Road trip

Posted: March 24, 2012 in Art, Family, Travel
Tags: , , , , ,

Our garbage truck

Our younger daughter gets accepted at all three art schools to which she applied. Wonderful news…but suddenly, lot of decisions to be make. One art school, Ecole Parsons à Paris, she’s already visited. Camberwell, England, may or may not be viewable before the decision has to be made. But PAFA, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, is an easy 7 hour drive away. Time for a flying road trip—one afternoon & evening, then an entire day.

We manage to carve out the time, find a dog sitter for Anabelle, make our plans. I run errands in the morning, take our daughter to art school and Anabelle to the sitter’s, pick up some more dog food, fill the tank, rush home, make some spicy peanut noodles to go with the food I’ve already bought or made, get a haircut, pack the van. We leave after art class is finished, about 4:30 pm, and drive to Harrisburg, PA, arriving at 9:30 pm. I’m thankful for the longer light in the evenings but we still arrive after dark. The motel is a bit difficult to access, impeded by the Pennsylvania hills. In the morning, it’s even hard to get back on, since the entrance, not obvious, is in the opposite direction and not well marked.

The morning brings fog, so in addition to what we didn’t see in last night’s dark, we miss most of what’s around us in the morning. We arrive in the Philadelphia area about 9, hitting a mess of traffic, getting off in the correct place, only to be flummoxed by the one-way streets. We persevere and triumph, finding the school and, after making our way around some blocks, get back and into a parking garage. Hang the cost! I’m not driving around a city in which there’s obviously no curb parking to be easily (if at all) found. Much easier for the colonists who only had to move at horse speed and didn’t have all the tall buildings and lanes of cars. Of course, there were no horse droppings in the street for our trip.

The school is very interesting and we see the museum as well, then walk through city hall (outside, but through it; pretty cool) to Dick Blick for a few art supplies. I’m hauling a heavy backpack with my laptop and a bunch of things I haven’t had time to use; our daughter has a heavy bag as well. The city’s buildings loom above us, reminding me that I haven’t been downtown in a large city for some time. The history available here beckons me, but not today.

The attendant liberates our van from the parking garage and tells us we can go out the back. Sounds good…until we turn into the alley and end up behind a garbage truck. Unfortunately, the dumpsters the hard working garbage man is emptying aren’t by the spot where the truck stops. He disappears for many minutes before we hear a rumble and he appears, pushing the dumpster, attaches it to the truck, hits the lever and the machine empties the garbage, replacing the dumpster on the ground. He disappears again on the return trip. Then we hear the sound of another dumpster! We sit for ten minutes, stuck in an alley behind a parking garage in downtown Philly, unable to get out, with at least three or four other vehicles behind us, before making it to a street. Since Mapquest hasn’t accounted for this “detour”, I head in the direction I think is correct, finally pulling up to the curb next to some poor woman who gives me an uneasy look before realizing I only want directions. Naturally, I’m on the left side of a one-way street with about five lanes of traffic and need to be in the right lane, so I do this: Well, maybe not quite, but close enough.

Despite all odds, I survive, both the multi-lane cut and the traffic-clogged lanes of the highway (a 12:30 pm rush-hour??), finally escaping into the bucolic Pennsylvania countryside. Despite alley delays, traffic jams and actually stopping to eat, we make it home by 7:15 pm, all during daylight hours and with none of the promised rain.

It’s great to be home. But if it weren’t for the cost of gas these days and putting zillions of miles on our trusty Sienna van, I would greatly enjoy all the trips I’m making. I love to drive (although I could forgo masses of vehicles all going somewhere very slowly and often aggravatingly) and love seeing all the sights along the way. Bring on the road trips…but send me a few vouchers for free gas, please.

Viewed while waiting…
a cool grate.

  1. davidrhales says:

    This reminded me of an (old fashioned) typewriter. Maybe there’s something to this?

  2. davidrhales says:

    I meant the photo of the garbage truck- I’m kinda of retarded on the internet.

  3. davidrhales says:

    I like your post and pictures- they’re great, but I can’t figure out the logistics of commenting on the picture: I was referring to my own writing when comparing the garbage truck to the old typewriter (my generation). Your stuff is great! Thanks

    • Yeah, I remember typewriters myself. 🙂 I went from a manual to an electric, then much later transitioned to a computer just for word processing. Now here I am, blogging. My husband’s a big help as he’s a computer guy and my girls both know more about computers than I do, but I’m always learning. Glad you like my stuff. Stop by any time!