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Feb-25-2012 00:36printcomments

TRAVEL EDIBLES: A True Alternative to Expensive Roadside Restaurants

Be sure to bring along an abundance of non-perishables. That can save you oodles.

Road trip

(SALEM) - My spouse and I love to travel and let our minds unravel. To date we've driven the roads of 47 of the 50 states. Yet we try to maintain a fairly frugal budget as we trek along. We neither pig out nor go high hog on high-priced roadside restaurants.

Our secret strategy: to concentrate on motels that offer fridge and microwave, checking online beforehand. And should we locate a bargain facility that lacks these amenities, we bring along a plug-in crockpot. Nothing in the regs prohibit the do-it-yourself approach.

Be sure to bring along an abundance of non-perishables. That can save you oodles.

High on the list is peanuts, a great energy source. Raisin and trail mix also work wonders. And why not sunflower seeds to add to a sunny disposition? Live and be fruitful with lots of apples and bananas. Grapes to nibble while you drive can counter dehydration. There's nothing quite like a celery stick or baby carrots to crunch on as you wind along the highway. The crunchy texture proves an antidote to boredom.

Canned food items are a staple. They might include corn, peas, yams and all varieties of fiber-rich beans. Mix in some canned diced tomato and you have yourself a dee-lish veggy stew of sorts. Want some protein? Then introduce some tuna or crab meat or even savory salmon. Diced hot dogs made mostly of poultry keeps the cholesterol count down. Nobody wants the cardiologist as an unwanted guest!

Try a dousing of corn flakes or bran as your substitute for croutons. Yum yum nirvana!

As to beverages, consider powdered milk and lemonade crystals to blend with water. Plenty of tea bags and sugar substitute is welcome fare for a cool evening, as is cocoa. No need to haul along heavy cans of soda pop to uptake your sugar intake. And of course, do take some bottled water you can refill at city parks as you take in a picnic.

Utensils are utilitarian. Beside the edibles, include these essential supplies:

. Microwaveable plastic containers;. An indispensible can opener;. Sharp knife to slice fruits;. Large roll of paper towels;. Plastic plates and utensils.

Finally, when running short you can usually track down a nearby dollar store to fill that gap. Or else the neighborhood thrift store. Most motels provide a local phone directory to consult. And there's always the desk clerk who is a great resource for directions and trade secrets. Have a hearty road trip this spring and summer. As the days get longer, you need not get short on cash. This is the viable alternative.

_________________________________ Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address:

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