Saturday, September 12, 2009

Date Farming Rocks!

San Francisco ended up being amazing! We walked all over, stopping in shops, and exploring the mission and Haight street. Very cool. After cheap burritos and great bluegrass, we were definitely exhausted!
After San Fran we drove to Santa Cruz to stay with another friend that Harriet and Ted hooked us up with: Jim. A marine bio contractor and avid musician, we spent the evening playing old time tunes and being introduced to instruments from all over the world. We took a walk on the beach which is really popular for skim boarding and dog walks, and watched the sunset over monterrey bay, very cool. The next morning we spent relaxing on the beach where we saw seals, shore birds, sea otters, and two dolphins that came up about 10 feet from shore. We then went to the southern end of the bay to explore some tide pools before heading down big sur!
We drove most of it in the dark, it was almost impossible to find a campsite under 35 dollars, and we ended up staying past big sur. so what did we do the next day? we got up and drove it back north! it was amazing, twisting roads, cliffs, and the pacific ocean's energy with us the whole way.
That night we stopped in Atascadero to hang out with some more family of Harriet and Teds (thank you thank you thank you!) and it was our first glimpse of the desert. Pizza and Beer night was great! And watching TV for the first time in FOREVER was a real treat.
we headed out the next day and spent a night camping in the national forest...nice to find a place for labor day weekend but WAY too many bugs, it was pretty unbearable. But we got to chat (a LOT) with the campground host, a nearly toothless man who had lived in the forest for years followed around by a little chihuahua. He loooved to tell us stories, easy to imagine it getting lonely up there. But he brought us firewood and kept us up on the news (haha) and was very nice!
The next day we headed out for Joshua Tree! We camped right outside the park where we were convinced the apocolypse was about to happen because of the way the clouds looked in the sky, lit up bright red by the sunset and looking like tsunami waves about to engulf us, the wind blowing so hard we could barely boil water or get the tent set up, but everything worked out ok and in the morning we were at Joshua Tree. A good friend of Em B's Brett came and stayed with us that night and it was fun to sit around, play tunes, and get some familiarity from home and college days. He took us rock climbing the next day, much harder than it looks especially in the desert heat, without proper shoes, and a low water supply. I think both of us decided it wasnt much our thing, but we had fun none the less. We spent our last night on the road sitting around a fire and reminiscing about the past 5 and 1/2 weeks on the road! We impressed ourselves!
The next morning we drove to the farm wondering what was in store for us. We drove in and were kind of shocked at the initial picture of the place, but soon found it to be a small paradise (read on...). Robert and Christina greeted us, very warmly I might add, and took us on a little tour. The main house isnt much more than a converted double wide, but walk out back and youll find two bungalows (our bedrooms), a greenhouse, and another room built along a walkway. Out front is a pool fit with another bungalow, a walk in cooler, and 11 acres of date palms and citrus trees. We got our first taste at picking dates that night, had a really nice dinner, and went to bed early so that we could get up the next morning and join Christina and Robert at the Santa Monica farmers market. Yes, we got up at 2:30am. Weird....
But the market was amazing, blocks and blocks of fresh veggies, fruit, meat, milk, and everything you can imagine. Blew east coast markets out of the water.
For the past few days we've just been sorting and picking dates. The work isnt hard, but its Hot Hot Hot...115 degrees at the hottest part of the day. We've beent aking advantage of the pool and mid day siestas, and looking forward to exploring the valley soon!
I (Em S) also wanted to leave a very happy birthday for my nana. I hope its great, I know Scott is there with you!!! and I love you very much! Hopefully I will get to see you during these holidays and talk to you soon!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

crater lake and CALIFORNIA!

crater lake, known as one of the most beautiful, underplayed places in the entire world (according to the emily guide of great places to go) is absolutely breathtaking. i read in a national park book (aka the bible) that your first look at crater lake on a sunny summer afternoon will literally take your breath away, and it did just that. we must have taken almost 100 pictures (they're coming mom, don't worry :)) on the 45 mile (or so) drive around the lake (at sunset! i know, perfect). (note: there ARE some pictures of the first half of our trip up on facebook, check it out) Surrounded by miles of trees and forest it lies in a volcanic basin complete with two islands. the lake itself is the purest blue i've ever seen any water to be and goes down 1900 ft. the water is surrounded by canyon which lights the edge of the water red when the sun sets. we almost went down for a swim, but realized how steep and long the trail was, switchback after switchback, and decided to punk out. but it was incredible, truly incredible.

that night we found a small state park (with showers! nice), got the last available site, and left early the next morning. we arrived in california that afternoon and stopped just over the border at a state park ON THE BEACH. we laid the tent on the sand and set up camp on the beach. we woke up slowly the next morning and after a walk on the beach, where there was awesome bull kelp and sand dollars, left for fortuna.

fortuna was excellent! my mom hooked us up with a friend of hers from when SHE was 22 who hosted us for an evening of good, easy family time. upon arriving, harriet handed each of us a tupperware container and walked us outside to the blackberry bushes where we picked hundreds of berries for the homemade pie she was preparing for dessert. that night we ate a DELICIOUS homemade meal (lasagna!), played music with her husband, ted, who had lots of instruments for us to play, and entertained their awesome daughters with stories about high school and growing up. the night called for much-needed family time and we all seemed to enjoy our make-shift family quite well. thanks for taking us in you guys! we really enjoyed our day with you!! :)

we moved back north the next day to meet up with em b's dad's friend from math conferences, stuart. ever heard of the redwood tree, Luna, where a young woman named Julia Butterfly Hill spent 2 years living in to protect. TWO YEARS in a tree, wow. Look up the story if you dont know what im talking about. In any case, stuart is the legal guardian of Luna, as well as a math professor at Humbolt state. We met him for a dinner of vegetarian cuisine downtown, and followed him back to his awesome little home! Stuart lives in a little cabin in the redwoods, literally just a kitchen, living space, and loft, but it was cozy and reminded us of lake houses in the New England region. We spent a wonderfully relaxing day reading, doing laundry, and catching up with the world online before having a great dinner of salad, seaweed, oysters, and salmon.

The next day we drove south along the beautiful california coast to mendicino. The awesome pacific ocean waves beating up against the cliffs shouldered us on our west as we drove the breathtaking, curvy, and car sick ride to meet a woman (through Harriet) that we were to stay with. Melinda was an awesome hostess! In a period of less than 24 hours we met 6 beautiful, strong young women who gave us such a good boost of energy that was well needed. We checked out a little community festival up the road on Saturday where we heard this great band called the blushin roulettes (check them out!). Made up of two women and two men, they were folky with witty lyrics and great harmony! great way to spend an afternoon, and week 4 landmark at that.

today, we have arrived in San Francisco!!!! where we are staying with Sara Curtis, an old time Bassarear family friend from back east. We are taking it easy today and watching some planet earth, and tommorrow sara will show us the city and we'll get to check out a bluegrass night! yay!

ps..we'll be at the farm a week from tuesday.....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

yellowstone! and seattle and oregon...and oh yeah hot springs

well we're sitting in bend, oregon after a bit of traveling over the past 10 days and we're finally updating again. (with lattes! yay milk!!) i guess we'll start at yellowstone.

first of all, if you go to yellowstone, spend one night (at least) in grand teton national park. truly beautiful and breathtaking. we had a great little site, right next to a lake, where we watched the sunset over the mountains. pretty unreal! as for yellowstone, we found a bangin campsite for cheap in a beautiful (and less crowded) park of the park. the first couple days we did all the touristy stuff...old faithful, mammoth hot springs, mudpots and paintpots. we managed to drive a lot of the park in the first couple days, which was also cool. after we got it all out of the way, we got in a couple REALLY cool day hikes, one to a meadow and one to a beautiful lake. throughout the week we got to see elk, a few baby deer, mule deer, a fox, a bald eagle, and a grizzly bear! it was all very exciting. we met some cool people the last night and overall had a really good time.

after yellowstone we drove to boise, id where we found ourselves a microbrewery, a campground, and (finally) a shower! the next day was spent straddling the oregon/washington border (and the columbia river...gorgeous!) stopping only shortly to eat the best peach that we, personally, have ever had. after driving through a cool, dense national forest, we camped just a few hours south of seattle.

seattle turned out to be a fantastic last-minute decision. we called taylor and jeff who let us stay with them (and redder, lauren, barkley, and missoula!!) for a couple nights. it was a packed house and a lot of fun. it was great to see fredericksburgians after a long drive and they all played great hosts. we were also totally taken care of by my (Em B) two cousins, caryn and sandro, who live in seattle. they took us out to dinner and lunch and we got to spend the better part of the second day visiting with them. sandro took us to pike's place (yes, the market where they throw the fish and shout and it IS just as cool as it sounds) and up to the top of the space needle for a 360 degree view of seattle and mt. rainier. that night, i got to have a drink with caryn; it was a great opportunity to hang out with family who i dont see very often. taylor and the gang also took very good care of us AND introduced me to my new favorite game, bananagrams (thanks lauren!). check it out... anyway, emily s fell in love with seattle even MORE than i did, so i left her there! just kidding, but seattle, don't be surprised if you see emily sooner or later...

by the time we were done with seattle, we were ready for the ocean so we headed to the oregon coast! we managed to find a great camp site all but on the beach (our tent bed was on sand). even though it stayed cloudy and cool, we really enjoyed dipping our toes in the pacific ocean. very sweet to have the pacific stretching on the west and big sleepy hills and mountains to the east.

the next morning i left emily to relax at the site/beach while i headed 45 miles north to visit my good friend from new hampshire elliott! we met in cannon beach where his friend was at a family reunion at granny's house right on the beach. what a beautiful house and family! i spent the day with the friend's friend's fam while em got a day to herself at the beach. also, elliott fixed our speakers which had TOTALLY stopped working right before seattle. very exciting news for us music lovers...

yesterday we woke up early and headed to mt. hood national forest where we navigated to bagby hot springs. now i havent been to a lot of hot springs, but this one was particularly cool. we set up camp at the trailhead and hiked 1 1/2 miles straight into the forest. we came to a platformm made entirely of wood with 5 individual stalls and a lower deck. each stall contained it's own tub made out of a carved tree and a "spout" (a hole with big stick for a plug) to allow the hot spring water into the tub. the whole area was surrounded by 100+ foot firs and was absolutely beautiful. it felt so good to just sit and soak in the tub...very relaxing for our tired bodies! we did it once yesterday afternoon and then got up again at 7am to do it all again this morning. after a soak (and a 3 mile hike), we loaded up again and ended up in bend! we're heading to crater lake tonight and should hit the california redwoods by monday or tuesday.

so far, this has been an incredible experience (who would figure, right?). we've had a lot of fun and have run emily's car to almost 5000 miles by now! thanks again to everyone who has helped us out along the way, we couldn't have come this far without you! looking forward to the next 2 1/2 weeks on the road (since we're not due at the farm until sept 8). happy 3 weeks to us on the road today! and happy anniversary to miss rosie! i'm so happy for you and i wish you another million years of great health and happiness!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dancin in the Streets

just to back up for a second, i need to return to kansas and once again extend my thank yous to eric, niall, dave, travis, cody, etc. for a wonderful, REALLY FUN, hospitable stay in lawrence. we had a blast with you guys...eric, you got it good.

moving on, seeing the rockies for the first time as 2 storms converged across the horizon in front of them...truly breathtaking. and if anyone ever needs a cool place to camp around denver, seriously, stay at golden gate canyon state park. over 9000 ft. high (and you climb most of it, by car obviously, in the first 25 minutes), surrounded by ponderosa pine, nice camp really was one of the most beautiful places we've ever been.

so, yesterday, to celebrate week one on the road, emily and i decided to take a much needed break and go to downtown denver for a music festival called Dancing in the Streets. this is what happened:

-got a FREE parking spot about 20 ft from the main stage
-arrived just in time to catch Yo Mamas Big Fat Booty Band, a stellar funk band who made us dance our asses off with about 20 other people
-got picked up, almost immediately, by NORML (look it up) and got THE HOOK UP
-through NORML, we met a dozen REALLY cool people (like scott, the head of the denver chapter, an awesome dude) who REALLY took care of us (you know, free bottled water all day, free watermelon, chai, munchies, free tshirts, a glow disc, etc.)
-got to see an AWESOME bluegass band called Greensky Bluegrass among many other cool bands like Hot Buttered Rum, Cornmeal, Dark Star Orchestra, etc.
-got invited to a music festival all you easterners should check out in asheville called BootyBandLand by the owner of it all, Don Juan (another friend who also really took care of us)

basically we walked into this festival having no expectations because we had no idea what we were getting into and we had a BLAST. by the way, this festival was in the ghetto of denver in a place called Five Points, an area that has been infamous for drugs and crime. however, within the last 10 years or so, a few key people in denver have been trying to reinvest in the area to make it safer and cleaner by painting murals on the walls, creating new venues for music, and starting this music festival. we were down for the cause and down for a really good time.

oh yeah, and when we came home to jamies around 930, exhausted and starving, we walked into a feast fit for queens, prepared by her AMAZING roommates. the menu: margaritas and wine, steamed artichoke in garlic mayo, homemade garlic cheese bread, twice baked potatoes, steamed asparagus, and steak on the grill. WHAT?! yes, we were spoiled and really taken care of yesterday.

well, if you stuck out this long entry, hope you enjoyed hearing about our day. today, off to fort collins to check it out and see Cameron, Em S.'s friend. tomorrow: Yellowstone. and i promise, we will get pictures up soon!

P.S. Jamie- thank you so much for all you helped us out with! you have gone above and beyond as a cousin and a friend. we love you and we love stephen and ken! you all were so hospitable and understanding. thanks for putting up with us :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Just a quickie...

Alright guys heres a quick update:
We arrived in Colorado yesterday! Driving into the Denver area and seeing those Rocky Mountains spread across the horizon..unreal.
Plans to stay in Ft Collins fell through so we called Sean (Em S's bf) to find us a campground and he led us to Golden Gate Canyon State Park in Golden, which ended up being the most beautiful camping experience ever at 9100 feet, amazing panoramic views of over 20 peaks in CO..our first night camping.
Tonight, we are right outside of Denver staying with Jamie (Em B's cousin). Wine drinking, much needed gossiping and good advice, showers and good sleep. Tomorrow: One day of Dancing in the Streets, a music festival in Denver. We'll get to see Yo mamma's big fat booty band, cornmeal, hot buttered rum, and dark star orchestra among others. Should be good....
more soon!
-The Emilys

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We ARE in Kansas, I swear

States Travelled Through: Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas!
Day 4: We have arrived in Lawrence Kansas (last night) to see our good friend Eric Holscher.
Now before you have any preconceptions...Lawrence reminds us a lot of Keene: college town, hilly, trees, rockin little downtown. It isnt the amber waves of grain that I (emily scott) know is to come as we continue to travel across the state. But for now, we are going to spend a few days relaxing, swimming in the lake, and checkin out the scene of the only liberal town in KS.

Our full day in Nasville ended up being a blast. It started off with a great jam, our first girl band! Here's the lineup:
Emily B: Mandolin
Emily S: Banjo
Ali: Guitar and Vocals
Kimberly (Ali's roomate): Drums and Vocals

Next, Ali took us down to Broadway, the touristy downtown area filled with bars posted up with your typical country singer bands, cowboy boots, and lots of memorabilia. And yes, there is a verb for this in Nashville: Honkey-Tonkin'. We must have laughed our way up and down the whole street, because each and every bar we stepped into whoever was playing music would make some comment:
"Whats better than one hot lady? Two? Three!"
"Where you from ladies? Where'd you leave your boyfriends at"
"Lets give a round of applause for these three fine ladies!"
Definitely a fun afternoon. That night, we went to check out the Grand Ole Opry (unfortunately not the Ryman where a certain handsome young Mr. Hartford used to play) and the hotel next to it which was a real treat. Imagine steeping inside a hotel and seeing a garden conservatory, a jungle, and a real river made up of water from hundreds of water bodies in the United States and around the world.... and yes, there was a riverboat tour. How fun would it be to be a kid staying there with your parents and having them say "ok go entertain yourselves." You could get lost for days....
The next morning we packed up and said goodbye, leaving for our new destination. The drive was beautiful, going through rolling hills and farmland (and not much else!) We did, however, stop in Metropolis: the home of Superman, and get a beautiful sunset over Kansas City. Phase two of the trip has begun and we hope you will all keep in touch for the next installment of thetwoemilys.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


day 1: 615 miles to nashville, tn to stay with ali!

spent 10 1/2 not so bad hours in the car. everything is still organized and clean so the time went by quickly. arrived at ali's around 830 or so with intentions of going out...ended up hanging out in her BEAUTIFUL chic house with my new lover, chuck (a rat terrier mix with a mohawk) and jamming allll night. well, at least until 1130 or so before we all pooped out.

by the way, ali will be a crucial member of our girl band whenever we get all the musically talented ladies of the world together. she's an AMAZING singer/songwriter/guitar player. go team!

still haven't seen much of nashville except the skyline at sunset, which is pretty cool (even though i'm pretty sure the really cool building we saw was just an at&t building). we're heading into downtown this afternoon to check out the honky tonkers and music scene, right after a jaunt at the local "aldys" (cheap groceries woot woot!).

more to post on and hopefully pictures to come as the week progresses... one more night in nashville then next stop: lawrence kansas.

love, the emilys