No matter our ultimate destination, my travel goals involve finding the treasures along the path…
…the way my father dropped a quarter on the sidewalk ahead of me as a child, and I, triumphant, snatched it up–the 25 cents being all the more special than the same amount of milk money, because it was DISCOVERED.
Recent destination: Daughter’s leadership camp near Normal, Illinois, in an idyllic forested area on Lake Bloomington where the Kiwanis will train the next generation of world changers.
As always, I do a quick Internet search of the towns we’ll be traveling through. It’s slim pickin’s near Normal.
But I do find Green Gables. An out-of-the-way place that fries up the best burgers for miles.
As we drive past the early green of winter wheat, I tell my husband, “If I had a farm here, I would name it Far from Normal.”
We locate the leadership camp and ask the non-local Army recruiter in the parking lot to point us in the direction of town. Fortunately for the Army, he wasn’t leading soldiers out of enemy territory…because…
I end up making a GIGANTIC circle that involves:
- heading toward grain elevators as my husband repeats “we won’t find our way back,” while I know from growing up in a farm town that those structures can mean “town” and town means “food”
- asking the lady at the P.O. if there is any place to eat in said town to which she laughs and shakes her head but gives us the correct directions to Green Gables
- and realizing that we have come full circle and that the little green diner on the corner is about 1 mile from camp in the opposite direction of the one we first headed.
We are now starving.
The diner/bar/grocery store has about 6 sticky booths, a few people drinking beer, and some awesome vintage Budweiser signage. I read on the Internet that they are known for their burgers, but I asked the waitress what the best version was.
Double with cheese.
We order three. They come out wrapped in paper with crinkle fries but not plates. The edges of the burger are crispy, the 2% milk American “cheese” is gooey, and – you can’t see it in this phone pic – but the grease and juice is running down my wrist.
This is not my usual fresh produce, low-fat, low-sodium, flax seed diet, but as the soft bun begins to meld with the melted cheese, meat juice, and “seasoned” griddle grease, I have to say that being far from my normal is totally worth it.
SPEAKING OF BURGERS…
We were in Carmel, IN this weekend and stopped at our fave burger place Bub’s. It was Dad’s first elk burger. We split the Big Ugly three ways.