Earlier this month, we took a little vacation up to Mendocino, which gave us the chance to indulge in a classic American road trip ritual rarely enjoyed by vegans: the fast food burger and fries.
Usually I’d make some kind of hummus wrap thing, a quinoa salad, whatever–but not this time. This time, we got to go to Amy’s Drive Thru. I got a burger, fries, and drink (ginger mint lemonade). K got a burrito. We both got to appreciate the landscaping–no ball pits here, but a living roof? Low-water garden surrounding the whole place? Fantastic.
The fries disappeared while we headed north, but the burger waited until we were charging the car at a Walmart off 101.
OK, I did bake at least one thing: a nice batch of monster chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. 85% dark chocolate chips, too. Perfect for when you’re unfortunate enough to get your damn period while on vacation.
A few months ago my mom came down to California and we took a three-day trip up to Mendocino in my 1999 Honda Civic. It’s about a 3 ½-hour drive from my house, definitely long enough to warrant car snacks, much like what I’m writing about here.
It was also the last road trip I’ll take in the car–I gave it back to my mom (it was her old car, anyway, I was just using it for the last 10 years or so) because my boyfriend and I decided to share one car–a Kia Soul EV (on a three-year lease). We love driving an electric car, but it doesn’t lend itself to road trips. You’d definitely need good snacks, because it takes at least two hours to get a charge that takes you 80 miles, so that’s a lot of sitting around. To drive to Mendocino, we’d need to do that at least twice, and that’s heavily dependent on finding charging stations where we need them, that aren’t otherwise in use or broken, along the way.
Anyway, here’s what I aim for when packing road snacks: easily accessible, non-messy options are key. You need a sweet, you need a protein, you need a crunchy, you need a fresh, you need a drink.
Drink is usually just water. Boring, but important. Maybe the car is hot and you don’t have a big cooler.
Peanut butter or trail mix cookies (homemade or store-bought)
Carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, or your other favorite crudites (chips or pieces of pita bread would also do, but let’s pretend we are healthy)
Hummus or another bean dip
Freshly blended hummus, green from parsley, with carrot wedges and cherry tomatoes, ready to skedaddle
Your favorite nuts or protein bars (I’d bring almonds and chocolate-peanut butter Pure bars)
For a really long trip, you better have a bigger cooler, and then you can bring more veggies and things to make a quick meal, like tortillas or lavash bread, sliced cherry tomatoes, spinach, salad greens, cooked tempeh strips, etc. A prepared lentil/bean salad will also do–anything you can eat with a spoon and then wipe off and stow. A container of iced tea might be welcome for a little caffeine boost. Nothing spillable, nothing that will melt (that means you, chocolate), nothing that will wilt and spoil in less-than-pristine cooling conditions.
If we go on a road trip any time soon, it’ll probably be to Yosemite or nearby. Not a terribly long drive, but definitely the kind of trip where these snacks will be welcome. Just gotta figure out which car to take…