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Road trip food — Author creates cookbook for motorcycle travel

by KATE HESTON
Daily Inter Lake | June 9, 2024 12:00 AM

Amanda Zito got into motorcycles because she couldn’t bring her horses to Portland. 

A sixth-generation girl from a ranching family in Corvallis, she left the horses behind when she moved to Oregon in 2010 to attend college. From there, her passion for riding motorcycles, specifically taking them on long-distance trips, continued to grow. 

“Motorcycles just seemed like the next best thing to my horses,” she said. 

Zito has trailblazed a path for female bikers to connect with the environment through her brand, As the Magpie Flies, which is a creative collection of her experiences. Documenting her travels on YouTube, Zito has crossed into every state in the Lower 48 on a bike, with plans to add Alaska to the list come 2025.  

In 2016, Zito finished her bachelor's in fine art and became a tattoo apprentice. After her apprenticeship was over, Zito lived off her motorcycle for 70 days to reset, implementing rules for herself along the way — she could only use paper maps and couldn’t stay in hotels, a rule she had to break when her 1980 bike continued to break down.  

“I had this deep-seated feeling she was going to leave me stranded somewhere, and she did multiple times, but that trip was so formative to me,” Zito said.   

From that point forward, road tripping on motorcycles has become Zito’s new normal. In 2020, she completed her first cross-country trip, riding to North Carolina and back. In 2022, she crossed the southern United States, traveling from San Diego to Florida, and last fall she looped New England.  

On her first trip, Zito lived off of pasta and artichoke hearts. Camping every night with only a single burner, Zito quickly discovered that meals were tricky. It is much more budget-friendly to make food herself, but she wanted to explore ways to expand her options.  

Based on her experiences eating on the road, Zito has been for the last two years crafting a cookbook. 

“The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook” officially released a few months ago. The self-published book includes over 65 single-serving recipes that redefine traditional camp food. The book, which sold 1,000 copies in the first two weeks, was also a fundraising campaign, raising money for Zito’s upcoming trip to Alaska with her brother.  

 “That was the big motivation behind the book,” Zito said, “but also to give people the tools they need to make camp food that isn’t just hotdogs or s’mores.”  

There was a gap in the market, she said. Cookbooks related to camping were often created with car camping in mind, where a camper could have a big cooler, or to backpacking, which requires a lot of preparation, which isn’t feasible when biking for two weeks, she said.  

The “Motorcycle Camp Cookbook” fills in the gap because it includes single-serving meals that do not require a massive cooler or multiple burners. It also includes resources and information, such as information about different types of foods and food safety tips.  

 “I wanted to make a legitimate resource, not just recipes,” she said.  

Zito now lives a semi-nomadic lifestyle, transitioning between Portland and Montana when she isn’t traveling. She looks forward to her upcoming 2025 trip, when she and her brother plan to ride to Alaska, including camping on the Arctic Ocean.  

“It’s been incredible,” she said, reflecting on where she is today. 

To follow along on Zito’s adventures and check out her cookbook, visit https://www.asthemagpieflies.com/. 


Reporter Kate Heston can be reached at kheston@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459. 


    Amanda Zito with her motorcycle and tent. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zito)
 
 


    Amanda Zito's Cookbook. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zito)
 
 
    While writing her cookbook, author Amanda Zito wanted to include resources and information, alongside camp recipes. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zito)
 
 
    Amanda Zito prepares a meal while motorcycle camping. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zito)
 
 
    Amanda Zito's motorcycle and tent while on a trip. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zito)
 
 
    A camp meal by Amanda Zito. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zito)
 
 
    Amanda Zito cooks while motorcycle camping. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zito)
 
 
    Amanda Zito cooks a meal while motorcycle camping. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zito)
 
 
    A meal from Amanda Zito's cookbook, The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zito)
 
 
    Amanda Zito's new cookbook, inspired from her time solo traveling on her motorcycle. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zito)