A Public Service Announcement

I interrupt this road trip to share a public service announcement. When you road trip, there is one thing you should always carry with you

A map.

I know, I know. It’s the 21st century. You use the app on your phone to get you around. It may not always give directions that make sense but your phone always gets you there.

That’s super but let me tell you something, friends. There are still places in this country where your phone will not work.

I live in a rural area where my phone works about 95 percent of the time. There are pockets though where a call drops, the music dries up and you can’t get a text through.

On this last road trip, I went for miles and miles without service in parts of West Virginia and Maryland. You see, I had stopped to take a picture somewhere and accidentally closed the maps app. When I opened it again, there was no signal and therefore no directions.

I knew I needed to continue on this road for a while so I soldiered on thinking that I would soon regain service. And then I started looking for a McDonalds or some kind of business that would offer free WiFi. But you don’t see a lot of free WiFi in sparsely populated mountainous areas where even the radio signal has stopped working.

Luckily, I had my trusty atlas and the ability to read and direct myself.

Let me tell you something kids – I would’ve been in trouble without it!

Technology is great but we need to be prepared to think for ourselves and to direct ourselves when necessary. If you’re going to be a serious road tripper, always keep that atlas handy. You never know when you might need it!

The Oasis Diner

Oasis Diner 2 sign.JPGMy trip along the National Road last week was unplanned but I had read about this place called the Oasis Diner in Plainfield, Indiana. If I made it that far, I wanted to stop because it sounded like my kind of place.

I was right. In fact, it was so good I ended up having three meals there.

Manufactured by Mountain View Diners in Singac, New Jersey, it was shipped to Plainfield by rail in 1954. According to their published history, the Oasis went through a series of owners before being listed on the 10 Most Endangered Indiana Buildings list in 2010. The town rallied and local residents Doug Huff and Don Rector answered the call to relocate, restore and reopen this fabulous old diner.

And I’m so glad they did.

blog dinerThey did a beautiful job researching and restoring this stunning structure to its mid century splendor.

Today The Oasis is the only diner of its kind on the National Road in Indiana and one of just a handful of historic diners to remain on the National Road from Cumberland, Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois.

It’s a long story but circumstances were such that I ended up eating three meals there – one lunch and two breakfasts over three days. There are plenty of other dining options in town but none are a cool old diner so, by my estimation, there was no reason to try them.

This place is light and bright and airy. Extremely clean with some vintage advertising pieces and other fun decor. It feels timeless and welcoming. It’s the kind of place that has regulars and waitresses who remember how you like your eggs and who seem genuinely concerned that you’re comfortable and happy.

For lunch I had the black bean burger which is dressed with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and Thai chilli sauce. It has a nice little kick to it. For breakfast one morning it was a veggie omelette packed with spinach, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and feta cheese. The second morning I had scrambled eggs and chocolate chip pancakes (Don’t judge me. It was worth every calorie).

It’s so hard to find decent vegetarian food in most restaurants but good mom and pop diners usually have some tasty options that aren’t limited to limp iceburg lettuce salads and greasy grilled cheese. The Oasis doesn’t have a ton of meatless options but they offer enough that I had choices and I made a point of thanking my waitresses for that. For all you meatetarians out there, they have some really unique sandwiches and breakfast items that you won’t find anywhere else as well as the usual burgers, soups and reubens. Here’s the menu if you’re inclined to fantasize about fun diner fair.

The verdict is that The Oasis Diner is well worth your time, especially if you’re a diner nerd like me. Here are a few more pictures to entice you to drive to Plainfield, Indiana.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the great tour I had at the Model T Museum in Richmond, Indiana.