Bentley and I are on the road again. We rolled into Houston yesterday afternoon for the "Houston World Series of Dog Shows" held in the building adjacent to NRG Center, home of the Houston Texans and host to many events. The poor little Astro Dome sits forlornly next door, but it is not the subject of this post. And neither is the dog show since I've posted enough lately about our adventures in the ring. But it is the subject of something that I almost always take along with me, even on day trips and that is...an ice chest. I have several in different sizes so I can take along anything from a few bottles of water or tea to enough food for a full weekend of meals for a trip to the coast.
As I packed the ice chest for this trip I had flashbacks to growing up and road trips in the family car. Being military we were either travelling to a new assignment or on the road from somewhere to visit relatives. One thing that Daddy always included on these trips was an ice chest that was packed into the trunk last thing where it was easily retrieved when needed. He filled it with ice from the motel ice machine, he did not buy ice ever. As far as I can remember it was just a Styrofoam ice chest, but fairly large in size. I know we always had milk to drink for breakfast or to pour into a cup with cereal. And, I think we had sandwich fixings although I don't remember exactly what. Probably baloney or home made pimento cheese as those were popular items in our home. I just know that the ice chest was always a part of our journey.
I'm sure Daddy did this as a money saving measure with three kids and two adults to feed. But as I thought about it I realized that when I was fairly young that Ronald and Jack weren't yet on every corner. Fast food had not taken hold of our eating habits; if you wanted a meal you had to stop and sit down in a restaurant. That took up time and time on the road was precious to my father. He would pull over along the side of the road, retrieve the ice chest from the trunk, put it in the front seat with my mother, and we would continue on down the road. When we finished the meal he pulled over again and put the ice chest back into the trunk. No time was wasted with this process. Plus, we were often travelling in the middle of nowhere and there were no places to stop to eat anyway.
My reasons for squeezing an ice chest into a fully loaded car for this trip are pretty much the same as the ones from my childhood. Compare these:
1) when travelling with a dog you either eat fast food from a drive through or find a dog friendly restaurant, much like travelling in the middle of nowhere with no eating places.
2) I need to save money as these shows and trips are getting expensive, Daddy's philosophy of frugality!
3) after a long day at the dog show I don't want to fight traffic to get to any eating place, I just want to get to the hotel and chill out (so does Bentley!). Time is precious.
4) as much as I love to eat out I know it is not really healthy. If I can eat a few healthy meals, that offsets some of the processed food's unhealthy effects! The Candlewood Suites where we are staying offers me a full size fridge, 2-burner cook top, dishwasher and microwave - all the comforts of home.
This last reason is the only one that really is different from Daddy's philosophy! I have to think that the ice chest habit is a good one that carried over from those growing up days. So, don't leave home without one!