Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DAY 1: Chicago and Cleveland

DAY ONE: Sunday, Sept. 23 - Chicago and Cleveland (or so we thought...)

Our plan was to leave at 8am, but it ended up being more like 11 since we were up til 4am STILL packing and getting everything together for the trip.  

Finally on the road - Our driver with his Marty McFly vest.

So tired but happy and excited!

The 3 of us - Laurel, Kingsley, Mitch.

(Side note, don't use 'normal' hangers in a camper.  Everything will fall off once you hit the first pothole in the road.  I will be on the hunt for those hotel-style infinity hangers that don't fall off the pole.)

Clothes everywhere.

So we were off to Chicago at 11am.  One of the rules of the road trip is that we are to go into each city blindly looking for food trucks.  No planning.  We want to see how easy or hard it is to find food trucks in each city we travel to.

We called our friend Kjersti who lives in the Chicago to meet us and help us hunt for food trucks.  We found an iPhone app called TruxMap.  This directed us to a school parking lot in an Andersonville neighborhood where there were 2 trucks parked next to a farmers market.  I put the address into my phone and found the farmers market easily.  


Unfortunately for us, the farmers market ended at 1pm, exactly the time we arrived.  One of the food trucks - 'The Tamale Guy' - was just closing up.  He was out of food and the Chicago Bears game was apparently about to start.  Once we explained him what our food truck road trip was all about, he was super bummed that he couldn't make us any food and chatted with us for a few minutes.  We gave him the blog web address and told him to check it out.

Tamale Guy Food Truck

The other food truck that was there was called 'Gigi's Bakery' and Gigi, the owner, was selling homemade cupcakes and other desserts out of a food van.  She was so incredibly nice and was so genuinely interested in our food truck.  She even tweeted about us and took our picture!  Chicagoans - check her bakery out!  

Gigi's Bake Shop

Gigi's Menu

Here is what we ordered at Gigi's Bake Shop:

(1) Salted Caramel cupcake
(1) Pumpkin Latte cupcake
(1) Chessman's Pudding Dessert (Chessman shortbread cookies, bananas, cream cheese banana pudding, whipped cream)

We also quickly walked through the farmers market to buy some produce and bread to take with us on the road.

St. Roger Abbey Bake Stand
(1) Loaf of White Bread

Nichols Farm & Orchard
Various peppers
Brussels sprouts
$16 (we got a LOT of produce for this amount of money)

Picking out some beans at Nichols.

Total we spent on Food Trucks for Day 1:
$32 (Under budget! Yay! We set our daily budget at $40/day.)

Kjersti came and met us and we set up an impromptu picnic outside our camper on the sidewalk.  The cupcakes were amazing.  We also sliced up some tomatoes that we brought along from our home garden and ate them with the bread I bought.  So good and fresh.

Kjersti and Mitch having a cupcake picnic.

Myself and Kjersti.  Walking to Walgreens to get some necessities for the trip.

We said our good-byes and set off to Cleveland!  There was really nothing noteworthy to remember about driving through Indiana.  When we got into Ohio a few hours later, we stopped at a rest stop to make something to eat for dinner.  We sliced up some more tomatoes and bread and ate tomato, veganaise, and salt sandwiches for dinner.  Boring, I know, but we didn't have time to do any grocery shopping before we left Wisconsin.  

Rest stop in Ohio.

Tomato sandwiches for dinner.

Sunset behind us.

Our plan was to get to Cleveland around 9pm and stay at Mitch's friend Johnny's house.  Johnny is a chef who owns 2 restaurants in the Cleveland area.  Then we would plan to check out the food truck scene in the morning.  When we were just west of Cleveland, we got pulled over by a sate trooper.  Turns out our camper brake and turn signal lights were working, but the regular running lights were not.  The cop was super nice and told us to take the next exit to check everything out.  We thought we got it fixed, but then they stopped working again.  Damn this old trailer.  

By this time it was late and it was pouring rain out, we decided to stay the night where we were.   Since there were NO campgrounds within 10 miles of where we were and we didn't want to risk driving without running lights, we stopped at Red Roof Inn (dog-friendly!) in Westlake, OH for the night.  Not exactly the road trip camping adventure we were hoping for on our first night, but we didn't really have a choice.

So after a somewhat successful food truck road trip earlier in the day in Chicago, and a not-so-successful food truck road trip late in the day, we went to bed and dreamt of all the glorious food truck food we would discover in Cleveland the next morning - after getting our camper lights fixed first of course.

Spending for Day 1:

Gas: $98
Food truck food: $32
Walgreens (Thanks for the gift card Mike Besson!) for ice, bananas, dog treats, water, batteries: $24
Red Roof Inn: $72

TOTAL:  $226 (whoops...a tad over our budget)

Leftover from out $6000 budget: $5,774

More tomorrow!
XOXO Mitch and Laurel

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