One motorhoming couple found a tasty way to make their travel days more interesting.
By J. David Keller, F405600
(Editor’s note: The author passed away in 2010, but his wife has generously allowed this lighthearted account to be shared with FMC readers.)
Those trips seemed extra special because of the availability of these tasty travel treats that we always had in the car. Imagine my amazement when I discovered that they were sold in our local stores. Fifty years later, Cheese Nips still taste a little bit better when I’m on the road.
My wife, Ginny, started a similar custom. And, I have to admit, Pecan Sandies are really good and totally reserved for our excursions. I don’t think that I have ever seen a box of these cookies in our house. However, get in the motorhome and they miraculously appear in good supply.
I guess the tradition started when Ginny decided that we needed to ration the number of dog biscuits that our Labrador retrievers, Zeke and Doogie, would get while we were on the road. Absolutely no treats were to be administered until after we crossed the state line from our home in Barberton, Ohio. Treats are for out of state only! That was okay for the dogs, but why did this rule have to apply to me? Did I really have to wait until we crossed the state line to get a Pecan Sandie? Indeed, I found that was to be the rule for all “” humans and canines “” when traveling in the motorhome. When we crossed a state line, we would then get to “tip a cookie” to Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, or Michigan, depending on the direction of our journey. But the best part of this tradition is that we would get to tip a cookie every time we crossed a state line. And as one who really enjoyed those cookies, it got me thinking about how I could increase my Pecan Sandies intake.
Our annual trek to North Carolina’s Outer Banks suddenly had a new route. It was decided that exiting the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Breezewood and taking Interstate 70 to Interstate 270 to Washington, D.C., was not the best route. So now when we exited at Breezewood and entered Maryland via I-70, we altered the route a bit so we could also travel through the tip of West Virginia. By the time I brushed off the West Virginia Pecan Sandie crumbs from my lap, we’d be “tipping a cookie” to Virginia. Think of that! We traveled through the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia in a stretch of 40 miles. That’s a miles-per-cookie ratio (MPCR) of less than 15.
I started to think about what other journeys we should consider for optimal cookie consumption. The trip from New York City to Baltimore, Maryland, is not a bad option. During this excursion we went through parts of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland in about 200 miles. And if you plan the trip well, you also can “touch base” in Pennsylvania, netting an MPCR of 50.
Then there’s the trip from Boston, Massachusetts, to Portland, Maine, during which we tipped a cookie to New Hampshire and Maine, registering an MPCR of 54. From Taunton, Massachusetts, to Putnam, Connecticut, we tipped a cookie to Rhode Island and Connecticut with an MPCR of 20.2. A surprisingly high-caloric trip, if you plan it well, would be from Evansville, Indiana, to West Memphis, Arkansas. On this route you would tip a cookie to Kentucky, Illinois, Kentucky for a second time, Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas, finishing with an MPCR of 40.
Then there is the Beartooth Highway, an All-American Road and one of the most scenic drives in the United States. This road goes from Red Lodge, Montana, to the Cook City, Wyoming, entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Fortunately, for those of us with a sweet tooth, this beautiful road crosses the border between Wyoming and Montana several times. To be honest, I wondered why highway officials wasted so much money putting up all the signs to let you know each time you crossed the state line. Needless to say, I’m glad they did. The MPCR for this route is pretty darn small.
Perhaps tipping a cookie to each state is all right when you are traveling in the east, but in larger states such as Iowa, South Dakota, Montana, and Texas, you can go quite a stretch before the next “tipping” opportunity presents itself. Perhaps that’s why we started to spend more time in the east.
On a trip to visit our oldest son and his family in Montana, we traveled Interstate 80 west to Interstate 29 north on the western edge of Iowa. Driving north toward Sioux Falls, South Dakota, we could see across the Missouri River into Nebraska. This caused Ginny to pose the question, “If you see a state but do not enter it, do you still tip a cookie to it?” This was particularly difficult to answer, considering that we had traveled more than 300 miles across the state of Iowa without a single Pecan Sandie.
Why would anyone ever want to travel in Texas? From Texarkana to El Paso, you drive 729 miles without one cookie. The MPCR seemed like infinity! Brandon, our oldest grandchild, suggested that we tip a cookie for each county in the state. Peyton, our granddaughter, opted to imagine she was on the Beartooth Highway.
I guess we have to come to peace with the particular guidelines we established for tipping cookies to the states. I strongly recommend that you participate in this tradition. You will find that Pecan Sandies will taste particularly good and, hopefully, Keebler Corporation stock will go up.