Gettin’ our Kicks


| bu-FWAJ | (noun) a grand feast; derived from the French for “any meat that fills the mouth and makes the cheeks to swell.”

Since my travels are currently confined to the continental United States, it’s no surprise that the nostalgic siren song of the Mother Road would lure me to explore its storied route. With the help of the Roadside America app and a healthy sense of curiosity, one of our first finds was a tasty stop on historic Route 66 — the Cozy Drive In which has been serving hungry travelers delicious “hotdogs on a stick” since 1949. (Please don’t call them “corn dogs,” which are a pale copycat by comparison.)

The story begins with Ed Waldmire who had an idea, a batter recipe and some time on his hands while stationed at Amarillo Airfield. Using cocktail forks for sticks, Ed created a tasty, batter-enrobed hotdog on a stick that he called a “crusty cur.” They were an immediate hit at both the USO and the PX. He sold thousands of crusty curs until he rejoined civilian life in the spring of 1946.

Ed figured there was a market for the delicious dogs outside the military, but his wife Virginia didn’t think the name “crusty curs” would appeal to civilians. The newly named “Cozy Dogs” were officially launched at the Lake Springfield Beach House on June 16, 1946 and introduced at the Illinois State Fair the same year.

A permanent Cozy Dog House was opened in Springfield shortly thereafter, and the Cozy Drive In opened its doors in 1949. Sue (Ed’s daughter-in-law) Josh, Eddie, Tony and Nick (Ed’s grandsons) run the business today right next door to the original location.

The charming restaurant not only serves delicious food, it’s a Route 66 museum of sorts. Ed’s son, Bob Waldmire was an artist and cartographer known for his writings about and detailed pen-and-ink maps of sights and attractions along the Mother Road. Bob’s library and artwork are on display inside Cozy Drive In, along with a collection of Route 66 artifacts and memorabilia.

Bob researched his maps and writings while traversing Route 66 in a converted Chevrolet school bus, collecting stories and inspiration from the places and people he met along the way. You can walk through the self-contained “land yacht” Bob built himself in nearby Pontiac, IL, adjacent to the Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum.

So if you want to satisfy your hunger for some tasty road food and a side of Route 66 nostalgia, the Cozy Drive In is the place. You can peruse Bob’s bookshelf while munching on a crispy Cozy Dog. Then you can pick up a couple of souvenir postcards featuring his intricately detailed maps of cities, states, countries and, of course, Route 66. Maybe it will inspire your next stop on the Mother Road.

The Intrepid Eremite


| in-TREP-id | (adjective) fearless; adventurous; dauntless.

Travel at its core is designed to bring people together. It’s a voyage of discover that entails sharing and intermingling with others. As I embarked on this journey to share travel experiences with others, I never dreamed I would be launching in a world where travel … and contact with others … would be dangerous or even forbidden. So where is a wandering wordsmith to turn amidst a worldwide pandemic — when flights are cancelled and passports rendered worthless? How about starting a voyage of discovery that is a little more self contained and a little closer to home?

So through necessity, we found ourselves the proud owners of a 21-foot Wolf Pup camper. It was the perfect solution — a self-contained pod where we could cook, eat, sleep, shower, write and hit the road again. A home away from home that provided convenience and freedom.

So with my trusty notebook, laptop and very cooperative husband/travel companion, we set out to discover our own country from the open road. Since it’s 2020, our destinations tend to be quiet, sparsely populated and off the beaten path. Perfect destinations during a pandemic. Stay tuned for some of our tales. We are glad to have you aboard.

Eremite, meaning hermit, has its roots in the ancient Greek adjective, eremos, often used to describe a solitary, desolate place. Of course, in its geographic place of origin, it would have referred to a desert. However, eremos properly refers to a deserted place, a place that is abandoned, uncultivated and a little wild.

Here we go …


| RAs-fA-ber | (Swedish) The restless race of a traveler’s heart before the journey begins when anxiety and anticipation meet.

The first step on my figurative and literal journey is to start logging travels, intermingled with stories of the people and places discovered along the way and a sprinkling of lost words. My hope is to kindle an interest in discovery and possibly infuse our daily language with some of the rich lexicon we have somehow lost.