A decent bottle of red wine. And real glasses, stemware — we got ours at the St. Vincent de Paul store in Paso Robles. $1 each. Wrap them in a tea towel, throw in a bottle opener and a bag of pistachio nuts, and voila! instant happy hour. This sort of emergency travel gear can liven up even the most flourescent Travelodge room. . . . And for the actual driving part, we always stock bottled water, travel cups of hot coffee, plus a large stash of high quality trail mix.
My current favorite is the organic blend of nuts and dried fruits from our very own Pajaro company, Sunridge Farms. Easy to eat, concentrated fuel, organic ingredients and delicious. This beats stopping for fast food any day of the week/year/decade.