RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Road Food: Articles by Dennis Weaver
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Dennis WeaverDennis Weaver -- having burnt food from Miami, Florida to Point Barrow, Alaska -- is RTA's road food expert. He has logged thousands of hours on the roads, trails, and waterways of America including many of Alaska's wilderness rivers and has consistently been elected the trips' "chief cook and bottle washer." Dennis is currently general manager at The Prepared Pantry, a company in Rigby, Idaho, that produces ready-to-eat meals and baking mixes packaged in Mylar. Weatherproof, bug-proof, and critter resistant, they're ideal for both roadtrips and back woods camping. Dennis may be reached at In his Road Food articles, Dennis shares tips, advice, and recipes to make good eats a part of every road trip experience.


Picnic Checklist

Mesa Falls Scenic Byway

Picnic on the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway (7/1/07)

My brother rolled in. He and his wife were just completing an 11,000 mile road trip in five weeks. They live in Fairbanks, Alaska, and had flown into Boise, Idaho where they had rented a car-with unlimited mileage, of course. They had driven across the Southwest, through Florida, down to Key West, and then back and up the Appalachian Trail. Now they were headed back to Boise and had stopped off to see us in eastern Idaho... [More]

Chicken & Black Bean Chili

Winter Road Trip Food (1/21/07)

It's January. Every night for a week, the temperature has dropped below zero. Daytime highs have been in the single digits. It's not cold like Alaska cold, but it's cold for the lower 48.

It's nice to hole up in a warm house but eventually, one becomes stir crazy. Then, a road trip is in order. Maybe a trip to the city for a movie and dinner or a good restaurant. Maybe a trip into the mountains, into a world of white with heavily draped trees and… [More]

Burns Creek

Mountain Meadow Picnic (8/27/06)

The granite walls that framed the little valley were ablaze with the late afternoon sun. The sun was low and shadows crept across the little meadow that bordered the stream. Wildflowers in the meadow sparkled in the sun and disappeared in the encroaching shade. Faintly, the babble of the brook could be heard above the gentle sigh of the evening breezes. Somewhere in the trees beyond the meadow, a squirrel chattered. All else was silent. There was no whine of distant cars climbing steep roads or the far-off hum of motorcycles on mountain trails.

On a rise above the stream, Merri Ann - my wife - had spread a picnic blanket. We were getting ready to eat, and plates were spread on the blanket. Most of the food was still in the bag. We spoke in nearly hushed tones as if not daring to break the solace of solitude and silence… [More]

View of the Salmon River

Make-Aheads (7/9/06)

Road trips should be relaxing, memorable affairs--opportunities to absorb the country around us-the shimmering crystals of a rippling pond in the morning sun, the red-winged blackbirds bobbing along the banks of an irrigation ditch, a mother duck and her brood paddling through the corridors in the cattails. Somehow, the drive-up window at the fast food joint seems incongruous with this...[More]

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

Kids and Cookies on the Road (5/21/06)

The kids will be out of school before long. It's time to be thinking about that annual trek to see the family in Kansas. Or maybe this year, you'll slip out and see the Grand Canyon. The kids will love it -- you think. This year they'll be a little older, a little more patient. You'll take a little more time, make more stops. Chances are, the kids will love it a little more with cookies...[More]

Road trip snacks

Snackin' Better on the Road (1/15/06)

The highway across North Dakota stretches forever. The northern prairie changes only slowly and the hours stretch into monotony. Bored, you reach for another handful of corn chips and pop the top on another soda to wash them down. The refined carbs hit your system with jolt, but soon you feel bloated and tired. You fight to stay awake, then pull over and change drivers. Soon you're asleep, and your partner is facing the road alone...[More]

South Fork of the Snake River

The Last Picnic of Fall (9/18/05)

This is our favorite time of year for a picnic. It's not just that snow is coming; we're savoring the last pleasures of the season. The sky is clear and blue and there's a fresh crispness to the air. The bugs are gone. The sumac is red and the aspens have turned golden. The birds and wildlife seem restless and no longer hidden in the thickets away from the heat of summer and out of sight. The southerly rays of the autumn sun sparkle in the gentle riffles of the lakes. Curled maple leaves float on subdued rivers like miniature boats, building into rafts in the back eddies. A picnic is a great way to bask in the pleasures of the season...[More]



The Greens Along the Road (8/14/05)

We pulled into a truck stop near the Utah-Idaho border. It was a late spring evening, a perfect temperature. With an unusually wet spring, the hills were unbelievably green. We expected to see deer feeding alongside the mountain roads this evening. Three college-aged guys in a nondescript car pulled in next to us. They climbed out and popped the trunk. Inside was a big blue cooler. They dug out a loaf of bread, one of those airy, doughy types without any substance. Then came out a plastic-packaged stack of bologna...[More]



Steamed bread
How to Make Steamed Breads (6/26/05)

Why would you want to make steamed bread? Because it is darned good, it is darned easy, and you don't have to heat up the darned oven. Because you don't have to heat up the oven, you can cook it anywhere -- on the stove, on the grill, or over a campfire. It works as backpacking fodder, in an RV, or in an emergency. You can make it even easier by mixing up the ingredients at home. Then it only takes minutes to stir up when you're on the road...[More]



Cooler thermometer

Cooler Cuisine: Tips for Fresh & Healthy Road Food (5/29/05)

It always begins with a deep-down, gurgling rumble. Then you get sick, sometimes very sick -- like "let's-go-to-the hospital" sick. Even if you are over it in 24 hours, this is not what you want to do on a road trip. But thousands do, and it could be you. You don't have to be a casualty. A thermometer, a few chuck wagon road rules, and a basic knowledge of which foods are the most hazardous and you can avoid the dastardly occurrence of food poisoning on the road. In this article, we'll tell you how with road rules and an overview of how to keep those foods that you packed safe...[More]

Mylar packaging

Eatin' Good on the Road (5/1/05)

There are two things we don't want to do on a vacation: spend time in a grocery store and spend time cooking when we would rather be out golfing/fishing/goofing off. Sure, there are times when we want to lounge around and show off our cooking skills, but we don't want to have to cook. And when we do decide to cook we don't want to be frustrated because we can't find it and we don't want to have to go the store to get started. So, we've devised some rules for the road to make RV meals easier and cooking less frustrating...[More]

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