Thanksgiving holds extra significance for us now. When we set out on our traveling adventure we stuck around Seattle long enough to celebrate the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday with many of our best friends at the home of Kate and Jeff Grubb. Just a couple days after we were on the road, leftovers in hand, making our way across the country, warm thoughts of our friends in our hearts.
This year the holiday finds us in near Big Bend National park in Lajitas Texas, a town where they have elected a Goat for mayor. Actually, he’s the third in a dynastic line of Lajitas goat mayors. He is easily bribed with peanuts but so far has kept the scale of government here well in check. We are an 8-hour drive and a couple hundred dollars in gas from the nearest friends or family so we are going it more or less alone this time. Not that trail and I ever really feel alone when we are together, but we do miss the comradery of our good friends and the grand meal of a communal Thanksgiving.
Trail, undeterred by the limits of our tiny but effective Airstream kitchen has undertaken to prepare a rather grand meal for us. The stove top and our combo microwave/convection oven do their part, but the heavy lifting is being done by a classic cast iron dutch oven. Every camping chef should have one. By applying a specified number of charcoal briquets to the top and bottom you can control temperatures and achieve a range of tasty results. Turkey, sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, fresh baked bread, garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, gravy, and pumpkin pie are all on the menu. Each hand made from scratch. Since the none of our equipment can really roast a turkey whole, it is being sectioned up. Some of it used to create stock, stuffing and gravy in advance, other parts to be slow roasted in the dutch oven just before serving.
The trick is that the meal has been prepared over the course of a few days. Everything just takes longer in a trailer. Of course, Trail is also a stunningly good cook. She puts a lot of research and planning into her grand meals and is always looking for ways to improve them. Even on the years when we have joined others for Thanksgiving, Trail tends to make a full regalia meal at home as well. It’s a tradition I wholeheartedly embrace.
Our plan is to set our picnic table with a feast, get a campfire going, and enjoy Thanksgiving as the sun sets over the gorgeous mountains here. Then we will watch the stars fill the night sky and reflect together on how amazingly lucky and fortunate we are to be here in this place at this time in our lives. We have a great deal to be thankful for, most of all one another. Here is hoping your Thanksgiving is equally rich in blessings.