Another Day in the Country
The goodie bag
© Another Day in the Country
What’s a road trip without a goodie bag?
It’s a bag that has yummy things to nibble on like Red Vines, Whoppers, Skittles, Goldfish, M&Ms — a bag full of junk food, quite frankly. A goodie bag has all the things you should not be eating if you are watching your weight, but it’s part of the fun of a trip.
My son-in-law had planned, hoped, and wished for at least one stop a day at a lovely restaurant with great food for the evening meal that people insist on calling dinner in California.
It didn’t happen.
We did find a highly recommended Mexican restaurant our first night out.
It was nice. It had good salsa — that always gets good marks from me — and big portions.
From then on, we were pretty grateful to find fast food.
Our third day, we saw the Grand Teton mountains. They were covered in a smoky haze from West Coast fires. The mountains still were majestic, but we were getting hungry.
My daughter, Jana, decided to fire up a camp stove and make some ramen.
Our teenager was starving.
“I’m not sure we should do it right here,” Richard said nervously. “It’s not exactly designated as a camping area.”
“If not now, when?” my daughter retorted.
She pulled out a huge ice chest that had a dozen eggs in it from Dagfinnr’s hens in California.
Jana lit the stove, put on a kettle that had been used to play a game in the back seat of the car, and filled it with water. We waited.
“Does it take longer to boil in high altitude?” Richard asked, wanting to get the cooking done as quickly as possible
We all know that a watched pot doesn’t boil, but eventually Jana put noodles in the pot, sprinkled in contents of seasoning packets, and dropped four eggs into the boiling broth.
We actually were going to have a cooked a meal after hauling all that equipment.
We didn’t have proper dishes or spoons, but we did have chopsticks.
I ate my noodles in a styrofoam cup from a motel we stayed at the night before. Dagfinnr had his in a coffee cup. Richard decided he wasn’t all that hungry, and Jana ate out of the pan.
From then on, we ate pizza, Subway sandwiches, Taco Bell, and egg McMuffins from McDonald’s.
One morning, we stopped at McDonald’s.
Richard was driving. He doesn’t eat breakfast.
Jana was having yogurt, so just the teenager and the grandma were ordering food.
“I want an egg McMuffin meal with no meat and coffee with one cream,” I told Richard.
The intercom crackled to life, “An egg McMuffin meal with no meat and a coffee with one cream, please,” Richard said.
“What?” said a teenager over the intercom. “Could you say that again?”
Richard repeated it.
“An egg McMuffin no meal?” the employee asked.
“No meat,” Richard repeated as the speaker crackled.
“Oh! Was that a coffee with one bean?” the faltering teenager asked again.
“One cream,” Richard said again, muttering Korean swear words under his breath.
I started to laugh.
Now Richard was really embarrassed. Someone was laughing, which is a Korean no-no even though this was getting funnier and funnier.
“We’d also like a sausage biscuit meal with orange juice,” he said.
“I’m afraid we don’t have that,” said the voice in the speaker.
“It’s right here on your menu,” Richard said with strained patience. “Could you repeat our order, please?”
The employee did, adding, “Did you want cream in that second coffee?”
We’d ordered orange juice.
At the window, the manager gave us our order.
“Sorry about that,” he said, “Hectic day, new recruits, first real job,” on another day in the country.