Route 66 Road Trip: Funky Funks Grove

After pounding the pavement in Pontiac, MaMa decided it was her turn to drive a stretch of Route 66 and give Pop a break from being the chauffer. If I knew how to drive, I would have offered, but my legs are too short to reach the pedals anyway, although I am pretty good at steering!

car dogs
I’ll always be a backseat driver.

Before taking off, we looked at MaMa’s Route 66 map and made the decision to bypass the Burma Shave/Memory Lane attraction in Lexington, and drive directly to Funk’s Grove to get ourselves some fresh maple sirup (that isn’t a typo, that’s how syrup is spelled by the owners of the store). So, we did what we had done for every other stop and entered our destination into Google for directions, and away we went!

Driving down Route 66 through Central Illinois in the fall is a real treat. We saw trees that were just starting to change colors, and the road was quiet with very little traffic to speak of. We made it to the town of Funk’s Grove in a little under an hour, following the directions that Google Maps gave us. Looking back on it, maybe we should have gone to the company website  for directions to the store instead of relying on good old Google to get us there…

We missed this sign! (Photo Courtesy of

MaMa was following the directions turn-by-turn, counting on technology to deliver us to our next destination. The scenery was divine and we were super excited for our next adventure on Route 66. We arrived at a long dirt driveway, believing we were at the right place. After all, that’s what Google told us.

“You have arrived at your destination.” It said!

“This doesn’t look right,” said MaMa, “There are no signs or anything.”

“Well, those are Maple trees, right?” asked Pop, “and they look like they are hooked up to something.”

“Yeah, okay, let’s give it a shot.”

MaMa turned down the dirt driveway despite her initial hesitation. About halfway down the long drive, we noticed a big dog running towards our car with an elderly woman following behind him. As soon as Levi and I caught a glimpse of that big dog, we started barking like a couple of loons!

“Let me at him!!” I barked.

“He’s mine!!” Levi replied.

“Let’s gang up on him then!” I growled.

“Good plan, GiGi!” Levi assented.

We jumped up at the windows, barking, growling and trying to find a way out.

The dog made it to our car, and started circling it, not letting MaMa drive any further.  The old woman was still trailing far behind.

MaMa started freaking out because the dirt driveway was narrow and hard to make a turn on, and she couldn’t go forwards or backwards for fear of hitting the crazy dog!

“What am I supposed to do?” she cried out, completely losing her cool.

“Just back up slowly.” Pop told her.

“But what if I hit the dog? I don’t want to hit him!!” She was now in full on hysterics!

“Let me at him MaMa, I’ll take care of this!”

“Yeah, I’ll make mincemeat outta him,” said Levi.

Pop was trying to quiet us down, but we were having none of that. Despite all of the awesome attractions we’d seen that day, this was by far the most exciting thing that had happened!

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the woman reached our car, and MaMa rolled down the window to talk to her.

“We were trying to find the Maple Sirup store. Our directions lead us here.”

“No, no, it’s not here. We aren’t (muffle, muffle, muffle)…”she said, but MaMa couldn’t hear because all of the racket in the backseat.

“Okay, so sorry to intrude. We’ll be on our way.” She said to the woman. “Now how do I get out of here?” she asked Pop.

“Just turn around real slow.” Pop said.

“I can’t, I can’t. What if I hit the dog!?” she exclaimed again.

“You won’t hit him. He’s not going to let you hit him. Just go slow.”

MaMa somehow managed to maneuver the car around and started heading slowly back down the driveway, inching along, trying to keep the dog within sight. Levi and I weren’t helping at all. We wanted to stay there and give that dog a piece of our mind!

We eventually got back to the end of the driveway and MaMa sped away as fast as she could.

We only have one regret. We were all so “in the moment” that nobody thought to take any pictures. I hope my re-telling paints enough of a picture for you, that pictures would have just been a frivolous addition!

I guess the best way to summarize this failed Route 66 stop is to say, “NO SIRUP FOR YOU!”

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