sleep downstairs. My coma was only mildly interrupted.
And then we went to Oscars and we had a few brews and we’re going to go out for a cheesesteak afterwards but we’re good to the end of our rope so we went to we had to stick it Auster Oscars and pierogies and it was really good and I got a bloody nose I won’t tell you what happened and was disgusted.hey there we drove back to the campground got her set up pop the top and now that was it for the day this morning OPM get up in the night you hard time sleeping so I should go downstairs went downstairs and open up the bed she was good
I woke up kind a late this morning kind a dish and then we we had some we had a big cheese and a blanket from the friggin Amish market there. This morning when we have a break after breakfast we talk to Manny Poppa was out blowing snow so we can talk to him we talk to Patty and they’re on their way to Thanksgiving and then we packed up the chuckwagon an hour on the road.we probably got on the road about 1135 right now it’s 1147 and we’re headed up towards the Alleghenies it will have a fire tonight I got a couple stogies that are hankering for a match okay will talk to you later anything you want to say Pam she thinks I’m an asshole and she’s right bye.!……
330 lunch stop bringing up by a creek up on some mountain road to budgeting this thing doesn’t transcribe burps cause I just ripped a good one first beer of the day it’s a Sierra Nevada torpedo pounder pay me 7603 reading some sandwiches on Amish dinner rolls with cheese and little golden tomatoes that we brought and missing family but this is roughly. Somebody’s got to do it we’re broke two hours away from our destination in the mountains and we know we have a campsite so we got he going and that’s about all I got to report that my sandwich was really good and everything about having another piece of Amish pie I think we’re going to do it we’re going to go Ferguson it’s already dirty alright bye for now.
Karen port Matilda Pennsylvania that’s where we are and if this thing says I’m going to Ferguson one more time I’m going to slap it were not going to Ferguson and we’re on Huckleberry alley or something I don’t know what the hell that was but that’s what it says on my weather app so just want to let you know before we leave I’m going to research house prices here okay bye… At symbol…!
Here we are in the winter wonderland what’s in this joint will figure that out in a minute we’re at about 815 that we get up today BMB ran up to the bathroom and it snowing like a bugger it’s a little winter wonderland and there you have it we pulled in here probably about right around 6 o’clock last night got set up the guys a super nice dude this up with everything we needed.he was even going to pompous propane if we needed it we grab some ice made a couple drinks and then had Thanksgiving dinner which was quite wonderful couple of fillets from the best freaking Mormons there no the Amish and Francis are the best she’s ever had I think it was really good really well done I mean rare but done well.!
Back on the road again headed back towards where we camp headed for Toronto I believe Amy’s trying to figure out our phone bill so we can use her phone to Canada we’ll see what happens it’s going to snow a little bit and we got two large coffees from McDonald’s so we could probably drive for a day and a half we went to the flying J and filled up on propane and gasoline good to go.run route 36 headed towards a Liber
Here we are Rebecca Marienville but now were Cuttin through headed towards Canada you want me there you way we’ll see what happens
Spoke to in the afternoon and we just took a little trip to the neighborhood on kill Buck Road appear in somewhere in New York now were up in New York State Way up north and we’re heading up into Canada eventually here so talk to you soon”