“My dream is to travel the world.” Pretty cliche, right? Well, I have been traveling since I was a child, around three years old, and I loved it – at least that’s how I remember. In 2007, I made a cross-country trip from California to Miami, Florida, and my most memorable experiences dealt with food. A significant part of my travel experiences is eating; without eating the foods offered in certain places, I just do not get the full experience of traveling.
Upon arrival in California from China, a cross-country road trip was awaiting me. My mom picked me up from the airport, I put my luggage in the trunk of the car, and we buckled up. On our drive back home to Florida, we made sure to include many pit-stops to parks and magnificent eateries across the Southern U.S.
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On the way to Redwood National Park, we had lunch at the famous In-N-Out Burger – found only on the west coast. The In-N-Out Burger displays a very simple menu of about five items. But, they also have a “secret menu” which I decided to order a “grilled cheese” from – essentially a cheeseburger without the burger. It was delicious with its grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, secret sauce, and cheese.
After leaving California, one of our first stops was the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We ate at a restaurant at the Grand Canyon, and enjoyed the view. Sitting at the top of the Grand Canyon, thousands of feet above ground, while eating a cheeseburger was surreal and intoxicating.
As we continued to drive, we entered Colorado to head to Mesa Verde National Park, but soon got lost. We found the “Ute Mountain Travel Center” and decided to get off to find a map. As I walked in, I saw that there was an “A&W,” which I’ve never eaten at. So, we got a map, ordered two crispy chicken sandwiches and root beer floats, and sat down to figure out where we were. We discovered that we were on the “Historic Highway 666.” Eating a crispy chicken sandwich and drinking a root beer float on the “Devil’s Highway” sounded pretty funny to me.
Then, when we were passing through Amarillo, Texas we came across a restaurant called “Rudy’s ‘Country Store’ and Bar-B-Q”. We heard that Texas had amazing barbecue restaurants, so we made yet another stop. As we waited in line, we listened to other people’s orders and decided to order the same things as them – we had no idea what we were doing. We ordered a half-pound of brisket and were given a quarter-loaf of sliced bread; it was a delicious mountain of food. We saw people putting meat and Rudy’s signature barbecue sauce on the bread slices, so we did the same and ate like that. The brisket was tender and juicy, and had a mouthwatering smoked oak taste. It was like a cultural experience, immersing ourselves with all the Texans. Then before we left, we decided to take home a souvenir, so we bought a bottle of their one-of-a-kind “Rudys Bar-B-Q Sause.”
Finally, we arrived at the sad little place I call home. As I walked into the house, I thought back to that exciting road trip I just had. In that week of roaming the Southern U.S., I experienced some of the best sceneries and foods that I had ever come across.
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