June 29, 1969: Food & Drink

Baked cornbread, visited the store, rested. Took the little guys to Crystal Lake to swim and try to catch minnows and polywogs—several hundred people there. Later Tim came too but couldn’t go out in a boat for fish—under 18. Everyone left. Threw stones and toasted marshmallows.

Marge Binder

Back in the day, there weren’t interstate exits teeming with fast food drive-thrus for road trippers to inhale as they blew by. It was mostly gas stations and mom’n’pop shops in small towns miles off the highway. Mom makes a few references in her diary to stops at A&Ws (a fast-food chain pioneer and still a family favorite, if you can find one), as well local finds like Perry’s back in Grove, OK.

For the most part, Mom had to shop almost daily (again, in local stores) and then serve up to three meals a day, plus snacks and treats like the cornbread and toasted marshmallows she describes here.

When in camp, there were campfire meals like breakfast and burgers, as well as things cooked on the “balky” Coleman stove. For lunch on the road, the staple was American cheese on white bread with mustard. What could be more American in the 60s?

Mom kept things organized with the Chuck Box that Dad built. It housed all of the utensils, condiments and some non-perishables. She also kept a cooler stocked with cheese and less-perishable goods. For meats, Mom would buy and cook it on the same day.

That’s the chuck box interior, taken on an earlier trip.

In short: No one starved.

Dad’s hat in the foreground, proof that he was an able (if not alway eager) outdoorsman.

…and Drink.

As for Drink, the only references in Mom’s diary are to the Kool-Aid I threw up onto Tim’s back (spoiler alert: We celebrate the 50th of that tomorrow!) and some champale she describes on two instances late in the trip.

She recently confided that she enjoyed a little champale every night of the trip. And deservedly so. Cheers!

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