The route from Ashville to College Park, MD took me back into Tennessee and through a calendar-ready landscape! Rustic red barns nestled among trees in the hillside were most delightful eye candy! I stopped for gas and to pee and was so keen on getting into the restroom before a family (didn’t succeed), that I didn’t put the gas cap back on! I stopped about an hour down the road near Fairfield, VA for some lunch, lured by a sign for Frank’s Pizza. The establishment was a bit off the highway and up a steep hill. The owner, a real Italian, was on the phone the whole time ranting in his native tongue. The friendly Mexican staff heated up two giant mushroom slices and as I stuffed myself full, the senior clientele arrived. Their faces were so relaxed and cheery, I felt marvelous! It was after I got back on the road, that the check engine light glowed on. Uh oh! Got off at the next exit to check my manual, which told me either I should get to the dealership ASAP or my gas cap might not be on right. This is where I got out and witnessed my dangling lid! Whew! Nothing too dire!
I reached the DC beltway before 4pm, which was recommended. Most of the
traffic was stop and go, nothing too terrible! After changing highways several times, I arrived at my friends’ complex. I called Jeannie to get to their abode, and she met me by the parking lot. As we were walking up the path adjacent to row houses, I glimpsed a window with nice pottery plates and wanted to go inside. My wish came true, because that was Jeannie and Bob’s place! Jeannie and I caught up for a while on the back deck, until Bob showed up. Then we went for a walk in a neighboring nature park, where they told me an incredible story of Jeannie being attacked by a one-eyed raccoon! Sounded funny in retrospect, but must have been definitely traumatic at the time! The exercise worked up an appetite and the cheese perogies with “sauerkraut” (raw, fermented cabbage, beets, and other tasty veggies) and sour cream hit the spot! We then made some gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and munched on them while I showed them ALL my trip photos! It was nice to share with such seasoned travelers!
The next day, I slept in past 9am, then Jeannie and I drove to Baltimore and toured Little Italy and the Inner Harbor.Of special interest was the Barnes and Noble building, which used to be a power plant! We shared a stir fry plate at an Asian eatery, before returning to Little Italy for some pizzelles and tiramisu at an authentic Italian bakery and to Isabella’s (my kitty’s name!) for some incredible subs for dinner!
After eating the yummy subs at home, Bob and I took Jeannie to a sustainability meeting and then went to Mom’s Organic Market, where I refilled my water jugs, bought some coconut sweetener and a big mason jar and Bob got lots of cabbage and root vegetables to make more sauerkraut. We started cleaning, chopping, and food processing all the veggies immediately upon arrival back home and then grinding sea salt into the shredded cabbage with a potato masher. Bob filled up the jars and put in some outer cabbage leaves and the core at the top as a sealant. The next morning, liquid had already started to rise in the jars. I was shown how to “burp’ the jars once daily for about a week. The contents would be edible in 6 weeks, just in time for Thanksgiving! A final selfie of us three before my departure.