Windmills along the road to Bozeman, taken as we speed along in the car. Windmills fascinate all three of us-just their size, and seeing a bunch lined up in the distance is kinda cool.
Driving: Bellingham to Bozeman, Montana
Food Revolution Challenge: The hotel breakfast bar
We had a terrible June in Vancouver. Instead of sunshine, it felt like it rained every day and here I am, first official day of vacation, and it's raining. Not just that, but it feels weird to be going from full on craziness that is two jobs, writing, and a house to suddenly...nothing. I am totally unplugged, with no iPod or a laptop. Jake whined the night before, complaining that he was bored and suffering from technology withdrawal, and when I told him we could play a game of cards, watch TV or read, he looked at me like I just suggested we build a cabin from sticks in the woods. Switching gears is hard. With no cooking, writing, housework, or jobs to attend to, I'm totally freed up to read, write (on paper!), chat, and relax. It feels like a muscle that hasn't been worked in awhile, this relaxation mode.
Jake is hard to wake up, too. Which from that moment on, became the theme of the vacation. Shake him, bounce on the side of his bed, throw pillows at his head-nothing would work until we'd threaten him with not getting breakfast.
At the mention of food he's up and ready in 3 minutes flat.
We stand in the hotel breakfast room, surveying the goods before us, and my brain begins to whine.
"You're on vacation, for God's sake. Do you really have to scrutinize everything you eat, just pick something! "
No. I need to do this. It's an experiment. So brain? Shut up. I'll ply you with coffee. It's crappy hotel coffee, but it will have to do.
Jake mills around, reading labels, looking at what's available, and is getting visibly irritated. As I watch he settles on some toast (he never eats toast) topped with honey, which he also never eats. I make my way past the breakfast pastries, instant oatmeal and do-it yourself waffles, grab some toast, and join him.
"Mom this is stupid. Every single kind of jam, the yogurt, and all the cereals have high fructose corn syrup. Those egg things are obviously processed. The bread is that cheaper, preservative packed stuff. Why would anyone eat those pastries? The only natural stuff here is the butter pats, the milk that says it's not from cows given hormones, and the fruit. "
"What? You're not serious." When I finish my coffee, I wander back to the breakfast bar to take a closer look. Jake is right. Hadn't we heard that high fructose corn syrup was in only processed food? When I hear about processed food, I'm thinking of the non-chicken chicken nuggets on Food Revolution, or things like canned soup, pop, etc. But breakfast cereal and yogurt? Aren't those supposed to be healthy options? What the heck are people supposed to eat here if everything, even the supposedly GOOD food, is loaded with crappy preservatives?
The only items in the breakfast bar that fit into our criteria are peanut butter, butter, milk, fresh fruit salad, coffee, and the basket of fresh bananas, apples, and pears.
Wow. Even my trusted brands at home can't be trusted here. This is going to be interesting.
We drive for hours. Lunch is peanut butter and banana sandwiches again, and although I normally can't stand repeats when it comes to what I eat, they are delicious. We stop at a gas station for milk and Jake picks one out of the dairy section, and then stops. It's not milk. Looks like milk, but it's some weird vitamin drink/processed concoction that we've never seen before. We peer at the bottle as if it's some strange bug that we need to investigate.
"Jake, look at the label. This is to trick people into buying something that LOOKS like milk, but isn't milk. "
Jake recoils in horror and shoves it back on in the fridge. "Ew. That's just...gross, Mom." We search for a carton that specifically says the milk is from cows not treated with hormones, and pick up a pack of pretzel M&Ms for a treat. They are a mixture of salty and sweet; tasty, but by the end I'm not sure if I like them. Suddenly Jake snorts from the backseat.
"Mom? The M&Ms don't have high fructose corn syrup. Now THAT is weird."
We read, sleep, and listen to Jake's Pink Floyd CD for hours as Hubs drives the I-90, stopping now and then for bathroom breaks. Finally at around 8 pm, we pull into the Wingate by Wyndham in Bozeman, Montana. The hotel has upgraded our room to a King suite, which feels huge and utterly luxurious for just a quick one night stay. We ask the clerk for a restaurant recommendation, and find ourselves at the MacKenzie River Pizza Company.
A tiny, busy place with a down home cowboy feel, the MacKenzie River Pizza Company serves up their food fresh, with gourmet pizzas on multi-grain crusts that are made right there, and fresh produce. We ordered a BBQ chicken pizza for Jake and I to share, and Hubs got a Green Horn (veggie sandwich). As Jake and I dug in we agreed that this was possibly the best pizza we had ever eaten, and there were enough leftovers to box up and take back to the hotel.
Perhaps tomorrow we'd have a change from peanut butter sandwiches after all.
One more day of driving, and we're finally in Rapid City!