Peanut butter and bagels

One time, years ago, we we heading out on a multi-state trip. Our children were just becoming adults and we were making a trip with just the two of us. We were tent camping on that trip, trying to travel light and not spend too much money. Our first stop was with family in Montana before heading down through Wyoming and Utah. As is often the case when visiting family, we got a late start and decided to head out without having stocked up on groceries. We had a few things with us and planned to stop at a grocery store to stock up on other things. Running late, we stopped for gas at a store that had a few convenience items. There weren’t many groceries available, but we got a jar of peanut butter. We had just been given a bag of bagels, and we knew that would get us on the road. A couple of hours later we stopped for lunch by a beautiful mountain lake, a lake we had visited on our honeymoon, and had a delicious meal of peanut butter and bagels.

Ever since that trip, we have made peanut butter and bagels a staple of our travels. A bag of bagels is a half dozen, which is just right for three days’ lunch for the two of us. Peanut butter and bagels travel extremely well. You don’t have to worry about protecting the bread from being crushed when thrown in with other groceries. You don’t need a cooler to keep the peanut butter. Add a little water or ice tea, which we do carry in a cooler and it is a meal that can be eaten at any rest stop or wayside.

When we travel we occasionally eat meals from restaurants. In this time of pandemic carry-out seems to be the norm. But we can make a lot of miles and go a lot of days with few supplies. When we are pulling our camper, we have a refrigerator and have access to many of the groceries and supplies we would have at home. When we do not have our camper, we usually take along a small cooler. A couple of half gallon milk cartons, rinsed out and filled with water then put in the freezer will keep our cooler going for at least three days - about the same amount of time a bag of bagels will last us and about the same amount of time we take to drive the distance to where our son and his family live. Stick a carton of yogurt in the cooler and a box of cereal in the food box and we have breakfasts and lunches for the trip.

I doubt that many other couples would consider peanut butter bagels as a romantic lunch, but we’ve been traveling this way for so many years and we have so many great memories of trips together that stopping for lunch puts us in a good mood wherever we are traveling. These days we don’t travel quite as many miles per day and we try to get in 15 or 20 minutes of walking with each stop so that we don’t end the day being stiff from the travel, so we try to look for rest areas or wayside stops that have a bit of room to take a hike. Often places that are labeled “fishing access” have sort trails alongside rivers or creeks that are interesting. Yesterday we stopped in a place where there was a narrow path through heavy underbrush leading toward a river. The trail wasn’t very long, so we wandered around on as many paths as we could find for a few minutes. As we were walking, I commented that we were being adventurous walking through underbrush when the rest area we just left had bear-resistant garbage cans. We did not see a bear, but thought that Bearmouth was an appropriate name for the place. That conversation got us to thinking about another rest area where we have stopped many times that has a sign advising people to stay on the sidewalks because there have been rattlesnakes in the area. We have never seen a snake in that place, but wonder if the snakes can read the signs and know to avoid the sidewalks. It seems to me like there could be some cool mornings when a sunny sidewalk would be a place a snake might seek out to warm up in the sun.

We’ve avoided dangerous encounters with animals in our travels. A bit of common sense and some understanding of wild creatures doesn’t take a lot of thinking. Usually when we read of people getting into trouble with animals, we wonder what they were thinking. Yesterday we noted at a woman had gotten off her motorcycle and walked into a herd of buffalo to take a picture of a calf. An adult animal, perhaps the mother of the calf, gored her and swung her around leaving her unconscious on the ground. We don’t know the details, but we know that buffalo are a lot faster than most people expect and that they are powerful animals. We also know that the area where the incident occurred has lots of signs warning tourists about the danger of leaving your vehicle when you are around buffalo. Still, on a fairly regular basis, we read of tourists who are injured when they think the rules don’t apply to them.

A little common sense goes a long way. There are plenty of wild animals that are best observed from a safe distance. Most don’t attack humans unless humans get into their way or appear to be threatening them or their offspring. Snakes don’t chase people. If you remain aware and look where you step, you’ll usually avoid a dangerous encounter.

My advice is to grab a jar of peanut butter and a bag of bagels. Get a reusable bottle to carry your water and head out. We live in a beautiful world with lots to see. Adventure is all around. And you don’t need a lot of money or fancy equipment to have a good time as long as you are willing to do a bit of walking.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!