The Vegan Van Stranded

So the theme for this year’s Vegan Mofo was to be vegan eats on the road, since the event coincided with a three week road trip through the Four Corners region of the desert Southwest in my new to me but very well traveled vintage VW camper van. It was supposed to start out with some pre trip preparation, a tour of the van and its cooking arrangements.

The disaster life struck.

Day 1 of the trip was an epic drive from NorCal own to the blazing heat of Needles in the desert. The van made its way slowly but surely over many mountain passes and through the desert with nary a problem. Then Day 2 was to finish up in the Arizona mountains, Flagstaff and Sedona. Cruising along I-40, the temp gauge went bonkers. I didn’t panic, as I had been dealing with cooling system issues already and thought I had them sorted. Apparently not. I was actually planning to take the van into a VW specialist in Flagstaff just to check, and the van decided to expedite that process by also turning on its oil pressure light. I pulled the ripcord and glided to a stop on the shoulder. I peered under the van to see coolant pouring out of my engine and a faint smell of burning oil. Yay. I checked the coolant before leaving and was fine, now I was empty. I tried a refill and that failed. Time for AAA! Fortunately, Flagstaff was just inside my 100 mi free tow radius, but it was Sunday. On a holiday weekend. No VW shops. But I recalled a story of someone with a similar problem who got great VW advice from the staff at the Flagstaff KOA. I called them up. “Sure, no problem. You can have it towed right into the campground.” Turns out most of the staff are VW fanatics. They even host a a huge VW campout and rally every July, where they close the whole campground and fill it with 170+ classic VWs. Not only that, they even gave me a discount, because they “like to look out for their VW people.” Amazing. Greatest people in the world. So, since today is a holiday, I watched the exodus of all the families, and wait until tomorrow to get my van fixed.

There are far worse places to be stranded than here among the pines in Flagstaff.

A VW camper van is not a bad vehicle to be stranded in. I have a big fresh water tank, sink, stove, small fridge, and ice chest. I can wait quite awhile. So while waiting for the tow truck, I ate lunch, a Jeff Novick veggie burger sandwich, that I had pre-prepared at home. (later post) I made it on a Truckee Sourdough Co. ciatbatta roll with two layers of fresh sliced tomato, red onion, spinach, and vegan cheese spread.

Not bad for being stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Jeff Novick Burger Basic Recipe:

1 can rinsed and drained kidney beans

1 can rinsed and drained black beans

1C cooked rice

1C rolled oats

5-6 T tomato product (sauce, diced, or salsa. I always use salsa)

several dashes onion and garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper

Additional seasonings: I use blends from a spice shop designed for charring dead animals. I repurpose them here for a much better result.

1. Mash beans in a large mixing bowl. Add the oats, rice and salsa, mix and mash well until you get the the texture you like. Add the seasonings, tasting as you go until satisfied.

2. Chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

3. Divide into eight equal portions, form into balls, then squeeze into patties.

4. To cook: Use a very hot dry skillet, cook covered, flipping once. Or broil them. Or grill them.

5. Dress with your favorite fixins’

Note: These store well, and if treated gently travel well too. They make a great cold sandwich, as I did here, waiting for a tow.

Hope you all had a better Labor Day weaken than I did!

.VLUU L210  / Samsung L210


Eat well, be well.

About vegpedlr

Plant powered off-road triathlete
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3 Responses to The Vegan Van Stranded

  1. funcrunch says:

    Hope your RV gets fixed! I made Jeffburgers the other week, with kidney beans and leftover wild rice (as that’s what was in the frig). Pretty tasty. Look forward to reading more, my VeganMoFo blog is at

  2. KathyD says:

    I’m glad you are safe. Thanks for posting. This would have been an awesome MoFo topic.

  3. Shelley says:

    Your van’s health issues are very unfortunate. Thank goodness you were at least able to make it to Flagstaff. My husband and I rode our motorcycle out there in May. If we’d had a camper van and a friendly KOA to stay in, we might still be there. It’s beautiful.

    I like the simplicity of your burger recipe. I hope you’re able to hit the road again and share more travel recipes soon.

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