Bread on the Road

Before I bring you all back into my kitchen, and we return to the baking that helps keep me giving, and sane, I just wanted to leave you with one last road trip post.

About bread!

Yum… Having been born a baker’s daughter, I’d say that I’ve always had a high awareness for the quality, look, smell, cost, labor of, ingredients in, and especially the taste of bread. So, when I lived in France, I was in heaven. I bought baguettes on occasion, and boules, and country loaves… I could tell the bakeries apart–and learned to turn my nose up at those that flash froze their products and baked them off later… I learned to love (and eat daily) chaussons aux pommes (pastry filled with cooked apples or applesauce).

When in Italy I shunned most of the breads and learned to make homemade pasta.

When in Colorado I was dismayed by the many soft, enriched, nutrient-boosted white breads with super long shelf lives, and finally decided to try to bake for myself.

This short story is getting long!

Anyway, even though our 5,244 mile road trip was a whirlwind, we did have to eat. And along the way we stumbled on a few very bread-worthy moments. Here they are:

I asked the server at Teddy’s Deli in Keystone, South Dakota about this bread after the first bite. “Where’s it from?” I mumbled and chewed and exclaimed, pointing to the swirled rye bread on my sandwich. “Montana,” he said. “All the good bread comes from Montana,” he added. Who knew?! And even before eating this sandwich I’ve been dreaming of making a really fabulous rye at home. We love our rye crackers, but I have yet to bake a fabulous sourdough rye, or pumpernickel, or really any sort of rye that I’d want to repeat regularly. After this sandwich, I’m on a quest!

We looked ALL over Keystone, South Dakota for a place to eat breakfast. We wanted eggs, and something other than donuts… And finally we ended up at Peggy’s Place, which my sister-in-law charmingly called “Cathy’s” because she just does that sort of thing. After seeing these massive cinnamon rolls, then tasting them, we came back two days in a row. Who wouldn’t?  

Moving on to Montana, but still stuck in rye mode, I purchased this small loaf of dark rye at On the Rise in Bozeman. Yum.

Here’s the storefront, and below is a rack of hearth bread with the listed prices. Montana is a big grower of winter wheat, and I’m tempted to purchase some wheat directly from this company, a Montana family of farmers who seem to love their trade. But look at those prices?! Makes you want to bake your own hearth bread, doesn’t it?

In Washington we mostly ate at home (at Harvey and Linda’s, I mean!), and there I baked up a fresh batch of buttermilk biscuits right off a recipe card that looked to be about 40 years old. Honored.

And in Oregon, I thought about pulling out my starter, which I’d kept secreted away for the whole trip, but didn’t. We were sidelined by snow and other things and before you knew it, we were home!

Now it’s your turn. All you beautiful people come from hither and yon. I’d love for you to post your favorite bakeries or breads that you find in your part of the world. It’d be fun to compile a list of faves for that next time–that next road trip, that either you–or I–take.

How ’bout it?


Hit the Road, Jack

Nineteen days on the road. The first three days we clocked 29 hours of sitting, so I stopped counting hours in the car after that. Five people, in one rented (thankfully large) car,

What did we do?!

Played the Harmonica

Fiddled with Yarn

Really, REALLY Enjoyed Picnicking at the Rest Stops


Were Weird with the Cousins

Stopped at Diners


Looked at the Scenery (and the cows… and the giant buffalo statues…)

Scoped out license plates

Chatted with the Highway Patrolmen

Loaded and Unloaded the Car



We also snacked, and listened to audio books, and Mad drew pictures on her arm, and Andrew sang SO loud–and sometimes all was quiet, and we simply looked out the window at the changing scenery…

If you like details, then here is the tour–Santa Barbara, California to Las Vegas, Nevada to Glenwood Springs, Colorado to Fort Collins, Colorado to Randolf, Nebraska to Keystone, South Dakota to Bozeman, Montana to Goldendale, Washington to Portland, Oregon to Crater Lake National Park to Fort Klamath, Oregon to Lassen Volcanic National Park to San Jose, California–then once again home, to Santa Barbara.

5,244 miles

Many dollars in gasoline

Will we do it again next summer?

No way. That would be pressing our luck–plus, we’re hoping to revisit la sourceand let our sourdough starter soak up some more yeasties from the place of its origin–if we can drum up a few free plane tickets. Anyone with a few free plane tickets?

But that’s then, and this is now, and …we’re HOME!


When I was a little girl I used to sing and tap dance for folks in wheelchairs at rest homes. I sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and School days, school days, dear old golden rule days… and I especially liked to tap the Shuffle Off to Buffalo. I remember rarely being nervous, but also marveling at some of my friends who were actually quite good at being little girl and boy performers…

One obvious song from the olden days kept inching its way to the front of my brain this last week as we drove the long road through Oregon, into Northern California where we visited Lassen National Volcanic Park–into San Jose where we stayed with beloved and longtime friends–and finally home. Home! I’ll leave you with the lyrics, and a few last photos of our time away. What a whirlwind–I’m still amazed that our family survived 5,000 miles in the car unscathed! And here we are home, it’s still summer, the beach is beckoning LOUDLY, and outside of making a lot of rye bread this coming week, that’s where I’ll be. Well, at the beach, and home doing laundry…

Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of our time away.


California, here I come
Right back where I started from
Where bowers of flowers
Bloom in the spring
Each morning, at dawning
Birdies sing and everything
A sun-kissed miss said, “Don’t be late”
That’s why I can hardly wait
Open up that Golden Gate
California, here I come



For two days before we hit Powell’s Books in Portland, I racked my brain to remember the book I desperately wanted to buy there. Really–I saved the buying of this one book for the biggest bookstore experience I was likely to have in a long time. What author doesn’t want to roam the various colored rooms and floors of Powell’s? Desperately I begged my children to tweeze the title of the book out of me as we approached the store. I moaned. I complained. I swear I almost ranted! Goodness. A very long forgetful moment ended in everyone purchasing something except me–my two sons being especially booky that day. I’m sure there’s a moral in there somewhere 🙂

The Surprise of Snow





This whole road trip we’ve been carting around our tent, cooler, and sleeping bags, for this one opportunity we’d planned to camp–at Crater Lake National Park. We stopped in Bend, Oregon to stock up on food, and arrived in the park in the late afternoon.

I was more than mildly surprised that we left summer behind just a few feet into the park. By the time we reached the rim of the crater and stared into the almost 2,000 feet of blue water below us, there were snow banks all around, the chilly air nipped at our bare arms and legs, and I was already talking about crocheting sweaters, hats and mittens out of the extra wool I had by my feet. Indeed, my daughter talked me into quickly beginning a green beanie.

Then, plenty of comedy. Most of the campsites were flooded from the snow melt. The kids were going over protocol if you meet bears (of which there are plenty in that place) while we circled in and out of campsite A, B, C and D, then A again, and B, and C and D again–John Ronan was playing the harmonica–and Douglas and I kept glancing at each other with those knowing looks that come with 23 years of marriage. The fork in the road came when we chose a campground, got out to inspect it and were swarmed by massive, monstrous mosquitos. There were thousands, and we are wimps.

Into the car–over to the lodge for a very pricey sit by the fire and dinner. And just like that, we left the park, making vows of Next Time.

Next Time–we will actually read about the park and know its geographical features.

Next Time–we will show up to find a campsite in the morning like all the other seasoned camper-outters.

Next Time–we will make reservations to simply stay at the lodge. 🙂

The Oregon Range

So, we drove out of the park to find a place to stay that was wimp-proof. On the road we encountered the most beautiful valley, filled with that soft evening light that even makes cows glow with glory. We pulled over and snapped a few photos of this new place…

Then, the first town we encountered, Fort Klamath, had a funky little motel and a vacancy sign in the window. It was late-ish, but we found a clean and comfortable room at Jo’s Motel, equipped with organic coffee, bunk beds, views to the sheds out back, and a complimentary copy of The Secret of Roan Inish.  All in all–perfect! We drank tea and cuddled and watched the movie of the little seal and the little boy and the little girl who swim and boat back and forth to the island of the seals… My John Ronan doesn’t really get it yet, but his name, Ronan, means little seal in Gaelic.

From Portland and all its city-ness (plus Powell’s–and 30 miles out of the city I remembered the title of the book!), to Crater Lake that boasts 54 feet of snowfall this last year and the biggest mosquitos I’ve ever seen, to Fort Klamath and Jo–and her earthy hospitality, I’d say I’d like to spend a lot more time in Oregon.

But this road trip is coming to an end. We’re all speaking of home, and laundry, figs on the tree, and seeing friends… It’s been a long and beautiful road, this loop to Nebraska and back. California here we come!


Driving across western Montana, and then eastern Washington there are forests, and forests, and then fields and fields of grain and open land. I wonder if any of it is wheat, but we don’t stop. We keep driving.

And we drive, and we drive. For hours we drive, and I finish the first crocheted bag, and start on a second. And we listen to Alice in Wonderland. And we stop for lunch in Coeur d’Alene and eat at the Beacon on Sherman Street.

And we’re back in the car, eating caramels from Bequet, and we listen to Nora Jones, and Switchfoot, and I ask John Ronan over and over what he can see out of his window. “Trees,” or “grass” or “nothing,” he says.

And we stop for dinner in Toppenish–we eat Mexican food.

And then we arrive at Harvey and Linda’s house! We stretch our legs, and sigh with excitement–that we are released from the red Chevy Traverse, that the landscape will stay stationary for at least a few hours. How many miles have we driven since leaving Santa Barbara–home– ten or twelve, or fourteen days ago?

Clustered around the Saint John the Forerunner Monastery, outside the small town of Goldendale, Washington, live several dear people who once resided 900 miles south. They have built homes, and sheds, and learned to shovel snow and make cappuccinos and ride ATVs. And they tell stories of bears and cat miracles, and give the biggest, fiercest hugs. So, for two and a half days we visit, and go to church together, and walk in the woods, and meet new friends,  and drive the hills, and talk of coffee and Christ and are refreshed.


And then, there are several last good-byes and we are off.

And it’s hard to say good-bye. It seems we are saying good-bye too many times in a row, over and over

we pass through a new place,

see an old friend,

and say good-bye.


Mud is not reviled
Bread is almost always white, and soft, and not nearly as popular as pies
Summer is hot, and the weather changeable, and ten year-olds drive tractors in parades
Farmers are like superheroes with superhuman strength
Fireflies flicker at dusk, low over the lawns that stretch and roll and are pure enchantment
Community is family,
and family is everything

Las Vegas to Glenwood Springs

Leg One took us to Las Vegas. On Leg One I discovered that I had earnestly packed all (nine skeins of) my new yarn,

but had forgotten the crochet hooks. Hmmm.

It wasn’t much later, when I peeked back at my sweet youngest boy, and realized that there was no cure for his bare feet. Yes, I forgot his shoes.

Brownie points to my husband who took my forgetting in stride. He’s a good man, that Douglas.

So, I wound the skeins into balls, that took some time. And we rocked out to Andrew’s emo music as we approached Barstow. And we marveled at all the space inside our rented SUV, having random pillow fights and tossing snacks to the back seat. And we tried to count Joshua trees but had to stop when we got to 4,567. We designated Andrew as the trash man. And we ate a whole box of Trader Joe’s chocolate chip chewy granola bars. Six hours–it took–Santa Barbara to Las Vegas. A shortish driving day.

There was no bread baking to do in Las Vegas. Sheesh. If I had opened my bag of starter in that hotel I’m sure it would have died on the spot. I am just not a Las Vegas type of girl.

Between the binging of the slot machines, and the smoke, and the flashing lights (even the STOP lights in the parking lot had flashing lights around the edges, I’m not kidding) and the folks who at 7am are gambling and looking desperate… well, it just doesn’t put me in a happy place. But we made it through. Slept well enough, rose at 6am, left at 7am, bidding Josh, the bell guy, good bye.

And I can’t say there was any bread baking to do on Leg Two either. On the road for ten hours, crossing some of Nevada, all of Utah, and half of Colorado. But, guess what? We found shoes for the little one, and a crochet hook for me. Again, my sweet Douglas steered us straight to a Michaels in Saint George, Utah, and not only did they have hooks and needles and scissors… they had a 5mm rosewood hook that I just had to have!

So, I’m 14 rows into my bag. I found this pattern on Attic 24 and, once I saw the stripes, just couldn’t resist. I’m a sucker for stripes.

Lunch at Mom’s Cafe in Salina, Utah! A BLT on sourdough, no mayo. Yum. And… they had books on every table. Funny books–all by Ben Goode. We giggled through some wise thoughts from this book, Understanding Women: A Guidebook for Guys Who Are Often Confused.

What else? Dust storms, rain storms, wind storms, lightning storms–all that was Utah. Having lived in Santa Barbara for these last eleven years, I forget what a real character the weather can be. In California our sun and fog provide a sweet little backdrop to days that vary little from season to season. But in these vast states of the West–Nevada, Utah, Colorado, places of rock and sky, the weather is oftentimes the hero or villain, not the setting. Fun to experience this all anew.

And even though there have been storms swirling around us outside the Chevy Traverse, inside we’ve enjoyed a blissfully peaceful ride. (!!!!!) Already we’ve logged 16 hours of close quarters, and not one fight, not one struggle, not one tantrum.

Just me, forgetting the shoes.