On The Road
First of all, I must apologize for
the fact that this page is not destined to be pretty and filled with flashy
images. I have a lot of info that I want to give, but my bum hand won't allow
me to do much more than frantically type... in other words, I'm not going to
push myself making cute graphics and doing a lot of fun design stuff. That being
said, here I go!
I've been vegan for almost 5 years
now, for for that same period, I've also had a job that has me driving all over
the US for a couple of months at a time. As a result, I've become somewhat of
an expert at Vegan Road Travel within the US. So, I decided to use this page
as a means to share what I have learned with other vegan wanderers.
This Spring (2003), I will be travelling
again. Last Fall, I kept a Road Diary online,
and I really got into it. This time, however, I decided to take a twist on it
and make it a Vegan Road Diary. I think
it is also going to somehow be linked up with vegan.com,
which I think is pretty exciting. So, that is my big plan, which will be happening
on here mostly between March and June, but I started it briefIy when I was in
Berkeley in January, so there is already a little something there. also really
need to update my Vegan Restaurant Page,
which I sadly have not touched in a long time, and I have made many wonderul
vegan discoveries during the past year and a half especially. I will be expanding
upon it much over the next few months.
However, I'm going to get this all
started with some of my handy hints on how to eat vegan whilst travelling in
the US, and NOT have to survive on french fries and plain side salads.
Oh, and I took that photo in Hamelin,
Germany... I was very happy to find that....
Tips For Being Vegan AND On the Road
- Do research!
This is the single most important
thing I have learned. Most people can jump into a car and drive off, knowing
that when they get hungry, there will surely be a McDonald's within 2 miles
of their location where they can feast upon filth that is under the guise
of being a meal. Alas, this is not an option for us vegan types... we have
to think carefully about our food situation or face starvation, especially
if we are going to be anywhere in the middle of the country. In order to make
sure this doesn't happen to me, this is what I do before every trip I take
that will have me more than 50 miles from home.....
Stock up when you
can! I always have at
least 2 bags of food in the car with me at all times, because you never know
when you are going to face an emergency situation. And when you have your
handy list of Health Food Stores with you, you can easily stock up at least
once a day. I have driven across the country over 10 times now and I can tell
you that it's actually pretty hard to drive more than 500 miles and NOT hit
a city that has a Health Food Store in it. All of the larger cites will have
co-ops, but the chains like Whole Foods and Wild Oats are pretty ubiquitious
these days. I have found Health Food Stores in the seemingly most unlikely
of places. Oh, but you might want to call places first... i've been personally
pretty sad at the doors of several closed Health Food Stores. Anyway, here
are the tried and true things that I stock up on whenever I get the chance:
- Get on the internet -
I get online and search for lists of vegetarian and vegan restaurants for
EVERY city I will be visiting or even driving through. This may sound excessive,
but I would literally starve if I didn't go through the effort. I hit sites
such as Happy Cow and I print out
page after page after page of restaurants and health food stores, which
I carry in a big 'ol binder.
- Bring a travel guide
- I have a copy of Let's Go USA in my car at all times. While it is not
primarily a vegetarian guide, it does always make an effort to include veggie-friendly
places. This book has saved my arse in cases when I end up somewhere that
I wasn't planning on being. For example, I found myself in Omaha last Fall,
which I didn't anticipate happening, and thanks to Let's Go USA, I was able
to have a lovely meal at what is perhaps the ONLY vegan-friendly place in
the whole state of Nebraska.
What to do in a Vegan
Emergency - Here is what
to do if you find yourself hungry, low on food and you have no idea where
- Drinks - water, or course,
since we don't want to get dehydrated, but I'm also a big fan of Honest
Tea (I don't like to have to resort to the Snapple or Lipton's crap that
you'll find at a gas station) and Cafe Westbraes (for the late night drives).
Also, I'd reccomend always having individual serving size soy milks on you...
you never know when you will urgently need one for coffee or a bowl of cereal.
- Sandwiches - I don't
bring a cooler with me, so I tend to only buy for a day at a time (unless
the weather is perfect to make my car be an overnight refridgerator). Almost
every store will have vegan, pre-made sandwiches for you, or a deli where
someone will make you one. If this is not the case, you can always fall
back on the Bagel and Hummus trick... and if you're in a place so remote
that even hummus doesn't exist, hell, you can always go the peanut butter
- Produce - You have to
watch out that you're not living on vegan junk alone and you keep some raw
produce going in you. My personal staples are apples, bananas and baby carrots,
all of which keep pretty well and you can easily eat without a mess while
driving a car.
- The Basics - You always
need to have a decent supply of these things to fall back on.... crackers,
nuts, raisins, Cliff Bars, instant cups of food (they make em ranging from
soups to beand and rice to pasta to couscous), and if you're like me, plenty
of back up Tropical Source chocolate bars.
- Determine what your best
vegan options are - If possible, try and situate yourself in the part
of town that will most likely be vegetarian friendly, such as near a college,
or in a progressive part of town, if there is one. In my experience, when
you start seeing rainbow flags, a women's bookstore, or a "New Age"
store, a vegan meal is never far off.
- Ask the locals - People
can be damn handy. Ideally, you should talk to someone from your target
audience, like asking a worker at he co-op where a good restaurant is, but
even a random stranger on the street is likely to be able to at least get
you started in the right direction.
- Go ethnic - If you can
find a Japanese, Thai, Indian, etc. place, chances are they will be able
to hook you up with something vegan
- If all else fails, make do
with what you have
- Even if you're stuck in a place as anti-vegan as, say, a Cracker Barrel,
at least you can get a baked potato, a salad and some applesauce (yes, I'm
speaking from experience here).. and you can hopefully do better at the
next meal. Even a gas station convenience store will have SOMETHING you
can eat, be it a bag of nuts or a bagel.
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