In the last few days there has been a viral survey on Facebook (seems like there is one every week!!). Simply put, “How Many States Have You Visited” is fun for all because it is simple and adds color and is really a “go viral” piece. MapLoco.com has apparently used it to draw attention to their site. I did it and my results are above – yes, I only have three states to go. Many of my friends have done it as well and one common theme I found among many of them….they had not yet been to North Dakota. In fact, a couple of my friends even indicated that they may never find a reason to go to North Dakota.
North Dakota gets a bad rap from people because in the winter there are unbearable blizzards and snow. The state is relatively flat and “may not” have interesting places to visit (or so people think). But, despite the cold winter, there is plenty to see and do in North Dakota for fun, especially if you go in late Spring or during the Summer. Here are my TOP TEN places to visit in North Dakota.
1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park – Medora, ND
Yes indeed, there IS a National Park in North Dakota. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, named after the President that pushed forth conservation by establishing the National Forest Service, and establishing 51 Federal Bird Reservations, 4 National Game Preserves, 150 National Forests, 5 National Parks, and enabling the 1906 American Antiquities Act which he used to proclaim 18 National Monuments. During his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt protected approximately 230,000,000 acres of public land.
2. The Enchanted Highway – Dickinson, ND to Regent, ND
The Enchanted Highway is a collection of the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures constructed at intervals along a 32 mile stretch of two-lane highway from east of Dickinson, ND to Regent, ND. In my opinion, this is one of America’s TOP Roadside Attractions. (See my complete blog post about it here).
3. Interstate 94 – The Highway of Giants
Interstate 94 from Fargo to Dickinson boasts FOUR of the World’s Largest things (see my post about this part of North Dakota)…the World’s Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, ND; the World’s Largest Sand Crane in Steele, ND; Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow in New Salem, ND (see #6 below); and “Geese in Flight”, the first piece of the Enchanted Highway and the Guinness World Record Holder for the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world.
4. Rugby, ND – The Geographical Center of North America
I got to visit Rugby in 2014. The novelty of visiting the Geographical Center of North America was too much to resist (see my post here).
5. Space Aliens Bar and Grill in Fargo, ND
I have visited three of these locations over the years. For an out of this world tasty experience (they have BBQ Ribs!!) you must stop by Space Aliens. They actually have TWO locations in North Dakota (Bismarck as well). As you can see below, back in 2005 we finished off a massive all-you-can-eat dinner. And the quirky theme restaurant has all of the outer-space kitsch you want too!
6. Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow, New Salem, ND
For an udderly moooving experience, Salem Sue is a must see attraction. At 38 feet tall, 50 feet long and weighing over 12,000 pounds, this cow is amazing fun. On a hill near New Salem, ND (I-94, exit 127), this bodacious bovine can be seen from as far as seven miles away on a clear day.
7. A Pyramid in the Middle of Nowhere – Nekoma, ND
Contrary to what many may believe about North Dakota, I was quite surprised by what I saw on ND Highway 1. All along the way there were many small ponds surrounded by grasses and filled with ducks and many other birds and wildlife.
Personally, I am not sure why North Dakota deserves the negative attention. It is really a great place to visit (most times of the year). Make sure to plan on adding North Dakota to your map of states visited!! You will certainly have a Smile! (Smiley Water Tower in Grand Forks, ND)
This is Part 2 of a Three Part series on “Creating the Wanderlust” – how I have shared travel experiences with my children and grandchildren over the last 30+ years and how this has opened their eyes to the world around them. You can see Part 1 here.
During 1996 and 1997 we didn’t travel much though we did visit a couple of Kentucky sites including the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln near Hodgenville, KY and Cumberland Gap.
The big highlight of 1997 was when our 1995 French exchange student Barbara Grandvoinet came back to see us and we ventured off to St. Louis for a visit to the big St. Louis Art Museum, the Science Museum and the Gateway Arch and more. This was a BLAST of a trip for all of us, though fairly short. (Barbara has since become quite an accomplished short film director and has traveled the world. She too got the wanderlust!! — see more about her here and her personal Website at Babs Productions)
The visit to the Gateway Arch was the first for all of us and we took the opportunity to take the ride to the top and get a view like no other. It was scary up there knowing that nothing was below our feet but a bit of steel and lots of air.
Our next big adventures took place in the summer of 1998. This was a really exciting year for my two oldest daughters, who both got to make trips from little Nicholasville, KY to the excitement of Europe. Amaree was accepted into an All-American Choir who toured a number of countries in Europe and performed. At the about the same time, Marissa was invited to visit Barbara in France. Amaree had the opportunity to join Marissa in Paris. Both got to meet Barbara’s family and both had amazing experiences. (Dad is still jealous as he still has not had the opportunity to visit Europe — but he will!!)
We took three trips to the east during 1998. The first trip was to take Amaree to Pennsylvania where she would meet up with the touring choir and have orientation prior to heading to Europe. Along the way we visited Hershey and toured the Chocolate World facility. While there Seth dragged his arm down the stair rail and got it stuck in the rail. Security had to help him out and it took quite a “scary” while for all of us. In the long run all was OK and were even given a bunch of chocolate for the inconvenience.
From Hershey we also visited Easton, PA, home of the Crayola Museum (and at the time also had a Pez Museum which was closed in 2009 after a lawsuit). It was fun to go through the museum and watch how Crayola Crayons were made.
So, we had to return to Pennsylvania a week later to drop Amaree off for the actual trip and on the way there Amaree, Seth, Solomon and I headed to Gettysburg, where there was a gigantic Civil War reenactment taking place to commemorate the 135th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (see some interesting photos someone else took of the actual encampments, etc.). This actually came as a surprise to us as we had just planned to visit after dropping Amaree off. But when we got there we saw thousands of white tents. It was pretty “in-tents”!!
We searched around town for a Gettysburg Address and found out that almost every house in Gettysburg had one. However, we did find a sign that had Gettysburg Address written on it.
We also found the “Dead Center of Town”……
Ultimately, it was a quick two day round trip. But, it was not the last trip east. A few weeks later I made my way to New York to pick up both Amaree and Marissa. Chelsea, Seth and Solomon joined me on this trip and we met my sister Sherry there as well. We visited some family, but perhaps the most memorable photo I have is the one below with the World Trade Center in the background. Little did we know that a mere 37 months later both of these buildings would be gone…destroyed by terrorists.
Unfortunately, this too was a quick trip and we didn’t have time to get many photos of the kids and New York, but the one above is priceless!!
In 1998 we were also looking at schools for Marissa and took a quick trip to Buena Vista, VA to look at Southern Virginia University. While on this trip we also took a visit to historic Lexington, Virginia. We finally decided on BYU for her and in 1999 took Marissa out there with Seth and Solomon. In 1999 we also headed West as a family (except for Marissa who came down from Utah) for Christmas with my wife’s family in Mesa, Arizona and then a visit on New Year’s Day 2000 with my Aunt Maxine in Albuquerque on the way home. It was a fun year…
A little side note: Montezuma Castle was one of the first four National Monuments dedicated in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Akela Flats is one of 10 Bowlin Travel Centers in the Southwest, most of them along Interstate 10 from Tucson, AZ to Las Cruces, NM. These are the ultimate “Tourist Traps” with lots of fun stuff. In 2011 we visited “The Thing” on a trip from Arizona to Kentucky. I’ll have a Flashback post about that trip in the near future.
During the fall of 1999 some of us also made a quick trip to Cleveland to visit the Laurienzo arm of my family up there. Along the way we stopped at the Longaberger Basket HQ in Newark, Ohio. Giant picnic basket!
The new millennium ushered in another year of travel for us. Not only did we drive home the first two days of the year 2000, but we made a few other interesting trips. We took a trip to Nashville for the Dedication of the LDS (Mormon) Nashville Temple in May 2000.
On another adventure in May, we took a two day swing up to Chicago for the grand opening of the “Sue” T-Rex exhibit at the Field Museum. We had heard about this event and since Chicago is really only a 6 hour drive, we took the opportunity to attend the event as a family. “Sue” is the largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered.
Early in 2001 my boys and I joined a number of friends from Kentucky and even Utah in Memphis, Tennessee for the Liberty Bowl game between BYU and Louisville. It was a miserably cold day and miserable for BYU fans in general. But, we made sure to enjoy the “blues” and sought a little Graceland before digging into some Memphis BBQ!
Travel continued that year with a couple more trips. Over the summer we took the family to Nauvoo, Illinois to see the new LDS Temple being built there and also visit some of the church historical sites. Along the way we also visited some museums and historical sites.
In 1779 George Rogers Clark led a group of 170 foot soldiers on a n 18 day trek to keep the British from laying claim to Fort Sackville, which was, at that time, on the outskirts of the western frontier in present day Indiana. This helped America gain possession of the northwest territory. The beautiful building and the statue and seven murals inside of the Clark National Monument, tell the story of this great Revolutionary War battle.
From Vincennes, we continued west to Springfield, Illinois to visit another Abraham Lincoln Monument. This was the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, where we were able to tour the home, see the furnishings and learn more about the Illinois era of Abraham Lincoln’s prolific life.
Along the way, we made a stop in Hannibal, Missouri and visited some Mark Twain historic sites. Seth and Solomon got to learn all about painting fences, while my wife and daughters looked at some of the shops.
From Hannibal we headed north to Nauvoo and Carthage with a brief stop in Quincy. Some of my step mother’s ancestors were buried here…namely, Hanks family members (yes, related to Abraham Lincoln). We tracked down the grave markers and took etchings of them.
There is a great deal of family history on my wife’s side in Nauvoo so it was a great opportunity to see both LDS Church Historical Sites while also learning how this related to the family’s heritage.
On our way home we stopped in Indianapolis to visit the wonderful Indianapolis Children’s Museum. This was our fist time there and I have visited a couple of times since 2001, including a visit with the grandchildren in 2013 (see post about that here).
On our 2013 visit two of my grandchildren posed in front of the same statue, which had been moved to a different location on the museum grounds. When I took that photo, I had forgotten all about the one I took in 2001…funny…
The big news for 2001 was that our daughter Amaree departed for a year and a half long LDS Mission to Japan. Her travel experiences would take her back to a country she knew and loved. Ironically, she was sent to the same area where served back in 1976 to 1978.
In the summer of 2002 we headed to Utah to visit my wife’s parents. It was a fast trip with few stops, but we did make a stop in Dinosaur, Colorado (near Vernal, Utah) to see the amazing Dinosaur National Monument. Once again, there was always an effort to go to places where the children could learn about the world and its history.
With the growth of children and their attending college and serving missions, coupled with busy jobs, much of our family travel seemed to dwindle. Marissa was soon off to Thailand to serve an LDS mission and the other kids were involved in other things. Julianne and I did get to go on a cruise to Alaska with her parents and siblings in June 2004, but the kids didn’t come along.
Amaree eventually got a teaching in job in Montana, so she and Seth headed west on a “Sumoflam adventure” of their own (with much advice and travel guidance from their Dad of course).
We didn’t really have any more big trips until the wild year of 2005. I had spent about six weeks in Cebu, Philippines early that year for work only to come home to THREE engaged daughters. By May, the entire family was traipsing all over the country for weddings. In May we went to Gatlinburg for our youngest daughter Chelsea’s wedding and then a few weeks later we were off to Montana and Cardston, Alberta for our oldest child Amaree’s wedding. Less than 10 days later we were back in Kentucky for Marissa’s wedding and a TRIPLE reception.
After a brief recovery, the whole family (except for Chelsea) was off to Montana. This was the prime opportunity for me to make a full-fledged road trip plan with lots of stops along the way. Thanks to a kind friend at work, we were loaned a conversion van, so Seth, Solomon, Marissa and I loaded up and headed west for one of my epic offbeat trips!! We left on June 15, about 4 weeks after getting back from Gatlinburg. (see the entire trip report on my old website – with dozens of photos, some of which will be shown below)
Thanks to the internet and Roadside America, among other sites, I planned this trip meticulously. It was probably my biggest adventure ever with my children, at least with some of them.
Roadside guidance provided by……
Ultimately, this trip covered 4500 miles in six days. We ventured through (or into) ten states and one Canadian Province. We saw dozens of unique sites along the way as well. We actually retraced some of Amaree and Seth’s route from 2004 as well. But, more than education this time, we set out to make this a fun and quirky offbeat trip to relieve from stress of weddings and to just have fun. Here are a few of the better shots. So many more are on my old journal post at sumoflam.biz. The ultimate vacation!! Many memories were made…
Our first day took us from Lexington through Indy, Chicago, Minneapolis and finally St. Cloud, MN. The second day was another doozy….
We finally got into my old stomping grounds of Great Falls, Montana late on the 17th and really needed some rest. The next day would be Amaree’s wedding in Cardston, Alberta and we would then return home via Glacier National Park…
The four of us headed out of Great Falls on June 19th in two cars (Seth and Solomon returned in the car he drove out to Montana with Amaree in 2004). We headed southeast for more adventures on the way home….
After an overnight stay near Mt. Rushmore, we had one more day of travel…a really long trip home in two cars with very little time as Marissa had to get back home to prepare for her wedding…just three days away.
After hitting Mitchell, SD, we “splurged” on a cheap meal at Taco Bell and began the long trek home on the highways. We stopped in Blue Earth, MN at dusk in hopes of seeing the Green Giant but were hit by a massive rain storm, so we slept it out in a rest area. After a couple of hours we were back on the road with a couple more stops along the way to rest. We finally got home early in the morning…tired, hungry and weary, but enthralled from the amazing trip… then Marissa’s wedding in Louisville and the reception.
And thus ends Part 2 of my “Creating the Wanderlust” series. Part 3 begins the “Grandchildren Era” and includes more cross country trips with kidz and grandkidz. The years 2005 to 2013 have been a completely thrilling joyride!
As I travel across these great United States (and Canada too) perhaps the most common sight along the way is Barbecue (BBQ) places and diners, big and small. Following are a few of the places I have visited (or at least passed and wished I had time to stop in for a visit….).
Hillbilly Hot Dogs – Lesage, WV
Ever eaten at a junk yard? Ever had enough guts to do so? Well, if you head north of Huntington, WV along the Ohio River to the small little village of Lesage you can do just that at Hillbilly Hot Dogs. A junk collector’s dream and a neatnik’s nightmare!
I really got quite a kick out of some of the wackiness here…
Like many offbeat roadside eateries, Hillbilly Hot Dogs has been featured on TV shows. They have also been featured on the Travel Channel, the Food Network and others. Here is a short clip from Diner’s Dives and Drive-ins.
Then, there is their famous BIG SIZE dog called the Homewrecker!! They also have a Big Bad Bubba Burger!!
Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ – Kansas City, Kansas
Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City, Kansas is a BBQ joint in a gas station. I actually think the gas station takes second fiddle to the BBQ. Fortunately for us, we got there just before the rush. By the time we got our food, the line was clear out the door. Like many of the places on this post, Oklahoma Joe’s has been featured on TV shows including some on the Food Network and PBS.
I have discovered thru my travels that many BBQ places participate in competitions for best sauce, best BBQ, etc. Oklahoma Joe’s is no exception. In fact, that is how they got their start. Owner Jeff Stehney began his career in BBQ by participating in Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) competitions. In 1993 he and his partners (team Slaughterhouse Five) won eight grand championships. They did this with their Oklahoma Joe’s 24″ smoker. In 1996 they opened their first shop in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Kansas City location opened in 1996. They now have three locations in Kansas.
But, of course, the best part….the BBQ!!
Big Jud’s Country Diner – Archer, Idaho
Continuing the string of made famous by TV diners, I visited Big Jud’s in March 2013. Located in Archer, Idaho, a small town outside of Rexburg, this “country diner” is rustic, but, the food isn’t! I have never seen such HUGE burgers and portions anywhere!!
Like many places, they have their “Chow Down” contests. Eat the big burger in a certain amount of time and you get a t-shirt, a photo on the board and even a free meal. My friend Trevor Mortensen, from Rexburg, joined a team to try this…
But check out what this other kid was having while we were there….
Hutch’s on the Beach – Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Hutch’s on the Beach in Ontario is a classic 1950s style burger joint (actually, since 1946!). This place is practically right out of American Graffiti (even though it is in Canada). Black and white checkerboard floors, big fresh made burgers, great fries and shakes. A juke box that played music from the 1950s….
I loved the nostalgia that Hutch’s brought me….
Of course, like any of these places, we came for the “real” food…burgers, fries and milk shakes made the old fashioned way.
Stewart’s Drive In – Russell’s Point, Ohio
Located in central Ohio, southeast of Lima, Russells Point, Ohio is a touristy destination with Indian Lake bordering it. While driving to Indian Lake to see the sights, I came across the old fashioned drive in. I had to stop for a drink and an ice cream cone. What a pleasure!! Had someone come to the car and everything!
Snappy Lunch – Mt. Airy, North Carolina
If you have ever watched the Andy Griffith show or Mayberry RFD, you would have heard about “The Snappy Lunch,” which was mentioned in Episode 007 of the Andy Griffith Show on November 14, 1960. Andy Griffith actually ate there as a young boy growing up in Mt. Airy. Opened in 1923, it is the oldest eating establishment in Mt. Airy and is famous for its Pork Chop Sandwiches.
The pork chop sandwiches served up at Snappy Lunch were a first for me. I had never had one, but I would most certainly return for another. I caught owner Charles Dowell busy at work cooking up his specialty back in March 2012. He passed away in September 2012 at the age of 84. He began working at The Snappy Lunch in 1943 and by 1960 he had purchased the cafe.
So, if you are wondering what time it is…..
Space Aliens Grill & Bar – Waite Park, Minnesota
While on a trip to Montana in 2005 with my kids, we made our way into Waite Park, MN, just west of St. Cloud. We got in fairly late after a day of traveling in Wisconsin and Minnesota. We had pushed to get here in time so that we could eat at Space Aliens. And, we were lucky, it was a Wednesday and all you can eat night. I had two BIG HUNGRY boys, along with myself and one of my daughters. We chowed down to say the least!!
Mort Bank and David Glaser, like other BBQ proprietors, got their start in BBQ competitions. Having won the National Barbecue Convention for “America’s Best Ribs” in Tennessee, they returned to their home in North Dakota and opened up a store in Bismarck and a second one in Fargo, North Dakota.
As for the Barbecue — they have actually trademarked “Positively the Best Ribs in the Entire Universe”. Their slowly smoked 20 spice ribs were really fantastic. In fact, we ate them empty that evening!!
Stoneville Saloon – Alzada, Montana
Alzada is a very small unincorporated community in the far southeast corner of Montana, practically bordering Wyoming and South Dakota. The long empty stretch of U.S. Highway 212 is basically the only way in and out. Originally named Stoneville in 1880, the town’s named needed to be changed due to a Post Office conflict. In 1885 it was named Alzada in honor of the wife of the postmaster. It is an old cowboy town steeped in cowboy history. But, it also is known for the Stoneville Saloon – “Conveniently located in the middle of Nowhere!”
I think the real draw is the tag line “Cheap Drinks – Lousy Food”
We had been driving all the way from Great Falls in 2005 on our way home from Montana and this was one of the MAIN destinations for us that day. We got here starved. Turns out that this is now a “biker bar” frequented by many bikers on their way to Sturgis, SD, which is about 67 miles to the southeast of Alzada. We stopped and ate, but enjoyed the atmosphere more than anything…
OK, we had some burgers and fries while here. But they do serve steaks and a few other goodies. Needless to say, we were in a hurry so we didn’t try their famed canned delicacies…
Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A write up about diners cannot truly be justified without noting the Philly Cheesesteak rivalry in Philadelphia. No place represents the heart and soul of the Philadelphia better than the corner of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philly. This is the cheese-steak epicenter where Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks face off 24 hours a day for the Cheesesteak crown. So, what’s the best way to do it? My friend and I hit BOTH places in the same evening.
First stop was Geno’s Steaks, located in a corner of the intersection of E. Passyunk and 9th Street. Geno’s was started in 1966 by Joe Vento with $6.00 in his pocket, 2 boxes of steaks and some hot dogs. If you can’t order in English, then don’t try this place. They have signs up that explicitly state you must order in English.
The intimidation doesn’t stop at English only. There is a specific way to order as well. You must order with Provolone, American or Cheese Whiz. If you don’t do it right they may chew you out!! Fortunately, there is a constant stream of customers ordering so you can listen and learn. They whip out those steaks with whiz pretty quick!
After indulging in a tasty, hot and yummiferous Geno’s Steak sandwich (mine had Provolone), my friend and I meandered across the “X” to Pat’s King of Steaks. This shop is older than Geno’s, having opened in 1930 by Pat Olivieri, who ran a hot dog stand originally.
Their website claims that this was where the cheesesteak was invented … there is even an historical marker on the site:
Unlike Geno’s, there are not “Speak English” signs, but they are still persnickety in terms of ordering in a timely fashion as they also whip those cheesy meaty sandwiches out quickly.
The final product is what everyone comes for:
And the winner? It was definitely ME!! I got the best of Philly in a double take.
Dash-Inn Drive In – Shelby, Montana
This is another one of those drive up diners where someone will come out to your car and serve up great burgers, fries, onion rings, tater tots, etc. My wife and I had the opportunity to eat here in March 2013. It was as you would expect…great prices, great service and great food!
Camp 31 BBQ – Paris, Ontario
I have eaten at BBQ places all over the U.S. and in parts of Canada. However, I have to admit that the absolute best experience I ever had was at Camp 31 in Paris, Ontario. In 2008 I had the opportunity to work in Woodstock and I rented a place in Paris, about 20 miles south of Woodstock. I made my way to Camp 31 at least twice a week. It was heavenly.
Started originally in a Sawmill in Alabama, the owners moved to Canada and opened up in an old sawmill building in Paris. The inside is rustic which makes the BBQ all the better tasting.
Camp 31 BBQ has a diverse menu and a good variety of goodies. Their cornbread is sweet, their BBQ sauce is tangy, their meats are tender and their service is impeccable.
Many BBQ places compete and Camp 31 is no different. In fact, they compete all over Canada and in the US. They even have a tour bus with built in smokers!!
And here is why….
Goody Goody Diner – St. Louis, Missouri
Goody Goody Diner opened their doors as a Diner in 1948. Started by Cecil Thompson, it is now owned by Richard Connelly who has worked at Goody Goody since 1955, when he was 14 and began peeling potatoes and working as a carhop.
There is plenty of seating at Goody Goody and very little wait. They really move the folks through and the service is fast.
The diner has a diverse menu, but they are especially famous for their “Wilbur”, a breakfast omelet filled with potatoes, peppers, onions and tomatoes and then covered with chili and cheese. Sometimes it is referred to as a “slinger” A delectable delight of a dish.
Another favorite is Goody Goody is the waffles and fried chicken, a good southern dish.
Gronk’s Grill and Bar – Superior, Wisconsin
Gronk’s Grill is the ultimate mixture of hamburger joint and BBQ joint. Like Jud’s, they offer HUGE 6 and 8 pound burgers (The “Enger Tower Burger” and the “Great Divide” respectively). You finish these off you get a t-shirt and a place in their Hall of Fame. They also offer BBQ ribs and hot dogs.
This is what you can get if you are really really hungry…the Enger Tower
Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue – Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City is known for its barbecue and one of the prime establishments of Kansas City Barbecue is Arthur Bryant’s. This BBQ joint opened in the 1920s and once it moved from its original location to the corner of 18th and Brooklyn, near the old Municipal Stadium, it gained its national fame as major league baseball players and others visited the place. Some claim that Arthur Bryant is the “legendary King of Ribs” and is considered by some to be “the most renowned barbecuer in history.” Bryant died in 1982 at the age of 80, but the legendary flavor continues.
Unlike many BBQ places, Arthur Bryant’s serves their BBQ on slices of white bread. I had never had it that way except at home. Apparently, Bryant had created his special sauce so you “could put it on bread and eat it.” Well, they did put it on bread and I did eat it. Fabulous barbecue, great prices, good smoky environment (smoky from BBQ that is) and sweeeeet sauce!
Cozy Drive In – Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is one of those iconic Route 66 towns and along this road is the Cozy Dog Drive In, which claims to be the home of the all-American famed Corn Dog! Though there is some dispute as to the true origin of the corn dog, the Cozy Dog story is that Ed Walmire and his friend Don Strand invented the deep fried battered hot dog on a stick while stationed in Amarillo, Texas during World War II. They called them crusty curs, but, upon Ed’s return to Springfield, Ed and his wife decided on the name “Cozy Dog” and began selling them from their house and at the Illinois State Fair in 1946. Ed’s wife designed the “hot dogs in a loving embrace logo” for the drive in. In 1996 they moved their Drive In a bit up the road to its current location and gave it a decidedly Route 66 theme.
And of course, this is why we come to Cozy Dog – not healthy at all, but sure Yummiferous!!
Paul’s Drive In – Kansas City, Missouri
Apparently, Paul’s is so good that locomotive engineers literally stop the train on the tracks and get out to get some of Paul’s tenderloins and burgers. On my visit we were more interested in something cold and sweet on our palate after enjoying some great Kansas City BBQ elsewhere. And, this was a chart topper!!
Patche’s Mini Mart – Bradfordsville, Kentucky
As I drive the Less Beaten Paths, I do run into little gems like Patche’s. Patche’s is named after owner Patsy, who is called Patche’s by all her friends. It is a gas station, mini mart and a little grill. I was hungry on a long drive so I stopped. I asked her what was the specialty and she told me “grilled boloney sandwich with egg and cheese.” I had her make one up for me.
Patche’s is a two person show – Patche’s on the grill and her assistant.
There are so many places on the road to stop. I have another set of shots I will include in a “Leftovers” section in a week or so. But, as you enjoy the ride, also make sure to enjoy some of the local fare. It’ll do you good.