When Bowerbird and I headed out for our month long road trip across the country in October of 2014, I had purchased a new camera and was all excited to start vlogging. Vlogging is a form of blogging, but using video. Basically, home movies for the whole internet to view. Unfortunately, after our first week on the road, I thought the camera was broken, although it wasn’t, and only recorded clips on my cell phone. But that’s the thing, they are just clips – there isn’t enough material for me to create actual vlogs/ video diaries of the day. Sadly, I will have to keep the odds and ends of footage just to myself and family. Since I really don’t know how else to share it, if you have any idea’s feel free to comment below.
But like all failures, it opened the door to a great learning experience. Vlogging for the first time, while going on one of the biggest adventures of my life, helped me to build up the courage to vlog more. Over this last year, I’ve filmed and edited 25 vlogs. I’ve become comfortable walking around and talking into a little handheld camera, it might seem strange, but then this is my life and vlogging is fun for me!
I love to share my life, my story, and selfishly (as long as the internet doesn’t crash) in the future I get to look back at all this documentation of my life and just smile! Dementia isn’t an urban legend, especially in my family, so how wonderful would it be to have a collection of stories for my brain to return too. Reference points to jog a lost thought back into place.
Here is the playlist of videos I’ve made thus far covering the October 2014 road trip. Don’t worry though! Lots of blog posts are still coming, I have tons of photos. I’m a total dork, because I only thought the video recording portion of my camera was broken.
In Monterey, I woke up early to finish work for a client and write a blog post from the road recapping our engagement story. When Bowerbird woke up we headed down for the complimentary breakfast that was delicious and can be seen in my vlog of the day. We tried to head up to San Francisco as quickly as possible so we’d get a decent amount of exploring time in, but swiftness was not on our side. My over documenting / trying to take pictures of a product for one of my clients was slowing us down.
Once we were on the road, stress levels dropped and we just listened to the radio. San Francisco is only a couple hours from Monterey, so we arrived around 1:00ish. I had never been to SF and had no idea what to expect but I instantly feel in love with the architecture and signs. I took a lot of picture of signs. We had Spoke Art, a gallery that is friends with Thinkspace Gallery, in our GPS and made them our first destination. When I drive into a city I like to just have a destination in mind to make my center point, everything else is relative to “this place”. Usually, that place is our hotel or Airbnb but if I haven’t booked it yet – it could just be any location.
When we arrived to Spoke Art I was completely turned around, the rolling streets and tall buildings had me totally disoriented. The gallery was showing new work by Stella Im Hultberg, who I adore! It’s always nice when a good show is going on while you’re in town. Spoke’s gallery assistant gave us a lot of great tips on other shows around the area, but we really wanted to make sure to see city hall. Since we parked in an expensive and awkward garage, we decided to make our next ‘center point’ the hotel and back into the vehicle we went.
We stayed at the historic Pickwick hotel, the room booked through hotel.com aka my favorite app of all time. Coincidentally, the hotel was RIGHT NEXT to the restaurant Bowerbird’s friend had booked dinner reservations, so I knew it was meant to be. SF parking is a little intense, not as bad as Seattle, but we knew this was a city made for walking. Once throwing down are things, we had 3 hours to explore before meeting up for drinks and that meant shoving as much site seeing in as possible.
First stop was Vacation an awesome store with reasonably priced vintage and a super cool vibe. We chatted with the Shop Girl and her friend (I think one of them was the owner / co-owner) about crazy musicians and for directions to our next destination, City Hall. The interesting thing I noticed about San Francisco or at least the part we were exploring, was this insane dichotomy of social classes. One street would feel totally safe, while the next one over Bowerbird and I would make a note to not walk down again. We were right in the heart of San Francisco and in retrospect I guess it wasn’t much different than walking around Downtown LA and stumbling onto skid row.
City Hall was stunning! I wouldn’t have thought to go there except a friend of mine showed me the beautiful architecture inside. We walked around the hall and observed newlyweds getting their pictures taken. If I were to get a court house wedding, San Francisco City Hall is the one to get hitched in.
By the time we had shopped and visited City Hall we were a thirty-minute walk away from the bar we were to meet up with Bowerbird’s friend. Walking as fast as our legs could carry us, I spotted a Hearst H outside a very opulent looking building and it stopped me dead in my tracks. Another Hearst Building! We went inside very quickly and found out there was a bar underneath it called Local Edition. I was in love. Meeting up with Bowerbird’s pal Mr. M and being introduced to his girlfriend was such a warm way to spend our San Francisco evening. Mr. M was super excited about our engagement and “put it on my tab” was his new tagline. I feel blessed by the generosity of our friends. Anyways, he had told us initially he wanted to take us to Local Edition, but the line there for a drink is ridiculous. That didn’t stop my desire to see this place, so I politely insisted we go.
Once down inside the bar and below the Hearst Building, I was in awe. Old newspapers were used as décor and vintage typewriters were affixed along the wall. I let Bowerbird and Mr. M stand in line for cocktails as I ogled typewriters and squeezed behind groups of people to get a closer look at the headlines on the wall. I had perma-smile taking it all in and wondering around the bar like a total tourist. By the time they finally got our cocktails we had to suck them down in 15 mins and walk on over to our dinner reservations at The Cavalier. Dinner was amazing and all my pictures from inside the restaurant suck due to the lighting. We ate and drank till we could go on no more.
It’s funny how all my photos of SF from this day are of signs or building. I was on a total typography high.
Please check out my vlog of the day up on YouTube.
With belly’s aching from the delicious meal we indulged in the night before at Husk, we rolled out of our Charleston hotel bed around 10 am and leisurely headed straight for Atlanta. We were planning on getting to Atlanta by 5:00pm, but as we drove down the freeway, I spotted a sign for Magnolia Gardens. A running joke with Bowerbird is the fact that if he hadn’t come along, my mother and I would end up in a Grey Gardens situation. The fact this historic landmark of Magnolia Gardens had ‘gardens’ in the name, made me chuckle and want to visit this place. So with no previous knowledge of this plantation, we just followed signs leading to the home.
A ticket into the property included access to their petting zoo and a tour of the home. An authentic Southern plantation, whose original building was burned down during the Civil War, was steeped with a fascinating history. The tour guides were very descriptive in explaining the family from their financial history to romantic entanglements. Known for its stunning gardens on the property, the owner John Drayton planted the romantic gardens in order to please his wife. What a romantic! Also, I’m not sure if it was John Drayton’s sisters or daughters, but two women associated with the property were prolific abolitionists.
Although we were visiting the plantation during October, the grounds felt like a forever Spring. Beautiful flowers were in bloom, Spanish moss hung down from strong tall trees, and the property was slow enough that at times it felt like Bowerbird and I were the only ones there. Bowerbird and I spent a lot of time in the petting zoo, playing with deer, petting pigs, and chatting up the onsite zoologist who explained how this petting zoo was a rescue. Many of the animals onsite were wounded at one point and are now unable to go back into the wild. We had planned on Magnolia Gardens only being a quick stop but ended up exploring the grounds and petting zoo till closing time. There was a wedding being set up for the evening and can’t lie, I’m jealous of those that have Magnolia Gardens as a wedding venue option. We left Charleston around 5:00pm, picked up coffee at a local place, and then OFFICIALLY headed out to Atlanta; arriving in the city around 10:00pm. It was really cool too because the local college radio station was playing a band Bowerbird had recently opened for back in LA, Xeno & Oaklander.
I miss the cute animals and the beautiful grounds of Magnolia Gardens, and am so thankful to be introduced to this gem without even looking.
One of the fun things about traveling during October is seeing all the different Halloween festivities. Last year, we got to see how Halloween was celebrated across the country from Kentucky to Lousiana. Luckily, when we were in Atlanta we got to experience their annual Little 5 Points Halloween parade. It’s a pretty big deal for that part of town, it seems like everyone dresses up and goes out to see it. A middle school friend of mine, who now lives in Los Angeles, at the time lived in Atlanta and turned us on to the event.
Earlier in the afternoon we had parked our car near an Urban Outfitters to explore the cool hipster shops nearby. We discovered the gnarliest antique shop, it seriously deserves its own post. But anyways, where we were was only a thirty-minute walk to the parade and I knew it would be foolish to try and find parking closer. We weren’t the only ones walking to the parade either, the streets were filled with people! A mixture of characters in personality and costume, most of the time we were walking behind a “Robin Sparkles“. When we arrived at the parade’s main street, there was no doubt we were in the right place, people were sitting on top of buildings and holding themselves up on street signs. Every inch of sidewalk was taken up by a spectator.
Thankfully, we had a local to meet up with because I think I would have been insanely overwhelmed if I was on my own. We met her and her friends up on a hill for a great view of crazy floats. Trucks with trailers were decked out with riders in DIY costumes. My friend even gave me the lowdown on different floats, the small business that were behind it or who it was in memory of. You could really tell this was an event for a fun thriving community. As tomorrow is Halloween I figured this would be the perfect time to share my photos from the parade.
Like I shared before, I have no idea how I’m going to organize all my tales from the road. So let’s just throw chronological order out the window and go with ‘what Bekka feels like writing about today’ order.
October 25, 2015 | Day 10
On our way up to San Francisco, we passed by a road side sign that said ‘french fried artichokes’. Being a connoisseur of french fries and a lover of artichokes, we put the farm on our list of things to hit up on our way back down. While on the road, because of time constraints, there tends to be a lot of “leave it for the drive home” decisions – this was one of them. We wrote down the name Pezzini Farms and on our last day of the road trip looked up the farm.
I wasn’t expecting much but was still blown away by the adorable farmer general store they had set up. Jars of jams, jellies, and local honey lined one of the walls; adjacent was a wall filled with fresh chopped garlic, sundried tomatoes and sauces for pasta or dipping artichokes. I squealed at the rustic signs for brussel sprouts and artichokes, I couldn’t get over how country chic and pinterest-y it all was!
We ordered our french fried artichokes, which actually look nothing like french fries, but are battered and fried artichoke hearts. They gave us a delicious garlic aioli for dipping, and I even came up with a technique for enjoying them. At first I popped a whole one in my mouth and wasn’t that impressed. I couldn’t taste any of the artichoke. But the second time, I decided to savor the bite more and actually took bites of the heart. I don’t know if it’s because the artichoke became exposed to oxygen or something, but suddenly I could taste more of the artichoke and I really enjoyed it.
After our roadside snack, I enthusiastically decided we should pick up some pumpkins. They had a very tiny display, but Bowerbird and I have never carved pumpkins together. Given that it’s the week of Halloween and we would be arriving home that night, why not squish some squash in our trunk. (oh the puns!)
We picked out our perfect pumpkins, mine is oval and smooth, his has a lot of character; tonight we are carving them up! Hence, me wanting to post about how we acquired our pumpkins. I can’t stress enough how wonderful it is to follow a roadside sign and see where you end up. I had no idea what these french fried artichokes would be, but it lead us to the most delightful market. We also purchased a large jar of yummy raw honey and three artichokes that I steamed last night. It was my first time steaming artichokes, the idea of it and instructions are much more difficult than the actual execution.
Well, I’m off to carve a pumpkin, eat pizza, and watch Lincoln. I love how our first pumpkin carving experience now has a romantic story attached to it – we picked them out on the side of the road amongst fields of artichokes on our engagement road trip. I can see Keanu Reeves being cast as Bowerbird and the movie poster looking something similar to A Walk in the Clouds.
We are in the “turn around” portion of the trip, when we have more days behind us then left in front of us, but this road trip is far from over yet. From my experience during out last grand epic road trip I knew updating my blog would be hard. I didn’t realize it would be near impossible given every time I have WiFi I’m hoping on my laptop to check work emails and do a little freelance from the road. I’m not complaining, I knew that was a part of this trips M.O. – I need money when I return. But that is why this trip has less posting in the present and a lot will be recapped later.
Road trips are a fun adventure, but I wouldn’t say it’s a relaxing vacation. We’re usually never in a place long enough that warrants sleeping in. Although when we camped a few nights ago in Bend, OR and let the sun be our alarm clock, phones turned off, that was totally blissful. My little slice of heaven, together cozied up in a tent with just the right amount of blankets for perfect warmth but not overheating.
Right now I’m sitting in a La Quinta bed about to edit some photos for a client and schedule out some content. My right leg is cramping up and in pain from an insane hike we did yesterday. One of my oldest friends lives in Washington and is a semi-expert hiker/climber. I asked her to pick a hike for us and we’d meet her there, apparently her favorite hike is also one of the most intense. She and her boyfriend drove across the country for 6 months, hiking and exploring National Parks. At this point, she is really an old pro at hiking and was very gracious at waiting for this huffing and puffing writer. We hiked a steep 5.5-mile climb up Mt. Ellinor that took all day. It was amazing and exhausting. All we did last night was eat and sleep; in bed by 10:30pm.
When I assumed her road trip adventure must have been less stressful than our 30-day cross-country road trip because they had more time, I was wrong. As her boyfriend said it perfectly, “traveling is more stressful than a job.” On road trips I don’t think you ever ‘unwind’, I won’t be coming back with glowing skin and rested eyes. I’ve been riding a wave of stress since the day we left, before it was because of work and now it’s to go to the next place. There is a constant anxious desire to make sure you get a great sampling of your destination and allowing yourself to stop along the way. Enjoying the moment while not lingering too long and missing the next. I’d love to sit in this bed all day and vedge out, but today we explore Seattle and get to go to Pike Place. I’m excited! Get a cup of coffee in me and I’ll be right as rain.
So that’s the quick and present update from the road. The days have been blurring in my mind, but I’ll sort out the memories later. Right now I’m going to grab a free breakfast and finish up working, then we take on the day!
If you see a girl with curly hair limping around Seattle, say hi!
On top of San Siemon rests the most gorgeous home in the world, Hearst Castle. As art and words inspire my life, Hearst Castle is like two passions coming together in an architectural dream. I’ve been in love with this castle in the sky since I was a child and visited it with my mom and sister. I took Bowerbird to it for the first time 2 and half years ago. We had been dating for 9 months and wanted a romantic Monterey getaway, so Hearst was on the way. Now we are on our third road trip, this time dedicated to the Pacific North West, and stopped at Hearst yesterday. If I’m going on the 1, you know I’m stopping at my favorite place, it’s better than Disneyland!! Now this dream place is deeply intertwined into my own dreamy romance, as Bowerbird proposed to me on top of a high balcony peak overlooking the ocean.
When we first were dropped off at the top of the hill it started to rain, Bowerbird was majorly bummed out as the little drops of water came sprinkling down a top of our head. We went on our tour of the upstairs suites where Hearst has a library that would make Bell blush. Yes, I’m referencing that amazing scene in Beauty and the Beast where the Beast give bell the most beautiful library in animated history. But once the tour was over, the sky was bright blue and sun shining! It wasn’t very busy yesterday and I was able to take dozens of pictures with no other tourist in site. We explored the side of one of the guest cottages and I could feel Bowerbird’s energy shift. He was getting anxious and looking around us trying to find the perfect spot. Every time he tried to get extra romantic it seemed another tourist popped up, like they were all swarming to this side of the property at once.We kept climbing stairs to another empty spot and then another group of tourist came up. This is what led us to the very highest point on the side of one of the Hearst cottages. It was an area that one would have to make an extra effort to find and Bowerbird was making a very private romantic effort.
He pulled me in tight and remarked how this had been the best three years of his life. Then as he placed his hand in his pocket and pulled out my *Bachan’s ring, he got on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said “of course,” because I’ve known Bowerbird is the man I would marry after only three months of dating. After our first date, I thought he could be the one. Our love story has always been about timing and his timing couldn’t be more perfect.
I then overheard a tour guide explaining how couples get engaged. As we were on the balcony of the cottage, a tour group was inside exploring one of the rooms and as they passed by on the other side of a screen door – they clapped and said congratulations.
Now we’re off to San Fransico today and I begin my first full day as an engaged woman! I couldn’t be happier as we go on to our next adventure in our life together.
Stairway to heaven!
Bowerbird and I are on a road trip across the Pacific North West, follow our adventure on instagram or twitter! #ontheroad1015
On our way to Husk, Google Maps directed us to a very out of the way detour that saved us hours on drive time. Apparently there was a terrible accident that backed up the highway for miles and miles. This detour was a complete blessing, I loved being off the interstate and driving through cotton fields. They were everywhere, right up to the road. As this was our adventure of a lifetime and the cotton just called out to me; I told Bowerbird to pull over. It was time to pick some cotton. I felt like a child stealing a cookie from a school bake sale. I pictured a man with a shotgun coming out from the field yelling at me to get off his land. So I quickly pulled a piece of cotton that was practically falling off the boll. Soft and white, apart from the seeds inside, my fresh piece of cotton was exactly like the little balls I’d buy at the drug store.
In the gallery world when a piece of artwork is sold it is marked with a red dot. Knowing I would be visiting some major murals in Richmond, I had to bring a red dot with me! Our time in Richmond was short due to the reservation at Husk that night, a 6-hour drive from Richmond, VA to Charleston, SC. So Bowerbird and I woke up early, showered, grabbed a cup of coffee from a vending machine in our couch surfer’s apartment building and went mural hunting. Luckily, a handful of the murals from the Richmond Mural Project curated by Art Whino were right around the apartment. So we didn’t even have to move our car to find murals. We walked the streets of Richmond, putting the address of the ROA’s turtle tower in my gps as our initial destination. On the way to ROA we found the Angry Woebots mural. And the rest of the mural hunting was very similar, just stumbling on them while walking down this street and the next. It was really fun just discovering the murals. I was super excited to find Andrew Hem’s mural!
Time was ticking and our stomachs were grumbling. So after about an hour of searching for murals we looked on Yelp for a breakfast spot next to my bank. I had to finally get a cashiers check for the speeding ticket I received back in Colorado. We found a delicious spot in the downtown/business area of Richmond and fortunately a mail person was right in front of the building! I didn’t even have to look for a mailbox to send out the speeding ticket. I really appreciate the little things that make life magical.
Here are the murals I red dotted in Richmond, Virginia.
I’ve had a love for Colonial Williamsburg since I was thirteen and visited Virginia during an 8th grade trip to Washington DC. It was during my adolescent trip that I discovered how closely packed together states are on the East Coast and my love for pineapples. As Bowerbird had never been to Colonial Williamsburg I wanted to introduce him to the rich history and old buildings. It’s a 7-hour drive between Wheeling, West Virginia and Colonial Williamsburg on a good day and we were driving through a torrential downpour. We left for Williamsburg super early in the morning and arrived at the visitor center 2 hours before everything closed down. Since we were on a budget-friendly adventure we opted to just get the day pass minus all the fancy tours that get you inside the buildings. We walked around the grounds and popped into the open shops, Bowerbird and I are pro-window shoppers.
Apart from both Bowerbird and I’s general love of old building and history, the day was pretty mellow. Except I was tweeting the chef of Husk hoping to get a table for the next day, which you can read about here. The day pass does include access to the museums and we checked out the colonial asylum and art museum. I loved them both and ended up taking lots of pictures of furniture. I’m fascinated by craftsmanship; the artistic wooden carving and intricate inlay patterns all done by hand! I was almost not even going to share this post, but I can’t be the only one that freaks out when they see a gorgeous set of velvet chairs and foot rest.
Illuminate stuff right here….
Before there was Netflix & chill, people hadneedlepoint. This is a wedding needlepoint tapestry.
We booked a dinner at one of the Williamsburg restaurants, Chowning’s Tavern, for the novelty of the meal. It’s expensive for mediocre food, but in all honesty you’re eating dinner there for the town troubadour to come to your table. The website says you don’t need a reservation, but I say book ahead, we called them while we were in the museum. Plus we did hear people being turned away at the door because they didn’t have a reservation. The service was fantastic and the little pitcher of cream for our coffee was just my style. At dinner we were checking on the neighborhood of our Couchsurfing host and found out it was one of the most violent areas of Richmond. YAY! – not. But as we google mapped the address and studied the street view, we were able to talk ourselves off the ledge. I could only imagine what travelers think of when they google Echo Park. Our Couchsurfing host is a medical student, like most people in that part of Richmond. It’s a neighborhood in flux. We chatted about music and our travels with our host and his girlfriend before heading off to bed. During that time I was still feeling anxious and was in a funk as explained in my Wheeling post. But Michael, our host, and his energy just wiped away all the bad moe joe and after that night I was starting to feel a lot better.
Michael – you’re the bomb dot com.
If you’re a furniture nerd too, leave a comment below, I want to feel less alone!
I made a wish in the well and this handsome fellow appeared.