Posts tagged ‘adventure’

February 23, 2015

Birthday Adventure to Salvation Mountain

couple at salvation mountain

I’ve been craving a 6 hour drive. I miss the road and beautiful blue skies. But a long road trip isn’t in the picture for a while, so Bowerbird and I had talked about going on a day trip for my birthday. It fell on a Wednesday of a relatively slow week, and I wouldn’t feel incredibly guilty taking the day off. So San Diego and Santa Barbara were thrown around as ideas, but when Salvation Mountain popped in my head, I knew that was the perfect adventure. We’ve been there before, it’s how I discovered Bowerbird has an aversion to the sun. Yes, I’ve fallen in love with a vampire. But it had been a while, and with the passing of Leonard Knight last year, I was curious as to how the mountain had been kept up.

I felt like a kid going to Disneyland on the eve of my birthday, and woke up to four cupcakes from my favorite cupcakery Frosted. Bowerbird seriously is the best boyfriend, he surprised me with a cupcake in bed. We quickly got ready for the day and headed to Palm Springs for food at our favorite place out there, Lulu’s. Sadly we missed the breakfast menu. They serve the best salmon eggs benedict, we’ve ever had. Instead we opted for other pescetarian fair, and enjoyed a tuna tower that was phenomenal and scallop and shrimp pizza.  Our meal is documented in my birthday vlog, along with other sites from the day.

After lunch we headed further into no man’s land. Stopping at what feels like the last gas station before Niland for a bathroom break, Bowerbird and I exited the car to be complimented by some other twenty-something’s. Bowerbird in his red doc martins got mad respect, and together we were dubbed a very stylish couple. We later saw our gas stations friends at Salvation Mountain, and acknowledge nods were shared.

We had managed to get to Salvation Mountain before a slew of people and explored on our own. I love being the only ones at a place, it feels more special. Ever since I was a child, I felt a lot of comfort in being alone. Exploring by myself. The world turns into the secret garden and I’m Mary. Bowerbird and I have said we are two loners who found each other – it’s pretty romantic.  The mountain was beautiful! The colors were brilliant and people have really kept the mountain up since Leonard, the man who built the mountain, passed. A Salvation Mountain host, a young girl, began to tell the tale of Leonard to a few men who had stopped by with a chip on their shoulder. Heading into the desert to see Salvation Mountain, seems to be a trendy thing to do, but I find it to be inspiring. I look at the work of this man, what he created to connect people and share his message or god’s message of love, and it moves me deeply. What better way to celebrate my birthday, then to visit a place that makes me feel alive.

salvation mountain god is love

Create * Explore * Love * Live

salvation mountain trucks

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January 25, 2015

KY : The Bourbon Trail – MAKER’S MARK

bourbon trail makers mark

I’m playing Ryan Adams to get me in a Kentucky mindset, and I have to share the somber cloud that hovers over my heart. It was recently announced Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams are getting a divorce. They were my favorite celebrity couple, even more than Brad and Angelina, and I just thought they could make it work. Now with 5 years of marriage being thrown into the celebrity wind, I have to take a moment for over-dramatic mournful silence.

***

Now back to the bourbon trail. While driving down the bourbon trail we saw large square buildings with windows, scattered across rolling hills. If a corporate building and a country barn had a baby, it would be these boxes.  They reminded me of something out of a horror movie, where all the zombie are kept or is storage for twisted experiments. Now the sky was cloudy and gray that day, and since I’m fairly morbid my imagination got a little carried away. In actuality, they are rack houses, where the bourbon goes to age and rest. So I guess technically it is storing an experiment – in awesome flavor!

bourbon resting house

We made the last Maker’s Mark tour and were the first to purchase our tickets. Letting us have that magical alone time the early bird gets to savor. The waiting house is a real Disney style attraction, with talking picture reciting the history of Maker’s Mark and a replica kitchen showing how Margie Samuels, the wife of T. Williams Samuels came up with the signature Maker’s Mark bottle. Margie was a marketing master and designed the Maker Mark’s bottle inspired by the unique shapes of cognac bottles. She wanted Maker’s to be distinctively different from the other bourbons on the market. It was also her idea to have the distillery painted black, as she was tired of it always looking dirty.  See there is a naturally occurring fungus that grows around distilleries called, Baudoinia Compniacensis, and it turns trees and objects black. Margie was annoyed with fighting the fungus so she painted the buildings black with red trim, and her branded esthetics has lasted through the decades.  Oh yeah, the distillery you tour is the same one that produced the first bottle of Makers in the 1950’s, how cool is that!!!

Makers Mark Kitchen

Makers Mark Distillery

Of course, there have been upgrades, like the beautiful copper distillers. But the room which ferments the sour mash was totally vintage. We got to poke our finger into the brew, which looked like captain crunch and tasted like sweet watery white bread. We also got to take home our own Maker’s Mark label, made on the same printing press from their early days. These kinds of true to tradition touches gave the distillery real charm. Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of Maker’s Mark. I enjoy rye bourbons, and I found out they don’t use any rye in their recipe. Just corn sour mash and red winter wheat. So the tasting was a little underwhelming to me, but still very enjoyable.

Makers Mark Distillers

makers mark sour mash

We found out there is an ambassador program you can join, where they mark a barrel of bourbon with your name on it, and in 7 years you can purchase ‘your’ bourbon. I was so excited about this program, I told Bowerbird that I would need to plan my ovaries around the ambassador program, because I wouldn’t want to be pregnant when our bourbon was ready. I also said this out loud, and one of the other gentlemen on the tour remarked it was the best statement he’s ever heard.  What can I say, I love bourbon.

The coolest thing, about bringing home a bottle of Maker’s Mark from the distillery, is that you can dip it in the hot wax yourself. This was our epic road trip across the country, so we had to experience a dipped bottle. I was nice and let Bowerbird be the dipper, and the second it was cooled and handed to us I tried to carve the date into the wax, but it was too solid. Unfortunately, there was too many liabilities when it came to carving the wax when it was still hot. I hid a few of my road trip postcards in the gift shop too, and was tweeted on the road a week later from a fella who found it in a feminist book. Getting tweets while on the road was so cool. I still wonder about the postcards floating out there.

dipping makers mark in red wax

It was a bummer we were unable to go to any additional distilleries. Bowerbird was really looking forward to Four Roses, but we both agreed Maker’s Mark was worth it. We had been told it was a must see distillery, and for not even liking Maker’s that much, I absolutely loved my experience there. The bourbon trail hands out these passports you can get stamped at all the distilleries, new life goal is to get it filled. Bulleit distillery, you’re next on my list.

cute couple at maker's mark

October 15, 2014

TN: Back to Memphis…

road trip Memphis

Memphis is the hometown to one of my favorite bands of all time, Lucero. They were the first band I ever saw by myself, and if my heart had a soundtrack it would be comprised of Lucero songs. I made it a mission of mine to visit 1372 Overton Park, not only the title of an album but an actual address in Memphis. Lucero’s musical roots in Memphis, it’s where the band lived and wrote music for years. A loft on top of a Thrift Store, taking a picture with the door to 1372 was my little piece of Lucero memorabilia. I asked the Sun Records tour guide what was near 1372 Overton Park, as I was a huge Lucero fan, and she lit up with the familiarity of talking about a wonderful mutual friend.  A few of the members had played on her own record. She recommended a few bars, but told us the place to go that night to potentially run into Lucero members was Buccaneer. A friend of Lucero and fellow musician, Dave Cuosar was playing at 11pm. I was completely committed to seeing this local act, and till then we filled our time with local Memphis finds.

We chose to experience the delicious ribs at Central BBQ. Their hot BBQ sauce still teases my phantom senses. The meat fell off the bone, but wasn’t too dry, only around the blackened edges that gave it an extra smoky flavor. Next we went to Beale Street. The tourist trap of Memphis. Its neon signs draw the out-of-towners like a moth to the flame. But once on it, aside from the jazz and blue grass music that fills the air outside stuffy bars, it is a dead street. We left just as soon as we arrived, walking up and down it once, and then hoping back in the car.

Beal Street Memphis

On ward we went to one of the other bars our Sun Tour guide suggested, we came across Overton Square. A colorful street lined with restaurants and bars, the buildings were really interesting. A mixture between the old and new, most of them had to either been built or renovated within the last ten years. Maintaining the structures charm and a certain amount of character most modern establishments’ lack. We pulled over to explore, stopping inside Boscos, a Tennessee brewing company. Enjoying a flight, we overheard two college students discussing their Knoxville campus. Sharing that the campus was socially segregated, and how some of their friends don’t know how to talk to black people. I was stunned, my ear glued to the conversation. I can’t fathom the idea of not knowing how to talk to someone because of their skin color. Language barrier yes, but a different ethnic background… it was my first real taste of the stereo-typical south everyone warns you about. This same person then went on to discuss how they didn’t care for Jewish people. Let’s just all agree, that as a society we should look at people as an individual and not respond to someone based on a skewed idea of a group of people.

memphis overton square

After the flight we headed to First Avenue which was one of the first venues Lucero played at. It was a pretty mellow night, and we took a seat at the bar. Watching the baseball game on the TV, those sitting at the counter bonded over a singer on the screen wearing a bizarre parade float styled hat upon her head.  Soaking in the vibe, when I told the bartender we were there as I was informed Lucero got their start there, he handed me an old guitar pick. “This could be from them, or perhaps another band, one thing for certain it’s old.” He went on to say how members of Lucero still come in, and the bassist was across the street at a different bar the night before.

Then on to the Buck, a dive bar located inside a yellow house. It was filled with cigarette smoke and illuminated with red lights. Set up on an area that was clearly designated for bands, but hardly a stage, was one guitar and a stack of amps. Arriving ten minutes till the show, we ordered drinks, took a seat and watched Dave come out of the shadows and take his seat next to the guitar. That night we got one of the best shows I’ve seen in 2014.  Dave Cousar is an artist with the guitar. He plays in a way that I’ve never heard before, making the guitar cry and wine, vibrate beneath his fingertips. An abstract painting of folk and rock, he is what Bob Dylan should be. I made up a story in my head that Dave and Dylan were at the same festival or audition, and by some random accident Dave couldn’t go on, letting Dylan take the stage and the slot for that sound. I think Dave is a little younger than Dylan, but man did his voice just weave through notes rising and falling. Mid-set he paused, and aside from my enjoyment of the music I was getting really sleepy. We told Dave how much we loved his set and he humbly thanked us, even gave me his own I just saw the guys in Lucero story.

dave cousar memphis

That night I didn’t see any of the members of Lucero, but I met them through Memphis. I began to gain a better sense of the band through friends, acquaintances, the musicians they play with for fun. Driving up and down the same streets they do, and talking with the same friendly faces they know to be familiar. If I wasn’t going to see Lucero live in Memphis, that night was the best I could have asked for. I look forward to name dropping Dave to Ben at The Echo in November.

October 9, 2014

OKC : Birth of a Dream

womb gallery roadtrip

The saying, if you knew how powerful your thoughts are you’d never have a bad one, really is the best intro into what I’m about to share. Wayne Coyne, singer of Flaming Lips, lives in Oklahoma City and has a reputation for being very nice, giving, and open. A king of the freaks, he welcomes people, if you can find him. Knowing his gallery, Womb Gallery was located in Oklahoma City, Bowerbird and I decided on a whim to just see if we knocked on the door possibly we would be able to stay at the compound.  Unfortunately the freak storm in Oklahoma, caused us to pull off the road 16 miles from the gallery and all my hopes of running into Wayne washed away.

The next morning we went to the gallery, and as Womb is known to have fluctuating hours, I assumed we’d only be able to take pictures on the outside and it would put us 10 minutes behind schedule max. We also had the diamond crater of Arkansas on our list of things to do that day. Instead Womb Gallery turned into nearly an hour excursion and it was better than we could have imagined, we found a different kind of diamond that day.

Driving up to the gallery, there was a group of men taking down an installation of a nose on the outside of the building. I could tell the gallery probably wasn’t open, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me from asking. Approaching the gallery manager, we asked if it was open and after explaining we we’re on a road trip from California and wouldn’t be able to swing back for the show, Jake was very kind and offered to give us a tour. Their show Acid Off by artist Isis Fisher opens this weekend, October 11, and half the space was incomplete but the concepts mind blowing.

Glitter floors, fluorescent walls, textural and scent stimulating sculptures; the entire space awakens a creative spark within. Pushing norms, and mixing the absurd with post-modern fine art.  Jake and I geeked out on art, discussing past exhibits with Dalek and Bigfoot. I even shared with him an artist I had worked with before, Alex Chiu that I feel would fit in the gallery perfectly.

***photos and topics after the jump are graphic in nature, Bowerbird’s mom who is a loyal reader will most likely not enjoy the following – so you’ve been warned ❤ ***

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October 5, 2014

DENVER: Guardian  Angel Molly Brown

molly brown house

A day and a half behind, I write this sitting on the floor of a home built in the 1800’s for a doctor in Kansas City MO. It was one of the couchsurfing situations I set up, and nice that I had one lined up since we arrived really late to the city. In Denver, we didn’t know where we were going to sleep but knew we had to get creative.

On October 3, we went from Durango to Denver, with a few hiccups in the morning.  Our rental said the tire pressure was off, and Dan needed to get more sustenance than the one oatmeal packet he ate.  That led us to trying to find a market that carried natural peanut butter and bread with no sugar. The slow giddy up in our drive, had us racing to Denver to make the Molly Brown house museum’s last tour at 3:30pm. The GPS said our arrival was 3:45pm and I was rehearsing my pitch to get us in mid-tour. I love Molly Brown, she was an intelligent strong Irish women. A feminist spit fire and a women before her time. I’d like to think I have a little Molly Brown in me.

Once we got into Denver, we took a wrong turn and it caused my anxiety to really shoot up. I really wanted to see the Molly Brown House! We got to the house by 3:40, parked the car, and ran to the ticket booth/souvenir shop, and I mean ran. The girl in the tickets heard my desperate plea, and said depending on where they were in the tour she could bring us in but if they were on the second floor we might be out of luck.

The ticket booth girl, fiddled with a lock on the door. It was stuck and the suspension was killing me, are we going to get to see Molly Browns house. Praying to the lord the door would open, it finally budged and we were taken into the dining room where the tour group was getting the last of the info before moving upstairs.

The museum house was everything I could imagine, Victorian, ornate, well designed, I swooned. The tour guide inside, Cat, was really kind to us and said since we came late she’d go through the first few rooms with us and then finish the history outside. We soaked it up, and after enjoying hearing all the additional Molly Brown tid-bits the other tour participants didn’t get to hear, I pushed my luck with Cat.

Having already given so much of her time to us, I felt selfish for asking if she might have a place or know anyone open to hosting two travelers for a night.  She informed us she had cats, and since I’m allergic, I informed her I had pills and a nasel spray to handle that. We exchanged numbers and in a few hours after cleaning she called us, and we had an amazing night in Denver.

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September 26, 2014

Committing to the Dream…

I’m a dreamer and a doer. I know to accomplish what you set out to achieve takes hard work and dedication. But I tend to have commitment issues. I go for the easy more attainable goals first, and then let the big ones hang out against the wall. They can hang out for years, waiting for some TLC. Next week I start my road trip across the country, a big dream of mine that took more than just a few years to get to.

My family was all about road trip vacations, going to Palm Springs and Mammoth. Sometimes we’d jump in the car and head out on the road in the middle of the night. Aside from my terrible motion sickness, I loved being in the car on a trip. I’d stare out the window wondering about the people who lived in the houses, imagine epic tales that took place on the terrain, stop at the road side stands for fresh jerky and dates. Listening to my own walkman radio I’d imagine what road trips I’d go on as an adult, picking songs that I’d put on the soundtrack of my road trip.

The road trip day dreaming turned into an actual dream for my life, and for years I’d tell people how I’d want to travel the country collecting stories. Then about 3 years ago I finally decided I was going to do it. I was going to save money and drive across the country for 6 months, just to do it. Now this is where my dreams tend to get too big for my own britches. I was planning on saving enough money for 6 months on the road in just a year, without even having an actual goal on how much to save each month, just a rough idea of how much money I should have.

And as each month passed, the invisible savings of mine never grew. I met this great guy, and wasn’t sure if  I would want to leave him behind. I felt it would have been rude to leave my job after only being there a year. I made excuses, and I wasn’t putting forth the effort to make it real. I let the day to day, get in the way of making my dream a reality. I let myself down and it felt awful. By the time I would have left for my trip; I was ready to quit my job, the boy and I were strong, and I didn’t have any money to make it happen. So I let it go, and continued to have it just be this dream. A dream I always have, but never get any closer to…until now.

following your dream road trip map

The thermometer was at $100 for a over year, and the card saying October 2014 is covering May 2012.

 

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August 15, 2014

MY NY EATS – SATURDAY

I love the term foodie as it expresses a person who appreciates and loves food, but isn’t a formal food critic. My NY Eats were a big part of my weekend in New York, and trying new restaurants is a big part of any adventure for me. I hope you enjoy reading my recap of where I ate, and I give you a sense of the space and flavors. I didn’t take notes so it’s all from memory.

Our first stop on Saturday was Williamsburg. Wei explained Williamsburg is what Los Feliz is to Los Angeles. Which, for the reader unfamiliar with both; can then compare to the hip part of town where successful architects, musicians, artists, and other creative types reside who have moved far out of the starving stage of their craft.  We got brunch at an adorable rustic looking restaurant called Rabbit Hole. It was still fastened with its late 19th century character. Molded ceiling and narrow bar running down the side. Apparently the back outdoor portion of the restaurant is really nice, but we were starved and I just wanted to be seated. So we were right in front next to a large window facing the street. It made for some great lighting, and I was seated beneath a funny sign.

brunch in williamsburg

The brunch menu was creative and hip. A balanced selection of savory and sweet. One could easily be torn between, stuffed brioche French toast with strawberry mascarpone or salmon egg benedict on an herb biscuit. Since my friend ordered lemon ricotta pancakes and was willing to share a bite. I ordered the salmon benedict.  I’m a bit of benedict addict, or in a classy sense a connoisseur.  And the Rabbit Hole’s benedict easily made my top 3 benedicts of all time. It was a good hollandaise sauce, but what stood out the most was the fantastic biscuit the salmon and poached egg rested on. It had the texture of a drop biscuit but was incredibly light and buttery. It easily crumbled just enough to get a bite on your fork and melt in your mouth. I will dream of that salmon eggs benedict. Liz’s lemon pancakes zinged with zest, but were not tart. Sweet like a lemon cake. Surprisingly I don’t like lemon desserts, but I enjoy lemon pancakes. The service was also delightful, I ordered Orange Juice and a coffee to combat last night’s mule, and our waitress was really great at keeping the joe flowing.

salmon eggs benedict on biscuit

Fast forward through a day of sightseeing and bucket list accomplishments. We met up with Wei’s friend Chris, and Liz’s boyfriend Darren at Bryant Park. Darren’s birthday was the following day, so it was his choice for where we’d go for dinner. And not sure of what he wanted to eat, his only request was that he wanted a big frosty mug of beer. There are only two types of dining establishments that sell large frosty mugs of beer, and those are German restaurants and Japanese restaurants. Chris and Wei the actual New Yorkers, were racking their brains when Darren was making his mug request. After repeating it a third time, the light bulb above Wei’s head burst and she knew exactly where to go. A Japanese restaurant called Kenka, there is a blinking badger outside of it.

— WARNING FOOD GETS GRAPHIC & NOT VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY —

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January 10, 2012

Can’t Say No – Coachella 2012

The Coachella line up was bestowed upon the people yesterday and oh how the internet has been ablaze with buzz. There are reuniting groups, coming back from the dead ie: Refused and At The Drive- In, music legends or icons since they are not that old yet ie: Radiohead and Dr. Dre, and my favorite Mazzy Star. Every time Fade Into You came on the radio, my 6 year old self would fade into the song. Dreaming of love song dedications and great romances, no wonder I’m such a hopeless romantic.

I’ve never been one to actually want to go to Coachella. It’s a music festival with 50,000 people in the blaring hot sun in the middle of the desert, most of those people smelly, and cost a hell-of-a-lot of money. Really, for as much of a music fan I am, I have never really had the desire to go to Coachella because the lineup was never compelling enough to inspire me to buy a ticket. And the bands I did want to see I could usually catch over the course of the year at much smaller venues. The last line up that I actually wanted/ considered to go to was in 2008 when Rodger Waters was playing. And in all honesty, I remember the lineup was desirable, but I think I wanted to go more because my best friend was going.

This year I saw the lineup and immediately had to go. The bands I want to see will be listed after the jump, but the three days all call to a different side of my sense; from the 90’s kid, to indie love, hippie-free spirit, and don’t mess with me gangster, I’m covered. First, I have to see if I even get tickets, fingers crossed. But I’ll be camping on the grounds in my car, with friends here and there but no one to go with. I actually feel this is a “practice” run-through of my road trip. Sleeping in my car, surrounded by strangers, forced to make friends and be left to my own devices (sort of). It will give me a taste of 2013.

*note to self- make friends with cute boys to give back massage for kinks in muscles from sleeping in hatch-back car.