November 13, 2012

Road Trip with GERD: Stop 5 -- Cape Canaveral


Orange and grapefruit juice, free for travelers!
Throughout the trip, I would ask myself, "Is eating this a good idea?"  When you have a chronic issue involving your diet, no day is routine, especially when on the road.    You cannot abandon your eating plan without consequences, or consume something without a quick calculation of where it fits into the plan (I'm thinking about my GERD, but this applies to diabetes, food intolerances, and other issues).  So when we arrived at the Florida border, I could not drink the complimentary juice without first thinking, "Will this trigger my GERD?"  Is this a good idea?  I decided to give it a try, and had no concerns after my Dixie cup of orange juice.  Whew!   (Florida!  We made it!)


On the way to Cape Canaveral -- our next stop -- we meandered our way along small roads lined with palms, oceanfront beach stores with fiberglass sharks and surfboards, and tiny, short hurricane-proof cement houses.  Before we knew it, the dinner hour arrived and we were not in sight of our hotel.  We had decided "no more late dinners!" and to stop around 5-6 PM to eat, wherever we were.   There were few choices, mostly seafood places and fast food, and it was Sunday evening so early closings were a concern.  When we spotted an Olive Garden, we were thrilled -- we knew the menu, we knew we could get reliable, decent food into our stomachs. 
Still, I knew I did not want a huge plate of pasta, and decided to split dishes with my travel party.  (They agreed, smaller portions for all would be best.)  I split the order of four lasagna roll-ups and a large salad.  MISTAKE #1:  After one roll up, I was full, but I decided to eat the other one because everyone else was still eating (ridiculous reason, but the roll-up was tasty, and I thought maybe I "needed" more food).  By half of the second roll up, my stomach was straining and I was unable to eat more.

My travel party decided to have dessert as well -- something I could not stuff into my body at that moment.   A slice of chocolate pie was ordered, an apple crisp with vanilla ice cream, and…what was I going to order?  I really wanted to get nothing at that point, but ordered a mini parfait -- the menu promised it was really small, a "taste."  I was happy to see it was manageable, and enjoyed a few bites of it.  MISTAKE #2:  I then "helped" my travel party finish up the vanilla ice cream from the crisp and had a few bites of the pie.  By then, I was so full my stomach felt like it would rupture.  I am not exaggerating.  I got panicky and went to the bathroom, doubled over in pain.  What did I do?  Why did I do that?!  Idiotic to not listen to my body (or reason -- why eat that much dessert anyhow??!).  I did some relaxed breathing, massaged my stomach, and "talked to my body," telling it we'll get through this, just relax, time will help the situation.

It did -- but I learned a lesson.

We spent the night at the Air Base on Cape Canaveral in little attached houses -- here is the front of mine!

Cape Canaveral and my overnight "house."


Beach at Cape Canaveral

I was thrilled to wake up with little ill effect from the Olive Garden gluttony.  TUMS helped, and just relaxing and eating minimally the next morning.   One of my favorite breakfasts while traveling is oatmeal (real oatmeal -- not the packaged instant, overly processed/sugared stuff).  We ate at the Air Force Base mess hall, where I was overjoyed to discover this thick oatmeal and a fruit/nut bar.  I added my berries, nuts and cinnamon -- to the horror of the cashier.  She chided me, "I'll let it go this time, but the nuts and fruit are for the yogurt.  Cinnamon and raisins are for the oatmeal."  I was mortified to be reprimanded but…the results are wonderful, aren't they?

My rogue oatmeal with berries and nuts!
We spent a few hours wandering around the beach and trying to get a good look at the launch pad of the Kennedy Space Station, which you can see in the distance (the white square on the horizon) in the photo below.  Note the grandstands -- these are just outside the non-public security zone of NASA.

NASA's launch pad!

We continued on, heading to our next stop -- Orlando and Disneyworld.  En route, more fiberglass animals and roadside kitsch…

Mini-golf on the Space Coast.
Before leaving Titusville (the town outside NASA's space station), we decided to have lunch at an old diner -- better here than somewhere en route, where options might be limited.  Plus, I could imagine the astronauts stopping in before their flights.  The place was old school and of course my meal of choice was my road-trip staple -- grilled cheese.  I shared fries and chips with my travel-mates, and -- amazingly -- had no ill effects from this rather greased-out meal.  (As I noted earlier in my Road Trip posts, for this trip, I decided I would eat cheese when it was an easy option -- I must admit I really enjoyed this melted mess.)

Next stop -- Disneyworld!

At a Space Coast diner.

Strip near Cape Canaveral.  Fiberglass sharks galore!


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