Friedrich Family Files: Spring, 2014 Route 66 Adventures
Submitted by Josh Friedrich
In March, we had a craving for some Cozy Dogs. As always a tasty Cozy Basket with large fries really hit the spot. The beverage of choice for me at the Cozy is a Mountain Dew with cherry syrup and I must have my fries with vinegar and Cozy Salt. Prior to eating my dogs I decided to get a little creative and wrote “Cozy,” “Dog,” and “Route 66” on three of them for a photo op. As usual we also snapped a pic with the Cozy Couple. When we were on the way to the drive in I spotted a familiar Pink Elephant alongside 66 aka South 6th Street. After our lunch we swung over to the Burger Bar to see the elephant in the parking lot. It had seen better days, his glasses had been broken off and his martini glass is missing. I used to see him quite often at a liquor store on Wabash Avenue/Route 66 back in the 1990s, not too far from Lauterbach Man. I couldn’t pass up a picture of the kids with it.
Since we were near the Route 66 Twin Drive-In on opening night, I swung by and took a picture of the sign at dusk. Maybe next time we will stay for a double feature; it was still a bit too cool for us on April 4th.
We took advantage of the warmer weather and a free Saturday to take a quick trip on 66 the first weekend of April. Wendy had asked Elizabeth if she would like see how sirup was made. Of course, she said yes and this meant a trip to Funks Grove. The day had a beautiful blue sky with light, white clouds overhead. Our first stop was at the Funks’ Sirup Shop. Several others must have had the same idea as us the place was hopping. The sweet smell of pure maple sirup being made welcomed us and beckoned us to come inside. Since the store was busy Debbie Funk suggested we go next door to see the vats boiling out the water of the collected sap. We then walked over to the outskirts of the grove near the driveway to show them the buckets hanging off the maples. This is a perfect setting for a few pictures. Back at the shop Charlie convinced us to purchase him a new Funks Grove shirt, Lizzie wanted a tasty honey bear bottle, and we bought a jug of sirup. The kids were needing to stretch their legs so we headed over to the Funks Grove Nature Center. After a week of rain, we decided not to hike any of the trails. Instead we checked out the bird sanctuary and various caged critters. My favorites were the various turtles.
Now it was lunch time so we headed North toward Atlanta on good ol’ 66. Our fiberglass friend, Tall Paul greeted us with a warm smile. The Palms Grill Cafe was busy when we arrived, but the food is always worth the wait. Lizzie went with the Bunyon Giant’s favorite, a hot dog. Charlie went with a cup of chili (which we all tasted and enjoyed). Wendy had the BBQ stuffed baked potato and I had the BBQ Pork Ponyshoe. A nice couple saw the kids eyeing the pinball machine and gave them each a quarter to play. After a delightful lunch we perused the Gunnar Mast shop across the street and I snapped a few pictures of Hotdog Man with the family. It was an enjoyable day on 66 and it was just a taste of more to come.
The Saturday before Mother’s Day we surprised the kids after a day of yard sales with another lunch at the Cozy Dog Drive In. This is our favorite place for road food in Springfield, in case you hadn’t noticed from my previous articles and photos.
We then made our way to Litchfield to take in a double feature at the Skyview Drive In Theater on the double 6 highway. For our viewing pleasure was Rio 2 and Captain America: Winter Soldier. We arrived early to ensure admission and a good spot. We got the van setup for the kids while they played on the open field below the screen with the other kids. I picked up a new t shirt at the concession stand, which was very reasonably priced at $10.00 for my ever-growing collection. This would also be number three of drive-in theaters on Route 66 we have viewed a movie at in the past year as a family. The kids were super excited about seeing Rio 2 and enjoyed it very much. A thunderstorm was brewing and kept getting closer as our second feature began. We and several others decided to head home before Captain America Winter Soldier ended as the lightning was becoming more frequent as the minutes ticked by. We ended up driving home in the wind, rain, and lightning the whole way home. We can’t wait until we can finish watching the movie and our next trip along Route 66.
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