Paleo Road Trip – A How to Guide

Paleo Road TripRight off the bat, you may have noticed that I have been off the map recently, and this is not without good reason.  My wife and I just returned from an awesome 2 week paleo road trip, the major reason for the trip being to attend PrimalCon Lake Tahoe 2013, which I will get into more detail on in another post.

For those of you that read my blog and follow me on twitter, you know I live in Vancouver, BC. Canada, and Lake Tahoe is only about a 17 hr drive for us.  There are also many fun places to visit in and around the areas to and from Tahoe, so we decided to make a full 2 week vacation out of it and visit some areas we had never seen before.

Places visited were as follows: Portland, Reno, South Tahoe, Napa, Santa Rosa, Brookings, Portland again.

Paleo Road Trip How to Guide

Before I mention some of the great places we visited, I want to get started with the main purpose of this post.  For the most part, my wife and I still follow a primal/paleo diet while we are on vacation, there tends to be a bit more processed foods involved, but they are the highest quality packaged foods you will find with only real food ingredients.  This being the case, you may wonder how we manage to eat this way when we are driving so much and staying at hotels.  Here is how we do it.

1.) Get a good solid cooler to pack snacks.  We bought this one, which can be plugged into your car as a quasi  mini fridge.

2.) Ensure the hotels you book have mini fridges at the very least.  If you have bunches of money, rooms with kitchenettes would make things even easier.  Sometimes you can just put a special request in for a fridge and microwave at the time of booking.

3.) Make sure you locate Whole Foods and/or Trader Joes (or other organic/health food stores) locations in and around the places you will be staying.  This is extremely important, particularly if there are no decent restaurant options in the area, or if you want to save some money by not dining out every night.  This way you can stock up on wonderful foods and snacks that you can munch on as you drive, or even as dinner.  Here is a picture of one such dinner that we had in our hotel room (P.S. don’t mind the bag of sweet potato chips, we were on vacation and this is probably about the worst thing we ate).

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4.) Research restaurants that have food options for you in the areas you will be travelling through and staying at.  In Portland we knew about Cultured Caveman food cart, and we also found a wonderful steak house by the name of Urban Farmer.  In Reno we were told by Robb Wolf (via twitter) about a place called Campo.  In Santa Rosa, we researched a steakhouse with a Paleo chef (Starks), and while the restaurant itself is not specifically paleo, we had one of the best dinners of our trip there in the form of a grass fed steak and bone marrow.  Here are some pictures of our dinners out.

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5.) Try and pick hotels that have something other than a continental breakfast included.  However, continental breakfasts usually include hard boiled eggs, which can be an option if needed.  But keep in mind that Whole Foods sells cooked bacon in their buffet section from open until 10:30 am ish.  I don’t think you can get a better price on quality bacon since they charge buffet food by weight.  Oh man, telling you all this has really scarred me into thinking that I will no longer be the only person privy to this secret :-(.  For instance, the amount of bacon in the below picture only cost about $6, and it is more than twice the amount you would get in an uncooked pack of bacon from Whole Foods.

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6.) Be prepared for mini or intermittent fasts on some days.  Many of our days on the road did not involve lunch, or a very small lunch consisting of snacks that were in our cooler.  If you have been primal/paleo for a while, this should be no major issue for you.

Now let’s get to a brief description of each location on our paleo road trip.  Remember, stay tuned for the full review and experience at PrimalCon Lake Tahoe 2013 in my next post.

Paleo Road Trip – Portland

This was our first stop on the way down to PrimalCon Tahoe.  It was about a 6 hour drive from Vancouver, and we stayed for 2 nights.  Unfortunately, it pretty much rained the whole time we were there; however, that didn’t stop us from having a meal at the Cultured Caveman food cart, a wonderful meal at Urban Farmer, as well as a walk around the downtown core.  We then had a fantastic shopping day at the outlet mall and one of the golf department stores in the area.  The purpose of this stop was shopping, and boy did we shop :-), all within budget though!

Paleo Road Trip – Reno

Our next stop was Reno and this was about a 9 hour drive from Portland.  After completing this drive, we decided that we would not drive that long again for the rest of the trip (stay tuned as to why it didn’t work out).  I have always heard about Reno and figured we should make a stop here since we would be in the area, I mean come on, Robb Wolf lives there, it has to be awesome.  Well, I think we might have been in the wrong spots because it was just OK.  We did win some money off a penny slot machine which wound up paying for dinner and high class margaritas one night!  Casino problem…smoking is allowed and it’s disgusting! Our room was absolutely fantastic and cheap, so bonus there.  Best part of Reno was probably eating at Campo.

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Paleo Road Trip – Napa

We had been here before and this time we decided to stay a bit outside of downtown Napa, although we did go into town for lunch at Zuzu.  We also decided to stop at a wonderful winery that we had been to before (Elkhorn Peak) because the winemaker is so passionate and informative about what he does.  It’s also really good wine for a good price.  We also stopped for a tasting in a cave at Cadwell Vineyard, where we purchased the most expensive bottle we have ever bought.

Paleo Road Trip 8

Paleo Road Trip – Santa Rosa

From Napa we made our way through Sonoma, up the valley of the moon to Santa Rosa.  In Santa Rosa, we had a great dinner at Starks one night, a swim and morning mobility routine the next morning, and then off for a couple more wine tastings at Kunde and the castle, Ledson.  On our way out of wine country we figured we definitely had to stop at a winery specializing in champagne, since it’s illegal to call it that in Canada.  In this country it’s called sparkling wine, how boring.  So we made our way to Korbel.  We bought a bottle here that we drank that night in Brookings.

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Paleo Road Trip – The Way Home.

It only took us 2 nights and 3 days to get home after leaving Santa Rosa, with a total of 26 hours of driving.  The first of the three days was the longest, based on our plan and the posted speed limit on our route (which is what Google maps apparently uses), it was only supposed to take 7 hours to get to our hotel in Brookings.  However, for a large part of this route, the road was so winding that we couldn’t travel more than 15-30 miles per hour, the amount of driving for the day totaled 11hrs.  Thus, the reason for opening our nice bottle of California champagne 🙂 From there we made it to Portland and then home as quick as we could.  I really must say that although it was such a winding road, the trip up the northern California and Oregon coast was beautiful.  Here are some pictures of the giant redwoods and the beautiful coastline.

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The Barefoot Golfer


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