One more stop and this couple will have visited every Cracker Barrel in the country
Posted July 28
Updated July 31
In need of some role models to prove an ideal relationship can exist? Look no further than Ray and Wilma Yoder of Goshen, Indiana. Not only has the couple been happily married for 60 years, but they still love spending time together, and they’ve turned one of their favorite shared pastimes-RV road trips-into an awe-inspiring, record-setting endeavor: They are trying to visit every single Cracker Barrel restaurant in America, and they’re just one stop away from crossing the finish line.
For people counting at home, that means the Yoders have been to 644 Cracker Barrel restaurants in 44 states. They are planning to complete the list later this year with a visit to the 645th store, a new location just outside of Portland, Oregon. "For two old people, we're pretty fast moving," Ray said in an interview with ABC News. "We're still healthy and we enjoy it so we keep doing it.”
Like all epic quests, the Yoders’ cross-country Cracker Barrel adventure had humble beginnings. The couple has always loved the folksy southern restaurant and Ray, 80, used to visit frequently when he was on the road in his RV in the ’60s. When Wilma, 81, joined him for more frequent road trips after retirement, the two found themselves stopping at Cracker Barrel so often they decided to turn their propensity for the restaurant’s home-style cooking into a formal quest.
The road to 645 Cracker Barrels hasn’t always been easy. The Yoders once stopped at 10 Cracker Barrels in one day in an effort to check off as many locations as possible on a trip up the east coast between Orlando and Canada. It helps that they’re not necessarily eating full meals at each stop. But they’re also adamant about actually visiting each location.
“We don't drive in the parking lot and say, ‘Now we're here,'” Ray said. “We go in a spend a little of money. We're not rich but we'll buy a coffee to go or a little bit of candy.”
When they are sitting down for a full meal, the couple sticks with their old favorites: meatloaf and blueberry pancakes.
The Yoders have become bonafide celebrities as Cracker Barrel fans and employees across the country cheer them on and recognize them during dinner. Amazingly, even after 644 Cracker Barrel visits, they’re not sick of the restaurant. Not even close. "I've not had a bad experience anytime," Ray said. "I've always walked away feeling refreshed."