We wanted to see the Kewpee Diner in Lima, Ohio, after reading about it in Brian Butko’s books about the Lincoln Highway, but we wound up taking the wrong alignment east of Van Wert (yes, the Lincoln Highway, like Route 66, was rerouted several times during its history) and missed it on the trip out. This turned out to be a blessing: Unbeknownst to us, the giant Kewpee doll on the front of the building was actually gone the day we passed through on our way to Pennsylvania, having been taken down for restoration work. The newly refurbished doll — which, according to a news report Ron read, weighs about 200 pounds — was back up on the restaurant when we made a special detour just to see it on the way back home.
We expected to find the restaurant closed on a Sunday afternoon, but it was open for business and utterly charmed us with its glorious Art Deco interior and awesome food, including great burgers, thick chocolate malts, and — OMG — sugar cream pie.
In case you are wondering, I have now decided that I need to own a Kewpie doll. I was kind of disappointed that they weren’t selling any as souvenirs. Seems like a missed opportunity. Very cool place, though. Cool in the sense that I would consider making the 820-mile drive out to Lima for the express purpose of eating there. Yeah — it’s that kind of cool.
After the Kewpee, the rest of our trip was pretty anticlimactic, but we did find a great place to stay on the old National Road in Greenup, Ill.:
No fancy neon sign, but the owners were very nice, the building was historic, and the newly renovated room we stayed in was big and comfortable, with a nice couch and a beautiful hardwood floor. Bonus: real keys instead of those annoying electronic cards. Definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area.
On the way out of town, we noticed a covered bridge on an older alignment of the National Road that paralleled U.S. 40. As it turns out, the bridge was only about 10 years old, but it’s a replica of an earlier bridge that had been torn down many years earlier. Mad props to the local government for investing the extra money to build something cool:
They’ve also built a little observation platform, interpretive kiosk, and walking trail near the bridge. Very nice. A couple of semi-feral kittens have taken up residence under the platform:
This one didn’t like Ron much:
I think it’s hilarious when cats put their ears sideways like that. I wish I’d had an audio recorder with me, because this little guy tried VERY hard to sound tough. He was making a strange little warbling, complaining sort of noise that ended in what we think was supposed to be a growl. Very funny. I was half-tempted to take the little booger home, but Greenup is a long way from Tulsa, and Riggy already has one cat. He doesn’t need another.
Hope your summer has been full of amazing adventures, adorable kittens, and terrific cheeseburgers, wherever you are.