At times, during our stay in the middle of nowhere with Evan's family, I was forced to stop at some smaller markets that were less than ideal for the coveted organic (or, at least, locally-grown without pesticides) produce I was seeking. However, we made do and gratefully enjoyed every bite. So far, my experience with conventionally-grown produce is that the zucchinis and cucumbers are much, much larger, the fruit just doesn't quite taste right, and the greens look cosmetically superior to organic. Organic greens are sometimes riddled with holes and dirt (a sign of true quality, in my opinion!)
The road is our closest thing to home. The current soundtrack of the highway includes Bon Iver's album "For Emma, Forever Ago" and an album by Blind Pilot called "Three Rounds and A Sound". We've also rocked out to Muse's "Black Holes and Revelations" and a decent amount of NPR's Morning Edition when the antenna decides to cooperate. Right now, we're on our way to Joshua Tree National Park. We'll be doing some park hopping over the next several days as we make our way across Nevada, Utah, and over to Arizona before finally descending into Mexico.
But, we actually couldn't have picked a better time to arrive in LA because the next day was absolutely stunning. The storm had done an incredible job of pushing away the perpetual helmet of smog that lay heavy on that sprawling mass of concrete, billboards, and plastic.
This is where it all began, people. I would scour the raw food section of this store on a bi-weekly basis when I first started on my raw journey. The only thing missing from this photo (and it curls around the corner - not pictured) are the Leaf Organics Kale Krisps. I have been looking for these little gems for months. Ah well...they appear down the road a bit (read on!).
Me standing by a ????-bush in Joshua Tree national forest. It's not a cactus and it's not a joshua tree. I forget what it's called, but it's big and sometimes people make fences out of them (See Arizona pics coming soon). When I asked Evan what the bush was called, he replied with"Oh the spiny one? ochetoleeoel something...starts with an 'o'... ".
Zion National Park
We've been zealously informed by multiple people that Bryce Canyon is a must-see. Meanwhile, Evan is flat broke and I'm running on just enough money to buy our next tank of gas (a $50 purchase). Vegas was a bust. We gambled away $60, but had a great time!
Now for a quick recap:
From there we found ourselves in Santa Cruz. This is when we really began living out of the van. Pictured below is our first van salad (first of many):
Another Santa Cruz natural food store worth mentioning is "The Food Bin".
Peep the mouth-watering menu at: http://gorawcafe.com/menu.html
The gal at the register suggested we go to Farmer's Market up the road (not A farmer's market, but a grocery store called "Farmer's Market"). I walked in thinking the organic section would be disappointing, but I was pleasantly surprised. I left with organic zucchinis, spinach, pineapple, tomatoes, navel oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and pears. MMM, I have one pear left. I think I'm going to eat it when I get back to the van.