A few (very few) aspects of our trip were less than wonderful. All in all, we had a great time because:
The Bowen boys, Sam and Ed, were at home for the summer so we had a nice visit. At 19 and 15, they are so good-looking and grown-up!
There was an elegant surprise birthday party/dinner for my 50 year old sister-in-law Barb. (We had been told it was a surprise and then we promptly forgot, so it was a surprise for us, too!) Many of the 40-or-so well-wishers were neighbours. That they all seem very fond of my gregarious brother and his lovely wife was not a surprise.
I really loved getting to know the family pets -- Bear, the huge, drooly Newfoundland, and Shep, the ultra-friendly black lab. So much ebullient dogginess has slacked my dog lust for awhile.
The big TV was always tuned to Olympics coverage. It was American coverage, of course, but I did get to watch international superstars like Usain Bolt.
On Saturday, George and Barb took us to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see Visions of Arcadia, a really wonderful exhibit, perfect for summer viewing.
As we travelled, we listened to a complete audiobook, Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. This story, first published in 2001, has had superb reviews, and the audio version was exactly the right length for two 10-hour days on the road. And besides, listening to this harrowing tale of life in a 1666 plague village made the less-than-perfect aspects of our trip pale in comparison. We completed our trip without a single boil or giant pustule. Hurrah!
The “trip” part of the road trip was fun! We shared the driving, did not shout at one another (not too often, anyway) and could still walk upright, albeit stiffly, at the end of long days trapped in the little Mazda 3.
Because we have the freedom to come and go as we wish, we would love to make another trip to Philly in the fall. The benefits: fewer tourists, cooler weather, and if we plan the visit a bit more carefully next time, we will be able to get into all those amazing galleries. Barnes, beware!