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  • Total days on the road: 586
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  • Miles Driven: 36821
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In Search of Better Beer

Written by Kobus on July 23, 2013

Tasco has docked

Start: June 10, Galveston Texas
Finish: June 19, Escondido, California
Beers Tasted:
Hotest Recorded Temperature: 112F

Back from Overland Expo, we hang out with the family for a few weeks while waiting for news that Blue has arrived in Galveston.Then we swelter in the Texas heat for a few days, and head west on a mission to finally enjoy the delious microbrews we've so missed traveling south of the border.

Our original plan was to drive from Flagstaff to Texas to get the car. But the ship was delayed so much, it was actually cheaper to fly back to Seattle for a few weeks and then return to Galveston when the ship was in.


Blue gets a jump so we can get back on the road

For excruciating details on our shipping process see our related articles. (warning: they are boring!). Let me sum it up for you. We flew to Texas, went to the port. Called this nice guy, George, to escort us to the port. And had our car back and on the open road in a record 17 minutes. Bam!

Unfortunately we did find a few things missing from our car. Most notably my overpriced ergonomic seat cushion, our volt meter, and a pack of AA batteries. It was very apparent by the tools spread everywhere, that our car was rooted through. Thankfully the fridge was still in place and aside from two very dead batteries, Blue was good to go.

The old gas filter

We stopped off at Office Depot to buy our trusty Really Useful Boxes, and then to WalMart to pick up the camping gear we had to leave in Brazil. Kobus decided to do some maintenance now that car parts were plentiful. Our poor fuel filter, that hadn't been changed the entire trip, was full of Bolivian smeg. Yum. 

Our great hosts

Galveston was sweltering, so we headed north to Dallas to hang out with family who reportedly had excellent air conditioning. Turns out they also have a fully automatic espresso maker, a sous vide, and a swimming pool. We unloaded and settled in. Two awesome days kickin' around Dallas, couldn't have been nicer. Thanks guys!

Roswell New Mexico and the Alien Amber Ale

From Dallas we headed west. North would have been a lot faster, but we weren't in a hurry and well, the beer in San Diego was calling. First stop, Roswell, New Mexico. Unfortunately we arrive too late to do any alien sightseeing, so we hit the local bar instead. I'll take the Alien Amber please.

Drive through Ice Vending machines

Still unpleasantly hot outside, we discover the world's best roadside shop. A drive-up ice dispenser. If only Jared was with us. He'd probably setup his sent in the lot next door and never leave.

Pretty sure the Alien is scared

The next morning we do the tourist thing. Go to the UFO museum, kiss some chainsaw-carved aliens, and then head west again, before one of us was abducted.

Optimo Hat Works in Bisbee

Next stop, Bisbee, Arizona. Until Overland Expo, I'd never heard of the town of Bisbee. About 15 miles from the Mexican border, Bisbee is an old copper mining town. It's packed with local shops, a great coffee company, an old brewery and the amazing Optimo Hatworks. You have to see this place to believe it.

Old Bisbee brewing company

After a long work day (yes, we still have those), we headed to the Old Bisbee Brewery where we discovered the magic of growlers. We order the sample tray, which is gone in 2 minutes. But, not wanting to consume more beer and then drive to our campsite, we opt to buy our first growler.

For those of you unacquainted with this marvel. You buy a 64oz glass jug for about $5. The brewer fills it for about $10. The jug is refillable. You get 4 beers for the price of 2, and can take it to go. What's not to love?

Jessica and Martha Retallick

Enroute to San Diego, we made a quick stopover in Tuscon to visit long-time follower, fellow freelancer, and totally bad-ass bicycler, Martha Retallick. We had wanted to go to Borderlands brewery and do a tour, but since it was Monday and not even noon yet, we were out of luck. Thankfully, Martha, aka, all-knowing brewery queen of Tuscon, informed us that a mere block away we could stop by the Food Conspiracy co-op and have our growler filled of Borderlands finest.

One growler of Borderlands Prickly Pear Wheat beer: $14. Being able to get it filled at 10am on a Monday: Priceless.

Camping in 110 degree heat

Our next stop was San Diego, but there was no way we'd make it in a day, so we picked the halfway point, Yuma. Pro tip: when looking up possible stopping places, check the average nighttime temperature. At 8 pm it was still over 100 degrees. At 10 pm, when we finally went in our tent, it was 96 degrees. Thank god for the growler.

Coronado brewing company

Side tracked again, we aim for San Diego and end up in Coronado. Kris from Ursa Minor Vehicles, who setup shop at the spot next to us at Overland Expo, is kind enough to meet us at the Coronado Brewing Company for another round of tasters.

Exchanging growlers

We bring in our faithful Bisbee growler and ask if we can have it filled. They waitress politely informs us that they only fill their own growlers. Doh! We beg, not wanting to fork out another $5 for a bottle. Finally she agrees to trade, our growler for theres. We filled 'er up with Mermaid Red, and headed back to our KOA campsite.

Stone Brewery

Camping in Chula Vista, near moments from Baja, Mexico, we serious consider a detour down south again. But then reason that our return to Stone Brewery is more important than our desire for fish tacos. Remember at the start of our trip we also stopped at Stone, broke both cameras and spent a record $357 in one day (mostly on beer). In 19 months on the road, we never beat that record.

Jessica Picking a keg

This time however, attempting to be budget conscience, we opted to have lunch instead. Of course we arrive moments before noon, and couldn't turn down the opportunity for a $3 tour that included four 4oz samples of Stone beer. Sign us up!

Stone tasters

On tap that afternoon was the amazing Ruin Ten, Stone's uber hoppy IPA, brewed for their 10th anniversary. After the tasting we went go have a nice lunch and sober up from the beer tasting.

mmm Do I like it?

Up next: The brewery tour continues. We head back to San Francisco to meet our newly wed friends and experience the great Petaluma Pork-a-palooza.


#1 James 2013-07-23 18:03
nice seeing blue back in action! drink em up

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