UPDATE: They did it! 80-year-old couple visits every Cracker Barrel in America
Ray and Wilma Yoder have dined at all 645 Cracker Barrel restaurant locations in the United States.
UPDATE: (KGW) - Restaurant chain Cracker Barrel's most loyal customers hit a major milestone on Monday morning.
Ray and Wilma Yoder can now say they've dined at all 645 Cracker Barrel restaurants in the country. They got to Cracker Barrel No. 645 in Tualatin to make it a reality, after 40 years of trying.
"Well everybody does something, usually anyway, and we thought we'd do this and it would be fun," said Ray Yoder, who turned 81 years old on Monday.
Cracker Barrel flew the couple out to Oregon from their home in Indiana for the event.
The Yoders, married 61 years, drove new motorhomes to dealerships across the country, which gave them the opportunity to visit a lot of Cracker Barrel restaurants.
"It's just always friendly. Never had a bad experience with the help or even the food for that matter. Just a good place to eat and we like it," said Wilma Yoder.
PREVIOUS STORY: By Julie Pennell, TODAY
(NBC News) - “It’s like being at home,” Ray Yoder, 80, of Goshen, Indiana, said about why he and his wife Wilma love visiting Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores.
But the homestyle restaurant-meets-general store chain basically is home to the couple, considering the adventurous couple has trekked more than five million miles across America visiting 664 out of the 665 locations.
According to the Lebanon Democrat, the two said they started their quest to visit every store 40 years ago when Ray was working as a truck driver delivering recreational vehicles across the country.
“[Visiting Cracker Barrel] took the boredom out of being on the road,” he said. “It has a down-home spirit, and everybody is friendly.”
Wilma eventually started joined him on his trips, and the rest is history.
“It’s a good feeling,” Ray said, noting how he and his wife have become pseudo-Cracker Barrel celebrities through their journey. “It’s something we’ve followed this long, but it’s gained attention in the last 10 years or so.”
The couple said they receive gift baskets and requests for pictures when they visit a store, adding that they always buy something—whether it’s food, a cup of coffee or candy—and are sure to leave a tip.
Earlier this month, the couple attended the Lavonia, Georgia, store opening, which left only one more Cracker Barrel in the country to visit: the one in Tualatin, Oregon.
But of course, they plan to visit others as they open.
So, what keeps them coming back? “It’s the same good service and great people wherever you go,” Ray said.