Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Illinois' Red Carpet Corridor Festival-- Part 7: Bob Waldmire


Bob Waldmire, Route 66's artist and resident hippy, was often at events along the Mother Road, selling his wares and, of course, talking with all his friends.  And, he sure had a lot of them.

We'll never forget the time in Springfield, Illinois, during the festival when we stopped by this minibus and were talking with Bob.  He asked us if we would watch his stuff for a bit and we agreed.  We'd met him before, but he didn't really know us, but he was willing to let us watch his stuff.

We figured he needed to go to the bathroom and agreed.  How long could that take?  He left and we manned his spot for several minutes.  Then several more minutes, then a whole bunch of more minutes.  Where is Bob?  Still more time elapsed and after thirty minutes, a friend of his came by and we told him what was happening.

The friend said Bob was walking around the other booths at the festival.  We were sure happy when the friend agreed to watch Bob's stuff so we were out of there.

What Ya Gonna Do With That Bob.  --RoadDog.

Illinois Red Carpet Corridor Festival-- Part 6: Pontiac and Bob Waldmire, the Ultimate Hippy


From Odell, we drove the rest of the way to tonight's destination, Pontiac, the City of Murals and Museums.  Along the way, we passed the famous Meramec Caverns barn and the Log Cabin restaurant.  That barn is looking worse for wear and we hope we don't lose it like we did the one in Hamel.

When we got to Pontiac, we first went to Thornton's as we were almost to red light area on the gas gauge so had to fill up.

Then, it was to Pontiac's downtown where it is hard to look anywhere and not see a mural, museum or those neat little painted cars.  We parked by a mural and walked into the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum and looked around a bit before paying my 2017 dues to the Illinois Association.

I was glad when the museum got Bob Waldmire's Volkswagen minibus.  We had seen it so many times at various Route 66 gatherings along the way.  This minibus was the reason for Fillmore in the movie "Cars."  And everything about Fillmore was Bob Waldmire who was the very epitome of a Hippy.  I never knew whether to feel sorry for him or jealous of him.  To live life exactly the way you want to live it.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

News From Along Route 66, April 2017: The Riviera Fire in 2010

APRIL 23--  The Streetcar Diner was also a target of the Riviera Roadhouse fire in 2010.  It was suspicious from the start and Liz and I were sure it was arson.  But we never heard anything about the cause after the fire.

This is the first time we heard that it definitely was arson as gasoline was used and another, thankfully unsuccessful fire was attempted in the diner.

They know who did the arson, the Riviera's last owner.  At this point it appears they don't know where he is, but I hope he is caught and serves serious time.

The former trolley car was converted into a restaurant in Gardner in the 1930s and later moved to out behind the Riviera where it was restored by the Illinois Route 66 Association.  It has now been moved to Gardner's park which features the famous two-cell jail.

It was so sad to drive by the now empty and cleared site of the Riviera during the Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Festival two weekends ago.  We had not been by it since before the fire as it was too painful.  We were happy to have the chance to have a root beer float in the diner and liked the marker to the Krafts outside of it.

Great Memories of the Riviera.  --RoadDog

Monday, May 22, 2017

News From Along Route 66, April 2017: Bill Shea's Reopening As Route 66-Themed Auto Repair Shop

All these articles are taken from Ron Warnick's Route 66 News site, your place for any and all-things Route 66.  He has photos, videos and goes into much more detail than I do.  Plus, I don't write about all his posts.  I pick the articles I am most interested in.

APRIL 22--  Bill Shea's Route 66 Museum in Springfield, Illinois, is returning.  However, now it will be a themed auto repair shop.

Randy Pickett and Jake Niewold are the new owners and will take care of your classic car needs.  They plan to reopen this summer and will  feature old cars and Route 66 memorabilia.

Bill Shea died at age 91 in December 2013.  The contents of his museum were auctioned off in November 2015.

Last year, when we drove by it coming into Springfield, it really tore us up seeing the building standing there vacant and forlorn.  There were many great memories of sitting out in front of the Mahan's Station on the museum property and talking with Bill Shea, his son and Tom Teague.  We had really been hoping his family would continue with his museum and keep all that accumulated memorabilia.

Glad To See Something Else Going In There.  --RoadDog

The Victory Highway-- Part 2: Mostly Became U.S. 40

Washingtion D.C., was dropped from the route and it was relocated to run west from Baltimore to Cumberland, Maryland.  At Cumberland it picked up the old National Road to Vandalia, Illinois, which was already a part of the National Old Trails Road.

It follwed this road until near Fulton, Missouri and then took a different route to Jefferson City and Kansas City then west to Denver over the Golden Belt Highway.  next it went to Salt Lake City to the Wendover Cutoff and into Nevada.

Crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains into California, to Sacramento and finally to San Francisco.

When numbered highways came into being in 1926, most of the Victory Highway was supplanted by U.S. 40.  The association renamed itself the U.S. Highway 40 Association in 1938.

A Road By Any Other Name.  --RoadDog

The Victory Highway-- Part 1: To Honor America's World War I Deaths

From Wikipedia.

Back on May 18th, I wrote about a Shorpy photograph showing a truck used for signage on the Victory Highway.  This was a highway I'd never heard of before.

It was an auto trail across the United States between New York City and San Francisco.  Immediately, I thought of the Lincoln Highway, which ran  between the same two cities.

The road was created by the Victory Highway Association, which organized in 1921 to locate and mark a transcontinental highway across the country to honor those Americans who died in World War I.  They had plans to have a series of Victory Eagles to mark the route, but only six were ever made.  One of them is at the University of Kansas (the road went through that state).

It 1922, the association determined to run their road from New York City southwest to Camden N.J., Philadelphia Wilmington, Delaware, Baltimore and then Washington, D.C..


Friday, May 19, 2017

News From Along Route 66, April 2017: Illinois Route 66 Legislative Bills

APRIL 19--  Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is on a road trip to promote support for his Route 66 bills for an Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission and its being made a National Historic Trail.  Representative Avery Bourne is also sponsoring the bill.  I'd vote for them.

APRIL 20--  Joplin, Missouri is going to have "Fiddlers On the Route" musical festival June 30-July 1 at Landreth Park.  A featured band will be the Road Crew.

They sure have a neat logo for the event.


News From Along Route 66, April 2017: Illinois Restaurants

APRIL 18--  The old, long-closed Tropics building in Lincoln, Illinois, was torn down to be replaced by a McDonald's (at least it is not a Walgreen's).

The restaurant opened in 1950 and closed for good in 2004.  At least we got the opportunity to eat there and watch a Bears game one Sunday.

At least the impressive  sign will be put up again (and I understand it will be at the new McDonald's or somewhere close to it.

APRIL 19--  The famous and historical sign at Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket in Willowbrook, Illinois, has been taken down temporarily for a few weeks and slated to be reinstalled by early June.  It has been there for 71 years and is showing the wear and tear of northern Illinois weather.

This was done by a $17,000 matching grant from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.  The company restoring it is the same one that did the Munger-Moss Motel's famous sign in Lebanon, Missouri.

The restaurant opened in 1946.


San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts

In the last post, there was a truck involved with the signing of the Victory Highway in California parked out in front of the this San Francisco structure.

The Palace of Fine Arts was built in 1915 as part of the Panama-Pacific International Expedition celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal.  It was not planned as a permanent structure and made of non-durable material.

But, it was so loved by everyone that it wasn't torn down.  Over the years it deteriorated badly.  The original was near ruin in 1964 and demolished.  However, it was replaced with an exact replica made of concrete and steel.

It was quite impressive in the 1921 photograph.

Glad We Still Have It.  --RoadDog

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Signing the Victory Highway: 1921

From the March 17, 2016, Shorpy Photos.

You can go to the site and see the picture.

"We are signing the Victory Highway, San Francisco to New York."

San Francisco, circa 1921, "White motor truck at Palace of Fine Arts--California State Automobile Association."

A project from the early days of long-distance motor travel, when auto clubs took the lead in establishing and marking routes between cities and across the country.

A sign on the truck reads: "California State Automobile Ass'n"  There is also a picture of Yosmite Valley, California painted on it and the words "We Are Signing."


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Illinois' Red Carped Corridor 2017-- Part 5: Gardner to Odell


Still in Gardner

They had a big car show going on in the downtown area (which isn't very big).  We took a quick look and then went into Vino's where they had 66-cent pulled pork sliders.  We ordered four, figuring we would have to order some more, but when we got them, we were only able to finish one apiece (well, I did another half a piece).  They were huge.

We stopped at the Dwight Ambler-Beckler gas station which had a big crowd, lots of old cars and the Texaco Man as well.  Sure glad the town got around to saving this place as it is a neat old gas station.  When we first saw it in 2002, on our first Route 66 trip, it was looking bad and looked even worse the next several years.

Then, we went to the Odell Standard Oil station where we met a group of motorcyclists flying a French flag (or maybe Belgium).  Those European folks sure love our road.

Next Stop, Pontiac.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival 2017-- Part 4: Gardner


Next stop was Gardner, Illinois, where we stopped for the first time since leaving Joliet.  We had a taste for a root beer float served at the famous Trolley Diner Car which is now located next to the equally famous two-cell jail in the park downtown.  The Diner Car used to be behind the Riviera, but was moved after the fire.  Sadly, the last owner had also tried to start a fire in it at the same time he burned down the Riviera.

A couple from the Lions Club were inside and making up the root beer floats.  Cost was a donation.  We had been in the Diner Car several times at the Riviera, but had never had a seat and eaten something.  We talked with a couple doing the Red Carpet Corridor from St. Louis.

There is a marker outside the Diner Car for Bob and Peggy Kraft and the old Riviera.

We then went to inspect the two-cell jail and its top-of-the-line bathroom facilities.  Glad I didn't need to use the bathroom at this point.

Root Beerin' Down 66.  --RoadDog

Root Saluting Creedence Clearwater Revival-- Part 2: "Traveling Band"

STAND--  Sly & the Family Stone
STAND TALL--  Burton Cummings


WITHOUT YOU--  Badfinger
EVERYBODY'S TALKIN'--  Harry Nilsson
SHE'S NOT THERE--  Santana
SHOW BIZ KIDS--  Steely Dan


RAMBLIN' MAN--  Bob Seger
UPTIGHT--  Stevie Wonder
SHOW ME THE WAY--  Peter Frampton

BUS STOP--  Hollies


DREAM WEAVER--  Gary Wright
PHONOGRAPH--  Ringo Starr
BABY I LOVE YOU--  Ronettes


Now, I sure enjoyed those Creedence songs.

Name That Tune (from the above songs):  "Well, Take Me Back Down Where Cool Water Flow, Yeh."  (Answer Below),  --RoadDog

YOU'RE DRINKING TOO MUCH COFFEE WHEN:  You just completed another sweater... and you don't know how to knit.

"Green River"

Monday, May 15, 2017

Illinois' Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor-- Part 3: Braidwood to the Old Riviera

In Braidwood, we got stopped by police as a lot of people were crossing the road between the Polk-A-Dot Drive-In and where they were having their festival grounds.  We didn't stop.

Driving into Gardner, it was very sad to see the site of the old Riviera.  You'd never have known there was a building there.  This is the first time we'd driven by it since the fire.  We always thought it was suspicious and just this past few weeks we read in the Route 66 News that it had been arson and by the last owner, as we expected.

We are sure glad we got the opportunity to go there a lot.  What a unique place with the kitchen upstairs, restaurant and bar downstairs and the dumbwaiter.  And then... those super high toilets.  As they had a wooden plaque "Al Capone Passed Gas Here in 1932."  Great food and fun people, and, of course, Bob Kraft, the luckiest man in the world, holding court behind the bar.

He was "The Luckiest Man in the World" because he could get dressed, go downstairs, drink in his bar, eat in his bar, and go upstairs at the end of the day and sleep.  And he never had to go outside and never had a drivers license.

We Sure Miss Him and Peggy and the Riviera.  --RoadDog

Root Saluting Creedence Clearwater Revival-- Part 1 "Suzie Q"

On April 23, 2017, Bob Stroud on Chicago's WDRV, 97.1 FM, had a Roots Salute on his Rock and Roll Roots show in the morning to my favorite all-time band, Creedence Clearwater Revival in honor of the upcoming birthdays of bassist Stu Cook (April 25, 1945) and drummer Doug Clifford (April 24,1945).

Here are the songs he played on the show:


IN DREAMS--  Roy Orbison
GYPSY WOMAN--  Brian Hyland
GIMME GOOD LOVIN'--  Spencer Davis Group
GETTIN' TOGETHER--  Tommy James & the Shondells


OUT OF TIME--  Rolling Stones


I'M DOWN--  Beatles
GAME OF LOVE--  Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders

Name That Tune (from the above songs):  "Left A Good Job In The City, Workin' For The Man Every Night And Day."   Answer Below.  --RoadDog

"Proud Mary"