A lot of people think that being vegan means goodbye to fun. No more traveling, no more parties, no more road trips. But that couldn't be more wrong! You really don't have to give up any fun! Here's our very first vegan road trip. San Antonio to Sacramento.
Mom came back with me to San Antonio to help me pack and move my belongings. We had some concerns about eating on the way back to California, so we did Google ahead of time to determine if there were any vegan friendly restaurants between TX and CA. It looked like Flagstaff was promising. But I'll get to that.
We began our journey at the grocery store, filling our tiny cooler with hummus, carrots, peanut butter, jelly, salsa, and vegan granola bars. Bread sat on top of the cooler and we ran to starbucks for smoothies and coffee. Though as it turns out, Starbucks smoothies are not vegan friendly, so we had to substitute the milk for almond milk, and leave out the protein (of course all they had was whey).
As it turns out, it is not easy to make PB and Js in your car, particularly in West Texas when it's over 100 Fahrenheit. And natural PB, with all the oil at the top? Don't recommend for road tripping. Otherwise, the PB and J addition worked out great.
Our first dinner was at Panera Bread, close to our hotel in Albuquerque, NM. We had driven for about 12 hours, so we weren't ready to venture downtown. Panera Bread was surprisingly non-vegan friendly. Fresh? Maybe? But even the salads were covered in cheese (see mom's salad of shame below). I got a sautéed veggie sandwich, or should I say SAD-wich. And a garden salad, but the veg was crunchy, so I was satisfied.
Any vegan road trip should include frolicking in nature, and we frolicked hard core. National Park level frolicking. Petrified Forest National Park. If you've never been, it is definitely worth the visit. It's amazing to think that the dry desert of today's NP was once lush swampy rain forests! Amazing. And stunningly beautiful. The Painted Desert. *Sigh*
But we had to move along. And we kept going, on to Flagstaff for a 5 star vegan meal. I LOVE hippy towns like Portland, OR, and Moab, UT. Flagstaff gets to hang in that club. Hippies were walking around everywhere, and we had the pleasure of eating at a truly plant-based cafe called Whyld Ass.
They had a full menu of vegan meals, smoothies, and juices. Mom had the breakfast burrito, and I had a quesadilla. We also bought a green juice and a fruit juice to go. It was paradise for travelers who were existing on PB and Js.
Our hotel food was really reliant on the quality of the oatmeal that was prepared. It ranged from a substance you could use to brick up a fire place to soupy colonoscopy prep. Yeah, not appetizing, but it smelled better than the egg patty ninja stars and piles of lukewarm ground up pig. I considered several times scrapping my oats for another PB and J. One of the days we, once again, got Starbucks smoothies.
Our other break happened once we got to the land of plenty...AKA California. And even though we were in butt-ugly Bakersfield, we had MAJOR access to fresh fruit. We stopped at a huge fruit stand/farm and loaded up on oranges, beet chips, and other goodies.
But overall, it was surprisingly easy to eat vegan on our trip. Though it was essential to stop at the grocery store for some staples first. So go on, try eating vegan on your next road trip!