How long has it been since you were on a road trip — a FUN road trip? Not for work or with the family but a solo adventure with no real timeline and no worries? It’s been a long time for me too.
The other day I felt like I just needed to get out and drive, and keep driving for a while. When I was younger I used to go on day trips, weekenders and trips across country just for the fun of it. With work and personal demands, it’s a bit harder to find the time.
One of the best things about a road trip for me is to stop at a gas station, fill up and get some food and drink that I would otherwise never have. My pit stop always includes a Mountain Dew and a bag of Combos — the cheddar-filled pretzel ones. I mean, since I was a college kid driving home on holidays, it has been my go-to.
It adds another level of “freedom” to the ride. Finding a town in which I’ve never been was a favorite non-destination. I remember in 1991, I “found” Nashville. For five years, I went to Nashville about three times per year. It was a perfect weekend getaway — about 10 hours one way and I was on Printer’s Alley and ended up finding my way to The Bluebird Café, the famous bar where many a country artist has performed.
When I stop at a place to get my sinful snacks, I don’t even look at anything else. I want the familiar green bottle with Mtn. Dew on the label and my white and orange bag with Combos written across. It’s so bad that if I don’t find the pretzel-filled ones, I feel I’m cheating myself getting the cracker-filled. It is different after all. What if it ruins my road trip?
On the few trips I’ve taken a friend or mate, I will not share my snacks, either. “Get your own!” I politely try to say. It’s about the experience. And with the experience of a sometimes unknown — or faraway — destination comes the traditional food and drink I choose. The familiar packaging gives me a sense of relief. Because, no matter where I end up (at least in the U.S.), I will see that green bottle and the white and orange bag.
One area of packaging that has seen recent developments is in food service. In this month’s Market Trends feature, “The Transformation of Food Service,” John O’Neal with Westrock explains how digital technology is creating an experience for delivery, kiosk and other services. Flip to page 42.
We also look at the unicorn craze on page 19.
What do you eat and drink when you are on the road?