Vegan MoFo Post #4!
This is where the veganism started to get a bit difficult and where I had my least vegan friendly restaurant experience so far, albeit with some very well-meaning staff. Silver lining is that we stumbled upon a random small town called Cody with a little natural foods shop and they even had Dandies vegan marshmallows so I could prepare for s’more domination while camping!
After Minneapolis we headed towards South Dakota, where we couchsurfed with an awesome host living on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The silly roadside tourist traps started once we left Minneapolis. This YOLO one I found particularly funny. It’s for Wall Drug, a big store that has 5 cent coffee, a restaurant, pies, etc. We never ended up checking it out, but billboards for it started from 250 miles away building up to it. Here was another roadside attraction in the middle of nowhere. 1880 Town and a giant diner on a train. There was an entrance fee, so we didn’t go in, but they basically build an old west style town you could walk through. Bonus cute animal picture of the day, this is Frank, our couchsurfing host’s adorable dog and also my dog alarm clock, as he really woke me up at 6am by running full speed from our host’s room to jumping on me and intensely licking my face. I didn’t even care because it was so hilarious. Look at that face! This was a big win on the #makingitwork scale. After driving 100 miles to the nearest civilization from the Pine Ridge Reservation through the Badlands we ended up in Grand Rapids, South Dakota at an On the Border chain Mexican restaurant. No joke, our host told us this was the distance she needed to drive for her grocery runs, mind-blowing! The benefit of the middle of nowhere-ness being that I got to see the Milky Way for the first time and realize there are a lot more stars than I thought, what an amazing view when there’s no light pollution!
Anyway! This On the Border chain ended up being awesome. Not only were the free chips and salsa great, my veggie fajitas with no sour cream or cheese and extra guac instead were delicious!
After South Dakota, our next overnight on the way to Yellowstone was in Greybull, Wyoming as it was the cheapest hotel we could find at a good stopping point. We stayed at the Antler Motel for $65 for the night through Booking.com. Split between my friend and I it was less than $35 each for the night. The motel was small, clean, simple, fridge and coffee in the room, wifi, everything you need for a good stopover and a bit quirky a well.
Below is my biggest meal fail so far at a place called Uptown Cafe on the main street of Greybull. We went to one of the only places in town serving breakfast and I scoured the menu for anything that might possibly be vegan. I got hash browns and noticed they had a salad bar for lunch so asked if they could just steam me some vegetables from there for breakfast. What did they choose? Soggy probably canned peas. Womp womp. Accepting my plan to get any sort of vegetables into my body that morning was not going to pan out, I also asked for toast with margarine, which I figured was safe. I specifically asked about margarine, which they said they had. They delivered me that toast in the picture smeared with butter, so I asked nicely if I could have new toast and margarine on the side. They then brought me new toast and a bowl of butter. I asked again and they said they only had I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, so they brought that and I read it and realized there was whey in it. Toast with peanut butter from a packet it is then! Ah well, at least I got some protein. They weren’t trying to be jerks, but the concept of no meat or dairy was totally and absolutely foreign to this town. Silver lining, about a 20 minute drive from Greybull, we pulled into a slightly bigger town called Cody, Wyoming to get gas and stumbled upon a little natural foods store called Mountain High Health Foods. One of the employees was vegan and found some Dandies for me for camping and another even gave us a local cucumber she had just bought at a farmer’s market and told us where to get some good produce. They even had this case filled with Daiya, Tofutti, soy creamer, etc. In the middle of Wyoming!!! I was shocked. The town also had a Starbucks where I got a little oatmeal with fruit and soymilk to make up for my less than satisfying breakfast.
Moral of the story, don’t eat in Greybull, Wyoming, head a bit further to Cody instead! Lesson learned!
What’s your worst vegan fail travel story?!