2 Moms. 5 kids. 1 van. 3 weeks. 3000 miles. Are we amazing or are we crazy? You decide.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Phirst Day in Philly: Phunny and Phrightening

Not really frightening, though. More of a subtle uneasiness, but that couldn't be spelled with a ph now, could it?

For her recent 40th birthday, my cousin and fellow traveler was given a Lady in a Box, also known as a GPS navigation system by her parents. (I wondered if they lacked confidence in her map-reading skills, but haven't asked. I still have to spend a couple of weeks with her.) The Lady is pretty good to have around, for the most part. If we miss a turn (or decide not to turn) somewhere she's instructed us, she reprimands the driver with a terse "Recalculating!" Awfully snooty for someone who has never driven a car. On our way into Philadelphia today, she gave us a set of directions that had us going via interstate for the most part, then hopping off, then hopping back on. Having given up free will to The Lady, we followed, unquestioning. And things were fine, at first, but then we noticed that block by block, the buildings were shabbier. The graffiti was more frequent and layered. The loiterers were more common and less friendly. We weren't really scared, but it did make us decide to stick to the interstates for the most part. Unfortunately, "avoiding inhospitable areas" is not an option for The Lady.

I was grateful for this route for at least one thing, something that wasn't mentioned in any of the tourist books. As we idled at a red light, I looked out the window and saw a tree. In front of the tree was a sign.

"Historical Tree"

No other details were provided.

Our phirst stop in Philly was to pick up tour tickets for Independence Hall, 60 minutes before our scheduled tour time. We barely made it. Parking was made complicated by the fact that we'd decided not to take the clamshell car top carrier off of the van, which made the height exceed the 6'6" that would fit in the official parking lot. Of course, we didn't actually realize we were too tall until the carrier bounced the warning sign around. Then I had to reverse back onto the busy city street, and go find another place to park. Preferably one under the blue sky, as I'd already proven my idiot status.

After Independence Hall, which was interesting, we went to go see the Liberty Bell. J had been waiting for this the whole trip! In fact, outside of Independence Hall, he pointed to the tower and said, "That's where the Liberty Bell used to hang." I have no idea how he knew that. We'd read a book about the bell the night before, but it was more about the crack. And he's 3.

There's more, but I have to get permission to post about it, and let my cousin approve. As I said. . .I'm going to be with her for two more weeks.


JaxDad said...

JaxDad here. I am somewhat disconnected from the whole trek because of having to earn a living and internet challenges that do not bear detailing.

Having spent a great deal of my boyhood in Virginia, I am so envious and proud of my kids. I look forward to seeing what they have to post on this blog.

Years ago, before M was born, my wife and I visited Williamsburg where we joined the Continental Army. Having several years experience as a Soldier, the marching and handling of weapons came quite naturally to me. Not so for my bride. I wonder if she was any better this time.

Bill E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Uncle Wisecrow said...

I misread the first part of the post. I thought you were being a little harsh on Jaxmom...

Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember that Lady from the rental car. She doesn't shout "You went the wrong way, idiot!" but the way she says "recalculating" does have a snooty edge to it.

What did J have to say when he finally saw the bell?

Make those laggards write something, okay? They are children, you can tell them you won't feed them until they write.....or something.

Atlanta Aunt

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for including me on your journey...I have to admit that I am a bit jealous..I wish I were there...what a wonderful blessing to be able to share our country and the history she holds with our children... I know the kids are having a wonderful time...by the way Happy 40th to my jaxmom friend!!!! I don't know if you are still around Philly but food is an important part of history also ditch the McD's for a meal and have a REAL Philly cheesesteak...they are so YUMMY!!! Tell the kids A-Z that we said to have a wonderful time!!!God Bless
Jaxfriend A

Peggy said...

Can I be "DarMom"? I am really enjoying reading about all of your adventures. I hope you have fun in Philly. My friend was raised there and he said you should get a Rita's Water Ice. I don' know what the heck that it but I think it's a Yankee slurpee.

Aunt-Is said...

It has been so wonderful sharing your journey. The pictures are great. I'm so proud of all of you. I can't wait to hear more.

Chicka said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.