Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Eating my way through the USA

One of my favorite things about RV living is eating my way through the USA.  You never get bored with the same old-same old as the view is always fresh.  But some places beg to be revisited, such as Ford’s Garage.

We stumbled upon this in Cape Coral FL and were enchanted by the gas station humor, as both Left Brain and I have worked in service stations in our youth.

The outside dining featured a truck with the flatbed converted into a table for a larger group.  

Maybe this is where the group that orders the $125 Big Mama Burger sit.  This is a burger that feeds 10 people and is served on a bun the size of seat cushion.

You enter the establishment by pulling on the gas pump handles affixed to the doorway.  

I like this place already.  Then you get inside and are blown away.

There are Model T’s hangings over the bar with headlamps burning and you often hear the distinctive beep of the horn. 

I asked the waitress, who was decked out in a blue service station shirt, if there was a particular reason for blowing the horn.  

Her answer was “no, we just do it because it’s fun”. 

I love this place. 

The walls are actual garage doors that open in warmer weather to allow for open air dining.  This building had actually been a garage in its day and since those days were during the Prohibition, doubled as a speakeasy at night.

The menus are leather bound and appear to be the automotive manual – nice touch.  The napkins are grease rags, but totally clean…not like the ones I remember hanging from my father’s back pocket, and a hose clamp acts as the napkin holder.

While waiting for our food order, I wandered about the place snapping away photo after photo. 

The bar is beautiful with its hand hammered copper.

They are known for their prime burgers and craft beer.  Left Brain went with the burger and fell in love.  He even skipped the onions as the flavor of the meat was incredible.  Given the option to avoid French fries he ordered the baked beans and I got to take a sample.  Memories of my Grandmother’s baked beans swept through my brain…perfect.

I opted for the slider trio to sample a medley of food.  This featured a pulled pork, burger and Nathan’s mini chili dog.  The pulled pork was so-so, the burger was yummy but I swooned at the chili dog.

Since I knew this was a place we wanted to revisit, I made note of the address for their restaurant in Estero Fl.  I knew just who I wanted to share this with!

One of my other favorites in this lifestyle are the people you meet and then “bump into” on the road.  Sometimes that bumping into takes a little planning, but then again we are all flexible so it’s not that difficult.

We met Jim and Kathy while camping at Ham Lake Campground in Blaine MN last year.  Both of us have families in the area and there’s not a lot of choices for long stay camping in the area and we happened to be parked next door to each other.

Even though we didn't have a lot of time to visit and get to know each other while in Minnesota, we all felt a spark of friendship take place.  There’s just those people you meet and know instantly you want to get to know them more.

We were all lost trying to find the Ford’s Garage in Estero as it was in a huge shopping mall and used the cell phones to figure out where the other one was.  As things worked out, they pulled in and parked right next to us.  I guess they are just met to always be “next door”.

Cathy loved the décor as much as I did and we all chuckled over the cleverness of their design. 

After the waitress revisited us for the fourth time we promised to stop talking and look at the menu.  We finally had the time to just sit and visit and get to know each other during this four hour lunch.

Well, Cathy and I talked to each other and Left Brain and Jim talked among themselves, but there was a little cross-conversation at times.  This was total bliss for me as I have not had the company of a female in my life for a long stretch now.  I enjoy Left Brain’s company, but there’s nothing like sharing stories with your own gender.  Sorry guys…that’s just the way it is.

Finally it was time to say goodbye so we all visited the restrooms – or the Fluid Disposal Area as they call it here.  

She laughed when she saw the tires used as sinks and had to take a “selfie” to post for her family. 

I decided I needed to do a “photo bomb” to add to it.  Gosh it feels good to giggle with a girl friend.

When we left I made her shut the door before leaving and look at it.  Huh?  The lettering on the door panel clearly says WOMEN when you enter, but when you leave there is a reverse image of the word MEN, making you wonder for a split second if you were in the right room.  I had missed this the first time Left Brain and I went to Ford’s Garage and finally got to enjoy the joke.

It was a perfect day – good friends – laughter and great food.  I’m so looking forward to seeing her again this summer in Minnesota!

Long Live the Queen of the Garage


  1. Oh and .. give Left Brain a big hello from me.

  2. What fabulous photos! I've never heard of this place before but it sounds just wonderful. It's so good that you were able to meet up with your new friends again. It's times like this that make life really good. I love the photo of Left Brain with his burger. The look on his face is priceless. Enjoy your time with your friends, and have a wonderful day. Hugs, Edna B.

  3. (i don't know what it is about your comment form - it resets half-way through my typing and deletes me). *sigh*

    anyway, what a neat place and even better that you got to share a return trip with friends.

  4. My FH worked in a gas station in high school and then worked for Oil Companies (yes the bad guys) through his whole career. So we, naturally enjoy automotive and gas station memorabilia. This place looks great and my mouth waters for one of those hamburgers. Left Brain has the right idea ... though I'm not sure about the beans if you get my gist. I love your photo tour and would love to visit this place someday if we ever get down there again. So cool that you have met with your friends from far away. Such a small world we live in. I do ... believe me, I do understand what you mean by having a female friend to talk to. You have read the book Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars (I think that is the title ... or close enough), well that is the case when you try to carry on a conversation with the same man every day of your life OMG! So Queen of the Femmes ... this was a great post.

    Andrea @ From The Sol

  5. LOVE reading your blog....descriptive - filled with emotion and humor. You have a talent! Felt the love. It's mutual. :). Yup...nice to have great neighbors. :)