Archive for the 'Travel' category

Spokane, WA

 | April 18, 2008 10:00 pm

I’m in Spokane at the moment for the tatting conference. Today was a very fun first day, and I know that when tomorrow night rolls around I’ll be very sad there’s only two days.

I’ll probably post a bit more about the conference later, but I make no promises. I may be too busy playing with my new thread.

For nearly the first time this trip I passed by a truck stop, (been doing most of my traveling on smaller highways), and I had a chance to take a look at some of the 12 volt cooking appliances. I have been feeling a definite lack of hot foods this trip. Or perhaps I should say ‘cheap’ hot foods since I’ve been visiting with a lot of old friends this trip and we usually end up going out to eat.

That’s fine with me, of course. I think that’s part of the fun of travel, but as time goes on I’ll definitely be wanting to do some more of my own cooking here in the van.

Which is why I will probably end up getting the RoadPro cooking pot. (Sorry, no links right now. I’m posting this with my phone and can’t do them).

They have a couple different appliances, including a skillet which also looks pretty sweet, but knowing what types of things I’d actually cook on a regular basis the pot would be better.

There’s a crockpot, which Tara, from, says is not very good and a little oven which is also tempting, even if only to say I have an oven in the van and can make fresh cookies when I want. As neat as it is though, I’m not sure I’d use it enough to justify the space.

There’s a small electric water heater which I like the idea of, but might not be necessary if I get the electric pot. Still, when I was traveling in the winter I constantly had tea heating in my, -now broken-, SmartMug. Maybe that’s something to consider for the winter.

Now that my curtains are finished, (at least they’re up and working and I’m unlikely to put anymore time into them even though they’re less than elegant), my next little project of the van is figuring out the cooking stuff. Anyone tried any of these?

Soft shoeing through the redwoods.

 | April 5, 2008 12:56 pm

Warning: I’m having a hard time concentrating today so it’s a very scatterbrained post you’re about to read.

After about ten days driving up the CA coast without the internet and very little phone reception I’m spending a couple hours here in Crescent City getting, (sort of), caught up.

It has become clear to me that I need to start up a page on this website dedicated to the places I’ve found to eat on the road. That will take some time though, and I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for it.

Pictures also will have to wait. I need to buy a new card reader since I’ve been planning on getting one anyway and my computer and camera aren’t talking to each other anymore. But honestly I haven’t been taking a lot of pictures like normal. Pictures simply don’t do justice to what I’ve been seeing the last week along the coast.

The last time I left San Diego it took me a couple days to really settle into the attitude of traveling with no real worry as to plans. This time it’s taken longer, possibly because I already had something of a route planned out already since I’m heading to Spokane for a tatting conference. It’s hardly much of a confining commitment, but between that and coordinating with friends I’ve been driving nearby I hadn’t really felt like I was getting into the travel attitude I strive for until just this last week.

It really sunk in yesterday when I was on way down to the Tall Trees Grove in Redwoods National Park. Skipping down the trail surrounded by these huge trees in a part of the park you need a permit to visit, (it’s free, just ask at the visitor’s center, definitely worthwhile). It’d been raining and cold earlier and was still cloudy, but you wouldn’t be able to see a blue sky through the canopy anyway.

Part of what made it nice also was that I recently read “The Wild Trees” by Richard Preston. One of the things I’d like to do more of as I’m traveling is to actually do some more research into the places I’m going before I actually get there. I’m a bit lazy with that and I don’t find out until after I’ve left a place some of the things I’ve missed.

Still, seen a lot. Is it really possible that I left LA only about three weeks ago?

This is what I love about travel. How is it possible that only a week ago I was in Point Reyes, two weeks ago I was hanging out with friends in the Bay Area and exactly three weeks ago I was sitting on the side of the road taking pictures of buffalo.

There is so much more I’d like to talk about here, many more things I’d like to do with this website, but right now I’m having trouble sitting still here, I’m ready to get back out there and I still need to do laundry before I leave town.

First day back on the road.

 | March 17, 2008 2:04 pm


Ahh, that’s why I’m traveling. What a gorgeous road and I never knew about it.

I headed out of Los Angeles on the 5 freeway on Thursday night and stayed in Taft, CA. In the morning I stumbled upon the Taft Oil Museum while getting lost trying to leave the city in the right direction. It’s a really lovely museum. It focuses more on the history of the town rather than oil specifically, but since the town started as an oil mining town it still makes sense to call it an oil museum. Eventually there will be a replica oil mining camp from the buildings on the ground. Most of those were closed while was there so I just enjoyed wandering around the main museum.

Driving around Taft, the area reminded me of what I suspect Los Angeles must have looked like in it’s early history. Low mountains surrounding a flat plain dotted with oil derricks. The scene above is near the beginning of highway 58, the route I was taking to get from the 5 to highway 1 along the coast. cows-otside-of-taft-ca.jpgA fabulous road to start off the trip with. And the perfect example of the happy cows of California that are suppose to produce the best cheese. It seemed appropriate to stop and have lunch, (which did include cheese), on the side of the road near these cows. They were all a little concerned about my presence there, but it was fun to watch the young ones playing.


Further along the road, the buffalo couldn’t care less that I’d stopped. They stayed right up next to the fence making sure they got every blade of grass. I’d never seen buffalo up close, so I stuck around and took pictures here too. Anything really to break up the driving some. This was a long day as far as mileage covered since I wanted to skip anything that could be seen on a weekend trip from Los Angeles and I wanted to get up to the Bay area while it was still the weekend and I could visit with friends easily.

I’ve just realized I didn’t upload any pictures of Soda Lake, the whole point of taking this route between the 5 and the 1. I’ll have to add one on a later post, but it’s quite an interesting spot. It’s in the northern top of Carrizo National Monument, an area that is shaped by the San Andreas fault, which runs through it. A long time ago, (a quick google search isn’t giving me any dates, so you’ll have to get vague knowledge), much of what’s now California was covered by the ocean. That ocean shaped the land that we see now, (and the ancient sea life caused the oil deposits).

Carrizo National Monument and Soda Lake is a spot that I think I will have to visit again on a weekend trip from Los Angeles to explore more. For that first day however it was on to Highway 1 and the Big Sur.

Much has been written about the California coastline and the drive along Highway 1.  It was a great drive for the sunset, but, of course, when you driving that winding road it takes quite a while to do. I stopped when it got dark and enjoyed it again in the morning light. I will not even attempt to do it justice here. I’ll just brag about the view outside my window when I woke up:


Below, you can just barely see the spot where I stayed, way off in the distance. It was the furthest curve of the coastline in this picture.


Along the way I listened to the start of Kevin Starr’s history of California as a book on tape. Very interesting focus a mental understanding of the history while driving around the state and focusing a mental picture of what it encompasses physically as well.

It was all along gorgeous roads, but quite a lot of driving for the first day. I enjoyed spending the last two days hanging out with friends in the bay area and am going to be doing the same thing for the next couple days as well. After that heading off north to spend some time in Point Reyes in Marin County. One of my favorite places in the US.

Traveling in a van vs. living in a van.

 | March 4, 2008 8:58 pm

 Sometimes one of the great things about living in a van is not the ease of traveling, but the ease of staying put.

I’ve been back in Los Angeles for the last month working at KJAZZ, (America’s most listened to jazz and blues radio station according to the latest numbers), on the pledge drive. During the prep time for the drive I work out of the station’s offices in Westwood, but the drive itself is run from the studio in Long Beach. Most of the drive staff, of course lives near the Westwood offices, meaning that they had somewhere between 1-2 hour commutes each way depending on the day of the week. Not much fun to face when you consider that our work days were 12-15 hours long. With my little van serving as my home base, however I was able to stay down in Long Beach and skip all that crazy traffic on the 405. From the time I arrived in Long Beach on the evening of Feb. 20th to when I headed back up to Westwood on March 2nd I traveled all of 40 miles. Not bad.

I used to do something similar for the month when I lived in my van while working Monday-Friday in Westwood for KJAZZ and Friday-Sunday in Sherman Oaks for Premiere Radio Networks. (Yes, both places on Fridays, unfortunately. Thankfully it was only for about five weeks and the weekend job consisted of sitting in a studio with nothing to do unless something went wrong on the show.)

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Traveling is lots of fun when you have a guide.

 | January 6, 2008 6:43 am

Which is not to imply that it’s not fun when you’re just wandering around without a guide. It’s just a whole different kind of traveling.

Just got back from an overnight trip to Kangaroo Island, with mom, my friend Kylie and her parents from Adelaide. It was a great trip. Kylie’s dad worked on Kangaroo Island as a firefighter so knew a lot of the people who we visited. We toured two sheep farms (one where they raised them for wool and one for milk) and a bee farm, ate lots of good food, saw the pelicans being fed, and koalas sleeping. Missed out on the penguins and didn’t see any kangaroos until we were back on the mainland, still great fun and great company.

Also, I want to be a bee farmer now. Adding it to my list.

I did a quick interview with one of the sheep farmers for This Week in Science so I’m excited about that, though it will be a while before I get it together. Special thanks, btw, need to go out to the hosts Kirsten and Justin for plugging my blog and linking it in their show notes. You guys are awesome. Apologies for not having said so earlier.

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