day 56
kokomo, indiana

"It's not every day you get
to run over a guy." -a.
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Koko Loco:
Claim to Fame: Known as the City of Firsts, it was in Kokomo where Elwood Hayes built one of the first automobiles. Elwood also invented stainless steel here, because his wife wanted silverware that wouldn't tarnish. Kokomo is also home to the first car radio, the first push button car radio, and the process of vulcanization.

As a side note, Howard County has more restaurants per capita than anywhere in the United States.

Trusted Gasoline Brand of the Day
Incidentally, the Gas-A-Rooo!! received our 500th dollar in gas for this trip! Congratulations!
Restaurants that could be seen from a single vantage point on South 31:
2. McDonalds
3. Denny's
4. Burger King
5. Wendy's
6. Pizza Hut
7. Taco Bell
8. Arby's
9. Steak 'n Shake
10. Red Lobster
11. Olive Garden
12. Hooters
13. KFC
14. Fazooli's
15. Tony Roma's

Thus proving that Kokomo does have the highest number of restaurants per capita.
Did you know?
Before Ronald, there was Speedy!

Where's the Beef?
Oct 21 - Nothing could be finer than eating at the diner in McDonalds! At least, that's what it says on the menus.

Surprisingly enough, one could say this is one of the inspirations of our trip. We had read an article about this place months ago, somewhere on the web. Could have been when it first opened, sometime back in March before this trip was even a thought. I remember thinking, "We have to try that..."

Not that we're big fans of McDonald's or anything. I think that's a recessive gene that my brother took at full brunt, so forcefully that he needs it five times a week. The gene skipped me, thank goodness.

So, here we are. The McDonald's with the Diner Inside. Or, as I like to call it, the McDiner.

Comfy... Every McDonald's needs these!
We entered the McDiner at about 2pm, the lunch crowd gone, the dinner crowd yet to arrive. The familiar McDonald's counter was straight ahead, easy to spot thanks to the frosted glass blinders shielding our eyes from the unfamiliar diner-like setting. We turned a corner to see rows of cute little seats... did I mention I love diners? I think that's why we lived in Jersey for so long.

The food? Like nothing you've ever seen before. At least not at a McDonald's... Breakfasts of Belgian Waffles, Eggs Sunny-side-up and Cinnamon Swirl French Toast. Lunches like the Turkey and Jack Melt, Chicken Caesar Salad, and (my order) the Triple Decker Roast Beef and Bacon Club. For dinner, classics like Meatloaf and Gravy, Bone-In Sirloin Steak Dinner with Thick Cut Onion Rings, or even Turkey Breast and Cranberry Sauce!

How has America responded to McMeatloaf? Let's ask the Manager...

Meet Pat Jones:
Operations Manager of the McDiner

Why here? Why Kokomo? Well, first of all, this location years ago was a McDonald's with a Diner Inside, which is why we've kept the name. It was mostly a refurbishing of the current building. Second, it's close to the home office, but not too close. Lastly, Howard County has the most restaurants per capita in the United States, so what better place is there?
When did it open? March 19, 2001.
Are people getting it? People are usually a bit confused at first. For those who want regular McDonald's, they can order at the counter. But at the diner there's menus but no waitresses, you place your order by phone. It takes some getting used to, but once you understand, it's a unique experience and people like it.
Most Popular Orders:
1. Kentucky Brown
2. Meatloaf
3. Chicken Fried Steak
How's business? Excellent. All numbers are meeting or exceeding our expectations.
And the food? People can still get the Big Macs and classic fries from the tables, but the diner side is more like traditional diner food: cold cuts, meatloaf, mashed potatoes. There are actually two kitchens... one for the burgers and one for the diner. And people love it. The food is great, the atmosphere is great.
Your favourite? The Beef and Cheddar Melt. Hands down.

Don't believe there's a McDiner? You can call and order something yourself: 1-765-865-5000. (Please, if you're not from Kokomo, don't waste too much of their time. We've heard they're pretty busy.)

ready to order?

1. Read menu, Select items.

2. Pick up phone to order.

3. Your food is brought to you.

4. Pay at the Diner-To-Go cashier. No tipping!
more photos in the archive...

Current Location
(get out your push pins)

Kokomo, IN

Next Stop: Back into Illinois

see the full map...

Today's Weather:
Rainy with a chance of rain

Daily Stats
McDonald's Passed:34
Stopped At:3
Ate At:1

Sleeping Quarters
Lieber State Recreational Area

The sign said that the Ranger would collect our payment at the site, but the Ranger didn't show up. There wasn't even a Ranger at the gate. It's our first Sleep-n-Run! Don't Tell!

Cost: Free! (shhh...)

McDonald's with the Diner Inside
K's Order:Triple Decker Roast Beef Club
Chocolate Triple Thick Shake
A's Order:Hot Meatloaf Sandwich
Garlic Potatoes
Root Beer Float
Lieber State R.A
K's Order:Wild Rice Chicken Soup
A's Order:Cajun Rice

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© 2001. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman. Good time, great taste, that's why this is our place.