Sunday, May 3, 2015

Bikers On the Way Home

We're about to breathe a sigh of relief as the huge congestion and lack of car parking draws to a fast close as Thunder Beach ends today.  By the time I went over to the Osprey Hotel lobby for coffee, nearly 1/3 of the motorcycles were gone and another third left while I was there.  Reckon some folks have to work tomorrow.

Coming back from McDonald's with the Sausage McMuffins, I was even able to find a parking space in front of the Driftwood .Lodge.

Sure had fun partying with the motorcyclists these last several days.  Our next door neighbors came from Batesville, Indiana and we've had some nice talks with them.  Last night, we met an 82-year-old biker from Spartanburg, S.C., who had motorcycled here all the way.  Sure hope I can do stuff like that when I get that old.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Motorcycles All Over the Place

And from what I hear, there will be a whole lot more during the course of the day and evening as people nearby start coming for the day.  However, the people I have talked to who come here every year say it will clear out quickly by tomorrow afternoon.

We spent some time last night out by Front Beach Road in front of our motel and watched them go by.  Talked with a guy from Platteville, Wisconsin, who says the town really misses the Chicago Bears training there as they once did.  There were some really LOUD motorcycles, but what I really liked were the ones with the lighting effects.

Yesterday, when we drove over to Salty Sue's for their delicious smoked chicken wings, Front Beach Road was backed up all the way to the west as was US-98.

A big crowd of motorcyclists at Donovan's Reef across the road from us last night.  Too bad they only had one bartender to keep up with them as you had some long waits.  They were sure enjoying the karaoke while we were a bit desperate to find out news about the Blackhawk-Wild NHL playoff game being played, which wasn't on/  We were delighted to find out the Hawks were leading after the first period 3-0, but not so happy after the second with a 3-3 tie.  But the Hawks won 4-3.

A Real Biker Paradise Around Here.  --RoadDog

Friday, May 1, 2015

What's So Loud About Thunder Beach?

Plenty of loud around here and it is only going to get worse in the next day or so.  Thousands of motorcycles here in Panama City Beach for the spring ride/takeover.  Just try to find a place to park your car.  As a matter of fact, we stopped in a place last night that we'd never been to because we saw a few car parking spaces.  Most of the cycles are acceptable as far as loud goes, but then there are a few that you think perhaps a jet just flew by.

Mighty friendly folks though.  We met a bunch over at Donovan's reef across the street last night and had a nice talk with them.  They'd been coming here for years and knew Gary, the mayor of Donovan's and Jan, his sidekick.  We even had a toast to ther Mayor's chair where he would have been sitting.

The folks next door to us just checked in and they are from Batesville, Indiana,  and here on their ninth Thunder Beach.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Fall of Saigon 40 Years Ago

I sure did a lot of TV watching these days as that war that I thought would never end (I figured we'd still be there) was actually coming to an end.  I did a lot of discussing about it with my classes (as I was teaching at the time).

And, this is a war I very nearly served in as my draft lottery number was 22.  That meant you went to Vietnam or Canada.  I would have much more been willing to go to Vietnam if I thought we were actually trying to win the war.  I didn't think we were trying to win. When at war, you do everything and anything you can to win it as fast as possible.  We weren't.

I even joined the USMC Platoon Leaders Class figuring I'd have to go sand if I did, I'd go as an officer.

Fortunately, the war ended before that came to pass.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Traffic Jams, "Stuck on the Island Again, Wracks

APRIL 26, 2015:  Decided to drive out to Tybee Island to check it out since I'd only been to it once and Liz never had.  This proved to be a mistake, with a perfect day at the beach weatherwise, evidently most everyone from miles around were going there.  The 12 miles took almost and hour and a half.

People there said this was not the usual case and that normally, this kind of a traffic jam only occurred on the 4th of July.

Then, just try to find a parking place either at the $2 an hour public parking or up and down the streets.  Wasn't happening.  As bad as it was on the way in, even worse attempting to leave.  At least coming in there were times we got all the way up to 10 mph.  Leaving it was mostly a parking lot.  It took us about 45 minutes to go 1/8 of a mile.

We backtracked back to the island and got a room.  As our buddy "MadDog" Adams would say, "Stuck On the Island Again."  We had a good time with lots and lots of stranded folks.

By the way, I read an article in a local paper about "wracks" which are mats of dead marsh grass which sometimes cause problems along the Savannah River.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Just Watched the NYK Remus Cruise By

From the sixth floor of the Holiday Inn Express here in Savannah, we just saw the NYK Remus going down the Savannah River heading for the Atlantic Ocean.  It was huge.  Rated as a container ship, it was built in 2009, Panamanian flagged and 286 meters long and 32 meters wide.  It was loaded with railroad containers stacked almost as high as the top of the superstructure.

Looking up information, it arrived here in Savannah yesterday at 1:30 p.m. and left dock today at 9 a.m..

It is owned by the Nippon Yusen Kaisha Corporation, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, based in Tokyo.

Kind of neat to see it and then look it up.


Me and the Luggage Cart, or, the Luggage Cart and I?

I got to know this luggage rack at the Holiday Inn Express in Savannah quite well yesterday.  The hotel is located right downtown by the river and had valet parking, so we had to unload the things we needed to bring in so used the cart as otherwise it would have been several trips.

We  checked in and got our room on the 7th floor.  So up the elevator we went. This was slow because one of the two elevators was broken.  It was supposed to have a balcony room, but this one didn't have one.  We mentioned the lack of a balcony on our way out and they put us one floor lower (which had a balcony).

So, I had to get the cart again and go up the elevator (another long wait).  Only we accidentally got off on the sixth floor, walked into the room and saw  someone must have stolen our luggage.  But then we remembered we had to go to the 7th floor.  Another really long wait to go up that floor.

Loaded the cart and then had another really long wait to go down to the 6th floor.  We were finally in the correct room, but then there was another long wait to take the luggage cart back down to the lobby.

I saw the cart later and it sat there mocking me.

My New Best Friend, That Hard to Move Luggage Cart.  --RoadDog

Friday, April 24, 2015

Why It Takes So Long to Go On a Trip

Leaving home for a trip is most often later than I desire or want.

And there are a lot of reasons for that.  Many of them my fault, but a few someone else's (who shall go nameless.

One of my biggest problems is that I don't start packing until maybe an hour before I go.  Another reason is chores I need to do around the house, especially watering my inside plants (at anytime) or outside plants during the warmer months.  I have a LOT of inside and outside plants.

Since I don't start packing until shortly before I head out, this usually means that I will have to stop along the way at some point whenever it dawns on me that I left something behind, or I need that something (often a toothbrush or deodorant).

(Shows you are never too old to learn something, I just found out I never knew how to spell deodorant.  All these years I have been spelling it deoderant, but spell check just showed that as incorrect.  Oh, I see, odor as in, remove "de" odor.  Makes sense.   Well, I'll be Niagra Falls.)

Then, there is my other half as far as delays, but at least she plans (even a list) and packs in advance.

What Do You Mean I'm Running Behind Time?  --RoadDog

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

San Francisco's Lincoln Park: Western Terminus of the Lincoln Highway

From the Nov. 3, 2014, Shorpy blog "Land's End: 1925.

1925 "overland at Land's End and Lincoln Park golf course.  Latest entry of the Shorpy Showcase of Extinct Automobiles.

Comment Overland and Willys joined and became Willys eventually.  Chrysler gets the former Overland.

From Wikipedia.

Lincoln Park, 100 acres,  was dedicated to Abraham Lincoln in 1909 and at one time was a cemetery.  It served as the western terminus of the 1913 Lincoln Highway, America's first coast-to-coast highway.  The original western terminus marker was located at the north end of the plaza and fountain in front of the Legion of Honor.

Today, a replica and interpretive plaque is located at the southwest corner of the plaza next to a bus stop.  It was placed there in 2002 by the reactivated Lincoln Highway Association at its 10th annual convention.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Listening to a New Chicago Radio Station

From the March 20, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Radio vet named program director at MeTV FM" by Robert Channick.

MeTV FM launched its oldies pop music format earlier this month at 87.7 FM, all the way at the end of the dial, said they had hired Chicago radio veteran Mark Zander as its program director.  He has been at Chicago stations WLUP-FM 97.9 and rocker WCKG-FM 105.9.

The station will have an eclectic mix of 60s, 70s and 80s music for the Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting which also owns classic TV network MeTV and WCIU-Channel 26.  two great oldies TV stations.  It is their first foray into radio.

Their web site does not apparently have streaming, but hopefully soon.  We pick it up fine here in Spring grove.  Saturday, we listened to it as they played disco after disco song.  I found out that they fo all disco Saturdays from 8-midnight, so get your dancing shoes out.

We listened yesterday as well and it sure is a great mix of oldies songs, just right for Boomer folks like us.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Did My Part for Record Store Day

I just got back from The Vinyl Frontier record store in McHenry, Illinois, with my booty:  four albums and one CD.  I saw pictures of people lined up before the 8 a.m. opening and crowds.  There were about 12 people in there when I arrived around 2 p.m..  It made for lots of fun getting down the narrow aisles.

The CD was UK Jive by the Kinks (1989). $5.99

The albums:

IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE OTHER--  Buckinghams  No date on it, but judging by the hair and outfits, I'd have to say the mid-60s. Columbia Records  $3

WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN--  Percy Sledge.  Even more appropriate with his death this past week.  Album cover featuring a white girl.  No date, but I know it is around 1966.Atlantic Records  $4

THE NASHVILLE SOUND--  Various artists.  Design Records.  How can you go wrong with Carl Belew, Patsy Cline, Ferlin Husky, Rocky Bill Ford and Hank Locklin?  $3

WILD & CRAZY HITS--  Various Artists. 18 songs.  ERA Records.  Like a K-Tel album. $3

Mr. Custer--  Larry Verne
Alley-Oop--  Hollywood Argyles
Running Bear--  Johnny Preston
The Birds and the Bees--  Jewel Akens
Yakety Yak--  Coasters
Wooly Bully--  Sam the Sham
And Others.

Did My Part.  Now to Break Out the Old Turntable.  --RoadDog

Chicago's Macy's Clocks Get Paint Job

From the April 16, 2015, Chicago Tribune "'It was time'" Macy's clocks get paint job" by Meredith Rodriguez.

The two iconic cast bronze clocks that are high above the sidewalk at Macy's (the old Marshall Field's) store on Chicago's famed State Street have gotten a long overdue makeover.  The Roman numeral numbers for te hours had gotten so faded they were hard to see.  Now, they aren't.

They are located at the corner of Washington and State and Randolph and State and this is the first makeover in decades.

The clocks are each well over one hundred years old and became famous in 1945 when Norman Rockwell painted a Saturday Evening Post cover of a repairman setting the time according to his pocket watch.

In 2009, the clocks were rewired for a GPS system.  Now, four times a day, satellite technology assures that the wooden hands sweeping across the 46-inch-wide face are on the right numbers.

I must admit, i wasn't too happy when Macy's bought Marshall Fields, but have to admit that they have done a great job keeping those things that made the downtown store special.

You Can Set Your Watch By It.  --RoadDog

Al Capone's Miami Beach Home Being Restored-- Part 2

PRISON AND RETURN:  Charged and convicted of tax evasion in 1931, Capone was sentenced to eleven years in prison, much of it at Alcatraz.  released in 1939 and spent rest of his life at this mansion.

CAPONE'S END:  Capone contracted syphilis as a young man and never had it treated.  As he got older, dementia set in.  He suffered a cardiac arrest at the house on Jan. 25, 1947 and died at age 48.

MANSION RESTORATION:  MB America says the mansion was falling apart when it was purchased.  The new owner hopes to cash in on on the Capone mystique and rent it out to commercial, video and movie shoots.

"Meet My Little Friend."  --RoadDog

Al Capone's Miami Beach Mansion Being Restored-- Part 1

From the March 20, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Al Capone's restored mansion gets new life" by Curt Anderson, AP.

He bought it in 1928 for a warm getaway and consists of three houses and overlooks Biscayne Bay.It was bought by Marco Bruzzi for $8 million and has had an additional $1.75 million in renovations.  They are keeping as many 1920s touches as possible.

FAMILY LIFE:  Deidre Marie Capone, Capone's grandniece, learned to ride a bike and swim there and remembers him as "Uncle Al" who wore an apron when cooking.

ESCAPING CHICAGO WINTERS:  Capone paid $40,000 for it in 1928 and spent time there during the winter.  Protected by a seven foot high wall and a heavy gate.  Capone loved to hit the local nightclubs and racetracks.

ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE:  Capone had an alibi for the Feb. 14, 1929, killings.  He was in Miami Beach at the house.


Friday, April 17, 2015

60 Years, Billions Served Anniversary This Week: McDonald's

From the April 15, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

Or is it billions and billions served?

Sixty years ago, on April 15, 1955, a 52-year-old former piano player and salesman from Oak Park opened a hamburger stand in Des Plaines, Illinois.  His name was Ray Kroc, and what's today known around the world as McDonald's was off and running.

Burgers cost 15 cents, cheeseburgers 19 cents, and fries a dime with milk shakes 20 cents.  Kroc racked up $366.12 in business that first day (equivalent to $3,206.58 today).  By 1958, the chain reportedly had sold its 100 millionth burger.

And, as us Route 66ers know, Kroc's wasn't the first McDonald's restaurant.  That was in Southern California and run by the brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald, whose operation impressed Kroc when he sold them their milkshake machines.

Seizing upon the potential he saw in franchising nationally, Kroc grew the business at a torrid pace, eventually buying out their stake (the McDonald brothers) in 1961.

The Oak Brook-based McDonald's today has more than 36,000 locations spread over more than 100 countries serving 69 million customers daily.

There is a recreation of that original McDonald's in Des Plaines at the original site by US-12 and US-45.  It doesn't sell anything, but is a museum.  there is an operating McDonald's right across the street.

Getting My MCD's Fix.  --RoadDog