I Was Well Into My Teens Before I Realized Cracker Barrel Wasn't Just A Road Trip Bathroom Stop


When I was a kid we took a lot of road trips. It's cool to see so much of the country, but the primary reason was that my dad didn't like to fly. So unless we were headed to the Orlando, Florida—we would travel there by train—we were hopping in the Dodge Caravan/Saturn Relay.

Everyone has their own road trip habits. You listen to the certain playlists or you stock up on the same snacks.

One of my family's habits was that when nature called, we veered off the interstate and into the parking lot of Cracker Barrel.

We'd all run into the general store part of Cracker Barrel and make our way to the back where the bathrooms were. We'd do our business, and then peruse the items (read: junk) that they were peddling in the store like weird candy, those little tablets where you can draw mustaches on a cartoon using flakes of metal that were probably collected from the Roswell UFO crash site, and whatever the hell these things are:
Image result for metal track toy magnet


We would then buy nothing, and get back in our car and continue our journey to Galesburg, Illinois; Lafayette, Indiana; Yellowstone National Park; or wherever we were going.

I know what you're thinking: didn't you guys ever stop and eat while you were at Cracker Barrel?

That's a legitimate question and the answer is that we didn't.

In fact, I saw everyone eating there and wondered why they were eating at a combination general store/rest-stop.

It wasn't until I was well into my teenage years that I realized most people treat Cracker Barrels primarily as restaurants and not public toilets.

I was discussing road trips with friends and said something like "Yeah road trips are great. You listen to music, take in the scenery, and when you've got to take a leak you just roll into Cracker Barrel."

This statement was met with a quizzical expression from peers. A quizzical look that I sent back their way, since I had assumed that a combination pee-break/general store tchotchke-perusal was a part of everyone's road trip experience.

Turns out it's not. People actually went their to eat. This was a stunning revelation.

I asked my mom why we were always emptying bladders and whatever else at Cracker Barrels. Her response was that they were always located right off the highway, were well lit, and she felt like it was safer than going to truck stops.

Which makes perfect sense. So, I submit for your approval, on your next road trip, if you find yourself feeling some pressure in your bladder, look past that empty Gatorade bottle that's rolling around your car, and pull into a Cracker Barrel. Their bathrooms have the Reigle Family Road Trip stamp of approval.

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