Where We've Been; Where We're Going
Eating WFPB on Super Bowl Sunday
“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark.” ~ Kate DiCamillo
We unplugged this weekend, other than using my iPhone for photos and videos, and it was what I needed. How sweet simplicity tastes. How lovely quiet sounds. How good it feels to disconnect electronically and get grounded.
Our most frequent interactions were not with people but with a few bands of tricksters, howling and singing about how they hung the stars. What a happy racket the coyotes make with their full-throated chorus. It makes for intriguing morning walks.
They love to posture, skulk, and set boundaries; how they make me laugh!
Western coyotes are more vocal but tiny compared to what we are used to. I find them curious and a bit skittish.
More than a few folks have warned us about an increase in rabid coyotes on the eastern side of Tucson. I’ll admit to finding this somewhat comical. You see, it’s not like we invite wild coyotes without rabies to play. Our interaction does not change with an outbreak. Wild animals are always wild and need to be respected.
We give them their space, even as we hike through their homeland. Samwise and Emily know not to be afraid, while also remaining aware. I remind my hiking partners that we are but visitors.
I find the coyotes much like the birds of the Sonoran Desert. They are more vocal at daybreak when the sun is out.
On Saturday, we had a winter advisory and walked in 35-degree weather with rain showers. We barely heard a yip. Sunday brought dawn fog and 35 degrees when we ventured forth. The coyotes were more active as the fog lifted and the sky turned to gold and peach.
By the time this letter arrives in your Inbox, we'll be with the coyotes and cacti again, shuffling through five trail miles before dropping Clarence off at the dealership for two or three days of diagnostics, an oil change, and tire rotation.
Clarence's check engine light still has yet to even flicker again since we received our Navajo blessing, but I'll feel better once he gets a complete run-through.
I find it is calming to know we're here for a month.
Tucson may be a city, but we know where to catch solitary trails at sunrise and again at dusk. And I'll admit that having three Whole Foods Markets and two Trader Joe's within 20 minutes makes me happy. My salad game is soaring.
Some habits linger, no matter how much life changes, and I wanted to feast on Super Bowl Sunday, but our kitchenette is limited. I brought an Instant Pot and a small blender/processor, while our casita only has a microwave and the tiniest toaster oven. Nevertheless, I made some incredible whole wheat pita sandwiches filled with BBQ soy curls, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and microgreens.
For those who have never indulged, soy curls taste and feel like chicken. It’s not easy to find them back East, and more often than not you have to buy them online. But here they are readily available.
I soaked a package of soy curls in water for ten minutes, drained them, and patted them dry. Then I stirred in a bottle of healthy BBQ sauce, spread the mixture in a small metal dish, and baked it at 425 degrees in the toaster for thirty minutes, stirring halfway through. I broiled the soy curls for the final five minutes to give them a crisp. They were perfect and healthier than the pounds of wings I used to devour on past Super Bowl Sundays.
I sauteed the mushrooms, peppers, and onions with two tablespoons of water in my Instant Pot until they had a 'fajita' tenderness. Then lightly toasted the pita to make it more flexible before stuffing to near-bursting.
Breakfast was a simple bowl of microwaved old-fashioned oats with mixed berries, maple syrup, cinnamon, chia seeds, and ground flax seeds. Dinner was a large salad from the Whole Foods buffet. For the dressing, I mixed Sweet Onion Balsamic Vinegar with oil-free hummus—a travel favorite.
Eating a Whole-Food, Plant-Based diet on the road is doable and delicious.
Where we’ve been; where we’re going
Tomorrow marks 8 weeks since we left home. It’s a good time to revisit some of our stops, while at the same time realizing we’re on the road until the first week in May. (Thanks to Anderson Designs for the use of their nostalgic travel posters.)
Using the same format, I matched our photos with the places.
As for where we are headed after a month in the Sonoran Desert? Here’s a loose itinerary—subject to change. So much depends on the weather and lately, Southern California has been pummeled with rain and filled with mud.
This is our sixth cross-country ramble, and the fourth time we won’t be able to drive up Big Sur. A bridge is still out. So we’ll miss that outstanding stretch of road once again.
Best Friends Animal Society
Since we took the weekend off, the Best Friends Animal Society subscription drive/fundraiser has been extended until midnight tomorrow (2/13/24). You've already helped make it successful. Thank you!
All annual subscriptions, including gift and donated subscriptions, are 20% off. For every subscription you buy during the sale, your name will be entered into a drawing. We’re giving away three Best Friends Animal Society caps/hats.
Best Friends will receive a portion of the proceeds of every annual subscription during this sale.
Free subscribers receive between one and three letters a month while paying subscribers receive between 12 and 18 (more when we are traveling). If you are into road trips and have considered upgrading from your free reading, please consider jumping aboard.
After this long stretch in Tucson, our stops and hikes will significantly vary. I have no desire to wish our days on the road away, but I’m already excited about where we are headed. By the time we leave the Southwest, we’ll have spent two months here, and the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean will be a sight to behold!
We’ll witness an entirely different light during our coastal sojourn.