Monday, April 9, 2018

Pennsylvania - Day 9

Philadelphia Walmart, PA
Monday, 9 April 2018

Philadelphia has a selection of Walmarts, unsurprisingly, and I decided to try the one closest to downtown.  It's not as high class as the Jacksonville setup, but it's fine.  It's patronized by a selection of truckers, according to what's parked here so far tonight.

I'd forgotten how old a city Philadelphia is.  The main area was laid out when people were using horses and buggies as transportation, which means the streets are narrow.  Trying to accommodate today's population, many with personal vehicles and many who believe in double parking as a way of life, makes it a challenge to drive down the middle of the parked cars on the sides of the streets in a vehicle that has mirrors sticking out.  I'm sure glad I didn't come here a month ago.

Image result for city hall philadelphia william penn statue
City Hall with William Penn statue
Before I came, I spent a long time studying a Philly map on my laptop, figuring out where I wanted to go and how I could get there on streets that were marked one way.  I wrote down detailed directions for myself to get from one place to another.  The problem was that I didn't look at that map closely enough and two of the main streets converge on a sort of roundabout that has City Hall in the middle of it and a statue of William Penn on top of a spire, altogether 548' high and visible all over town.  It was very impressive but that didn't stop me from not being able to figure out how to get around it on the street I intended to be on.  So I ended up getting lost.  I kept finding streets with familiar sounding names but I couldn't remember why they were familiar.   That City Hall, by the way, is the world's largest municipal building.

I ended up driving for blocks and blocks on a 3 lane street, 2 of which were being used for parking, and some of the parking was pretty sloppy so I had trouble squeaking by.  Meanwhile, Jasper started yelling at me from the rear and the dogs wanted to get out and stretch their legs and I couldn't find one tiny spot to park in.  I finally pulled into a space that was half quasi-legal and half absolutely not legal, left the engine running and put the emergency flashers on and hoped a cop would come check me out.  No such luck but it gave me time to climb into the cabin and pull out my laptop and hotspot to find my Philly map.  I was only a block from where I wanted to be, and we got to the Walmart in 20 minutes.

I know those of you who seriously urged me to get a smart phone - my brother, for instance - will feel vindicated, and I agree except nobody so far has offered to pay the difference in my bill.  So I'll hold off a while longer.  This worked out okay.

Parking is also a serious challenge.  There are parking garages - at the Visitors Center, for instance - but they have 6'6" height restrictions.  Some streetside parking is available, but I haven't tried parallel parking this guy yet, and I sure didn't want to start in Philly.  I'm vaguely thinking of going into town early tomorrow morning to try and find a spot on the street, and just feed the parking meter(s).  I also found an outdoor parking lot, but I'm not sure that's what I want to do, since I'd have to pay their inflated ideas of parking fees ($4 for less than 30 minutes) for 2 spots.

There's a AAA near this Walmart so I stopped by to see if they had ideas.  The nice young woman found a lot that has a few oversize vehicle spots, so I may try there in the morning.

I could just leave the RV and take a bus or cab to the historical sites, but I hate to do that.  The critters - especially the dogs - aren't just fixtures in the RV to be left when inconvenient.  I want to be able to walk them along the streets, too, and limit the length of time I have to be away from them to an hour or two, rather than half a day or more.

Luckily, our family came here when we were kids.  I still remember some of that visit, and I ol-y, not in the center of town.  I wouldn't normally bother but apparently it's got the largest Rodin collection outside of France.  "The Thinker" is in the entry courtyard, and I can hardly believe it's the original.  It's almost worth it to go see, just in case it is.  They're not even asking an entry fee.

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