Dream trip Day 138 Philly to DC by bus, beers with Jeff

Leaving is always hard, I am not good at it though I do it all the time.

The day began at Grindhouse for coffee and pastry. I still am not sure how they make vegan sweets or ice cream. I’m glad someone figured it out though. It’s good.

We hugged it out and then I queued up for the line to DC. This time I had a ticket.

Had just enough time to snap a pic of Philly’s Chinatown gate, a new thing I’d been taking pics of since I arrived to Boston.



Another pretty quick bus ride and I was in DC. I was soon walking to one of my favorite hostels. I’d stayed here on a couple of other DC visits.

It’s in a good location, sort of close to a few subway lines which made getting around easier. Plus I knew the neighborhood.

Not much had changed at the hostel. Take off your shoes in front, bunks in the back. I decided it was time for a rest. Long night ahead.

I took the Metro to the stop near the capital, Jeff worked for the gov though I wasn’t 100% clear on what he did. I knew he helped a Congressman from Texas for a few years.

I’d known Jeff for over 15 years by this point. We’d seen radiohead together on the OK Computer tour, drove to Cali from Denton after graduation. We’d seen and done a lot.

A couple of transfers and we were at his car, parked at a station. This was sort of my dream commute situation. I just want to avoid traffic and downtown DC is pretty bad.

Initially we discussed checking out a punk show. I feel we both realized we couldn’t talk if we were in a loud place so we hailed a car to take us to a pub.

Jeff’s wife was Swedish, as in she spoke the language and had lived there for a time. That is a cool way to see a city and country.

He told me bout their honeymoon or maybe she just goes home every year and Jeff joined. I haven’t explored Scandinavia yet, looks fun but cold.

We caught the ballgame that was on. I ventured that maybe we could see a Nationals playoff game the next night. They had just won their division.

After sharing travel tales, his wife arrived to collect him for the night. She too is a cool kid and it was nice to get to know her at their wedding a couple of years ago.

Marylanders they were now. Ocean City for the summers.

I had to negotiate the Metro late as well as half sauced. I didn’t have a lady to pick me up.

It was fine, just sliver to red, head north and I was home.

Safe inside a roomful of strangers, snoring.

Song Fugazi   Kyeo

Beer  DC Brau   Corruption


Dream trip Day 137 More Philadelphia history, dog park, Saint Vitus

Jodi had to go to her workshop early so if I wanted a ride into town, I had to wake up with her. No problem, I can roll with it.

Her shop was near the Italian part of town so that was fortunate. I strolled through the fruit veg and meat booths that lined a few blocks.

I stopped in a shop and got a real Italian coffee, not an espresso but the guy who made it swore it was the same beans and method he’d seen ‘back home.’

Tasted fine to me but I’ll bet a real Italian coffee experience would be an espresso, just pure black coffee. Sipped in 1 go while standing.

Since the city was a grid, literally everything was just down the road. It was just some roads and destinations were longer than others.

My route today would take me through downtown.



I was en route to another cheese steak joint, this one inside the Reading Terminal Market.

I had to keep up checking out city markets, I’d seen several overseas, let’s see how US does by comparison.

Market looked how it should, though every stall had big advertisements for their brand. I didn’t see much of a marketing budget on stalls in other countries. Sometimes a sign or logo, maybe business card but certainly not a full banner.

The place I was checking out today was Carmen’s Cheesesteak and Hoagie’s. You do have to know some lingo to understand the sammich.

Hoagie is a long piece of bread, not round or square like some places. Also roast beef, pork, shaved meats are used inside a hoagie.

This time I skipped the whiz and went with their cheese sauce. I hoped they used real cheese.

Gooey hot and delicious!

I kept on walking until I found a square with some statues.


I soon met up with Jodi and her dog at a nearby dog park. It was so fun watching the dogs interact with each other.

It reminded me of the 1st day of school. Lots of free dogs who just ran, others cowered under seats. Why I had a couple pooches under mine. I coaxed them out so they can join in the fun.

Back to Jodi’s to get a bit to eat and freshen up before the show. She made me an awesome avocado toast with tomato soup. Easy to be vegan if this is what you eat.

Jodi seemed to know everyone in Philly. We didn’t have tickets but she ran into some friends as we walked in who had an extra one for her. I bought a  fairly expensive ticket,  so I could support the scene.

I was intrigued by the openers, the Skull. They were heavy, sludgy. The singer chain smoked the entire show. I mean he lit up after maybe every other song. Other times he walked off to the side with a bev an a cig while a solo or groove was going on.

Then it was time for doom! An older guy with long grey hair strides up to the mic ‘We’re Saint fuckin’ Vitus!’

It was so awesome to see someone in their 60’s maybe 70’s just tearing it up on guitar as well as shouting expletives in the mic between songs.

They were great, really groovy, great singer. I needed to check out more of their stuff.

The singer kept looking to his left the last couple of songs.

‘We’ve got a special guest on this next one, Wino!’ the singer cried as a viking walked out from backstage.

Long blonde hair flowing, tan work books, it was Wino from the Obsessed, another early doom metal band. He had started out in St Vitus so this was a homecoming moment.

He sang a couple of tunes while clutching a beer. It was a great show. Philly has a thriving music scene. Do check out a show if you are in the city of brotherly love.

There was a pub a short walk from the venue so we checked it out.

It looked very much like a diner, house of waffles type place. It has one of the best jukeboxes I encountered on my trip.

I think I pissed everyone off playing Velvet Underground Neil Young and Television. Oh well, best to play long songs I think.

He came dancing across the water

Cortez, Cortez

what a killer

Wicked cool night in Philly!

Song   Saint Vitus   The Walking Dead

Beer Old Tankard Ale

Dream trip Day 136 Cheesesteak, Yards Brewery, Rocky moment

Jodi is an artist + she had to work in her studio during the days, which was cool with me. I located a vegan metal coffee shop a couple of blocks from her house. It is wicked cool!

I had cheese steaks on my mind and I knew there were several options. I’ve heard to avoid the big name cheese steak joints that are featured on food shows, find some older spots.

There was a highly rated spot called Jim’s that sounded good. Cash only, usually a good sign, let’s check it out.

A nice stroll, about a mile. I passed by a kitty, coffee place. I’d just read about this new coffee shop that had cats roaming around.

The cool thing is you could adopt any cat if you liked it. Only since making friends with rescuers I learned that buying a pet is hard.

Too many places just churn out animals and don’t take care of them. You really have to research where your animals came from and buy responsibly.

Jim’s isn’t crowded yet. I just beat the lunch crowd. I get the original which uses cheese whiz, not real cheese.

It is super hot gooey and great. What you want in a sandwich. Very filing.

The place was soon packed and they gave everyone to go bags. Many left to eat in one of the many parks all over the city.

William Penn designed the city into a grid which included 4 squares of green space.

Throughout my time in town, I’d visit most of the squares. Its one of the easiest cities to get around in due to the grids.

Next stop was Ben Franklin’s tomb. While there is a free side view of this slab for 2$ you can go into the cemetery which has several signers of Declaration of Independence buried inside.


After strolling through some squares I met Jodi and we went over to Yards Brewing for a couple pints. It is a cool spot worth a visit.

They have appetizing looking food too, not just bar food. I had good time in their taproom.

A couple of their beers were based off Presidents Washington and Jackson’s home beer recipes. Taste some US history in a pint!

After Yards, we went driving around the city, talking a long walk near the library, where the famous stairs are located. You just have to run up them.


Another unexpected life goal achieved! I’d always been inspired by the Rocky story, now I’d seen where it had gone down.

We walked around the grounds a long walk. Jodi is great, cool person to talk to about anything. I was fortunate to know her for many reasons, much less a couch to crash on.

Another dive bar near her house for a couple. This was a spot Jodi used to go to a lot.

It was in the middle of a neighborhood so it took awhile to find parking. There were lots of old, neighborhood pubs around this part of town.

This pub was tiny yet very cool. I enjoyed hanging out there. Even had a convo with some of the local guys.

After an hour or so, couple of beer time, we headed out to another bar, a rock bar I was told. And it looked like rockers too.

Just metal dudes and pin-up chicks all up in here. Loud and heavy soundtrack.

I was having a great time! Philly had a thriving metal scene. I overheard several conversations about small local shows that everyone agreed to go, to help the scene.

Big rock show tomorrow night in fact!

Beer   George Washington Tavern Porter

Song  the Roots with John Legend   Wake Up!



Dream trip Day 135 NYC pizza, bus to Philly, beers with Jodi

Natalie had to work and I had to hit the road. Southbound to Philly today.

I was told to hit up Roscoe’s for a good pizza experience. I definitely wanted to get some NYC pizza to compare to some of the places I went in Dallas that trumpeted their NYC roots, style.

I got plenty lost and turned around walking the quarter-mile to the pizza joint. Oh well I got to see some cool parts of the city.

It was a by the slice affair at Roscoe’s. You ordered, they threw it in the oven while you paid and it was done shortly after.

Good pizza, sauce, and of course that crust! Another one please, nice and hot.

I shared space with some tough looking construction workers. Chowing down on some sweet ‘za. A classic NYC scene.

I am always surprised by how long it takes to get around via subway in NYC. About an hour to get over to the west side to a bus stop.

There are several lines for the bus, each for a different destination city, so you have to ask someone to make sure you are in the right line.

There are conductors and people who walk around keeping order. They know what to do and can sell you a ticket.

One held a portable swiper/printer device. The receipt was long as it was your ticket too.

I filed in line to board, throwing my backpack into the baggage hold. I’d discovered the top compartments weren’t large enough for my backpack, which is also too big to stow under the seats.

I kick back and watch the city fly pass me through the window.

I’d never been to Philly, so it was important that I make it down for a couple of days.

I’m a huge history fan especially US history, how the country was founded. A lot of action happened in Philly.

Luck was on my side as I had met someone on my trip who lived in Philly. She didn’t mind me crashing on her couch for a few days. Finally going to see Philadelphia, PA!

I spoke to my friend Jodi, and told her I was near city hall, specifically a large paperclip art installation.

To my amazement I was able to locate her truck as she passed on the busy road in front of the clip, I threw my bag in the back, hopped in the cab and slammed the door shut.

I was greeted by Jodi’s dog who is super cool. Only surpassed by Jodi who is the coolest!

She showed off a bit of Philly while it was still light, passing by a few landmarks I could take pics of.

We walked her dog around these sites, too. Lots of dogs in Philly.



We soon arrived at the port. We were looking at the Delaware River, Trenton NJ was on the other side of the river.

Lots of military ships out here.



We saw another large ship sail out to sea before getting back into the truck.

Her house wasn’t too far. In fact Philly isn’t that large, maybe 5 miles in any direction. Buses seemed to run most of the days, I certainly saw them whenever I was out.

We were hungry so we walked to a bar that served pretty good Mexican food. Had a couple of beers too.

It was a cool neighborhood pub, full of characters too. A guy at the bar had just been released from jail and they were celebrating.

Apparently this was a normal event and celebration here. Shots poured. I guess I am lucky or maybe square but I ain’t never been to jail.

Another baseball game I was able to catch, just being out and about I found a TV.

More pints, some food and we snake our way through the neighborhood home.

Everything feels old and out of a film. Just wonderful brownstone houses, walk ups, older corner businesses, the way it was, you know.

Tomorrow I’d fully explore the historic side of the city!

Beer  Philadelphia pale ale

Song  Hall and Oates   Method of Modern Love