Monday, August 11, 2008

Downstate

Aw yeah. I was there.







A family contacted us because they decided to escape the rigors of city life and flee for the hills, much like we did. They are voluntarily moving to a small down near here that would ordinarily figure in a hilarious story told by flatlanders that included the phrases "and then we got LOST" and "I never thought we'd get home again". Since I'm the token flatlander here, and could spend the weekend visiting my homiez (Holla back, Chester County!) I went down.


I drive a lot. I can pretty much drive anywhere without flinching. But I was kind of nervous about the parking. I'm no world champion of parallel parking and a 1999 Dodge Caravan is not exactly a 'pop it in the spot' kind of vehicle.


First, I left sevenish and headed down to the Wilkes Barre area to drop off a couple of boxes to a customer. A last minute bid to avoid route 81 in all its hellish orange coney-ness was a good call and I found my destination with no problems. I reset my GPS for Philadelphia and headed on down.


I merge neatly onto 76 from the Northeast Extension and actually pump my fist and say aloud, "Schuylkill Expressway, y'all!" Which just goes to show you what a loser I am. Then I hang my arm out the window and drive all casual like, as if I do this all the time and really, it's no big whoop. I go through the city. The Walt Whitman bridge looms in the distance. I am almost there. I get off 76 and the fun starts.


Apparently, the time between the light turning green and someone honking at you on Oregon Avenue is .00002 seconds. I get honked at. I'm all like, "Whatever!" but notice I am hunched over the steering wheel. I straighten up and try to breathe normally. I turn onto 7th street and realize that my mental image of how narrow the streets are didn't take into consideration that I might have a guy on a bike riding no handed toward me on a one way street with cars parked on both sides talking on a cellphone. He taps my sideview mirror with his hand as he passes and never touches his handlebars.


I straighten up and try to breathe normally.



One more turn and and I'm at an intersection of, oh, six streets, I think. I expect to look between two buildings and see Diagon Alley. The GPS tells me to 'bear right' authoritatively and I wonder if she means 'bear right into the rear end of this van with a handwritten license plate' or 'bear right into the front window of this Vietnamese grocery'.



I straighten up and try to breathe normally.

Two more blocks and I see the house I am shooting for. Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, there are THREE PARKING SPOTS directly in front of the house. I do a ridiculously selfish park job that guarantees I'll be able to pull right out. Yeah, I know. I won't be there long anyway.



Work done, its time to flee. I Tom Tom my way back to I-95, salute the Wachovia Center or whatever its called now, and reflect on what a driving rock star I am as I fly past the shipyard, the airport, and through Chester.



Shore traffic diverts me to the north but eventually, after seething through a construction zone or three, I arrive here. The jewel of the Diamond State.


Ah, Wilmington. From your glistening industrial parks to your shimmering port you inspire me. Go Blue Rocks! Alas, I never got to visit the screen door factory. I just stopped off in Greenville to grab a whiff of old money and baseless entitlement. And coffee.


After a visit with my sister and nephew I headed down to my old hometown. I couldn't find any pictures to do it justice, you'll have to settle for a snap of D-town's badass rescue truck.





I had a great time visiting my friends, most of whom I met here. I reflected on how many more of my stories involve monster trucks and funnel cake these days, and how that is okay with me, though I still miss them an awful lot. I never got a cheesesteak but I got two things I can't get here: decent Mexican food and an all you can eat Japanese buffet.


The drive home was uneventful, though I saw tons of people on the side of the road in lawn chairs on Route 15. Apparently it is customary to sit outside and wait for your favorite NASCAR driver to happen by on the way down from Watkins Glen. Mind you, Kasey Kahne isn't going to be wandering into the Sheetz in Shamokin Dam for a LifeWater and a package of Oreos. But if you sit there long enough, you may catch a glimpse of the truck with his car in it. Which is apparently enough of a thrill for the hundred or so people out there in lawn chairs with handmade signs. Bewlidering, though, were the large groups of Amish kids. Not sure where they are getting their Talladega.

I know this is all out of order and whatnot, but I'll have to tell you about the county fair last week. It was a veritable feast of hilariously judgemental peoplewatching.




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7 comments:

Jonny's Mommy said...

I never got to visit the screen door factory. I just stopped off in Greenville to grab a whiff of old money and baseless entitlement. And coffee.....

I love this line. Oh gosh..that is classic.

And the stuff about the people on Route 15. Had I known you could do that I would have joined them. But to just see the Dale Jr. truck. Chills. Chills. Ooooh. You know, I probably could have done that by driving up there the whole hour and a half and watching....:-)

Alice said...

Hate driving in the city. I just love DC and all it has to offer, but sometimes the traffic is just too much for me.

HappyHourSue said...

Chester County in the hiz-ouse!!!!!!!! Come on, how much does it rock here. Yeah, I know. Not so much. But you can't beat the weather. I'd give anything for a damn cloudy day. (born and bred Connecticut/NY girl)

You should have stopped by my party sat nite- I got too drunk and had to leave my guests to go pass out. Klassy.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

JM- I tried to find the Simpson's clip about visiting Delaware but nobody's put it on YouTube yet. But the question remains, why do the Amish kids care?

Alice- Oh, DC. I'm a Metro girl all the way. Shady Grove to Metro Center and onward. Then I use large groups of tourists as a human shield when I cross the street.

Sue-- Jeez, I didn't realize I was that close! I feel ya though; I once locked myself in a bedroom at a party and passed out, everyone was knocking on the door trying to wake me up. I got up and beat seven people at Trivial Pursuit. I'll have to let you know next time I go down. The friends I usually stay with are down by Chester County Hospital.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Correction: Brandywine Hospital. Jeez.

Jonny's Mommy said...

I left an award for you the other day too on my blog. Forgot to tell you.

unfinishedrambling said...

You're my hero. I know you're my wife, but still you're my hero. Looking forward to the post on the county fair. Can't wait.