Monday, September 6, 2021

Philadelphia 2021 Day 3A

Ye Olde Forging Through the Valley.
May 28, 2021
We started the day, once again, with the breakfast lay out at the Best Western. Knowing the offerings better, and more importantly knowing we were on Gridless Time, I ate much more substantially this day, as did Rosa and Anabelle.  Then we stocked up on travel food. This was encouraged, because the staff was awesome.
We asked at the front desk about the gift card offers that the signs said came with the stay. The desk clerk said it was her first day and we should call from the room so she could let us leave her manager a voice mail. This “new hire” explanation may cover why she was also at the desk when I went on the battery hunt the night before.
Besides packing individual water bottles, when shopping for the trip I picked up a three-liter container that we expected to use for water in the room. We didn’t, and the jug became Anabelle’s “emotional support water” for the day, the ride home, and the rest of Memorial Day Weekend.

We took a quick trip to see other options for staying when we visited Anabelle at Villanova. I’m not sure why since we had such a good experience where we were, but sometimes plans that we make before leaving are followed.  
At least it happened once on this trip.

It turned out to be a good idea as types of rooms weren't guaranteed there, and we may need more space on other visits.

We used the GPS to get to the Valley Forge Garden, but it tried to take us to the Valley Forge Historical Park. Sometimes the GPS is smarter than we are. (But as will be displayed shortly, not all the time.)  We fixed it, found our way to the “garden” and parked at a large, fancy cemetery with an old house overlooking it.
Since we were there, I entered the house and asked the guy (the cemetarian?) at the front desk about the history.  Then I called Rosa and Anabelle in since Anabelle was the interested one.  He pointed to a portrait and explained it was a colonial era “country estate” for a state senator.  The cemetery itself dated from the early 1900’s and wasn’t very Revolutionary Warish.

We walked around the “garden,” and it was very pretty.  The Cemeterian talked up the Valley Forge Historical Park a great deal, leading to the decision as we walked around to go “only to the parking area” and look around.
We could easily make our one o’clock appointment at the art museum, and Rosa said we could see the steps later.
Aside- Rosa’s surprising fascination with seeing the Liberty Bell, when she has no real interest in early American History was nothing compared to her obsession with seeing the Rocky steps, in spite of never desiring to see those films again.  She kept referring to the steps as a separate entity, and much like the scene at the end of Rocky V, I needed to explain they were actually attached to the Philadelphia Art Museum.  Buying the admission to the museum was a side effect of wanting to validate parking for visiting the steps.
It was about a ten-minute drive to the historical Valley Forge. On the way, we passed the Valley Forge Casino, which added considerably on a relative scale to the historical significance of the Valley Forge Cemetery.  At the National Park, if we did park, check out the visitor center museum, eat, and head to the Philadelphia Art Museum we would have made it with plenty of time to see the steps before entering the museum as originally planned.
The visitor center, and its café, were closed.  However, the little sign had maps in the pouch and they showed a driving route.  The drive looked doable in time, with some stops to get out and peek. Surely, we would have no issues with timing.
Forgetting the key ingredient once again: It’s us.

The first parking area had some reproductions of cannons and rebuilt huts with signs and other information. Anabelle was in her glory and the brief sun shower while we drove was mild and followed by a clear sky.  We parked next to the impressively huge Mad Anthony Wayne statue, taking some photos as the rain slowed.

We were happy the weather matched the forecast so well, meaning there would likely only be inconvenient rain when it was time to drive home.
Ha Ha!

There were other hut areas, some statues, and a bathroom that put the Colorado national park ones to shame.  There was also a huge Memorial Arch built around World War One, in a position that was almost impossible to stand near and get a picture.
One of the biggest deals on the journey was Washington’s Headquarters.  We pulled into that parking lot and thought we could see it. 
What we did see was a train station.

There weren’t very many of those in the 1700’s.
Later reading revealed the station was built years ago, but well after the American Revolution, to provide access to the park. It was built in the same style as the headquarters house to blend in. (And possibly to confuse us.)   To get to the headquarters required going down a long and winding path from the parking lot, then following a trail through the lawn around the buildings.  Anabelle was divided between protecting her ankle and her historical obsessions.  As long as we took it easy,  she said she’d be fine.  Since the walk kept getting longer as we experienced it, the thought of bringing the umbrellas from the car into the sunny morning didn’t occur to us when leaving our vehicle.  The sky predictably darkened and then opened up into a downpour when we were at the absolute furthest point from the car.   

There were tiny overhangs on the headquarters, but those buildings were closed for the plague as was the train station museum, which we rushed to next.  At least the station had a larger covered section.  Anabelle went ahead of us and chose the wrong side, having to take her injured ankle down and up a flight of steps to get to the same location we did. She was remarkably good natured about it.  Her fandom for that portion of history helped her decide that being cold, wet and limping let her "Live the Full Valley Forge Experience."
Alongside the twisty walking path was a drive down route for handicapped folks to be dropped off and picked up.  While they waited at the station, I ran up the twisty path to get the car.  The grandchildren of the man who walked up the shorter driving path while protected by an umbrella were cheering me on, “He doesn’t even have an umbrella, go mister go!!”
I drove down, picked up my family, and then demanded we open the breakfast leftover bag to stave off another trip to Crazy Hungryland.
We drove by many more huts and things. 

There was the headquarters of General Knox, known for having almost entirely African American troops. We pulled into the parking lot and couldn’t really see it.  After the last fiasco and continued drizzle we were not about to get out.  Following some failed window photo attempts we left the lot…
And saw Knox’s perfectly from the road.

We passed more cannons and stuff, finishing the tour at an IMMENSE (and still functional) Episcopal Church.   It had a small gift shop that also sold fudge, which I think is a national law for that type of historical place.  Anabelle got a simulated aged map of the encampment, meaning she didn't have to spill water on this souvenir.
Due to more Crazy Hungrylandish communication issues, there was concern that we were due to arrive at the museum 45 minutes after our ticket time, and would be denied entry. That was straightened out by Rosa explaining either what she missed saying or we missed hearing (both are equally likely without a real lunch, though Rosa made sure to underline and circle the latter when she proofread this) that the time is “suggested” arrival within a half hour but not locked in.
This was excellent news as the GPS must have maintained a stash from the Colorado local herbs days and lost her little electronic mind.
We were sitting in the pointless traffic on the way in to Philadelphia and the GPS recommended cutting ten minutes off a trip that only had a half hour left.  The suggestion was to follow a lesser highway with traffic lights on it, avoiding the congested interstate.
To a New York and New Jersey trained driver, it made perfect sense.
It was a scenic trip next to a river and exercise path…lovely. 
Then traffic stopped stone dead.
No one told the GPS that the scenic, riverside highway had a section completely closed because of a rowing regatta. We detoured through a residential area, and then back into city traffic.


Dina Roberts said...

Good cliffhanger in this post.

I agree about the fudge!!

I really love reading about your family's traveling adventures!!

Jeff McGinley said...

Thank you, glad you're enjoying them. I missed writing them.

Breaking up days does create cliffhangers. I wonder I'll keep doing that or go back to only one post per day when I have more material.

thanx again