ROAD TRIP TO MAINE: DAYS 3 & 4
Days 3 & 4 of our trip involved much less traveling than days 1 & 2. We had arrived in Gettysburg late the night before, pre-booking a dog friendly hotel to rest up at. After a full night of rest in a real bed we got up, showered, and headed into beautiful downtown Gettysburg.
We walked down main street and perused gift shops and antique stores, buying a Robert E. Lee slingshot (best purchase of the day!) and an actual bullet left on the field from the war. Very cool.
After that, we did the Gettysburg auto tour, which essentially leads you through the battlefields, major monuments, and major places of action in the war. Plus its dog-friendly, so Maddie got to join us!
[We were able to get out and park the car at every major stop, and I got a lot of pictures. But they're historic places, and I wanted to share them all with you, so I picked a bunch of my favorites to frame up for this post. Sorry if its lengthy!]
The pictures above are of a cannon's mouth and a surviving farmhouse from the war, still showing the hole in the brick where a cannonball flew through.
More artillery reproductions on the left. The right is at the Gettysburg National Cemetery, where unknown soldiers were buried. Sadly, there were dozens of unknowns in the graves we passed by.
Behold: Joshua Chamberlain! Maine's own hero. He was a Maine professor who taught at Bowdoin College and even acted as our 32nd Governor! Outside of Maine, he's also known for having volunteered during the American Civil War to join the Union Army. It was cool seeing a statue of someone familiar! It was also cool seeing that someone left flowers for him.
There were several other monuments dedicated specifically to soldiers from Maine...so naturally I got my picture taken with one!
Below, the massive Pennsylvania Monument honoring any person who gave any services to the war, be it soldiers, woman on the front at home, or families who lost soldiers in the fields.
A spiral staircase leads to the top, which offers a viewing deck looking over all of Gettysburg. The ceiling, at right, is beautiful and striking even from outside the monument.
After a long day of driving through Gettysburg, we headed for Pennsylvania Dutch country. We stopped in Intercourse and Bird in Hand, both relatively accessible Amish communities located in South East Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for us photo-hungry bloggers, the Amish generally don't like having their pictures taken. I respected that, so theres not much to show you from there. But it was beautiful, and totally worth the visit! Funny how bizarre it was seeing such modestly dressed women and families riding around using a horse and buggy. It was neat though, seeing such a small pocket of diversity in small-town America.
Our last stop before home was in Bryn Mawr. We only stopped because we were getting hungry and knew there wouldn't be much in the way of vegan food between there and our final destination.
We'd heard of the college before, but didn't realize until later that Bryn Mawr is one of the wealthiest communities in the US. No wonder we liked it so much!
Bryn Mawr is home to Vgë Cafe (pronounced vee-gee), a 100% vegan, kosher restaurant in downtown. They offer plenty of gluten-free options, like that delicious mac and cheese in the first picture. It was super cheezy and better than any vegan mac and cheese I've ever concocted. The lentil soup was killer, too, and seriously hit the spot after a lot of cold, in-the-car sandwiches. We also ordered a Sea Salad wrap, their version of a tuna, and a falafel wrap. The falafel was alright but the tuna mock-up was really good!
Also note-worthy at Vgë, a soft-serve vegan ice cream bar, and a fountain soda machine that dispensed only healthy sodas made with organic cane sugar. They serve the food using all reusable and compostable materials. It was a vegan paradise!
We left Bryn Mawr after dark and arrived in Maine pretty late on Day 4.
And the next morning when we woke up...we were home!
We're staying in the little cabin below for the summer, while we build a little eco-friendly cabin of our own on some land several miles through the woods.
As you can see, Alex and Maddie are thriving here. She loves having a 30 acre field at her disposal and Alex loves tiring her out in the field.
We have a little woodstove inside and a lofted bed, plus a small dresser, dining table, and futon. Its modest but comfortable, and we're happy to be here.
Follow our trip!
Road Trip: Days 1 & 2!
Packing for a Vegan Roadtrip
ROAD TRIP TO MAINE: DAYS 1 & 2
This was the last picture I took as we crossed over the California state line into Nevada.
We knew we had to get In 'n' Out just one more time before we left for the East Coast.
While the fries are vegan friendly, not much else is, so we hadn't been in quite a while. In fact, we had even resorted to making our own vegan version of the Double-Double.
But these fries? Slathered in ketchup, they were worth every damn bite.
I loved them.
And it was a fantastic sending off, really. We drove through Arizona to the Grand Canyon, arriving just before Sunset. We made PB&J sammies, grabbed our water bottles and our puppy and headed out along the South Rim of the canyon.
As you can see, Maddie loved the view. Or maybe was terrified of it. Luckily, there was a fence either way.
Some of our Grand Canyon pictures are just before the sun set, and the brighter, more orange ones were taken right as the sun was setting.
The view was spectacular. You feel very, very small looking over such an expanse. And frankly, its amazing that ALL of that rock was carved down by the lone Colorado River.
To quote Wikipedia, if we may:
Nearly two billion years of the Earth's geological history has been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists, recent evidence suggests the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River continued to erode and form the canyon to its present-day configuration.
I definitely couldn't have explained that any better myself.
The canyon is so massive, and so breathtaking. We were truly luckily to have made it for sunset. When we left California we thought we might arrive just after dark and miss everything; luckily, parts of Arizona, including the Grand Canyon, don't use Daylight Savings Time, so we were an hour ahead and made it just in time to pack a picnic and watch the sun go down.
Thank you for that, Arizona.
Alex and I got plenty of good pictures of each other and Maddie.
She was being a very well behaved little lady- which made taking tons of pictures way easier on us.
As the sun set, the temperature dropped pretty quickly, so after about an hour of exploring, we piled back into the car. We drove clear 'till 3 am, where we crashed at a truck stop in New Mexico for the night.
The next morning we got an early start, driving through the Texas panhandle to Oklahoma. We slept at another truck stop curled up in the front seats with Maddie at our feet, this time in Missouri.
The picture above is Maddie first thing the next morning. Cutest!
She loved when we stopped in Texas for lunch; there was a huge abandoned lot next to the rest stop that she got to run around in and explore.
There was also an old saloon-like building with a rusty car and jukebox out front, and a surviving inlaid design in the concrete that told us nothing. But it was a great photo-op!
Waking up on day 3 in Missouri was nice. We were pretty restless, and hadn't slept well the night before. Plus, we were starting to get on each others nerves a bit; a break from the car, walkin' around St. Louis was just what we needed.
[Also, I had a head injury about 10 days before this destination, and Alex had to remove 2 staples from my head this same morning. Without being gruesome, he handled it like a champ. I love him.]
I had never been to St. Louis, or spent any time in the midwest. The accents are fantastic and St. Louis seems very much like a small Boston to me. I liked it a lot!
The most fantastic thing to see if you're visiting is the Gateway to the West, The St. Louis Arch. At 630 feet, it is the tallest man-made monument in the US. You can take a tram to the very top, but we had a 60 pound pitbull with us, and for some reason they frowned upon us all boarding together.
We ate clif bars in the park under the arch, overlooking the Mississippi River, before exploring the city for about an hour. We piled back in the car, and headed east for Illinois.
Packing for a Vegan Roadtrip!
Follow Our Trip to Maine!
PACKING FOR A VEGAN ROADTRIP
This week we made the big move to Maine! We've been cleaning the house and packing our things, having yard sales and going away parties, but my favorite part by far: packing food for the trip. As vegans, we know food can be hard to find on the road. Most fast food restaurants are out of the question and sometimes thats all you'll see for hours. And gas stations and truck stops don't usually stock the vegan-friendliest faire. Plus, those little pre-packaged snacks add up pretty quickly both for your wallet and your waistline.
Its cheap and easy to pack foods at home before the trip- even for vegans!
On our last day in California, we planned ahead by stopping at a Farmer's Market and picking up some fruits and vegetables for the trip. We also had a wonderful farewell dinner with Alex's family in the park. We ate vegan jamaican cuisine and brick-oven pizza while the sun set. It was fantastic.
Its usually best to get any fresh fruit or veggies you can just before the trip (the fresher, the better!) or plan on buying what you can at farmer's markets and farm stands along the way. Our route took us through the southern and midwestern parts of the country, but being that its still early April, we didn't find any farm stands until we hit Pennsylvania.
We pre-packed about 1 pound of fresh strawberries, 2 pounds of sugar snap peas, some celery from our friend's garden, and a couple of citrus fruits and apples.
We packed some fresh beet-apple-celery juice, courtesy of our friends John and Michelle, to drink on driving days 1 &2. It ended up being just the pick me up we needed after sleeping a truck stop after the first night of driving.
The celery they gave us was the best for dipping into almond and peanut butter on the drive. A perfect protein-packed snack that you can eat easily while driving-just make sure your co-pilot does the dipping for you!
We also used up some of the last of our baking ingredients whipping up a batch of hemp butter protein bars and of course, homemade chocolate chip cookies. They were delicious on the road- and better than anything we could've bought at a convenience store!
Remember to bring plastic bags for food and saving any little souvenirs along the road. We used more plastic bags and more wet wipes than I would've imagined, they were so handy!
Almond butter and jelly roll-ups on gluten-free tortillas became my main road meal. I love the classic PB&J flavor, but can't handle as much wheat anymore. The tortillas were a prefect substitution! I tried the Food for Life brand and really enjoyed them.
Also in the car we had a small cooler and reusable bag full of the food in the first picture up top. We had treats like oreos, cracker jacks, and sweet tarts (all vegan friendly!) left over from our Easter baskets so we threw those in with our protein & granola bars, peanut butter, jelly, coconut bacon, granola, chips, and anything else we could scrounge from the cabinets. Anything pretty healthy, nutritive, and easily accesible is important on a road trip. A car is a limited space, and we found that having too many items that needed preparing filled the car very quickly with trash and were hard to eat while driving.
Also important- bring some tunes or fun articles to read, it makes the trip go by way more quickly. Especially a 3,500 mile trip. A friend burned us the ENTIRE Beatles collection-over 18 hours of music- and it was really fun listening through most of it together!
Most importantly though, make sure you have a good co-pilot to keep you company. Driving that far can be exhausting and stressful, and by day 3 you will want to kill each other, but try and remember how awesome they are.
Ah, our last picture in California.
Well, we've taught you how to pack food, but what about when you just need to eat out? PB&J can get kind of boring, and we get that. Here are some of our favorite resources for finding vegan food on the road:
(they even have an app!)
WTF Vegan Food
(as in: will travel for)
(similar to HC)
We definitely found more food closer to the coasts than middle America- but that was fine with us because we planned on mostly eating food we'd brought anyway.
Updates on the road trip itself coming soon!
Follow our trip!
We're Moving to Maine!
Thats right, folks! Me and my man and our adorable puppy are packin' up and headin' east next month. We've felt the east coast tugging at our heartstrings for far too long and I'm ready to head home.
In fact, you may have noticed sporadic posting over the past few weeks and for that, I apologize. But packing and organizing is time consuming and stressful, and I get distracted easily. I went through all my pictures of home and picked and edited my favorites for this post, as penance.
The move comes as sort of a crossroads for us; after living in Fullerton, CA for almost four years together, we've really grown to love it here. But we're ready for new adventures, our lease is up, and the seasons they are-a-changin'.
Our plan is to drive back east in our Honda, and build a very small, very eco-friendly house on some of the land bequeathed to me in Maine. By tiny, I mean probably less than 120 square feet. This would (hopefully) allow us to skirt around a lot of the building codes generally associated with a house. We're gonna have to get really creative to make this work, but we plan on using all recycled materials from torn-down barns and buildings and the muscle and generosity of our friends and neighbors.
We're hoping to be able to harness some sort of the solar and/or water energy from the area to help reduce costs and keep the electric to a minimum, if we use any at all. Obviously we'll be living pretty rustically, but thats sort of the point. Living in Orange County is wonderful and warm, don't get me wrong- but its also very, very draining. There is no privacy, no escape from the rest of the population. I can hear my neighbor coughing and flushing his toilet very vividly every morning through my bedroom window- and I've had enough.
Growing up in Maine was idyllic, though I didn't realize it until I moved out state and compared childhood memories with friends. I quickly realized that I had total freedom as a child- I was aloud to ride my bike up and down the unlined roads all day, travel into the fields with a picnic by myself, or just hang out climbing a tree somewhere in the woods. I was always home before it got dark, and my parents didn't have to worry about me- all of our close neighbors were family members, and the ones who weren't technically related treated us like family all the same.
My favorite activites consisted of hiking into the woods with my Dad, or picking fresh, plump blackberries from behind my house with my Mom. Maine is such a great place for a kid with an appreciation of the outdoors to grow up, and my family nurtured that from early on.
We're leaving on our cross country drive sometime in the first week of April. We're heading up to Yosemite to camp for our first night and driving through Mammoth Mountain (over the mountain?) on our second morning. Past that, our tentative drive looks like this: California, Nevada, Utah, Colo., Kansas, Missiouri...and then pretty much just North East 7 or 8 more states until we hit home! It should take us 56 hours of drive time..so we're thinking about a week and a half of travel. It will certainly be interesting to see what kind of vegan eats we can find on the road...which is the main reason we chose our route actually: we didn't think states like Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi would have much in the way of vegan options. We're also planing on bringing lots of homemade granola bars, plenty of PB&J rations, and bottled water, just in case.
We're preparing here by getting all of the proper pre-road trip adjustments to our cars, organizing all of our belongings into either a 'keep', 'toss', or 'sell' pile, and eating as many dinners at restaurants we'll miss as possible.
We're going to try and keep the trip as cheap as possible so we can try and essentially pay cash only for the entire house building process. That means no extra stops and especially no trinkets and keychains from every state. Bummer. Luckily, I'll have my camera and will be constantly updating the blog so you can follow our adventures and mishaps with what will be the best summer ever.
We'll be blogging about building the house, DIY home projects, and of course plenty of vegan recipes. It'll be a fun challenge cooking in a place with such a different palette than where I live now. So stay tuned!
We'll be adding a logo to the sidebar so you can get straight to house updates, or you can follow along via email when you sign up for our newsletter.
Want more info on what we're going for? Check out some of our favorite tiny house inspiration websites:
Tumbleweed Tiny Houses
Tiny House Blog
Simple Solar Homesteading