Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Backcountry Vegan - Prep for 4 Week Road Trip

In just 4 weeks, I hop on my motorcycle to begin a four week road trip that has three legs - going from Oakland to Southern California by motorcycle, then by moving van to NE Ohio and then return to California on motorcycle via Memphis, New Orleans, Austin, West Texas, the Grand Canyon, the Eastern Sierras and Tioga Pass.

Since this isn't quite the same as a backpacking or camping trip - I'll have plenty of opportunity to seek out local natural grocery stores & farm stands, plus I'll be staying with family and friends at least half of the nights on the road.

Clearly, bringing everything for 4 weeks would be impractical and unnecessary.  So, then what do I need to bring? Here are the limitations & opportunities I identified:
  • Space Limitations:  while I can carry more stuff in my bicycle panniers, and in the stuff sacks that I will attach to the luggage rack.  I'd rather bring tools & a spare tube than a gallon bag of bulky dried apples.
  • Weight Limitations: are not the same as backpacking but still a consideration.  I can pack liquids in stainless steel bottles that will be safer from crushing & heat than plastic that I took on the trail in April.
  •  Spoilage: same sort of issues as backpacking, but I will be traveling in much greater heat than Kauai in April.  Temperatures across the Midwest & South are pretty insane right now (yes, I will be doing some parts of Texas in the dark/pre-dawn). That means no matter how tempting those farmstand peaches - just buy enough to eat by the end of the next rest stop or that evening because they will not travel.
Preliminary Preparations:
  • Coffee cone & filters, assam tea, mesh strainer & chai spices - it's always nicer to make your own hot beverages at camp in the moring.
  • Pasta, couscous & quinoa - enough for several meals, easily replenished at the bulk section of a natural grocery store.
  • Oatmeal, dried fruit (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, raisins, cantaloupe, persimmons) & granulated maple sugar -  yes, it will be much easier to make oatmeal than to wait around for quinoa for breakfast.
  • Dried veggies (squash, onions, peppers, tomatoes, porcini & shitake mushrooms, carrots, turnip, beet) - about 1 gallon bag of the dried veggies & fruit in their own wax paper bags.
  • Road's End Organics gravy packets
  • Fresh garlic
  • Olive oil & Meyer lemon zest
Meals that I anticipate making for myself will include pretty easy stuff like:
  • pasta & marinara: a small can of sauce along with my dried veggies & pasta makes a pretty good meal!
  • mushroom & veggie gravy on mashed potatoes - maybe with seitan sausage or chunks from the store means I can have seitan for breakfast the next morning, too!
  • veggie soup with udon noodles or pasta & bread
  • roasted or veggies from local farm stand, cooked with my spices & olive oil - great sandwich fixings for lunch the next day
  • "Special of the Day" - you never know what you'll find in local groceries and it is summer - I might end up with the sweetest corn, or giant peaches that I can grill over the fire at the campsite. 
Recommendations? If you know of any good recipes, restaurants or natural grocery stores along my route - leave me a comment here.  I'm especially interested in veg-friendly restaurant recommendations for the east side of Cleveland, Ohio; Nashville & Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; Austin & Lubbock, TX. 

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