Sunday, July 29, 2012


this picture totally and completely summarizes and epitomizes the last two months.  cate is taller than me, more serious than me, smarter than me, and has a better sense of direction than me.  i, on the other hand, am short, all over the place, ask too many questions, and (lets be honest) would get lost in a walk in closet.  cate is the strong and fierce leader, and i'm her handy dandy sidekick.  
without cate, the trip would not have been the same.  if it weren't for her, the past two months would probably have been a disaster.
i would've driven off without the gas i had already paid for.  i'd cry every time i heard the word "camping."  i'd continue driving down the freeway with a chunk of the car dragging below us after running over a stupid blown out tire. i would've never found out the answers to the hundreds of random and useless questions i had (i actually STILL don't know the name of the plant that looks like a cat tail). i wouldn't have been able to embrace my silly.  who would've introduced me to the weird and quirky and beautiful music that i found out i love?  i wouldn't have people in wisconsin taking bets on whether or not cate and i we were sisters…apparently we both have little feet, which DEFINITELY means we're sisters??   i wouldn't have anyone else to SCARF down bags of popcorn for dinner…its not a pretty sight. who would tickle my arm whenever i'm sad?  she always made the bad times good.  i'd literally have no where to sleep…ever.  my extended family wouldve stayed the same size.  i wouldn't have taken my very first outdoor shower with a hose.  i wouldn't have been able to reach things up high or lift a heavy item by myself. i never would've discovered that i lift my right elbow so that it's parallel to the floor while drinking any sort of beverage.  i would've had no one to play the I.O.U game with.  who would i sleep in a bunk bed with, even when there are 20 other beds to choose from?  who else would let me listen to country music, even when they have a hateful passion for it?  who would i plan and dream life adventures and plans with?  who knows if anyone else would have told me i have cream cheese on my face EACH time i ate a bagel.  i wouldn't have a best friend to be wizards with.  shenanigans just wouldn't have been the same.  in summary, without cate, i would've died.
she has my heart forever

homeless in south dakota

i don't think cate could've asked for a BETTER birthday!  <-----sensing the sarcasm??  but we certainly made the best of it.  we had a 9 hour drive ahead of us.  

obviously, we got hungry on the road.  and south dakota is not accommodating to hunger pains.  we found relief in a small town with a grocery store.  we indulged in lunchable mini pizzas, lean cuisine stir-fry, and a frozen pasta dish.  we sat in a cozy cafeteria-like sitting area and microwaves our meals.  they hit the spot.

 the stumberg boys are three of my favorite boys in the whole entire world!  they just so happen to be on a road trip at the exact same time as us…and we just so happen to be driving on the same exact interstate, heading right for each other.  they were headed east, while we were headed west.  we found Al's oasis to be a very nice meeting place.  we sat and celebrated cate with a slice of chocolate pie and $.5 coffees followed by a classic photo shoot.

we continued on our trek and were welcomed with THUNDER AND LIGHTENING STORMS!  our favorite!  they took our breath away, literally…it was very windy.  

our first evening in south dakota was spent at probably the cheapest and ONLY available hotel.  the owner was too kind, informing us we better hurry up since he needed to get his sleep that night.  he also smelled like the worst kind of body odor and cigarettes imaginable.  

our second night in south dakota was spent at Suzie's Cabins.  cate spotted them off the freeway.  her property was covered with tiny storage unit-like boxes with metal floors and a variety of sleeping arrangements.  we, of course, opted for sharing the full size bed.  the bunk bed was a little bit sketchy.

south dakota was certainly home to THE best bagel shop EVER.  literally, my mouth waters just thinking about it. the bagels ranged from white chocolate chip to chocolate peanut butter to sundried tomato basil.  the cream cheese options were even BETTER…chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, pesto, veggie herb….

and seriously, the freeways are inhibited ONLY by billboards. big ones that are actually more of a distraction than a help.

we celebrated our LAST festival by treating ourselves to Wendy's.  we laid on the charm, and the Wendy's server ended up giving us a free strawberry shortcake sundae, as well as milkshake upgrades.  we know just how to work it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

hipster-ville part II

AS we drove to our next couch surfers' home, we couldn't help but notice the large amount of frat houses, sororities, and all of the hipster students to go along with them.  we made our way through the greek neighborhood and found it:  the "dad pad."  it was home to 7 guys, all of which were amazing and unique and hilarious in their own ways.  chris, bus, chad, russell, duck, genya, and one other who we never had the pleasure of meeting.  even though these guys were amazingly accomodating, their house was NOT.  our first night was nothing short of torture, simply because we were extremely overheated.  i laid on the floor next to cate on the couch.  we woke up in a sweat and wined and moaned and complained about the heat. we found what we thought was an air conditioner.  it blew a fabulous cool air for about 5 minutes, and then turned hot.  of course, we found out it was actually a humidifier. in hindsight, it was a hilarious sight.  in the moment, we wanted to die.
BEING guests and girls, we wanted to cook a meal for the boys.  ideally, we wanted to indulge in homemade spaghetti or tacos or stir fry.  realistically, these boys may not have the proper tools for making such complex meals.  we opted for a Costco frozen lasagna and toasted [b]rosemary french bread with a few bottles of wine.  genius!  the boys set the mood by playing some classical music in the background.  family dinner at its best.  add a few games of catchphrase, conversation, and story time on the back porch and we had ourselves a good night!

 WE wanted breakfast, and we wanted it bad.  we found a 'staple' to dinkytown, so obviously we HAD to go.  Al's was this tiny little hole in the wall with tons of character!  the waitresses were witty and sassy, the food was deliciously simple, and the atmosphere was as cozy as it gets.  the cafe is long and narrow, so the people eating sit at the bar, while the people waiting for a seat stand DIRECTLY behind the, having to patiently await their turn.  its a beautiful rotation.  over the course of this trip, we hit the jackpot with cheap food.  an entire meal for under 5 bucks?  yes please!  

TO end our trip to minneapolis with a bang, the boys took us out to dinkytown. we made the mile trek, passing house parties and sillies along the way.  cate and i lived the college life that we never got the "blessed" opportunity to live when we were ACTUALLY in college.  a couple bars, a little bit of dancing, a sidewalk concert, a bunch of pizza slices, and a couple hours of sleep later...we were on the road again.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

hister-ville part I.

Minneapolis, Minnesota 
 THIS is dane.  i think we can BOTH say we fell in love with him right away.  he was a charming 30 year  old with a heck of a a Minnesotan accent.  he pulled up in his fancy BMW and showed us to his swanky, concrete floored 'flat' in a beautiful city condominium complex.  his surfboard, longboard, and rock climbing equipment were sporadically filling space along with his ikea-like decor and furniture.  we unpacked our body-sized bags in his living room and explored the town!                                                                                first stop?  food and drinks.  dane treated us to gummi bear shochu sours, sake bombs, and a large assortment of sushi and skewers.  we ate our very first quail eggs.  it was a proud moment for me.
also, we learned that dane is temporarily quitting his job, selling his condo, and traveling around the world for a year.  what a dream boat!
alright, now it was time to sing.  dane took us to Nye's Polonaise Room, which BTW was named "Best Bar in America."  apparently it's a bar commonly visited by Prince!  it came complete with 70's style decor and a piano bar.  dane got the karaoke ball rolling by singing a classic frank sinatra, while cate and i chose L-O-V-E.  then, it was time to sing Happy Birthday to our new favorite couch surfer.  of course the entire bar joined in.  he turned the big 3-1 and we got to celebrate with him!  it was quite the party.

being from the northwest, we feel a natural pull towards fine coffee.  we would frequent the local third wave coffee shops, and get spoiled with breakfasts of heavenly espresso and scrumptious pastries.  we couldn't get over HOW much minneapolis reminded us of portland.  the streets were lined with vintage shops, second hand stores, coffee shop after coffee shop, fair trade, organic, all natural, bike riders, high waisted pants and shorts, fedoras, la de la…WE LOVED IT!
while driving the freeway towards minneapolis, our eyes were taken aback by the enormous and beautiful cathedrals!  we HAD to get inside.  there was a calm and peace about these cathedrals.
we were living the good life with dane.  unlimited air conditioning, a workout room, cable, comfort.  it was great.  on to the next couch surfer! 

osh kosh & neenah wisconsin

 IT was way cool…literally.  we were blessed with air conditioning during this festival.  we had our vendor friends with us, and gained a new friendship with a sixth grader.  his name was Justice.  his dad was our camping neighbor during the Alive Festival in Ohio.  he was, no doubt, THE most adorable and charming and least obnoxious little boy i've met.  we ended our festival with an INTENSE rubber band bracelet war.  if we were to be keeping score over the course of this 20 minute battle, i'd say cate ended with 40 successful hits, Justice got maybe 30, and me?  i ended with 5…at most.  i'm a lover, not a fighter.  and i had the welts and red marks to prove it.  the war would've lasted longer, if it weren't for the security.  so strict.

WE also met an angel, in the form of a guy named Nick.  he fell in love with MyFight at the Lifest festival last year, and wanted to offer his help for THIS year!  he ended up writing a paper on the workings and logistics of MyFight…as a result, he knew more about our organization than WE did.  his family was adorable.  his mom, Penny, was quite the lady.  she brought us sandwiches, chinese food, and bought us hand made MITTENS!  Nick was also able to give us a place to stay at a Catholic Retreat Center!  i'm not gonna lie, i was terrified in this place.  we arrived late at night, lights out, not a person in sight.  i've said it before about previously places we've stayed, but it DEFINITELY reminded me of a set for a horror film.  during the day time, it was a humorous building.  it went from horror film to boarding school.  old tile floored bathrooms and hard wood bunk rooms, each with it's own child-like theme.  
this catholic church was BEAUTIFUL.
THE town of Neenah was one of the cutest we had seen.  very small of course, filled with cobblestone streets, mansions straight out of The Notebook, boutiques and antique shops, and… bars!  we were informed by the bartenders and people of Neenah that Wisconsin is KNOWN and FEARED for their drinking abilities.  we got to see that first hand.  we even started selling MyFight t-shirts to the bartenders!  we quickly learned that the people in Wisconsin were sweeter and friendlier than most.  

THESE two girls, Sam and Michelle, were such blessings.  the four of us had been traveling in parallel routes, going from Alive to Cornerstone and then to Lifest.  we first met them over a friendly chat and hair wrapping.  we came to find our shared love for people, conversation, and instagramming.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dear Chicago, we hope to see you again real soon.

CATHY is a legend.  we first heard of this amazing woman through a band we met at creation.  they RAVED about her wit and love for spoiling her guests.  then cate was casually chatting with another vendor about our coincidental matching trips to chicago coming up.  without a concrete place for us to stay, cate curiously asked where matt and his band were staying.  "cathy!"  NO WAY!  they quickly exchanged numbers, and within a few hours we were warmly invited into cathy's home.  we were stoked to meet this woman!
OUR first night was interesting.  yelp reviews used the phrase "house party" to describe a bar & lounge.  we took this literally.  we saw what we thought was the bar.  LOOKED like a house, LOOKED like a party.  yup, definitely it.  so we made our way through the large hipster crowd that mingled out the door and onto the sidewalk,  and headed up the stoop steps.  as i peaked inside, i realized that no, this was not a bar.  it was someones home.  i turn to inform cate of this embarrassing mistake we had made, but she had already escaped, and i was left looking like a lost child.

THE second night was a slumber party.  we matched cathy's previous record with 13 guests in her home that night.  two bands (the lost colors & lauren mann and the fairly odd folk) and two roadies (me and cate). its hard saying goodnight to 13 people.

it's amazing how many people became fascinated with their reflections.  talk about being vain!

 chicago quickly became one of our favorite cities that we had visited together.  the view from the 95th floor of the John Hancock building was leaving us breathless.  it put Portland City Grill to shame.  surprisingly enough, the ladies bathroom had the best view hands down!  we enjoyed plurge-worthy beverages and split some decadent chocolate mousse raspberry something or other.  


CLEARLY, we were having too much fun on the pier, because we quickly realized our train leaves the city in 40 minutes.  panic set in.  we had two miles to get there, on foot.  we ran. and ran some more.  THEN, for funzies, we decided to pick the route that took us through construction.  we arrived at the train station, sweating profusely, with minutes to spare.  it was actually the best workout we had in a while.
IN conclusion, we spent way too much time searching for a hot dog vendor, not enough time sitting, were inspired uniquely by each individual we met in that house, we realized we want and NEED to live a life Cathy, found out that the name Zultan will forever be our favorite name,  devoured the best chicago style pizza from the best place in town, visited our first ever ice-cream & COOKIE DOUGH shop, i received my third iphone in 6 months, and had a possible life changing conversation with a stranger on a train.  

hope to see you soon chicago.
sara and cate