Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Philadelphia Freedom

Philadelphia has never been on my ‘must see’ list. In fact, I can’t even spell the name without using my spellchecker. The only thing I know about Philly (spelled that on my own) is they have some sort of damaged bell and a song by Elton John that doesn’t really seem to say much about the city at all. But the Philly Skate Club was having their annual Philly Free Skate weekend and I couldn’t think of anything more adventurous than a weekend of skating a new city. Plus I always like the word ‘free’.

The organized skates all started at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art stairs. These are the same stairs that Rocky runs up in his famous movie scene. So every skate I re-enacted this famous movie scene. The only difference was I ran up on skates which was way cooler than plain old sneakers in my humble opinion.

The first skate on Friday afternoon we were honked at in a not so friendly manner more times than I could count. I started calling Philly ‘The City of Brotherly Beeeeep’.

The second Friday skate was like one giant flash mob. There were well over 100 skaters and we would sprint a distance while taking up traffic lanes and then abruptly stop in a public area. After a few minutes we would quickly sprint off again in various directions. It really was like a city wide skating flash mob and very entertaining.

The organized skates were fun but my favorite part of the trip was when the small Orlando contingent decided to venture out on our own. We were in search of Tony Luke’s which is supposed to be the best cheese steaks in town…or cheese cakes as I kept calling them for some dumb reason. There was a long line but the cheese steaks definitely lived up to their reputation. And the sautéed spinach side was also yummy and made me feel less guilty about my huge hoagie steak sandwich and cola.

From there we continued our adventure and exploring on skates and saw a plethora of unusual things including a kid in a Panda costume in the 90 degree heat, an anatomically correct Chinese guardian lion in Chinatown and superheroes from a convention that was in town.

We also skated over the Ben Franklin Bridge to beautiful Camden NJ so we could call our day a two state skate. The view from the top of the bridge was invigorating as was the fast skate down the bridge. Camden was deserted but seemed nice enough until a few drugged out looking locals approached us. The looks we got later when we told the local skaters we went to Camden made me realize we were lucky to get out of there incident free.

During our trip we all acquired vacation names. These were well earned nicknames based on things that occurred on vacation. Our Orlando group consisted of Chainsaw Joe, Backstreet Bruce and Cruisin and Bruisin Cathy. I won’t explain where these names came from since it’s probably more of an inside joke but I highly recommend trying your own vacation names as an entertaining addition to any trip.

I totaled 95 skating miles over the weekend. My shins were bruised so bad that the skates have been put on a ‘time out’ while I heal. Overall I met some nice people and had a good time in the city of brotherly beeeep but I don’t think I’ll be visiting again any time soon.

Cat “Cruzin Chainsaw Backstreet” Cathy

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