In my last post I invited all vandwellers who were nearby to join us in Quartzsite for a Tribal Thanksgiving Celebration and 18 of you responded and came! In today’s post I want to give you a report on how it turned out. The next day was Black Friday and that’s the day we are all supposed to go out and buy presents; and you all know what a conformist I am, I have to follow ALL the rules, so I had to go out and buy myself a Christmas present. I’ll tell you all about it at the end of the post, but here is a photo of how well Santa treated me this year!!
This is the second year we had a Tribal Thanksgiving Celebration for the vandwelling Tribe and it turned out just as well! Last year my good friend Steve volunteered to do almost everything and cooked most of the meal by himself, including the turkey. You would think that would have over-whelmed him so much he would never do it again, but us vandwellers aren’t know for doing normal things so Steve did it all over again at Christmas, and it was just as wonderful the second time!! This year Steve is camped somewhere else so it was up to me to do it all without his help. To say the least, I’m nowhere near the cook Steve is !! He really can whip up a great meal in the middle of nowhere with nothing but his Coleman 2-burner propane stove and Weber Grill. (To learn how he does it see this post http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/best-darned-bbq-ever/)
There were 18 of us total and I provided most the food for the meal. Because I am not an experienced cook the hardest thing for me was knowing how much to buy, so I just made my best educated guess and tried to buy too much. Fortunately we had plenty of everything. Steve did most of it alone, but I knew that would be way to hard for me so I asked other people to do much of the cooking. Because most of us are in vans we had limited cooking facilities, so everything but the turkey could be cooked on a Coleman stove and most of it was pretty simple. Cooking for a large group requires large pots so I carry several for the RTR and a couple other people had some also.
Lots of people worked hard to make it happen! Thanks to you all!!
- Lesa and Peg made real mashed potatoes (a 10 bag of spuds and just a cup of leftovers!)
- Donna who brought cranberries, mixed up a nice salad and baked real cornbread
- Judy who made a green bean and onion dish
- Dean made a wild rice dish
- Gretchen made Stove Top Stuffing and brought 2 pies
- Lavonne made yams
- Del Mont made gravy and brought Cool Whip
- Al brought a chocolate Bundt cake
- Roady brought paper plates and plastic ware
- Jeff was the hit of the party with a box of wine!!
- I brought the turkey, rolls and 4 pies!
There were virtually no leftovers! We ate 4 of the 5 pies and everything else but a cup of mashed potatoes and some gravy. Everything was amazing and we all had a fabulous meal, in an incredibly beautiful setting with great friends. Even the weather cooperated and the day was sunny, warm, and best of all, calm with no wind!
You’re probably wondering how I made the turkey in the middle of nowhere. It’s very simple, I cooked it in my Weber portable propane grill. I love my Weber grill!! People have been cooking over open fires and charcoal for millenniums. Cooking on a grill is very much like that but we have modern inventions to make it easier, the best of which is aluminum foil. You can cook an amazing variety of foods on a grill as long as you wrap it in foil first. A book I highly recommend to teach you how is “Fix it in Foil” which is available on amazon.com. Fix It In Foil
So here is exactly how I cooked the turkey.
- I bought an 8 pound frozen turkey breast. That isn’t a turkey loaf which is a mix-mash various turkey parts crammed together into a loaf. Steve and I tried one of those at Thanksgiving 2012 and it was okay but not the best. What we had this year was a whole, bone-in turkey breast. it was just like any other whole frozen turkey except all it had was the breast.
- I put the bird in my fridge and let it thaw.
- By Thanksgiving day it was thawed and so I de-boned it by peeling off the skin and cutting the meat away from the bones. I wasn’t sure we had enough turkey, so I cut it into smaller sizes so people could take smaller portions
- I tore off a long sheet of Heavy Duty aluminum foil (thanks Blars!) and sliced an onion into thin slices and laid it in the center of the aluminum foil (I had already sprayed the foil with Pam cooking spray).
- Finally, I formed the aluminum foil into a pouch around the sliced onions and piled the turkey on top of it, salting and peppering it to taste. Some people put garlic in but I’m not a garlic fan so I didn’t. Then I folded the ends of the foil together in order to seal it in. All the turkey wouldn’t fit one loaf-sized foil pack, so I made it into two loafs.
- I preheated the grill for 15 minutes on High, and then turned it down to Medium. As soon as I turned it down, I put the loaves in the grill, put the lid on it, and I was done. I timed it and left in in for 50 minutes and it was done perfectly!! I can’t recommend a Weber grill highly enough. Weber Potable Propane Go-Anywhere Grill
I think it turned out very well and everyone seemed to enjoy it!
My Newest Toy: 1996 Honda Rebel Motorcycle
The next day Judy, Gloria and I went out to check out the vendors tents and we stopped at one that had a beautiful 1996 Honda Rebel 250 motorcycle for sale. For a long time now I’ve been wanting to have a second vehicle so that I didn’t have to drive the van so much because it only gets 14 mpg. I’ve been considering three options, 1) An electric bike 2) A Honda Tail 90 3) A Honda Rebel. The problem with an electric bike is that my knee is getting worse and I think it’s time to give up on bicycles. The Trail 90 is a fantastic rig, but it’s slow and illegal to ride on the freeway and unsafe on fast moving roads. The vast majority of the time I won’t be able to ride one. I’m a big fan of the Rebel because it solves those problems and has lots of advantages:
- They are light and have a minimum amount of power, so they are less dangerous than the big, fast bikes.
- But, they have enough power to ride comfortably on the freeway.
- They get 70-80 mpg!
- They’ve been making them for almost 30 years with virtually no changes and the engine is built-proof.
- They are built very low to the ground so anyone can put their feet flat on the ground while in the saddle. I have short legs, so this is very important to me.
I used to own a Rebel, but in 2011 I had an accident that destroyed it and severely broke my wrist and elbow. Every since then I have been debating getting another one. For a long time it looked like my arm wouldn’t heal enough to allow me to ride again, but eventually it progressed to the point where I can. Then there was the question of whether I was too traumatized by the wreck to ride again. When I saw that gorgeous Rebel at the Vendors booth I jumped at the chance to find out and asked to take it on a test ride. It felt so normal and natural to me I instantly felt at home. I had to have it! So we dickered a bit and I bought it!
I love it and I am really glad I got it! It runs perfectly and looks like it just came off the show-room floor. The reason it looks that way is it only has 1076 miles. The vendor was the second owner. The first owner had bought two of them, one for himself and one for his wife, but his wife wouldn’t ride it. So he just kept it in the garage for 15 years hoping she would. The vendor bought it with 200 miles on it and has owned it every since. He took great care of it and made several upgrades like the windshield, the luggage rack and higher gearing (so it is more comfortable on the freeway).
Your probably wondering how I will carry it, well that’s easy, I ordered a rack to carry it on from discountracks.com and a front receiver hitch for the van. When I’m towing the trailer it will ride on the front hitch, and when I leave the trailer in storage and travel in the van it will ride on the back hitch. When it gets here I’ll write a report on it. Stay tuned for more reports on how it is working out for me.