GOOOOOOD MORNINGGGGG from the Hankamer, Texas rest area I-10 east. This morning started out great with a homemade breakfast. Cooking while out on the road has been a project I have visited in the past. Previous efforts were short-lived due to the hassle involved in preparing a meal.
An earlier effort included a small portable grill with limited success due to the fact they are only good for grilling. Adding to the lack of versatility I found the clean-up, not worth the effort put forth, plus it tended to leave a foul smell in my interior when stowed in my side box.
Last weekend I decided to revisit my cooking efforts. I loaded my small two burner camp stove and my cast iron skillet. My next step was to go grocery shopping. While at the store I bought a new stainless steel spatula and groceries. Breakfast is a meal I really enjoy cooking and my first planned meal included eggs, sausage patties, and a frozen bag of diced potatoes with peppers and onions. Now I waited for the perfect opportunity to put this plan into action.
The next area of concern was that I do not like to use space at a truck stop and not use their services so I decided to only cook at rest areas or shippers/receivers. As I approached the Hankamer rest area I decided this would be the perfect place to try out my cook stove. I had frequented this rest area in the past and knew it had the perfect covered picnic areas to cook my breakfast in the morning.
There were several spaces available and I pulled into an available spot and set my parking brakes. My mind was already thinking of my breakfast that I was going to prepare as I performed my post trip inspection. The next order of business was organizing my necessary pieces for breakfast. I felt like a child that was waiting for Christmas morning as I made my preparations.
When I awoke in the morning a little before sunrise I picked up my camp stove and skillet and carried it to the covered picnic pavilion. I turned on and ignited the gas grill, and placed my cast iron skillet so that it could begin warming. Next order of business was to return to the truck and retrieve my food and utensils. Upon returning to the pavilion the skillet was nearly ready to start cooking my breakfast. First I oiled the pan, then placed my diced potatoes on one side of the skillet and my sausage patties on the other half. The sausage began to sizzle on the hot cast iron skillet, as the aroma arose from the cooking surface combined with the birds chirping their morning melody creating an experience which simply tantalized the senses.
After my breakfast potatoes and sausage was finished I cracked three eggs into the pan and began to prepare my eggs sunny side up. At this point the bird’s morning symphony combined with the suns early morning appearance made the experience even more enjoyable. With my eggs finished and my entire meal plated it was time to turn off the burner and enjoy my early morning breakfast. Everything seemed to taste a little better in the campground like setting afforded by this rest area. After finishing my breakfast, I disposed of my paper plate and plastic utensils and set myself in motion to clean up my skillet and camp stove.
Cleanup was a breeze as I dumped a little water into the hot skillet and rinsed it off twice. Then all that was necessary was to wipe the skillet dry and wipe on a light coat of cooking oil. I carried my camp stove back to my truck, being quite satisfied with my morning start. As I put my skillet back into its plastic bag for storage I felt sure I will be doing this more often. Many of these roadside rest areas are very nicely equipped with picnic tables and shelters yet I hardly ever see them in use, I feel this is going to change for me.