Chef Hugh Acheson has completed his cross-country adventure on our Endless Caravan! Making stops in over 25 cities across the U.S., Chef Hugh and his team hosted cooking demonstrations, book signings and taco tastings— all out of an Airstream. Keep reading for a reflection of the trip from Hugh’s perspective.
After a total of almost six weeks on the roads of America with the Airstream Endless Caravan, sleeping nightly in the fore cabin of the Airstream International 27 FB, you begin to realize a number of things about the U.S.: it varies widely in topography, cultural ways, architecture, and cooking. Those differences, though, only make the core constants even more interesting and profound – that the US is a land of proud smiles, full of dedicated people and rich, physical beauty that we all belong in. Sometimes looking at the 24-hour news cycle makes us forget those wonderful constants. And for that reminder alone, I am immensely thankful for my journey as a part of Airstream’s Endless Caravan.
During the trip, we slept mostly at KOA campgrounds. We typically arrived after dark, where we quickly assigned roles to the three crew members (Mike on electrical and cable hookup, Matt on food prep and setup for the slow cookers, and me on truck detachment and basic maintenance and cleaning) and settled into a NASCAR pit operation that would rival Jeff Gordon’s best crew. But because we winterized the Airstream somewhere in upstate New York in the first few days of the trip we never had to pull out the “stinky slinky,” saving us a ton of time.
A book tour was the reason we took this wonderful trip, but when the book’s premise involves cooking with a slow cooker, the advance lead time takes some sorting out. So each day, and as soon our camp was set up, usually by 7PM, we’d get two slow cookers plugged in to braise two 7-pound pork shoulders with copious amounts of garlic, onions, beer, coriander seed, cinnamon, and Cholula Hot Sauce. (This twelve hour braise time meant I would wake up delusional as to why we had slept in a pork taco shop all night. Not the worst place to sleep, I suppose.) We would then serve these tacos the next day at each book tour stop, usually at a Whole Foods Market.
Throughout the duration of the tour, we served a lot of tacos and raised some good money for my foundation, SeedLifeSkills.org, that rebuilds and contemporizes home economics curriculum for middle schools. We signed a ton of books and sold t-shirts. We also drove thousands of miles, through mountains and deserts, entering forests and meandering by lakes and streams. We fed first responders in Ojai, where the Thomas fire ravaged the stunning California hills. We drove on the Bonneville Salt Flats, through the Nevada desert, and along all three coasts. And though it seems like we saw it all, we could continue driving for years and still not have seen all I want to see in this beautiful big country.
I felt sad turning in the Airstream back in Jackson Center, Ohio. I felt like I had finally mastered towing it and backing it up. And after being home for a few days, I am already missing the odd comfort of falling asleep in a different place every day to wake up to a different vista each morning. The Airstream had truly become more than a home – it had become a conduit to new experiences every day.
I will be doing it again soon, as there is so much to see out there.