Pity the health-food nut on a cross-country road trip. Or worse yet, imagine a carful of vegans cruising along what's left of Route 66. It's not that a healthy diet is impossible in food-obsessed America. Rather, those with dietary restrictions are missing out on an important road trip tradition: eating weird food you find at gas stations, all-night convenience stores, and creepy small-town restaurants.
When preparing for a road trip, it's tempting to stockpile your trunk with giant bags of chips and liters of cola. But this is America. We invented the road trip, and we love weird foods. Delicious though they are, there's no excuse for relying on Cool Ranch Doritos and Red Bull to power through your turn at the wheel. In Mississippi, for example, there's a relatively new culinary creation called the Koolickle: a pickle that's been soaked throughout with red Kool-Aid.
In Florida, look out for Alligator Bob's famous gator jerky, available at gift shops and convenience stores across the state. On your way through the Southwest, trade that cola for agua fresca and those granola bars for grasshoppers.
With so many great regional culinary traditions at every turn, there's no excuse for being unimaginative on a road trip. And it's not that the convenience-store chains don't sell their fair amount of strange snack foods. But to find America's weirdest roadside foods, you must brave the back roads, byways, and unmarked highways where one man's weird food is another man's favorite snack.