Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Day Trip I: Cheesesteak and Whips
My son, who has his learner’s permit, needs 60 hours of supervised driving in order to take his driving test. We got a lot of those hours on our cross-country vacation, but he was still short about 20 hours. In order to fill out his driving time we have been taking daytrips on the weekends.
For our first trip, my son mentioned that he had a craving for an authentic Phlly cheesesteak. We have tried most of the famous places like Pat’s and Geno’s, but our favorite South Philly cheesesteak palace is Tony Luke’s on Oregon Street right under I-95. My favorite is their Pork Italian which has sliced pork, mild provolone cheese and either spinach or broccoli rabe. It’s not a traditional ribeye and cheez-wiz sandwich, but it is soooo good.
Not willing to drive a hundred miles just for lunch, I put together a list of activities and festivals to piggy-back on the Tony Luke’s run. We settled on the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire about an hour west of Philly. I roused my family at what is an ungodly hour for them on the weekend and we hit the road about 10 am.
The drive up was a nightmare. An accident in the Harbor Tunnel had I-895 closed for nearly an hour. I-95 in Delaware was stop and go from the Maryland border to the toll plaza. If it weren’t for EZ-Pass, we would have waited even longer. Traffic slowed again from the turnpike rest stop to the split for the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Including a quick coffee and snack break at the rest stop, it took us nearly four hours to go about 100 miles. After our cheesesteaks, we were very late getting to the Renaissance Faire.
On the geek continuum, I am low in RenFaire points, leaning to the SF conventions like Balticon. I went a few times to a local one in high school and went to the Maryland one several years ago. The grounds were much better than the one in Maryland with tons of booths, stages, and food vendors. The number of people in some level of costume approached fifty percent. And there was way more entertainment than we get to in the few hours we had left in the afternoon.
We caught the very funny performance by Don Juan and Miguel, a whip and swordplay act that is played for laughs. The show isn’t listed in the program as explicit, but it is full of plenty of innuendo. The two guys have a hard time keeping a straight face, let alone staying in character as they crack whips and fight with flaming swords. They even have a cameo by “Don Juan’s” real-life daughter who is easy on the eyes and no slouch with a whip herself.
My son bought a Seinfeld-style black puffy shirt and matching jester hat. Normally this would be a frivolous purchase, but he has managed to wear the outfit socially at least one already. The end of the day jousting tournament was just a little too realistic and graphic for my wife, but I thought it was well done. We may even make a return trip.
Blatant Comment Whoring™: We still need a few more daytrips. Anything within about a hundred miles of Columbia, Maryland is fair game.