Gin and karaoke, that's Philadelphia to me. Oh, and people smoking in bars. Our experience in cities is shaped by who we stayed with. Johanna shaped Philly for us. She was a twenty something bike commuter who was new to town but willing to share what she knew. She also shared her gin. Being from Seattle people tend to take us to the biggest dive bar they can think of, in this case it was a Philadelphia institution, the Happy Birthday Bar. What followed was a night of the most diverse karaoke I've seen and me learning that I am a lot better at dancing to Bill Wither's "Use Me," than I am at singing it. We left eyes tired from cigarette smoke and ears ringing slightly. We went back the next afternoon.
We left Philadelphia on Sunday morning after seeing our friend Chris who was in town for a wedding. Johanna road with us out of town for 15 miles or so. I felt bad for her because it was 15 miles of some of the shittiest riding of the trip. It was capped off by Jeff's tire blowing up. It blew like a gunshot, obliterating his tire and wheel. Kyle heroically road the 15 mile round trip to get Jeff and new wheel and four hours later we were back on the road. Having gotten a late start, we were 30 miles away from Princeton and had only an hour of daylight left. We road hard and fast down winding dark New Jersey streets relying on street lamps spaced too far apart and car headlights. We arrived in Princeton covered in sweat and wide eyed. Luckily we had the comforts of friends there, beds to sleep in, food and laundry.
Photos: Roast Pork and Provolone in Philly // Kyle doing karaoke in Philadelphia // Night riding to Princeton