Road Trip Food for Thought

I went on another road trip last weekend, spent a lot of time in the car, so just like professional comedians who overuse their experiences on airplanes and in airports because that’s how they spend the majority of their time, a housewife blogger will tell you all about her car trip to Tallahassee.

The trip was for my son Jack to see Florida State University, although the whole scheme was ill advised, since it wasn’t until we got all the way up there that we realized that FSU doesn’t have a journalism program, which is what Jack is majoring in. Oops. What parent dropped the ball on this one?

But that’s OK, FSU is still a possibility (Jack could just major in communications and wing it. If every other college graduate in the last five years is any indicator, he’s going to end up working part-time at the mall anyway, so what’s the diff?) and we got to see the Florida Panhandle. We were almost in Alabama and halfway to New Orleans. The weather in Tallahassee is way different than here in South Florida. It was actually cold. Jack could see his breath when he ran Sunday morning, and he almost didn’t recognize it, he hadn’t seen it in so long.

But back to the real story here. The trip food. Whenever I am on a car trip longer than about 2 hours, I have to build the whole trip around the food, how I’ll eat it, when I’ll eat it and how I can make it turn the trip to the intersection of Borestown and Falling-Asleep-at-the-Wheelvania into something to look forward to. I start out every trip determined to not ruin it by making myself sick with junk food. I make lists of bananas, apple slices, pretzels, water and granola bars. These planned snacks are so healthy, I could run a half marathon upon arriving at my destination.

For the FSU trip, I systematically divided the trip into two three-hour blocks. The first block I planned to have an extra large coffee from home, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Goldfish crackers and mint Milano cookies, if I got desperate. Jack and his sister went into a car-induced iPod dormancy, so I pretty much had the family sized half-gallon jug of Goldfish crackers and all 16 mint Milanos all to myself. The problem was I got a little bit excited before we were even outside Palm Beach County and drank the whole coffee and was halfway through my PB&J before I remembered to pace myself.

So at the three-hour gasoline stop, when I moved into my second three-hour block as planned, I was hungry but at the same time half sick from eating all of the mint Milanos on the Florida Turnpike. When picking out the junk food for stage 2, I did what I always do and I got the wrong thing.

Jack says I’m worse than a 3-year-old and he’s right. I spend much too long picking out my treats and then have an immediate buyer’s remorse and am furious at myself for picking the garlic chive sour cream snack crackers when I was craving something sweet. It has something to do with the euphoric feeling of being outside of the car, making me forget what hellish claustrophobia I’ll feel once I get back on the freeway, where the snack that I picked takes on epic importance.

This time, determined not to be 3 but having given up on healthiness, I went with my gut craving and bought two Skor bars. By the time we pulled into the Days Inn parking lot Sunday night, I had eaten both of them and the remaining Goldfish crackers. I could barely stomach the thought of going to dinner.

For the trip home, I gave up all hope of being able to fit into my trip pants and not getting a bladder infection. I took two big cookies from the all-you-can-stuff-in-your-backpack Hogwarts Dining Hall at FSU and had those, a bag of Combos and a super mega coffee on the way home. At the three-hour mark, I bought a 99-cent bag of chili cheese Fritos, a Hershey bar and another coffee. If there had been pork rinds or heroin, I probably would have bought either or both. I had totally given up and was just trying to survive the next few hours to get myself and the kids home. I didn’t care if I spent the next two days in the bathroom, I just had to feed my face with something with enough flavor to keep me from losing my mind.

“DOES ANYONE WANT TO PLAY THE INITIAL GAME?” I yelled at the kids 30 miles from home. They squinted at me and adjusted their ear phones. I don’t think they recognized me. I had gained 15 pounds, had bloodshot eyes and my face was broken out.

Jack is making noise about possibly applying to Texas A&M. I’m sending him with my husband on an airplane. My health insurance can’t handle another car trip this year.

Labels: , , , , ,