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Tina V

Road Trip

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I will be driving from Iowa to California in a couple months to start graduate school. I have been gluten free for 4 years and so know how to pack for such a trip, but 2000 miles is a long trip to pack every meal for.I am wondering if anyone knows of some Gluten-free friendly stops along I-80.

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Would you want to risk it? :( I personally wouldn't. It shouldn't be too hard, take a big cooler and make stops along the way at stores and such, much cheaper as well.

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Congrats on the grad school! :)

You could try looking for the chain places with a gluten-free menu like Outback and PF Changs.

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I can help you with California :rolleyes: besides the Outback Steakhouse and PF Chang's Chinese, there's :

Truckee, California, near Lake Tahoe - has the Drunken Monkey, a fantastic Sushi place with a gluten free menu. Google their facebook page for hours. Be sure to ask for the gluten free soy sauce, just in case. that's the only glitch we've had there, and caught it. Nom nom nom just great stuff - roasted beets, cucumber salads, sushi.

There is another gluten free place in the Tahoe area, but I have not eaten there, so I won't give it the thumbs up. The restaurant reviews on the service are mixed, and the hours and dates they are open are eccentric. Since we go to this area a lot, I know how frustrating it can be to anticipate something and then find it's closed because somebody had a whim to take a week off during a holiday time. Warning for travelers- many things which are not chain stores, around the lake Tahoe/Truckee area close between the last week in Oct and then don't re open until the 3rd week of Thanksgiving in Nov, for ski season. The other time of transition is now, right at the dead end of ski season, from late April, which went late this year into May because it kept snowing, and to either Memorial day or the first week of June. Some ski areas have summer time hours, running their lifts for sightseers and their restaurants on limited hours, but always call and confirm because they may be closed right now.

It shouldn't be snowing in August. Warning: check online weather sites before attempting crossing Sierra Nevada during snow periods, typically Oct/Nov - May, if your vehicle does not have 4 wheel drive you may be required to have tire chains, depending on the road surface conditions. A vehicle without 4 wh drive or front wheel drive should carry some extra weight over the rear tires, such as a few bags of kitty litter or some firewood in the truck bed. Check your windshield washer fluids and make sure your brakes are good because there is a lot of downhill going west. Blue Canyon area is not the place to see how fast you can go, because it ices up. Stay in your car if there is an accident until everybody is finished running off the road and hitting each other, you will have a better chance of surviving the demolition derby Olympics and not get taken out by the next fool from SoCal who was doing 70mph until slamming on their brakes. Fog lights- one winter in CA and you will see why people use these. If you do not know how to put chains on, there are roadside stops where you pay people and they put them on for you. I -80 at high elevation may shut down at any time for weather conditions, it was shut down this month for hours, and they had to cancel the first leg of the Amgen Tour of CA bicycle race because of a blizzard. IF you have to pull over and stop for any extended period of time, keep your tailpipe CLEAR of snow so you do not accidentally suffocate.

It is about 2 - 3 hours from Truckee and the Lake Tahoe area to the next major food sources. Auburn has a health food store, Sunrise Natural Foods, and the Raley's/Belair groceries and the burger joint described below. There is a restaurant in town along 80 that sells takeout food, wrapped gluten free bread from a gluten free bakery in Davis, and other things like coconut ice cream, however, do not get a sandwich there because when I interviewed them/checked them out the nice cashier had no idea whatsoever about the actual perils of cross contamination. I'm not sure I would trust the takeout, either. The bread and wrapped snacks from gluten-free vendors are okay.

The Raley's and Belair grocery store chains have a good selection in their gluten free aisles, and many of them are located pretty close to the various I - 80 exits.

Fast Food: In and Out Burger is a California icon. They have a limited menu, which actually works out better for us, because they only use their fryers for french fries, and they make them out of potatoes that you can watch them slicing. You can also get the hamburgers or cheeseburgers "protein style" wrapped in lettuce, and they are food allergy cognizant in their ordering procedure if you make a request. The burgers are not real big, so I recommend a double if you are hungry and get the lettuce wrap.

Wendy's: has the baked potato which can be topped with various things- check their website.

Jimboy's Tacos, local chain, the last I checked the refried beans are okay, some of the meat items may be okay on a non fried corn tortilla.

Folsom/Cameron Park area, before Sacramento: Anza Gluten Free Bakery in Cameron Park. S.E. Corner of Green Valley Road and Cameron Park Drive. check website for hours. Altho this is not off of I- 80, but off of I- 50, or rather, sort of sandwiched between the two freeways which run parallel to each other, I am going to detour you to the south, to check this out. You can either pick up 49 south (slow, twisty scenic historic Gold Rush era) off of 80 to reach 50, or take 80 to Sierra College and then take that South to Folsom and pick up Green Valley Road going east. (use a map...) They are gluten free and VEGAN, which means no dairy, so you can eat it. They also have a small table area you can sit down and have something to drink with the food, which is worth it. You may be wondering why would anybody go to Cameron Park. 1. The Anza gluten-free bakery. 2. It's near Folsom Lake and Lake Natoma, which is used for a lot of watersports and trail activities on the American River, and it's on the way up to the Sierra for people taking the slower, scenic I- 50 to go skiing.

More Folsom: Old Spaghetti Factory in the old Nimbus winery building near Lake Natoma. Has a gluten free pasta option that comes with a salad and spumoni ice cream for dessert. Also a branch in Sacramento. Mizithra cheese on rice pasta, nom nom nom B) Can be crowded on Friday and Saturday nights during prime dinner hour.

Central Valley, north and west: Where the Feather meets the Yuba River

Not that close to I-80, but in the Yuba City/Marysville area, about 40 mi north of Sacramento/Lincoln and west of Grass Valley (20 highway runs from 80 through Grass Valley all the way to Yuba City, and beyond). There is a New Earth Market, a grocery which has gluten free foods, on Tharp Rd in Yuba City. Because Yuba City has a large population of immigrants, there is a lot of ethnic foods available in the groceries, which are naturally gluten free. :) Winco is very large, but will be inexpensive and have some useable gluten free items. There are also lots of roadside stands for farm produce in the summer, orchards along the north - south routes going north on 70. Other than that, you'd have to go to Oroville/Chico area next to find much.

Roseville, on 80: PF Chang's Chinese, across from the Galleria Mall.

There is a Whole Foods grocery in Roseville. The store layout drives one batty, it will not be a quick shop. They've scattered the gluten-free all over the freaking store. Recommend other venues unless you like shopping slowly and paying more for it.

Sacramento gluten free food in restaurants: Mati's Indian Express, midtown, almost all the food except the naanbread is gluten free. Pilot House, Old Sacramento, tourist area near state capitol building, pricey,$, but is a great floating boat restaurant on the river water, has several gluten free entrees, very nice. Scott's Seafood Grill and Bar, or Scott's Seafood on the River (same chain, several locations, see scottsseafood.net , you will have to get off the freeway a few miles), also has a nice gluten free menu selection.

Sacramento area Pizza: Steve's Pizza is a local chain, which has a good gluten free pizza. Seven Sisters also has gluten free pizza. Both are very good.

Sacramento: there is a gluten free grocery, Gluten Free Specialty Market, in midtown on J st, that sells only gluten free food, so it's a hoot- you just shop instead of playing Store Detective.

Davis, the home of UC Davis, to the west of Sacramento: The Farmer's Kitchen Gluten Free Restaurant and Bakery. (see daviswiki.org) Limited hours, not the fastest place, but great gluten free bread and food. I mean, REALLY good food because they use a lot of organic ingredients, and Davis has the Davis Farmer's Market nearby every weekend, on Saturday mornings. Davis also has a Steve's Pizza restaurant. If this is not your final destination, you still would want to check this town out. I think I saw a new Trader Joe's the last time I was driving through, too.

Pedrick's Produce Farmer's Market: near Davis. You Have To Stop Here. You'll see signs for it on I - 80. They sell a LOT of nice produce at inexpensive prices. Wholesale prices on bulk nuts.

Vacaville, Fairfield, Santa Rosa, Dixon, Novato, other East Bay Area locations, see website: Mary's Pizza Shack chain now has a gluten free pizza crust. Okay, the one in Novato is not that close to I-80, but if you are in Marin County north of San Francisco, on the way or to, or leaving Pt Reyes National Seashore, taking the 37 westbound off of 80 and then the back roads in, it is a restaurant with something gluten free available, in an area that is very non populated and scenic, and you know how that goes. California is a rural state, except for the big urban areas of Sac, SanF, SanD, and LA. Currently the little shopping center there also has a yogurt place with gluten free frozen yogurt, making this a two - fer.

Berkeley/Oakland area: Mariposa Gluten Free Bakery. corner of 55th st and Telegraph in North Oakland. Not that far off of 80, but takes a bit to get to because the traffic is not real fast. Another gluten free bakery which is worth the drive if you are in the area. They also have a kiosk in the Ferry building in San Francisco, and you will see their brownies and biscotti in a lot of the Whole Foods in northern CA.

There is also a Whole Foods nearby this Mariposa bakery location, if you are stuck driving around Oakland traffic anyway. Not as bad as the one in Roseville.

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I am in the same boat! I am about to go from Florida to New Jersey. I am going to pack a lot of snacks but also, I thought about a couple of other things.

1. It's the summer - at least in the southern US, there are certain to be a lot of fresh fruit and veggie stands everywhere along the road.

2. I downloaded the "Gluten Free Registry" app for my phone which has an option to locate nearby gluten free restaurants and stores.

3. My boyfriend, with whom I will be traveling, began searching specifically for gluten free restaurants and grocery stores along our planned route. Basically, anything gluten-free is now a destination!

Honestly, I don't think it should be too hard. A lot of major brands are labeling gluten now, so even if you can't find specialty places, most grocery stores have some gluten-free stuff. I am from southern WV and when I started finding quite a bit of gluten-free stuff in stores there, I knew it must be almost everywhere!

Best of luck and congratulations on grad school!

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I would personally not let gluten-free eating stand in the way of traveling and doing something you love! Although I am not from the US so have no comments on what to eat on the route, I just thought I'd encourage you to go for it. My husband and I did a three-week trip to Croatia and Italy recently (long flights, layovers, drives, grocery store stops and so on) and LOVED it, even with my having celiac disease.

We took along lots of gluten-free snacks and bread from Canada (incluidng homemade snacks) and are glad we did. They are far easier to find in Italy than Croatia where they are severely limited. Anyway, we stuck to eating naturally gluten-free food most of the time, anyway, from grilled fresh fish/seafood to roast lamb. So, stock up on non-perishable gluten-free stuff, hit the markets and fruit stands as already mentioned, and have a fantastic and well-earned time off! :)

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Whenever I travel, I work on the assumption that finding gluten free grain containing food will be difficult. And I love and need carbs so living on nothing but fruit and salad doesn't work for me! So, I always bring a good supply of crackers, cereal and granola/snack bars (LaraBars are my favourite) and then supplement that with things like fruit, yogurt and trail mix purchased from grocery stores. When travelling, the grocery store is our friend.

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