Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Route 54 – Where Are You?

The Intrepid in repose at Meade City Park.

The Intrepid in repose at Meade City Park.

The trip from Tucumcari, New Mexico up through Texas and Oklahoma to Meade, Kansas was delightfully uneventful. After watering up with mediocre-tasting drinking water at the travel stop in Tucumcari, I set out heading northeast on US 54. It pretty much makes a beeline for Meade, some 245 miles or 4 hours over nearly flat country. You just kind of set the cruise control, turn the A/C on low, and relax.

One stop worth noting is Lea Ann’s, a nondescript little restaurant in Texahoma, Oklahoma. I’d had trouble finding any local cafes along the way that hadn’t been put out of business by the local truck stops, and many of the towns were in pre-ghost town status anyway. It was 2 PM when I spotted Lea Ann’s. It was just Lea Ann, one cook or helper, Lea Ann’s little son trying not to be bored, and one other customer. The place’s walls were lined with old tin signs. I ordered a simple cheeseburger, fries and a cola, and broke out an ebook on my iPhone. No big deal. I had a couple hours of driving left.

Once you shovel the fixin's under the meat, a new experience awaits.

Once you shovel the fixin’s under the meat, a new experience awaits.

I have to say, what resulted was very likely the very best and most savory cheeseburger I’ve ever experienced. Nobody thinks much of ordinary old cheeseburgers these days, I don’t, and I no longer have them very often. I’d asked her to run it through the garden, and after one bite, I didn’t even bother adding ketchup. It was heavenly. Even the fries were superb. I wound up taking my time in enjoying it all instead of rushing through to hit the road again. I wouldn’t think twice about going twenty miles out of my way to eat there again. It’s that good.

Apart from being nicely kept up, there's nothing outside to commend this place - except that roof vent made to look like a coffee mug.

Apart from being nicely kept up, there’s nothing outside to commend this place – except that roof vent made to look like a coffee mug.

Lea Ann was surprised when I told her I’d been a few laps around the track when it came to cheeseburgers, and that hers was best of show. She smiled and shrugged, saying “Well, my grandparents ran this place for twenty-five years, and I just make them the same way they did.” I suppose it’s like getting used to franchise donuts, then when you taste bakery donuts (if you can find them now) or even homemade, you discover that something was lost in the march to progress. It was a foodie experience.

Duct tape! As my daughter used to say, "If it can't be fixed with duct tape, it can't be fixed."

Duct tape! As my daughter used to say, “If it can’t be fixed with duct tape, it can’t be fixed.”

There’s a city park in Meade with plenty of big shade trees, playgrounds and a swimming pool. There are no designated camping spots here, only a few signs indicating where you shouldn’t camp. Since I rolled in about 4:30 and rain clouds were heading in, I jettisoned dreams of having to park in the hot sun for solar, and parked in tree shade. A little roof vent fan action, and cabin temps are livable and getting better. For me, a memorable day.

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4 thoughts on “Route 54 – Where Are You?

  1. A cheeseburger is a find food to search for & a great fallback on any new dining place.

    I saw the deep fried burger from Dyers in Memphis on a TV show and marked it as a destination on my map. It took me several years to get there and I had to remind myself that I was there for the burger from Dyers when I saw all the bbq places on Beale street. It was worth it.

    In Benson Arizona I stopped for lunch at the Horseshoe Cafe, it was right next to where I bought gas. I sat at the counter & it seemed like the kind of place for a burger & fries. I tried the “Horseshoe burger”, their “signature” dish, oh wow! I’ll go back just for that burger… (cream cheese & jalapenos) messy & an unbelievable taste.

    A good burger is worth the trip!

    • A cheeseburger connoisseur! I occasionally like ones with mushrooms and Swiss cheese though those are often obnoxiously large, but this day’s burger had no helpers or gimmicks other than lettuce pieces, tomato, raw onion, and pickles. It was au naturale, simply being perfectly executed. Kind of an eye opener for me. In the past (when living stationary), my test of an Italian restaurant was to order plain old spaghetti on the first visit. Amazing how the results ranged from cafeteria watery and blah to an inspiring dining experience. If a chef has the interest to make the most common things sparkle, to me that speaks well for the rest of the menu.

  2. Linda Sand on said:

    It’s all in what you do with what you have. My brother used to cook for Doctors Without Borders in South America. He was supposed to serve cold cereal for breakfast and marshmallow topped sweet potatoes for dinner. Instead he made Krispie Squares and was voted best cook they ever had.

    • I can see why. Rice Krispie Squares are my Kryptonite. I’ve made them a few times, supposedly for the kids, but you need pretty good arms to stir the stuff properly in a big bowl. But it’s worth it, since it gives you the sugar rush for the cleanup, which is even worse.

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