Author Topic: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil  (Read 10309 times)

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Offline knolltop

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Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« on: May 04, 2011, 04:39:41 pm »
Thought I'd take the boiling gear with on my NT xcountry.  But just completed 4-day warmup tour and found that using that gear was not appealing.  In the morning I was antsy to get going and in eve did not really look forward to the "cooking" process (I'm not fond of cooking ...  :o).

So I'm seriously considering leaving the cook equip at home.

So my "perfect" eating plan is to eat something quick in morn before breaking camp, stop for BIG breakfast, lunch would be some kinda sandwiches/trailmix/fruit/etc. on road, and dinner would be something not requiring cooking.  If bkfast place not found then, hopefully, lunch would become the BIG meal.

For those of ya who tour without the cooking equipment, please share your experience of what foods worked for you and/or eating patterns worked for ya.

Thanks!
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Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 06:22:20 pm »
Cooking equipment is sort of like camping equipment, IMHO.  You can make it without carrying either, but there are going to be some nights when you're really, really glad to have it.

We normally broke out fast with oatmeal, cocoa, and Poptarts.  I quickly learned that was only good for 15 miles or so.  The problem I see with your plan is that there's stretches, particularly in the west, where there really isn't a place to get supplies (be it one of those ghastly bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits, or a real breakfast) for many miles.

OTOH, we passed a couple who had planned out their entire NT trip and made reservations for each night, so I suppose it is possible.  They figured they could average 15-30 miles extra per day since they weren't carrying camping equipment.  So you could perhaps plan your trip such that you were always at or near a place for breakfast and supper, and carry lunch as needed.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2011, 06:29:27 pm »
I'd miss it, but you should do what makes you happy.  You can always change your mind along the way.  If you leave it behind maybe have someone who knows what to mail to you if you change your mind.  If you take it to start with you can always mail it home.

Offline litespeed

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2011, 11:04:01 pm »
I have never packed cooking gear and have never gone hungry. There is most always somewhere to stop in the morning for a meal. A favorite trick of mine is to stop at a Subway in the afternoon, eat half of a footlong and take the other half to the campground to eat in the evening. It's surprising the good, or at least passable, eating places you will find in the teeniest, dingiest little towns (except in the deep south). I also keep an eye out for fry sections in convenience stores. It's often not fit to eat but sometimes you get lucky. I rarely pass up an oriental buffet or a TA truck stop. I avoid Allsup's convenience stores and Chick-fil-a and Huddle House restaurants. I also avoid those miserable little shrink-wrapped white bread sandwiches they sell in convenience stores (the culinary equivalent of portland cement). I'll hit a hamburger chain in a pinch - Wendy's preferred. If it looks like a long stretch of nothing ahead, I pack a hoagie and maybe some fruit.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2011, 09:42:27 am by litespeed »

Offline knolltop

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Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 05:20:44 am »
I avoid ... Huddle House restaurants.
Avoid Huddle House???  Unbelievable!
Guess that means Waffle House would be no-no too .........  ;D
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Offline bogiesan

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 08:20:25 am »
A titanium cup and an alcohol burner and a 4 or 8 ounce squeeze bottle do not take up much room or mass. Powdered coffee, tea, or instant oats/grits are also compact. If you get pinned down in a storm or wake to frost, a hot beverage or porridge will be welcome.

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I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline litespeed

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 10:17:07 am »
"Quote from: litespeed on May 04, 2011, 08:04:01 pm
I avoid ... Huddle House restaurants.

Avoid Huddle House???  Unbelievable!
Guess that means Waffle House would be no-no too ........."

No. As a matter of fact I like Waffle House restaurants. The service is good, especially if you sit at the counter, and the food is pretty good. But I have had some really bad experiences in Huddle House restaurants - overcharging, slow service, weird personnel, etc. - and refuse to set foot in them.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 12:29:12 pm »
FYI, Wal Mart sells these excellent large prepared salads for about $3.98. They also sell glass-jarred citrus salads that are pretty good. They sell them around here anyway, and have been doing so for years. That's no guarantee they sell them everywhere, but I have found them far and wide. It's good food and costs less that if you put the salads together yourself because of the lack of refrigeration on a bike trip.

Offline tonythomson

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 05:42:04 pm »
I always carry nuts and dried fruit plus a couple of protein bars just in case I am unable to get any food in the evening.  Very rare that I havebeen unable to get a substantial meal along the route.

 If there are any stretches which are unlikely to find fodder then plan for that by carrying dried noodles which can be eaten as such.  Not wonderful but I've survived for a good while on them.  You won't have that problem in USA. Carry some tinned fish or something that can be eaten straight from the tin cold.   

You wont starve for a couple of days without finding a restaurant/food store.  Just have plenty of water.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 06:33:13 pm »
At Wendy's a baked potato with sour cream and chives, a side salad, and a junior bacon cheeseburger with water costs $4.02 with tax here.

Offline aggie

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2011, 08:42:23 pm »
I've done several tours and never taken my cooking equipment.  I also don't relish cooking at the end of the day.  I've never gone hungry even in the west.  I like to stop at the little hole in the wall places for breakfast.  I've had some great meals that were very inexpensive.  It is also a good way to meet the locals.  As was previously mentioned I like to stop at Subway for lunch.  They seem to be found just about everywhere (including gas stations).  I then find an interesting looking place in my overnight spot for dinner.  I try to avoid the chain restaurants when I can. 

I do carry a couple of MRE's for those times when I won't be able to find a place to eat.  (Like Langtry, TX on the ST).  They are quick, easy to prepare and provide enough calories to get me down the road.  May not be the best but at least I don't have to worry about them spoiling.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2011, 09:09:25 am »
Are you going west to east on AC's Northern Tier?  If so, be advised that after Newhalem, WA, where there is a small store, there ain't nothing in the way of food until Mazama, which is 60 miles away, and most of that is up hill.  About 7 miles east of Newhalem is Colonial Creek Camprgound.  You can get water there, but that's it.

What happens when your pefect plan does not take shape?  You get socked in my weather no where near an eating establishment.  The restaurant you were expecting to encounter is closed or went up in flames a few weeks before.  Being dependent on fixed places for dinner could limit your choices of overnight locales and/or require you to eat dinner before the day's riding is done.  Unless I am doing something short and familiar, I always carry some emergency pasta, and olive oil is part of my normal kitchen. so I am set in a pinch.

If you go without cooking equipment, make sure you tip your server well.

Offline devaraya

Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2011, 10:27:15 am »
We rode across country on the Lewis and Clark and Northern Tier.  The only "cooking" equipment we had was a plug in coil water heater because I love tea and thought a nice cup of tea could warm a day when we had electricity.  We did use it some, but we could have done without it.  We only needed one hot meal a day and carried other food.  Instant oatmeal softens just fine in any temperature of water.  Fruit bars and protein bars work well.  And as others have said, some of these small towns have fantastic breakfasts that are pretty inexpensive.  These were some of our best memories.  We loved talking to the people at the "spit and whittle clubs" we met at these small restaurants in the mornings.  The Adventure Cycling maps are great to show you when you have to stock up a little more on food to carry with you.  These days you can get bag salads, carrots, individual peanut butters and whole wheat flour tortillas that all transport well.  We did have two dehydrated meals with us for emergencies, but did not use them.  This is an adventure after all, it is OK to get out of your comfort zone a bit.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2011, 08:49:13 pm »
One thing worth considering in the "To cook, or not to cook?" debate:
Are you a "I can and will eat anything/everything" omnivore, or is your diet more selective and limited?

If you are, I can see how it can be easy to go without a cooking setup and rely on stores and restaurants. But if you have dietary restrictions or food allergies, it can be tricky in many areas of the country. I'm a vegetarian. Bringing along a simple camp stove and all that gives me options in areas where veggie eating is slim pickings. When I biked across central and eastern Oregon last year using the TransAm route, oftentimes the ONLY thing I could eat on a menu besides an iceberg lettuce salad was grilled cheese and fries. That gets old fast. My girlfriend is vegan, and I doubt she would have been satisfied with iceberg lettuce sans dressing.

One of my favorite memories from our tour last summer around the Olympic Peninsula was making pancakes in camp. We like to cook, so it's not that big of a deal for us to spend the extra time to make a nice breakfast before rolling for the day.

I know that a camping stove takes up room, but not that much. I'll gladly take cooking equipment on my tours.

Offline knolltop

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Re: Gotta eat, but don't want to cook/boil
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2011, 10:08:40 pm »
Thanks to all for taking the time to provide the feedback.

I'm taking some cook gear, but less than originally packed.

If I find not using it then USPS will get some of my business.
+-+ Michael +-+