Author Topic: touring without "eating out"  (Read 6492 times)

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Offline sspeed

touring without "eating out"
« on: April 10, 2013, 11:52:53 am »
A friend of mine and I are planning on 11 day tour from Denver to Iowa, going across Nebraska.  I have about everything tentatively planned, but a little lost on the food.

I did read this post:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=11503.0

It was a good start, but I didn't want to threadjack.

My friend has challenged me to do the trip without eating at restaurants.  I really don't care either way, so I'm up for the challenge.  I'm just concerned that we'll be getting enough calories and not getting completely bored with the food selection.

My friend is going to try the MountainHouse meals.

http://www.mountainfoodstorage.com/

I looked and they are about 150-220 calories per packet.

I have no idea if this is right, but I ride fully loaded to work and back about 1-4 times a week, average twice a week over the course of a year.  I average about 145 bpm for a heart rate (my max is a silly 199).  The Garmin HR says I burn about 650 calories per hour when doing that, can that really be right?  It's consistent when I look back at the huge log of rides I have to work and back. 

Here's an example ride to work...

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/295157214

I'm concerned about getting enough quality food if we do grocery stores and gas stations only.  What are some suggestions for success in this case?
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 12:39:38 pm by sspeed »

Offline paddleboy17

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2013, 01:10:39 pm »
I have not done freeze dried since my back packing class, but back then they all tasted the same, salty.

My buddy and I do week long trips and eat pretty good.  We always carry an extra days worth of food, in case we cannot resupply.  If you want to explore the wonderful world of real food, here are some brief tips.

1. Aluminum and Ti cookware are great for boiling water, but real cooking takes stainless steel.  We use an MSR Alpine 2 pot kit, and a small GSI teapot.
2. 2 stoves are great, one for cooking and one for heating water.  We use a pair on Trangia Alcohol stoves (but not with their pots).  There are other stoves out there, just read the threads...
3. Foil pouch chicken is great.  You can also get salmon and that is not bad.  You can decide about everything else, but we found canned shrimp to be wretched. I was raised Roman Catholic and I am permanently scarred by canned or foil pouch tuna fish (my Protestant wife loves the stuff).
4. You can make a great marinara sauce from a small tin of corned beef, just know that the sodium is high.  Maybe just as high as freeze dried food.
5. You can do a lot with whole wheat pasta and whole grains.
6. Oatmeal, grits, and cream of wheat are the staples of breakfast.
7. Peanut butter, jelly, and tortillas travel well.
8. Condensed canned milk and canned parmesan cheese is the basis for great white sauces.  You can get a couple of days out of the parmesan cheese before you have to toss it as garbage.
9. Plan to resupply regularly, maybe even daily.  I once resupplied from a party store on Cape Breton Island that mostly sold beer, but I made a fabulous dinner from Rice-A-Roni, canned peas, and canned chicken, and promptly exhausted their food section.

Regardless of what kind of food you carry, practice bear bagging.  It works for varmints too.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 01:15:29 pm by paddleboy17 »
Danno

Offline staehpj1

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2013, 01:23:15 pm »
My suggestion is to skip the freeze dried meals.  They are expensive, not especially appetizing, and generally not very available along the way.

Never carry more than a couple days of meals and buy daily along the way.  Do carry a bit of emergency food to carry you over, just in case.  It really isn't that hard to find better food than Mountain House meals even at gas station mini marts in my opinion.  There will be times when fresh veggies are scarce, but doing without for a day or two or eating some canned or frozen ones isn't the end of the world.  One thing that I often do is pack a bigger supply of from home is freeze dried peas for those times when veggies are scarce.

We found that we ate a lot on tour.  Possibly as much as 5000 calories per day when cranking out long miles, but I never kept close enough track to be confident with the accuracy of that number.

BTW: I think my GPS estimated calorie numbers are generally too high.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 04:12:46 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2013, 01:34:11 pm »
Freeze dried food is emergency rations, in my book.  Take some for the day when it's getting dark and you're miles from nowhere, but have adequate water.  After a long day's exercise, a two-person pouch is about right for one person.

My daughter introduced me to "hippie pasta."  Pretty good; start with pasta, boil it, add vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned) to taste, add a pack of chicken or can of tuna, and some cheese or Velveeta.  Vary proportions of ingredients to taste.  Maybe substitute rice for pasta.  Plenty of cheap calories in pasta or rice, more than you'll get from the freeze-dried meal.  Finish off with an apple, or a pint of blackberries or cherries.

Offline staehpj1

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2013, 04:27:11 pm »
Freeze dried food is emergency rations, in my book.

I agree, but they are not all that great even for that.  I have carried them for that and wished I had something else when I did use them.

Personally I'd rather have a pack or ramen noodles and a foil pack of tuna or chicken.  I find that if you cook the ramen noodles in just enough water that it cooks almost dry when the noodles are tender.  I also add freeze dried peas in the beginning, if I have them.  That or a can of peas can be added at the end if I have them.  When using this method I add the flavor packet in the beginning since I do not discard any liquid.  At the end I add the tuna and butter, margarine, or olive oil if I have them.  I sometimes stir in some chunks of hard cheese (I like extra sharp cheddar), again if I happen to have them.  Those ingredients can be easily replaced along the way if used, except maybe the freeze dried peas.

Offline sspeed

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 04:49:48 pm »
These are all great suggestions and I appreciate them.  What is a foil pack of chicken?  Is that something you can buy at the grocery store or something that is made?  Apologies for the dumb question, I want to try some of these out ahead of time.

Offline John Nelson

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2013, 05:02:33 pm »
I carry a couple of energy bars for emergency food, and I really hope I won't need them. Other than that, everything I carry and eat is bought in stores along the way. There's no need to carry much more than it takes to get to the next town (or maybe the town after that in case everything is closed in the next town).

Offline staehpj1

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2013, 05:17:46 pm »
What is a foil pack of chicken?
I was referring to the tuna and chicken that comes in a foil/mylar pouch with very little to no liquid,  Much lighter than a can.  Salmon and Spam also come in those.

Offline sspeed

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2013, 05:23:16 pm »
Ahh, thank you.

For stove I do have an MSR DragonFly (can run on unleaded) and was planning on also making a soda can stove, so the two combined might be good for cooking and water.

I have a stainless steel pot set that I wasn't planning on taking, but you make a good point about real cooking.  It's been awhile since our mountain bike trips to Moab, but it's a real bummer to burn a hole in the bottom of an aluminum pan and be stuck with none.


Offline RussSeaton

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2013, 05:32:28 pm »
I can't add much but I'll try.  I know you said you wanted to avoid restaurants, but maybe you can fudge that a bit.  Convenience stores and many grocery stores have ready to eat food available.  Hot dogs usually at the convenience stores.  Fried chicken and pasta salad and mashed potatoes at the grocery stores.  Maybe supplement your cooking with this food.  As far as cooking, rice and pasta are good for carbohydrates.  Canned tuna and chicken are good for protein.  Add a can of vegetables too.  Macaroni and cheese boxes are good and easy to cook.  Add a can of tuna or chicken into them.  You would need two or three boxes for enough food.  Rice, pasta, mac and cheese, tuna should all be easy to find.  Maybe even convenience stores carry them.  Don't even need a grocery store.

Offline matthewjsteger

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2013, 07:13:28 pm »
Depends on how "remote" your ride is, I guess.  During my TransAm ride last fall, I remember that food was freaking everywhere!  I also remember thinking it was odd that so many other cyclists I met along the way seemed to pack enough food for two weeks worth of backcountry backpacking.  I would suggest skipping the "no restaurant" approach, as there are plenty of lovely crossroad diners throughout each of those three states which you'll probably regret not stopping for (for at least chit-chat, if for nothing else).  Good luck!

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2013, 09:02:26 pm »
I carry a couple of energy bars for emergency food, and I really hope I won't need them.

There was a joke a few years back that I really liked:

PowerBars are great.  You can use them as handlebar tape, and if you get hungry, lean down and bite off a piece!

Offline Westinghouse

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2013, 06:17:05 am »
I would suggest you keep fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet every day, when possible. Fruits that are enclosed in a skin can be eaten uncooked. When it comes to carrots, skin them and you're safe. If you have a stove and pot, boil water and just dip fresh vegetables in for say 10 seconds which should be long enough to kill any pathogens, but too short a time to damage nutrients.

Offline staehpj1

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2013, 10:14:46 am »
I would suggest skipping the "no restaurant" approach, as there are plenty of lovely crossroad diners throughout each of those three states which you'll probably regret not stopping for (for at least chit-chat, if for nothing else).
+1
Eating a meal a day in diners is often a big part of the fun for me.  It is a great opportunity to meet the locals and I enjoy diner food as well.

Offline DaveB

Re: touring without "eating out"
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2013, 10:19:48 am »
The "no restaurants" approach is very doable but I would NEVER try to subsist on freeze-dried meals unless starvation was the only alternative.  As mentioned above they are expensive, barely tolerable and not very filling.  Your buddy made a foolish bet.  By comparison you could save money by eating only in restaurants.

That said, grocery stores have a huge variety of ready to eat and easy to prepare items and many have hot food and deli counters where you can eat well at moderate cost.