Lessons Learned from Traveling Across the Country

We recently moved from Atlanta, GA to Eugene, OR. These are a few lessons I learned from traveling vegan-style with two greyhounds in a Buick for nearly 3500 miles.

vegan-road-trip

1. Pet friendly hotels are not hard to find. Our daily driving schedule was not rigid, so we ended up in random cities for the night. But we were always able to find a room in the following pet-friendly hotels  (in order of niceness): La Quinta, Best Western and Motel 6.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

I think the only one that charged an extra pet fee (which was pretty low) was Best Western but it does vary by location. A helpful pet friendly site that we used was bringfido.com.

This guy was always the last to get up.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

2. Although I am in awe of the dark, almost black rocky sand and huge rocky shores of northwest coast beaches, it is intense and scary if you’ve never seen a beach before (like Miles).

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

We drove along Highway 101 towards the end of our trip and had to pull over frequently to enjoy these scenic beaches.  They made me wanna yell…’Heeeey, yooouuu guuuyss!’ because Goonies.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

3. It’s nice to have generous and kind friends who will give you a place to stay along the way (even when they think you’re part of some vegan army stuff).

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

We enjoyed the momentary break from hotels and the pups enjoyed running and meeting new friends.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

4. Despite how soy-cheesy it may be, stop at the tourist areas. They’re tourist areas for a reason.

Outside the Trees of Mystery, Nikko and Paul Bunyan.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

An elk at one of the elk viewing areas about two hours outside of Eugene.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

5. When driving west, the end of the day becomes a perpetual chase of the sunset.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

In Joshua Tree National Park.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

6. Traveling across the country by car with two greyhounds, it IS entirely possible to eat well vegan-style even when we didn’t research restaurants before hand (because ain’t nobody got time for dat).

Most mornings we grabbed as much fruit as possible from the continental breakfasts (served at many of the places we stayed). I also had oatmeal and tea that I packed which just required hot water from the coffee maker.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

And while we certainly ate our fair share of Subway sandwiches, we managed to throw in some unique all vegan or vegan-friendly places along the way as well. Thank goodness for cell phones and Happy Cow! A few eats…

Chopped BBQ sandwich with grilled seitan and an El Paso Burger with chipotle vegan mayo and guacomole from Spiral Diner in Dallas, TX.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

A Mediterranean picnic in the park from International Delights in Las Cruces, NM. The server knew what “vegan” meant and happily accommodated us.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

The “Vegan Caper” bagel with an amazing tofu spread, capers, red onions and a sweet sauce from Los Bagels in Eureka, CA. They had seats outside so we brought the pups.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

Wonton Soup from Noble Veg in Sacremento, CA. I grabbed a menu while Neal stayed with the pups in the car. We decided what to get. Neal went to order and the kind people at Noble Veg brought the food out to the car. In retrospect, eating hot soup on my lap probably wasn’t the best car food. But I was really craving soup.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

A vegan barbecue “Chicken” pizza from Tomato Joe’s Pizza in Valencia, CA. This was dinner and breakfast the next morning.

vegan road trip - Luminous Vegans

I think had this road trip been taken more than ten years ago, it would have been much more difficult to find places to eat good vegan food without meticulous planning ahead of time. But nowadays, its like my phone and the internet gives me super vegan powers. Or at least the ability to find vegan food easily…..unless of course we’re talking about Pecos, TX….now that’s a different story….

Have a Happy New Year!

45 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from Traveling Across the Country

  1. Anita Lane

    I lived this post. Thank you for sharing your insights. It’s always fun to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I too travel with my pup, albeit much smaller than yours. Happy New Year in your new digs.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I am so glad you liked it! Isn’t it so fun to travel with companion animals? I consider them like my children and I can’t imagine having such adventures without them.

      Happy New Year to you! May it bring you happiness and love!

      Reply
  2. goodstorysarah

    I can’t stop looking at that Vegan Caper bagel! Your photos make me excited for travel season! I hope you love the west coast. We’ve been here five years and we are still finding new places to explore. What lens are you using for the last few shots of the dogs on the beach? They’re gorgeous!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Oh, I couldn’t stop thinking about that Vegan Caper bagel, it was so damn delicious! I am going to try and recreate it one of these days when I get my cooking routine figured out again….

      I can’t wait to get in a routine and give our finances a bit of a “pick-me-up” so we can travel more on the west coast.

      For the dogs on the beach I used a Canon 35mm f/2 lens and I fine tuned the pictures in lightroom (not by much though). I used the 35mm f/2 lens in most of the shots that are not iphone pics (elk, caper bagel and wonton soup). Those pics on the beach I took with the lens pretty much turned directly towards the sun in order to get that lighting and lens flare…it worries me a little because I read somewhere that pointing the sensor right at the sun is not good but I guess time will tell.

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks Emma! The dogs definitely were the stars of the trip. They were really well behaved and never gave us a hard time about getting into the car though I know by the end of it they were sick of it. And they were really annoyed when we were driving on highway 101 and stopping every 3-5 minutes—like, dammit there go mom and dad taking pictures of us again!

      And yes, I definitely thing the world is a changing for sure! Hopefully 2014 brings even more great changes for the vegan community.

      Have a happy new year!!

      Reply
  3. mrsnikkiv

    You make the trip seem so much nicer than I’m sure it was in reality! It’s awesome that you could find good vegan food on the fly like that. I’ve procrastinated about getting the Happy Cow app, but I think I will be fixing that soon.

    I’ve been to Tomato Joes and it’s pretty darn good!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      There were definitely low points in the trip like sitting in the car for loooong periods of time with no interesting landscapes. For the most part, the trip went really well and things really got interesting once we got past good ol’ Texas!

      I had never heard of Tomato Joes but it was really good! I highly recommend using Happy Cow when traveling. It’s great for finding places as well as reading reviews.

      Reply
  4. Cadry's Kitchen

    Such great pictures!! I so want to cuddle your pups and take them with me on a road-trip. You can come along too. :) I’ve eaten at Tomato Joe’s in Valencia. It was a big deal about five years ago, because they were one of the first pizza places in the LA area to offer Daiya on pizzas. It’s kind of funny now, because it’s so prevalent. But back then, it was worth driving a half an hour to get a pie with some melty vegan cheese!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks Cadry! I had never heard of Tomato Joe’s but it was really tasty. I didn’t go in (had to stay in the car with the pups), but Neal mentioned that it was a take out only place. Neal asked if they could do a specialty pizza vegan-style and they said –no problemo! It was really tasty, but perhaps being on the road all day had something to do with it too :-)

      Reply
  5. acookinthemaking

    The photos in this post are beyond gorgeous! Your dogs are really beautiful animals, so glad the journey went well for you all. And I think I may recreate that bagel for dinner tonight…that thing looks AMAZING!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks Lisa! I’ve been having a bit of trouble getting back into the swing of things so hearing positive feedback is truly nice.

      How exciting! Have fun at Joshua Tree! We managed to swing in right at sunset and still managed to really enjoy it. It was amazing and I didn’t know what to focus on, the full moon or the setting sun as they were happening simultaneously.

      Reply
  6. Rambling Vegans

    This post is giving me really bad wanderlust! It sounds like you had a great trip with the pups (La Quinta is always our first choice, too). Did you stop in Tucson or Phoenix? I see a saguaro in the background.

    The beaches look so much different than the ones we have here. We’ve really got to get to the west coast someday on one of our trips.

    I’m jealous that you visited a Paul Bunyan! There’s one near where I grew up and I always loved seeing it. Such a great picture of him with Nikko, too. :)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      La Quinta was always reliable in terms of cleanliness and service and continental breakfasts. It was more pricey but I liked knowing that the tubs were clean :-)

      We actually stayed in Scottsdale, AZ which is where our friend lives. I am not quite sure where that is in relation to Phoenix or Tucson.

      I was also excited about how different the west coast beaches are. Its a big change and each coasts has their own unique things…but I think I like the west coast beaches a tad better.

      That picture of Nikko and Paul Bunyan cracks me up. We were disappointed that we got to the park too late to actually get in but I had fun photographing the pups. I actually laid down on the ground to get that shot of Nikko to make sure that I got all of Paul Bunyan. I am sure I looked like a crazy person!

      Reply
  7. Jenn Murphy

    When we moved from New Orleans to Los Angeles we stopped at the Spiral Diner too! It’s one of my favorites! Luckily, we have family outside of Dallas so we have plenty of opportunities to eat there.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Oh, lucky you! I definitely would like more opportunities to explore the menu. It was difficult choosing just one thing knowing that we would probably not be eating there again any time soon.

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you! I am glad that I could inspire you. Technology and vegan food sure have come a long way, so you’ll be set there when you do get a chance to go wandering :-)

      Reply
  8. flickingthevs

    What lovely pics – and what lovely dogs! Glad to hear that you managed to find some good vegan eating without any trouble – particularly that bagel, which does look incredible.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks! I do think that veganism has come a loooong way which is what made eating on the trip so do-able. Nowadays people at least know what the word means even in the most po-dunkiest of towns. And the bagel was absolutely incredible! I still have that on my “to recreate” list!

      Reply
  9. celestedimilla

    Lovely photos! Anyway, I think you are SO right that it would have been more of a challenge to eat vegan on your trip ten years ago. Veganism may not be mainstream yet, but it’s certainly more present these days. My hope is that in the next ten years vegan restaurants will be as common as Starbucks. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but you gotta dream! Celeste :) PS – your dogs are so cute!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you Celeste! I totally agree that veganism is definitely more present. It’s good and bad. Good for us vegans but bad because in some ways I think it has spawned backlash movements like the whole “butcher your own animal” type thing. I dunno. But yes, it would be a dream come true if vegan were as common as Starbucks! We all gotta dream :-)

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you Mary! The Happy Cow website/app was a vegan savior! I can’t imagine what I would have done without this technology!

      And yes, I like both kinds of beaches for sure! I especially love the white sandy beaches down in the Keys of Florida!

      Reply
  10. Trobairitz

    Welcome to Oregon, you’re sure to love it. We are in Corvallis and go to Eugene often for vegan eats.

    Cornbread Cafe Rocks. Sweet Life Patisserie also has vegan desserts and great coffee.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you! We actually were thinking about Corvallis when we were looking at places to move but it did not seem as affordable as Eugene…but then again, we did not look that deep into it. It seems like a great city. Does it have many vegan eats?

      I loooove Cornbread Cafe soo hard! It has taken a lot of will power not to eat there all the time. We have had to cut down on eating out for awhile because of all the moneys spent on our travels. I haven’t had a chance to check out Sweet Life Patisserie yet, but they were on the news during the holidays because they were so incredibly busy. People seem to love it, so I’ll have to check it out!

      Reply
  11. ameyfm

    What a wonderful post and SO many beautiful pictures!!! Your sweet dogs are so beautiful. And yeah, Happy Cow is really great. It’s so awesome to be able to just check in and find out what’s available. So glad your trip was fun!!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you!! Miles and Nikko are so darn photogenic it is really hard to get a “bad” photo of them. They were probably so sick of mom and dad taking pics of them every 5 minutes…but they are just so darn cute…gah, it makes me sick. :)

      Reply
  12. Pingback: Catching Up: The Winter Blahs, I Has ‘Em | The Peaceful Pantry

  13. RG

    Beautiful story telling through the eyes of Miles! I also love the photo of the elk. You’ve captured some amazing moments. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thank you! It was really spectacular being that close to the elk. We got luck and there was one just right up against the road in the viewing area. It’s always fun to see the world through the pups’ eyes.

      Reply

Leave a comment (no login required)