What a difference a DRIVE makes. As you may or may not know, I've been a bit blue of late. Nothing more than the time of year, coupled with memories and everyday worries...just one of those periods that we all go through occasionally. The last few weekends I've haven't even wanted to go out for a drive. Normally that is what solves whatever is wrong with me. Something about driving out in the country releases tension in me but I couldn't even work up enthusiasm for it. This week I was feeling tired of feeling tired so I thought I am going to have fun this weekend if it KILLS me. Fortunately it did not.
I've been poking about online recently as I'm trying to figure out where Ernie and I might go for a night or two this spring break. The guys have officially declined to go with us so we are free. We like hitting little towns or small cities a few hours from here. We've had delightful times in places ranging from Evansville to Quincy to Columbus, Indiana. This year? We can't quite decide. Recommendations are welcome. So in my time perusing spots I came across a mention of Green Gables in Hudson, Illinois, just north of Bloomington. I'd never heard of it but it sounded like a good destination. A 1929 gas station that had been expanded over the years to a grocery and a tavern and was famous for its burgers. Finally, I'd found a destination.
Ernie liked the sound of it, so yesterday, after we got Owen off to band practice in early afternoon, we headed out. The day was gorgeous. We ambled west on the highway but once we hit Le Roy we got off and headed north on the Le Roy-Lexington Blacktop. Oh man I love it when roads are named things like that. When we used to go out to Ernie's parents' house we'd sometimes take the Flatville Slab. Ah, I love roads. So we took the Blacktop up to Lexington, Illinois, a cute little town that Route 66 used to go through. We headed west to Lake Bloomington and at a little crossroads across from the lake we found Green Gables.
We headed in and found two seats waiting for us at the bar. The place was loud and the waitress was hustling. The only draft they have is Budweiser but they've got other drinks as well so I was able to get my glass of wine. It's a L shaped building, pretty bright, with a grocery to one side, a few tables and booths in a corner and the small bar with a grill behind it, in the other part of the el. We ordered double cheeseburgers and fries, because it seemed the thing to do. We waited forever but watching them make burger after burger at the grill, we knew they were going as fast as they could. Honestly, the wait didn't matter a bit because it was the perfect place to be sitting, right there and then. They brought us our burgers, just wrapped in paper, no plates. The jukebox got turned up and it was the Eagles' Heartache Tonight. I don't even care for the Eagles but it was so damned right at that moment. The burger was as perfect as I've ever had. Not a huge juicy burger, but two smashed patties done just right on an old seasoned grill. We took them with everything which was onion, lettuce, tomato and pickles. The fries were crinkled and perfectly crispy. Everyone was friendly and I felt ridiculously happy.
Next time I want a seat at the other end of the bar so I can watch the grill more. If you look, in this picture, you can see the big balls of ground beef they let sit on the grill for awhile before they smash them.
We eventually trudged out. I took a couple of not so great pictures because I was so full I could hardly move. Next time perhaps a single cheeseburger or no fries.... It was late afternoon by that point and the sun was getting low but it was still warm and the air felt soft.
Aways down the road we passed a small cemetery. We stopped and walked, looking at the headstones and the farms beyond.
We drove on, feeling content and peaceful. We watched the sun go down, glowing behind a grain mill. I knew I couldn't capture a picture of it so we headed on our way.
Amazing what a difference a drive can make.