Monday, July 02, 2007

The Gemini Giant

Before we got to Grundy County on Saturday, we first went to Kankakee River State Park in neighboring Kankakee County, which is pretty much due south of Chicago, hard by the border with Indiana. I went camping at Kankakee River SP about 20 years ago, but wanted to re-examine the place, since I didn't remember much about it.

But first, of course, I knew we needed lunch. Unless we leave really early, that's going to happen a short time into any trip ("I'm hungry, Daddy!"). I thought ahead and realized that the Launching Pad in Wilmington, Illinois, was just the place.

If you enter Wilmington via Illinois 53, the Launching Pad is impossible to miss, because it's guarded by the Gemini Giant, who looks like this (that's actually the neighboring house in the background, but it does give a sense of scale):

I took this photo of the Gemini Giant, a variant of a muffler man, when I first saw him in 2002. I asked a fellow in the parking lot at the time about it, and he said he was surprised that I wasn't a German. It seems that the Gemini Giant is (was) highlighted in some German guidebook on Route 66.

So I'd seen the giant before, but never eaten at his restaurant, and I thought it was time. They make a pretty good hamburger, even better onion rings, and a jim-dandy banana shake.


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