Wednesday, July 7, 2010

G20 roadtrip

So, to get outta town for the G20, for obvious reasons (there was supposed to be a blog post about all that, but it's really no longer timely), Adam and I went for an ol' fashion road trip down the East Coast to do us some Philadelphia and Baltimore touring.

As mentioned earlier, there were plans for a Halladay and Strasburg weekend. The plans turned out to be a bit premature and the pitching matchups changed. The original plan was to hit Baltimore for Thursday and Friday night and Philadelphia for Saturday night. No longer was Strasburg scheduled to pitch in Baltimore on Friday - he pitched Wednesday the 23rd, Kari's birthday, btw - where he ended up suffering his first loss... and Halladay, who was scheduled to pitch in Philly against the Jays Saturday, turned out to pitch Friday. Still against the Jays though...

So, the get outta town G20 trip turned into a Thursday and Friday in Philly, catching Halladay, and Saturday in Baltimore to explore Oriole Park at Camden Yard. It was gonna be a first at both parks for us, and as these are considered within the top 4 ballparks in baseball it was obviously shaping up to be quite the weekend...

So, here are some pictures and a few of the stories.

The night before leaving I kinda rushed to get some directions down from Google Maps... that may have been a mistake.

That route kinda took us through some rural NY State. Not all together unplesant mind you, just a bit unexpected... Jeremy usually points out that going through Kingston is the quicker way to get to the US east coast, and he might be right. Despite the Google Maps route being shorter, the single lane highways and the potential for getting lost is quite high.

We obviously got lost.

After asking for directions somewhere between highway 15 and 17, we just bought a map.

Alright. Finally in Philly. About a 9 hour drive, with an Arby's stop on the way.

Yup, that's an Arby's with a buggy parking. Now, to be fair that picture wasn't taken on this trip, but I thought it would be appropriate. Afterall, we are Foodies!

Ate, under dressed, at a fine steak place. They were really desperate for business.

Alright, next day.

Never, ever, block the box. Never ever.

Walking tour of Philly.

You'll notice two things in the picture above. First, the solar powered street trash compactor.

The greatest thing about these compactors is the fact that they will save the city $12.9 million over 10 years since they only need to be emptied five times a week versus 19 times for the regular trash cans, slashing fuel and staff costs. This also offers the benefit of less CO2 emissions from fewer garbage pick-ups.

Second, bike lanes. Philly is an old city with tight lanes
, wide sidewalks, and very little room for bikelanes. This is one of the few I saw, and on an all day walk maybe encountered 3-4 bikers. For those interested, here's a bike lane map of Philly (PDF). Clicking on the link will show you there is one bike lane going across the city, and another one going half way down the city. However, there are apparently a great number of "potentially bike friendly streets", which they aren't/.

On with the show.

Thanks to Milan for hosting us both nights in Philly, and the day tour.

Crotch grab. Rocky Statue celebrates.

The Rocky Statue, and below Milan doing his best impression. If you click on one picture from this post, make it this one.

Who wants to touch Rocky's crotch?!

Alright, gonna skip ahead a bit to not bore you to absolute death.

The running theme of vanity continues.

Above is the Philadelphia Eastern State Penitentiary. Complete with Halloween haunted house. Building began in 1776, completed in 1836.

1842: Charles Dickens visits the United States to see Niagara Falls and the Eastern State Penitentiary. He will later write, "The System is rigid, strict and hopeless solitary confinement, and I believe it, in its effects, to be cruel and wrong...." Engraving: The Solitary Prisoner, 1870’s. From Charles Dickins, Pictures from Italy and American Notes for General Circulation.

Subway up to Temple, where Milan will be teaching next year.


Cecil B. Moore. Cecil Bassett Moore (1915 – 1979) was a Philadelphia lawyer and activist during the U.S. Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Moore is best remembered for leading a picket against Girard College which led to the desegregation of that school. He was also a champion of a wide range of causes central to the Civil Rights Movement, including integration of schools and trade unions, and increased political and economic representation for poor African-Americans.

Tons of food trucks on campus. About 37,000 on campus, 1200 law students.

This guy is teaching some of them next year.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your American Philosophical Society reps.

Up there? It's what we think is the Liberty Bell.

Milan trying to grab Adam's Liberty ball.

Old city, totally wheel chair accessible.

Benjamin Franklin. Featured here and on the 100 dollar bill. Also, one of two dudes not a president to be on a US bill. The other?

Down at...

Outside the Polish American Center!.. Yup, that's it!

The first service at St. Peter’s Church was held on September 4, 1761, and yada, yada, yada...

Alright, our first taste of a Philly Cheese Steak, at Jim's Steaks, at the corner of South 4th Street and South.

By the way, that tall black dude under the tv just beyond Milan is Barry Bonds.

Must try.

Down to the Citizen's Park...

Wells Halladay...

From our seats.

Can Con. Later the 5 Mounties got beat up by the Phanatic. No, really.


Tony Luke's at the ballpark. Merrr.. not as good as Jim's Steaks. Basically the meat and cheese tasted the same, but the bread was certainly not greasy enough.

Diced onion despenser!

And finally, the Home Run Bell!


Okay. Part 2. Really, this should be another post, cuz not only is looking through this many pictures quite boring, but it really is the lazy way out.

Grab yourself some steak and cheese whiz, and check back.

Welcome to Delaware!

I told you...

The streets of Baltimore...

Ok, this was cool. The Lexington Market. From their website: Baltimore's fragrant, gleaming Lexington Market, the world's largest,
continuously running market for more than six generations, marks its 220th
anniversary this year.

I kinda don't believe any part of that sentence, but it was pretty tight nevertheless.

The best Amstel Light anyone will ever have.

The crab cake at Faidley's was pretty ok too.

Frolics and gaiety in the market...

These delicious raw oysters not only made our day and night, but also arrived all the way from New Jersey!

They also have a central “bar” area where you can order raw clams and oysters to suck down while standing, and they do serve certain beers and wines (don’t expect much from the wines, I believe I saw “rose” and “white” as the two options).

Haha!.. what a jack-ass review!.. like I'm going to this place to try the wine...

With the market on the left you are within eyesight of Camden yards straight down the street.

Merrr.. just an interesting building.

The Bromo-Seltzer building was erected in 1911 at the corner of Eutaw and Lombard Streets.... It was the tallest building in Baltimore from 1911 until 1923. The design of the tower along with the original factory building at its base was inspired by the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy, which was seen by Emerson during a tour of Europe in 1900.

The building's most distinctive feature are the four clock faces adorning the tower, on the North, South, East and West sides. The clock faces are adorned with the letters B-R-O-M-O S-E-L-T-Z-E-R, (jack-ass) ... and was originally adorned with a 51 foot (15.5 metre) tall Bromo-Seltzer bottle,[7][8] glowing blue and rotating. Due to structural concerns however, the bottle was removed in 1936.

The tower was virtually abandoned in 2002, but in early 2007 the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts began renovations to transform the building into 33 artists' studios.

Ok, at the foot of Camden Yards... but first!...

Slider's Bar, across the street from the park. Here, we not only got to watch the USA-Ghana game with some of our favourite friends, but also found a very nice bouncer who helped us obtain incredibly cheap tickets to the ball game! That, and they served Natty Bohs (absolutely disgusting) for $2 a piece!

Also, who could forget the friendly folk who recommended night time venues for us young professionals!

Ok, after indulging in a few "U-S-A!" chants and not puking out the beer of our brethren, it was time to go in...

From the cheap seats... approximately 35,000 announced for the Nationals and Orioles.




This park is heaven...


Some of the best hot dogs in the world.

Oh yes, and did I mention the Blue Moon on tap, also for $7.50, with as many freshly cut oranges as you like!...

Don't like Guinness?... how about approximately 20 other micro-breweries to choose from around the stadium!

Yeah, smiles all around.

And inspiring... that night, which is coming up a bit (yeah, I know, this is way too long to digest...), we came up with this!!!

Here's the jersey idea.

Eels, I like Birds.

So, being within walking distance of the park after the game, we walked back for a quick breather before continuing our day...

Hey look! What floor is the elevator on in a way too elaborate system!

That night, walking around Chesapeake bay.

White shirt pirate covention.

An 80's sand castle!... Looking closely, it's complete with an A-Team truck, Mario, roller skates, a boom box with requisite cassette tape, and a wtf Rubik's cube!

Live band covering Gin Blossoms. Might have actually been the Gin Blossoms. The background there is the externally gorgeous looking world famous Baltimore aquarium!

Baltimore's old Power plant building. And by day.

Absolutely gorgeous building. Along with all the glorious advertising, including the ESPN zone, which is/was/may have already apparently closed. We sadly did not confirm.

Ok, so the romantic harbour walk we that we took a taxi to Canton for dinner at Mama's on the Half Shell. Unfortunately not this Baltimore's Mamas. Anyway, if you do happen to find yourself in Baltimore, which eventually you should, go to this area, explore the square, go to Mama's, and have a boil of their mussels to start. Comes with shrimp and chorizo in a tomato based soup, and is absolutely fucking delicious.

It looks like it's fairly new on the menu, and is absolutely a must.

The soft shelled crab and combination platters aren't too bad either.

Alright, so after exploring Canton a bit, we headed down to Fell's Point, home of Homicide. I think this is basically the reason Adam wanted to go to Baltimore.

He made me take two dozen of these photos in varied poses.

Aside from the Homicide police station, Fell's Point was pretty great! Good bars, really nice people, and some great sights...

Also, at Kooper's Tavern, a dude was walking around with samples of steak. Yeah...

Great place to hang out at night... Alright... next day!!!

Bright and early we headed back to Fell's Point to get more pictures of Adam infront of the Homicide cop station.

I wasn't kidding.

Baltimore is big on these pirates too...

Max's... They have 300 brands and 62 on draft.

So yeah.. Baltimore is really a great place to visit.. just make sure you stay in the certain neighbourhoods, cuz a few blocks out and buildings start to become immediately boarded up.

Oh, and don't eat at the Sip and Bite, cuz it mostly bites. One review: A buddy of mine scored a 60GB iPod for $20 off a junkie here! C'mon!?!? Classic. Just don't eat there.

After fairing a bit rich over the weekend I decided to go with some steamed broccoli, stewed tomatoes, and roast chicken with some sort of sauce. Little did I know the sauce would be radio active and absolutely disgusting.

The stewed tomatoes on the other hand were quite delicious!


Alright, on the road back... You are finally coming to the end of this massive post you have just skimmed for the last 20 minutes!

Pulling over for some gas in York, PA, we found a Pet Detective!!!

Yes guy.

Highway Amish? Around Lancaster and Harrisburg along the Susquehanna river. You're gonna have to take my word for it.. for some reason their website isn't working...

I almost crashed the car taking this picture, but it was well worth it.

Last stop for gas and a coffee? I believe it was Bath, NY. Why yes, I'm glad you asked.. there is a street view of it!

View Larger Map

Yeah, sure Dunkin' Fucking Donuts. That fucking bathroom was E.coli preservation facility. And yes, I will surely speak to the 17 year old boy currently at the head of this fine operation.

Ahhh.. it wasn't all bad. The donuts were delicious! Ok, I've been doing this too long.

Anyway, this trip and these pics have inspired me to post up the rest of the epic south-western road trip! Look for them within the next 2 to 3 months guaranteed!

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