Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday 2009 - Driving to Cali (Tucson)

With just a short drive to Tucson from Van Horn, we took our time on the road (and thankfully didn't have any run-ins with 18-wheelers). Pshew!

The first impression of Tucson was mixed. Tucson is HUGE and we did get a bit lost, BUT there were bike lanes everywhere, the busses had bike racks on the front of them, and even the signs told drivers to "yield to bikes." I teased Dave that we needed to take one of of those signs to mount on the back of my bike back home!

By about 4:00, we were nestled in the alcove that houses Tucson's Community Supported Agriculture pick-up site where fellow blogger Chile Chews volunteers every Friday. Not only were we surrounded by great local food and locals coming to get their weekly supply of farm-fresh veggies (many of whom were bikers), there was live music AND, of course, I had the opportunity to meet Chile.

To finally meet someone I've corresponded with for the last 18 months, was an amazing treat. And to discover that not only do we have many of the same simple-green-frugal goals, but I thoroughly enjoyed her and her hubby's company and hospitality. It was quite a visit! Well, let's get right to it.

Dinner plans were for Lovin' Spoonfuls, an all-vegan restaurant. So that Kelsey could join us, we sat outside in the cool evening air. The tough choice lay ahead. After 14 months of slim pickings at restaurants, it was a bit overwhelming to chose from the menu. Seriously, go check it out. Every last one of the choices is vegan! After ogling all the dinner plates on the way to the counter and reading the menu a dozen times, I finally decided on "Buddha's Delight." Beautiful, isn't it? Also making an appearance at the table were "Linguini with Italian Meatballs," the "Santa Fe Platter," and "Stroganoff Supreme." Everything looked fabulous and, in fact, my meal was wonderful!

We spent the meal relaxing and talking about our lives. To a certain extent, you get to know each other on-line, but I found that there was so much more to explore in person. And speaking of exploring, after dinner, we walked the Winterhaven Festival of Lights (see photos here). Of course, it changes a little every year, but it's a truly amazing display of lights. Road are blocked for pedestrian only access, allowing us to wander around an admire the unique decorations that ran for blocks.

Later in the evening, back at Chez Chile, we curled up in cushy chairs, exchanged local holiday gifts, and talked more over some of Chile's homemade peach liquor. It was absolutely delicious, but as I'm not much of a drinker, I was yearning for a good sleep by the time we called it a night around 11PM.

And as if last night wasn't a complete treat, Chile and her hubby prepared breakfast for us this morning - vegan pancakes (local whole wheat flour), topped with a choice of homemade pomegranate or prickly-pear syrup, and freshly-squeezed orange juice (from local oranges). I ate more than I usually do (the photo shows only one of the three pancakes I ate), but it was worth every last delicious bite, and we did take the dogs for a walk afterward, so I managed to get in a little exercise before we had to say out good-byes.

A HUGE thank you, Chile, for having us and hosting a fabulous visit! It would have been wonderful to spend more time talking and exploring life in Tucson, but we have family to reach for Christmas and one last stop before we're there - visiting Beany in San Diego. Until next time, we're on the road again...


Tammy said...

You missed an awesome Market. There were 25 vendors. The weather was cool and clear. I think there were six or more veggie vendors alone. There were home modified baby clothes, crafts, jewelry, gift baskets of various shapes and sizes, three or four egg vendors, a few different musicians, pecans, coffee, soap, olive oil, breads, tamales, pies, and mini-pies. Amy had her daughter and grandbabies there. Of course, Santa was there.
Now, I didn't arrive until after ten but there were potatoes(purple, too), sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli raab, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, lemons, peppers, greens, turnips, sprouts, oh, and that one guy brought some bananas.
I bought spinach, lettuce, cabbage, lots of broccoli, salad mix, a pecan pie, a loaf of apricot nut bread, a pound of coffee, two dozen eggs, five bars of soap, a personalized baby spoon, olive oil, a onesie for my nephew that reads, "Save our planet, it's the only one with chocolate", a candle and four jars of salsa. I am done Christmas shopping and I never went to the mall.
It sounds like you're having fun on the way to Cali, which is great.
Have a wonderful day.

Chile said...

Thank you, Heather, for making time in your travelling schedule to stay and visit with us. We thoroughly enjoyed your company, as well as your sweetie's and, of course, cute little Kelsey's. It's such a delight to talk to someone about all the things that are important to us and not get the "hm, these folks are a little crazy" look!

Safe driving, and have a splendid visit with Beany and your family.

Sam said...

So glad you got to meet Chile!

What surprised me about Tucson was that there was only one vegan'd think there'd be more. Especially since it is such a fairly large city.

We do have quite a few vegan places here but there is much emphasis on fake meat and not much on the veggie portion of eating.

hmd said...

Tammy -Wow! What an awesome market! I missed being there, but I'm going to the San Diego market this morning. I'll be sure to report...

Chile - It's good to know someone else that gets those looks. I think our neighbors see me as some crazy hippy chick, but at least if they recognize we're different, maybe they'll be curious to know why and how. It can be a great conversation starter.

Beany - And I DO love the veggies. That's the best part!

Waitress from Mensa said...

Wishing you enjoyable--and safe--travels. Am enjoying vicariously tagging along. In Tucson, you were close to my old stomping ground of 14 years, Sierra Vista, Arizona. (I've bicycled from Tucson to SV on my cross-country trip, BTW, but more often drove back and forth.) Yummy photos of your vegan meals. Adorable niece Hazel Evelyn. James (preserves) agreed that you have been a godsend to the BV Farmers Market.

Chile said...

Waitress from Mensa - uh, we know each other. Feel free to contact me. :)

Sorry to hijack your comments, Heather, but I've oftened wondered where this gal ended up. It's a small world to find out she's now in your stomping grounds.

hmd said...

Waitress from Mensa - Glad you're along for the ride :) I miss our little community but am just loving vacation. The big local farmers' market is on Saturday and I'm SO looking forward to exploring it again. Have a great holiday!

Chile - Ok. That's too weird, but totally awesome! Hope you two can reconnect!

Custom Lapel Pins said...

Later in the evening, back at Chez Chile, we curled up in cushy chairs, exchanged local holiday gifts, and talked more over some of Chile's homemade peach liquor. It Was nice thing to share

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