Oh my God, today was the most grueling riding day I have ever experienced. It was so very hot, we spent over eleven hours riding from one traffic jam to another no matter what state we were in. Our day actually started fairly well. We decided to meet at the Silver Diner in Bethesda, Maryland for breakfast. Breakfast at the diner is always good. From there we started our trek north.
We started out at around 9:00 am and from the very first moment of taking off it was not good. Traffic, traffic, traffic as far as the eye could see. Barry had decided that the Canada stretch of our trip is where they wanted to spend the bulk of our time so prepared a trip plan that would take us on Interstate highways, Parkways, and toll roads up through Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut and calculated that we would be on the road around six hours our first day.
Eleven hours later we finally reached our destination in Trumbull, Connecticutt. It was eight o’clock at night when we arrived at our hotel. We were tired, sore, and very, very hot. All Randy and I wanted to do was get into our bathing suits, take a dip and go to bed. The rest of the group went down to the hotel restaurant and ate dinner.
The day wasn’t all bad though. The bright spot of our day was getting off the New Jersey Turnpike at the Bellmawr city exit where we found the Club Diner. What a treat. I love eating at diners. The wait staff was friendly and sat us immediately. When asked what we wanted to drink we all answered I unison, “Ice cold water and lots of it.” Another hot day and dehydrated again.
The menu offered everything from breakfast to dinner. The menu included diner classics like burgers, melts, Ruebens, an amazing amount of sandwich offerings, platters, meatloaf and so much more. As much as I love burgers and fries which are specialties in most diners that I have frequented I absolutely could not eat anything hot. Actually I think we all felt that way so we all ordered cold salads or cold sandwiches.
I loved the names of the children’s selections. Sponge Bob Bob Special (fish sticks), Jimmy Neutron Noodles (spaghetti and one meatball), Lilo and Stitch’s Pick (frank and beans), Dora the Explorer Entree (chicken fingers)were just some of the selections.
After looking over the menu for a few minutes my eye fell on a fruit, cottage cheese and jello salad. It just sounded so refreshing. And boy I was not dissapointed. Randy and I ordered just one and shared(we asked to have the cottage cheese left off). The salad was large and included bananas, strawberries, melon, mango, pineapple, orange and grapefruit sections and cranberries. I was surprised by the addition of the cranberries but the combination of sweet and tart was really very refreshing and satisfying. Along with the fruit there were chunks of strawberry jello. Just great.
While we were waiting for our salad I asked how long the diner had been in business. We were told that it opened in 1946 and was actually closer to the street. The original diner was later moved to another location and the new diner was moved further back from the street to accommodate more parking. The current owners are two brothers Bob and George Pantelous.
The table they sat us at was right in front of a beautiful refrigerated display case filled with cakes and pastries that made our mouths water. We asked if they were baked on premises and were told, “Yes, one of the owners was the baker.” A few minutes later he came to our table and introduced himself and welcomed us to the diner. Mr. Bob Pantelous was very friendly and pleased that we had asked about and admired his handiwork and assured us that yes he indeed did all the baking at the diner.
I wish we had discovered the diner later in the day for dinner then I would have enjoyed having a piece of one of the amazing cakes or pastries but eating heavy food before getting back on the bike was not a good idea.
So if you ever find yourself driving down the New Jersey Turnpike and are hungry for a good meal and friendly atmosphere get off at the Bellmawr exit and head to the Club Diner.
Stay tuned Saturday we will be in Plymouth, Massachusetts.