Day 1: July 25, 2012
A Drivin' Day
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In the morning I'm starting down Historic Route 66. There's an awful lot of Indiana between Cincinnati and the eastern terminus of Sixty-Six and I definitely saw a bunch of it today as I moved to within sprinting range of that terminus. Though I'd never been there, I half remembered that there was a Route 66 Diner somewhere around Lafayette and Garmin knew exactly where. Being in Indiana, I went for the pork tenderloin which here is called the Leroy Loin after Purdue and NFL running back Leroy Keyes. It was good but nothing special. Same with the fries. But the root beer! Now THAT was something special. The Route 66 Diner is the younger sibling of the Triple XXX Family Restaurant and the root beer bears its name. It's not made on premise but in Chicago to Triple XXX's specifications. Those specifications include sweetening by pure cane sugar.

While there, I learned that the Triple XXX dates from 1929 and is Indiana's oldest drive-in. It's the last of a chain of over 100 Triple XXX Thirst Stations and the root beer is the original 1895 thirst quenching recipe. Stopping at the nine year old Route 66 Diner today makes sense since I'm on a Route 66 trip but I obviously need to come back for the Triple XXX. I also need to come back for a 'burger or, as they're referred to here, a chopped steak sandwich. Pork tenderloins are an Indiana specialty so ordering one wasn't exactly wrong but the chopped steak would have been better and here's why.

Last night a friend was telling me about a USA Today list of 51 (each state plus DC) great burger joints. He mentioned it because one of the places was on Sixty-Six. I made some guesses but he couldn't quite remember the name so we looked up the article. The place was Hank's Hamburgers in Tulsa. I have eaten a 'burger there and I can't argue with USA Today's choice. Indiana's representative? You guessed it, Triple XXX/Route 66. I should have read more of the list last night. Zip's Cafe in Cincinnati was the pick for Ohio. Another friend and I ate there last Sunday so at least I'm doing something right. The full list is here.

Lafayette is in a windy section of Indiana where there are a lot of wind powered generators. The drive back to I-65 from the diner took me through a couple of fairly large clusters of them.

There is a girls softball tournament going on somewhere nearby and at least one team is staying at my motel in Merrillsville. All of the rooms immediately surrounding mine are decorated in a manner similar to the one directly across the hall. I'd photograph some others but an old man prowling the halls and pointing a camera at the doors of teenaged girls motel rooms sounds creepy to me and probably isn't very safe.

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