Abraham Lincoln Tour Across America 2014

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So every once in a while, folks ask me why The Pres is called The Pres. Well, his sick parents named him after a certain President of the United States. Yes, both parts of his name. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which President.

On a probably completely unrelated note, last year’s road trip for us consisted of the Great Smokey Mountains and Mammoth Cave (as previously covered) and later meandered through Louisville (got to see the biggest bat in the world at the Louisville Slugger factory) and out to St Louis (going up the arch!) and then back home through Indianapolis (speedway and Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library) and Dayton (Wright Brothers Museum). But the heart of it was stopping by nearly every place that Abraham Lincoln lived.

It started right after Mammoth Cave, when we headed for Hodgenville, Kentucky and the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park.

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Gloucester Township Health & Fitness Trail – Blackwood, NJ

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Gloucester Township Health & Fitness Trail (Formerly Blackwood Railroad Trail) – Blackwood, Gloucester Township, Camden County, NJ
Distance – 2.75 miles (one way)
Type – Out-and-back
Difficulty:  1 of 10
Total score: 5 of 10

Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – Crosses through forest, swamp, and town

Trailheads – Main Street & Linden Ave –  39°47’3.96″N,  75° 3’31.66″W
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Meadow Run Dr and East Atlantic Ave –  39°49’18.67″N,  75° 4’16.30″W
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City Hall – Philadelphia, PA

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City Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Ticket office hours – Monday to Friday, 9:00 – 4:30 PM
Tickets are first come, first serve.  You must buy your tickets for the same day as the tour.
Tower hours – Monday to Friday, Tours every 15 minutes, limit four people at a time.
First tour goes up at 9:30 AM.  Last tour at 4:15 PM.

Super secret hint – You MUST get there early to get tickets, no more than 104 people can go up each day!  We got to the office about 20 minutes before it opened, and were the first ones there.  Five minutes later, the next couple showed up.  By the time the door opened, there were already about 20 people in line.  Tickets often sell out in the first hour.

Fees – $6 per adult, $4 for seniors, students, youth,  and military (2015 prices)

It’s not particularly well known, but you can get up to right under William Penn’s feet, and see the whole darn city from up there!  My dad used to tell us about going when he was a kid, where he swears he looked out from William Penn’s hat.  While he never took us, he put the idea in my head, and I swore I’d do it someday.   But as things go, I just never got around to it.  Until two weeks ago.

Early Friday morning, the wife, Tree Rider, The Pres, and I parked over by the cathedral and hoofed it to City Hall.

Early morning bonus - no one in Love Park yet.

Early morning bonus – no one in Love Park yet.

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There, we waited outside the tourist office (the office is located in one of the passages leading to the center plaza of City Hall).  We got there about 25 minutes before it opened, good enough for being first in line.  That also gave us the first tour of the day!

After getting our tickets, we walked around to the Visitor’s Entrance, went up the elevator to the 7th floor, and followed the red line around to the escalator up to the 8th floor, where the small City Hall museum is.

Just follow the signs.

Just follow the signs.

Being first, the doors weren't open yet.

Being first, the doors weren’t open yet.

The museum is mostly just one big central display, which talks about the history of the building and examines whether it’s a monumental achievement (if it had been built on schedule, it would have been the tallest building in the world when finished.  It took decades over, so was only the 3rd tallest when completed.  It’s still one of the largest municipal buildings on Earth)  or a monument to corruption (Philadelphia politics has never really changed).

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We had about ten minutes in the museum, which was enough to read every sign, then it was our turn to go up the tower.  The guard calls your tour time, you pile into the elevator, and he takes you up!  On the way up, you’ll get  glimpse of the inside of the tower, including the insides of the tower’s four clocks.
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Spilling out of the cramped elevator, duck your head to get out onto the platform.  It’s enclosed in glass and steel, but still open to the elements.

OUT!

OUT!

Looking up, you’ll be able to check Billy Penn’s shoes for gum he may have stepped in.

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But I doubt that you’ll look up right away, you’ll be too busy looking out.  This might have lost its crown as the city’s tallest building when I was six years old, but you’re still over 500 feet in the air, and the views were crystal clear this day.

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Franklin Parkway toward the Art Museum.

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Toward the Walt Whitman Bridge.

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Long way down... and that's just to the roof of City Hall.

Long way down… and that’s just to the roof of City Hall.

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Ben Franklin Bridge.

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He'll remember this, right?

He’ll remember this, right?

15 minutes might not seem like a long time, but unlike some other tall places I’ve been (High Point Monument, St Louis Arch, Seattle Space Needle), with only four people up there plus the security person, you won’t be fighting anyone for space or views.

After 15 minutes, back down the elevator, out the door, and you’re on your way.  We went back by way of the offices across the street, because art.

If this isn't art, I don't know what is.

If this isn’t art, I don’t know what is.

Doesn't look as tall from down here, but I assure you, it's quite tall.

Doesn’t look as tall from down here, but I assure you, it’s quite tall.

 

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West Deptford Scenic Trail – Thorofare, NJ

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West Deptford Scenic Trail – Thorofare (West Deptford), Gloucester County, NJ
Distance – 1.1 mile total
Type – Loop trail
Difficulty:  2 of 10 (two easy blow downs at the moment)
Total score:  5 of 10

Open – Sunrise to Sunset.

Terrain – meadows, woods, and swamp

Trailheads –  39°51’6.16″N,  75°11’40.26″W

Trailhead

Trailhead

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Woodbury Creek Paddle – Woodbury to Thorofare, NJ

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Woodbury Creek Paddle – Woodbury Creek Park, Woodbury, NJ to Riverwinds, Thorofare (West Deptford), NJ
Distance: 4.5 (including stop at Red Bank Battlefield in National Park, NJ)
Type: One way
Difficulty: 3 of 10.
Total score: 8 of 10.

Terrain – Wide, tidal river with marshes

Put ins – Woodbury Creek Park –  39°50’29.02″N,  75° 9’17.74″W (careful, slippery!)

Put in at Woodbury Creek.

Put in at Woodbury Creek.

Pull outs – Red Bank Battlefield –   39°52’4.67″N,  75°11’30.95″W

R:317,G:256,B:384

Riverwinds –  39°51’45.79″N,  75°12’28.11″W
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Great Egg Harbor River Paddle – Penny Pot to Lake Lenape, Mays Landing

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Great Egg Harbor River Paddle – Penny Pot in Hammonton to Lake Lenape, Mays Landing, NJ
Distance: 16.9 miles total (we did 2.7 miles)
Type: One way
Difficulty: 6 of 10 – I’m sure much lower when flow is normal
Total score: 7 of 10.

Breakdown (according to the Atlantic County Park System):
Penny Pot to Weymouth – 9.9 miles (4 – 6 hours)
Weymouth to Camp Acagisca – 2.7 miles (2 – 3 hours)
Camp Acagisca to Lake Lenape – 4.3 miles (3 – 4 hours)

Terrain – Forest and swamp

Map –
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Put ins –
Penny Pot – 39°34’31.64″N, 74°49’20.54″W (8th Street, just off Rt 73 – Hammonton, NJ)
Weymouth Furnace – 39°31’4.22″N, 74°46’44.69″W – Weymouth Road, just off Rt 322 – Hamilton Twp, NJ)
Camp Acagisca – 39°29’36.36″N, 74°45’59.39″W (Weymouth Road, Mays Landing, NJ)

Take outs –
Weymouth Furnace – 39°31’4.22″N, 74°46’44.69″W – Weymouth Road, just off Rt 322 – Hamilton Twp, NJ)
Camp Acagisca – 39°29’36.36″N, 74°45’59.39″W (Weymouth Road, Mays Landing, NJ)

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Swamp Trail – Estell Manor County Park – Estell Manor, NJ

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Swamp Trail (Loop with Oak Ridge Trail and Artesian Well Road ) – Estell Manor County Park – Estell Manor, Atlantic County, NJ
Distance: 2 mile loop (Can continue further on the Swamp Trail or can hike a lot more on the other 18 miles of connecting trails in the park)
Type: Loop
Difficulty: 2 of 10
Total score: 9  of 10

Website – Estell Manor Park
Open – 7:30 AM to dusk

Terrain – Swamp and forest

Trailheads –  39°24’55.42″N,  74°44’0.31″W

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