Kootenai River Brewing Company Preview

This post is part of Patrick’s “Beer & Gear” series.

Canada may be known for the Mackenzies and their beer drinking prowess but we didn’t fare so well up north in that department.  Six packs of Molsen and Labatt were running about $12, yikes! After a week in Canada without a proper pint I had a bit of the ol’ thirst.  Enter the little town of Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho.  Just after crossing the border we pulled into town and parked alongside the Kootenai River to make some lunch.  Afterwards, we hopped out of the Minnie to take a stroll around town.  Low and behold the first site we saw was a sign reading BEER in big bold letters.

Continue reading

Blackberry Orange Cornmeal Muffins

A tangle of blackberry vines surrounding our campsite in Sunset Bay, Oregon, inspired these breakfast treats. Tangy orange zest and juicy blackberries are paired with hearty cornmeal in a moist, crumbly muffin.

Blackberry Orange Cornmeal Muffins

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs fresh orange zest
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs orange juice
  • 1 cup blackberries, tossed in 1 Tbs flour

Preheat oven to 375° and line twelve muffin cups with liners.

Sift together flour and baking powder and whisk in cornmeal, sugar, salt and orange zest. Whisk together melted butter, milk, orange juice and eggs. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Gently fold in blackberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until tops are golden and a tester comes out clean.

Watermelon Salad

Food is always my top priority when travelling (actually, it’s always a top priority). What are we going to eat? Is anyone hungry? Do we have enough food? When are we stopping for lunch/snacks/dinner/ice cream? Was that a bakery? Especially while on vacation, meals mark the passing of time, and fill the hours usually devoted to office work or emails.

Our meals so far have been simple but satisfying, as our rigorous schedule of sightseeing and hiking leaves little time for food preparation. It’s a rough life. We’ve focused on dishes that can be made quickly, trying to match our foods to the weather outside – which is to say, hearty pastas when it’s chilly, and big salads when it’s roasting, like this weekend when temperatures soared into the 90s.

More a list of suggested ingredients than a real “recipe,” this easy Watermelon Salad is a refreshing accompaniment to BBQ & corn on the cob.

Watermelon Salad

  • 3 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 cup cubed jicama
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
  • juice & zest of two limes
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped mint
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped basil
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and chill up to one hour before serving.

A Month by the Numbers

The 12th marked our first full month out on the road, but we’ve been canoeing on a remote lake and couldn’t document the occasion here.  Some quick statistics from our trip so far:

3,826 – miles driven by Patrick

107 – miles driven by Aimee

113 – miles hiked

5 – states

2 – Canadian provinces

6 – National Parks/Monuments

1,709 – photos taken

5,000 (approx.) – times Aimee has exclaimed, “look at that!”

1 – bottle of wine shattered when the refrigerator popped open on a curve

1 – glass bottle of sticky limeade shattered when the fridge popped open

21 – curses uttered while cleaning up the above

83 – meals made in the Minnie

11 – meals eaten out

1 – parking ticket

22 – nights camped for free

1 – harmonica received from fellow travelers met on the road

4 – old college friends hugged

3 – former colleagues visited

0 – regrets

Cape Perpetua

One Reason I Choose Organic

The sharp scent alerted us to onion fields before we could see them. The green tops poked up from neat hummocks that ran beside the road for nearly a mile. Along the highways crops were laid out like quilt squares, potatoes and alfalfa and onions and beets all stitched together with dirt roads. Very pastoral and lovely. Then we paused to watch as a small plane swooped low over a cornfield, and sprayed out a thick mist of pesticide. A bit farther down the road, we came across this sign:

Think I’ll take my veggies without the synthetic chemicals.

Luxury & Extravagance

It’s been an indulgent week at Propane Kitchen. Not only did we tour Grand Coulee Dam, hike to a lake still dotted with ice, listen to accordion music played by a man wearing animal fur and marvel at Mt. Rainier & Mt. St Helens, we also stayed with Patrick’s friends and work colleagues, enabling us to take real showers multiple days in a row. I can’t stress enough what a treat that is.

Plus, thanks to a snafu with some reservations months ago, we stayed at the posh Hotel Monaco for free last night, and I’m writing this from a giant-sized bed while Patrick is out getting bagels. Continue reading

Glacier National Park

Limited Internet makes keeping this current a bit challenging! The past four days we’ve been in Glacier National Park, hiking and gawking and trying to stay dry. It’s been stormy, with the steep mountains draped in clouds and rain every night. Many of the trails are still closed due to snow.  Still, wildflowers are abundant as if a careless gardener threw open packets of seeds all along the roadways and valleys.  Continue reading

First Days Out

All night long the thunder cracked and ricocheted down the rocky walls of the Owyhee River Canyon, rain pelting the roof of the Minnie just a foot above our heads in our sleeping loft. Between flashes of lightning, the full moon peeked out through cloud breaks, washing the sagebrush and willows in pale blue light. It was not a restful night, but thrilling to hear the storm crash over us. We slept late and woke to clear skies and a warm breeze. We bumped over the short sandy track up to the main road, and drove out of the red-walled ravine into farmland.

Continue reading