Why “Have Peanut butter will travel?”
The kids and I drove across the country a few years ago, from Georgia to Montana, with many interesting stops along the way. We slept in various campgrounds, some nicer than others, and visited different parks and trails. We mostly drove fast for the first couple of days, then we explored more as we were closer to the west. We camped near Canyon de Chelly, now one of my favorite places, and after our simple breakfast we packed up camp and drove to the canyon to find a place to hike. I parked the car at an overlook and we started down the trail. I was used to hiking up things, mountains and hills, but this time we started by going down. The views were stunning, and walking on bare rock, a rock that swirled with colors, was a new experience. It was early, and we enjoyed cool air. A few people walked more quickly than us, and passed us on the trail. I remember an American Indian walking hurriedly with his pack. He had artists canvases scrolled up and sticking out of the back of his pack, and as he passed us I had an image of him setting up somewhere in the canyon to paint. For a fleeting moment I wanted to be him, with the ability to paint in nature that way. The colors and textures of the rock punctuated with the bright green bushes and trees were too beautiful for a camera, it needed the artist’s paintbrush. We walked on, enjoying every moment of a hike that was so different than the lush green of northern Georgia.
When we reached the end of the trail, deep in the canyon, I was surprised to see that several of these people that had hurried down the trail were not there to enjoy the nature, but to set up shop. The artist wasn’t painting, he was selling his paintings. Women were selling jewelry, some people were selling pottery, causing the bottom of the canyon to have a festival or market feel. This was not what I expected to find when walking out in a National Park. The Indian Reservation owns this land, and I had no complaints, actually I just wished I had hiked with a little spending money. We enjoyed our snack and then eventually returned; now hiking up hill. The temperature was hotter and drier than what we were used to, but even my youngest enjoyed the walk back to the car. Once at the car we were ready for lunch. I popped open the back of our van, my son pulled out the coolers and I made our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. These simple sandwiches were our lunch every day of the trip because they were so easy. We always had fruit, chips and maybe cheese and crackers with them. It may not have been the most exciting lunch but it was cheaper than fast food every day, and certainly a little healthier. We tried to have a little more variety and fresh veggies for supper, but I didn’t want complicated when we were driving and camping every night. To me the food wasn’t the point of the trip, the adventure was.
While we were sitting on the coolers eating our sandwiches in the middle of the overlook parking lot, a woman and her 3 kids walked by. She said hello, and we began to chat a little. She asked me if I homeschooled my kids, and I said yes. She said she could tell, homeschoolers are easy going, and could make a field trip and picnic anywhere. I responded, “Have peanut butter will travel,” and we laughed. I remembered all the many field trips we had already taken in our home school, and the picnics eaten from the back of our car, or on the grass of some museum or historical location. PB&J’s seemed to reflect our love of simple adventure, how easy to slap a few of these sandwiches together and hit the road, ready to learn and experience. This is why I titled the blog Have Peanut Butter will Travel.
Images were copied from Google images.