Road Trip – Episode 3: Road Food by quornflour

It seems there are a lot of people who seem to think of Road Food when on a road trip to be primarily junk food or fast food. This need not be the case.


I have some friends who find the local BBQ of the place where they are while others stick with the same fast food chains. There was a time where my road trips were filled with corn nuts and red licorice.

Now I like to a mix. I have a bag with an ice pack that holds bread, peanut butter and jelly and at any time a variety of other snacky foods. I like to maintain foods that do not require utensils or extreme preparation.

When I land some place I like to see if there is a locally owned place that is especially good, or a diner, or if visiting friends: gather groceries and make a nice meal.

My first night on the road I stayed with my aunt, we hit the grocery store and prepared a feast of cheese, salmon, veggies and a host of other finger friendly foods.

Last night we had a “Mexican Feast” of soft shelled tacos and strawberry mango margaritas made from scratch and not too sweet.

Really I am just telling you this, not because I have anything profound to say, or because you can eat healthy on the road but really because I want to show you some pictures of some delicious food I have had on this trip.

Road Trip, Episode 2: the Top, part 1 by quornflour

So I ended up in Columbus, OH. Where I learned that if you are near campus and yelled O-H! Someone would be compelled to echo back with I-O. Now, of course I did not believe such a ridiculous tale, but it was later confirmed by folks so I believe it, though I failed to test it out.

I also checked out the Garden of Roses, which is this insanely huge lot of pretty much any sort of roses you could imagine. It has been raining off and on so it was empty and there was not a bunch of pollen flying around, because that probably would have knocked me to my ass.

All of that is not why I found myself in Columbus though; I got here because 3 years ago, I bought a Jeep Wrangler.

In that time I came up with this idea, that I really wanted a pink soft top for it, but discovered that this was not so easy to obtain. Impossible one might even say.

So, I thought to myself, I am pretty clever; I could just make one myself. Then I thought, I can sew, I can cut stuff, but I have never made something quite so industrial. So what to do: Then Flamestitch (FS) came to mind. She makes these super rad bags (of which I have 5) and things and has a past life in upholstery, has super duty sewing machines… so maybe she would want to help take on this feat of nonsense with me.

Seems good right?

Absolutely! Though, fact of the matter is we had only ever met on the internet. So, here I am, “hey stranger from the internet, want to take on a colossal undertaking and make a pink sparkly soft top for my Jeep, because I want one?”

Stranger from the internet agrees.

So here I am in Columbus, OH.

Now I have a 4 door Jeep, these things are not small. I am not entirely sure she really knew what she was agreeing to when she said yes. So after a number of exchanges, my dog and I show up at her door.

I had sent her measurements and FS had ordered some Naugahyde and we set out to work, realizing soon on that the heat sealed windows were going to be a little more of a hassle for a first attempt and so we decided to regroup.

This is how we came to the decision to reuse the back portion of the existing soft top and the windows and to embellish them. This was good since it turns out the measurements I had sent translated to the incorrect yardage of Naugahyde.

It is probably good that we did. Not that you would have to, but with a few challenges, if we had also had to deal with windows and zippers I probably would have been sent packing with a blue tarp for a soft top.

After a little planning, we started in. Taking pictures and cutting apart the existing top.

We also let our plan morph with the progress, changing designs, discovering things, dealing with a top that wanted to make us its bitch and then there was the rain. As a result of the rain there are seams that I need to waterproof, but otherwise it is road tested and ready to go.

What we ended up with is nothing shy of awesome. I will write up a (sort of) how to in a future post and share some of the learnings we made along the way. While you wait, check out the pictures.

Road Trip, Episode 1: On the Road Again by quornflour

So we have been silent for a while, busy really with everything. I spend two weeks on the road for work, which was good, but busy. Then when I returned I had other stuff to catch up on and settle into place so that I could get ready for vacation.

Where I work you start with 3 weeks of vacation time. In the past I have used maybe a week at a time here or there, worked part of the time and carried a week or so over and then repeated.

This year I decided that since I had carried a fair amount over, and I started getting a fourth week I should take a real summer vacation. I love road trips, and I have a handful of states left to get to.

The Great American Road Trip seems to be a bit of a lost art. I do not know that many people who just head out on the road to see what is out there.

I have this need to get to all 50 states, I am fairly certain it is something I get from my Grandmother Marie and her sister Helen. I believe that just because you can travel all over the world, which is great, does not mean you should not travel all over the US as well. I know people who have been to more foreign countries than states. The US takes up such a large chunk of land; really you should try and see as much of it as you can.

Currently left I have:

  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Arizona
  • Nebraska
  • Missouri
  • Iowa

My current goal is to cut 4 states off that list. I have three weeks, but I also have another part of that plan.

Years ago I had a blog on the now defunct blogging site Vox. There I became friends with this fellow crafter Flamestitch who makes super cool bags. If you do not have one, go get one, right now, I will wait.

So I have a Jeep Wrangler: the Helen Marie. One day I decided that it would be super awesome to have a pink Naugahyde soft top for my Jeep. I figured I could probably figure it out and make it myself, but I also thought that it might not be such a bad idea to talk to someone who really knows the materials. This is where Flamestitch comes in. She comes from a family of upholsterers, people who know what you can and cannot do with certain fabrics, what fabrics and threads to use, what machines to use. I figured, this is the person I want to work with on this. Trouble was, I had never actually met her. So I contacted her to see if she would be game, and she was.

So I decided to take 3 weeks off, head to Columbus create the top and then see how much time I have left after that. To the road I go.

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