What’s it like to spend a year driving around the country in a 27–foot Oscar Mayer Wienermobile? We interviewed driver Reese Brammell to find out.
Q: Can you tell me your name?
RB: Reese Brammell, but in the hot–dogger game, we go by aliases. I’m “Reese with Relish.” You’d be “Mustard Marc.”
Q: What made you want to tour the country in a humongous hot dog?
RB: I was in my senior year of college, and I realized I wanted to take a break to travel. I googled “fun things to do after graduation” and stumbled upon a blog that mentioned that the Wienermobile hires drivers every year. It was 3 A.M., and I immediately cranked out a cover letter telling them I’d “relish” the opportunity and here’s my “beefed–up” résumé.
Q: What’s it like to drive a hot dog?
RB: You feel like you’re in a parade. People always wave and honk—you have to get used to it. The first week on the job I thought people driving by were mad at me all the time.
Q: It must be a nightmare to park.
RB: We always travel with a partner, so if we ever have to do crazy maneuvering, one of us can get out and direct. We’re very careful not to scratch our buns.
Q: How much do you hate the Oscar Mayer wiener jingle?
RB: We have speakers on the outside that play the jingle all the time. Inside, we have our own radio. We have a nice little hot–dogger exchange, where we give each other CDs. If we’re going to a certain region, I like to make a mix of songs that apply to it. Driving out to California, I made a Beach Boys/West Coast rap mix. Going down to Georgia, I made a country album. It makes a long drive more fun!
Q: What have you learned on the road that may help other travelers?
RB: Online tools are fine, but the best advice comes from people who volunteer it themselves, the people who say: “Are you all locals? No? Oh my God—here’s what you have to do!”
Q: Have you picked up any unusual regional hot dog recipes?
RB: I went to the Carolinas, and I was eating a lot of coleslaw with barbecue. Someone asked me, “You know what we put on our hot dogs here?” I was joking: “Oh, I don’t know...coleslaw?!” And they said, “How’d you know?!” In Louisiana, they put on chili and cheese and crunch onions over the top. One little kid told me he put peanut butter and jelly on his hot dog. I think he might’ve been pulling my leg.
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