5 States of Food Oct28

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5 States of Food

We arrived in Philadelphia, PA on September 5th. It had been two weeks since we’d sent our full applications into Amazon and we still hadn’t heard anything yet. Those two weeks in New England were some of our best times on our trip, kayaking and white water rafting, free concerts and lobster in quaint coastal towns. I think we also benefited from a mental lift. Even though we didn’t officially have the jobs yet, the decision to go for it and try the two months working for Amazon in Kentucky was like turning on the blower on an air hockey table. Suddenly it was a little easier for Allison and I to zoom our little life-puck around. You know that relief you find after finally making a hard-fought decision. Even if it’s not all under your control, at least your part of mulling, evaluating, and what-if-ing is done for a little while.

So it wasn’t quite the long, lazy, leaf-peeping type of New England visit we’d originally envisioned, but no matter. Oceans, rivers, and trees are immune to the laws of fashion – they are beautiful in any color, any season. Philly was the next stop and the first one on our 5 state sprint to get ourselves down to North Carolina in time to attend the Bed and Breakfast conference, a key event in our chase of what’s next. Since we sped through these states in real life, I’m just going to speed through them in the blog too. I mostly just want to lay down the events and photos to lock in the memories. The bigger life-affecting moments are still a week away in the telling, so you have our full permission to skim this entry.

On the way into Pennsylvania from New York we took a quick 2 hour break to visit the Walkway Over the Hudson, an old abandoned railroad bridge that has been turned into a pedestrian park.

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Two hours later we arrived at our campground which was actually in rural New Jersey so we had to drive 30 minutes into Philadelphia both days we visited. That’s the thing about trying to visit big metropolitan areas in an RV, they don’t usually have an RV campground downtown so you end up staying a ways out. Our first night in town we were treated to an amazing dinner by a new friend of mine, Bhana and her husband Alex. I had done some brief consulting for the software company they own before we left. They took us to the most divine Greek seafood place in their neighborhood, the kind of place with 15 tables max and a line of eager patrons out the door every night. We filled our tiny table with 10 or more different small plates of delicious goodies to share and talked the night away.

The next morning we drove into the city again to spend the day in typical touristy fashion, walking the town and seeing the sights. First up was the Liberty Bell, followed by a winding trek up and down and around the city streets to find a handful of large-scale murals that had been painted on the side of buildings as part of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

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After the long walk, we rewarded ourselves at the Reading Terminal Market by sharing a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich and an Amish Sour Cream doughnut. Both of them were “to die for” good. We had grabbed the doughnut on our way out to eat while we walked back to the car and kicked ourselves for several blocks for not buying a dozen of them instead of just one. However, we just happened to pass by a Philly Soft Pretzel Factory along the way, so I medicated my doughnut sorrow with a different and equally delicious Philly classic.

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The next day we left New Jersey and headed back into Pennsylvania with our full circus train of vehicles to visit Longwood Gardens. Bhana had gifted us a complimentary pair of tickets and recommended it highly. We are blessed by having so many generous, smart, wonderful friends in our lives.

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After forking over probably close to $50 in tolls to get through Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and finally into Maryland, we rolled into Captain Billy’s parking lot on the Chesapeake Bay in time for dinner. Now Captain Billy’s is sort of a tradition for me. I’m not sure anyone else really shares this tradition – I guess my mom would own it with me since she and I have been there together most. I’m talkin’ about pickin’ Maryland Crab – the mallet and plastic bucket, the brown paper on the table, the plastic bib, and half dozen red-bodied, big-clawed crustaceans covered in old bay seasoning that you know is going to sting your fingers.

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That night after dinner, we had a near catastrophe when our GPS sent us on a route that included first a dirt road that was actually more pot hole than flat surface, followed by a road that no longer existed. It had been washed out. We could actually see the RV park across the water from us in the distance, but there was no way to get there. Sometimes the “fastest route” setting on Garmin can kick you in the ass. We had to unhook the car and do a 5 point turn to get the rig turned back around to head back out the way we came. It was already dusk and our campground didn’t accept late check in’s, so we were a little frantic when we saw that the alternate route was going to take 40 mins. FORTY MINUTES to get to a place I could swim to in 5 minutes, but we arrived with just minutes to spare.

The next morning we continued south to Virginia, to Charlottesville where my cousin Gaelyn is attending the University of Virginia. We met her on campus and got the royal tour before we took her out to lunch at the nearby Thai place. That girl is a fool for Thai food! It was great to see her so happy and excited about her life. I think she’s got the blower going full blast on her air hockey table!

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That night we had a plan to boon-dock for free in the Walmart parking lot, which meant no air-conditioning on a hot Virginia night. We Rummy Squared ourselves silly, sat on ice packs and alternated using the squirting fan on each other to try to stay cool. Early the next morning, we ventured into the brightly lit world of the 24-hour Walmart in search of a cup of hot coffee and one-ply RV-safe toilet paper. We spied a box of donuts the length of my arm, but we easily passed them by, knowing they wouldn’t be as good as the Amish Sour Cream. Seriously, if you ever visit the Reading Terminal Market in Philly, skip the cheese steak and get a dozen Amish donuts.