If you didn't know, or weren't already planning something, June 3rd is delightfully known as National Doughnut Day (I hate that way to spell donut. It's donut. Right? Right?!) Since discovering this important day in our country's history, Vanessa and I got to talk about donuts....then about coffee....then about coffee shops....then about how much we LOVE coffee shops. Living in an RV forces us to get creative with how we get work done, which means lots and lots of coffee shops. First and foremost, we love coffee. Secondly, we love unique spots where we can hunker down for the day and get some work done. So, we started yapping away about our favorite coffee spots we've been to so far in our travels and thought, HEY! Let's write about it!
So, here it is. In honor of National Doughnut Day (GAH), our favorite coffee shops across the country...in no particular order.
1. The Ugly Mug, Portland
The Ugly Mug is in the Sellwood area of Portland, which we found extremely charming and bohemian. All mom-and-pop shops, no big businesses, everyone walking around even in the rain. We happened upon The Ugly Mug in a quest for free WiFi, and they indeed have it in abundance. They also have a variety of unusual coffee drinks, beyond just the regular espressos and Americanos. Also, if you go a bit later on in the afternoon, they have very inexpensive beers to choose from. Inexpensive as in $2. For craft beer. Yowza.
We stayed all afternoon on the comfy couches—electrical outlets aplenty. They closed a bit early (6pm), which was strange, but the barista closing up shop did give us the rest of the brewed coffee in the carafe for free to-go. It was a perfect way to end a rainy, work-filled day.
2. Black Oak Coffee Roasters, Ukiah
We loooooooved this huge hipster spot in Ukiah. They roast their own goods, they sell Chemex (we bought ours there!) there are tons of seats and couches and tables, not to mention a ginormous window to watch them roast and batch up their coffee. We loved the fact that Black Oak Coffee Roasters had an unusual menu of drinks. It wasn't just your average cup of Joe. They featured drinks like the Lovers Lane Latte, which Vanessa had, that showcased a sprinkling of BEE POLLEN. It was unusual, it was unique, it was an amazing experience. We expected nothing less from a coffee joint in Ukiah.
3. Kay Rico Coffee, Fort Lauderdale
This is the OG coffee spot for us. Since beginning our journey in Fort Lauderdale, we have since craved our favorite coffee joint located at the Yellow Green Farmer's market. Kay Rico Coffee is family-owned and operated, and we have to admit, it's one of the greatest families around. They treat each customer like one of their own, and you can just tell they love what they do. We cannot wait for them to open up a brick-and-mortar so we can lounge around whenever we visit.
As far as coffee is concerned, you MUST try the Bullet Proof. We've had it a dozen times and it is still as delicious as the first time we tried it. Vanessa opts for the vegan version, which any coffee shop that has vegan versions of anything is A-okay in our book.
4. Either/Or Portland
I have to say, I had the best cortado I've ever had in my life at Either/Or in Portland. And I'm part Cuban....so.....yeah...
But in all honesty, Either/Or is a no frills, coffee shop with a unique menu and variety of unusual but delicious pastries. They offer espresso flights for people to try the different roasts, plus handmade Italian sodas. The seating is limited, so you my want to take your delicious coffee to-go. Also, the only gripe for me was that they had zero outlets for personal use. ZERO. I get it, they don't want people lingering and taking up precious real estate, 'specially when seating is so limited in the first place. But it was still unusual.
However, for that cortado with steamed hemp milk, they can do pretty much whatever they want.
Ahhh, yes. Cafe Maude is nestled inside our wonderful 24-ft RV. Every morning, we brew delectable coffee from the comforts of our small RV kitchen. As you know, our Chemex has been the perfect addition to our family, and often times Vanessa and I find that staying in and enjoying a few cups at our dinette is almost always a better option than venturing out. I wouldn't trade our morning moments of coffee consumption inside of our tiny RV's belly for anything else in the world.
We'll probably make this coffee shop love list an ongoing thing the more we travel. If you have any recommendations of coffee shops in the country you think we should try, share in the comments below! We love suggestions :)
When we bought Maude, there was slight wear-and-tear. She's a 2007, so we knew we weren't getting her straight out of the box, brand new. And we were fine with that. Because we were still learning how to maneuver this whale-of-a-vehicle, and some bumps were going to be felt. However, one part of the "wear" that Maude came with, was an old, shag carpet, installed on the slide and cab.
It was gross. Dirty, gross. Not like what one might find in a beard that isn't maintained. More like dirt. Apparently Maude's previous owners clomped around in shoes and didn't care that the BEIGE carpet was slowly changing shades. The fix was simple: we needed to clean the RV carpet.
Part of the issue was fixed after we tore up the carpet around and on the slide. As mentioned in our previous post about replacing our RV couch, there was some pretty phenomenal wood underneath that we stained and capped. But, that didn't resolve the issue with the carpet in the cab.
We vowed this summer to clean the carpet. We couldn't take it anymore. We wanted cleanliness! We wanted beige! We wanted damn near brand new!
Note carpet color below...
We got lucky when we visited Vanessa's family this past week. Vanessa's mom had a secret weapon that she whipped out for us to try....a home carpet cleaner. REJOICE!
Vanessa lugged that puppy up our stairs and went to town on our carpet. Let me just tell you, the results were life-changing. The dirt that came up not only lightened our carpet back to practically new, but it also neutralized the air inside the RV. Not that Maude was the smelly kid in class....or on the road.... But she did have a scent. A natural musk if you will. That when you walked in, you recognized good old Maude.
Cleaning the carpet neutralized the air. So not only was the carpet clean and free of dirt and debri, it also didn't capture 9 years of smells.
Here is the final product....
We've decided to clean the carpet twice a year at minimum. Even if you don't think your RV interior needs it, it probably does. Give it a whirl and let us know what happens, you may just be as pleasantly surprised as we were.
See you on the road!
"What did so much traveling do to our lives? We grew wide. We were not scared of being unknown, alien, curious, side-by-side in any shape of elsewhere. Sometimes it was rocky, but wouldn't it have been rocky at home too? We quickly collected new words, town names, useful distances, tucking shops and cafes we might need later into our brains...We were used to the vivid sensation of being just-arrived."
We're coming up on a full year that we've owned Maude, and a few months shy of a year of full-time RV living. It's been quite a road of ups and downs, ins and outs, and savoring my trusty set of ear plugs. It's true, we've learned a sh*t ton from living on the road full-time, along with RV life. Instead of getting all crazy in-depth about what we've learned (since we tend to ramble every so often in a lengthy blog post) we've decided to make a quick list of tips and tricks for RV living. If you feel like setting this to some music, you can pretend we're giving these tips like that Baz Lurmann Sunscreen song. So without further adieu....
1. Wear sunscreen. Haha no, seriously. Buy a good one, too. Don't skimp. Your traveling body will thank you.
2. Earplugs are crucial, especially if you boondock. Make sure they are comfy for your ears, and you won't lose them.
3. Caulk, caulk, and caulk some more. Everything that can be caulked, do it. And do it right.
4. The science of air flow: turn your bathroom fan on and open your bunk window, the flow will create this vortex of wind to keep you cool all night.
5. Mold grows. Crack a window when you shower, if you don't have a fan.
6. Keep a lot of superglue on hand. Things break, snap off, crack. Superglue has worked wonders as a quick fix.
7. THINGS SHIFT IN TRANSIT. Open cabinets slowly after you've been moving.
8. If you give everything you own a place in your RV, you'll be stress-free and never lose sh*t.
9. Keep $20 cash handy. In a secret spot perhaps. Because hitting unexpected tolls and bridges can be garbage.
10. If you want things to look pretty on a counter top, Velcro that sh*t down. It'll look great and stay safe.
11. Don't mask smells with chemicals. Essential oils with distilled water work wonders as an all-natural air freshener.
12. Find things you love to pass the time. Sometimes you'll get caught in the rain, and have zero WiFi, limited battery power, and tons of time. Puzzles and books do the trick for us.
13. There are always, ALWAYS free things to do in a new city. There is no need to go broke in a day on a new exploration.
14. Invest in a hand vac. We vacuum every damn day. It takes less than 3 minutes.
15. Keep vents clean and clear, and under control. Heat flows from the vents underneath so if you have crap or hair or rogue Q-tips (thanks, Vanessa), it may block air flow or just add a bunch of dust and crap to the air you breath.
16. Water filter, yassssss. Some RV parks, or even county spigots taste gross and who knows, might kill you. A filter will help all that.
17. Groupon, damnit. Any time we get to a new city, we Groupon the hell out of it. We've been introduced to some of our favorite city restaurants and activities through the wonder that is Groupon.
18. Keep a roll of quarters at all times. In case you're bitten randomly by the laundry bug or you stumble upon a pinball machine.
19. If ever your black tank sensors stop working....try dumping a bag of ice down the gullet of the tank, and drive around. Let things knock around. It just may do the trick.
20. WD-40 is a friend and confidant. For stairs, creaky doors, a noisy dinette table. Spray liberally and revel in wonder that is commercial lubrication.
So there you have it...some of the tips and tricks we've learned throughout our life of RV living. I'm sure there is much, much more to learn. So stayed tuned for various volumes of these helpful tidbits as we venture on.
Remember when we said we weren't leaving Oregon? We were only half joking. To be honest, visiting Pacific City was part of the reason why we came to that conclusion. I don't think I mentioned before, when Vanessa and I financed the RV, we received 30 days of free RV camping from Thousand Trails. Super cool, right? 30 nights in any selected region of our choice. We saved our 30 nights, collecting them in our cheeks like little hamsters, until we made it to the west coast to use in Oregon. That's right, we chose the Pacific Northwest to indulge in our free camping and let me tell you—we chose right.
Pacific City f*^&ing rules. It's this adorably small, yet highly energized surfing city with tons of mom & pop shops and local friendly vibes.
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