Way way waaaaaay back when I was slightly control-freakish, I used to plan any and all vacations as delicately and intricately as a State Dinner. Even days off had the organizational subtext of a royal wedding. Details were not left out. Time lines were established, and I treated my entire family like a group of haphazard caterers that don't know the difference between pate' and liverwurst.
Basically what I'm trying to say is that traveling with me was one big stressful clusterfuck, where the "stops for family fun opportunities" paled in comparison to the number of times the three other members of our family attempted to plan a coup, thereby relieving me of my vacation-planning duties. I had planned for that, as well, and I never allowed all three to be alone longer than a few seconds. Because the most important part of being a good dictator is not allowing the huddled masses to find out there are others that agree with you, there are others with an alternate plan.
So a couple years ago, we (I) planned a trip to the Pacific Northwest. It was right after Christmas and our children had an extra week off, so most kids would be back in school. The PERFECT time to travel! Add this to the real possibility we would get stuck in some massive snow-storm going through the Cascades, or the Sierras, or whatever other mountain range we had to go through, and we had a vacation made for a control freak. Not.
We headed towards Portland, where we had in-laws and cousins to spend time with. Luckily for everyone, I had planned out all the things we would see in 2.5 days, as well as all the meals we would eat.
How did I come up with the meals? Well, I had been watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fiery. He spends time in crazy food joints all over towns, highlighting the best of the best.
But there is no index out there. No way to find these places by location. So I went onto the website and cross-referenced each episode with the locations, all neatly put into a spreadsheet. Then, I watched each YouTube clip to see which items I wanted to try, and which items Sky King would have to order so I could try that one, too. I would make notes about each menu item, as well. Yes, seriously.
Don't laugh, I have been asked for this document before, from people traveling to the same area. I'm almost positive the document will not be used against me in a court of law. Almost.
Anyways-back to the trip.
We stopped in Redding to stay with family. This was our "chill day"-leave late, drive for 3 hours, spend the night, leave in the morning towards Portland. Easy-peasy.
We took off the next day with a ton of snacks to reduce the number of stops. Pretty soon we were in Medford, Oregon, looking for a meal. Yelp must have been smoking crack that day, because we ended up at some place that claimed to have the best BBQ in the state.
Apparently they do not have an independent BBQ judging system in place, because the food was awful. Unremarkable, bland. Yuck.
I was getting irritated. And we had 7 more hours to go.
Portland was filled with tons of things I HAD TO SEE/DO/EAT, and all would be better.