Day 1 was exhausting! We drove about 1000 miles from Chicago Midway Airport to Rapid City, SD. Thank fully the kids behaved very well!! During the last hour Shiv started complaining of boredom but that is completely valid. We took short stops for food for Mr. Roadster (read fuel) and to answer nature's call.... with three boys in the van, what do you expect! We took two longer breaks for lunch and dinner. Lunch was deliciously delicious! Home made parathas and left over potato and bell pepper sabzi from the night before, cantaloupe and baked chips.
We were so glad we packed food from home because there are not too many healthy and flavorful options for vegetarians on the way other than Subway. The drive through Minnesota into Rapid City is picturesque! There is so much greenery all around. Everything is picture perfect... ya but there is nothing other than acres and acres of lush green farms on 90 W. Even the food and fuel exits don't have much at all. I would advise to carry food. It is a two lane highway with very little traffic. It did get scary at some point at night. Dinner was quick sandwiches at Jimmy John's which I am not a big fan of but we didn't want to spend too much time on eating since we had a long way to go.
Since I had exercised my culinary muscle quite a bit at home, we had healthy lunch and snack options to eat in the van along with some store bought junk.
Viren has to have stove top tea everyday. That is his only requirement at home or outside. Chai Latte from Starbucks will not cut it for him. So he carries his little tea duffle everywhere which contains the handy dandy stove, a pot, loose tea leaves, sugar, tea masala and milk in a cooler. He enjoys making tea on a road trip and is famous for that among folks who know him. We savored the home made muthiyas and puris with piping hot masala chai on one of the days for lunch! It felt so good and refreshing! In fact, we even had tea and other homemade goodies in Yellow Stone National Park with our friends. That was the most relaxing part of the trip where we just chilled out and laughed instead of planning/thinking where to go next.
Except the three days in Yellow Stone National Park, we had breakfast included in the hotel stay. Most of the breakfast buffets were pretty decent. The highlight was make your own waffles. The kids really enjoyed that! There was milk, teas, coffees, pastries, breads, fruits, bagels, yogurt, boiled eggs... the basic spread. I wouldn't complain. We stuffed ourselves before we took off so we were good to go until lunch.
The restaurants within the park also have decent vegetarian options like Veggie Wraps and Black Bean Burgers with the regular accompaniments like fries and onion rings. There were also some vegan and gluten free options. I specifically enjoyed the Veggie Breakfast Burrito in Old Faithful Inn. It contained Greenwheat Freekeh topped with Tofu Scrambler, Salsa Fresca, Diced Anaheim Chilies and Fresh Cilantro rolled in Organic Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla served with Fresh Fruit Salad or Home Fries. I picked the fruit salad for obvious reasons.
The best pizza we have ever had in our lives was in Nick Wilson's Cowboy Cafe in Jackson Hole, WY. It was a cold and rainy day so I don't know if it was the weather or we were really hungry or the pizza WAS really good. We polished off two thin crust, coal oven baked margherita pizzas! The crust was the best part. Ishaan and Shiv still talk about it.
While we are on the Pizza topic, mention worthy is Outlaw's Pizza in Gardiner, MT. That was the first night we met our friends so I think the pizza tasted even better. We had so much to catch up on that I didn't take any pictures there.
I was looking forward to trying Native Indian Tacos since we were in that area. We got to try it at Crazy Horse Memorial. It was tasty, but nothing that made me go crazy about it or want to try making it at home. I thought it to be a cross between tostadas and gorditas. But it is a good one time try. In fact I wouldn't mind having it again if it was one of the choices.
Overall, I think if you leave well prepared from home and you are willing to try new options, finding vegetarian foods should not be a problem except during the long driving stretches between major cities. There is a lot of healthy food awareness in the destination spots. We couldn't try anything out of the ordinary because of Shiv's food allergies but even with that food was not an issue.
Other options our group had brought along were microwaveable mac and cheese, gujju travel foods like theplas, puris, haandvo and sukhdi, green chutney so that we could make chutney sandwiches and fresh fruits in the coolers. All in all out of 24 meals we ate only 11 in restaurants. Rest were from what we carried along.