Yesterday’s essay may have been a bit more serious than people have come to expect in the Bee-Loud Glade. Sorry, these feel like serious times. Tonight’s story is going to be unusually brief. As I’ve said, so much about this year’s trip is different. The most fundamental difference this year is, for the first time since the original Million Bee Roadtrip, I am not traveling alone. Because of the peculiar situation where the Honey Exchange is half-way between open and not open, Meghan was able to come along on the adventure this year. Tomorrow, as we drive with as few stops as possible over an 1,100 mile stretch of highway, Meghan and I will be celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary.
Every year I try to factor into the trip at least one unusual objective to keep an otherwise arduous journey from becoming mundane. We were chatting with our friend Will (who you may remember from the 2019 Roadtrip) and he mentioned a hankering for sea urchin* and told us of a place he’d discovered on the Portland waterfront where the quality and price are unsurpassed. He enlisted us to secure a big cooler full of flash-frozen uni and we agreed to bring it to Baltimore if he and Carrie promised to not come within six feet of us when we dropped it off. (We would like Will and Carrie to continue living a happy and healthy life together and we’re not taking any chances.)
The drive to Baltimore was unremarkable aside from the ease with which we motored across an uncrowded highway, even through New York City at mid day. After a quick chat and a trio of delicious sandwiches prepared by Will, enjoyed at a safe 6′ distance from one another, we carried on to Hagerstown in western Maryland and enjoyed a much-needed rest.
The next day we pressed on for another six hours of unremarkable driving till we reached our stopping point in Huntington, West Virginia. As it approached the dinner hour and I complained about my worry that Will’s sandwiches might be the last interesting and genuine food we might find on this trip, Meghan browsed the internet and found a nearby place called Bombshells, Burgers, and BBQ with an interestingly delicious sounding menu.
I didn’t have high expectations, to be honest, from this unusual three-part business (Cafe specializing in smoked meats, pistol range, and coffee shop) but the food was truly remarkable. If you happen to find yourself anywhere near this part of West Virginia, make it a point to visit this place. I don’t know that you could go wrong choosing from the menu but be sure to get an order of fried pickles. I’ve had lackluster fried pickles in my life. They can be soggy and characterless. These were delightfully crispy, tangy, with a perfect background of spice.
This morning we finished the last few hours of driving and spent some time at the Home Depot in Lexington, Kentucky getting some supplies to provide better protection against the cold and rain to the 3 Million Bees entrusted to our care.
The trailer sides were set up with a layer of window screen to keep out some of the rain while still allowing the bees plenty of ventilation, and a rain baffle on the rear of the trailer to deflect the spray from wet roads and passing trucks. It still looks like a challenging trip ahead of us but I think we have prepared for it as well as we can. Now it just comes down to how much time can we spend driving versus how much time do we have to wait out storms. Our remarkable beekeeper/meteorologist friend, Margaret, has sagely advised that we head north through Ohio to Erie, Pennsylvania before we start heading east across New York state. This looks like the best chance for us to avoid the heavy storms pounding the southeastern quadrant of the US.
Barring any unforeseen delays, we’ll arrive back in Portland some time Sunday and on Monday we’ll see how our plan for staging all the eager beekeepers in half-hour blocks for curbside pickup works out. Wish us luck. We need all we can get.
*(the recipe, which we’ll be trying as soon as we get home, is to toss the thawed urchin roe into a food processor and blend in a slow drizzle of olive oil till it reaches the consistency of a loose mayonnaise. This gets spread thickly over a nice piece of fresh haddock and roasted till the fish is flaky but still moist.)