Eastern United States = TOLLBOOTHS. One one leg alone (Camden, NJ to NYC) we spent about $45 in tolls. Beware! The young toll booth girl shorted me a dollar, OR hadn't been fully trained, OR had her music so loud she couldn't concentrate. New Jersey public service announcements could go like this: "COUNT IT BEFORE YOU FLOOR IT"

Preparing to leave DC, we had decided that we would steam right past Philly, PA and settle into NYC for our second dose of ‘BIG CITY’ before heading to the relaxation ahead in Ohio, at Kellys family’s home. Pulling out of Greenbelt National Park, the bus seemed to be pulling to the left, like the air pressure was low on the left front tire (although I had just checked them, and all were OK). Stopping at the first pull out I was surprised to feel the heat coming off of the wheel, unlike the right side, which you could lay your hand on and it felt cold. Seemed that a brake was sticking. Having seen plenty of big truck brake fires, I opted to try and solve this before moving another inch.

Tucked in the back of the lot, you might not even notice the bus, unless you drive by the side, which has a different profile than this slender front end (in front of the van)

You may recall in Yuma, AZ when we blew out a tire? No problem. We had the house and food and TV and radio and books right there! No matter how long service took to arrive, we were fine. That may have been why this wasn’t too scary- although it was going to add up fast if someone else came out to take a professional look or perform a roadside repair. Thanks to the ABC bus tech support line, I was able to free the brake caliper enough that we could continue on- and the next ABC shop was only 130 miles North, easily close enough to drive despite our 2:30 start.

HAD to have a Philadelphia cheese steak sandwich. Choices included provolone cheese and cheese whiz on top of the thinly shaved steak. MMMMmmm. Everyone tried them, most everyone liked them.

Before our cheese steak dinner, we could take all we wanted from the free pickle bar. I can say that no one took too many pickles, the pickles were safe.

No fires along the way. I had heard Camden was a bit on the rough side, so we sought the closest Costco or Home Depot to the bus repair facility and headed there- Cherry Hill, NJ.  Those two stores are generally located in nicer neighborhoods, and it turned out well. Brand new shopping center, safe and secure. While there, we received a few email tips about what to do, one of which encouraged us to sample the local cheese steak sandwich. We found a great place, and lucked out with a pickle bar, too.

The Liberty Bell is displayed with an open glass wall looking at the front of Independence Hall. Very cool setup, but unfortunately the hall was obscured by scaffolding as they undertook renovations to the facade.

We had to wait a day to get into the service shop, so we visited Philadelphia, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

Ethan gazing over the hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Like so many things we've seen in person, they appear much smaller than they look in your mind before you arrive....

Arriving at ABC Bus the next day, after passing through the double security electric door we knew we’d made a good choice staying just outside of their fine city. The man related that we might be missing some parts off the bus if we let it sit too long outside of their secured yard (!).

Brakes inspected and made safe, then oil changed so we headed for New York City along a series of tollways. The East Coast is going to cost us some money I fear. Makes the West Coast look pretty nice. Here we’re finding narrow roads in very rough condition, tolls at every opportunity (that includes the little state of Delaware on 95 while you pass through),and forceful people. Not necessarily mean, but focused, intent personalities. Was that politically correct enough? More on that once we’re out of New Jersey and safe from retribution.

Pulling into Jersey City- our first actual view of the Statue of Liberty! In less than 24 hours we'll be at her feet, in awe.