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Feeling Crabby

Famous Cannon Beach is about 30 miles down the 101 from Astoria. Which is funny, because in The Goonies, the kids ride their bikes to it. Either those kids were in great shape, or that Spielberg pulled one over on us all.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach


I love it when clouds do this.



We camped on the beach and found a little boat rental place that provided all of the crabbing essentials. They also cleaned and steamed your catch for you. Sounded like a good deal to us.


Emily's Crabbing Lesson 101: You mean all I have to do is throw those rings into the water...

crabbing it up

... pull them out ten minutes later...

e voilà

e voilà?

my try

Let me try that.


Hmm, this is a little heavier than it looks.


Exact quote: "Waaaa!"

brown pelican

Maybe I should just stick to taking pictures of the wildlife.

brown pelican

Hey look, a brown pelican.

cleaning the crab

Back at the docks, it was time to get our crabs cooked and cleaned.

crab heart

This is the part where they stab the crab's heart and give it to you to eat.

cooked crab

They turn such a pretty color.

crab cakes

Crab cakes a la Terry (and Zatarains)


After a day in Cleveland, the Chicago area seemed like a good stopping point. We visited our friend and FBI agent, Adam. (That’s the real FBI, not a Female Body Inspector.) After a bike ride and some conversation about the place, we found ourselves on a little auto tour of Gary, Indiana.

This was another one of those eye-opening moments for me on the trip. There is much to say, but I will just comment on the sheer infrastructure of this once-booming steel town. Roofs collapsing; beautiful old churches with trees growing out of them; every building in disarray. I’m not sure if I was too amazed or too scared, but, camera in hand, I didn’t take a single photo.

Then, and on a much lighter note, we visited our friends Kyle and Megan at their beautiful house in the Chicago burbs. Who says spontaneity goes out the window when you’re pregnant? We went on a last minute trip to Megan’s folks’ place in New Buffalo. A charming Italian dinner, a few cocktails and “California Songs” were all we needed to take our minds off the looming road ahead.

New Buffalo

Terry, Kyle, Megan and future baby Emma on Lake Michigan

“California Songs” are a collection of albums put together by Megan’s uncle. All of the albums are compilations of artists who were influenced by the Beach Boys. There are hundreds of albums. This was a fabulous continuation of my Rock Hall kick, and the cd’s have provided some good ear candy along I-90.

Just a quick stop off at Two Toots (a train restaurant for kids, of course) so we could see Tim, Emily and the kids one last time, and we’re officially headed West! Thank you to everyone who continues to make our journey so amazing.

Eating and Leaning in New York State

Post-Canada, we were Buffalo-bound with the family for a reunion and tour of Carol and Dan’s home turf. It was neat to see where they grew up, pay our respects to Terry’s grandparents, and meet some of the extended family at the reunion.

I discovered that Buffalo is another one of America’s great eating cities. We ate Buffalo wings in the place where Buffalo wings were invented, and we partook in the delicious tradition that is “beef on weck” (thinly sliced beef on a salted kummelweck roll, and don’t forget the horseradish.)

Beef on Weck from Schwabl's

Beef on Weck from Schwabl's, in business since 1837

the family

The family at the house where Dan grew up

I would promise to stop blogging about food except that I know we are heading to the coast and have some fresh seafood in our near future. I suppose culinary exploration is a natural side effect of traveling across the U.S.  No complaints from me.

After the family reunion on Saturday, we veered east to the Adirondacks. The range is stunning, and dotted with little lake towns throughout. We did a mountain bike ride just outside of Lake Placid and settled in for our backpacking trip the next day.

Heeding the warnings from The Mountaineer in Keene Valley, we rented our bear barrel, packed our bags and charged out in the Gothics area. This was our first time staying in a lean-to! I’ve seen these many times on hikes in the East, but have never camped in one. We somehow avoided the forecasted rain, but were still grateful for the lean-to with all the morning dew.

sweet swimming holes

Terry at one of the sweet swimming holes in ADK

John's Brook

John's Brook

Range Trail heading towards Gothics

spooky range trail adk

our lean-to

Our own personal lean-to

Just south of there, we had a quick stint in the Catskills, in the cute town of Saugerties. Thanks to Brigid for letting us stop and plug in at her lovely home there. New York is a beautiful state in so many ways. And we aren’t even done with her yet!


Just kidding. This post will not be about Joey McIntyre and friends, although I did hear New Kids were touring this summer. (My advice? Give it up, Old Kids.)

This post is about NOTL –  Niagra on the Lake. This colorful little town has a lot to boast. It’s on Lake Ontario. The Niagra River flows nearby. Niagra Falls is just 20 miles away. It’s surrounded by wineries, theaters, and has some really good eats.

We were lucky to spend some nice days with Terry’s family in NOTL. We took in the scenery, some ice cream and a few glasses of wine. We laughed over and over watching the kids (and Uncle T) belly flop into the backyard pool. We rode our bikes along the river to the falls, and enjoyed lunch in their mist. Thanks, Carol & Dan for the lovely stay here.

Carol & Kim

Carol & Kim at the house on Shakespeare Lane.

High Tech Kids

High tech kids on their iPad

Niagra River

Biking to Niagra Falls

Niagra Falls

That boat where you get soaked.

Niagra Falls

Looking down river from Niagra Falls


Three Way, Anyone?

No, no, no. Not that type of three way. Get your mind out of the gutter, reader.

Even though it feels like we left Cincinnati so long ago, I had to post one last thing about the Queen City before I moved on. If you know me at all, you’ll not be surprised that this post is about FOOD. I’m not sure if people think of Cincinnati as a “foody” town. I imagine most do not. But if you grew up there as I did, once you leave, you realize there are some key items missing from your newfound food choices.

First and foremost is the obvious and probably most famous Cincinnati classic: chili. Whether you are on Team Skyline, Team Gold Star, or one of the many other restaurants in “the Nati” that serve chili, the first layer is always spaghetti. Second, chili with many spices including cinnamon and chocolate. Finally, a heaping mound of finely shredded cheddar cheese. A three way. You can add beans or onions for a four way, or both for a five way. But whatever you do, don’t forget the oyster crackers.

cincinnati chili

There is chili under that pile of queso.

Next up is one of my favorite breakfast foods of all time. Goetta (pronounced ‘get-uh‘) was brought to the area by German immigrants. Given Cincinnati’s large German heritage, this comes as no surprise. Sausage is mixed with pin oats, thereby extending the meat to feed more people. This is something that you have to try to believe. The taste is amazing and it’s leaner than sausage alone. Something like 99% of the goetta in America is sold in the Cincinnati area. They even have a festival dedicated to it.

Glier's Goetta

Glier's is the best.

Cooked Goetta

Slice. Cook. Devour.

Every town has a favorite pizza, and in Cincy there’s no questioning the most popular: LaRosa’s. Start with a thin(ish) white crust, tomato sauce that’s very pasty and sweet, and top with provolone cheese. Brilliant. I still remember the number from the commercials, “347-1111 LaRosa’s!” Perhaps I remembered that number all too well during my weeks home, as my pants seemed a bit more snug when I left than before I arrived.


Brought to you by Buddy LaRosa

For a sweet tooth and a smile, Busken Bakery’s smiley face cookies always do the trick. So simple, sugary and soft. One bite and all thoughts of your diet will go out the window. Not much else to say except, if you like sugar and smiling, eat these.

Busken Smiley

So cute.

Busken Smiley Bite

So tasty.

Last but, oh-so-very-not-least, is Graeters Ice Cream. My personal favorite is Black Raspberry Chip. I have to admit that I haven’t tried many of the other flavors because I’m so obsessed with this one. That delicious French Pot ice cream and the most insane chocolate chips I’ve ever seen in ice cream. Semi-sweet, soft chunks. Soft. Not tooth-breaking. It’s not a rarity to find chips 2 or 3 inches big.

Graeters Ice Cream

I scream. You scream.

Graeters BRC

If you don't have them, beg your local grocer!

There. My top 5 Cincinnati foods. I’ve just professed my love for Cincinnati food publicly. I could easily have a part two, but don’t think my waistline would appreciate it. Until next time, Cincy. I’m off to ride my bike now.