Our buddy Anthony who we met back in Shenendoah National Park had emailed us a recommendation for Timberlane Campground in New Jersey but just 30 minutes from Philadelphia. So we made a reservation for 2 nights as a basecamp for a full day to explore Phillie. The campground was nice and quiet and Brielle found two girls, Naomi and Kaylin, about her age who she played with every free moment we had at home. These two sisters raced BMX bikes and so Brielle raced around the campground with them on her pretty pink bike and princess helmet.
Now, think back to our 3 mistakes in Caledonia…do you remember mistake number 1? Here is where we realized what we had done. Steph said, “wow the water pressure here seems really high”. This could not be, because we use a pressure regulator at the campground water hookup…or do we? I had just hooked up the water but now I’m wondering if I saw the regulator or not. I go outside and find…no regulator. DOH!!! I knew immediately what mistake we’d made. Steph has never had to connect or disconnect the water so she had no idea that there was a little pressure regulator piece connected to the inlet side of the hose. When we filled the tank at Caledonia, after I connected the hose (and regulator) to the spigot she held the valve open at the inlet side while I filled the rig tank at the outlet end of the hose. When we were done, she disconnected the hose FROM THE REGULATOR (leaving the regulator behind) and when I wound up the hose I did not realize it was missing. So, all Caledonia State Park campground residents now get to benefit from pressure regulated water compliments of the Wach family!!
The next day was a perfectly sunny day and we headed into the city. We paid a $5 toll and $17 for all day parking at Penn’s Landing then walked to the visitor’s center. There were LOTS of school groups there for the day. But we managed to get free tickets on the LAST tour of the day for Independence Hall (the last tour was the only one with space left!). The line to see the liberty bell was crazy long so we looked at it through the window before we went down to the Ben Franklin area. Steph and the kids went in the Franklin museum while I stayed in the nice shady courtyard to get a little work done.
For lunch, we shared a few Phillie cheese steaks from Campos. Caden and Steph and I got them with “the works” and I talked Steph into sharing one “with wiz”. Dacen and Brielle got the classic cheese steaks. We all enjoyed them immensely. And I have to say, I think “with wiz” is better than “without wiz”.
We went back to check out the printing press in Franklin’s area then up for a tour of Congress Hall. The line through security was sort of a pain but we endured. Our tour guide was good and made sure to include the kids. But we were very rushed through the building it felt. After that tour we went back to the visitor center to get the kids’ Jr Ranger badges and made a stop at the Liberty Bell that had a much shorter line now that the school kids were mostly gone for the day.
We had to endure the security line at Independence hall again….this time it was much longer. But we made it and were able to get on the 4:15 tour instead of our scheduled 4:30 tour. Again, the tour felt super rushed and the tour guide was a bit scattered. At one point, seemingly out of the blue, he mentions that Morely Safer had died. He made the 60 Minutes ticking sound and quoted the intro “I’m Ed Bradely, I’m Mike Wallace, I’m Morely Safer….those stories and more, tonight on 60 Minutes.”
All the historic buildings were shut down by the time we finished the tour so we headed back to the truck. Steph and the kids needed to refill their water bottles but we could not find a place to fill them. We tried Campos, we tried a 7-11, and finally we tried a bar and the bartender was very happy to serve us a round of waters on the house!
We fueled up the Beast on the way home so we’d be ready for our travel day the next morning. We got home and Brielle played with the 2 sisters while Steph made dinner and I worked. While I was working we got a comment on our blog from a new reader. I would have never guessed this would happen….but it was Clean Skittle’s mom!! Do you remember Clean Skittle? We met him on the Appalachian Trail in Shenendoah! She was just browsing the intertubes to see if her son was elsewhere on the web and she found our blog post. Not long after, Clean Skittle dropped us a comment too and invited us to follow his journey on his YouTube channel.
After dinner Dacen and I walked over to the campground office to upload some video using the free wifi. While we were there we also watched one of Clean Skittles YouTube videos. On our walk back to the rig Dacen said, “when we hike the AT we should have a YouTube channel.” We talked about how challenging it would be both physically and mentally…how crappy stuff can (will) happen but you have to keep your spirits up, persevere and you’ll come out the other side a better person and look back on it with fond memories.
Epilogue – After we left Philadelphia I remembered that Anthony from New Jersey had offered to show us around Phillie and also offered us a home cooked meal and homemade wine at their house that was only 5 minutes from Timberlane campground. I am sooooo kicking myself for not capitalizing on the opportunity to meet up with Anthony and get to know him and his wife better. Anthony, thank you for your very gracious offer and my deepest apologies that we did not get to reconnect with you. There is a standing invitation for you in northern CO if you ever find yourself in our neck of the woods.
Abe and JFK
Independence Hall front
Continental Congress meeting hall
Independence Hall back
Kids at the bar
At Timberlane Campground
Naomi, Kaylin and Brielle
Naomi, Brielle and Kaylin