Two weeks and 5,865 miles later, we made it. We made it to Maine. I certainly haven’t fully processed the trip yet, but I’m starting to. I can hardly keep my eyes open I’m so exhausted and I felt my first sigh of relief yesterday. We arrived on Friday night around 10:00 pm after a 14 hour sprint to the finish. Well, sprint is an overstatement considering we got stuck in traffic jams, once in Connecticut and then again in Massachusetts. I tell you, nothing screams “WHAT HAVE I DONE?! I MISS FAIRBANKS ALREADY!” like a traffic jam in the northeast. We’re talking two-hours-in-a-car-and-we-just-moved-half-a-mile traffic jam.
My mom flew out to Washington to travel the rest of the way with Izzy and me, while Chris flew ahead to Portland. We stayed with his folks for a few days in Wenatchee, and it was a perfect reprieve before we started the second half of the marathon. The morning we arrived to Washington, it was still dark out, so we couldn’t see much outside of what glowed in the beams of our headlights, but through the air vents of the car, you could smell apples. It was harvest time in Eastern Washington, and if of the many highlights of our trip, biting into a fresh apple was one of them.
Wenatchee is not only the Apple Capital of the World but it is also a wine destination, or at least it is for me. I’m a wine connoisseur in the sense that I love it and I drink it a lot, but I’m not going to lie. I’ve bought a bottle or two in my lifetime because the label was pretty or interesting or artistic. I can’t tell you the exact notes I taste in each glass, but I know if I like it or not. All of that to say, Malaga Springs Winery had magnificent, award winning wine (and the label is pretty, artistic, AND interesting to boot). So magnificent, we said “Screw the weight limit of the trailer!” and brought six bottles with us to Maine.
The winery was down a long dirt road; so long, there was a sign several miles down which read “Keep the faith. Malaga Springs 1 mile ahead”. When we arrived, the winemaker (Robert Redford’s doppelgänger), walked down from the vineyard, where he had spent the day harvesting. We went into a tasting room and sampled about 10 different wines. Every single wine was good and all had very distinct flavors. The Al Y Kat red was made from grapes that were salvaged after a huge wildfire several years ago. The fire itself did not reach the vineyard, but the smoke certainly did. The vintner seized the opportunity and made a wine with the smoky grapes, one that has gained acclaim and many fans.
After the wine tasting, Chris headed to the airport to board his one way flight to Portland. My mom and I stayed in Washington one more night and departed early the next morning for our road trip which would take us through 16 states. Having been on the road for a week prior and knowing our food options were going to be limited throughout our travels due to hauling a trailer, mom and I made our way to Lake Chelan for a nice dinner on Friday night. We ate salads at Campbell’s to fill our fresh veggie quota prior to leaving.
I love the occasional dirty burger, chili, pizza, and chicken tender just as much as the next person, but after a couple days, I had it. It all started tasting the same. Pizza and hamburgers should never taste the same. I fantasized about salads every day I was on the road. I’m talking big, dinner sized, loaded with leafy greens and all types of veggies and fruits, coated with a good vinaigrette, like this salad. The players: kale, barley, apricots, apples, cashews, chevre, and a honey, fig-infused balsamic vinaigrette. This would be good as a side or a main, and the longer it sits, the better. I sauteed my kale in a little oil prior to adding it to the salad because I don’t care for the bitterness of kale when it’s not cooked down a bit. It also depend on the type of kale you use. Dinosaur and curly kale are a bit tougher, and could use to be cooked a bit. It depends on your personal taste, though.
- 1 bunch of kale, stems stripped and leaves chopped
- 1½ cup cooked barley
- ½ large apple (I used Honey Crisp), chopped
- ½ cup dried apricots, slivered
- ¾ cup cashews
- 8 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup fig-infused balsamic vinegar
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1-2 Tbsp. honey (depending on the quality of your vinegar)
- pinch of sea salt
- a few grinds of black pepper
- juice of ½ lemon
- olive oil for kale (optional)
- 1 clove garlic, slivered, for sauteed kale (optional)
- In a jar, combine vinegar, olive oil, honey, sea salt, and pepper. Put the lid of the jar and shake vigorously until the ingredients are combined. If your honey is too thick, heat it in the microwave or on the stovetop before adding to the vinaigrette. You will not need all the dressing, but it will store in the fridge for several weeks.
- Optional: Sautee kale with 1 clove of slivered garlic and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Don't overcook. You don't want wilted greens, just less bitter greens. Taste as it's cooking until it's to your liking. Take off the heat to cool.
- In a bowl, combine kale, barley, apple, apricots, cashews, and lemon juice. Mix well so lemon juice is evenly distributed. Add dressing to taste and mix again until everything is well coated. Add chevre on top of salad or mix in once the salad has been dressed.