Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Than Just One Treasure in Van Wert, Ohio!

Pictures: The Lincoln Highway in Gomer, OH; Downtown Delphos, OH; Balyeat's Coffee Shop in Van Wert, OH; ACD Showroom floor at the museum; Patch Road--our name not theirs near the campground.

15 July 2009 Oceola, OH to Albion, Indiana 175 miles

A raccoon visited again last night…he got away with the not-so-appetizing chicken sandwich we got at the snack bar…it was so good that I opted not to eat it for dinner last night. I sure hope he (the raccoon) isn’t laying in the forest complaining of stomach cramps.

We left Sunset Springs early this morning, about 8:30, and headed west along the Lincoln Highway (330 at this point) into Upper Sandusky. Shortly past this town, we had to detour off the LH due to road maintenance. Not wanting to take the 4-lane divided highway, we headed north on a small farm road—we have no idea of the name or number—until we found another road heading west. Ultimately, we ended up in Beaverdam, OH, which was one of the towns on the original Lincoln Highway. We continued to follow this road through Cairo, Gomer, Delphos, and on into Van Wert.

Needing to stretch our well as other parts of our bodies...we stopped along Main Street in Downtown Van Wert. Except for much of the roadway being closed due to water-main work, this town offered a wonderful walking break, and a few surprises as well. We stopped at one “antique” shop—more of a thrift store, really—where Dave found a drill bit. Now what does he need a drill bit for? To fix the trunk, of course! It doesn’t much matter to him that he doesn’t have a drill…Down the street, we perused another antique store where he found an old, rusted hand drill, and I found a pair of shoes which, I believe (not positive), are from our Model A era. The shoes fit and are wearable!

Not to say that we are eating our way across the country, but...On the suggestion of the clerk at the antique store, we headed to a small diner down the street, Balyeat’s Coffee Shop, which has been in business since 1922. This means that this restaurant was serving meals to the first pioneers who traveled the Lincoln Highway! How cool...I don't think the decor has changed much... From the outside, it looks dark and narrow—do we dare eat there? The place was packed! On one side was the “kitchen” and the counter, on the left were tables. I believe we got the last table available at that time. Only visitors bother with a menu—everything available is posted on a piece of paper and tacked up above the counter—however, today’s specials were liver and onions, baked chicken, and fried giblets. I actually heard a number of people order the liver and onions--can you imagine? Dave opted for BBQ ribs and I had the baked chicken. Both came with mashed or scalloped potatoes, and a choice of vegetable. According to our server, everything is cooked fresh daily, not frozen or canned. Both of our meals were so good—we just had to try the homemade pie! While we were eating, Dale Davies, the owner of 45 years came over an introduced himself. Dale was so cute…about 70 years old, working behind the counter filling the orders, wearing a white dress shirt, white pants, a bow tie, and an apron. We were told by our server that he used to work for the previous owner when he was in high school. He shared with us that although his paperwork from purchasing the diner says it was opened in 1922, he found a post card with a picture of it dated 1919. He also had a customer, years ago, mention that a restaurant had been on that corner since the 1890’s but he doesn’t have anything to back that up with. Anyway, he was interested to know that we were driving the A along the Lincoln Highway, and gave us some great information on places to stop and see, one of which was off the Lincoln Highway in Auburn, Indiana.

Back in the car we looked at the map and decided to detour again off the LH, mostly because Dave really doesn’t like going through the big cities and our next stop on the highway was Fort Wayne, IN. So instead, we headed north along some smaller farm roads through Antwerp and Hicksville, Ohio, then continued on into Indiana and the ACD Museum.

The ACD Museum is housed in the original showroom for the Auburn Motor Company in Auburn, Indiana. For the next two hours or so, Dave drooled over some of the nicest Auburns, Cords, and Duesenbergs from the late 20’s through the 30’s. And boy, there were some beauties…the cars were very nice, but I was busy drooling over the Art Deco d├ęcor of the showroom floor as well. On a side note for you car trivia buffs…according to Dave…Did you know that the phrase “Isn’t she a doozy?” comes from the classic WOW you get when you look at some of these period Duesenbergs?

From Auburn, we zig-zagged a little south, and west through farm country to Chain O’ Lakes State Park, near Albion, IN. This is a huge recreation area for boating, fishing, hiking, and camping. Its name comes from the eleven lakes in the park, eight of which are connected. The lakes are glacier lakes, and are estimated to have formed over 10,000 years ago. The campground is nice…not too full, but busy enough. A great place for families…or two crazy Californians traveling across the country in their Model A.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see Henry sporting his Minuteman pin while sitting on the Lincoln Highway post! We are in central New York tonight and will be headed further east tomorrow.

    Good travels and best wishes!

    Bruce and Cookie