Epic drive from New York to California, with lovely stops in Baltimore, Asheville, New Orleans, Austin, Santa Fe, Los Angelos, and San Luis Obispo. Final destination: organic fruit farm in Windsor, CA. Saw lots of old friends and a few wonderful cities. We drove 4,400 miles. It took us two weeks. We wrote two updates:
1. Bigger in Texas
As some of you know, Claudia and I are crossing the country in Claudia’s little civic. Our journey started at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, with no power, and cold and snow. We set off November the first, and it could only get better as the North-East disappeared in the rear view mirror. We spent the night at Claudia’s dad’s house outside of Baltimore, who was more than gracious to cook us dinner and let us steal his delicious raw milk cheese for the road (Thanks, Dad!). The next morning after breakfast with Claudia’s mom, Carol, we did our first big leg of the journey, driving to Asheville, NC in 8 easy hours.
In Asheville, we were lovingly taken in by our massage school classmate, Jess, and her boyfriend, Josh. We had set out to reunite with all of our old friends, and to fix up the car for rest of the trip, and we more or less managed both. We had some unfortunate misses, never managing to connect with a lot of our old classmates, but guess what? They are all busy with their massage businesses! That’s a great excuse for being busy. Still, we were very grateful to see who we did, and to enjoy the food and mountain air of Asheville.
Our next stop was originally going to be Austin, which was an unforgiving 18 hours away. We searched the map for some fun place to stop half way, and only managed to find New Orleans. Claudia reconnected with our soon to be host, Sarah, who lived in the beautiful garden district of N.O., and we found ourselves eating fried alligator and gumbo with her Saturday night, before passing out easily to the sweet lullaby of the entire city partying to the LSU, Alabama college football game. We found Sarah to be the perfect ambassador to the city the next day, bringing us all around town with beers in our hands, hopping the trolley, walking around the french quarter, watching the Saints game (who dat?!).
We left Sunday afternoon with a catfish po boy for the road, and took the live drive to Austin. Cayce, our mutual friend and old housemate from Asheville, took us in, gave us her bed, and showed us what a cool town Austin is. At this point, we were a very sleepy couple, eager to eat burritos and take walks. We brought Cayce’s lanky dog, Dodger, to the dog park by the river looking lake, and laughed for a solid half hour as he ran around with the other dogs of Austin.
At this point, our final destination of Taos was getting very close, and we still didn’t have a place to live when we got there. We had planned on staying at the Hostel, but wanted a perfect yet cheap cabin, or yurt in the mountains to spend November and December in. We spent a lot of time pouring over Craig’s list and sending out e-mails, all the while lowering our standards are we got more desperate for a place. Eventually, we found through that social networking scourge, Facebook, a post through Omega’s group page. It was a woman in Windsor, CA, looking for someone to watch her farm while she was away. We gave her a call, and found what seems to be the sweetest deal. The farmer wants around 20 hours of work a week, tending her chickens and fruit trees, in exchange for a yurt to live in, access to the house kitchen, living space, library, hot tub, bikes, etc., and food. And she needs us for the same period of time that we have to spend there (the rest of November thru December). So much about the trade seemed perfect, and it didn’t hurt comparing the average high and low temperatures of Taos and Windsor for the rest of the year.
So, we write you from a McDonald’s in eastern Texas, on our way out west. We plan on spending Friday in Santa Fe, Sunday in San Diego, and to wake up Tuesday morning in our new home to be. We’ve logged over 2500 miles and the car’s doing great. There’s a nice rhythm to driving long distances, but it will be so nice to get to Windsor and settle into one place for more than a few days. We’ll do our best to keep you updated, and keep posting pictures on the face.
Take care, Ya’ll!”
2. Yome Sweet Yome
Our road trip is over and it was huge. When we wrote last we were idling in a McDonald’s in the middle of Texas on our way to Santa Fe. When we first set off we thought Santa Fe or Taos was our final destination, and after visiting, we think it would have been very nice.
In Santa Fe we stayed at the hostel and were extremely grateful to have a bed that night after all our driving. We had a low key stay in Santa Fe, helping ourselves to the samples at Whole Foods, visiting the local chocolate shop, and driving around town taking in the enormous sky and small adobe buildings. We also visit St. John’s college and Claudia got lots of info on continuing education. It seemed like a very unique place (in a good way).
As a lot of you have seen, when we left Santa Fe we drove straight to the Grand Canyon and marveled at one of the seven wonders of the world. The place was packed with tourists from all over the world, which was part of the spectacle. A portly man humoring his wife, mused the understatement of the year when he said, “it’s just a big hole.” Indeed it is. It was very very cool.
After stopping into Williams, a tourist town south of the canyon, and enjoying some simple fare and an enormous slice of pie, we hauled our little civic through the night all the way to L.A. We stayed at a high school friend of Claudia’s, and didn’t get in until 3:30am. We accidentally slept in until noon, and then immediately left heading for the coast. We didn’t get to see much of the ocean this day, but we did stumble upon the really sweet town of San Luis Obispo. Cute thriving downtown, coastal, this was a great place to visit.
Our final day of driving was all along route 1 on the coast, and it was indeed spectacular. When we finally got to our new home in Windsor, we had driven 4,400 miles through 13 states, in 14 days. Whew. It’s so nice to be at our new home.
Golden Nectar Farm is about 2.5 acres and teeming with fruit. We share the main house with 3 other guys, but spend our nice in a domed yurt dubbed a “yome.” It’s a bit chilly at night, but for mid-November the weather is gorgeous. Really for anytime of year the weather is just sweet. We are trading 20 hours of work a week for our home and all the food we need. That’s already pretty nice, but there are some excellent perks on top of that. Ana, the owner of this farm, is an herbalist and she has the house stocked with herbs and tinctures. The garden is full of veggies and herbs for us to pick fresh at every meal. There are apples, kiwi, persimmons, grapes, feijoa (look it up), and lemons ripe on their trees. Did I mentioned there is an always ready hot tub waiting for us at the end of every day under the stars? It’s a good life.
We’ve been homebodies our first week here and off the road, but we begin exploring the area tomorrow. There are plenty of redwood forests and coastlines for us to enjoy.
To our new adventure!”