Behold Remington and Hobbes. If you had a pair of sweethearts like these could you bear to leave them behind?
Unfortunately, corgis are just a tiny bit too big to be able to travel by plane in the passenger compartment, and we would never relegate them to the luggage hold. So when we travel domestically, we often end up taking them along for the ride. These are our tales from the road.
To catch you up, my beloved K & I decided to decamp from Western Massachusetts and spend the month of February in Sonoma County, California. After searching online, we found a reasonable, dog-friendly place to rent in the Russian River village of Occidental, and we prepared for our first-ever cross-country drive. With two adults and two corgis in a Prius, we had to travel light. We chose the southern route to avoid the wintery weather of the North along routes 90 and 80.
After about 13 hours of driving, with stops for dog walks and caffeine, we spent our first night on the road in Terre Haute, Indiana, in a crummy motel. The pups didn’t mind, but they did eventually make their way into their own beds rather than the motel’s.
This is what most of our mornings on the road were like: up with the sun and putting another state in our rear view mirror.
Our journey took us into several states we had never visited. We saw many sights through the car windows that we would not normally see in the New England.
Passing through Missouri, we arrived in the heart of St Louis just in time to witness the famous Gateway Arch being disintegrated by a ray from an alien space ship.
Or maybe it was just a trick of the light.
On our second night, we drove directly from the highway to MatthewKenneyOKC, the western outpost of the erstwhile NYC celebrity raw foods chef. There’s a lovely patio where we could have sat with the pups had the temperature been just a few degrees higher, but the chill in the air made us opt for the airy dining room. Floor to ceiling windows flood the space with light, and provided clear line of sight to the boys in the car.
Matthew Kenney earned his reputation by creating NYC hotspots of the 1990s such as Commune, Commissary and Canteen. He famously adopted a raw foods diet and opened Pure Food and Wine, the first upscale raw restaurant in Manhattan. How his new flagship raw restaurant ended up in the beef belt of Oklahoma, I’m not quite sure, but it had to do with some investors willing to take a chance on the concept. And their risk may pay off, as evidenced by the crowd that gathered while we enjoyed an amazing dinner that proves that raw, vegan meals can be just as decadent as other foods.
We started with two appetizers – these dumplings filled with a kimchi/cashew blend, magically encased in coconut…
… and this amazing sushi roll, with jicama standing in for the rice. (Note the bamboo tabletops, very eco-chic.)
We shared shiitake tamales and a clever, amazingly luscious beet gnocchi for our main course. They were so delicious we devoured them before I remembered to take photos.
At least we lingered long enough to take a shot before digging into this sampler of chai desserts. Too rich for words.
The restaurant began to fill as we were leaving, and we noticed an assembly gathering in the adjacent space. It turns out Matthew Kenney has also established his raw foods Academy here, and folks from all over the world travel to Oklahoma City to learn the skills of a raw foods chef.
The next morning we awoke fortified for the long drive through Oklahoma and Texas into New Mexico.
The roads teemed with trucks and big American cars – we felt conspicuous in our Prius with Massachusetts plates – but we were encouraged to see several clusters of these giants standing tall in the deserts of oil country.
Upon entering Texas, we were surprised and pleased to discover a landmark we had never heard of: The Leaning Tower of Water.
Our third night landed us in Albuquerque, where no raw gourmet culinary experience awaited. Our innkeeper directed us to a local joint, El Patio, that happily accommodated us with a hearty, vegan, authentic New Mexican meal. Once again, the cool evening weather prevented us from enjoying the restaurant’s namesake patio with the pups, but we kept them in sight nearby.
We did enjoy strolling with the corgis along picturesque Route 66.
Having become Starbucks connoisseurs on our journey, we appreciated this localized iteration of the concept.
We put the desert sunrise behind us on our fourth day of the journey, intending to stop for our last night in Bakersfield, California.
The landscape becomes much more dramatic in Arizona. We were fortunate to have great weather along the entire road trip.
The corgis appreciate a nice rest stop, nearly as much as we do, but on his first walk in the desert Hobbes managed to get a cactus pricker in his paw. It’s a singular talent of his.
By the time we hit Bakersfield we had received a message from our friends in Sebastopol who offered to put us up for the night before our rental was ready. We took them up on the offer and drove another five hours, making our last day on the road a record of 18 hours behind the wheel. But it was well worth it to see how happy Remi and Hobbes were to wake up on a vineyard, with no more long car rides ahead of them — at least until we see fit to return to the Berkshires.