Thurs. July 28, 2011:
To make up for not having listened to Hollerado the previous day, we instead decided to blast it as we left Philadelphia, which almost seems more apt, given the song talks about Phillie no longer being a city, so why would we stay there? First stop for the day was the Barnes Foundation, a large collection of art. Not before I got a good eyeful of weird Philadelphians on the highway, just some of the things I saw: a bumper made of duct tape, and someone else driving with the hatch-back open. Alas, the Barnes Foundation was closed when we got there. We had no idea what was going on, it looked as if the place had been shut down and the security guard (who was stuck with the job of sitting there all day, turning people away) did not tell us anything more. We later found out that it was moving downtown (so next roadtrip, if we go to Pittsburgh). With the morning having been blown wide open like that, we stopped at iHop for breakfast. That seems to be a common theme. When our plans get cancelled, we go eat at iHop (recall the rainy day when we tried to go to Martha’s Vineyard). Having so much time, we stopped at Target on my insistence so that I could stock up on American goods to bring back home (namely candy bars and Cherry Coke Zero). As I was standing in the snack aisle bemoaning how they could possibly sell Corn Nuts and other such crap and no Cracker Jacks, I gasped before I could finish my sentence and was taken aback. Right next to where I was staring at/pointing at, they had Cracker Jacks! I would afterall get to eat Cracker Jacks at a baseball game! All was not lost! Apparently my reaction of half gasp, half yelp was rather funny. And illustrated how much I need coffee in order to function (another common theme in our roadtrips).
In Paradise, PA (the first destination in our Pennsylvania Dutch Country tour) there was a sign for Christ’s Home Office. But that was not enough for us to actually stop in Paradise. There was nothing there. We were under the impression that it would be like Shipshewana, Indiana where there were little shops and restaurants. Next we drove to Intercourse, PA. I am not sure if it is because of the name, or the size of the town, but they actually had a little tourist area with little shops and of course the staple of any Amish town that attracts tourists: Amish women making jam. It just seems so weird, sitting there all day, screwing on lids while people gawk at you. We walked around a bit, but there was not much to see. It was mostly really tacky over-priced souvenirs that said I heart Intercourse. Lame. The next town on our tour was Bird-In-Hand. There we stopped at a “mall” that was actually a barn with stalls set up to sell goods. Here things were more reasonably priced; I bought a postcard for a whole 35 cents! We drove to the Ephrata Cloister to see the grounds of an 18th century cult. There were a few old buildings and an old cemetery. The whole thing was mildly creepy. The buildings were not lit from the inside, so it was dark and small and really cramped. These people had to have been really short, and according to the info brochure they were deathly skinny. That would probably be because they only had one meal a day, a loaf of bread.
For lack of any other activities to fill the day, we drove to an outlet mall, for which we had found a brochure at the Bird-In-Hand mall. It was that or a really lame-sounding theme park. It was lightly raining so the outlet mall won. As we drove I snacked on Starbursts for lunch. I would unwrap them and toss them in Brent’s mouth given he was too busy driving. Absentmindedly I tossed him one, which I had forgotten to unwrap. I was laughing so hard I could not apologize or unwrap it for him. I was reminded how I used to unwrap them in my mouth so I tried it again and succeeded. I asked him if wanted to try and he said no, which I misunderstood as yes, and tossed him yet another wrapped Starburst. Almost an hour of meandering through stores and I bought nothing. The only thing that redeemed that mall was Subway. We split a BBQ pulled pork footlong sandwich because it was something new, something we (sadly) do not have in Canada. It was delicious. The sauce made it so goopy and soggy and just a whole saucy messy affair.
While lounging around the hotel, I decided (out of sheer boredom) to enter the code from my Starbursts wrapper online (it was a contest, I had already lost earlier in the week once). And to my amazement, I won! I had won a free pack of Starbursts, I was simply overjoyed and I yelped and jumped up! When I sat back down and attempted to redeem it, you would think it would be a print off coupon, I was saddened to learn that they mail it (or a coupon) to you. And you have to be in the US. Brent just said he would buy me another package. He still has not. I am still waiting. For dinner we decided to go all out and be fancy. We would go to McDonald’s, get takeout and come back to the hotel room and continue watching 48 Hours Mystery until Wipeout was on. 48 Hours was a suspenseful show about solving crimes. As I was getting ready to leave, I heard Brent yell from outside that the car door was open. My heart started pounding, I was so scared. Damn TV show. Turned out, he had not fully closed his door and the strong window blew it wide open. No murderers were found in the backseat. McDonald’s had on offer a frozen strawberry lemonade which had been tempting me the last few days, being advertised everywhere. So I thought why the heck not? I am on vacation, going to watch a hilarious show, might as well try it. Bad idea. It is so damn good! And like the pulled pork BBQ from Subway, we do not have it here in Canada! We stopped at CVS as well to stock up on soda, and more Cracker Jacks because I was craving them and I kept eating the ones I had bought at Target (it was a pack of 3 boxes). It was mildly irritating to now be finding Cracker Jacks so easily when before it was as if they did not even exist!
I never did find out what was up with Pennsylvania Dutch Country and whoopee pies, most every baked goods shop sold their own homemade versions. Yet, no one sold Amish brownies? To add to my disappointment, we were unable to print-screen “borrow” the photos that were taken of us at the Phillies game and the channel that Wipeout was playing on was semi-broken, the picture was clear but the sound was just loud noise. So I opted for watching Community (reruns I had missed) South Park and Futurama, so it was not all bad.