November 28, 2008

The Lobster Checks In

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...

Lobstah here.

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 drought-stricken sunny California and can walk outside and not in the mall.

Lobstah, over and out.


  1. Thanks for the trip insight, Lobster.

  2. Makes me want to hop in a van and go cross country! Sounds like fun adventures!

  3. Nice to hear from you, Lobster. I have no doubt that if I spent a couple of weeks in a van, I'd be a few pounds heavier in the end <--- literally.

  4. Awesome post! And I now have a new goal in life: I need to travel to Nu Awlins to get me a beignet or three.

  5. The description of the "produce" in Rapid City, (red state) doesn't surprise me. And that list of stores in the mall do they stay in business?

    Really enjoyed the post -- very funny.

    How do you feel about being named the Lobster?

  6. Next time you're in Canada, look me up and we'll go hiking together! :)

    One magical day I will travel to the States and find myself in a Whole Foods.

    (I think one piece of that fried dough is slightly bigger than the other, by the way).

  7. Want beignet now. Since don't have one, will eat the Lima Bean Tomato Soup I brought for lunch. Somehow that is not sounding all that appealing after the beignet photos...


  8. Enjoyed the read!! You gonna keep being a contributor??

  9. Woohoo - a guest post from the famous Lobster!! This was a terrific read - hope you plan on being a regular contributor!

    And those beignets look fabulous....might have to pull out the deep-fryer and make something decadent.

  10. Loved hearing from the "Lobstah!" Also enjoyed descriptions and picture of "flat" walk with "bubble" thoughts! Great post!

  11. I do believe I got pierced at a Pagoda back in '96. It was my first ear cartilage piercing and I was home in Connecticut for the summer. When I got back to the house my parents asked me if this meant I was on heroin. Perhaps because I told them I intended to go see "Trainspotting" in the city later that week....

  12. Wow! Those are some great pics of Yoho and Yellowstone!! I'm a sucker for national parks. Thanks for sharing!

    All the Best,

    Andrew R


    I was lucky enough to meet the lobster in person.

    Crabby? so lucky.

    Lobster? struck the crab jackpot.


  14. LOVED hearing from the Lobstah! Can we keep this crustacean? More, please.

  15. Awesome TR. Love your sense of humor. Keep it coming...

  16. As much as I want to defend Rapid City, SD (SoDak being my home state), I do have to say that it is much easier to eat well almost anywhere else. My parents live in Rapid City, and I hate shopping or going out to eat's all meat & potatoes.

  17. Hilarious, especially your perspective of the hikes --LMAO!

  18. Great post, you're a good comedy writer! Love your site!

  19. Is anyone going to think I'm a weirdo if I say Crabby sounds like my kind of travel companion?

    I feel I must reiterate something from an earlier comment: K-Bob's. When you're stuck in West Texas or New Mexico, a K-Bob's will save your life. Big salad bar for the health-conscious (quite nice, even though it's not Whole Foods and you won't find radiccio) and big burgers for the less so.

    The exercise thing? I can so relate. Dan thinks I'm obsessed and sometimes is even embarrassed by me (why can't I jump rope at the rest stop???). But guess who gains weight on our road trips, hm? (Hint: Not me.)

    Nice to meet you, Lobster, and I hope you post more often! Count your blessings for having found a crab who wants to be around and in good health for a long time!

  20. Hi y'all. I live in New Orleans so beignets are just a hop, skip and a jump away. Can't remember the last time I had some however. I've lived here for 10 years and the excitement has worn off there. Plus I always get that white powder all over my clothes. It's fun to take guests to Café Du Monde however. Never fails to impress. :)

  21. The first time I drank coffee was at the Cafe du Monde. (I was 14.) I've never had a chance to go back, but I'm still waiting. My parents lived in New Orleans for seven years, so it was part of my growing up. Great place for walking, too.

    Lobster, since you married Crabby, does that mean you took on all of us, too? Hope so.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  22. Hey, thanks for the nice comments! I doubt that I'll contribute very often, I leave that to my talented crabwife, but I appreciate all the nice things. Maybe I'll just specialize in fried dough posts. When we get back to Provincetown, that will give me an excuse to head down to the Portuguese bakery for some malasadas!

  23. Thanks everyone! I'm very lucky to have a Lobster who is awesome in every way--including putting up with me on trips!

    BunnyGirl, I so wish I had picked up on the K-Bob tip, because we saw signs in Texas and I totally didn't guess it would have a great salad bar. Next time, definitely!

    And Liz--how funny. Pierced cartilige + Trainspotting = heroin use, of course!

    Nolafwug--You can visit Cafe Du Monde and NOT eat beignets?? I'm truly impressed. I am not usually a big eater of fried things, but Cafe Du Monde beignets are not of this earth. I don't know if they slip crack in 'em or what.

  24. Can I travel with you two?

    I read this as I was riding my extremely BORING bike (as evidenced by the use of my blackberry) and it honestly brought tears to my eyes when you described all the hiking.
    and warm weather.
    because I have neither. (sigh)

    great post from the Lobster! :)

  25. Damn, W.O. Mommy -- I really, really, really hope this is in reference to a stationary bicycle ;)

    (I had a vision of you out in traffic, nimbly weaving around cars and pedestrians whilst frowning at your Blackberry.)

  26. Tee! Hee! Oh this does remind me of a 4-month (and a few other) trips on our camper we called 'Corby's Castle'. I think there were definitely a few raised eyebrows at campsites when we rolled out our little yoga mats to do our morning exercises.

    I also remember one memorable event when we came back from our morning jog and were looked at like we were quite crazy by some shrimpers in Florida who'd only just started up their morning bloody Mary's. The thought that anyone could be out jogging instead of drinking at 7am was all too much for them.

    And did I mention that we did a 12-day Baskin Robbins route?

    Thanks for bringing back such happy memories.

  27. Hey, I live in New Orleans! Y'all should have said somethin' (or did I miss it?), as I see there's another NOLA person here too...

    As for the beignets - the solution is to have two orders! LOL Once or twice a year is no big deal, eh?


  28. would a picture of the lobster and the crab together be too much to ask? what if i asked pretty please with a cupcake on top?

    oh, and the beignet's look so delicious. one of these days i'll make it to new orleans and try one!

  29. Loved the honeymoon journal!! It was hilarious to see a view from the "other" side (i.e. the non-fitness-obsessed partner) although you both sound very healthy. Your hikes look beautiful and your pic of your fried dough now has me craving something that I didn't even know existed before. Not fair! Here's hoping the Lobstah makes an appearance more often!

  30. Those beingets are worth every calorie. :) What pretty pics!

  31. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Ooo, Lobster I hope this isn't the last we hear from you (and honestly, fried dough posts sound PERFECT).
    so fun to read.

    Aaron listens to Wait Wait all the time while working out in the yard. He stays out there until the last episode is over. (He saves them up on his iPod) I'll look out there and see him laughing, leaning up against the fence...raking done LONG ago. Curse you Peter Sagal!

  33. HELLO LOBSTER! Love the travelogue! It's my dream to go across the States in a camper, but my poor fella would undoubtedly have to put up with some serious Crabby-style mall-pacing too. AND he's a vegan so it would be even more of a nightmare to find food in some parts, I'm sure!

    Sounds like you had an amazing time. Mmmm fried doughy bits...

    TA x

  34. Loving the name Lobster. Anyway, great tips for us cross-country trippers; Bossy never considered the possibility of a gym before, but yes, the showering possibilities are endless.

    Do most gyms allow one-day admission?

  35. I wanna go hiking with Crabby and Lobster in Canada!


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