(as documented by David Wilcox, interested onlooker/unwitting participant)
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 17, 2001 (Carrborro, North Carolina to Athens, GA)
1) JUSTIN — Clif Bar; Quizno’s Vegetarian Sub; Trout w/ Texas Caviar, Rice, Mashed Potatoes, Corn Muffin
2) SARA — Odwalla Bar; Quizno’s Vegetarian Sub, Carrot Cake; Fried Green Tomato Sandwich, Vegan Plantain and Corn Chowder, Cornbread; Mini Quiche, Chips & Salsa (courtesy wedding reception)
3) VERN -- $.99 Chicken Nuggets, $.99 Bacon Cheese Burger (Wendy’s); Mini-Quiche (2); 3 Polish Dogs w/ Comeback Sauce
4) BRANDT — Quizno’s Baja Chicken Sub; Strawberry Banana Anti-Oxidant Smoothie; Chicken Cheese Quesadilla, Carrots/Broccoli/Dip, Chips/Salsa (courtesy wedding reception); 2 Polish Dogs w/ Comeback Sauce
5) DAVE STONE — Trout w/ Texas Caviar, Garden Salad; Bean and Rice Burrito (Taco Bell); Chips/Salsa (courtesy wedding reception)
6) DAVE DOUGHMAN — Quizno’s Mesquite Chicken w/ Bacon Sub, Fritos; Two Chicken Tacos; 1 Polish Dog with Comeback Sauce
7) DAVID WILCOX — Quizno’s Vegetarian Sub; Trout w/ Texas Caviar, Collard Greens, Corn Muffin; Mini Quiche, 3 Pieces of Cheese, Chips/Salsa (courtesy wedding reception)
COMMENTS — Our sole visit to Quizno’s was on this day, where we all ordered "small" subs that were twice as large as anything you could possibly fit in your mouth. Declared inedible unanimously. Soundcheck at the 40 Watt in Athens took place at 3 in the afternoon to accommodate an employee’s wedding reception scheduled for later in the day. We were all invited to stick around and make short work of the finger foods thusly. "Polish Dogs with Comeback Sauce" are an experience pushed nightly by the amiable vendor stationed outside the club — totally addictive grease tubs perfect for combating the churning sea of Absu one’s stomach becomes after too much alcohol intake, its garnish so named either in reference to the fact that you’ll be back for more or that you’ll be reliving the flavor as it swims back upstream.
ANALYSIS — Hats off to Mr. Vern Rumsey, not merely for the bird he flipped his intestines in the form of staggering meat consumption (which was nearly matched by both Doughman and Brandt), but for maintaining such a fine balance of frugality (manifested at the Wendy’s $.99 bar) and elegance (a petit fours to accompany your quiche, sir?).
GOLD-STAR — Vern Rumsey
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 18, 2001 (Athens to Atlanta, GA)
1) JUSTIN — Bean and Rice Cheese Melt Thing-y; Strawberry Shortcake Popsicle; Toastchee Peanut Butter Crackers; Grouper with Broccoli and Potatoes; Chocolate Mousse
2) SARA — Bagel with Tomato; Cheese, Tomato and Corn over Rice Thing-y, Side of Okra; Galactic Pop; Fritos; Spinach Ravioli w/ Walnut Pesto; Chocolate Mousse
3) VERN — Steak and Cheese Sandwich; "Weird Ice Cream w/ Strawberry Topping"; Frito Twists
4) BRANDT — Red Burrito, Corn, Rice; Pasta w/ Dill Sauce & Homemade Sausage; Chocolate Mousse
5) STONE — Falafel, Corn Chips; Tagliatelli w/ Radicchio and Black Truffle Sauce
6) DOUGHMAN — Cup of Black Bean Chili, Pita Pizza; Strawberry and Raspberry Smoothie; Chocolate Éclair Ice Cream Bar; 13 Jelly Bellies; Peanut M&Ms; 2 Slices Cheese and Pineapple Pizza; Chocolate Mousse
7) WILCOX — Veggie Burger, Corn Chips; Grouper with Potatoes, Broccoli; Tiramisu
COMMENTS — The 18th was memorable as not only my 27th birthday, but also our final night on tour with Mecca Normal and Thrones. To commemorate this two-fold occasion we all went and had dinner at an Italian restaurant near the Echo Lounge, which explains why our food selections here reach a descriptive high-point.
ANALYSIS — Mr. Rumsey’s flowery description of his dessert and steel-willed commitment to culinary populism amongst a table full of food snobs nearly nets him a repeat as champ, but look at Mr. Doughman’s line — such variety, and 13 jelly bellies?! That more than offsets whatever meager nutritional value could be found in his smoothie.
GOLD-STAR — Dave Doughman
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 19, 2001 (Atlanta, GA to Baton Rouge, LA)
1) JUSTIN — Potato Soup, Cornbread; Peanut Butter Crackers; Snickers Ice Cream Bar; Pay Day; Fish N Chips
2) SARA — Split Pea Soup, Cornbread; Cookies N Cream Sandwich; Hot and Sour Big Soup Noodle Bowl; Gulf Fish PoBoy, Slaw, Potato Salad
3) VERN — Red Bull, Fritos Flavor Twists
4) BRANDT — Split Pea Soup, Cornbread; Outpost brand Beef Jerky; Toastchee Peanut Butter Crackers; Buffalo Wing and Blue Cheese Potato Chips; Tuna Fish Sandwich (from gas station); Fish PoBoy, Slaw, Potato Salad
5) STONE — Potato Soup, Cornbread; Hot and Sour Big Soup Noodle Bowl; Gulf Fish PoBoy, Fries; Toblerone Bar
6) DOUGHMAN — 2 Pancakes, 3 Strips Bacon; 6 Pixie Sticks; 2 Bags Cheez-Its; Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich; 6 Mini Powdered Donuts; Frosty, Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe (Wendy’s); Peanut M&Ms
7) WILCOX — Tofu Sandwich, Onion Rings; Snickers Ice Cream Bar; Pretzel Cheddar Combos; Fish N Chips
COMMENTS — As is probably not too difficult to discern, we spent all day driving and subsisted on shit gas station food, with two notable exceptions: first, we ate at a vegan soul food restaurant next door to our hotel for breakfast, owned and operated by Black Hebrews. Justin ordered coffee only to be informed by our waiter that vegan restaurants "don’t serve coffee." We all responded with silence, each of us convinced that everyone else there gathered knew perfectly well why vegan restaurants don’t serve coffee. Noone actually did. We also stopped for dinner at the Treasure Bay Casino in Biloxi, MS, where we ate some of the worst food of the entire tour and drank the casino’s special "micro-brew," Golden Dagger lager. It sold for $3 a pitcher and tasted like someone had diluted a pitcher of Miller Lite with glacial runoff. A country cover band called the Mustang Sallys, seemingly assembled from Coyote Ugly casting call rejects, played Dixie Chicks covers while we ate. They were the most pleasant thing about the dining experience.
ANALYSIS -- Vern spent the first of several days with an uncooperative stomach and all he could hold down was Red Bull and Fritos. An amazing specimen. Still, you can’t judge a player’s performance when they don’t really get off the bench. Even with the healthy cup of soup he sucked down, Brandt’s combination of buffalo wing potato chips, beef jerky, and Texaco tuna fish was a special feat; but there’s no way anyone could hope to compete with Dave Doughman’s mock-diabetic suicide. It really had to be seen to be believed.
GOLD-STAR — Dave Doughman
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 20 (Baton Rouge, LA to Houston, TX)
- JUSTIN — Fruit Smoothie, Protein Bar; _ Catfish PoBoy, Fries; 1 Spring Roll, 1 Egg Roll; Chocolate Chip Cookie
- SARA — Smoothie ("Thelma and Louise"); _ Catfish PoBoy; 1 Bag Cheez-Its; 1 Piece Fried Alligator; Egg Roll Vermicelli, 2 Spring Rolls; Gatorade Power Bar; Chocolate Chip Cookie
- VERN — Smoothie
- BRANDT — Smoothie, Myoplex Protein Bar; Fried Alligator; Egg Roll Noodle Salad, 1 Spring Roll
- STONE — Two Bananas; _ Shrimp PoBoy, Fries
- DOUGHMAN — Smoothie; Turkey Sub; 1 Piece Fried Alligator; 1 Package "Bottlecaps"; Big Mac, Fries; Vermicelli; Chocolate Chip Cookie; 2 Bags Cheez-Its
- WILCOX — Smoothie (Strawberry/Peanut Butter); Cream Cheese Danish; _ Shrimp PoBoy, Fries; 4 Spring Rolls
COMMENTS — I assume that the smoothies we all bought this particular morning had cute little menu names, but only Sara’s bore repeating. A smoothie more full of sass and wild feminine abandon ye shall never know. This was also the first day that some form of turkey meat appeared next to Dave Doughman’s name. As you’ll see, he and that bird come to have a very special relationship.
ANALYSIS — A rather uneventful day of food, really. Vern was still on injured reserve. I do recall Doughman recoiling in horror when he realized his vermicelli had tofu in it. He also ate his Big Mac and Turkey Sub within a couple of hours of each other. And, mind you, that was before 1 p.m.
GOLD-STAR — Dave Doughman
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 21, 2001 (Houston to Austin, TX)
- JUSTIN — Potosinos; _ Burrito
- SARA — Poblano Cheese Flautas, Guacamole, Beans/Rice; Garlic Bagel; Banana; 1 Piece of Pizza
- VERN — 2 Spicy Pork Tacos
- BRANDT — Garlic Bagel; Chile Relleno, Guacamole, Beans/Rice; 2 Tacos (unspecified ingredients)
- STONE — Potato Flautas, Black Beans/Rice; Peanut Butter Malt Balls; Garlic Bagel
- DOUGHMAN — 2 Tostadas; Garlic Bagel; 6 Mini Chocolate Donuts; Cheez-Its (unspecified amount); SweeTarts; 1 Slice Cheese Pizza
- WILCOX — Potato Flautas, Beans/Rice; 2 Slices Cheese Pizza
COMMENTS — We lounged around my house in Houston (well, they did — I lay in bed feeling sick to my stomach) munching on bagels and fruit until mid-afternoon, at which point we went to my favorite Mexican restaurant for a late lunch. Dave Stone uncharacteristically lost all control of his will power and had to be forcibly cut off from the peanut butter malt balls my girlfriend had brought along for the trip to Austin. During the course of a 170-mile trip, Doughman still managed to find time for donuts and Cheez-Its.
ANALYSIS — Vern slowly began to work his way back into the rotation, but was still far from game-shape. It’d be easy to give the nod to Doughman once again for his daily sugar fit, but Dave Stone’s surrender to gluttony was far more memorable.
GOLD-STAR — Dave Stone
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 22, 2001 (Austin to Denton, TX)
- JUSTIN — French Toast w/ Strawberries & Whipped Cream; Smoothie; Pay Day; Cheese Quesadilla
- SARA — Migas; Pay Day; Fritos; Black Bean and Cheese Nachos
- VERN — Quesadillas; 3 Cheeseburgers, Fries
- BRANDT — Southwestern Omelet, Muffin (unspecified), Home Fries; Chick-O-Stick Beef Jerky; Cheeseburger
- STONE — Tofu Scramble, Home Fries; Pretzels (but he removed the salt); Grilled Veggie Sandwich, Fries
- DOUGHMAN — Migas; Cheeseburger, Fries; Cheez-Its (unspecified amount); SweeTarts Candy Necklace; Turkey Lunchables
- WILCOX — 3 Breakfast Burritos, samples of other breakfast orders; Peanut Butter Crackers; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; Shrimp Quesadilla
COMMENTS — there’s no way this can show up in the box score, but I had a miserable food day. At breakfast our waitress completely forgot to bring me my order and so I picked off of other people’s plates for a half hour before my burritos were steaming in front of me. By that time I no longer cared. To top it off, I later went with Justin, Sara and Stone to some "last-chance"-style sports bar in downtown Denton to get dinner and decided for some reason that it was a good idea to order a shrimp quesadilla, which consisted of two brittle, toasted slices of white bread with melted American cheese and 4 pathetic little shrimps so overcooked they tasted like sunburn. Any establishment that boasts of their "world famous hamburgers" is giving a subtle warning — just get a fucking hamburger and shut up about it.
ANALYSIS — Vern officially got back on the horse, as they say, with three spry little cheeseburgers. A few other items of interest: Brandt’s Chick-O-Stick; Doughman’s second turkey entry (and a less appetizing form I have trouble imagining); the fact that Dave Stone was sure to inform me that he took all the salt off of his pretzels before eating them. All nice moments, but one can never overlook the moral of a story. Or he at whose expense it was brought forth.
GOLD-STAR — David Wilcox
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2001 (Denton, TX to Fayetteville, AR)
- JUSTIN — _ English Muffin; Veggie Bagel Sandwich; Pay Day; Sun Chips; Vegetable Delight, Rice
- SARA — Veggie Bagel Sandwich, Ruffles; Spicy Thai Big Soup Noodle Bowl; Vegetable Fried Rice; couple of sips of Egg Drop Soup
- VERN — Chopped Beef Sandwich, Potato Salad; Beef w/ Garlic Sauce, Rice
- BRANDT — Cheetos Golden Toast Crackers; Peter Pan Crackers; Veggie Bagel Sandwich; Vanilla Cake w/ Boston Crème Zingers; Beef w/ Tea Sauce
- STONE — Veggie Bagel Sandwich, Ruffles; Hot n Sour Big Soup Noodle Bowl; Broccoli in Oyster Sauce
- DOUGHMAN — Turkey Sandwich, Ruffles; Candy Necklaces (3); Pretzels; Nutty Bar; Nutter Butters; Beef and Broccoli
- WILCOX — Veggie Bagel Sandwich, Ruffles; Chocolate Covered Pretzels; Pizza Flavored Combos; Bean Curd (the worst ever) w/ Mixed Vegetables, Fried Rice; 1 slice Cheese Pizza
COMMENTS — the only nearby place to eat in Fayetteville was this Hunan drive-thru that shares its parking lot both with the venue (Clunk Music Hall) and a topless bar. It was, as I noted, home of the worst bean curd ever -- of a gizzard-like consistency, no flavor, and enough hot oil soaked in to burn your tongue with every chewy morsel. The smell of their disposed grease in the dumpsters outside will stay with me a very long time.
ANALYSIS — Here’s to finding a winning flavor and sticking to it: Vern (beef for both meals); Brandt (twice with the cracker packages, even if they were different brands); Doughman (Nutty Bar and Nutty Butters); and myself (pizza flavored food as a stand-in for actual pizza, which I found later).
GOLD STAR(s) — Vern, Brandt, Doughman, Wilcox
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 2001 (Fayetteville, AR to Lawrence, KS)
- JUSTIN — Croissant, Soy Shake, Clif Bar; 7 Layer Burrito (Taco Bell)
- SARA — Banana, Croissant; Tofu Rice Bowl; Clif Bar; Sesame Blue Corn Chips
- VERN — Hostess Apple Pie; Cheeseburger, Pickle; "Big Ass" Burrito
- BRANDT — Banana, Croissant; a few Wheat Thins; Fish Tacos (2); Cheese Quesadilla, Chicken Burrito Supreme (Taco Bell)
- STONE — Bananas (2); Clif Bar; 5 Layer Burrito (Taco Bell); Roll of Bread/Bread Roll (eh?)
- DOUGHMAN — Turkey Cheese Sandwich, Cheez-Its; Clif Bar; 2 Chicken Tacos; 1 York Peppermint Patty
- WILCOX — Bagel w/ Lox, Cream Cheese; 1 piece of Fudge; 1 Chocolate-Covered Pretzel; Salvadoran Enchiladas; Chocolate Chip Cookie
COMMENTS — Doughman once again has turkey, although at this point I’m beginning to wonder if I should be paying closer attention to his Cheez-Its habit. How the hell did Sara manage to maintain her dignity on this thing so well for so long?
ANALYSIS — all things being equal, in this life there are few sights more pathetic than that of a man eating Taco Bell.
GOLD STAR(s) — Justin Trosper, Brandt Sandeno, Dave Stone
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 25, 2001 (Lawrence, KS to Denver, CO)
- JUSTIN — 2 Clif Bars, Banana, Ritz Bits; Nectarine; Hummus/Tomato/Avocado/Cheese Sandwich; Ethiopian Food (unidentified); Baby Carrots
- SARA — Miso Ramen Soup; Raspberry Yogurt; Hummus/Tomato/Avocado/Cheese Sandwich, Baby Carrots; Hot and Sour Soup, Spring Roll; 1 bag Nutter Butter Bites; Corn and Sesame Chips
- VERN — Twinkies, Hostess Apple Pie; Turkey/Cheese Wrap w/ Salsa; 1 slice Pizza
- BRANDT — Sausage/Egg Cheese Biscuit; Turkey/Cheese/Avocado Sandwich; Deviled Egg Salad; Hot and Sour Soup, Pad Thai
- STONE — Clif Bar; Salt and Vinegar Pringles; Banana; Ethiopian Food (Justin’s unidentified leftovers)
- DOUGHMAN — 6 Mini Powdered Donuts; Turkey/Cheese Sandwich; Mini-Pizza; Cheez-Its
- WILCOX — Egg/Cheese Sandwich, Hash Browns (Burger King); Banana; Avocado/Cheese Sandwich, Baby Carrots; Hot and Sour Soup, Tofu Massaman Curry; Snickers
COMMENTS — Doughman’s fifth rendezvous with a piece of turkey in this still-young six-day love affair. Yes, I had Burger King for breakfast. Yes, I deem that to be less pathetic than Taco Bell. No, I’m still not proud of it.
ANALYSIS — there have certainly been more disgusting things ingested by people on this trip so far, but Vern’s double-shot of Hostess cakes for breakfast keeps catching my eye.
GOLD STAR — Vern Rumsey
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 2001 (Denver, CO to Salt Lake City, UT)
- JUSTIN — 2 Danishes; Wheat Thins and String Cheese; Banana; Nutter Butters; Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bar; Smoothie; Wheatgrass Juice; Tofu in Spicy Garlic Sauce w/ Brown Rice
- SARA — Banana, Carrot Bread; Baby Carrots; Sour Cream Donut; Fritos; Smoothie; Cheddar Cheese Stick; "some kind of Chinese crap that was Justin’s, but it was good"
- VERN — Chinese lunch buffet (2 plates worth); McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger; Shredded Chicken Bar-BQ Sandwich
- BRANDT — Sausage/Egg/Cheese Biscuit; Banana; Danish-type thing from the hotel; Cheeseburger, Onion Rings; Fritos Scoops; 1 Spring Roll; 1 disc of Bison Jerky
- STONE — 2 Bananas; Clif Bar; Tofu and Bread; Smoothie; 2 Odwalla Superfoods
- DOUGHMAN — Turkey and Cheese Crackers; Chocolate Cupcakes; Peanut Butter Crackers; Smoothie; Raisins; 2 Jalapeno Cheese Sticks; 3 discs of Bison Jerky; Chex Honey Nut Mix; Turkey/Bacon/Cheese Sandwich
- WILCOX — Blueberry Bread, Banana; Tuna Salad w/ Wheat Crackers; Pringles; 2 Chocolate Cupcakes; Tofu Vegetable Lasagna
COMMENTS — two separate meals with turkey today. Kinda makes up for the one day that Doughman forsook the bird that week.
ANALYSIS — ah, this one’s tricky. I refuse to let Sara emerge from all this madness without a single gold star to show for it, and if she failed to be the grossest person in the van at any point then she should at least be judged against her own standards. And her gas station-brand carrot bread, donut, Fritos and cheddar cheese stick were about as low as Lund got. Not to mention her flippant recollection of her dinner for the evening, dripping with the resignation of one who has decided "I really don’t care; I will eat whatever the fuck you put in front of me."
But then again, even in light of his many earlier achievements, Dave Doughman really outdid himself. That is a staggering amount of crap to eat. "3 discs of Bison Jerky" — how can that be cast aside?
GOLD STAR(s) — Dave Doughman, Sara Lund
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 27, 2001 (Salt Lake City, UT to Boise, ID)
- JUSTIN — Banana, Smoothie; Bagel Sandwich w/ Hummus; Sun Chips; String Cheese; Pay Day; Tuna Melt, Salad
- SARA — Garlic Bagel w/ Smoked Salmon/Cream Cheese; Cherry Pineapple Big Stick; Clif Bar; Baby Carrots; Tuna Melt, Salad
- VERN — Big Mac; Double Cheeseburger (also McDonald’s)
- BRANDT — Bagel Sandwich w/ Egg/Cheese/Sausage; "Pioneer Steak Sandwich", Corn Fries; Sunflower Seeds
- STONE — Bagel w/ Hummus; Protein Peach Smoothie; "Coney Island Flavored" Potato Chips; Corn Fries; Tuna Melt, Fries
- DOUGHMAN — 6 Chocolate Mini Donuts; Sesame Bagel w/ Cream Cheese, Tomato; 1 huge Rice Krispie Treat; Pretzel Nibblers
- WILCOX — Bagel w/ Cream Cheese/Tomato/Cucumber; "Coney Island Flavored" Potato Chips; Peanut Butter Cups; Corn Fries; Tuna Melt, Salad
COMMENTS -- corn fries: seasoned fish-fry corn meal in stick form. A truck stop south of Boise had little advertisements for them all over the dining area of their in-house grill. Brandt purchased some to go along with his "Pioneer Steak Sandwich" after Dave Stone and I both goaded him into it, eager to try it out ourselves. Stone and I had also just split a bag of potato chips that were supposed to have the flavor of hot dogs and mustard, and enjoyed them more than we should have. I have no idea what Sara’s "cherry pineapple big stick" was.
ANALYSIS — I look back fondly on this as the day that Dave Stone and I both hit rock bottom at the same time, and frolicked about in that pit like pigs in shit. God bless Brandt for taking us there. No, I didn’t overlook that Vern had McDonald’s twice in one day. Trust me, it wasn’t the same.
GOLD STAR (s) — David Wilcox, Dave Stone, Brandt Sandeno