Back in December 2016, Liz and I announced that we were moving across the country. While it's no easy feat leaving your friends and family behind a couple time zones; it was time for a new adventure.
From the moment we pondered the idea of moving, we knew a cross-country road trip was a "Oh, Hell Yes" type of decision. I've always wanted to do this. So, Let's do it!
Moving across the country is not the easiest thing in the world. The weeks leading up to our trip were pretty stressful. For example, how are we going to move our two cats? There is no way in holy hell that we're going to sit in a car with two howling cats for two weeks. Also, why do we have cats again?
Thankfully, my gracious colleague and her fiancé were able to fly with them after our holiday party. Snapchat updates and all.
When it came to planning the trip, it was surprisingly easy – and FUN. I straight up googled "Road trip app" and discovered Roadtrippers. It was our hub for the entire planning process. We planned out our route, the cities we wanted to visit, and the absurd amount of tacos / BBQ / fried chicken we wanted to inhale along the way.
What's neat about roadtrippers is that it can scan for points of interest outside of a certain mile radius along your route. However, we mostly used recommendations from our friends and foursquare.
This trip was like the birchbox of trips. We were able to sample each city for a few hours or days to get a feeling if we'd like to go back for a longer.
Ok, on with the trip!
Our trip - according to Roadtrippers ↓
One final wawa run to "tap mac" and grab a pork roll sandwich – we left at dawn.
It was inauguration day. The perfect time to run away from reality.
Two days before we left Old City, Philadelphia↓
Our first stop was to visit my wonderful Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steve. We also got to see my cousin Peter, wife Laura, and their two adorable children; Charlie and Grace.
After our first full day on the road, family and a home-cooked meal was the perfect way to close our first day of the roadtrip.
Grace can sing and dance the entire Moana soundtrack. Look out.
Asheville seemed like a bit of a sleepy town when we first arrived, but as you can see below things quickly changed. After chowing down on some amazing BBQ at Buxton Hall, we ran into Asheville's version of the women's march – a very quick step back into reality.
We arrived at night and stayed at a sweet airbnb in hip East Nashville. Our first stop in the morning was to Barista Parlor. A coffee shop worth a thousand instagram photos (thanks Karl for the recommendation). We took our time, ordered a breakfast burrito & a few pour-over coffees.
Up next, we hopped around downtown to Broadway Street to see what the honky tonk aftermath looked like. We toured Hatch Show Print to learn more about this Nashville institution that has been responsible for letterpress printmaking for over 100 years. We even printed our own sweet mini posters!
Next, we stumbled upon Acme Seed & Feed for some cocktails, live music, and a few rounds of shuffleboard.
Our visit to Memphis was short, but sweet. Our first stop was at Gus' Fried Chicken - well worth the hype, deliciously crispy fried chicken!
We next checked into our Airbnb in the hip Cooper Young neighborhood, and explored the local restaurants & bars. More BBQ, more local music - such a nice break from the road!
Don't judge, but we had to make a pilgrimage to HGTV's Fixer Upper heaven – aka The Silos in Waco, TX.
A quick detour on our way to Austin, we stopped to see Chip & Joanna Gaines' outpost. We loved this open space that had plenty of food trucks, lawn games, and bean bag chairs. We even picked up some #demoday merch.
Austin – the land of tacos, cowboys and sunny days! We loved walking around South Congress neighborhood - enjoying Con Madre tacos, beautiful murals, and the vintage shops in the area. One highlight was sharing avocado margaritas and a sampling platter of 15 types of salsa at Curra's Grill - mind blown!
We couldn't help it. We stopped at Jo's Coffee to hit up a particular mural. After this, we met some Philly friends for pre-show tacos at Torchy's. Then it was time for some authentic Texas two-step at the Broken Spoke. Our jaws were on the floor as we did more watching than dancing.
How many spins is too many spins?
We didn't forget the Alamo.
In the high desert of Texas, the art community meets a sleepy ranching town. After driving for hours through the desert (with the only restaurant option being Dairy Queen), we pulled into this funky town.
Let's sleep in a teepee!
It may have been chilly, but we enjoyed our luxury teepee (complete with a indoor firepit) and the beautiful sunrise the next morning. El Cosmico was rad.
We didn't have time to drive out to artist Donald Judd's Chinati Foundation, but we did see modern art at Marfa Contemporary. Next, we re-fueled with dinner & drinks at The Capri - a lounge that seemed it belonged in LA, but was perfectly suited for the art elite in Marfa.
On our way out of town, we made sure to stop at the iconic Prada store art installation.
The long haul from West Texas to Arizona – full of surreal open spaces, high desert landscape, and many Marc Maron podcasts. We were so happy when we finally crossed the California state line and found the iconic In-N-Out burger. No animal sauce for us...
After safely surviving LA traffic (no easy feat), we arrived in beautiful Santa Barbara. We visited the Mission just in time for sunset, and then headed down to the marina to Brophy Bros'. for a delicious surf and turf dinner.
Hot tip: Don't forget to turn off your car lights. Thanks to a helpful stranger, we jumped our little hybrid sedan and drove up to the coast to visit Liz's college friend at Rancho San Julian.
Ranch life is beautiful and a lovely contrast from our city-slicker lifestyle. After a late night drive onto the ranch where we spotted a wild friggin' boar, we met up with Liz's friend and her family. We met their furry friends and then headed to Jalama Beach for burgers and beers on the sand.
Next we headed up to the City on the Bay to visit Liz's friends LaRue and Brian. We loved spending time with our friends, sharing a few glasses of wine and catching up on life.
They've got a pretty sweet view from their house.
Our last stop on the journey was our future home's sister city ...funky Portland. We enjoyed the inventive donuts at Voodoo Donuts, the many amazing beer bars, and an awkward but hysterical stand-up comedy night at a clown theme bar. Yeah, we kept Portland weird.
We made it!
After picking up our two howling cats, we arrived in Ballard. One month in and we're loving it.
Pike Place Market – A few blocks from my office ↓