Saturday, August 4, 2012

Roadside: Food

One question we often get is: “what do you eat?”  This is best answered by our friend Evan, who cycled Canada a few years ago: “everything.”  As I have said before, everything tastes good, even things that I would not ever buy in a grocery store.  There’s a lot to say on this point:

Our daily meal plan looks like this:
Making sandwiches outside a Safeway, Abbotsford.
  • First Breakfast, where we slept: porridge, peanut butter and jam sandwich on whole wheat bread, and banana
  • Second Breakfast, two hours later: deli meat, cheese and mustard on a kaiser, and an apple
  • First Lunch, two more hours down the road: back to PB&J, with some more fruit
  • Second Lunch, subject to availability and length of day: maybe we found a restaurant and ordered the special or lunch buffet
  • Dinner, where we will sleep: spaghetti and tomato sauce, with a chopped pepper and some precooked meat product, maybe with hot dogs and cereal
  • Supper, before bed: subject to proximity to stores, two bowls of cereal with 2% milk
  • Snacks: throughout the day, throw in trail mix, fruit, and many granola bars
  • Drinks: in the most typical weather, we can range from 300mL-1L per hour of water.  Lately, with our support we have been consuming about one can of Gatorade powder per day
  • Snacks: candy, chips, cookies, crackers with cheese
This is what and how we eat.  North of Merritt.
We stop at grocery stores as often as possible; it is necessary at least once per day, but subject to proximity to our route and remoteness of location.  We buy deli meat for one meal at a time, but cheese stays around much longer, sweating in the hot panniers.  We purchase mostly apples and bananas, because they are durable for transport.  Only if we are eating at the grocery store do we try peaches or berries.  Over time, we have become quite efficient at walking into an unfamiliar grocery store, dividing, and conquering.  We always prefer a Loblaw’s-owned chain, because they unanimously make the best cookies, trail mix, and chips.  We also signed up for a Safeway card and saved a bundle throughout the Prairies.  
Fast food a few times per week.  DQ, Moose Jaw.
We eat in restaurants approximately one meal per day.  
On the most remote stretches, we carry enough for probably two full days, to be careful.  We always carry at least one meal ahead, and have never had to resort to a meal of exclusively granola bars and trail mix.  

Special Treats
Facilities permitting, we take advantage to spice up our menu.  In a hostel, we might do a taco night and bacon & eggs in the morning.  Our host families have been incredible to us, usually with evening and morning meals well beyond our own standards.  Our ten days with the support teams have been incredible for us, in terms of taking on the responsibility of finding and preparing food.
In terms of fast food, we have eaten at Tim’s the most, with McDonald’s a close second.  We have tried many small local restaurants, but again this is all highly subject to location.  At the end of long, hard, frustrating days, we reward ourselves with fast food.

Kyle eats like a machine.  We are all eating a lot, but Kyle takes it to a whole extra level.  We split costs on all common meals, and so Kyle is forced to supplement the equal-portioned meals with granola bars.  I don’t know the exact number per day, but it is probably in the 6-12 range.  He’s always first for seconds, and can pack down the leftovers.  Every once in a while, when he isn’t the first one finished, we take a moment and reflect on the gravity of the situation.  

Tyler with the energy to cook, after our worst Day 10.
Tyler is the cook.  He carries most of the food and takes the initiative, especially when it comes to firing up the stove and actually cooking.  I do a little bit, Kyle does a lot more, but it is really Tyler’s domain.  Over time, our meals have become more elaborate, adding for example, meat products and then also peppers to the tomato sauce.  I’m always the last one out of the tent, and often there is a bowl of porridge ready when I’m up.  I didn’t regularly eat breakfast before this trip, so keeping pace is always one of my challenges.  

There is probably a lot more...feel free to ask if you have any questions.  We did not ever consult a dietician.  

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