Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Road Work Ahead: Summer NC Trip-- Part 1

Traveling as much as I do, I have seen lots and lots of road construction, but nothing compared to what I've encountered on this trip.

You might as well not have cruise control because once on, you have to brake o stop it or hit the button to loose it because you encounter "Road Work Ahead" signs.  It used to be just the sign, but now it is all kinds of warnings about fines doubling and jail time if you hit a worker.

And, every so often, work zones will have one of those speed detector signs showing how fast you're going, causing all sorts of red lights.

Of course, money-grubbing Illinois has the additional "Photo-Enforced" signs at every work zone.  Between them and all the photo-enforced lights, I'm thinking of changing the state name from "Land of Lincoln" to Photo-Enforced Lincoln State."


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Indy 500, 2014-- Part 16: Still On Main Street, the Lincoln Tattoo

We walked the whole length and enjoyed seeing an Indy car leave one of the buildings and drive around, eventually past us on Main Street.  It was a two-seater and one a person could pay to ride to get that "Indy" feel.

Walked all the way to the end of Main Street and along the way saw Charlie Brown's, a neat restaurant where I met and had breakfast with the Bremmers several years back before an American Road Magazine road trip along the National Road.  It was closed at this time as I guess open just for breakfast and lunch.  Must-eating if you're in town.

Nothing was going on outside BBQ and Bourbon so went inside and found it to be a very woodsy kind of place.  We saw one guy with an Abraham Lincoln tattoo on his arm.  That is definitely one tattoo you wouldn't expect to see.  Had to ask why, and the guy said that he really admire Abraham Lincoln.  I guess so.

Yesterday, we were told that the band was to start at 4:30 PM today.  They still wren't set up when we left, considerably after that time.

Walking along Main Street and back to the RV was when we started seeing all those young gals wearing short dresses with cowboy (girl) boots.  Just didn't look right, but I suppose Jason Aldean. whose concert they were heading to, would say it was alright.

Overall, the Main Street Restoration project has been underway 6-8 years now and what has been finished is looking good, but there is still a ways to go with it.

Good Times on Main Street.  --RoadDog

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Route 66's Joe Rogers Chili Parlor in Springfield, Ill. Reopens

From the July 15, 2014, Route 66 News.

Good news here, even though I didn't even know it was closed.

Joe Rogers' The Chili Parlor, in Springfield, Illinois has been serving chili and other good stuff since 1945 and unexpectedly closed this past April.  It is now called  The Chili Parlor as the current owners are not allowed to use the name Joe Rogers.

The place opened in 1945 at 1120 S. Grand Avenue, just a block off Route 66 but moved to 820 S. Ninth Street in 1997, right on the Mother Road.

The article says that like Cincinnati, Springfield is known for its chili (and, of course, their Horseshoe sandwiches.

We have eaten there once before and Liz was absolutely  unimpressed with the place, saying it was too oily.  I thought it was alright, but definitely not in the category of Cincy chili.

I believe I heard the place had something to do with the reopening of the famous Norb Andy's.


Indy 500, 2014-- Part 16: Back to Main Street

Sue, Paul and I walked over to Main Street again as yesterday I had heard that BBQ and Bourbon was having a band again this afternoon.  Nothing was going on there as we walked past it so we proceeded all the way to the end of the street.

The city of Speedway had done an excellent job developing Main Street into a definite place to go.  Besides several neat restaurant/bars, they have quite a few businesses related to racing.

One is called the Indy Racing Experience, where you can get in a two-seater race car and be driven around the streets, of course, not at full speed, but even so.There is also a Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing complex.  She, I believe, is the first female Indy 500 driver.

There is also a Bubba's Hot Rod Shop.


Friday, July 18, 2014

A Whole Lot More on the Riviera

If you click on the Riviera label below, you can find quite a few blog entries I have done in the past on this wonderful, but now gone Route 66 site.


Illinois Route 66's Riviera Roadhouse's "Thrones"

And, then there were those mighty interesting "thrones" one could ascend to do their business downstairs.

I swear those toilets were at least 3-4 feet high and you had to go up several stairs to get to them.  Guys would have to stand a couple steps down to go #1.  Man, you could almost get air-headed at those heights.  I avoided using them as much as possible.  Liz said the one in the women's bathroom was similar.

Perhaps the reason for their height was the fact that the Mazon River flowed close alongside the Riviera, so it was necessary for pumping?

Someone had made a wooden plaque with the words "Al Capone Passed Gas Here in 1932" in the men's bathroom.  Bob Kraft said that the sign was stolen so often that they finally did a tracing of it and they handed it out as a souvenir of the Riviera Restaurant, Gardner, Illinois.  I have one of those tracings in our downstairs bathroom (which is not the "throne" up high they had at the Riviera).

I have to wonder how many inebriated folks were hurt falling off those thrones?

Those Thrones Were Quite the Experience.  --RoadDog

Indy 500, 2014: Back to the Legion

May 24, 2014.  Feet thoroughly walked out and getting hot, so back to the legion across the street from the track.  I must have had my invisible shields up as the bartenders couldn't see me for quite awhile until some waving on my part flagged one down.  The other one who was dispensing closest to me, still didn't see me.  A trip to the eye doctor is strongly suggested for her.

Nowhere to sit in the bar area (and they had taken out the bar stools) so moved out onto the patio.

There was a Legion Rider motorcyclist from nearby Brownsburg, Indiana, who was there with his wife and  at their table.  He said they often cruise over to the Speedway Legion, but it appears it will not be much longer as the track wants to buy the property and turn the whole area along the track into a pedestrian mall.

He said that there was a proposal to allow the Legion to have property along Main Street which wouldn't be so bad as long as they have RV parking.

I talked to him about the recent time in 2012, when we were hit by the snowstorm in December coming down I-74 from Crawfordsville where we had to pull off and get a room.  He also said that the I-74 corridor often gets hit hard by bad weather.

He also said that the post, Speedway 500 had to h=get that very appropriate Speedway 500 name had to be gotten from another post.

Another Day, Another Legion.  --RoadDog

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Remembering Route 66's Riviera Roadhouse

We visited the Riviera in Gardner, Illinois, on our first trip on the Mother Road back in 2002.  It was Sunday night and when we went in, we told Peggy Kraft that we were first-timers on the road and in her place and she insisted on going upstairs and waking Bob up and having him come down to say hi to us.

The poor guy had evidently just come off his "shift" working behind the bar and wasn't too with it, but he was as friendly as could be.  The next time we saw him, holding "court" as it were behind the bar, we realized this was the real Bob, not the groggy one we met that first night.  And, was he ever one of those colorful Route 66 characters that make the road so  much fun.  he ranked right up there with Ernie Edwards for stories as well as Bill Shea for charisma.

Loved the bar and the stalactites hanging down making you feel like you were in a cave.  Then, there was the dumb waiter they used to send food down (supposedly with a World War I or II shell for a counter-weight) and the clothespin line running from the basement upstairs to the kitchen for food orders.

And, then, there were those "thrones" in the bathroom which I will talk about tomorrow.

A Real Route 66 Character.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Illinois' Route 66's Riviera Roadhouse

From David Wickline's "Images of 66." printed 2006.

****  RIVIERA ROADHOUSE (1928)--  at 5650 Route 53 (the new highway designation for this section of the old Route 66), Gardner, Illinois.  Was a famous Al Capone hangout and speakeasy.  It also sold gasoline in the 1930's.  The restaurant and kitchen were upstairs and the tavern was on the lower level.

The Riviera is famous for its its man-made stalactites and raised "thrones" in the Rest Rooms.

The building was pieced together from a church, a coal mining office and once had Riviera Beer Garden painted on the roof in large letters.

Bob and Peggy Kraft, Proprietors since 1971. (815) 237-2344.

****  HISTORIC HORSE DRAWN STREETCAR--  which became a diner in 1932, is located behind the Riviera Roadhouse and is over 100 years old.  It closed in 1939 and has recently been restored by the Route 66 Association of Illinois.

Of course, sadly, the Riviera is no more.  We haven't driven past it since it burned down in 2010.  It would be too sad.  And, Bob and Peggy are no longer with us.  I imagine somewhere Peggy is preparing her great food (especially that spaghetti sauce!!) and Bob is "holding court" behind some heavenly bar.

Miss It All.  --RoadDog

Indy 500, 2014-- Part 14: Chevy Expo and Cars

Many carmakers have expositions inside the track for Legends Day.  I always go the the Chevrolet one to look at the 2014 models and they usually are giving away something.  Today, they were giving away rawhide keyholders.

Three cars I definitely look at are the Impala, Malibu and Camaro, one of which will most likely be my next new vehicle once I don't have the four I now have: '85 Firebird, '03 Malibu, '05 Dakota and '11 Malibu.  I especially liked the striking red on the new Malibu and I didn't think styling could get better than my '11, but it certainly has.

However, I am most partial to the new Camaros even if some say I am having a late mid-life crisis.  That is one mighty fine-looking vehicle.  They have even replaced Corvettes as something I want to own at one time.  We did have a 1981 red Camaro, that was a real big lemon and really liked to stall while in motion, leading to some frightening situations.

Of course, I wish they were still making Pontiacs, especially my favorite, the Firebirds.  I also had a '67 Firebird convertible at one time.

Oh Well.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bob Kraft, Co-Owner of Route 66's Riviera Roadhouse, Dies

From the July 8, 2014, Route 66 News.

Liz told me that Bob Kraft had died July 1, 2014, at age 90, in an article she saw in the Route 66 News.  Sad to hear that.

Bob Kraft was born May 4, 1924 in Chicago and married Peggy in 1972.  Peggy died in May 2013.  Together, they owned the popular, must-stop, Riviera Roadhouse in Gardner, Illinois for 37 years before retiring in 2008.  Sadly, the place burned down under "mysterious" circumstances in 2010.

The place was inducted into the Route 66 Association Hall of Fame in 1994.

I regard myself as fortunate to have met both of them on numerous occasions before the place closed.  It was unique.

Now, Bob and Peggy join the list of ever-so special Illinois Route 66 folks we were able to meet after we got into the road back in 2002.  That would include Bob Waldmire, Tom Teague, Ernie Edwards and Bill Shea.

Well, Bob is All-Route 66, but Home-Based in Illinois.  --RoadDog

Indy 500, 2014-- Part 13

Continuing with news for May 24th, one day before the race.

The Indianapolis Zoo was boasting about their new $25 million International Orangutan Center.  Clyde would be so proud.

LeAnn Rimes is to sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" tomorrow.

We might just have a problem tonight, as there is a Blackhawks playoff game plus an Indiana Pacers playoff game.  Being in Indianapolis, we might be outvoted.  At least the game will be on NBC and we have a TV in the RV and have already checked to see if we can get it if needed.  We can.  And Paul only "fell" off the roof a coupla' times setting the antenna.

It cost $10 to enter for Legends Day.  Well worth it as you get to see the drivers at the Public Drivers' Meeting.  Plus, you get to walk around the track area as well as Gasoline Alley where several of the cars are out for viewing.

The place is always crowded and you get to see folks getting on their hands and knees to "Kiss"the brick extension from the track.

After thoroughly walking my feet off trying to keep up with Sue, probably the world's fastest walker, I broke off from the group and set off on my own.  I found a big memorabilia show ans am so glad I am not "hooked" on the Indy 500 yet, otherwise it would have cost some dough to go in there.

Paul Didn't Really Fall Off the Roof.  he Adjusted From the Inside.    --RoadDog

Monday, July 14, 2014

Indy 500, 2014--Part 12: Veterans and History of Memorial Day

May 24th, 2014.  Looking through the Indianapolis Star newspaper.  I see that the USA Today, which has a part of the Star had one of their graphics about the age of our veterans, since this Memorial Day and all about veterans, especially those that gave their lives in the service of their country.

 According to USA Today, there are 2,695 male veterans over the age of 100 and 223 women.

At 65+, there are 8,903, 318 men and 259,397 women.

Memorial Day was formally commemorated on May 30 for over 100 years. before becoming a federal holiday in 1967.  In 1968, Congress officially declared it to be observed on the last Monday in may.  This was not a popular move.  According to a Harris Poll in late 1967, 38% favored the move and 59% were against it.

Why We Have It  --RoadDog

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Indy 500, 2014-- Part 11: Camaro Pace Car

The Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car for the Indy was driven by 3-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti.  Camaros have often been the pace cars, starting with the 1967 first-year model, then the second generation 1969 one.  Other years the Camaro received the honor were 1982 (same generation as my 1985 Firebird), 1993, 2009, 2011 and this year.

The 2014 Camaro Pace Car is a 7.0 litre V-* getting 505 hp.

Of course, i am a big fan of Camaros, now that they don't make Firebirds anymore (nor Pontiacs at all for that matter).  As a matter of fact, my next new car is likely to be a Camaro.  I'm a big fan.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Indy 500, 2014-- Part 10: May 24th, Saturday

MAY 24TH, 2014:  My 63rd birthday down here at the track.  Reading the Indianapolis Star newspaper, I see that others with birthdays today: Tommy Chong (of Cheech and Chong, the ultimate stoner), 73; Bob Dylan, 73; and Gary Burghoff, Radar in MASH, 71.

I also see that this will be Jim Nabors' (Gomer Pyle) last time to sing "Back Home Again in Indiana" which has become an Indy 500 tradition.

Sitting just across from the Speedway, I can clearly hear all the trackside announcements from within.

I also read that Sammy Hagar was at the track yesterday at Carb Day, and, of course, sang his very appropriate "I Can't Drive 55."  We didn't go to see him, though.  he also played a new one "Bad on Fords and Chevrolets" and "Bad Motor Scooter."  Definitely the perfect choice to play at the track.  Sublime opened for him.

Today, Jason Aldean will be playing at the track in a sold out show.  He is probably the most-popular country singer around these days and the show is sold out according to the paper.  Tyler Farr opens for him, but is mostly overlooked by all the girls, who are really in the hots for Jason.  I listened to his new CD on the North Carolina trip and he makes Jason look pretty tame in comparison.  A great new country act.

All day, and especially toward show time, we saw girls wearing short skirts and cowboy boots which to me is somewhat akin to wearing black socks with your sandals.

Somethin' Just Don't Look Right.  --RoadDog.