My Wild, Wonderful Intentions

I’ve known for almost a year that I would be moving, this spring, to California. The day it was confirmed, I walked downstairs from my office in the English department, got on the phone with my friend Mary, and then began pacing the parking lot. At one point, I looked up and noticed the giant magnolia tree in front of me, and I started to cry. Why? Because it dawned on me that they wouldn’t have magnolia trees in California. 

I’ve made my peace with the move, which is good, because folks, we are on the road. Our cat is freaking out, our stuff is en route to California, and we’re headed west. I’ve (sort of) joked on Facebook this week that I am calling our journey west “Westward Hoecakes.” It’s a fitting title, I think. I’m headed west, where I am excited to keep cooking, and eating, and learning, and um, eating. This Southern girl is switching coasts, and that’s a big deal.

Otis was way more excited about this trip yesterday.
Otis was way more excited about this trip yesterday.

My intention was to eat my way across America. I’ve asked for recommendations and suggestions for places to stop and eat. Today, after our first day of driving, exhausted and sore after several nights of sleeping on an air mattress, and several days of intensive cleaning, we ate not at a cool local restaurant, but in the restaurant downstairs at our hotel. I bought a pack of Reese’s peanut butter cups for dessert.

When you cross into the state line from Virginia to West Virginia, the sign that welcomes you to West Virginia promises that the state is “Wild and Wonderful.” And I think that’s what my intentions were for this road trip. That I would see parts of the country I’ve never seen before. That our cat would be super psyched to ride in a car with us from one coast to the next. That we would find charming, delightful little restaurants with good pie or interesting doughnuts or something equally enticing.

And we still might, dammit. We still might. But not today.

Wild, wonderful West Virginia.
Wild, wonderful West Virginia.

Today, my wild, wonderful intentions are just that – intentions. Ideas. Hopes for our future. At the end of the day, I can’t say I’m sad that I ate merely mediocre lemon-pepper chicken and green beans for dinner. I’m just happy to be in a real bed, with a bedside lamp, and a book to read. My hope is that a stop at my in-laws’ house will put me back on track, and I can really, truly begin my campaign to eat pie every day of this road trip. Because, really, what is more wild or wonderful than a pie-a-day diet and the wide open road?

Keep up with my travels with photos and observations and some blog posts along the way by following me on Facebook or Twitter (@danastaves). I promise every day won’t be so defeated like today is. And if you have great ideas for where I should stop along the way, or regional foods I must try, please let me know!

10 thoughts on “My Wild, Wonderful Intentions

      1. Indiana is prime chainland. But they do have Steak and Shake, and White Castle. But nothing better than fast food fare. Indianapolis could well be a foodie’s hell on Earth…..

  1. The first day on the road is always exhausting. And, really, as exciting as it always sounds, driving and traveling is very draining at times, and can be exhausting with animals while they get used to the moving car. You’ll be good, though! Find a balance between the amount of time you spend on the road, and breaks. It’s your trip! Take your time. East fast food if you want to and then blog about it, because it’s all food:) Love you ladies!

    1. Thanks, Tara! Otis is doing much better today. He was our guard kitty all night, escorting us to and from the bathroom and sleeping at the foot of the bed, watching the door. So today, he’s sleeping in his house a lot. 🙂

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