18 comments


  • Wild edibles are a fun way to add some variety. You are entering ‘ramp’ and poke salad country. Blue berries and black berries are plentiful this time of year and wild mint tea is favorite of mine. Beware the mushrooms.

    PS: if only one of you eats ramps, you’ll be sleeping alone. They are without a doubt the most pungent of things. But tasty.

    Great post, Jack

    July 26, 2010
  • Ultimately, I don’t think travel and right eating are really compatible. It’s true that the food landscape in much of the US is needlessly bleak, and that doesn’t make your choices any easier, but for all the reasons of storage and preparation and accessibility you mention, I think good eating on the road–on any road, at any time–has always been inferior to good eating at home.

    It’s one of the many, many reasons why decisions about transportation, travel, and the size of one’s home territory are so fundamental to the qhole question of sustainability.

    July 26, 2010
  • Thanks Anne. In some ways, I agree, and there’s a certain amount of “sucking it up” that we have to do on a regular basis. And, in some ways, that’s okay, because it makes those experiences of great food all the more special. What makes it so hard for us, though, is the fact that we ate fantastically as we traveled throughout the west coast. Almost every small town we went through had a good market with fresh food (and there was usually a market near to where we were planning to camp), so we regularly had stir-fry dishes with fresh meats and vegetables. When there are good markets with good ingredients near to where you’re heading, you don’t really have to carry as much on a day-to-day basis. And maybe that’s wanting too much, I don’t know, it’s just all part of the ever-continuing learning process.

    Jack – We have always wanted to learn about wild edibles – maybe now is as good a time to figure it out as any!

    July 26, 2010
  • Thomas Nylen

    Thank you for the great post. Just want to add that I find food taste better when I am really hungry, which happens almost every day on a bike trip. Some of best meals have been on the road!

    July 26, 2010
  • Traveling widely does give you a better idea of the challenges faced by people with regard to anything, not just food. I’ve lived all over and have had to learn numerous times to avoid a tendency toward food snobbery lest I starve to death.

    Keep on traveling in those moccasins and thanks for sharing those experiences.

    July 26, 2010
  • Arctos

    I have used these green bags on bike and kayak tours to keep veggies fresh for a longer time.

    http://www.bright-star-promotions.com/greenbags/index.html

    July 26, 2010
  • Great post. I hadn’t thought about it because when I’m exercising as intensely as you are (backpacking for a week, my own cross-country bike trip in 2008), my only concerns are satiating my terrible hunger at the end of the day and getting enough protein and calories to sustain me.

    But you have moved beyond epic athletic event and into the realm of “daily life.” I doubt you every saw this journey primarily as an epic athletic event, but I think a lot of us get wrapped up in that idea. Yours is a nice perspective.

    July 27, 2010
  • You may find that it get easier once you end up elsewhere. I haven’t been off the beaten track in Latin America, but for much of Asia there is food available on every corner.

    Those who live with less often have better food – they are less likely to eat loads of processed junk, or loads of sugar. These foods are lifestyle choices that are only available to those who can afford them, and my impression (as an outsider) is that the US has moved more & more to these becoming the norm. This is not to say that poorer countries don’t have their own health issues and aren’t being taken our by soda & multinationals, but you may well find that buying fresh fruit, eating real meat and enjoying local cuisine becomes more do-able once you leave the states. It won’t be organic, but it’s likely to be fresh …and cheap.

    July 27, 2010
  • Jimmy

    corn tortillias travel well, cabage can go weeks without re-fridgerator-ing. I pack: “Tasty Bite” pouches they have a few lentils & peas & stuff. All natural and vegetarian. its like the rice pouches and stuff just heat and serve without being all dehydrated & gross. Cheese packs well – you don’t need to refridge it. They don’t in Europe and its pasteurized and stuff. snow peas pack well & last in heat. punkin seeds – raw – you can roast on the trail for alt. tasteins. I do take dehydrated strawberries, you can buy them at whole foods/central market type stores and the dont weigh anything. oatmeal – all you need is hot water, and if you store it in a ziplock bag its crushproof. any root vegetable will last a long time.
    I use the SVEA stove so I have a bit more BTU’s than you – which expands what I can ‘cook’ in the state park, and even the ranger stations sell fuel for it.
    eat well!
    jimmy
    austin tx

    July 28, 2010
  • Jimmy

    here is a link to tasty bite, you can buy online and ship anywhere:
    http://www.tastybite.com/?gclid=CJWQvKr-jaMCFQ5O2god1wUPXA

    July 28, 2010
  • Adam

    Laura,

    Julia and I just had very similar conversations on our 2 week tour through the sierras. However, it is much easier to compromise for a matter of weeks than for a year, or potentially as a way of living.

    Russ’ idea of there being 2 sorts of people came to mind often on our journey. He had told me that there are farmers, and there are sailors. I love these words to represent certain lifestyles because they both hold romantic notions.

    When we arrived home from our trip, I was so happy to return to our “farm.” Fresh eggs from our ladies, copious vegetables in the garden, access to every organic treat we can conceive of.

    Not to make you jealous but this leads me to think, sailors gotta eat well too. :)

    One technique I’ve used is always asking for the “health food store” if one exists. After that you can search online for food co-ops. I would also be interested to see if there are farmers you might interact with and buy from directly. Perhaps this may be easier overseas?

    If you ever need us to mail an emergency bag of quinoa or dried organic fruit from Berkeley let us know.

    Thanks for thinking and sharing.

    With love,
    Adam

    July 28, 2010
  • Morgan

    Hi Laura,

    I can sympathize with your thoughts on food. My husband and I are about to head to South America and I have been fretting about the fact that they don’t really eat breakfast there and I am a total bear to be around (not to mention having no energy) if I don’t get breakfast.

    We do all our growing of food and local farmers market shopping here at home and I have come across some good resources that may help you while you are still on the road.

    Local Harvest – they map out all the organic farms in the United States so you can just type in your city,state and it will show you were the farms, farmers markets, etc are. See here: http://www.localharvest.org/

    Eat Well Guide – another search engine for farms, markets, and restaurants that have a local, sustainable, organic mission. See here: http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home

    Also, Barbara Kingsolver has a wealth of resources on her website for local, sustainable, organic foods that you can find while on the road, it is all from her Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book. See here: http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/LocatingLocal.html

    I hope these help in some small way. I have been enjoying your journey and look forward to hearing how you find a work-around to this plaguing issue!

    Good luck!
    Morgan

    July 28, 2010
  • Hi Laura,

    My partner Kai and I read your blog regularly and we’re thoroughly enjoying your adventures and your reflective posts. We’re planning our own around the world cycling tour beginning next Spring and we’re equally worried about the ability to find good food on the road. We’re fairly spoiled now, with easy access to local, organic, fresh food. I’m certain we’ll find lots of yummy, wonderful food during our travels but you bring up a good point – being dependent upon your local food sources while cycling can limit your choices.

    Two things I thought might be of interest to you:

    We recently watched the film FRESH by Anna Sofia Joanes and would highly recommend it. It discusses the local food movements and how they have the potential to change our food landscape, to offer us a better way (and better choices) for food production. If you’re interested, you can view a trailer of the film on our website (under our LOVE OF GOOD FOOD post).

    Another is that there are two cyclists going across the U.S. right now, potlucking their way through the states and blogging about local food movements. You may be able to find some good resources to local food options through their blog or by following their route. Their site is bikeloc.org.

    If you’re headed toward Vermont, please look us up- we could offer you a place to stay, a hot shower and a stupid amount of good, healthy food. We’d love to hear about your travels!

    Sheila & Kai

    August 01, 2010
  • love this!! I cook a lot small portion, simple recipes for myself, and always feel tremendous grateful to be in my homestate which provides easy access to many, many local food + delicious golden state produce :D
    cheers +happy biking
    cant wait for you guys to be in SF

    August 01, 2010
  • Peggy

    We just took the ACA route from Bellingham and Sumas, WA and found fresh raspberries in the fields. Yum! We found cucumber easy to carry. With a little vinegar and maybe spices they’re a treat I first had in the Phillippines.

    September 07, 2010
  • JT

    If you make your own yoghurt on the bike, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. The (plastic) thermos, in fact, is to keep the hot water (+ powdered milk) warm enough. Then just leave it closed and clean, and the product stays good for 3 days. But be sure to save a spoonful of yoghurt to start the next batch.

    July 08, 2011
  • Kevin

    Hey Laura,

    If you have friends back at home, I might recommend throwing some money their way to send you care packages to post offices. You can have them sent to post offices, addressed to you and marked for general delivery, which works great for quinoa, lentils, nuts and dried fruit (my bike tour staples). It really helps in the food deserts when all that’s around is the Family Dollar.

    September 07, 2012
  • Great post! I enjoy cooking and experimenting. And farmer’s markets are one of the greatest things on earth. Thanks for sharing!

    October 10, 2012

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