Roadtrippin’ — Day Four

In a six-part series, Take The Highway takes to the highway on a six day roadtrip through the southeast, mid-Atlantic, and northeastern United States.

After not bothering with the underwhelming breakfast bar in Binghamton, we stopped at McDonald’s to get some breakfast items, then hit the road.

This day was mostly sunny, temperatures in the mid-50s to around 70.  Perfect weather for roadtrippin’.

We took Interstate 81 south, along the same route as the day before.

For today’s destination, Philadelphia, we took Interstate 476, which is mostly a toll road and part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike system, known at the Northeast Extension.  After getting on 476 in Clarks Summit, we headed south and soon went through two toll plazas within about 4 miles.  Odd.

We Shoulda’ Stopped in Binghamton For Gas

For a long way along 81 and 476, there are no gas stations for quite some time. We were getting pretty low on the fuel gauge.  Also, we needed cash for the tolls since they don’t take credit cards.

We ended up finding a gas station a few miles off 476 in the one-stoplight burg of Taylor.  Gas worked.  ATM did not.

Lesson No. 1: Fill up the tank at the beginning of the day (we didn’t save any money by filling up in podunk Taylor)

Lesson No. 2: Keep $20 on you at all times: A $10 bill, a $5 bill, and five $1 bills.

We drove to the other side of 476 and the neighboring town of Old Forge, where we did in fact find a working ATM.

Back on the Turnpike

Now filled up, cashed up, hydrated, and all that stuff, we were back on 476.

Now the question was: How much money is this going to cost us?  For miles, we had no idea.  We were searching various websites, even stopping at a travel plaza so we could both look.  Finally we found an estimator, and it looked like it’d end up costing us around $13 from Clarks Summit to Plymouth Meeting.

The rate ticket given to us at the toll plaza was confusing, and included fares going all the way to Pittsburgh (via Interstate 76, the actual Turnpike).

At the Plymouth Meeting toll plaza, we ended up paying around $13, as we had estimated.  It turned out they do take credit cards at the end plaza.

Once strapped for time, we were ahead of schedule for making it to Philadelphia.

Coming into Philadelphia

At the end of Interstate 476, we ended up on the Schuylkill Expressway.  The expressway is largely four lanes and parallels the Schuylkill River coming into town.

Before long, we crossed the river and were in a hilly section of town that seemed more like San Francisco.

Philadelphia neighborhood of Manayunk. Land drains towards the Schuylkill River, background.

We were in town for Michele’s brother, Chris’, college graduation.

Congrats to Chris on his graduation, and a big thanks for letting us stay overnight!

Day Five: More on Philadelphia, and our thoughts on the city.  Plus, our next destination.

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