Art On Wheels, Part Eight (Thank You, Philadelphia)

A tad more than four years ago I was inspired to pen a piece for this publication that revolved around beautifully decorated motor vehicles. Pen it I did (click here), not expecting to return to the subject matter multiple times. However, as fate would have it, return I did. Yup, there’s no denying that I get kicks from seeking out and writing about art on wheels.

In each of the previous installments of this ongoing tale, I discovered most of my victims in the suburbs of Philadelphia. That was a matter of convenience, because I’m a suburbanite. However, for the current installment I decided to say “f*ck, no!” to the burbs and say “f*ck, yes!” to the City Of Brotherly Love itself. As a result, on the 16th of August I climbed aboard a train that took me from my little town to the city that I know better than any other.

As summer days go, it was a good one. The temperature was not oppressively hot. More important, the partly cloudy skies were blocking the Sun a good deal, which was absolutely A-OK with me. “And why is that?” you ask. Well, it’s because I instantly begin to sweat my aged ass off when I’m under an unobstructed summer sun!

Arriving in Philadelphia at 10:30 AM, I spent three hours, interrupted by a lunch break, striding along many of its central section’s innumerable blocks. When I began the scouting expedition I wasn’t confident that I’d spot enough good-looking vehicles to illustrate this story adequately. The trucks/vans/buses gods must have been sitting on my shoulders, though, because vehicles of interest entered my field of vision right from the get-go.

The first one I saw came in the form of a Peter Pan interstate bus, which was in the loading area of a bus terminal one block away from the train station that I had exited only minutes earlier. It’s a winner, futuristic in design and hues, and pretty much the epitome of confidence and cool. There’s no doubt in my mind that this bus is not to be messed with. Woe to whomever might even consider the idea.

Then, a minute after taking Peter Pan’s portrait I turned onto Arch Street, where a lovely Rosenberger’s food truck was zipping along. With no time to waste, I pointed my phone’s camera, pressed the button and hoped for the best. Happily, the picture came out clear instead of blurry.

I was on a roll. It continued on 12th Street not long after the Rosenberger’s encounter. There, two impossible-not-to-notice Philadelphia tour buses were parked a few feet apart from one another. Those vehicles are as explosively colorful as just about anything within Philadelphia’s borders. Man, it would be an honor to ride around town, seeing the sights, in either of them.


All in all, I snapped pictures of 15 motor vehicles during my trek. There were a few others I’d have liked to photograph, but they were on the move and eluded me. This page contains the portraits of nine of the fifteen.


The most invigorating aspect of my Philadelphia expedition was its by-chance nature. Shit yeah, it felt good to kick off the shackles of my structured and regimented life for a while and simply move from here to there, as loose as a goose, letting happen whatever might happen. I had no idea in advance where any decorative vehicles might be. And they sure as hell had no idea where I might be. Basically, I was on a very unpredictable treasure hunt without a treasure map in hand.

I was, of course, damn well pleased to locate as many eye-catchers as I did. The final vehicle that posed for me was a snazzy Dynatech van. After that I searched in vain for 20 minutes, and then began to run out of gas. The time had arrived to think about seating myself on a train that would bring me back to my little town.

Philadelphia has made my day so many times over the years (I lived in Philly for about 30 years before heading to the burbs in 2005). Once again it hadn’t disappointed.

(Please don’t be shy about adding your comments. Mucho gracias.)

82 thoughts on “Art On Wheels, Part Eight (Thank You, Philadelphia)

  1. gabychops September 14, 2021 / 1:24 am

    Very colorful and interesting trip to document!

    Thank you!

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

  2. andrewcferguson September 14, 2021 / 2:12 am

    American van owners are so much more into eye-catching designs than here – and they have a faithful recorder of them in yourself, Neil!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. George September 14, 2021 / 3:54 am

    I love the way these posts of yours make us look at everyday things with fresh eyes. The Peter Pan bus especially is stunning.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Annika Perry September 14, 2021 / 4:10 am

    I’d step straight off the train onto the Peter Pan bus … so inviting! I’m envious of your colourful and interesting collection of vehicles and since your posts pay extra attention to cars, vans and lorries on our roads! So boring … vans mostly white, lorries, just dirty … but I will keep on looking! Glad you had a good day out, Neil! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 14, 2021 / 2:42 pm

      Hey there, Annika. I always have a good time when I wander around Philadelphia. It’s a very interesting city.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. swabby429 September 14, 2021 / 6:26 am

    I’d like to shake the hand of whoever came up with the concept for the “Clutter” truck. Absolutely brilliant and funny at the same time.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Robert Parker September 14, 2021 / 6:48 am

    Hi Neil – I like the Clutter truck, too, it must’ve visited my apartment and delivered some. But the Peter Pan bus has got the prize for visual pizazz. Good shooting’ Tex!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. JOYCE HAMILTON September 14, 2021 / 7:22 am

    Always love your clicks!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Paddy Tobin September 14, 2021 / 7:58 am

    “Peter Pan” for design and elegance and “Clutter” for simple effectiveness but all interesting.

    By contrast, my idea of a day away is to head to somewhere even quieter than where I live and I live in a quiet area as it is with six houses on a one mile stretch of road, a house beside ours and our next neighbour half a mile away. I head to the mountains or quiet seasides; gardens also when I reckon they are quiet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 14, 2021 / 2:48 pm

      I know what you mean. My wife and I go to Cape Cod most years partly for the reasons you mention. A person can find peace and quiet and solitude in various parts of Cape Cod.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. rivertoprambles September 14, 2021 / 8:08 am

    It’s a good way to live: pick a subject, ramble toward it, through it & around, and let chance work its wonders…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. greenpete58 September 14, 2021 / 8:43 am

    “Clutter” is a great name for a moving truck. The only thing better might be “Stuff.” (And a nod to George Carlin.) Design-wise, I like the LWC and Rosenberger trucks.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 14, 2021 / 2:50 pm

      Howdy, Pete. Yeah, the LWC is really beautiful. I don’t think I’d ever seen one of their vehicles before.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jacqui Murray September 14, 2021 / 10:07 am

    It’s amazing what companies put into decorating their trucks. Here’s an idea: clothing as art. I am amazed what I’ve seen some of the actors wearing at award shows!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 14, 2021 / 2:52 pm

      Right. I saw a couple of photos from a recent awards show. I think it was a videos awards event. And I noticed some really unusual clothing there.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Helen Devries September 14, 2021 / 12:21 pm

    So good to see that after all those months of close tack you felt free to wander….and had such super results. You’re right, there is something about that Peter Pan bus…..not good to get in its way! Lovely, happy post…thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Debra September 14, 2021 / 12:36 pm

    Always lots of interesting things to notice in Philly…you just have to keep your eyes peeled.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 14, 2021 / 2:56 pm

      Absolutely. There’s no end to the interesting details contained within the city’s boundaries. I find Philly just as fascinating now as I did decades ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Rosaliene Bacchus September 14, 2021 / 1:01 pm

    Loved your photos of art on wheels. The Peter Pan interstate bus is my top pick. I agree that its “futuristic in design and hues, and pretty much the epitome of confidence and cool.”

    Liked by 2 people

  15. JT Twissel September 14, 2021 / 2:03 pm

    We live about 15 minutes from San Francisco and I must admit, it’s nice to visit but then it’s nice to return to the quiet hills. Is the Peter Pan bus headed for Neverland?

    Liked by 2 people

  16. sniderjerry September 14, 2021 / 3:06 pm

    Hey there Neil, This was fun. I think the clutter truck was either on the way or leaving my house.
    Have a great day. Jerry

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Dave September 14, 2021 / 5:27 pm

    “… on a very unpredictable treasure hunt without a treasure map in hand…” – I like that. And my vote goes to the Peter Pan bus. I love how the lettering slants, as if the velocity of the bus is blowing back the letters. I’d ride Peter Pan any day with a look like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 14, 2021 / 6:24 pm

      I think that that bus is the sharpest-looking bus I’ve ever seen. And thanks for the observation about the lettering. I hadn’t noticed that.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. eden baylee September 14, 2021 / 9:26 pm

    Great series Neil, The Clutter truck is my fave, nice play on the word and its purposeful lack of clutter image.
    I can see how it could’ve gone the opposite direction, but the clean look delivers a more powerful statement.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Joe September 14, 2021 / 11:58 pm

    You were really on a roll this time, Neil. I bet only the coolest people like you could get a ticket on the Peter Pan Express. Next stop Neverland!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 15, 2021 / 7:19 am

      That bus seems magical, doesn’t it? It very well might have some hidden powers. Hi, and thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. johnlmalone September 15, 2021 / 2:12 am

    a lot of imagination has gone into these colourful designs , Neil: I really liker the one advertising generators with its slogan: ‘Disasters Never Call Ahead’ 🙂 advertisers are the poets of our age: the Subway as on TV with customers riding a 9-metre Sub is a masterpiece 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 15, 2021 / 7:13 am

      And it’s cool the way that big dome seems to be hovering above that truck. Thanks for your insights, John. Appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. sloppy buddhist September 15, 2021 / 9:54 am

    I love that feeling of letting loose Neil … and solo day trips are fun for sure…I’ve never been to Philadelphia yet…I’m also enjoying the truck images…sending joy for another foot loose and fancy free day ~ hugs hedy ☺️🤗💫🕊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 15, 2021 / 12:10 pm

      Hey there. You know, wandering around Philadelphia is one of my favorite things to do. I sometimes go to Philly neighborhoods that I barely know or have never been to before. It’s a big, diverse and interesting city.

      Like

  22. Basia Korzeniowska September 15, 2021 / 10:35 am

    i love your pictures of the trucks. here transport is usually very boring. but I shall keep an eye out as I am going into central London today. There’s certainly nothing of interest in my own suburb of Ealing!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. viewfromoverthehill September 15, 2021 / 12:48 pm

    I’m no way a talented photographer, but you have managed to make me aware of the beautiful and interesting art on vehicles. We have a few beauties right in my neighbourhood which I see often and enjoy because of you. Thanks for that. Cheers, Muriel

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ann Coleman September 15, 2021 / 2:21 pm

    Sorry, I hit post too soon….anyway, I was trying to say that seeing all those interesting vehicles was worth the trip to Philadelphia!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. tylerus September 15, 2021 / 2:44 pm

    You’ll certainly have me keeping a more watchful eye on vehicles. I’ve never noticed any particularly attractive / eye-fetching ones before . . . but then I’m always focused on inner thoughts and turmoils. LOL I love the Peter Pan bus!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 15, 2021 / 4:35 pm

      Based on readers’ responses, there’s no doubt that the Peter Pan bus has got what it takes!

      Like

  26. mariezhuikov September 15, 2021 / 3:02 pm

    Ok, now I’m going to have to keep an eye out for artful motor vehicles. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 15, 2021 / 4:39 pm

      Hi. I think you’ll be surprised by how many good-lookers you’ll see. Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. alhenry September 15, 2021 / 6:20 pm

    I like the “CLUTTER” van. Please, come to my house and take it all away. EVERYTHING.

    As for the Peter Pan interstate bus, I agree it is way cool–for a bus. In fact, after Ida drowned NYC and the trains cancelled their runs to Massachusetts (or anywhere), Ed and I took that bus home. BUT for all its cool, hip-daddy exterior, I want to say right here GET A GOOD BATHROOM ON THAT THING. At least, one with a sink. Even a teeny sink.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 15, 2021 / 10:01 pm

      It’s a world full of unlikely coincidences: here I was writing about a Peter Pan bus, and it turns out that you and Ed were ON a Peter Pan bus. I’m glad you made it back home okay. Ida was unbelievable.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Miel September 15, 2021 / 6:41 pm

    I love how everything looked so vibrant and colorful! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 15, 2021 / 10:02 pm

      Hi, Miel. I had a good time in Philadelphia that day. It’s a lively, colorful city.

      Like

  29. workinacresnothours September 15, 2021 / 7:38 pm

    Such a cool thing to do. I love the Peter Pan bus it looks like it would take you on a magical trip, my Dad was a coach driver & sometimes he’d take me on trips, hand me the microphone when he was sick of talking & I’d have to sing for everyone, lol.
    You should take a trip on a tourist bus, there is a double decker bus we went on many years ago, that does tours round the Blue mountain towns it’s amazing & fun. Your pics looked great, like a wandering vehicle show. Fun

    Liked by 1 person

      • workinacresnothours September 16, 2021 / 5:25 pm

        Lol, I sang the classics, Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree, How much is that doggy in the window a few others I can’t remember the names. It was when I was 9 & 10yr old. The oldies loved it. If you ever go on a tour bus grab the mic have a sing along I bet everyone would love it.lol

        Liked by 1 person

  30. shoreacres September 16, 2021 / 7:25 am

    One of the things I really enjoy is seeing various smaller work vehicles creatively ‘wrapped’ — it seems to be quite the thing here now. I especially enjoyed the uncluttered look of your Clutter vehicle. I must say, your Sysco truck is far more attractive than ours, which usually are decorated with nothing more than the Sysco name and a kind of long ribbon on the side. What a creative idea you had; this was a fun entry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 16, 2021 / 10:06 am

      Greetings. I saw two Sysco trucks. Or maybe it was the same truck in two locations. Both times the truck was parked in narrow streets: it takes great skill to drive a truck in dense cities such as Philadelphia.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. cincinnatibabyhead September 16, 2021 / 12:24 pm

    Its funny. Ive been hanging with you a couple years now and you have me taking more than a passing notice of these AOW’s. See how easily CB is lead.

    Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead September 16, 2021 / 8:49 pm

        Right after reading your piece I was out for a drive and seen this cool van decorated in paw prints ect. A mobile dog grooming van. See what you started.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. cigarman501 September 16, 2021 / 2:29 pm

    You and I view art differently, which is fine. I prefer the old fifties pickup truck sitting in a pasture with an oak tree growing out of the engine bay or a goat standing on top of the cab. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. annieasksyou September 16, 2021 / 3:56 pm

    I got caught up on the image of you walking and clicking in Philly with the “trucks, vans, and buses gods” all resting on your shoulders. That’s a heavy load in itself, methinks.

    Always enjoy your colorful perambulations, Neil.

    Liked by 1 person

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