May 25, 2010On The Road To Toledo
By Sablemable aka Jan
Previously, I had shared with you that my relatives lived in Toledo, Ohio and every summer we would motor east for a visit. We traveled on the turnpikes back in the late Fifties through the Sixties when it was jam-packed with travelers.
At the crack of dawn, and I do mean dawn, Dad would roust us out of bed so that we could be on the road BY 4:30 a.m. Since we didn’t have air conditioning in the car, it was cooler to drive then. From Benton Harbor, Michigan, Dad steered the car south on US-31 to South Bend, Indiana where we would pick up the Indiana Toll Road.
Since I was the “baby” in the family, my brother, Gary, always got to hand the change to the ticket taker in the toll booth. Low man again.
Then, what seemed like years later, Dad would pull into the travel plaza near Middlebury, Indiana and announce, “Let’s have breakfast.”
The restaurants at the travel plazas along the Indiana Toll Road were called the Glass House, operated by the Interstate Company headquartered in Chicago.
In the lobby, the gift shop was to the left, restrooms straight ahead and the dining area to the right. The ladies restroom had the most beautiful pink mosaic tile floor! I can’t remember if the walls were tiled in pink, but I do remember the floor quite vividly.
We always sat on the side where the counter was, usually in the very first booth.
And here’s the other side of the dining room.
I don’t remember the menu, but I do remember what we all had for breakfast. Dad would have eggs, ham, potatoes, pancakes and black coffee. Mom had the same sans the pancakes. Me and Gary would always, every single time, have a hamburger and Coca-Cola. I don’t know what it was about their burgers, whether it was the buttery, golden brown toasted buns that encased the burger or the little sprig of parsley that decorated the plate or the excitement of being able to have what we wanted, but to this day, my brother and I both agree that they were the best hamburgers we’d ever eaten.
After a fill-up by either an attendant of Shell, Sinclair, Pure Oil, Cities Service or Texaco (these companies serviced the Indiana Toll Road), we continued eastbound.
Today the toll road is not so popular and the last time I traveled on it, the road surface was terrible. The State of Indiana has sold the toll road to investors, the Glass House restaurants were replaced by chain eateries, even the original buildings are being demolished and replaced with something more “modern”, and British Petroleum (BP) has taken over the gas stations, all self-serve. No more “man who wears the star”, tipping his hat to you as he asks, “Fill ‘er up, Sir?”
Yet, every time I see a toll road sign, I think back on days gone by and of the fun we had traveling together as a family on the Indiana Toll Road.
What travel memories do you hold dear, readers?