On Changed Plans and Road Trip Food

This is not the blog I expected to write this week.  I expected to be writing about driving cross-country for 27 hours to arrive at Craig’s relatives home for a nice long visit in Boston. I expected to be writing about being excited to see my boys and Sarah, and all of Craig’s fun relatives up there. We’ve been planning this trip for months, and on some days it was the Thing That Got Me Through The Day, that knowing we had a vacation coming – our first as a couple in nearly 5 years.  We allowed ourselves to get excited.  Our bags were packed, the road trip food was purchased along with a new cooler (a Fire Replacement), and several books on tape borrowed from the library.  (Side note: we discovered my car does not have a CD player after the fact. Huh. Go figure.)

Then, less than 12 hours before our scheduled departure, our hosts in Boston decided that they just didn’t want a dog in the house. We were knocked down by this decision, devastated if I am being honest. This is, you know, Keisha, our pup that woke us up in time to save us from The Fire. She is elderly, and as a Rescue she has strong feelings about being left in a kennel situation. We tried it once back in Johnson City for a couple of days, leaving her with our very competent Vet. He told us she hated every minute. At her current advanced age, we don’t think she’d survive it. Our trip was to be two weeks, no way could we ask anyone to watch her for that long. Craig and I both have pragmatic sides, and don’t blame his relatives for their decision – it’s their house and we totally respect that. It was the rug-pulled-out from under us aspect that was so hard.  And that we don’t get to be with our son Spencer on his 19th birthday, or see our other kids.  I like Craig’s side of the family – they are boisterous, and passionate, and fun.  I wanted to see them. I’d hoped to go to Salem and Gloucester, and experience Craig’s old stomping grounds in Boston with him.  And its cooler there. I had packed sweaters. I love wearing sweaters.

After a day of moping, and on my part occasional bouts of weeping, we did something odd for us – on the spur of the moment we found a hotel at the nearest beach from Dallas – Galveston Island – that takes dogs.  Within a half hour we had our already-packed bags in the car, repacked the road food, and drove 5 hours and here we are.  We were greeted at the bridge to Galveston by a gorgeous flight of pelicans, and the cries of seagulls and the swish and crash of waves. It’s hot here too, but there is a beautiful ocean and the air conditioning in the hotel works.  It’s a new place for both of us and we’ll go exploring as soon as I post this.  It doesn’t replace the trip we were so excited to go on for so very long, but at least we aren’t hanging out in the pit of despair. 

On the drive down, I was remarking to Craig about how much road trip food has changed for me. When I was a kid in Mom and Dad’s car going up to Colorado, they would pack cheese and tomato sandwiches and a thermos of chocolate milk.  Pretty tasty, and I liked stopping at rest areas and picnicking. I’ve carried that predilection into my adulthood, and inflicted it on my kids. In my 20’s, roadtripping with my friends, it was snack food like goldfish crackers, soda and beer (sue me).  With my kids, when they were little, and we were in the Frugal Zone, after we ate breakfast at the motel we were staying at, we’d make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the breakfast buffet, and take cartons of milk and orange juice too, and later eat that at – you guessed it — a rest stop. Very cost-effective. During the teen/swim meet era it was every Clif bar known to man, Gatoraide, peanut butter pretzels and chicken salad* and egg salad sandwiches.  Now as middle-aged folks it’s a little different.  Craig and I enjoyed lightly sweetened coconut strips and “Inner Peas” – baked peas – from Trader Joes.  And drank water with fizz sticks from Arbonne. We had salads from TJ’s to eat at the rest area.  Hey, we plan on living a long time and doing a lot more road trips, so Goldfish crackers are just out, as tasty as they are.  Inner Peas are a decent substitution. Sort of like tomatoes on the side of your eggs, rather than hash browns.  I recommend you give them a try. 


Craig used to work in Craft Services on movie shoots when he was in LA, and this recipe has delighted many a Star and Music celebrity.  It’s delicious. It makes a LOT.

1 big can or 3 smaller ones of canned chicken from Costco/Sams club, well-drained and excess water squeezed out.

2 diced green apples

1 bunch green onions, diced

Juice from 2 or 3 lemons depending on how juicy they are

Mayo – enough to make it not dry, but not too much so its gloopy.  To taste in other words.

You can add salt and pepper if you want, but the canned chicken is kind of salty.

Smoosh all of this together so the chunks of chicken are super fine.  You can add chopped grapes to this too, but I prefer just the green apples.


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