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Let me start with a completely different topic. I will warn you, I am severely pissed off right now. If you want happy thoughts, skip to the picture of the dogs.

My house was broken into yesterday and it fucking sucks. It happened minutes before I would have been home. Someone kicked in my side door, broke the frame and the door, and stole my 47″ television, Play Station 3 with one controller, my dad’s iMac that I had been using since college, and my beloved Canon Rebel T3i, which I use for every recipe on this blog. I’m pissed, I’m angry, but I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was to know that my dogs were OK. They were in their crates and thank god these assholes didn’t touch them or let them out or try to take them. Brandy looks like a pit bull enough that maybe they thought she’d tear into them, I don’t know. But regardless, my family is fine. Stuff can be replaced, but it still sucks. Our renters insurance will cover most things but we still have a $500 deductible that we’ll have to eat.

You know, people suck. People who decided that they didn’t need to go to school, get a job, get health insurance, and pay for their own shit. Let me tell you one thing – I HAVE NO DEBT. EVERYTHING in my house (minus my new car) has been paid for in full. Everything. The television was the first “big” purchase I ever made and it was in 2010, shortly after we moved to Indianapolis. I even bought warranty on it. I loved that television. I shouldn’t have had to buy a new one – it was in great condition. So you, assholes, who decided to steal my television because you can’t afford one (or because you want to take my hard earned money and pawn it off for your not hard earned money, which will get you caught because my friend has all of the local pawn shops looking for my shit), you can go to hell. That moment John and I decided to buy a Play Station 3 was a very important moment – it cost a heck of a lot of money, and we hardly EVER spend money on ourselves for FUN. The Play Station 3 was our Netflix, Hulu, Blu-Ray player and gaming system. It was purely for entertainment and you decided to steal that away from me.

But my camera, my dear camera… That was also a huge investment. I purchased it shortly after I started this blog. It has beyond paid for itself. I took it up in a hot air balloon, to work events, its helped me land recipe development projects, and it’s taken pictures of my lovely puppies. It was EXPENSIVE as hell. And you took it. Just because it was sitting there, I’m sure, not because you were looking for it. You obviously didn’t know what you were looking for because you could have robbed me of much more. But be sure that if you come back, I will have this place so booby-trapped that you will regret your decision to step foot into my fucking house.

Now we have to figure out how to replace our stuff. The television and camera are first priority, but it may be a long time before we can buy another Play Station again. I mean, they are not cheap, assholes, obviously, you couldn’t afford one, so you stole mine. But motherfuckers, I hate you so much, and to just go out and buy new stuff makes me feel like you win. YOU DO NOT WIN. You will get caught, or karma will come and kick you in the ass. I WIN, because it’s just stuff, and stuff CAN be replaced thanks to our steady jobs and organization of having all of our receipts and serial numbers.

If you want to protect your home, I suggest that you 1) have home owners or renters insurance with full replacement value on your stuff, 2) keep a binder or folder with receipts and serial numbers of those items, and 3) take pictures of your valuables and upload them to the cloud so you can have them for proof of purchase in case you do lose receipts. The police officer who was at my house when I arrived told me that nobody was as organized as I was with my valuables. It shouldn’t be that way – you get receipts at the store for a reason so please, people, save them.

EDIT: I realized that I left out an important feeling. It is extremely violating to have someone enter your home and steal your things. In 2010, my Chrysler Sebring was stolen from my apartment complex. It was devastating to know that someone has driven off with your personal property. While I’m happy my family is safe and things can be replaced, I don’t feel safe or secure. I left the house once today and every moment away makes me think that they are back in my house, stealing my things. Maybe the assholes will see my Solid Gold Eats business cards in my camera bag and look me up. I hope they read this. Because I want them to know that they did not win.

Now, onto things that are more important.


Dollar and Brandy in the Subaru Forester

Wanderlust, according to Wikipedia, is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

The urge to travel has hit me hard. Like, so hard that it’s all I can do to not drift off into daydream world during important conversations. I think there are multiple things that explain this new feeling of wanderlust, and all of them together have given me enough verification that I need to act on this feeling.

Thanks to my parents, I have been many places. Family vacations consisted of the beaches of Florida, South Carolina, the Great Lakes in Michigan and Wisconsin, NYC twice with my mom and sister, Vegas when dad had to go out there for work, and other places in between. We went on a cruise to Key West, Cancun and Cozumel. Every Memorial Day was spent in a cabin in Brown County, one of my favorite places in the world.

But as I entered college, the family vacations slowed down. College is expensive and frankly I didn’t have much time to go on such excursions. It became harder to get everyone together at once. And then of course, my priorities changed. Finding a job and starting my own family became important. After that, it became a matter of paying my own bills and with our new families income, traveling just wasn’t in the budget except for small trips to Terre Haute or Chicago.

Now that we are more established and we know what the next few years are going to be like, I’m excited to think about traveling the US to see the places I have not seen. And with this sweet new Subaru, we have a vehicle to do it in.

Mountains are Calling

My current bucket list of traveling includes:

  • Grand Canyon
  • Salt Lake City
  • Portland, OR
  • Seattle, WA
  • East Coast – Boston, Vermont, Maine
  • Road trip along the Canadian border
  • Alaska

Mountains. National Parks. Landmarks. Those are the things I want to see. My mom would spend all of her travel time on a beach, but thanks to her, I’ve seen a lot of beaches, so I’m ready to do other things. I also want to camp and explore.

Our first road trip is being planned for Summer 2014 in which we will drive out to Denver, Colorado and Yellowstone National Park. I’m working on a 7 day/6 night travel plan and I COULDN’T BE MORE EXCITED! Travel planning is fun. And since I’m such a planner, I’m starting now so that I can figure out how much it will cost and where we have wiggle room to do more. Here’s where I am at with the travel planning right now:

Road Trip to Denver and Yellowstone: 7 days, 6 nights

Saturday: Home to Kansas City, MO – 1 day to drive (7 hrs, 22 mins), spend the night (hotel, $160/night)

  • Stop at Boulevard Brewing Co (be there by 4pm for tour, dinner including tip and brews)

Sunday: Kansas City, MO 7:00 AM departure to Denver, CO – 1 day to drive (8 hrs, 24 mins), spend 2 nights (camp or stay with friends), arrival 3:24 PM. Options of what to do and stay include:

Tuesday: Denver, CO 7:00 AM departure to Yellowstone National Park, WY – 1 day to drive (8 hrs, 20 mins), spend 2 nights (camp), arrival at 3:20 PM

Thursday: Yellowstone National Park, WY 8:00 AM departure to Rapid City, SD (or near it) – 1 day to drive (6 hrs, 55 mins), spend 1 night (hotel, $160/night), arrival 1:55 PM

Friday: Rapid City, SD 8:00 AM departure – Des Moines, IA – 1 day to drive (8 hrs, 47 mins), spend 1 night (hotel, $160/night), arrival at 4:47 PM

Saturday: De Moines, IA – Home – 1 day to drive (7 hrs, 7 mins)

I definitely don’t have all of the details yet, as this is about 2 days of planning, but I’m getting there! I’d love to hear about your favorite places to stop at out west. We plan on camping as much as we can as it saves money and allows us to stay in the parks that we want to adventure in. We are not taking the dogs simply because this is our first “real” road trip and I think we should do it without one more distraction, although I will miss them dearly.

Now, John and I are NOT seasoned campers. We have some camping gear, but we’re going to either borrow or find used equipment that we can take with us. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you have to make purchasing decisions in pieces. You can’t buy everything you need all at once and you shouldn’t. So I’m learning about bike racks, cargo trailers, camping gear, BEAR SPRAY (which is totally a thing, apparently) and also our survival mechanisms of how we are going to eat and sleep while we are out there.

Keep Calm and Carry Bear Spray

There’s also the fixed costs that can be estimated, such as gas, food, souvenirs and what not. I’m estimating that this trip will cost us about $2,000-2,200 when all is said and done, but if I keep planning I might be able to get that down a bit.

In 2015 we’d like to explore Acadia National Park in Maine and then go up to Montreal for a few days and come back down through Niagara Falls. It would be a similar 7 day/6 night trip like what I’m currently planning. That’s about all of the time we have – John can’t take too much time off work at once and we honestly can’t afford much else, but I still think that it’s enough time to enjoy ourselves and not feel rushed or cheated.

In the end, it’s the memories and experiences I want to have in my life, not STUFF. You can steal my stuff, but you can’t steal my past, present or future. Traveling allows us to refresh our minds and be thankful for all of the things we have in life. I can’t wait to get out and explore.

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  • yvonne

    I have a ton of camping stuff, you are welcome to borrow anything :-)

    • solidgoldeats

      Thank ya kindly! Once I get a list together I will hit you up. But you probably know more than me, so maybe I will just ask you what I need haha.

  • Jhenn

    hey Sara! Couple of things – In Rapid City, I would highly suggest staying in Custer State park. It’s the park that the Wildlife loop, Iron Mountain Road, and Needles highway are in. We did the Wildlife loop, which gets you up close and personal with the wildlife – a buffalo was literally licking our car. We also drove the Iron Mountain Road, which was a neat experience: corkscrew turns, really cool openings through mountains that frame Rushmore beautifully! We stayed at the State Game Lodge’s year round hotel – Creekside? It was fine for a hotel, but we loved being in the middle of the park. There’s also camp grounds within the State park. Rushmore was about 35 mins away. We also checked out Jewel cave in that area as well. As for Rushmore – we went first thing in the morning, and went back later in the afternoon. the light on the faces was totally different. Let me know if you want to get together for a beer and talk more about the trip, since we just did a similar one. Oh, and I have a 2 bike bike rack you can borrow for the trip as well. And check out geartrade.com if you need to buy any gear. I’ve been really happy with my transactions there and the pricing was phenomenal. Good luck!