From the Road with Andrea Lacey – part 3.
It’s the last installment from Andrea Lacey, who spent five weeks on tour with her husband’s band, Brand New, this summer, giving us some great insight to life on the road and tips for traveling with an infant. Tour wrapped up just as school was starting around here, so she’s home now, but I’m sure already planning the next adventure with her family. Thanks so much Andrea, for being apart of Field Trip! You are certainly welcome back anytime. – Erin
I am happy to report that I am writing this from the comfort of my own couch. It’s amazing to be home! The 5 weeks on the road seemed to slip by and there are things/people I sincerely miss but being in our own space with our 3 dogs also feels fantastic. Because our jobs allow it, my husband and I love taking our family with us when we travel for work, and having “home away from home” is great, but it doesn’t beat “home at home”.
For the home stretch, Miles joined us on the road. He was at summer camp before that. Having our two children on a bus comes with its own batch of challenges, as well as benefits. Making sure everyone is fed, rested and happy seems to consume the majority of our time, and it was a bit tricky to fit in time for my own job, which included a quick twenty-four hour trip to the bay area during the last week of tour. Luckily though, between all the work and loud music and bustle there will be an occasional day off. They often occur between two cities which are too far apart to drive between over night, which means we end up exploring some very interesting and memorable cities and sights. In the last week or two of tour, we had two great adventure days, one in Marfa, Texas and the other in Bend, Oregon.
Marfa is a wonder, and wonderfully odd. It’s a stark little town way out in the Chihuahua Desert, about 3 hours Southeast of El Paso, and best known for it’s minimalist art scene and for its connection to some unexplained and possibly extra-terrestrial phenomenon. We stayed at El Cosmico!
El Cosmico is a campsite which provides refurbished Airstream trailers, as well as pre-pitched yurts and tents to rent. It’s rad! We were only there for the day but really enjoyed napping in the hammocks, riding bikes to town, and grilling out at the communal kitchen. The only small challenges were the desert sun and the sometimes chapping breeze but as a vacation spot El Cosmic is both interesting and relaxing, though maybe a bit boring for older kids. That day Bowie was content with the napping and bike riding (bikes provided by the hotel). Side note: we travel with our own baby bike seat & helmet, which we highly recommend, and so we were excited for the opportunity to cruise Bowie into town and check out the lazy Sunday afternoon Marfa scene. The locals were chill and unassuming, and Bowie charmed them from her perch behind the handlebars. In Marfa though, the real magic happens at night. The Marfa Lights are a peculiar and spooky occurrence that our driving schedule, unfortunately, did not allow us to witness.
The other great day off that we had, we spent in Bend, Oregon. It might be up there as one of our favorite places in the States and we can’t wait to go back. We stayed at the Indigo Hotel which made the friendly and fun downtown area very accessible. At this point we had both kids with us, and finding activities that can occupy a newborn as well as a newly turned teenager, is pretty much impossible, so the boys and girls split up for the day. Bowie and I spent the afternoon exploring town, shopping, sampling some sweets and coffee, and then retreated to our hotel room. I worked while she napped, and for the gals, it felt like a highly productive day. Meanwhile, the boys went to the Old Mill District where they went paddle boarding and kayaking. Like many North Western towns, Bend’s population is one that enjoys adventures in the outdoors, and the Deschutes River is an incredible resource for the city in that way. Seeing as Bo and I didn’t experience the glorious River Water Adventure though, I’m going to have Jesse, my husband, chime in for a second and give you his thoughts.
“It’s a well known fact that I am not one to turn down a lazy river. But a lazy river with a rumored standing surf wave is just downright unheard of. It’s like Ditch Plains at the bottom of the Esopus . So when the band’s production crew decided they were gonna rent tubes and float the Deschutes on our day off, Miles and I were the first in the hotel shuttle with our trunks on. The Old Mill District seems like a hip little spot to grab a beer and a bite to eat, and the sight of a thousand sunburned Oregonians floating the river really takes the cake. Our modest gang joined the larger one on the water, each with a kayak or tube that were easily rentable from a couple locations on the shore. We vibed the locals and shredded the rapids in our inner tubes. Brand New’s two sound engineers, both British, were especially aggressive in the white water park WHICH IS AWESOME. Click here for a video that Patagonia filmed of surf legend, Gerry Lopez, surfing the Deschutes standing wave. The rapids and waves are all customizable and controlled by levies and large inflatable bladders beneath the surface. It’s an incredible thing to look at, let alone ride a floating object through.
In the end, the river was beautiful and refreshing, and extremely fun. The way we as humans interact with our natural environment, especially when we use it for our own recreation, always raises questions about the impact that usage has. I am unsure specifically about the implications of the numbers of people I saw that day, using the river like that on a regular basis, or of the impact the new whitewater park has had on the waterway. But also, I know that positive interaction with a natural feature like this can often raise both awareness and interest in conserving the feature itself, whether a river, or a reef, or a forest trail, and the people of Bend seem to love and respect the Deschutes. I envy them for it, and hope we can return soon!”- Jesse
Thanks for that update, Jesse!
As you can tell, we could have easily spent a few more nights there in Bend, and it really is a great destination for adventurers with little kids, big kids, or no kids at all.
Lastly, seeing as this is a travel blog dedicated to traveling with and without children, I just want to take a second to answer one of my most commonly asked questions: “Isn’t it hard traveling with kids?”. The answer is yes, it absolutely is. We don’t sleep in the same bed every night and if we do, it’s in a moving bus. We jump from one extreme climate to the next and don’t have the comfort of an easily accessible closet. We don’t have a kitchen where we can cook up whatever we’re feeling like eating at the moment. I know I talk about eating a lot, but as a nursing Mom I feel like I’m always starving. But, all of these things are pale in comparison to how amazing it is to get to experience all of these adventures together. There are no tricks in making it easier, although lately we have had a breakthrough with Bowie and sleeping, creating a routine not based on a location but instead on a song (Row, Row, Row Your Boat is her jam) and a stuffed cat (June, thanks Erin!!). It is difficult, but you find your routine, or you enjoy the lack of one and find that being together makes pretty much anything possible. – Andrea
All images by Andrea Lacey. Links to products are based on similar items and might not reflect the items directly. Thank you.