Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hey, we're a bus...

We are at the Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack, in Chester, Pennsylvania (map).

As is typical for this time of year in the northeast, overnight stopping options are limited. Most of the state park campgrounds are already closed for the season, as well as many private parks. What few private parks are open are generally full of long-term (read: permanent) tenants, which even further detracts, for us, from their already low desirability as overnight stops. And Wal-Marts and other businesses in this part of the country are often crammed in to crowded areas and/or forbid overnight parking.

With such limited options, we rely fairly heavily on Elks lodges, with the occasional Wal-Mart or other parking lot as available. I was surprised to find a casino here when I consulted my on-line Casino Camper directory (the casino is too new to appear in our printed Casino Camping book). The listing said that the casino allowed overnight parking and had an area available for it. It was at just the right distance from Glen Burnie for our end-of-day stop, and so we dialed it in to the GPS, and headed out.

We escaped Baltimore on I-95, which meant a $4 trip through the harbor tunnel. The clearance is 13'6", and we're 13' even, but our CB antenna is, apparently, just taller than that, so it dragged the ceiling through the entire tunnel. Whoops. Just past the beltway we ditched onto scenic US-1, which took us over the Conowingo Dam impounding the Susquehanna. The lanes on the dam are quite narrow, and we had to proceed slowly. US-322 brought us back into the I-95 corridor just southwest of Philly.

Now, the casino web site, as well as a billboard on I-95, suggested access to the casino was via exit 8, then down Stewart to US-291 and back the two miles to the property. Our GPS decided it knew a better way, and tried to bring us in from exit 6, which would have been much shorter and more direct. Unfortunately, the Amtrak electrified main line runs between I-95 and the waterfront, and all the connecting roads run under 12'-something bridges. We ended up having to backtrack back onto the freeway and follow the suggested route, which was fine. We did stumble across a Wal-Mart in the process, which became our backup option, but it looked quite crowded in the lot.

When we arrived here at the casino, there was no obvious place to park, so I called them. After describing our vehicle, they directed us to the tour bus parking area just south of the parking garage. It was a little strange, passing the "buses only" sign and pulling in to one of only four spaces here, designed for disgorging 50+ casino patrons. At least we sort of look like a bus, maybe for a high roller. This is also the area where numerous SEPTA transit buses stop, and the bus stop was busy all night, we presume mostly with casino employees. Nevertheless, it was quiet enough for a comfortable night's sleep. We did leave the diesel boiler running all night, uncharacteristic for us, as it dipped down into the low 20s.

We did have a nice dinner at the "Cove" steakhouse in the casino. We had a view of the river to watch the ships coming and going, and being loaded at a nearby pier. Our parking spot is also adjacent to the paddock area, and this morning the paddock is very busy, with a couple dozen horse trailers in the lot. I don't know if there is racing today, or just practice; we've seen nothing on the track, which is visible out our windows.

Today we'll blast through Philly on I-95 and cross the river before heading off to less traveled roads.


  1. If you got through the Baltimore Tunnel the toll collector must have thought you were a bus. Or maybe you don't have any proane tanks? Any RV with propane is not permitted to use either tunnel around Baltomore. Know of several that were turned back at the toll,
    Cory DeNoble Sneads Ferry, NC [even cold here]

  2. Actually, you are permitted up to ten cylinders, each less than ten pounds LP, per Maryland law.

    We do have LP cylinders, but they hold a maximum of 8.8 pounds each, less than the Harbor Tunnel limit. We have two of these, plus a torch bottle in the tool kit.

    Note that I mentioned this in the previous post.


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!