You can learn a lot from a cat. For example, how to make the most out of a 19-hour nap. Or perhaps how to disembowel prey. The one thing I’ve learned from my big, overstuffed cat, Bailey, is to never, ever pass up an opportunity for a good meal.
Bailey is the ultimate foodie. He also possesses an impeccable sense of endurance. I’ve known him to feast for upwards of 30 minutes, even if the bulk of that time is spent smacking his empty bowl across the kitchen floor. You see, Bailey also believes he is an expert conjurer and that his little ritual will result in a fresh bounty of fish magically appearing in his bowl.
But as I mentioned, Bailey never misses the chance to eat. He’ll often force himself away from his half-filled bowl and then take a brief, 30-second walk around the living room. Then, as he passes in front of the kitchen, he’ll spy his bowl and come to a screeching halt as if to say “Hey! Food! Yeah, I guess I could eat.” He’ll then proceed to devour the rest of his food…and then whack the bowl around. This, minus the bowl-whacking bit, is pretty much my eating style, which is what makes my road trips so dangerous.
For one, while my road trips usually have set arrival times, I like to pad my travel time to account for various unplanned detours to see weird roadside oddities I encounter along the way. Let’s face it; I’ve never been one to pass up the opportunity to see the world’s largest pickled egg or a Crybaby Bridge. So there’s usually very little time, at least on the way out, to stop for a good meal. My wife, Steph, is always looking out for me, though, and on trips she can’t make with me, she always packs me an official Snack Bag. She’s gotten so good at it that I believe The Ghosts of Ohio members have unofficially named her the official Den Mother since Steph’s always making sure we have enough snacks.
But Snack Bags can be dangerous things to have sitting in the passenger seat, especially when you’re flying solo. Even when you’re trying to eat healthy, it’s pretty easy to consume an entire bag (or 3) of rice cakes at 3:00 in the morning when you’re driving down some dark back road in the middle of nowhere. And because I know that Courtney is one day going to want to ride roller coasters, I’ve made the decision to try and eat somewhat healthy things while I’m on the road…or at least in the car.
For this adventure, I’ve settled on peanut butter PowerBars and Blueberry Crisp Clif Bars. The Clif Bars are a new addition, and they are actually quite tasty. Both are actually small enough to fit into my fanny pack (yes, I wear a fanny pack on investigations), which is helpful when you’re sitting in a dark room at 2:00 am and your last meal was over 8 hours ago.
Now, once the investigation is over or I’m heading home, that’s when all bets are off and I like to sit down and enjoy a nice meal. Whenever possible, I try to avoid the chain restaurants. For me, I think that if you’re going to visit a new town, then you need to experience all the local flavor, including their restaurants. Of course, finding a restaurant open at all hours of the night is sometimes hard, by often worth it. Some of the most amazing memories were made at some of these late-night establishments. For example, there was the time when my wife and I shared a salad whose only ingredient appeared to be scallions. Or the time The Ghosts of Ohio members created a literal work of art using a canoe-like pickle.
There are going to be a lot of road trips for me with this new adventure. And I’ll be eating fair share of road food, both in and out of the car. I’ll keep you guys posted as to what culinary delights I find along the way, but feel free to pass along any must-eat recommendations. My guess is that when all is said and done, I will have consumed more food on this road trip than any other I’ve been on. Who knows? I might even whack a bowl or two in Bailey’s honor.