Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 23 - Hall of Fame Material

June 29 - I remember looking at a Google map to find our hotel in Oneida, NY and noticing just how close we would be to Cooperstown, NY, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. We'll go there, I thought, and we did--my first visit in more than 40 years. Sac said the 60 mile trip on back roads would take almost two hours--I finished it in less than 1-1/2 hours while still observing all posted speed limits.

While the girls got ready, Kay and I drove to Chittenango to eat breakfast with my Uncle Ed and Aunt Jessie and to see their house. I've been critical of Sac on occasion, but she bailed us out on this trip. I didn't listen too well to Jessie's directions and drove past The Hamlet to another intersection. There I drove in all five directions until Kay tried to find it in Sac's database - lo and behold it was there and she directed us to it just before I was ready to go back to Oneida.

Cooperstown is an uber-quaint town on the tip of Lake Otsego. The National Baseball Hall of Fame opened there in 1939 as part of baseball's centennial celebration--the myth is that General Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown in 1839. Interestingly, the museum's displays start with the Doubleday invention story and just a room later refer to it as a myth.

Kay and the girls spent about 45 minutes in the baseball museum; I wrapped up my visit in just under four hours. Highlights included information about Jackie Robinson, a railroad-tielike piece of lumber that Honus Wagner used for a bat, a Philly Phanatic exhibit, tickets from the last game ever played in Veterans Stadium, and Richie Ashburn's Hall of Fame plaque. I waited through 80 years of video about the almost every World Series ever played (which took about 10 minutes) to see the Phillies' win over the Royals in 1980. Toward the end of the day I played "So You Think You Know Baseball", the museum's version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, but without the prize money. My 10-year-old partner and I got six questions right, but got tripped up on naming the first pitcher to be named MVP of a League Championship Series. We polled the audience, who chose Dave Stewart. The correct answer was Burt Hooton, which I should have known, given that his Dodgers beat the Phillies in the 1978 NLCS. But enough about baseball.

The girls enjoyed their visit to the Fenimore Art Museum, and especially to a sidewalk book sale at the Cooperstown Public Library. When we got back together we sought and found a lakeside dinner at the Blue Mingo Grill. The Top Chef-like food was delicious, albeit a little expensive, and the view across Lake Otsego was beautiful. Kallie drove the first half of the trip back to Oneida. My finishing leg encountered the first serious storm we've seen--about 20 minutes of fairly heavy rain that stopped just before we got out of the car.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 22 - Hot Ham Rock Band

June 28 - Before we met my cousins from my mother's side for lunch at Eddie's Restaurant, Kay and I made a side trip to Syracuse. My cousin Nancy had invited us to come and see my grandparents' old house, which she and her husband Greg now own. They've done a beautiful job of remodeling and updating what must be a nearly 100-year-old building. I didn't recognize much of the trip into town; Sac must have taken us a different way than our path from Kirkville. Some construction near the house even got her confused, but she recovered.

On the way back to Oneida, we found the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Syracuse, where I went to church as a child. From the outside, it looks exactly the same as it did in 1970, except perhaps for a fresh coat of asphalt on the parking lot. Reverend Ellsworth Reamon and his wife Hope were like an extra set of grandparents to all the children in the congregation.

The girls slept (and searched for breakfast in Erin's case) while we were gone and were ready to go to Sylvan Beach as soon as we returned. The trip from Oneida to Sylvan Beach was short, so we some of the half-hour extra exploring the countryside--particularly looking for the Teelins' old farmhouse, or at least for its former site, given that it burned down after the Teelins' sold it a few years ago. Not knowing an address other than R.D 2 Blossvale, I couldn't put Sac to work on finding the site. I made one wrong turn and wandered through the back roads for awhile--finally, I asked Sac to find "downtown" McConnellsville, a town just up the road. Sac put us back on the highway, and amazingly, I guessed correctly as to whether I needed to turn left or right. I found the property by finding the hill behind it where we went sledding in the winter.

Even at 1 p.m. our party of 21 dwarfed the entire remaining clientele at Eddie's. The restaurant looked about the same - I was pleased; I thought that perhaps the eyes of a child glorified the place in my memory. No fewer than 17 Teelins, spouses and girlfriends arrived in shifts--a power failure delayed a few. In fact, the waitress asked if we were there because of the power failure. I had no context in which to answer this question, so I told her that we were "from out of town," which seemed to satisfy her.

It takes willpower to consume half an antipasto salad, a hot ham sandwich, a large chocolate milkshake and any coconut cream pie (my favorites from the menu), but I persevered. I did not feel underfed. My family all seemed to enjoy the food, though Kay mentioned that it wasn't worth a 1400-mile trip by itself to eat lunch at Eddie's.

We posed under a gazebo for a group picture (the only downpour of the trip so far happened while we were trying to arrange this shot). From Eddie's we headed out to my cousin Marge's house, which sits on a corner of the old Teelin family property.

Off to breakfast now; more later.

It's about 10 hours later. Breakfast merged into our trip to Cooperstown, which I'll describe in tomorrow's post. Entertainment opportunities were rampant at the (Marge) Radley house - baseball, basketball, swimming, and ATV riding outdoors and the Rock Band video game indoors. You can imagine what I chose, as did Kallie and Erin when we joined what I dubbed the "Hot Ham Rock Band". I sang vocals on a few songs I did know ("Roxanne", "Suffragette City", "Won't Get Fooled Again") and several more that I didn't know, at least very well. Erin played guitar and Kallie played drums. After awhile, both finally worked up the courage to sing songs they knew really well. Erin scored 100% on "Dani California" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. We sang and played for the better part of three hours. I'm glad I didn't have to sing in the choir on Sunday.

While in the area we made two trips out to Blossvale (less than five miles away) to see the house where my mother was born and grew up. I actually lived there for a few months when I was an infant.

Canastota, NY, (Kallie calls it "Can - of - soda"), the next town westward from Oneida toward Syracuse, pictures itself as the home of boxing - apparently a couple of successful fighters hailed from this small town. We didn't go to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but we did eat dinner Saturday night at Graziano's Italian Restaurant across the street. As I understand it, Graziano wasn't a fighter (at least not a champion), but he knew a lot of them, including recently defeated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose autographed photo hangs in prime position behind the bar. Next door to the restaurant is Graziano's "World Famous" Inn (free wireless internet - sounds good to me!) All of this splendor is summarized by the sign "Titletown, USA" (which all the time I thought was Green Bay, Wisconsin). To cut to the chase, the food was surprisingly good - Kay and Kallie had chicken, I had baked haddock, and Erin had ravioli. By the time we finished it was almost 10:00, almost time for bed to rest up for a busy Sunday.

More pictures from the day are at

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day 21 - After 30 Years

June 27 - Almost everyone and every place I saw today was like skipping ahead (or back) in time by about 30 years.

We started by driving from the motel to Kirkville, NY where I grew up and to Minoa, where I went to school, both until 10th grade when we moved to Pennsylvania. To put things in perspective, I got married 22 years after 10th grade; my daughter Kallie is just now going into 10th grade.

The house on Fyler Road looked much unchanged. Some trees were gone; others were much bigger (though they were big enough back in the '60s). The neighborhood was also very familiar--corn field across the street; the same set of houses and streets in the small subdivision. Even Shady Lane trailer park (now Manufactured Home Community) across the street and down the road was still in business.

We drove through "downtown" Kirkville. Only two recognizable landmarks remained - the elementary school - which my brother attended; and Samar's Grocery Store, now converted into a residence. Missing were the post office (replaced by an Erie Canal park), another store and the infamous "Beehive" a large multi-family house where the "poor kids" lived who couldn't even afford the trailer park.

Next stop Minoa. My elementary school was new in 1965 and looked pretty much the same as I remember from almost 40 years ago. Not surprisingly, my middle school had been torn down (it was built in about 1910) and already abandoned for a new school by 1970. The site was occupied by a municipal building and a retirement home. The high school outside town looked about the same--I definitely remember the frigid bleachers of the football stadium.

The most recognizable Minoa landmark still standing was the footbridge over the railroad tracks. We loved to run and ride our bikes over this metal contraption. I also remembered the fairgrounds, home of the annual Firemen's Field Days, a late summer event that featured adult consumption of clams, corn on the cob, and lots of beer. We kids picked up empties and redeemed them for 25 cents a case---decent money for a kid in the '60s.

From Minoa we headed to Chittenango Falls State Park. The falls are beautiful and the descent to their base is challenging. The girls had no trouble. I almost turned back a couple of time, but made it to the bottom, and maybe more impressively, back to the top. My heart and lungs work better going downhill; my legs work better going uphill.

The much-anticipated picnic with the Zimmermans came next. Sac didn't know about Chapman Park, a Madison County facility on the south shore of Oneida Lake. We found it by sight, but not without an anxious moment that resulted in asking at a gas station just a mile or so from the park entrance. I was worried after missing Big Pocono State Park in PA. The Zimmermans served up a feast, even buying a new gas grill for the occasion. After eating we retired to serenity row, our name for the line of folding chairs overlooking the calm waters of the lake. Serenity only lasted so long as the youngest generation got some of us involved in a game of frisbee.
It was so great to see cousins I hadn't seen since 1978, almost 30 years since our grandfather died--along with their children and even grandchildren, and to be able to show off my wonderful family. To use an old phrase, a good time was had by all.

More photos of the day are at

Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 20 - New York Air

June 26 - We spent almost eight hours making what Sac estimated to be a five-plus hour journey from West Chester, PA to Oneida, NY. The trip didn't involve quite as much adventure as the above statement implies. After one last round of cheese steaks, we drove smoothly to Exit 95 of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-476) at which point we left the highway to find Big Pocono State Park, supposedly about 15 miles away. Their website mentioned twisty roads and mountain views, which would satisfy Kay's need to see the Poconos. There were even two signs after we left I-476 directing us to the park, but when we arrived where the park was supposed to be - nothing. Either the park had closed, changed names or we just missed it. Well at least we could stop and go to the bathroom. Well, almost. The gas station we found at the end of the search for Big Pocono had portajohns instead of inside bathrooms. Half of our party passed on the opportunity. At least the search caused us to double back toward I-380, a second interstate highway that almost paralleled I-476 toward Scranton, PA and I-81, which would take us the rest of the way to central NY.

Unfortunately for our time on the road, much of I-380 and I-81 in Scranton was under repair, with traffic limited to one lane at evening rush hour. At about 5 p.m. (four hours after our departure from PA) we arrived at Clark's Summit, PA, just north of Scranton, where the PA Turnpike meets I-81. We stopped here as a family on our trips from PA back to see relatives in NY and ate at Elby's Big Boy restaurant. I didn't see Elby's (commercial establishments have a nasty habit of changing drastically in 30 years), but there was a Damon's Grill. Oh boy, trivia to go with our dinner. And maybe we could outlast traffic. It was "Bike Night" at Damon's - but that didn't start until 6, so we cruised right in and got our menus and game boxes.

The food was better than expected, based on our experience with the now-defunct Damon's in Baton Rouge. Trivia worked out well to as I now hold the top two places on their top ten for June. Kallie finished a strong second in each game, mostly due to her sitting next to me. A lack of pop culture questions put the girls at a disadvantage. My second score ranked 21st in the country and led Damon's to a 46th place finish.

Back on the road, traffic had more or less cleared out but we were still a long way (more than 150 miles) from Oneida. At the PA/NY border we opened the windows and breathed that great NY air, just as we did when we were kids "driving back home" after we moved from NY to PA. Kallie howled because the open windows put her in a "wind tunnel".

Our next stop was in tiny Marathon, NY (pop 1,107) just south of Cortland, NY. Kay thought it was precious and quaint. It looked pretty threadbare to me. Otherwise, the scenery in northern PA and southern NY was lovely - forested with a slight haze from a abnormally humid day.

We got off I-81 and loop road I-481 south of Syracuse and took the "back roads" the rest of the way, passing through towns I remember as a kid - DeWitt, Fayetteville, Chittenango and Canastota before we arrived in Oneida. Given the loss of population by the region, these little towns looked pretty good, especially Chittenango, which is quite proud of being the birthplace of "Wizard of Oz" author L. Frank Baum. Driving in northern latitudes just a few days after the summer solstice, we were able to make almost the entire trip in daylight, another plus for sightseeing.
There should be plenty to do in this area. We plan to visit the old neighborhood and school today and go to Chittenango Falls State Park, where I remember a rocky creek. Cazenovia Lake, a minor Finger Lake, is also nearby. The real five Finger Lakes are too far away for us to both "sleep in" and be back by 3 p.m. for the Zimmerman picnic on Oneida Lake. Tomorrow we'll check out the local Erie Canal Museum and enjoy hot ham sandwiches at Eddie's Restaurant in Sylvan Beach. I should also be able to show everyone the area where my mom grew up and where my some of my cousins on her side still live.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day Nineteen - Phurther Philly Adventures

June 25 - This was a long but successful day. I got up at 7:00 a.m. to talk to my sister, who'd already left the house for work. My question related to where to go to have a blood sample taken for my anticoagulation therapy. Two voice mails didn't bring an answer, so I search my e-mail and found a message she'd sent a couple of weeks ago. I found the lab and had the sample drawn within an hour. Later in the day my nurse from Louisiana called to confirm the results--no change in treatment.

Last week we tried to visit Independence Hall in Philadelphia only to be told that there were no tickets left. We made a return trip yesterday and got tickets for the 2:15 tour. The look inside Congress Hall where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were argued and approved was fascinating. A very large percentage of the building dates back to the 18th century when these events took place.

From Independence Hall (parking $17 for three hours) we drove through Center City to the Franklin Institute (street parking $3 for same time period). Ben Franklin, of course, is Philly's number one historical superstar. The Franklin Institute salutes the non-political side of this self-taught genius who invented both bifocals and the lightning rod.

The attraction yesterday had less to do with Franklin, though we did spend some time touring the scientific exhibits. The Institute features a traveling exhibit called "Real Pirates", all about sunken treasure recoved from the Whydou, a pirate ship that sank in a storm off Cape Cod in 1717. For all the lore about pirates and sunken and buried treasure, the Whydou, first discovered in 1984, is the only pirate ship from which anything has been recovered. Probably the most fascinating artifact was a leg bone from a 9-year old boy who sailed with pirate captain Sam Bellamy on the Whydou.

Kay and Sacagawea navigated the Schuylkill Expressway and Route 202 to get back from Philly to West Chester, and Kallie drove the last two miles from Genuardi's grocery store to the house. My brother-in-law was shocked when the car rolled into the driveway with both adults in passenger seats. There we enjoyed a home-cooked dinner and a couple of drinks, including a Kahlua and cream. I didn't stay up long after that, and missed seeing the Phillies break their six-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over Oakland. I also missed (more thankfully) several episodes from a Law and Order: SVU marathon. Both my brother-in-law and my daughter were watching this show--each on a separate TV.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day Eighteen - Amish Authenticity

June 24 - We had a quintessential SE Pennsylvania day, eating hoagies for dinner and spending most of the day in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania Dutch country. We focused our trip on the town of Intercourse, PA (don't ask because I don't know) which featured Kling's Restaurant and buggy rides through the countryside. Surrounding both were an Amish cultural (read shopping) center full of shops and snack bars. I described it as a spread-out, upscale version of a Cracker Barrel Restaurant/Country Store. Lunch at Kling's was very good--especially a huge piece of coconut cream pie. The girls bought stained glass, movie posters, and a duffel bag. Our purchases are blessedly limited by lack of extra space in the CRV.

The buggy ride was interesting and a great photo op--the Amish countryside is very picturesque. Kallie rode up front with the driver. My pictures came out pretty good considering they were taken from a bumpy buggy. There were no stops for photos - the Amish are a little camera shy. The thrilling ride through a covered bridge was a premium feature of the 4-mile ride.

"Authenticity" of the title is Kallie's word for the pervading smell of manure used by the Amish to fertilize their fields. Judy says you "get used to it." She helped by turning the A/C to recirculate while we were in the car. There was no such setting on the buggy.

For more pictures from the day, please visit

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day Seventeen - Blue Hen Reunion

June 23 - We found our way back from Bucks County to Chester County, sadly leaving our hosts with a broken hot water tank and soggy basement (not of our doing--Kay asked about the lack of hot water; June found the leak).

I rested for a couple of hours before heading down to Wilmington, DE to visit two guys I hadn't seen in about 30 years--friends of mine from dorm days at the University of Delaware in the 1970s. We had a good time at two different sports bars (the second one with trivia, where we won four straight games against other patrons, including a nine-year-old girl; DADLAK is now #1 and #4 on the June list of high scores at Stanley's) talking about old times and catching up on the 30 years in between. One of them found me via the Internet from one of my Amazon book reviews back in 2006, and we kept up a correspondence that resulted in the reunion.

After dinner we went to his house and watched a home movie (on a reel, no less) that he made in the dorm. Dorm life was not a pretty sight.

We promised not to wait another 30 years before getting together again.
The girls took it easy at my sister's house--a cookout on the grill and play with an increasing number of dogs. My sister's brother-in-law sent their little white dog (a bichon frise?) Princess for dog-sitting.

A Wicked Day Sixteen

June 22 - The curtain rose on Wicked promptly on Sunday at 3 p.m. Holding Internet-bought tickets that cost twice the face value of the seats, we sat in the very last row of the Gerswhin Theatre, just one seat from the far left end. Still we had a great few of the stage as the theatre seemed to be more tall than deep. Erin was transfixed. I was a little groggy after a pre-show drink--half of a half-pitcher of sangria (almost three glasses). After I woke up I enjoyed Act Two quite a bit, particularly when the story started to dovetail with the Wizard of Oz story that I know so well. I reviewed Act I with Erin at intermission and found out that I understood it better than I gave myself credit for. The staging, sound and lighting were spectacular as were the performances by the two stars playing Glinda the Good and Elphaba, who we know as the Wicked Witch of the West. Glinda's extreme perkiness (ala morning show diva Kelly Ripa) was annoying at times, but I guess that was part of her character.

Before the show we ate bagels for breakfast and a delicious lunch at a Brooklyn Thai restaurant--this seems to be one style of food that all of us enjoy. Kallie's flawless navigation brought us out of the subway less than a block from the theatre.

After the show we headed back to June's in Pennsylvania. The trip on New Jersey Transit went well, though it involved a lot of walking in Penn Station. We had to ask one question on the street to find our way into the downtown-bound train we needed to get back to Penn Station.

Back in Pennsylvania we found dinner five minutes before J.W. Dawson's in Langhorne, PA closed. The food was OK, though probably a little more expensive than we were looking for.

On Monday, we'll head back to Judy's in West Chester. I'll go to Delaware in the afternoon to meet with a couple of friends from college that I haven't seen in about 30 years. Kay and the girls will have an easy afternoon with still-unnamed "puppy".

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day Fifteen - Mermaids on Parade

June 21 - The girls got up at what for them was an ungodly hour so we could catch the 9:09 New Jersey Transit train from Hamilton, NJ to Penn Station in New York City. Sac was not as cooperative as she guided us to the neighborhood of the station, but not actually to it. Kallie rescued the trip, but not before we missed the 9:09 train. Fortunately, the 9:37 was close behind and took us to the station in NYC in a brisk hour and fifteen minutes. From there we found our way via the F train to Brooklyn and Jason and Beth's apartment in another 1-1/4 hours, arriving at about 12:10.

After a break for lunch we headed back to the subway for the ride to Coney Island, where the 26th annual Mermaid Day Parade was underway. A beach version of Mardi Gras without the beads, the parade and a beautiful Saturday afternoon attracted an amazing throng of people to Coney Island. We couldn't get close enough to the parade (a procession of antique cars at its beginning) to see it, so we snaked along with the mob heading toward the beach. This was a good decision--the beach was relatively open since almost everyone was at the parade. On the way we gazed in awe at the big countdown board at Nathan's World Famous Hot Dog Stand--just 12+ days until the next hot dog eating contest on July 4. Last year's champion, American Joey Chestnut ate an amazing 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes, in the process dethroning Japanese champion and previous recordholder Kobayashi, who suffered from a brief "reversal of fortune" before finishing second.

After sitting on the sizzling sand for a few minutes, we moved closer to the water to watch Beth and Lilybeth go in the water. The cool sea breeze was a nice relief. The water was a little too cold for anyone but four-year-olds and their devoted mothers.

A little later Kay and I retreated in search of a beer. By this time the parade was over. The crowd around Ruby's Bar was crushing--we wormed our way into what turned out to be the food line, only we didn't want food. Kay found the beer line. Beers in hand we inched toward the back of the bar where we actually found a couple of seats in front of a TV tuned to the Eurocup game between Holland and Russia. The Russians won in the second overtime just as we turned around to leave.

Along the way I took pictures of a wide variety of underdressed mermaids and mermen (and men dressed as mermaids--I'm not sure if there were any maids dressed as mermen). The competition to create the costume using the minimum amount of clothes was fascinating. Sales of blue body paint had to be at an all-time high.

Kallie and Erin headed off to ride either the Wonder Wheel ferris wheel or the Cyclone roller coaster, the two adult rides remaining from what was the splendor of Coney Island. The lines were so long that they rode neither, but they did get Cyclone t-shirts.

The subway trip back to Jay's neighborhood seemed a lot shorter than the one from Pennsylvania to Coney Island, partly because I slept for some of it after absorbing a beer and an afternoon's worth of sun.

I agreed to go out for dinner, but only if the sidetrip to do so was very short. We ate at Enzo's on Prospect Park Ave, a relatively new Italian restaurant just a block from the subway station. The food was served family-style with a few non-damaging glitches--mainly the food showing up before the plates or utensils. Annabelle and I ducked out early for ice cream. She ate every bite of a cup of vanilla; I did the same to peaches and cream.

Back home I didn't last long before collapsing on a bed. It's Sunday morning now. In NYC tradition, we had bagels for breakfast. Later today we'll see Wicked on Broadway and head back to Pennsylvania to spend the night.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day Fourteen - Almost Crossing the Delaware

June 20 - After a cheesesteak lunch from Mike's Pizza in West Chester, we drove to my friend June's house in Bucks County, PA.

Our sightseeing expedition took us to Washington Crossing, PA where George Washington led his troops on a daring Christmas crossing of the Delaware River to attack the Hessian soldiers stationed at Trenton, NJ. I read a good bit about this campaign in John McCullough's fascinating book, 1776. We went to the top of Bowman's Tower to see the surrounding countryside, which has only recently been subjected to significant development.

We had three choices for dinner - five minutes from the house, 15 minutes (with trivia) and 30+ minutes in luxurious New Hope. I voted for trivia and the crew went along. Food at Calloway's was pretty good - trivia was not the attraction as only four players (three from our table) participated. I won the first two games and finished in Calloway's top ten for June. Kallie and Erin won the third game (about pop culture). Kallie gloated relentlessly.

Back at the house we tried unsuccessfully to photograph fireflies, which can't live in Louisiana due to the air pollution, or so Kay says. We then played Bananagrams, an anagramming/crossword game. My Scrabble skills made me tough to beat. June decided the game was "too intense" so we went outside to make s'mores. Kallie had fun playing with fire.

Today (Saturday) we're in Brooklyn at Jay (Kay's son) and Beth's house. We're getting ready to go to the Mermaid Parade on Coney Island. Beth made costumes for daughters Lilybeth and Annabelle.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day Thirteen - Land of the Free

Zimmermans and Lathams

The crack has silenced the Liberty Bell since 1846.

Frisbee in the parking lot

General Washington's headquarters

Soldiers' hut at Valley Forge

June 19 - Puppy, now on its fourth name (though I can't remember what it is), dominated the morning agenda. Kallie even got up at 9:30 to play with her.

At around 11:30 we had things together well enough for our afternoon history expedition. We planned to go to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in center city Philadelphia and drive through the Valley Forge National Historical Park on the way.

The Valley Forge part of the trip worked great. The park is beautiful and green this time of year. We stopped at the soldiers' huts and at Washington's headquarters to look around. Kallie, Dan and Liz played frisbee while others went to the bathroom before we headed on to Philly.

The trip to downtown included our first "crisis" with Sac. Kay programmed "Independence Mall" as a destination--the area that includes Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell is often referred to this way. As expected, Sac took us down the Schuylkill Expressway toward downtown, but surprisingly sent us onto I-476 after just a few miles. Even more surprisingly, when we got to the intersection of I-476 and I-95, she directed us south on I-95, away from downtown. We were already far off track, and this move just made then problem worse. When I saw the Chester City Limits sign (a city between Philly and Delaware), I knew I needed to turn around. I cursed Sac and exited, eventually to get headed north on I-95 and back toward the city. In the meantime, Kay analyzed the problem--there is an Independence (shopping) Mall in Chester--Sac was taking us there.

We arrived at the intended Independence Mall just a few minutes after the other car in our caravan (being driven by my nephew Dan, who knew where he was going (or whose GPS was properly programmed)). Unfortunately, all the tickets to see Independence Hall had been distributed, so our tour was limited to the Liberty Bell and lunch. This may have been just as well since Kallie was starving, having not eaten breakfast. She got something to eat at the City Tavern at about 4 p.m. The food at City Tavern was just OK, but the Thomas Jefferson 1774 Ale was great. I drank two big glasses and slept almost all the way home while Dan drove. My sister Judy (one glass of chardonnay) drove the CRV. Thanks, Dan and Judy!

Back home we played with puppy and found the LSU-UNC game from the College World Series on TV. Very sadly, lightning and rain postponed the game. After one episode of Law and Order, SVU, most of the crew stayed up to watch a movie. I went for some reading (JR Moehringer's memoir, "The Tender Bar", about a '70s childhood on Long Island being raised by men in a bar) and an early bedtime.

This afternoon we'll head to the north side of Philly to visit June and her family. She's been my friend since high school. Her concern during my medical odyssey has been very heartening. We saw her in NYC a couple years ago, but it will still be fun to see her again.