Thursday, August 9, 2018

If I Die Road Trip: Part One.

Recently we were on a road trip. It was relatively spontaneous, I almost decided not to go. In the end I went for one main reason, I had major surgery scheduled imminently weighing over me like a cloud. Not to be morbid, but I decided this would be my "what if I die" road trip. It has been a protracted hardship to say the least since Irma struck down here. Being mucked down almost 1 year in post Irma recovery, still having an empty lot where the house was, and our business not yet reopened, I figured damn that would REALLY suck if that was the exclamation point on the end of my life.

We flew to Montana first to pick up a car that we would drive back to the Keys for a friend. The location was quite remote, the house sits high up in the mountains. The road is paved, but the long road to the house is not. Didn't see anyone, didn't care to see anyone.

We flew Delta, which I've never done before. They actually had a fully vegan in flight snack purchase option, first time I've ever seen such a thing. We had 1 layover before the final destination. I quickly came to realize that airports have also upped their vegan game. As usual, whenever I have time I explore what the vegan options are, including airports. To my absolute astonishment we found the airport to be vegan friendly both in multiple restaurant options as well as packaged food options. Look at these photos:

This was available on the airplane
for anyone who desired!
Vegan for the win!
This was just one of the all vegan
choices available at one of the
restaurants where our layover
That's a house made vegan patty
for the other happy vegan!
This was the first time
I've seen this relatively new
product for sale.
It's a meal replacement drink.
I didn't try it, but think
it's an excellent choice
for the airport shops to carry.
This is what I ordered, it was huge.
Hard to see but it had a small scoop of
hummus and a small scoop of
something else ... was it baba ganoush?
I forget, but it was delicious!
The airport had an ice
cream bar with
a vegan selection!

The other happy vegan got up early the next morning, and went into town foraging for coffee while I slept. Props to Montana for having superb coffee shops pretty much everywhere, as well as having non-dairy options at every one we went to. After coffee (well appreciated as brr it's chilly in the morning up out there) I pulled myself together and we went out together. We provisioned at Natural Grocers, a wonderful small size chain which I think is all independently owned. The choices were vast, chock full of vegan foods glorious organic fruits and vegetables. The prices were notably low, much more so than I'm accustomed to living where we do. I am keenly aware that visitors passing through some times think places in the Keys have prices that border "gouging," however, the natural food stores here are not doing that. The fact is we pay a lot more as consumers because the shops pay a lot more from the suppliers in the Keys. Our small grocers in the Keys do what they do largely as a labor of love and service. Their profits are slim, but that too is another topic of how things are. See how easy it is for me to get off track, oopsie daisy. Let's leave it that Natural Grocers had everything we needed and more to provision ourselves through a very large chunk of our trip.

This was my first trip to Montana and further West. I admit the nature in this trip had the "wow" factor. Incredible sights like nothing I've ever seen. Mountains everywhere. The first day was a little funky for me, I was not accustomed to the altitude probably, plus the roads are very winding which I'm no longer accustomed to either (reinforced especially during the Utah/Colorado portion of the trip... that's Part 2). During our time in Montana, we used the Happy Cow app and  found North Fork Pizza, a vegan friendly pizzeria. They were totally worth the drive from our base in Montana. They made the other happy vegan a broccoli calzone using the Daiya, while they made me a baked penne pasta using the Daiya, as well as their house made vegan parm cheeze. We also got a pizza to go. While this sounds like a lot of food (yes, it is), it was meant to feed us for the next day as well, indeed it surely did. Very generous portions which carried us through a few meals, plus it was the best parlour made vegan pizza I've ever had. I'm not kidding, it was perfect (especially the slice I had in the car for breakfast, tee hee!) They were exceptionally friendly as well. When we're in that area, we will be back.

This was the first picture I took
at the house in Montana.
I've never seen pines this tall.
The house is 3 stories high.
The trees soared far above.

The backyard at our friend's
house was awash in wildflowers.
And butterflies.

Close up in the backyard.

Another from the backyard.
Daisies are among my favorite flowers.
They scream "hello, be happy" to me.

No camera can capture the feeling I got being surrounded by this.

yay for Natural Grocers!
Peek to the left... smoothie bus on site!
Mountain Berry Bowls food truck
parked and waiting for humanity
to enjoy their bounty!
Super vegan friendly!

I also discovered oat milk in Montana.
Why did I wait so long?!!!

Much of our time in Montana was spent simply exploring nature. There is so much space, I felt so free. Everything is scenic, everything is so open and although I'm sure there were many people around, with so much space it seemed isolated almost everywhere we were. Many of the main roads which run along lakes have scenic pull offs which we took advantage of. At one of the many pull offs I watched a young man play with his dog. From the rocky shore, the dog's person would fling a toy as far as he could. I could feel the love between the 2 of them from far away. Every throw the dog leaped into the lake and swam to retrieve. I looked down from where I stood and saw the rock in the photo below.

I watched this dog with his human for quite a while.
It was one of the things I enjoyed most of that day.

I love rocks.
They love me back.

From Montana (and it's all-too-chilly mornings), we drove west for Salt Lake City. Typically I don't do well with large cities anymore, however I found Salt Lake easy to navigate and very clean. The fact that it was a really hot day didn't hurt that's for sure. Everywhere we went people were complaining about the heat, but we loved it, the humidity sat at near zero. Unfortunately we were there for only 1 night. I don't like to over schedule, thus didn't want to get involved with anything too time consuming. Basically we walked the main part of the city, looked into a few galleries, had breakfast at Vertical Diner, hit up a thrift store (where I found 2 more vegan cookbooks to feed that addiction) and enjoyed the very friendly people of Salt Lake. Vertical Diner was a no-brainer destination for us, all vegan, with lots of gluten free options if interested. Salt Lake itself is very vegan friendly. Vertical has a spot in their foyer where they offer up free educational materials about veganism, as well as a community bulletin board for the related goings on. We loved the food, and placed a large takeaway order as well since we had many hours of desert driving (high desert I think it's called, right) in front of us. Our to go order had a lot of mistakes, which was the only bummer. Despite that, the food was great, and I blame myself for not checking the order close enough before we left. First world problems.

Breakfast at Vertical Diner.
All vegan diner in Salt Lake City.
A wonderful feeling walking into
an establishment knowing the
abundant choices of an entire
menu were ours.

I loved the animal art throughout the diner

There was a lot of driving between places that I'm not mentioning. The only other mandatory destination besides Montana was Moab, so you see from Salt Lake we had a lot of driving ahead. Idaho was trippy for the weather as we passed through.... very stormy almost all around us the entire time making for very unusual skies, intense lighting and beautiful vistas. I never found the potato truck, LOL. I'm pretty sure we passed through hours of potato farms but nothing was marked and things were blurring together to say the least.

Idaho was a beautiful blur.
Impossible to capture the way the storm was chewing
through the sky for miles and miles of our drive.
I like this picture, it reminds me of PacMan
devouring his dots.

We pushed straight through to Moab, which where I'll pick up for you tomorrow.  For now, I'll just leave this here for you:

Mother and baby at dusk.


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an awesome road trip, and such beautiful pictures! Looking forward to seeing part two!