Triumphs and Trials of a Road Trip: From Here to There

I just got back last night, and I'm in recovery mode today. My 8-day road trip started off a day late, as I was giving myself an extra day of rest to help me bounce back from an illness. (I have yet to figure out how not to get so exhausted before trips that I end up sick---definitely not a good way to start.)

The first day my daughter and I shared driving as we left with coffee in hand.  I had planned our healthy snacks bag that included 100-calorie packs of Emerald almonds (cinnamon and cocoa), grapes, apples, baggies of whole grain crackers, cans of V-8 juice and a case of water in the trunk. Unfortunately, I forgot the cooler with our yogurt, string cheese sticks, and cut up veggies! Oops.

One rest stop included a Starbucks that was perfect for us: one soy caramel frappucino light (sugar-free syrup/no whipped cream), one large black coffee, and two big fresh fruit cups that were so good. Starbucks gets a gold star for offering a few healthier options.

Dinner with family that night was at Spats, a nice restaurant in State College, Pennsylvania. I knew it may be challenging for me, since my warning signs were on: I was really tired and my neck was really starting to hurt. I realized long ago that I am at risk for losing control of food when I am both tired and stressed. Thankfully, my mom was thinking light and asked me to split a meal of crab cakes.  I absolutely love crab cakes. We both ordered our own salads and I chose a field green salad with a vinaigrette on the side. I  smiled to myself when I heard my daughter do the same.  I consciously focused on eating slowly and enjoying the flavors and textures. Those huge lumps of crab were amazing! No dessert for me, just a decaf coffee and one bite of the creme brulee that my kids shared. Gold star to the restaurant for being so willing to serve my mom and I half servings of our entree at no extra charge, and maybe I'll take one for myself for being making healthy choices while so tired.

After resting and recuperating for a few days, we got back on the road and headed to JFK airport. The stress really kicked up as we unfortunately hit New York City during rush hour. Not the best timing. our Garmin ended up getting us there, but that little "recalculating" machine chose to take us through 2 tunnels that came with big pricey tolls. Heading for the Lincoln tunnel, I pulled toward the left lanes, following the signs directing the cash-only cars that way. As we got closer, all the cash lanes were actually on the RIGHT! So many lanes, so many cars honking everywhere. Panic!  Looking around, I saw that each lane was marked with orange cones to discourage lane changes. Do I crash the cones or make the drivers even madder while I stopped at the E-Z Pass lane without a pass? When I noticed the traffic cleared for a bit on my right, I made a quick decision and zipped through the cones (I may have knocked down one in the process,) successfully entering a cash-only lane. I luckily got by with only a warning from the woman at the toll booth, and a few honks.

We actually got to the airport in plenty of time. Unfortunately, there were no decent places to eat dinner until after the security check, which meant I wasn't able to eat with my daughter before she left. She was on her own. With a few tears, I headed back to my car, with 3 hours of driving ahead of me. My daughter was on her way to Ireland for a summer internship, and I was driving to my parent's home in Connecticut. I didn't feel like stopping by myself for dinner, and fast food didn't sound good.  I just  sipped on a V-8 juice and munched on 2 packs of nuts and 1 of crackers while I drove, realizing that mindful eating was not happening at all. It should have been enough to eat, but I still didn't feel full.  I ended up zipping into a drive-thru for coffee and a hot fudge sundae. Not proud of that one. I wish I had stopped the car and bought some sort of grilled chicken salad to make me feel fuller, and then made a decision on the the ice cream.

I was a bit achy and very tired, but I made it there! (What is this getting stiff and sore while driving stuff?)

Score: 2 gold stars and one red (needs improvement!)