MA Road Trip: Headed on the Highway

By the time you read this, I'll be headed west on Interstate 70, stopping off for lunch in Pittsburgh and hopefully arriving in Toledo, Ohio by suppertime.

The Mighty Appetite dash board guardians: the broken kitchen timer needed a new gig and Mister Buddha said yes. (Kim O'Donnel)

It's Day One of the Mighty Appetite road trip, a coast-to-coast eating blog-stravaganza from Washington (D.C.) to Washington (Seattle). For the next 19 days in this space, I'll be sharing my edible and roadside adventures through text, photos and video. Hang onto your hats because you're in store for a ride!

For the first leg, my navigator and traveling companion will be Jules Shepard, a gluten-free baker from Catonsville, Md. whom I profiled last year in the Food section. She's the reason we're headed to Hillman, Mich., a teeny town in the northeast corner of the state, just 20 miles west of Lake Huron. While she does some gluten-free wheeling and dealing, I'll be busying myself in elk country, sipping on blueberry wine.

Speaking of blueberries, on Thursday, Jules and I will be making a u-turn in a southwesterly direction in pursuit of the National Blueberry Festival in South Haven, Mich.

By Saturday morning, I'll be in Madison, Wis., home to the largest producer-only farmer's market in the country, and I must confess, I cannot wait! I've had this market on my to-do list for several years. The rest of the weekend will be spent with my pal Jo on her farm in nearby Boscobel, Wis., and it looks like I might get a road companion for the second leg. Those details are still coming together, but I'll keep you posted.

On Monday, Aug. 11, I'll be making my virgin voyage into the state of Iowa, where I'll take a look at post-flood conditions of hard-hit cities such as Cedar Rapids and Iowa City and spend a few nights in Des Moines. The Iowa State Fair is at the top of my list, and check this out: Tuesday the 12th, I'm teaching a cooking class at a Des Moines church, organized by MA reader Erin Coleman.

By Wednesday suppertime, I'll be in Lincoln, Neb., where MA reader Sara Gilliam has promised to give me a tour of the Lincoln's ethnic restaurant community. Denver and Boulder will be my weekend project, where I'll share my drinking and eating notes for all you Democrats who will be coming into town Aug. 25 for the convention.

After a few days taking in the Rocky Mountains, I'm headed due north to Buffalo, Wyo., where I'll channel the spirits of famous 19th century troublemakers such as Billy the Kid and Calamity Jane and spend the night in a hotel that was once a bordello.

Next up is Montana, where after six weeks, I'll reunite with Mister MA in the cute little town of Red Lodge, just an hour west of Billings. We'll motor towards Bozeman taking in the big skies that I've heard so much about, and for my birthday, we'll sup in Missoula and yip it up.

Our final night on the road will be spent in Yakima, Wash. just a few hours east of Seattle, an area rich in agriculture, wine and strong Native American ties.

I'll hope you'll come along for the ride, as I'll show up here every day on my journey, leaving virtual breadcrumbs and inevitably a good story to chew on. Stay tuned!

Note to Readers: Starting at noon, is turning off comments on this blog to allow for some software upgrades and other maintenance. Blog entries and comments are expected to resume by Thursday morning.

By Kim ODonnel |  August 4, 2008; 10:26 PM ET MA on the Road
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Sara's been in the news a lot lately...I wonder if she ever got her iPhone to work....

Posted by: Hmmm | August 5, 2008 9:34 AM

I imagine you're thinking of either Wild Bill Hickok or Buffalo Bill Cody when you mention Billy the Kid in Buffalo, WY. Billy the Kid was primarily in New Mexico/Arizona/Old Mexico. Supposedly, Calamity Jane was sweet on Hickok. And Buffalo Bill's museum is in Cody, WY.

Love your blog. I never miss a post. Good luck on your trip and in your new home.

Posted by: Shanna O. | August 5, 2008 10:06 AM

While in Lincoln, make sure Sara takes you to Maggie's Vegetarian Vittles in the Haymarket! She makes the most wonderful veggie foods and is (or at least at one point was) on the board of directors of the local food co-op, and is a big supporter of local and sustainable foods. She'd be a great one to talk about the local foods movement in America's Heartland. And if you look up at her building before going in, on the top floor, slightly left of center (go figure, that's my life, left of center!), is the window to the former Organic Gal apartment. When I lived in Lincoln, I would waft downstairs on the aroma of Maggie's wonderfull food on my way to work!

Posted by: Organic Gal | August 5, 2008 10:12 AM

The Madison Farmer's Market gets really crowded. Try to get there early. The sweet corn is the sweetest I've ever tasted.

Posted by: Dave | August 5, 2008 11:13 AM

I lived in Madison ("Mad City") from 1977 to 1983, only a few blocks from the square and always went to the Farmer's Market. If the guy who makes onion rolls is still there, grab some early!

I retain a certain fondness for the nearby House of Wisconsin Cheese, 107 State Street, which sold me cheese on my 2nd day in Madison, giving a poor graduate student with no cash and checks starting at 1 a chance to eat. I still order from there, fine, fine product.

Posted by: dbG | August 5, 2008 11:20 AM

Testing comments...

Posted by: Bob Greiner | August 6, 2008 10:35 AM

don't miss the Saturday morning farmers market in Boulder! Maybe I'll see you there :D

Posted by: DeenaJR | August 6, 2008 4:05 PM

Have a great time at the Iowa State Fair, wish I could be there - at the fair and your cooking class! The food is amazing. Don't miss the butter cow! I grew up in IA, and so want my kids to experience the State Fair at least once.

Posted by: Dessertlady in Honolulu | August 6, 2008 6:05 PM

As you head to Boscobel, there's a good cheese factory on Hwy 14. Get some cheese curd if they have some. There's also one in Muscoda (which is where my parents live.) Enjoy your trip.

Posted by: rockymountainhigh | August 7, 2008 8:24 PM

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