Monday, June 23, 2014

Relocating: Officially on the road

Months ago I mentioned I'd be leaving California and relocating to a new city and state. Well, the move has begun.

Relocation leg #1 completed: 1,099 mi, 17 hours 16 mins

Last Tuesday morning I officially left CA. Technically I'm still a Californian but for the next few weeks I'l be traveling on my way to my new home. Though what is home? For me it's been redefined after living full time from The Glampette since the first week of January this year. I'll write all about what it's been like in a future post.

So, last week I quietly left California thinking I'd blog about being on the road eventually but something happened that was so funny I wanted to share it with you now.

The day I arrived in Washington state I looked at my Facebook page late that evening. This is what I saw. . .

So much for my stealth relocation attempt! Debbie's post made me laugh out loud! That she recognized The Glampette coming towards her on the highway made my day. It also made me realize I can't get away with anything anymore :P

Debbie knew The Glampette from the Teardrops & Tiny Travel Trailer (tnttt.com) forum where I met my builder (and friend) Fred and from my blog. I didn't even realize I'd talked to Debbie before but it turns out I had and had even welcomed her to the tnttt forum in a meet and greet thread a few months ago as she and her husband were building their woody teardrop.

I wish we'd seen each other at a rest stop or gas station so we could have met in person and chatted. I'd have loved to have gotten a peek inside their home built teardrop trailer.

First break: Santa Cruz to Donner Pass

But back to leaving CA. . . It was another of those bittersweet moments. With so many sad things happening in my life the past six months  I honestly couldn't wait to leave. Just the distance would help put closure on several painful chapters by not being constantly reminded of places where I'd experienced both sad times and happy times that now make me feel sad.

At the same time I regretted having to leave my friends. Several in particular dug deep and rallied for me the past six months helping me in ways above and beyond what I would have thought friends would offer to do for me through one of the most challenging periods of my life. How do I just walk, or move, away from them? I did because I know I will see them again. I know I'll be back for visits and am already looking forward to my first one either later this year or next spring.

A quick photo op at Donner Lake on Interstate 80

I crossed the Nevada state line at exactly 11:41 AM

Once you come through the Sierra Nevadas most of the drive looks the same. Dirt and sage brush. It was a mostly cloudy day with sprinklings of rain. I thought to myself it would have been a perfect travel day for Kitai. He wouldn't have gotten too hot from the sun coming through the window and shining down on him. Driving without my fuzzy co-pilot was definitely not how I'd envisioned this drive when I first decided to move away from CA during the winter. Even though he wasn't a person there was something very comforting knowing I wouldn't be all alone out on the road. I still miss him so much.

The latter part of the drive was harder than the first part. It got windy, like really windy, which requires both more downshifting and more gas. My goal was to make it to Idaho to visit my friend Rebecca Ferrell who just happened to be in the Boise Area at her friends' house with her RV "The Dreamer." The plan was to make it by 8:00 PM in time for a late (gourmet) dinner. I arrived sometime between 8:00 and 8:15.

Needless to say I felt like I was in a palace while joining Rebecca for dinner! The Dreamer is significantly larger than The Glampette. Rebecca even loaned me a roll out matt to put at my doorstep. We laughed because it's square footage was significantly larger than The Glampette itself. The next morning when it began raining I was very grateful for it since I didn't have to get my shoes muddy to walk back over to The Dreamer for breakfast. It was so nice to have good company and real food, not restaurant or fast food, after over 13 hours on the road the day before.

A huge thank you to Rebecca's friends Brent and Sandy for allowing me to stay in their driveway that evening. Their hospitality was very much appreciated.

The next morning I drove beneath more grey skies and rain for several hours as I traversed the highways from Idaho to Oregon and finally to Washington. I'll be staying here for a few weeks visiting my folks before heading out once again.

Despite missing my friends I can already tell the change is doing me good. I've been sleeping 8 hours a night, unheard of when I was in California, so the distance is already helping me to feel better.

To friends I didn't have time to see before I left I apologize. I was just so tired and still kind of overwhelmed. Trying to make the time to see everyone who matters to me would have taken weeks. But, I will let you know when I return for a visit and if our schedules can mesh I'd love to meet up then.

Stay tuned to find out where I'll go next :)

ETA: LOL This just in from Facebook:

Grand Rapids and ArtPrize here I come!

Friday, June 13, 2014

International Glamping Weekend was June 7th & 8th

Did you miss it? I found the perfect place to celebrate my first official International Glamping Weekend. My tiny travel trailer (aka The Glampette) and I headed out to one of my most favorite places I've ever visited: Healdsburg in Sonoma Wine Country just an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge down HWY 101.

The Glampette was ready for a road trip. Though I've been living from her, we hadn't traveled together since January. For over a year I'd envisioned bringing her to Healdsburg. I'm so glad I had the chance to make that dream a reality before moving away.

Of course I visited my most favorite place in Sonoma County. Located in the Russian River Valley on Westside Road you'll find Thomas George Estates winery.

Favorite images from past trips to Thomas George Estates and Baker Ridge

Baker Ridge, one of their estate vineyards, is a place that captured my heart. In the past few years I've spent one sunrise and a handful of sunsets enjoying the views atop this gorgeous ridge. From the moment of my first visit I felt a special connection to Baker Ridge.

It was a very hot day. I think it got up to 99ยบ (F). The heat was high but dry which made it a much more enjoyable day than one with a lot of humidity. I visited both the tasting room in the wine caves as well as the vineyards.

As I left I felt sad but happy to have taken my little abode on wheels to a place that inspired me to want to have a teardrop or tiny travel trailer in the first place so that I could explore places like Sonoma more often.

For lunch one day I stopped at another favorite: Jimtown, a small general store, cafe, and antique shop. Nostalgia hangs heavy in the air with all of the charm you'd expect from a small country mercantile located down a two lane highway amidst rows awash in green, leaf and grape laden vines.

After perusing the menu I opted for an ice cold Lemonade and a baby spinach and artichoke dip Grilled Cheese Sandwich. The pictures tell the story. . . It was fantastic! I ate every bite.

Who did I visit while I was there? Well that would be my friend (and fav wine country concierge) Tracy Logan (and Mr Hobbs pictured on the right) and our friend (and my fav B&B owner) Keren Colsten, now known as K.C. so she could have a name that rhymed with Tracy and Stacie. Keren is the co-owner of the Haydon Street Inn, the only Bed & Breakfast I ever stayed at in Sonoma County. After my first visit there I loved it so much I never even tried another one.

Though she didn't go with me Keren recommended I go to the Healdsburg SHED and try a "shrub." What is a shrub? It's an acidulated beverage. Acidulated. There's a new word for you! At least it was for me.

It's an old drink that's new again. Containing fruit, sugar, and vinegar the shrubs I tried were light, sweet, and tart all at the same time.

Like soda, only better tasting and better for you!

I sampled three different flavors containing strawberry, kumquat, and blood orange paired with vinegars that ranged from chardonnay to red wine. Mix in a little soda water and you'll have a refreshing and refined carbonated soda. I'm officially hooked and will be inventing flavor combos of my own this summer.

Along with shurbs you'll also find wine, beer, and hard ciders, and kombuchas at SHED's fermentation bar.

K.C., Tracy, and I had lunch at Ravenous. It was our lucky day. Tucked into a small space on North Street, I was told it's rare to have the opportunity to walk in and grab an empty table, they're usually quite busy.

While I can't rave about the service (our server seemed a bit disinterested in actually serving us while oddly a guy at a nearby table kept jumping into our conversation LOL) the food was outstanding.

Ravenous is known for both their Crab Cakes and Ravenous Burgers. I can say this about the burgers: They're delicious. Really, very tasty but also messy so not something you'd want to order on a first date.

The fries were extra special. To start with they're crinkle cut. Picture steak-fry styled potato wedges (and by wedges I mean you get an entire potato's worth of wedges, maybe even a little more), fried to a perfect golden brown, and seasoned with just the right amount of savory to not need any additional salt.

After lunch we meandered around downtown Healdsburg for a bit and visited The Mercantile Shop for Wolf coffee, sold in the back corner of the store. They'll even grind it for you while you wait.

If you've never been to Healdsburg I'd recommend a visit. It's quaint, charming, and a wonderful place to spend a long weekend.

This is one of my favorite photos I ever took on Baker Ridge. It seems fitting to share it again now as I close the chapter, a final sunset of sorts, on my last trip to Healdsburg for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Six year old Baylor Fredrickson needs a marrow match. Could it be you?

If you're on Facebook you've most likely seen this picture and post about six year old Baylor Fredrickson as it's been shared 426,789 times as of this morning. Author Michael Lewis knows Baylor personally and made the request for help that is now virally traveling across the internet.

This is a plea I've made on this blog many times before:
  1. If you haven't registered to become a bone marrow/stem cell donor please consider doing so.
  2. If you want to help but are unable to register please encourage others to join in your place. 
Both endeavors are equally valuable.

Like my cousin Tami did, Baylor currently needs a bone marrow transplant to save his life. He's fighting cancer and every day he has to wait for a match gives the cancer another advantage, wears him down, make his recovery post transplant (even if a match is found in time) that much harder to recover from. Cancer is bad, everyone knows that. But the very procedure that can save a patient's life when they receive a marrow/stem cell transplant has an arduous recovery period filled with complications like infections and graft vs. host disease. At that point a patient needs to be healthy enough to undergo and survive the transplant itself.

So Baylor doesn't just need to receive a transplant, he and all patients need to receive one as quickly as possible. It's their best chance.

Please don't make them wait any longer than they have to. Donating is not the painful ordeal many believe it to be. That donating marrow is like a spinal tap is a myth. The majority of donations are now made through a method called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) collection, which is similar to how plasma is harvested. Your blood goes out through one arm, runs through a machine that collects the stem cells, then the rest of your blood is returned into your other arm. Most people don't even need a prescription strength pain killer following their donation. Over the counter remedies are usually enough.

Donations harvested from the pelvic bones (not the spine) are done under anesthesia so the donor isn't even awake to be aware of any discomfort or pain.

I've always felt what's a little discomfort to save a life? If I am ever a match I'd be thrilled to be able to help someone in need. I've been in the registry since 1995 and have yet to be contacted but I'm holding out hope that someday I will be.

And though Baylor is half Asian half German I'm imploring everyone who reads this post to register. Though his match will most likely be found in someone of similar ancestry, there is a slim, rare, chance that it could be with someone from a different ethnic group altogether. (Marrow matches are made through chromosomes, not blood types, so this is why ethnicity is a factor.)

In the United States you'll need to be between the ages of 18-60 years old to register. The easiest way to register is through "Be The Match, aka The National Marrow Donor Program. If you are between the ages of 45-60 you would need to register online only by ordering a test kit from this link:

Order a test kit online:

Locate a live drive where you live:

Your stem cells can even be flown to Baylor if you live outside the U.S. in a country that is part of the International Cooperative Registry:

If you live outside of the Unite States and your country isn't part of the International Cooperative Registry you can still help other patients where you live through the following programs: http://marrowdrives.org/bone_marrow_donor_programs.html

Please join. Join to help Baylor and the thousands of other patients waiting and hoping to find their life-saving matches in time.

ETA: Author Michael Lewis just published a video with Baylor. Please watch it and read more about the drive to help Baylor:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Eeeeeek! A teeny tiny hibachi for The Glampette

I'd recently made some veggie kabobs for a friends' BBQ. They were my first attempt at veggie kabobs and came out so good it made me want a grill so I could make them whenever I wanted them.

Remember the round, aqua, Big Boy grill I found in Grand Rapids last year on my way to pick up The Glampette (my tiny glamper) in Greenville, MI? Because it's so cute and the paint so pristine I haven't had the heart to use it to grill on. Instead I've used it as a fire-safe cooking platform to put my small propane stove on.

I found the grill in Grand Rapids and the hibachi in Detroit. I love Michigan :)

So, I needed a grill to cook on. And guess what? I found the place for cute vintage grills and hibachis. If you want something different look online on Etsy. It's a collective of designers and shop keepers where you can find all kinds of fun vintage items. It's like going antiquing and to yard and estate sales all from the comfort of your own home.

Funkystuff13 was selling two grills as a pair but I messaged and asked if they would be willing to split the lot explaining that I'm currently living from a 4'x6' trailer so I don't have room to store an extra grill and could I buy only the small square one?

HA! That's my new, old, 5"x5," vintage hibachi! I wanted the square one because it was lower so it would be easier to store in my tiny travel trailer.

Last night I loaded it up with hot coals for the first time.

I already had some red onion and a red bell pepper. . .

But I wanted a third veggie so I swung by the Santa Cruz farmers' market and picked up some fingerling carrots from one of my favorite vendors: Happy Boy Farms.

Here's my delicious, Balsamic Veggie Kabob recipe:

• Vegetables
• Melted Butter
B.R. Cohn Fig Balsamic Vinegar
• Salt and Pepper
• Weber Grill Spray
  1. It's so easy! Just cut the veggies into similar sized pieces and slide on the skewer. You can pre-soak the skewers in water to keep them from burning on a large grill. Don't set the flames too high, low hot embers are best to cook the veggies without burning them or the skewer.
  2. Baste with melted butter using a basting brush
  3. Baste with balsamic vinegar - buy the best balsamic you can find. You can taste the difference so it'll be worth it.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
As butter hit the coals I excitedly exclaimed: "WE HAVE SMOKE!"
  • Heat your coals
  • Spray your cooking grill with Weber Grill Spray. My foodie friend Carl said It's safer than other sprays because it won't flame up if the overspray touches the hot coals or even an open flame.
  • When the grill is hot place your kabobs on the grill
Grill until veggies cook. It'll take longer than you think to get them cooked all the way through so be patient.

About now I bet you're thinking "Yeah, that's really cute but impractical because it's too small to make a real meal on." Well let me tell you, you can do a lot with 5"x5" of hibachi surface area. . .  That's 25 square inches of grilling awesomeness!

For you meat-a-saurses there was even room for a Prather Ranch hot dog, cut in half.

Did it get hot enough to really cook veggies and meat? You tell me :D

Want a tiny hibachi or cute vintage grill of your own? Funkystuff has one of each available in their shop right now.

Charming wood and cast iron hibachi - miniature grill - portable bbq - mini bonfire pit - tabletop grill - $21.99 USD

There are other, modern, similar looking, tiny hibachis on the market but they use sterno and aren't nearly as well designed or made as this vintage unit is.

Charming portable barbeque grill - briefcase sized grilling for camping hiking or the small apartment - $49.99 USD

Thank you Funkystuff13 for splitting the lot for me. I LOVE my new-old tiny hibachi and am certain I'll get plenty of use out of it for years to come!