Pack a Griddle for Your Holiday Road Trip

Dec 18

Ever since I was a child, family vacations have been synonymous with road trips.¬† ¬†Christmas often meant driving to Albany, New York through a fog of snow to share turkey with relatives – five of us kids jammed into the wood-trimmed station wagon with luggage roped to the roof.¬† During March Break, Florida beckoned – it being the closest to the tropics we could reach via the freeway.¬† And now, with three kids of my own and a limited travel budget, our minivan has picked up where the wood-trimmed wagon veered off.¬† In addition to our annual two-day drive to the Old South, we regularly ride along Canada’s roads for two to twelve hour stretches to reach more local destinations from Quebec City to Picton.¬†

As befits a family with budgetary restraints, our accommodations don’t exactly gleam of five-star quality.¬† We’ve grown accustomed to cramped sleeping arrangements, the odd phone call from the front desk warning us to keep the noise down, and the single toilet paper roll that runs out halfway through the night (we always pack extras.)¬† But the continental breakfast at the hotel buffet (bulk bin froot loops, dry muffins, weak coffee) has been a continuous disappointment – despite the fact that it’s free.¬†¬†

Grumbling to my mother about it one day, she looked at me with surprise and asked why we didn’t bring along our own griddle, “Your dad cooked eggs and bacon at every hotel we stayed in.¬† Remember?”¬†
 
I hadn’t actually, but was grateful that she had.¬† My husband and I agreed to give it a try on our next hotel stay – a last minute trip out east.¬† We booked the smallest hotel room we could squeeze into and were not concerned when we discovered this place did not offer so much as a free doughnut for breakfast.¬† We had a plan.¬† Without my usual week to pack, I had to forgo my thorough checklists and instead, hastily gathered our clothes, food, car activities, and beach toys with the hope that I wouldn’t forget anything.¬† Just to be sure, the griddle was packed first.¬†¬†
Shortly after our arrival at the hotel, we discovered we’d left one of our suitcases at home – our two youngest boys had nothing to wear but the clothes on their backs. ¬†Oops.¬† After a brief squabble over whom was to blame, we headed to the local Giant Tiger and the boys were outfitted for the trip (quick tip – a navy blue t-shirt stays “clean” for days.)¬† Thankfully, we seemed to have remembered everything else, including a dozen eggs for the griddle.¬† The next morning my husband rose early to prepare our feast.¬† I stayed cozy under the covers and waited for the sound of sizzling bacon and the invigorating aroma of freshly brewed coffee.¬† Instead, I heard his irritated voice on the phone complaining to reception about our broken coffee maker that was quickly followed by a disappointing announcement to me that I hadn’t packed the egg flipper.¬† Oops again.

When the new coffee maker arrived ten minutes later, I ripped apart the box and triumphantly waved a flap of cardboard in the air.  Our flipper.  I then made the best darn homemade breakfast ever eaten on an (economically priced) hotel bed Рeven if there was more pulp in my eggs than in my orange juice.

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