A Quick Break at Buc-ees

We drove past our first Buc-ees on the way to San Antonio and had to stop the podcast we were listening to in order to see if war had broken out or the zombie apocalypse had begun. We’d never seen so many vehicles at a rest stop before and immediately assumed something was wrong. A quick check of google maps revealed that this was actually less busy than usual.

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Buc-ees is a Texas institution, a rest stop to end all rest stops. They have branded everything. Stuffed animals, key chains, t-shirts, cups, cutlery, lip balm. You name it and they have put a beaver on it. They also have some delicious BBQ, incredibly cheap soda, and something called Beaver Nuggets which were not what I was expecting at all. When a friend on Facebook said, “GO TO BUC-EES AND GET BEAVER NUGGETS” I assumed they were like chicken nuggets. Or maybe actual beaver – it is Texas. Maybe they eat beaver in Texas. As it turns out Beaver Nuggets aren’t anything like chicken nuggets – they’re sweet puffed corn. And they’re delicious.

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After pulling into the ample parking lot of the Katy Buc-ees we noticed a grackle tangled in some string on a tree and decided to take action. Living in an RV means having all your belongings at your disposal. First we got our step stool, but were unable to reach the bird. Next we pulled the RV near the tree she was stuck in, climbed the ladder on the back but were still unable to reach the bird. We got the machete out to extend Kyle’s wing-span. No dice. I climbed on his shoulders…still too short. So I went inside and asked if they had a ladder we could borrow.

I was redirected to outdoor maintenance who informed me that neither Kyle nor I could climb the ladder because it was a liability, but a Buc-ees employee could do it. Outdoor maintenance then got on his walkie talkie to see if any employee wanted to help rescue a bird. Within about three minutes a girl came jogging out. “I came to save the bird!” Then she headed inside to get a ladder.

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We provided scissors and the girl was able to snatch the bird, cut the string and then hold it still while Kyle cut away the string still tangled tightly around her foot. As soon as she was free she flew off to sit on top of a light post about 20 feet away and we congratulated ourselves with some brisket sandwiches and Salted Caramel Beaver Nuggets.img_5602

P.S. Kyle is forcing me to write that “after lunch we noticed the bird was still hanging around, limping a bit, so we fed her some leftover bread and bird seed. Then she followed us down the road.

After a few days of this we finally opened the door of the RV (and our hearts) and she flew right in to live with us because of her love for us. Now we have a pet grackle named Buckie that accompanies us everywhere. We’ve taught her a few tricks – she can do a headstand and will scour the countryside for quarters that she brings us so we can do laundry. She’s totally house broken. She saved us from an alligator today.

The End.

P.P.S. It was a small alligator. But still. Alligator.”

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One Perfect San Antonio Day

From Marfa we headed straight to San Antonio. Partially because there isn’t much between the two places as Texas is a giant state filled with nothing, and partially because we really needed a shower. We got in late on a Thursday and immediately stuffed our faces with delicious delicious tacos and queso. The next morning we got up early and had an accidental breakfast buffet comprised of leftover bacon, cheddar and scallion quiche, yogurt, and some danishes we picked up in Alpine. While consuming our unusually large breakfast I tried to figure out where we could park for the day.

Parking in cities is always difficult for us. We take up two parking spots, we’re wide, we’re tall. Sometimes we have to park out of the way and take public transportation, or sometimes we just high-tail it out of town because we’re so frustrated. By some amazing stroke of luck I found an abandoned VFW parking lot about a fifteen minute walk from The Alamo that had no regulations other than “NO CONSTRUCTION PARKING” signs posted all around the perimeter. We even asked another woman who was parking what the deal was and she said, “It’s a free for all.” So we parked.

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We headed to the Alamo first. It’s a beautiful site with a wonderful free museum and some decent air conditioning meaning we stayed in certain relatively uninteresting areas longer than we should have because it was hot. Marfa had been so cold and so dry that the sudden appearance of ninety degree weather and seventy-five percent humidity caught both of us off guard. We were simply unprepared for sweating again.

From the Alamo it was off to the Riverwalk! We’ve been to other cities with Riverwalks – Indianapolis, Denver – but San Antonio’s blew them away. It’s tree lined, there are restaurants, there’s art. It was amazing. We started in the touristy section which was absurdly crowded but still wonderful. We didn’t stop to eat or drink because we can spot a tourist trap a mile away, but it was lovely to walk through.

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In San Antonio that we learned that not only is Tex-Mex a thing, but German-Texas cuisine is a thing when we visited Schilo’s for lunch. Schilo’s is the oldest restaurant in San Antonio, open since 1917, and specializes in overstuffed sandwiches and root beer. They had warm german potato salad which I loved and Kyle hated and a delicious Reuben. 

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We checked out Market Square which is the largest Mexican market in the U.S. and it’s unbelievable. We happened to be there as the Tejano Music Awards were gearing up so it was utterly bananas, but that didn’t stop it from being awesome.

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After Market Square we headed back to Sandwich and then decided to walk in the opposite direction towards The Pearl Brewery. What had formerly been an abandoned industrial area is now a bustling area filled with shops, restaurants and a farmer’s market.

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When we left the RiverWalk and saw The Pearl for the first time Kyle said, “Is it possible to fall in love with a building?” We wandered around and got ice cream from Lick. Goat Cheese and Thyme, Gin Spiked Lemon and Pink Peppercorn, Grapefruit with Champagne Marshmallows, Key Lime Tequila Pie. Flavors that shouldn’t have worked together and somehow just blew us away.

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After ice cream it was back to the Riverwalk where we were surprised by the sudden appearance of tons and tons of bats. We sat and watched for a while as they emerged from under the freeway and while it wasn’t quite as many as we saw in Austin it was also much less crowded.

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We contemplated staying in our free parking lot overnight, but realized that we didn’t want to ruin a wonderful day with getting harassed by cops or hobos. So we started the journey out of town, making a stop at the last In-N-Out we’ll see until we get to Designer Con next year.

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We’re still headed East. Savoring our last days on the road. It’s an interesting feeling, knowing that soon we’ll be stationary. But it feels right.


Have you checked out my Etsy recently? You can view it here! I’ve been doing a lot of embroidery and I’m so happy with how it’s turning out.

A Town Like Marfa

It was during our last visit to Texas that we got the news about everyone in our Brooklyn apartment moving out at the same time, so we didn’t get to explore very much. We saw a bit of El Paso, hung out in the tiny town of Junction, and had a great visit to Austin – but that was it. In a state the size of Texas, that isn’t much.

I decided we should go check out Marfa because it’s an arts hub and everyone always takes pictures of that fake Prada store, so as navigator I navigated us there. The interior of the Prada store was smaller than I anticipated and filthier than I imagined, but I also didn’t take into account that they didn’t hermetically seal the place before leaving it and there’s a lot of dust out there. In photos it always looks deserted but when we arrived there were a number of cars and people waiting to take pictures. A group of students were so involved with posing in front of the place that another guest finally had to shout at them to PLEASE MOVE FOR JUST ONE MINUTE so the rest of us cold take the iconic “Prada in the middle of nowhere” shot. Mine didn’t even work out properly because one of the girls wouldn’t walk far enough away. Ah well. It was still cool.

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Our initial reaction to Marfa was that it’s Bushwick in 2010. There’s a store called The Get Go that’s literally just Brooklyn’s Natural. They have the same shelves, the same products, all that was missing was a sandwich counter and being open 24 hours a day. The coffee shop that’s also a laundromat reminded us so thoroughly of the Archive (a coffee shop that was also a video rental place) that it was disconcerting.

The two things friends who had been there before told us we had to do were have a drink at The Lost Horse Saloon and eat at Marfa Burrito. At The Lost Horse we grabbed some Lone Stars and sat outside where almost immediately we started hearing snatches of a conversation happening a few feet away. “…BLM land”, “Black tank…”, and “camper” were all overheard before we got up and introduced ourselves. We met Stephen who has been living on the road for almost a decade and in a van for the last six years, Stephen’s Dad who lives in a truck camper, and Rob and Chelsy (and their boxer Fay) who’d been on the road for just three weeks! After a few hours and Stephen’s father building us a fire in a bucket, a third couple joined us – they were also traveling in an RV. Somehow, in a town the size of Marfa, we magically ended up in a bar filled with other young RVers. After chatting for much longer than I think any of us expected, Kyle and I called it a night and headed back to Sandwich who was parked about a block away. In the morning we emerged and headed to Marfa Burrito for a massive egg, cheese and chorizo burrito for just five dollars. We ran into Stephen and were once again forcibly reminded of Bushwick in 2010 – the friends you made at the one bar around the night before are eating breakfast at the same place you are because it’s the only place to do it.

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While the Marfa Mystery Lights have been mostly debunked – yes, they’re probably just headlights from highway 67 – that doesn’t stop them from being cool. On our second night in town we parked at a viewing area nine miles east of town and bundled up to watch the lights with Rob and Chelsy.

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I am not exaggerating when I say bundled up, it was the coldest I think we’ve been since that mountaintop in Wyoming back before we entered Yellowstone. Our teeth were chattering but the lights were interesting – they moved in ways that didn’t make sense, they popped in and out of view, they certainly didn’t look like headlights. Also, if they’re headlights, why was there so much traffic at 9pm on a Tuesday? There’s a reason they’re still called the Mystery Lights.

The next morning we woke up early and headed to Alpine to go to another coffee shop slash laundromat, this time to actually do laundry. There was a fancy hotdog stand parked outside with outstanding reviews, so when our laundry was done and lunchtime rolled around we got some awesome food before continuing East towards San Antonio.

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We stopped at a deserted rest stop listed on All Stays as “A depression era rest stop with no amenities.” We were the only vehicle there. There was a gazebo for some reason and an abandoned taxidermy deer head. It was one of the weirder places we’ve ever stayed which is saying a lot.

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If you missed the announcement in our last blog: We’re moving to Beacon NY! Wooooo! Yaaaay!

There’s bunches of new stuff up on my Etsy! Check it out! Pick something up! Help us pay for gas!

Our Last Warm Winter

Our first winter in Sandwich was spent bouncing around Southern California and hanging out with Kyle’s immediate family. When all was said and done we were on the west coast for five months, completely skipping winter and loving every second of it. For our second winter we decided to explore The South, spending Christmas in New Orleans and exploring every inch of Florida. This winter it was back to SoCal from October until January. It’s been wonderful watching the weather plummet the East Coast from afar, but this is our last warm winter.

Next year will be different. We’ll be in the cold. We’ll be stationary. We’ll be in an apartment. That’s right – once we hit the three year mark in June this chapter of our adventure is coming to a close. After ages of deliberation we’ve finally decided to settle down in…

Beacon, New York!

If you look back on the early days of Dare to Pee you’ll find an entry all about how much we love Beacon. It’s close to the City without actually being there, the Hudson Valley is amazing, we have friends there! Clutter is there! Out of all the places that made the short list for settling down Beacon simply makes the most sense. It’s close to my mom, it’s good for Kyle’s career, we don’t have to start from scratch – we already have a bit of a community up there.

We’re currently in New Mexico making our way across the Southern states to wait out the last of the the freezing temps and snow storms in our little wheeled house made of plywood and hope. Sandwich is sturdy, but she still can’t withstand freezing temperatures without us putting in a lot of work we have absolutely no interest in doing. We’re going to explore Houston and Galveston, and check back in with our favorites New Orleans and Savannah. We’ll get a Publix sub and some of their outstanding chocolate cake before bidding the South adieu and entering The Northeast.

Kyle has a show at Clutter in May, followed almost immediately by the eighth annual Designer Toy Awards (nominations open now!) and the second annual Five Points Festival. After the excitement from those massive events has died down we’ll find an apartment and put dear Sandwich on Craigslist where we found her in June of 2015. Though if you’re looking to buy an RV in the Tri-State area send me a message so I can bypass the whole process!

There will be much more frequent entries now that we’re on the road again – it feels so bizarre after almost half a year of basically not moving. We spent October through January helping Kyle’s aunt and uncle sell their home in SoCal, then holed up in Lake Havasu for ages getting work done before finally, properly, beginning the journey home.

So here we go. The final leg of Dare to Pee. It’s been quite an adventure and I’m so thankful to those of you who have been following along. Stay tuned to see where this last venture takes us.

Missing in Action

Welp. I did the thing where we drop off the planet for a couple of months around the holidays….and well into February. Sorry about that. I kept meaning to update and then things kept happening and I kept putting it off. But we’re back! And alive! Here’s what happened  pretty much immediately after my last update back in December.

In mid December I headed to New York to do early Christmas with my mom. She flew to Chicago the day after Thanksgiving for a family party and had plans to head to Boston right after New Years, so the thought of traveling a third time over the holiday season seemed exhausting. The obvious and infinitely more affordable solution was to fly me out to her before the actual proper holiday.

I arrived on a Saturday with plans to leave the following Friday. At just under a week it was the perfect visit length to eat all the things I wanted and see as many people as I could. The Pine Box Holiday party coincided with my visit! If nothing else that would kill like twenty-five birds with one stone. When I got in my mom off-handedly mentioned that she thought my visit was nine days long.

“Nope! I’m leaving Friday. Six days.”

“Are you sure? I could have sworn it was nine days…”

The first few days were a whirlwind of excitement. My friend Blythe had her tree-trimming party, my friend Alain played a show with his band, I visited with an old friend’s mother for the first time in about a million years, we had delicious French food with our friend Caesar. I woke up on Tuesday morning after our delicious French meal with a slight tooth ache. Nothing crazy, just a little ache on a tooth that I had work done on in 1997. It leans towards the sensitive side, so I thought nothing of it, just popped a couple of extra strength Tylenol and moved on with my life. It was the day of the Pine Box holiday party and I was tasked with opening the bar. I may not live in Brooklyn anymore, but I do still work there sometimes. As my shift wore on my face started hurting pretty bad. I noticed a little bit of swelling. Other people noticed a little bit of swelling. I closed my shift out, said hi to a few people at the party and excused myself. The pain was getting unbearable.

I got back to my mother’s house on the Upper West Side, put on pajamas and climbed onto the air mattress she bought specifically for my visit at about 11pm. I woke up three hours decidedly more swollen.

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The next morning it was off to the NYU Dental Clinic for an emergency visit. The women who work in the reception area looked at me with such pity. They couldn’t believe that there wasn’t gauze in my mouth. They said they’d see if they could get me seen sooner. I frightened the first student who saw me so much that he sent me upstairs to see the post graduate students. I was too much for the undergrads.

My diagnosis was an abscess on the tooth that had been worked on back in 1997. At the time they told me that I “would probably need a root canal at some point in the future.” Well. Apparently that time had come. I was prescribed antibiotics, told to ingest an absurd amount of ibuprofen for someone my size, and to keep an eye out for more swelling. Then it was back to the air mattress to wait for everything to start working.

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Everything did not start working. I stayed in bed the entire next day diligently taking my meds every eight hours. The swelling kept getting worse. I texted my dentist and she suggested going to the emergency room. My mom offered to take me. I decided to wait it out, cancel my return flight to California and head back to NYU bright and early Friday morning.

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The first dentist I saw that day suggested that I needed stronger antibiotics, intravenously and immediately. They were all ready to send me to get poked with needles before someone saw that I’d previously been seen by the upper-upper classmen upstairs and decided it was better to send me up there.

It was hours before anyone could see me, but during that time the antibiotics started working! The swelling started going down! They saw me anyway, fiddled with the tooth a bit, and sent me on my way free of charge and with a letter to the airline explaining why they shouldn’t charge me for changing my flight.

I left NYU feeling so much more human and incredibly hungry. Just…absolutely starving. I stopped at Grey’s Papaya on the way back to my mother’s and ate the most delicious hot dog I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. Once back at my mom’s I made myself some soup and then we ordered Chinese food. Eating again felt amazing. 

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On my last day in town I left the house at 9am to see as many Christmas windows as I could. There is something incredibly magical about Manhattan at Christmas and I was so excited to not be confined to that air mattress anymore that I took it all in. After I’d been out for a few hours I met my mother at Rockefeller Center and we slowly made our way to the Plaza Food Court where we ate a lot of lobster like very fancy ladies.

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I rescheduled my flight for the following Monday bringing my visit up to a total of nine days. So at the end of the day my mom was right, I was in New York for exactly as long as she said I would be.