An Indiana couple completed their nearly 40-year mission of dining at every Cracker Barrel in the United States on Monday, enjoying pancakes while visiting the 645th location in Oregon.
Ray and Wilma Yoder, 80, received a celebrity welcome to the Cracker Barrel in Tualatin, KOIN6 reported. Ray Yoder marked the special day by celebrating his 81st birthday at the restaurant.
“Well, it’s quite special,” Yoder told the news station. “These little farm kids aren’t used to all this hype.”
The couple’s journey started in 1970s when Yoder was a delivering RVs to dealerships across the country. He admitted to USA Today he “wasn’t too impressed” when he dined at his first Cracker Barrel in Nashville, but liked the atmosphere so much he decided to return.
Soon he and his wife fell in love with the restaurant chain and started to visit a location every time they traveled. His wife joined him on the road trips when their children moved away from home and shortly later made it a mission to dine at every location.
“I said to my wife, ‘We have been to so many. Why don’t we go to them all?'” Ray recalled.
The couple tackled all 645 locations in 44 states in the next few decades, ordering some of their favorite dishes such as potato casserole and pancakes with blueberry syrup and extra butter.
Officials at Cracker Barrel also took notice, occasionally sending them gift baskets and information about new openings. Their journey was also put on a brief halt two years ago when Yoder’s wife suffered a brain aneurysm.
But they were back on the road again about a year later.
“Well, everybody does something, usually. So we thought we would do this and it would be fun. So, it worked out,” Yoder told KOIN6.