Tales of Philly: Day 1, The Road to Philly

I wanted to write while we were in Philly last weekend, but our window of time to spend there was so small, I just couldn’t bear to waste a minute of it. But before we left I promised you stories from the road, and I always keep my promises, most of the time. Onwards!

It’s a long drive to Philadelphia from Toronto. Not sure if you knew that or not, but it’s a key detail in the story of Day 1. I’m not really sure we knew what a long drive it was going to be either, until it actually started happening. In my mind road trips are all zany adventures, like in the movies. You know, like how Harry and Lloyd drive in the wrong direction for five hours or wind up losing their ride and have to get to Aspen on their wits, or lack thereof, and a stolen briefcase full of cash. It wasn’t like that at all, not even a little bit.

We had our route meticulously mapped and used D’s GPS to keep us on track. Our only real foible of the road happened when the interstate directions got a little complicated near Scranton and the GPS robot’s volume was too low to be heard over Stevie Wonder. And stupidly could not be adjusted while in use. I mean, how stupid is that? So totally stupid. We had to pull over and park in the lot of a Radisson Hotel to disconnect it so we could raise the volume. Then we spent the rest of the trip in suspicion, distrusting everything our robot navigator said the whole rest of the way. Every time she did speak from there on out, I’d give her the old hairy eyeball and tell her she better not make us lose any more time.

Time was a precious commodity. Even though we knew we were strapped in for a long haul, we were obsessed with trying to make up time. Once in a while the distance estimate on the GPS would slip down a minute or two and we’d somehow feel like we’d just beaten the devil himself at his own wily game.

The first leg of the drive was the most fun. We were full of pep and ready to take on the world. We crossed through the border at Fort Eerie and the drive was quite scenic. Lots of farms. Huge twirling wind turbines for miles and miles and miles.

new york

more new york

I mentioned that I made a bunch of mixed CD’s for the trip, yeah? Funny story about that, the first mix I made, aptly titledย Road Trip to Philly: Vol. 1ย turned out to be something of an epic break-up mix. Featuring such memorable hits as “Song for the Dumped”, “Divorce Song”, “Don’t Speak”, “Let Me Go”, and “All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down”, it didn’t exactly set the ideal tone for the next 9 hours in the car… whoops! My bad. But it was a good thing I packed us an absolute shit-load of candy to take the edge off. And it was also good that my next mix on deck wasย Road Trip to Philly: Vol. 2 Funky Disco Hits. That helped turn our beat around.

dino-sours

Thank you Jesus for this bounty of Dino-sours.

We left hella early too, like 7:30am because we wanted to avoid rush hour traffic while leaving Toronto. We didn’t really use good road trip math though, avoiding Toronto rush hour no problem, but completely ignoring the fact that based on our timing, we’d be getting into Philly during rush hour. Whoops! Another bad, but not entirely all mine. We started closing in on Philly around 4:30pm and that bitch GPS robot estimated we’d be at our hotel by 4:52pm. Unfortunately for us though, she doesn’t take into consideration traffic, so the next hour and half was pure torture. Creeping and crawling our way into the city. Sore and aching from being in the car all day. Hungry and dreaming of endless cheese steaks while our bellies rumbled away, no hope of being sated any time soon. If ever…

It sure was a beautiful day to be cooped up inside the car though. And my view from the passenger side was quite interesting at times.

Philly!

highways

When we finally did manage to squeeze ourselves into the city, the downtown core was clogged up so bad. We moved like molasses the whole way to our hotel. It totally sapped my will to live. We were there, man! But we just couldn’t enjoy it yet. Had to get to the hotel and get our car parked. When I finally did get out of the car I was back to feeling excited again. This city is happening! And our hotel was so frigging beautiful. I splurged and booked us at some hoity-toity joint, The Latham. I figured ten hours in the car merited a luxurious as hell hotel stay.

We had a big comfy baller bed!

big baller bed

Which I managed to get a few of my classic Smash pounces on.

jumpin on the bed in philly

Once I’d gotten that out of my system, we left the hotel in search of food. We were starving! Didn’t walk too far until we found something that looked promising, an Irish pub called The Black Sheep. And we had the best fucking meals ever. I don’t know if it’s because we were really legit starving or just because it actually was the best damn food ever, but holy shit dudes. I’m drooling right now as I relive it. D got himself a big juicy cheeseburger and I had the most incredible fish ‘n’ chips I’ve ever had in my life.

philly cheeseburger

philly fish n chips

Seriously. I’ve eaten a fuckload of fish ‘n’ chips in my time, and this was hands down the best of the best fish ‘n’ chips I’ve ever had. Skyrocketed to number 1 on my list. The piece of fish they served me was so thick and flaky, it just slipped right onto my fork and into my mouth. The batter had this incredible seasoning that I still dream about. It was just… so goddamn good.

We went for a walk after dinner, strolling through Market Square. It’s so gorgeous. I love Toronto with all my heart, believe me, it’s the love of my life as far as cities go. I’ll be forever smitten with its charms. So Toronto, love of my life, I don’t mean you any harm when I say this, but Philly… oh beautiful Philly, what a stunner you are! And we weren’t even in historic downtown yet either.

city hall

d in city hall

City Hall, it was quite remarkable. It’s how a city hall should be. Grand, impressive, awe-inspiring. What a perfect, sparkling gem. Philadelphia’s city hall demands absolute respect and admiration, it deserves no less than that.

We were tickled pink when we realized that the park preceding it is called Dilworth Park. That’s my BFF J-Dillah’s name. Joce-Force, you see this? They have a park in Philly that wears your name! And it’s so pretty, just like you.

Dilworth Park

An evening stroll through Market Square and City Hall, it was a wonderful introduction to the city of brotherly love. All the strain and exhaustion of the car ride just melted away.

LOVE

We made it. Philly wasn’t just some half-baked pipe dream anymore. It was real, we really did this. And we couldn’t wait to see what else this incredible city had in store.

But that’s another story, to be told in due time.

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31 thoughts on “Tales of Philly: Day 1, The Road to Philly

  1. Haven’t seen you around IPC site in a while! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thought I’d stop by and make sure you were still going hard at it. Blue Jays look about the same as they have the last decade – at 500 – middle of the standings. I am actually pretty pissed at baseball and think I am done watching it (at least until Toronto makes the playoffs).

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    • Hey Gary!
      I know, I’ve been such a lam-o lately, barely around. Work and life have just gotten so insanely busy though, I barely have time to blog let alone read everyone else’s blogs. I miss you guys!
      Gotten out to a handful of Jays games already though, I’m enjoying this season. We’re not making too much of a splash, but Pillar sure has been fun to watch! Don’t give up yet, we need your positive thinking!

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      • I wish I could go to a Blue Jays game. I’ve actually never been to a baseball game; been to an NFL and NBA game, but never MLB. The Jays are still fun to watch even when they’re not dominant b/c they have big bats and are always capable of getting a lot of runs. Well, whenever shitfest comes around, you will have to be sure to make time to write an entry, even in your busy schedule. ๐Ÿ™‚ And when you get a moment, you need to subscribe to my new blog; here’s a link. Good to hear back. Better late than never! ๐Ÿ™‚ https://garygreg828.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/belated-top-10-films-of-2014/

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      • Josh Donaldson is on fire! Just watched him crank a nice little homer against the sox. I think you should make it a mission to get up to T and see a game.
        Popping over to check out your new blog now! Very excited to see what it’s all about ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I’d love to visit the East Coast! How terrible that I lived in America for 27 years & never really visited any of it. :-/ I was just checking out your Stephen King blog JUST in case you’d added anything to it but I know you’ve been a little busy for all that lately! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • I highly recommend a trip to Philly. Especially if you love bars and food, that place is an oasis!
      I should post another King, it’s long overdue. I haven’t been writing reviews, but I’ve kept up on my reading. I’ve got a stack of King novels by the desk all raring to be written about. I just finished Mr. Mercedes last week and it was so good!

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      • Yeah? That’s good to hear – I missed out on that one so plan to read that next. I got Revival for Christmas & read that. Still trying to decide what I thought of it. Not one of his best overall but of course not bad or anything. Have started on his son’s books too – just read Horns & am about to start NOS4A2. I’d love to see more King reviews from you again when you have the time! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • I’m working my way through Revival right now and it seems like it’s a bit of a slow-burn. It’s taking a while to really get things moving.
        I started reading Heart-Shaped Box by Hill while I was on my honeymoon, it was a pretty good beach book. But the main character was a total tool… so I didn’t ever finish it :S

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