Note from Crabby: Today we have a special guest post from The Lobster about our recent cross-country trip! Regular readers may know that "The Lobster" is Crabby's long-suffering spouse and not just some random crustacean who wandered in. Crabby is so grateful for the Lobster's contribution that she resisted the temptation to delete a photo of her own ass which appears therein... tempting as that may have been. But it's the Lobster's post, so Crabby will not mess with it. So without further ado...
The Crab and I just returned from our 16 day slog across the nation in our camper van. Many of you (actually none of you but let’s not quibble over numbers) have asked "what’s it like to travel with Crabby given her obsessive focus on health and fitness?" Well, I guess it’s no surprise that what to eat and where to exercise garners a lot of discussion in that old camper van. And, being in a 152 square foot space together uninterrupted for 384 hours, there is a whole lot of time to garner.
Let’s tackle the unpleasant one first, exercise. We usually stop at a gym at least every three days, not because we are particularly interested in working out (well, we kind of are) but because that is our opportunity to shower (see 384 hours referenced above). This is not the first time we have crossed North America and with our BFF Maggie (Magellan, our GPS device loaded with all kinds of information including the location and phone numbers of gyms), and so we’re starting to get that down. Oh, except that we always forget to bring something from the van, like, say a towel or deodorant or the hair dryer. Some people might make a list of things but we’re kind of used to the "oh crap" process. So every 3rd day, we’re set for exercise. Sometimes we even treat ourselves afterward to an "undo" breakfast at a Waffle House or other kind of House of Damage.
The other two days are more challenging. Crabby likes to do that whole running-aerobic thing and needs soft surfaces because of periodic knee issues. I’m more of a died-in-the-wool walker because I like to be able to listen to NPR’s "Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me" on my iPod and any sort of breathing heavy hampers my laughing. We both like to hike (flat and medium length is my sweet spot) so we end up doing a lot of that. We have been on some of the most fantastic hikes in the universe like this one from Yoho National Park in Canada:
And this one from Yellowstone National Park:
These were great but to be honest, the vast majority of our hikes and my view over the mostly flat and about 4-5 mile hikes look like this:
In big huge hunks of this country, there is absolutely no hiking. Really, check out the map and look at those parts where there is nothing green on the map (or in the grocery stores for that matter but we’ll address the whole eating thing later). And, that whole hiking thing is, for us, weather dependent as well. So, in order to get our 4 miles in, we have to get rather creative. I’m much more likely to declare a lost exercise day but Crabby is more determined and resilient. She has spent hours walking the streets of little towns and around rest stops. Our low point, I think, was on a trip up the west coast to see some friends in Seattle. After 3 days of TORRENTIAL rain and no gyms in sight, we decided to walk around a mall, a very small mall. This is how I remember it: Radio Shack, Piercing Pagoda, Zales, Dollar General, Hot Socks, KB Toys, Radio Shack, Piercing Pagoda…..50 freaking times.
Now about the challenge of eating right on the road. Truthfully, we don’t exactly adhere to regular guidelines on while traveling - there are road rules. For example, if we have a long travel day across wide stretches of nothing, we get a treat like ice cream. We’ll do an occasional hamburger but back away from the fries and have an apple instead. We do a lot of salads and even cook full meals from scratch in our "kitchen" that includes roughly 9 inches by 14 inches of counter space. Crabby keeps a supply of hard boiled eggs on hand for morning protein and, depending on the part of the country we’re in, we usually can find decent produce. I do, however, remember one particularly distressing shopping trip in Rapid City, South Dakota, where the entire produce department consisted of potatoes, onions, apples and squash. But then again, we’ve stopped at Austin’s flagship Whole Foods which utterly amazing.
This trip, I have to say the food highlight for me was (drum roll), the beignets at Café Du Monde in New Orleans. Every culture has their fried dough specialty, but this, to me, is the best any culture has to offer. The only downside is that they come three to an order. I could, of course, easily eat three myself, but that would be too piggy and I’d only do it if Crabby weren’t around. So that meant that we had to split one. Negotiations around how to split the order are represented here:
Now that we’re home and beignet-less, we're on a little post trip, pre-holiday "thing" (we don't like the word "diet") which means no more ice cream or hamburgers for awhile. It also means it’s back to regular gym visits and runs/walks. But at least we’re back in
Lobstah, over and out.