Thursday, July 20, 2017

N.C. Jan. 2017-- Part 25: A Whole Day For Fort Fisher


Looking out at the ocean from my fifth floor room and couldn't help thinking that had this been 152 years earlier, I would have seen Union transports and warships sitting out a little ways as well as Union troops fortifying lines in case General Braxton Bragg would get up the courage to attack them.

He hadn't come to Fort Fisher's aid when it really counted and the fate of the fort and the South's last open major port and a center for  blockade running hung in the balance two days earlier, so why would he do it now.

Fort Fisher fell January 15, 1865.

The Union soldiers who captured the fort landed about where I was right now.

Of course, to my way of thinking, the war was already lost by late 1864, so saving more men's lives would  be a good thing.

But, Anyway.  --RoadFish

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

N.C. Jan. 2017-- Part 24: Some Packer Nirvana and a War

And, I really considered starting an eighth blog on World War I.  I am really glad I didn't as I have WAY TOO MANY blogs right now, with seven.

Throughout the day, I had lots of people tell me what a great game that Green Bay Packer-Dallas Cowboy game was yesterday.  Though most said they were pulling for the Cowboys.  I wore my Packer hat today which was causing the remarks.   Go PACK!!  Regardless of who you were pulling for, you have to admit that that was one of the best-ever football games.

Th presentation was given by Dr. Jan Davidson of the Cape Fear Museum and she was very knowledgeable on World War One and had a lot of pictures of items the museum had relating to the war.

I wrote a lot about the presentation in my Cooter's History Thing blog which is where I am writing about World War I, or, as the British refer to it, the First World War.  You can read more about the presentation at Cooter's History Thing Blog.  Hit the Wilmington NC label.

She said that Fort Caswell, a Civil War fort, was actually used as a military base and that there is a World War I Memorial in front of the New Hanover High School.  There was a lot of shipbuilding going on in Wilmington during the war and that most Wilmington men volunteered.  Blacks also served.


North Carolina's Fort Fisher-Southport Ferry

Located by the "Rocks" at the end of US-421.  This really saves a long drive (and going through those horribly congested and photo-enforced stoplights in Wilmington) and costs just $5 a car.  What a deal!!

It is about a 30-minute, 4 mile ferry ride across the mouth of the Cape Fear River and connects Pleasure Island/Federal Point and Southport.

Service began in 1965 and is used a lot by tourists to the area.

Two boats run at a time during the summer, one from each terminus.

Each year they carry 185,000 vehicles and 500,000 passengers.


North Carolina's "Rocks"

North Carolina's "Rocks" at the southern terminus of US-421  (and there is a sign saying that by the parking lot, also the other side says it is the beginning of US-421, kind of neat, i wish all roads would do that.)

U.S.-421 ends at a parking lot and from there you can launch a small boat and it is a popular fishing and crabbing spot.

This is referred to as the Swash Defense Dam and built back in the 1870s by the Army Corps of Engineers to close New Inlet, a very popular place for blockade-runners to run in and out of the Cape Fear River during the Civil War.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Even With Flooding, We'll Wait It Out Having a Good Time

We have two major festivals going on this week here in northeast Illinois in Lake and McHenry counties.

I wish they would find a way, though, to have it on two separate weekends, but, no, they never will.

McHenry, Illinois, has their annual Fiesta Days.  This Saturday we have Art in the Park, where all sorts of sellers offer their wares in Veterans Park.  At the same time, they close off Riverside Drive by Illinois Highway 120.  Then, we have bands out in the street and all sorts of partying in the afternoon.

This Thursday, Antioch, Illinois, has its annual Taste of Summer which features all sorts of food, a carnival and bands every night Thursday and Friday and throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday.

Well, If You Can't Go Boating,  Drown Your Sorrows.  --RoadDog

Flooding Here in the Chain of Lakes Area in Illinois

Last Wednesday morning, in the wee hours, we had a torrential downpour here in the Chain of Lakes area in northeast Illinois by the Wisconsin state line.  We got anywhere from five to eight inches in about four hours and then had a couple of other big storms come through.

We had some flooding in our subdivision, which is about two miles from the Fox River, but that was just runoff.  The water in the retention pond behind our house got up to about 2/3 capacity, but has dropped down since then, though there is still some in it.

That was bad enough, but southern Wisconsin also got hammered and their water all ran off southward in the Fox River which has caused much flooding here.  Kind of strange as the water is rising, even though we have't had rain but one time for a short bit since then.

We are worried about our boat, which is still in the water in a channel off of Fox Lake, along with a lot of other boats.  The boat is riding up high and we're hoping that the pier will hold, and especially the posts.  Thankfully, boats float, but there is a question of where they might go should they come loose.

The water has finally stopped rising and is going down very slowly.

Hey, Anybody Seen My Boat?  --RoadDog

Monday, July 17, 2017

North Carolina's 100 Counties, 100 Things to Do (Well, Six of Them Anyway)

From the May 25, 2014, Raleigh (NC) News & Observer "Best Kept Secrets:  100 N.C, Counties, 100 things to try" by Richard Stradling.

Being a native North Carolinian, this immediately was of interest, but unfortunately I was unable to find the last 94 counties, so will have to suffice with these first six:

1.  Pender County--   Lanes Ferry Dock and Grill in Rocky Point

2.  Columbus County-- The Riverwalk in Fair Bluff

3.  Bladen County--  Jones Lake State Park,  Carolina bays.

4.  Sampson County--  Sampson County History Museum in Clinton

5.  Brunswick County--  Kindred Spirit Mailbox in Sunset Beach.  People write down their thoughts and leave them in the box.

6.  New Hanover County--  Casey's Buffet in Wilmington.  I've eaten there.


Friday, July 14, 2017

News From Along 66, June 2017: Farms, Book and Movie

JUNE 12--  The old Gillett Farm on the top of Elkhart Hill in Elkhart, Illinois, will be auctioned off.  It is sure hard to miss Elkhart Hill as it is the highest ground between Chicago and St. Louis.

John Dean Gillett was called the "Cattle King of the World" back in 1860.  he was a friend of Abraham Lincoln.

I imagine he made quite a bit of money supplying beef to the Union armies during the Civil War.

JUNE 14--  There is a new book out called "The 1928 Bunion Derby" by James R. Powell.  It is about the 3,423 mile Trans-American Footrace between Los Angeles and New York City.  But, those of us Route 66 fans knew that.

JUNE 16--  Movie Review on "Cars 3."  "Represents a return to the emotional core of the original 2006 film."

I saw it yesterday and sure did enjoy it.  Sadly, our local theater is pulling it after just three weeks, so it must not have done all that well.


13 Must-See Sights on Route 66-- Part 4: Theaters, Rabbits, Ghosts, Wigwams and Piers

9.  KiMo Theater--  Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Built 1927.  designed to reflect the Indian/Hispanic and Anglo cultures.

10.  Jack Rabbit Trading Post--  Joseph City, Arizona.  You know, all those "Here It Is" signs.  Or is it "Hare It Is?"

11.  Ghost Town of Calico--  north of Daggett, California.  What is left of an 1881 mining town.  OK, this one I had never heard of before.

12.  Wigwam Village Motel--  Rialto, California.  There is also one in Holbrook, Arizona, on Route 66.

13.  Santa Monica Pier--  Not exactly on Route 66, but close and makes for a good end-of destination.  Built 1908.

She suggests Drew Knowles' "Route 66 Adventure Handbook" for reading.

Obviously, I Love My Lists.  --RoadDog

13 Must-See Sights on Route 66-- Part 3: U-Drop, Caddies and Blue Swallow

6.  U-Drop Inn--  Shamrock, Texas.  Art Deco wonder, once a Conoco station.

7.  Cadillac Ranch--  Amarillo, Texas. All those Caddies.

8.  Blue Swallow Motel--  Tucumcari, New Mexico. Opened in the 1940s.  Also in Tucumcari, the souvenir store shaped like a teepee and the sombrero-shaped restaurant.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

13 Must-See Sights on 66-- Part 2: Drive-In, Old Riverton Store and Pops

3.  66 Drive-In Theater--  Carthage, Missouri.  Opened in 1949.

4.  Nelson's Old Riverton Store--  Riverton, Kansas.  Opened in 1925 as the Williams Store and for a long time was the Eisler Brothers Store.  My wife told me a few days ago that it had been torn down.  Bad news.

CORRECTION.  It was not torn down.  Liz misread the article about buildings across the street being torn down and not Nelson's.  Thanks LuLu for pointing that out to Liz.

5.  Pops--  Arcadia, Oklahoma.  Has 700 flavors of pop, or do you call it soda pop or soda?  Its 66-foot tall neon soda bottle is a real looker.  This wasn't there when we last went through there in 2006.  Looking forward to seeing it this fall.

Maybe have a Sodee Pop or Two.  RoadDog

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

N.C. Jan. 2017-- Part 23: World War I Presentation

A real nice room, as always at a Marriott (just usually considerably more than I want to pay, but $67 is a good price).

Drove over to Food Lion for a bite to eat and then I attended the Federal Point Historic Preservation Society's meeting at their museum next to the Carolina Beach Town Hall (in the old Blockade Runner Museum museum).  They took the old picnic area of the B-R Museum and put walls up and now have a museum.  The picnic area was either modeled after the Wilmington slave auction center before the Civil War or was a real one.  I have never been able to get clear on this.

The newspaper had said the presentation tonight at the museum was going to be Wilmington during World War II, something I am very interested in and have written a lot about it in my World War II blog, Tattooed On Your Soul.  However, the talk was not on World War II.

They are preparing an exhibit to mark the centennial of the United States entry into World War I and to go along with it, tonight's talk and slide show was on Wilmington, North Carolina, during that war.

That was alright, though, because I am interested in anything to do with history.

Little Old History Me.  --RoadDog

13 Must-See Route 66 Sites-- Part 1: Big Ketchup and Caverns

From readers Digest "13 Must-See Sights You Can Only See On Route 66" by Claire Nowak.

I always enjoy seeing when other people have a list of what to see on Route 66, especially when it is a place I've seen.

1.  World's Largest Ketchup Bottle--  Collinsville, Illinois.  Built in 1949 and actually a water tower 70 feet tall.  Wants some fries with your catsup (or is it ketchup?).

2.  Meramec Caverns--  Stanton, Missouri.  Opened as a tourist attraction in 1935 and did a lot of advertising along Route 66 and other roads on those barns, especially famous for putting bumper stickers on every car that visited.  I was SO disappointed when we visited that they didn't have any free bumper stickers in 2004, or even ones I could buy for that matter.

For some reason, I always have a hard time spelling Meramec Caverns.

No Bumper Sticker For Me, I Guess.  --RoadDog

News Along 66, June 2017: Wrinks Market in Lebanon, Mo., Reopens

These stories are taken from the Route 66 News site, which has a lot more stories and a lot more information.  I just pick ones of particular interest to me.

JUNE 11, 2017--  The granddaughter of Mr. Wrinkle, Katie Hapner, and her step-sister Sarah Carney reopened it and are trying to make it look as near as they can to the original.  It is quite near that wonderful Munger-Moss Motel, east  of town.

Glenn "Wrink" Wrinkle opened the place in 1950 and kept it going until his death at age 82 in 2005.  His son Terry Wrinkle reopened it in 2007, but closed in 2009.  Cowboy D.C. Decker reopened it in 2011 as a country emporium, but that too closed.  (I really enjoyed Decker's place.)  And, there were several other places in it that also didn't make it.

If the girls are going to make it look like the old Wrinks, it will have to be junky.  That place was packed, but what made it a great place to visit and buy was, of course, "Wrink."  We were fortunate and got to talk with him on several occasions before his death.  he would really "hold court."

It always bothered me to drive by it and see it sitting there vacant.  Happy days are here again.

A Real Bit of 66 Here.  --RoadDog

Monday, July 10, 2017

N.C. Jan. 2017-- Part 22: Fort Fisher and a Motel

I  returned to the car and popped the Bee Gees' "One" CD into the player and then cruised south on US-421, through Kure Beach, keeping an eye open for a mom and pop motel, but didn't find any likely candidates, plus, I wanted to be closer to the Silver Dollar saloon and other Carolina Beach bars.

Drove to Fort Fisher which is always closed on Mondays.  I sure wish I had been able to get to this fort a couple days ago when they had the 152nd anniversary of its capture.

Back to Carolina Beach and looking for mom and pop motels, but no luck.  I remembered seeing that the Courtyard by Marriott, which had been the host hotel for Saturday's Friends of Fort Fisher and descendants reunion in the morning, had had a $69 special rate so thought I'd give it a go.  When the clerk told me it would be $67 plus tax, it was a done deal.  I had my room.

And, it is in just a few blocks of the Silver Dollar.