New Hampshire has been in the back of my mind for quite a while now, it is such an intriguing state and we are both so excited to finally be here.  I had even thought seriously about moving here for a while, that’s how much I enjoy their attitude. Their state motto “Live Free Or Die” says it all; compared to the rest of New England, New Hampshire is a haven for live and let live type folks. So far in our visit we have learned about how vigorously the locals try to keep it that way.

After leaving our last spot just outside Hartford we traveled up into the NE corner of Connecticut and spent a night camped at Fort Hills Farm. Fort Hills was an awesome place to stay, it is a 1200 acre, 500 head organic dairy farm, with their own milk label (The Farmers Cow) and fresh made ice cream. Needless to say we definitely enjoyed consuming more ice cream than we should have. Kristin, the owner, was an excellent host, letting us park in the field for the night and chatting with us about the farm history and operation.

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We left Fort Hills Thursday morning, pointing the bus north and heading for Alstead. We really wanted to visit Boston, but after spending time in DC and New York we were done with the big cities for a while.  Since New England states are all fairly small we have really had to adjust our trip planning. What looks like a 4-5 hour drive on the map might only take 2 hours in the bus, which is sure nice compared to driving through Florida where you have to drive 6 hours to get anywhere. Rolling through all the small towns we really enjoyed seeing all the old historic buildings and beautiful scenery.  New Hampshire is a very pretty state.


Winding through some narrow back roads up into the hills we managed to find our next destination, Jon and Christy’s beautiful property hiding back at the end of a long gravel drive. We also found them through the Boondockers Welcome website, which we have been using with great success so far. They are very friendly hosts and enjoyed seeing our bus, as well as showing us around their place and sharing stories about their own RV travels.  It was so fun to watch their chickens wandering the yard constantly pecking and making happy chicken noises. We actually ended up with a few cartons of fresh eggs since they have more than they can use, we were happy to bring them aboard. Lindsey and I really enjoyed sitting around the campfire with them into the wee hours of the morning, telling stories and enjoying a couple bottles of their home grown and home made hard apple cider. Part of their income comes from their metal sign business, using a CNC plasma cutter they design and cut out all sorts of decorative signs and machine parts. They surprised us with a custom made sign of our New Oregon Trail logo! Such an amazing gift, it is a better souvenir than we could have found anywhere else. If you are ever in the market for custom signs or shooting targets look them up!  You can find their work at

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Since we were camped here for a couple days, we rolled the motorcycle off the carrier and went for a little ride through the beautiful, winding back roads eventually leading us to Keene, NH. Keene is a great little town, we had a lot of fun walking around and enjoying the beautiful old buildings and great weather. We enjoyed taking a break at Brewbakers, the local bread bakery and coffee shop. Next we headed to the market down the road to load up on some groceries for the night. While we were relaxing at Brewbakers using their wifi, Lindsey noticed a location tag for a place close by called Belgian Mare Brewery. We were immediately interested, especially since we hadn’t seen it come up in any other searches of the area. After looking at their Facebook page we discovered that they were right along the little road we were taking to get back to Jon and Christy’s place, so of course we had to stop in on our way back to the bus.

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We found the awesome wood fired brewery hiding back from the road on Tim and Tracey’s farm, and immediately loved it. The brewing operation and store is housed in a small hand built barn, with trellised hops growing out front and chickens pecking around outside. We found Tim (the owner, operator, and head brewer) hanging out in the tasting room and spent the next two hours sharing stories with him and his wife, and learning about how the wood fired brewing process works. We really enjoyed tasting a few of his fine beers, as well as meeting Aggie, the big Belgian draft horse that the brewery is named after. Finding this small, off grid brewery and its awesome owner was a great end to our day exploring in New Hampshire. After we said our goodbyes we saddled up on the little Yamaha and headed back home, to enjoy a nice chilly night sleeping in our awesome bus.


Our trip to New York City actually started in Connecticut. After the car show, we needed a new place to go for the night, and we managed to arrange some last minute plans with a wonderful couple we met through Boondockers Welcome. Boondockers Welcome is a website that connects RV travel enthusiasts to provide free overnight parking (usually no hookups, sometimes called dry camping or boondocking). So that is how we landed in Bolton and met Chris and Cheri.

Bolton is a little town outside of Hartford, CT. Our hosts live on a beautiful lake and they spoiled us by inviting us to use their kayaks and unwind on their lakefront deck. After a relaxing morning on the lake, we took the motorcycle into Hartford to get lunch and check out the city. We really enjoyed our time there, and even got to join in on a BBQ dinner with the neighbors.

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Meanwhile, we’d been plotting an escape to NYC, but hadn’t nailed down a plan. There just wasn’t a good place for us to park outside the city, and all the campgrounds were full or over $80 a night. Chris suggested we just leave our bus at their place and take the Greyhound bus into NYC. He even went so far as to give us a ride to the bus station in Hartford. So we booked a room for the night at the Sohotel and said a temporary goodbye to our little home.

We made it into the city just in time for breakfast, so after walking through Times Square, we made our way to a bagel shop (duh). Once our faces were stuffed with bagels and lox, our next stop was the Empire State Building. On the way, we walked through Grand Central Station, which was very impressive. We got to the Empire State at a good time, because it wasn’t terribly busy. I’m glad we went, because even though everyone has experienced the scenery through movies, the view was breathtaking. Standing up there makes all the other buildings look like they’re built out of legos.

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We meandered south through town to find our hotel and soon after, dinner. Our Connecticut host, Chris, had told us to keep our eyes open for celebrities in that part of town, and I hadn’t thought much of it. But that’s exactly what happened. As Steven and I were hiking down the street I walked right into Adam Levine, just as he came out of a doorway and was quickly ushered into his Escalade. Famous people! So exciting.


After dinner we found what we were really looking for: 124 Old Rabbit Club. Recommended to us by some guy back at our favorite brewery in Florida, the Rabbit Club is a discreet basement bar in the West Village. Hidden underneath a sea of college town nonsense, the Old Rabbit Club is serving up fine Belgian beers and very loud punk music. What seems like a strange combination is a perfect storm, and we love the little hideaway that it is. This is our kind of bar.

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On Tuesday morning, we went in search of our next very important New York breakfast: doughnuts! As luck would have it, a very trendy and fancy doughnut shop was only a short walk from our hotel room. They. Were. So. Good. Enter Doughnut Plant, where the filled doughnuts are square and the small doughnuts are referred to as “dough seeds”. We had maybe more than is recommended…

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Tuesday was also the day we had to have a go at the Subway system, which seemed a lot easier than it really was. We fumbled our way through it and are thankful we don’t have to deal with that sort of thing on a daily basis back home. I’m sure we looked like total tourists and made of ourselves, but hey we are tourists and I suppose we are fools when it comes to commuting through NYC. Of course we had to catch the Statue of Liberty while we were in town, but we really didn’t want to pay money just to stand in line all day. So at the advice of a friend, we instead took the Staten Island ferry for free, which is a nice twenty-minute journey and gives you a great view of the statue as well as the rest of the Manhattan waterfront.


Next stop was a bakery in Brooklyn. Seems like a lot of nerdy foodie things I’ve read about New York are in Brooklyn, so we had to go. I recalled an article in the NY Times about artisan bread and a bakery named Bien Cuit, which translates to “well done” and reflects the head baker’s European style of achieving a deep golden hue in his baked goods. We managed to get two loaves stuffed into our backpacks to enjoy later. We went next door to Konditori for coffee, purely because I wanted to see an adorable bear drawn in my foam. They did not disappoint.

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Lunch was really fun because we got a little more than we expected when we chose an Italian pizza spot around the corner. Not only was the food amazing, but the Italy-Uraguay World Cup game happened to be on at the same time. I think we were the only non-sports fans in the restaurant, which wasn’t too busy except for the group of Italians sitting on the edge of their seats, white knuckling it and yelling at the TV in Italian. Our server did a great job, considering the obvious distraction and as soon as he would check on us, he was back over by the screen, watching intensely. This was the same game where one Italian player got bit on the shoulder, and boy was it fun to be in an Italian crowd for that moment. We happily devoured our pizza and made our way out toward the Brooklyn Bridge.

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The bridge was a beautiful walk back to Manhattan. On our way back to the bus station, we happened to walk right past the Classic Car Club. We had just met two gentlemen from the rental service at GFest, where they showed up with the coveted E30 M3 and a sleek Porsche. We didn’t see our new friends there, but we stopped in for some photos.

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The only real hiccup we had in New York City was missing our bus. With the help of a taxi, we made it to the station with plenty of time, only to be directed by the staff to the wrong bus terminal. The thing with the Port Authority bus station is that it is made up of several buildings and a ridiculous amount of bus terminals. As we waited for the Peter Pan bus to Hartford at Gate 15, our actual bus was already embarking from gate 83. By the time we figured it out, we were only four minutes too late. Damn. Luckily, the nice lady at the desk took pity on us and changed our tickets over to the next bus for no extra charge. In the end, we still made it back to Bolton that night where we were reunited with our bus. It’s funny to think that after only spending 2 ½ weeks in our vehicle, it has come to feel like home.


After our stay in Washington, we made our way up into Pennsylvania to visit an old friend of ours in Wilkes-Barre. We met Stephen a couple years ago while he was living in Portland for work, and have stayed in contact ever since. We had a lot of fun working on our old BMW’s together and enjoying the city, so when we decided to do an east coast trip I wanted to include him in the plans.

Wilkes-Barre is a pretty little town nestled in a valley, surrounded by green hills. We arrived in the late afternoon and Stephen showed us to a great parking place in an alley behind his house, which we managed to squeeze the bus into. The cooler  weather was a welcome relief from the swamps of DC, it dropped into the high 40’s at night so our bus cooled down nicely. We spent the evening catching up and sharing stories about the good old days. The next morning we said goodbye as Stephen headed into work, while Lindsey and I walked through town to find a cafe with wireless.  We really enjoyed the architecture and design of the old homes and buildings, it is a neat old town.


Parked in Stephen’s alley

After enjoying ourselves in town for the morning and catching up on blog posts, we saddled up and headed toward Connecticut. Our next destination was Guten Fest, an annual east coast gathering of classic BMW’s and other european cars. This is an event I have been looking forward to for a long time, and the reason our schedule has been so busy, trying to get up here in time for the show. We were part of a small group of local enthusiasts who arrived the night before and camped out at the race track. It was an excellent time and our bus was a big hit, everyone got a tour and had nice things to say. It was so much fun for me especially, I finally got to meet in person a lot of other vintage BMW enthusiasts that I have known and talked with on forums and Facebook for quite a while. Everyone we met was so friendly and open, it really made for an enjoyable time. The next day the big group of cars showed up, it was a busy day of going back and forth between the show area and the autocross track, there is always so much to see at an event like this. Being around nice people all day really renewed my faith in humanity.



Was really digging this VW Westfalia


Camped out with a bunch of great cars


Bagged E3 Bavaria


Clean E30 coupe with a mental S62 V8 engine swap


Guten E30 Touring


Cooking breakfast for a group of new friends

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When we left North Carolina, we had to get out of our dreamy, sleepy small town mode and into the big city mindset. Our bus, however, got to unwind in the woods while we went out to play. Taking advantage of our State Park system, we set up camp at a surprisingly green and low key park in Maryland, a mile hike away from the Metro rail station and 12 miles out of D.C. I recommend Greenbelt Park to anyone wanting to see the Capital on a budget.

DC Greenbelt

What I don’t strongly recommend is trying to tour the national monuments and museums during summer break. Lots of crowds and lots of waiting in lines that wrap around the block. We would have spent more time doing the touristy stuff if not for the multitudes that were doing the same thing. We enjoyed going up into the Washington Monument, which is way more impressive in person than in photos. The other stop we made time for was the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Sobering and astonishing, we were reminded of things taken for granted, and learned some new facts about the war as well. We got our exercise that day, walking around to see the World War II Memorial fountain, the Lincoln Memorial and a peek at the White House. I was surprised that the White House didn’t seem as grandiose as portrayed in film.


View of the Lincoln Memorial from the WA Monument

View of the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Monument


I was also a little dismayed at the city in general. I expected our nation’s Capital to be a bit more polished. But even if the city’s not polished, a lot of the people definitely are. The attire, even at the bars, served as a constant reminder that we are no where near the Northwest. It’s all suit and tie instead of jeans and flannels. Here’s some shots from a cool motorcycle themed tap room near Chinatown, which quickly filled up with some business savvy folks after 5 o’clock.

IMG_7168IMG_7159IMG_7167With three nights spent at the campground, this was our longest stay anywhere yet. The down time was really nice and gave us a chance to accomplish some important things, like reorganizing our home and cooking full meals. Plus some general relaxation thrown in.


After a long day dealing with the crowds and the heat, we were ready to do some dining. Tuesday evening we made our way over to Right Proper Brewing in the Shaw neighborhood. They had great food and drink, a wonderful bartender named Eric and the best mural I’ve ever encountered.


IMG_7119We also took the advice of a friendly local at the Right Proper bar and headed to Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle on Wednesday for lunch. Dupont Circle was a nice area, it seemed far away from the sweaty crowds on the National Mall.  The circle itself was home to some picnics and locals catching a break in the shade, while the surrounding area housed many cafes, restaurants, and book stores. We had some of the best pizza of our lives at Paradiso, and loved the very expansive beer selection. I’ll just leave this here:

DC pizza

D.C. was a very enjoyable stop on our trip, full of interesting places and people. It was a great experience to visit our nation’s Capital, and a chance to see the bad and good of the city.


Through a random BBQ lunch, we learned that our landlord’s fiance’s parents live in Carrboro (next to Chapel Hill) and love entertaining guests. Lucky for us, they were willing to put us up for a night and let us park the bus in the neighborhood. I’ll just say they have “guest quarters” (a small apartment that would rival many fine hotel rooms) that they built next to the house and that it was very gracious of them to offer their place to us. I could have spent a lot of time there, alas, we only had one night. We did greatly enjoy visiting the Weaver Street Market, which, for you North-Westerners, is a mirror image of New Seasons, except a co-op. We enjoyed a healthy dinner there and took the chance to restock our provisions for the next couple days. Basically, I was rejoicing to find a place like that, and it furthered the idea that North Carolina is the east coast version of Oregon. Because it really is.

Obviously, we had to check out the local brewery. It’s called Steel String, and they had some great choices. We especially liked their wheat beers. We shared a flight before we walked the block and a half back to our home for the night.

IMG_7022 IMG_7026 IMG_7029Our hosts were so generous, they sent us off with a sack lunch. THEY MADE US LUNCH. Can’t emphasize enough how wonderful they are. And Carrboro is a very charming little college town, if you are ever in the area. There are also some restaurants that sounded great, but we weren’t around long enough to enjoy them. We were there long enough to enjoy the free town wifi and some local brew. Just our style.



We’d been looking forward to a stop in Asheville since we started planning this trip. Everyone we talked to had nothing but praises for the city, and we knew it would be a bit like home. The drive in from Tennessee was incredible, as we wound our way slowly up the Smoky Mountains and the air got cooler and cooler. We rolled into a small town just up the road, where we parked outside a friend’s hobby car shop. He was very generous in letting us stay there and hook up to electricity, and he even welded us a makeshift exhaust turndown to keep soot off our motorcycle. Steven had fun talking shop and checking out his current projects.

The next morning, we geared up and hopped on the bike for our excursion into Asheville. We knew we were running on fumes from the last trip, but thought we could make it to the gas station down the road. Of course, we ran out of fuel a couple of miles away. We coasted for a while, but pretty soon we were pushing it along the side of the road. Fortunately for us, a friendly local (as it seems there are many) offered a ride to the station. Steven jumped in his truck and was back in a few minutes with a can of fuel. As I waited, I took in the scenery and was also asked by another local if I needed anything. This experience only further prompted our love of the area. After topping our tank it was a smooth ride into town.


Coincidentally, there was a festival going on that weekend, right on the hillside next to us. It’s called the Firefly Gathering, and it was a weekend-long camp out with a very full and varied schedule of workshops and classes, all having to do with living off the Earth/primitive skills/sustainable living. It was funny when we arrived to see the event organizers staring at our bus, sure that we were there for the event. And we definitely looked the part! We were approached several times that weekend, with concern for our event registration and our “illegal” parking spot. We assured them we were allowed to park there by the shop tenant and also “We’re not part of the group, what is it all about?”. But everyone was very friendly and invited us to join in on the fun, which we would have been interested in had we more time to spend in the area. The class on solar energy wouldn’t have hurt our dry camping ambitions.


Asheville is similar to Portland, Oregon as everyone has told us. It’s just a lot smaller, sort of like the equivalent of the Alberta Arts District and Mississippi Ave. Lots of art, beer, food, and community spirit. The icing on the cake is it’s beautiful location in the mountains. We enjoyed wandering around town, found delicious lunch at a place called Farm Burger (shocking choice for us, I know), and took some time to sample the local craft beer scene. The variety of beer was great, everything from belgian styles to “West coast style” IPAs to sours and wild ales. There is something for everyone in Asheville. We were fortunate to be there on the day of Burial Beer’s one year anniversary, so we picked up a 750mL of their special release Aged Saison to savor at another time.


A locavore’s haven


Downstairs at Wicked Weed

Wicked Weed Brewing Co.

Wicked Weed Brewing Co.




The basement at Thirsty Monk


Double D's Coffee Bus

Double D’s Coffee Bus

Wild Ale flight at Burial

Wild Ale flight at Burial

We loved the beer, but I couldn’t leave Asheville without trying their chocolate, either. I discovered French Broad Chocolate Lounge via Joy the Baker, and was eager to try it. My hot chocolate, infused with rose water, cardamom and chopped pistaschios, certainly did not disappoint.


We were a little sad to leave this place, and I think even more sad to leave the fresh mountain air. It was a good reminder of what’s near to our hearts.


After a long day of driving, we finally got to my cousin Marcella’s house in Ootlewah. Tennessee is so great for having towns with such awesome names! She and her husband, Justo, kindly let us park in their driveway (we just fit!) for the night. The weather in Tennessee was a welcome break from hot and stuffy Louisiana and Florida.

IMG_6780Marcella took us all to breakfast Friday morning at a great place called The Farmer’s Daughter. It was screaming NE Portland in there, built out of an old gas station and serving up tasty, simple, local fare. After eating we made our way to the famed Walnut Street pedestrian bridge. Luckily, the weather held up for us.


Marcella is such a good cousin, she wouldn’t let us leave the North Shore area without stopping for ice cream. Her favorite place is called Milk & Honey, and we also give it two thumbs up! They are another locally sourced establishment, and the results are sweet.

IMG_6761IMG_6764We had just enough time after ice cream to get a glimpse from Lookout Mountain. It’d been too long since we’d been that elevated! There’s also an incline railway that brings train cars straight up the side of the mountain. Back in the day, it was the only way to get up and down.

IMG_6767Even though we only spent one morning in Chatt, we think we got a great feel for it. Marcella and Justo were excellent tour guides, and made the day even more stellar by sending us off with some delicious Peruvian food from Justo’s aunt’s restaurant. We left for Asheville feeling revived and ready for our trek into the Smoky Mountains.






You may have noticed our route takes a detour west after Florida into Louisiana. This is because we had the pleasure of staying with Steven’s cousin Carrie and her husband Thomas in New Orleans. They are like projections of our future selves. Seriously. So it was no surprise we had an amazing, albeit short visit with them in the Big Easy. Just to set the tone, here is their adorable, classic New Orleans home.


We magically found a safe parking spot around the corner from the house in Mid City. Mid City is like the next hot place in town; very up-and-coming and full of delicious and almost tourist-free restaurants and bars. Upon arriving we enjoyed dinner and happy hour at Crescent City Pie and Sausage Company, followed by a tour through uptown and a stop for another beer at The Avenue Pub (it was Thomas’ birthday, after all!). Avenue Pub is set in a house, including balcony seating and many, many taps to choose from. A good opportunity to sample the local brew.


On Wednesday, we took the liberty of wandering around the French Quarter while the adults went to their day jobs. We quickly caught on to the fact that New Orleans never sleeps and is usually up to a delightfully no-good time. Our morning started out with beignets and cafe au lait at the famed Cafe Du Monde, because I am not afraid to admit that yes, I am a tourist. But we tried to get a little more “authentic” experience by exploring the streets outside the square where we had been recommended many great options for lunch. The architecture in that city is so enchanting that walking around is a bit mesmerizing. Especially so when enjoying the open container law. (May I just take this moment to say we really are responsible young people and tip very well). 😉

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The Mississippi! I think I'd prefer to swim in the Williamette...

The Mississippi! I think I’d prefer to swim in the Williamette…


We were so busy having fun, we forgot to get a group photo! Too bad, because Thomas and Carrie are the best. See you at Mardi Gras!



We finally made it out on the road! The water pump nightmare is finally over, and we got the bus back on Friday night, a week later than we had planned to be leaving. By then, we were bound and determined to get out on the road no matter how late. Which ended up being much later than we expected… Nevertheless, we snuck out in the wee hours and at last embarked on our adventure.



We couldn’t leave Florida without seeing the Keys, so we decided to go south before we head out of state. After being delayed by a week (and having a commitment to get to Connecticut by June 20, more on that later) we took a whirlwind trip through the islands. We camped on Marathon Key, in the middle, and found a gorgeous view of the sunset to relax and sip our pina coladas. The next morning we hopped on the bike and zipped down to Key West for a brief visit. Above is a the view from the tower at the Shipwreck Museum. While the time was short, we enjoyed the view along the way.






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After the keys, we headed back up to Miami where a friend offered us a place to stay in the parking lot of his night club in South Beach. We couldn’t have asked for a better tour of the area. He took us to dinner, and then we walked out to the beach and down Ocean Drive. He eventually led us to a little pub called The Abbey and we enjoyed some local micro brews.





IMG_6450We left Miami the next morning and headed down Alligator Alley to the west coast, to meet some friends in Saint Petersburg. The weather was perfect and we spent the afternoon on the beach and in the turquoise water, followed by tacos and margaritas. Definitely a good day. On to New Orleans tomorrow!


With our old friend Amanda

With our old friend Amanda