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Old 09-30-2016, 07:33 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Southern Illinois
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What to pack for long day's drive

the plan is to scout the deepest back roads in missouri ozarks. will be starting in southern illinois and cross mississippi river (20 mins from my house) and explore roads natural springs creek crossings (some fords). ultimate goal will to explore a preselected area...

i spotted on a light pollution map to be the darkest skies in southeast missouri for a unique stargazing experience (it is in a black zone). we will be an hour and half drive from nearest store or restaurant and will probably be exploring backroads 3 hours before viewing time.

giving those situations what would be a good 'lunch worthy' thing to pack and have when we would get hungry.


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Old 09-30-2016, 07:41 PM   #2
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I'm sort of traditional when it comes to packing a picnic lunch.

You will need a small cooler and a couple bottles of frozen water or iced tea to keep things cold. As the bottles thaw they can become the beverage for your picnic. If you don't have a cooler I would use a couple of insulated grocery bags in a cardboard box lined with a thick layer of newspaper.

A quart jar of homemade potato salad
Oven fried chicken fingers, no bones to deal with
A mason jar with a simple cucumber and onion salad
Buttered dinner rolls
A few pieces of fruit and some chocolate brownies studded with walnuts


Cold meatloaf sandwiches with Russian dressing
Claussen dill pickles
A bag of chips
Fruit and chocolate chip cookies, you can bake off cookie dough from the dairy case in a pinch

It can also be fun to just pack a few paper plates and utensils then hit the local grocery store in the last town and see what you can find.

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Old 09-30-2016, 07:44 PM   #3
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When I go to my usual dark site for astro night (usually involves overnight camping, sleep in vehicle) as far as food is concerned I take what I usually take with me when I go car camping. Propane cook stove and a simple cookset. But for astro nights I usually take quick and simple items like trail mixes, soup mixes, and hot/cold beverages. I'll have my hands full with astro gear so cooking is mostly foods that only require heating.
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:58 PM   #4
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Assuming you'll have an ice chest....

Lots of cold bottled water
Fried chicken (or boneless chicken nuggets as Aunt Bea suggested)
Peanut butter and jelly (or honey) sandwiches
String cheese (or sliced cheese) and sliced salami
Chex Mix
Beef jerky
Cookies or granola bars

Just a few suggestions for non utensil and plate foods. Since it's only a day trip you won't need tons of food, depending on how many are going.

Figure on how many are going and the amount of water needed, and triple that amount of water, just in case.

It's always handy to pack a few quart sized ziplocks to take for prepared on-the-trail munching, Hand Wipes, and a large drawstring trash bag to keep in the car for trash.

Sounds like fun - the Ozarks are so beautiful!
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:04 PM   #5
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When we take road trips of any type we have loads of bottled water on ice
Wet Wipes
A roll of paper towels
paper plates/utensils/cups
Plastic grocery bags for trash/waste
Some old towels and/or blanket to sit/relax/eat on

oh... do you mean to eat? HA!

If we head out early, we take our breakfast with us to eat as we drive towrads our destination, such as Spam Musubi, Breakfast Burritos, Bisquits filled with eggs & bacon/sausage/ham/cheese (not all but a couple ingredients)

Snacky stuff is good too: nuts, cut up fruit, candies, cookies, crackers, cheese

Lunch is a toss up, just depends on what we feel like: leftover cold pizza, sandwiches made on site (pre-made sammies can get soggy), a thermos of hot soup if it's a cold day ... the choices are endless.
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:36 PM   #6
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Skip the trail mix and just bring an economy size bag of M&M's. a box of raisins is good too.

A package of "Laughing Cow" cheese. Good by themselves or spread on crackers.

For a treat, I would recommend a Muffuletta (put the olive salad in the center so the bread doesn't get soggy).

Apple crisp or apple pie in a small Tupperware.
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:55 PM   #7
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Dark Skies rule! (Hubby is an amateur astronomer )

Take all kinds of zip storage bags, each filled with a munchie:
-carrot stix
-celery stix
-radish chunks
-raw mushrooms
-practically anything you would put on a relish tray, actually.

-Trail Mix - make your own. Favorite nuts, dried fruits, chocolate chips or some other flavor of candy chip.

-If you want simple-fancy, roll salami around a pickle spear, or prosciutto around a length of mozzarella cheese.

-Cold sandwiches. When Himself and I travel, I pack three sandwiches for the two of us, each cut in half. Easier to handle a half sandwich while in the car, and we have the option of swapping halves. Works for one lunch on the road.


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Old 10-01-2016, 02:07 AM   #8
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I would pack pirogis stuffed with something yummy, both sweet and savory and thermos.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:09 AM   #9
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:43 AM   #10
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I love Alton Brown's pan bagnat sandwich for picnics. I like to use grilled chicken, Havarti, romaine and tomato in the filling, along with the dressing of red wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard and S&P. Or you could use Italian meats and cheeses. It gets better as it sits in the cooler and the dressing seeps into the bread. I like to cut mine before wrapping in plastic; it fits better in the cooler that way.


Finger food for sides - carrot and celery sticks with individual dip containers, grapes, clementines, brownies or candy bars.

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