It’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway through our inaugural tour. For a while it felt like we’d be doing this thing forever but now it’s actually flying by. There’s been surprisingly very little downtime in between driving, parking and visits. We’ve been moving every few days, so we’re ready to slow the pace and take a moment to reflect.
Real talk. My biggest fear of selling our house to live in an Airstream was the possibility of resenting the decision later on. What if it’s a huge mistake? What if we actually hate life on the road? The pros significantly outweighed the cons for us, but there were still so many what if’s. I'm a homebody, so I was mostly afraid of feeling displaced and it honestly scared the shit out of me. But once we committed to the adventure I knew it would be an opportunity to connect even deeper.
We had a general direction for this trip, but it was also a matter of scheduling and the proverbial stars aligning. The first month was mostly spent with loved ones, which was a quality theme that carried over into July. After turning west from Maine we ventured out to an old friend’s farm.
Marla and I were buddies who met at summer camp back in the day. A few years ago she randomly sent me a text saying “Hey, your cows got out.” Wrong number. She meant to tell her neighbor but it somehow went to me, which fortuitously allowed us to catch up on life. Marla and her soon-to-be husband, Dylan built a tiny house on a sprawling property way upstate New York, where he owns Ausable Brewing Company and she has a gourmet crepe food truck - Northern Feast Catering. Next door to them is Mace Chasm Farm & Butcher Shop - this is where the cows had escaped from. Once I learned about their sweet little setup near Lake Champlain, I put it on my radar and inevitably invited myself to park on their lawn.
We planned two days with Marla and Dylan but in hindsight we wish we would have stayed for a week. They took us to pick our own berries and indulge in the best cider donuts, ever. Marla casually whipped up breakfast, lunch and dinner for us each day, including hand-churned strawberry ice cream for dessert. Every night we admired the full moon and sipped delicious beer brewed by Dylan - the black currant lambic was our favorite. We were so spoiled in Keeseville. Bruce even learned how to be an off-leash dog during those two days, it was exactly what we all needed after hauling ass up the east coast. Then we had to say hello (and goodbye) to the cows at the butcher next door for a full-circle experience. We left our mini reunion with full bellies and hearts, feeling re-energized and inspired by their farm-to-table lifestyle.
Next up was Niagara Falls but we had to cover some serious ground to get there. We broke up the trek with a stopover in Oneida - the bullseye of New York, but opted out of gambling at the casino next door. Of course we forgot our passports in the Airstream when we unhooked to go check out the falls. The Canadian side is supposedly better, but Bruce didn't want to deal with border patrol. One night in Niagara was plenty, as we cruised past Lake Erie on to Ohio.
We came in hot to Cincinnati and spent the weekend with GA’s cousin Christina and her adorable family. First we crashed her grandmother’s 88th birthday party, ate lobster and behaved like we were still in college. A heatwave hit the midwest so we submerged our hangovers in the pool with the kids. Then Gracie accidentally tripped over her towel (under my supervision) and had to go to the ER for stitches in her chin. The good news is that there’s nothing a little Graeter’s ice cream can’t fix. What a champ! Plus, she’ll never forget the time that we came to visit, right?
From there we took a slight detour to Kentucky for a quick stop with my cousin. Samantha and her husband Nate recently moved into the cutest house with their sweet babe, Magnolia. They warmly welcomed us to the country with bourbon, pulled pork and all the fixings. We soaked up the quiet time and got loads of laundry done while Bruce ran wild in the yard alongside Tilly and Django. After all the family fun we decided to finally put our Harvest Host membership to use.
That’s where I found Heritage Alpaca Farm in Kokomo, Indiana en route to Chicago. And yes, Kokomo is a real place. We got there fast and then we took it slow. Then we ironically got the best Indian food in Indiana before posting up for an evening of safari from the tin can. The Alpaca's were just as curious about us & Bruce as we were about them, like mini giraffes covered in wool. We basked in golden hour then slept with the windows open for a cool, smelly breeze.
Keen for a bit of civilization, we drove into Chicago to drop off Sterling at a secure lot near Lake Shore. Me and my overgrown bangs were blending in with the Alpaca’s, which meant it was time for some hair self-care before meeting up with my sister. Bruce joined us on the architectural boat tour of Chicago, followed by lunch al fresco and wandering around the city. We had dinner on GA's cousin Lee & her boyfriend, Jimmy's rooftop in Wicker Park and fell in love with Chi-Town from every angle. We ventured down to Chinatown for Dim Sum and even managed to save some room for Jeni’s ice cream. Then it was more food & drinks before attending a late night show at The Second City, where we got sat in the front row and laughed our faces off.
It’s been two weeks since we arrived in Illinois, which feels like so long ago considering we’ve now driven through Iowa, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. We have graduated out west and embraced the art of boon-docking just outside of Yellowstone and directly below the Grand Teton’s. These past two weeks have been so enlightening for us. We’ve encountered such awesome people in the most awe-inspiring places, eager to explore the next part of this journey.