October 1, 2017
I have been to the mountaintop. Literally.
I drove from Virginia to New Hampshire and back again in the last five days. 1,200 miles, three charming and nutritionally-superior hostesses, and one small dent in the hood of my new car that my handsome friend Gerry Whitaker estimates will cost about $4,000 for someone else’s insurance to repair. (The other two cars in the three-car accident on a highway in northern Massachusetts had to be towed away, so believe me when I say that I consider myself extremely fortunate.)
Now I’m home again and all my muscles are singing faintly, sympathetic vibrations from 11 hours in the car, and I’m here to report about the ever-present question of ROAD FOOD.
Is it possible to eat pumpkin seeds on a road trip?
In a word, no. Not for me.
Yes, for Chip; I’m sure he packs his own.
But I equipped myself only with TWO water bottles and made my round trip with the one essential without which no solo-driver car trip can be safely contemplated:
Full-sugar, full-caffeine Coca-Cola.
Yes, I know it’s not even sugar – it’s corn syrup. And on the way up, when I stopped at Burger King (because there is NO use trying to pretend one drive-up window is any better nutritionally than any other), and they asked me “Small-medium-large?” I said “Medium” out of habit and they handed me a SWIMMING POOL filled with Coke.
“My lord,” I gasped. “How many ounces IS this?”
The counter girls gapes at me and then at each other. A supervisor bustled over. “Yes?”
“Oh – I’m just wondering: How many ounces is this soda?”
“Um… well… yeah, I think the medium is 32 ounces and the large is 48.”
A quick flip over to Google tells me that a gallon is 128 ounces, so I’d been given a quarter of a gallon of Coke. ONE QUARTER OF A GALLON. That’s a lot of Coke.
I sipped it nervously for the rest of my journey up and dumped most of it down my hostess’ drain when I arrived. After a few months of eating pumpkin seeds and drinking water, I thought a Coke would taste WONDERFUL; instead it tasted like… a whole swimming pool filled with false promises.
The drive home was my marathon – the whole trip in one day. I got Combos (which really cheese your hunger away, I’m told) and a packet of Bordeaux cookies. A TERRIBLE choice. But I had 585 miles to go, so you can judge someone else.
And a Coke, which I didn’t open for 200 miles.
For a very late lunch, I had a Caprese sandwich (mozzarella, tomato, pesto, and a whole field of arugula on a ciabatta role) from somewhere a long way down the New Jersey Turnpike; it was incredibly good. And I bought a Snickers bar, out of weakness.
For dinner, I got a 20-ounce cup of hot Earl Grey with lots of sugar and milk from the Delaware House. That’s where I threw out a few left-over Combos, the empty Bordeaux bag (nom, nom – delicious), and about half the Coke.
And when I finally pulled into my own parking place, 11 hours and 4 minutes after setting off, I ceremoniously threw away the untouched Snickers bar.
So we see some poor choices and some not-so-poor choices. We see no sleepiness on the journey. We see one dent in the hood and a great deal of gratitude for that being the only visible damage from my trip.
I’m getting pretty good at eating well at home. Now I need a few lessons from Chip, my Body Dynamics nutritional guru, on how to be smart when the road trip mentality clicks into gear.
Glad to be home!
Photo note: I got detoured all the way into Manhattan, which was both exciting and very annoying – and look at what my new car’s GPS looks like in the Big City. Is that not the coolest??