Friday, March 27, 2020

The Tournament's Gone to the Dogs: Coyotes, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Red Foxes, Retrievers and Salukis

As we enter Round 3, yesterday, working toward the Elite 8 in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, here are some more of the colleges "Gone to the Dogs."

Also in Division One, D-1:

South Dakota Coyotes

Albany Great Danes

Loyola Maryland Greyhounds

Marist Red Foxes

University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers  (Weren't these the guys who, as a #16 upset a #1?

Southern Illinois Salukis


Not a Doggie name, but a live dog on the sidelines:

Georgetown Hoyas

Tennessee Volunteers

Texas A&M Aggies

In case you're wondering:  Jack the Bulldog, Smokey the Coonhound and Reveille the collie.

Oh yes, and yesterday would have been opening day for Major League Baseball.  I knew it before I was told because of how crummy our weather was for White Sox opening day at Comiskey Park (I don't call it by that other name).  And remember last year when the only bad thing was how bad the weather was at the beginning of the season which caused so many cancellations.  Ahh, the Good Old Days.

Bow Wow Wow.  --RoadDog (Hey My Cousins)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Best of the Midwest-- Part 3: Route 66 in Illinois From Lou's to the Giant

The centennial for the Mother Road will be in 2026 and all sorts of things are in the planning.  But, in the meantime, there is plenty of things to do and experience along the state's 300 miles

It goes from Chicago to St. Louis.

You can start with a great breakfast and what they call the "World's Finest Coffee" at Lou Mitchell's in Chicago and then pull over for a prison break in Joliet at Joliet Correctional Center where some of the state's most infamous criminals (no governors though) were once held.  There are tours and a big party planned this summer for the 40th anniversary of the movie "Blues Brothers" which was featured at the beginning when John Belushi was getting released.

Then, on to Wilmington where you'll find good eats at The Launching Pad Restaurant with that 30-foot-tall muffler man dresses as an astronaut called Gemini Giant.

And, We're Just Getting Started.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Some More on Jackson, Michigan: Coney Island Dogs, Autos, Corsets and a Prison

I have been wanting to take a drive on U.S. Highway 12 to its eastern terminus, which is in Detroit, Michigan, and Jackson is located a short distance north of the highway, so would be a nice detour.

I went to good old Wikipedia and found out some other interesting things about Jackson.

Besides being a possible "Birthplace of the Republican Party as mentioned in the last post, Jackson was an early center for the industry.  By 1910, it was Jackson's main industry.  More than 20 different brands of cars were made here.  There is a place to see them at Ye Olde Carriage Shop which has many of them.

Also, Jackson is considered the birthplace of the Coney Island Hot Dog which started in 1914.  Several area restaurants still serve them.

The first Michigan state prison is here as well as it being a major manufacturing site for women's corsets in the early 1900s. 

So, You Could Eat A Lot of Coney Dogs and Then Wear a Corset to Cover Up the Weight.  --RoadDog

Best of the Midwest-- Part 2: Jackson, Michigan: Railroads, Murals and Republicans


There is a new Great Lake-to-Great Lake Trail Route 1 that goes 275 miles from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron and it goes through Jackson, less than 40 miles west of Ann Arbor.

It has a lot of history, including the Underground Railroad and also lays claim to the title of Birthplace of the Republican Party (although Ripon, Wisconsin disputes it).

There are several museums and has one of the country's oldest operating train stations from 1873.

They have a free app Experience Jackson Tours to take you to historical sites, notable architecture, breweries, wineries and murals.  And, speaking of murals, they have 36 of them downtown.  (I especially like murals in Pontiac, Illinois, and Cuba, Missouri.)

The origins of Ritz crackers purportedly can be traced to this town.

Love Them Murals.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Best of the Midwest-- Part 1: Ten Places to Go in 2020

From the January 12, 2020, Chicago Tribune by Lori Rackl.

She calls this her mix of well-known and under-the-radar destinations. Most are within a six-hour drive of downtown Chicago.

She says you might be surprised by some of the places that made the list and surprised by some, like Milwaukee, that didn't.

There was only one place that I hadn't heard of before, but with most of her spots, there were things there that I didn't know about.

I will give you the states of the places:

Michigan (3)
Indiana (3)

Starting Tomorrow.  --RoadDog

Monday, March 23, 2020

About Them Wolves and Terriers and the Sweet Sixteen

By today, we would have known the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Basketball Tournament Road to the Final Four.

We also have the:

Arkansas Red Wolves

Stony Brook Sea Wolves

Nevada Wolf Pack

New Mexico Lobos

North Carolina State Wolfpack


Then come these D1 dogs:

Boston University Terriers

St. Francis (NY) Terriers

Wofford Terriers


But Wait, There Are More.  --RoadDog

Sunday, March 22, 2020

And, We Would Be on Day 2 of the Second Round, Finishing Up the Sweet Sixteen Picks. It's All Gone to the Huskies, NIU That IS!!

The second largest number of canine mascot names goes to the Huskies.

There are five of them:

University of Connecticut (UConn)

Houston Baptist


Northern Illinois (My team)


Go You NIU Huskies!!!  --RoadHuskie

Friday, March 20, 2020

Well, We Would Have Been in the First Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.. BUT!!: It's All Gone to the Dogs-- Part 1

From DogO'Day  "Dogs in Sports:  The Complete List of NCAA Canine Mascots" by Wesley Coburn.

Just in case you're going through withdrawal symptoms like me, we could have been seeing some of these out there on the hardwood court right now.

I came across this while doing some research for Civil War mascots for my Saw the Elephant:  Civil War blog.

A whole lot of NCAA programs use  avian or feline mascot names, dogs are pretty well represented.

By far the most popular Division One canine is the BULLDOG.

There are 15 of them, though all do not play football.  Here they are:

Alabama A&M
The Citadel

Louisiana Tech

Mississippi State
South Carolina State

Who Is Second?  --RoadDog

Ten Reasons to Drive Route 66 This Summer (Hopefully)-- Part 3: Iconic Spots and Diners

7.  THE ICONIC SPOTS--  Chicago's Grant Park (The Bean and skyline).  Santa Monica Pier (a picture accompanies the article)  Arizona's Petrified Forest and Painted Desert.  And, don't forget the Chain of Rocks Bridge.  The red clay of Oklahoma and that great giraffe stone.

The list goes on and on.

8.  THE ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS--  Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo and a picture accompanies the article)  Created back in 1974 with 10 Cadillac cars  buried nose-first in the ground.  And, don't forget the Blue Whale.

9.  THE DINERS--  A  picture of Cozy Dog in Springfield, Illinois.  Lots and lots of different little places to eat.

10.  THE UNIQUE ACCOMMODATIONS--    Wigwam Motels in Holbrook, Arizona, and Rialto, California.  Of course, the Munger-Moss, Wagon Wheel, Boots and more.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Ten Reasons to Drive Route 66 This Summer (Well, Hopefully)-- Part 2: The People and Towns

4.  THE PEOPLE  Without a doubt, and probably my own favorite thing, is this.  You meet some of the most interesting, friendly and unique people along this old road.  Ask locals for directions by way of introduction or stop into a place and talk.

A picture of the Snow Cap restaurant in Seligman accompanies this.  But, be careful if you want straws or ketchup.  That's all I'm going to say about it.

5.  CHARMING SMALL TOWNS--  There are countless of these along the way, including the town of Winslow, Arizona, which is home to the "Standing on the Corner" from the Eagles' big hit "Take It Easy."

Of course, we also love Dwight, Pontiac, Lincoln and Lebanon.

A picture of the Grand Canyon Hotel in Williams, Arizona, accompanies this.

6.  EERIE GHOST TOWNS--  Not every town along Route 66 has been able to survive the loss of traffic due to the interstates.  Some now are essentially full-fledged ghost towns like Glenrio, Texas/New Mexico.  Others are pretty close to abandoned.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Ten Reasons Why to Drive Route 66 This Summer (Well, Hopefully)-- Part 1

From Travel Pulse

By Patrick Clarke.

Well, we knew these, but always fun to take a look, plus the article has nice photos accompanying it.

He calls it "a-one-of-a-kind highway.  Sure is.

1.  THE DISTANCE--  Nicknamed Main Street of America, it is nearly 2,500 miles between Chicago and Santa Monica, California.  Spans three time zones and eight states.

2.  THE HISTORY--  Established nearly a century ago on November 11, 1926.  Became popular route for Americans migrating west.  Then for vacationers, especially those going to Disneyland. 

Played a role in the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl "The Grapes of Wrath", and World War II.

3.  THE LANDSCAPE--  An amazing variety of land to see, from mountains, deserts, rivers and plains.

--And, That's Not All.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Trip to DeKalb for NIU Basketball-- Part 13: About Lord Stanley's and Da Footstompers

Lord Stanley's is what you'd call a classic dive bar.  Definitely nothing too fancy.  A shot and beer kind of a place, although I notice college students tend to drink more of the premium shots and drinks (but they all have charge cards and we were lucky enough to scrape enough coin together for cheap beer).  Our pint drafts of domestic cost $2, something I can live with.  A pint of beer at Pizza Pro's, further west on Lincoln Highway is $3.25.

Lord Stanley's gets its name for the Stanley Cup and uses that as well as a caricature of Stanley Laurel.  And, of course, it is a rabid hockey bar and an Official Blackhawk Bar.  Unfortunately, no Blackhawk game today.

We inquired as to their well known, long-running special of a two-topping pizza and two pitchers of beer special, which is now at $21, but had started at $15.  They still have it.  For many years we left the NIU Homecoming game early so we could get seats at the bar for the DeKalb Footstompers, a real fun band.

The Footstompers started playing together back in 1973 and three of the four members were still with them when they "retired" a couple years ago."  They played at Andy's for many years before moving over to Lord Stanley's


Monday, March 16, 2020

A Trip to DeKalb for NIU Basketball-- Part 12: About That Northern Win and Our Lincoln Highway Bars

Saturday, February 22

Tied at 72 apiece going into first overtime, that five minutes went on forever.  The score went back and forth.  Poor Bill Baker essentially lost his voice.  The intensity was unbelievable.  We were right in the car in the parking lot behind Lord Stanley's.

And, NIU won by one point, 82-81.

Now,that was some game.

We went into Lord Stanley's, one of the old-time DeKalb bars and now one of our favorites.  When we were students it was called Daddy-O's Shamrock and, along with The Uprising, McCabe's and Andy's, all on the Lincoln Highway, student favorites back when we were in school and for then years after.

My fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, however, was among the first student groups to start going to Andy's which was more of a townie bar and this was our main Lincoln Highway bar.  At the time, I didn't know the Lincoln Highway, including our section in DeKalb, was a transcontinental highway or that it was the country's first transcontinental paved road dating to 1913.

We would do what we called the Lincoln Crawl where we would "Crawl" our way from bar to bar.

Crawling for Beer.  --RoadDog

Saturday, March 14, 2020

A Trip to DeKalb for NIU Basketball-- Part 11: Game Goes to Overtime, We Leave Early for Lord Stanley's

FEBRUARY 22, 2010

During the second half, both teams traded hot runs, but with just 5:38 remaining, NIU had a nine point lead, making us feel somewhat confident, but all of a sudden, we couldn't buy a basket and they couldn't miss one.  The Chippewas had a 15-2 run and took a four point lead with 2:40 remaining.  We then  started the intentional fouls.

Our star player, Eugene German had just a few points in the first half, but exploded to finish at 23 for the game.

I hate when colleges started fouling in close games, so we decided to get a jump on the crowd and leave early for downtown, but found the game broadcast on the local station and got to listen to the Voice of the Huskies, Bill Baker as the game went into overtime.  All that fouling paid of for a change.

Bill Baker has been doing Huskie football and basketball games for 40 years.  I love listening to him.

When we got downtown, we actually found a parking space behind Lord Stanley's and listened to the overtime.

So, Who Won?   Next.  --RoadTime

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Along 66, Feb. 2020: Oklahoma Route 66 Passport Book

FEBRUARY 7--  The Oklahoma State Tourism Bureau is planning the Oklahoma Route 66 Passport Book.  They have ordered 200,000 copies.

It will have Route 66 attractions across the state, arranged alphabetically.

This will be over a two year period and they are looking for advertisers.

Always fun to get those passports signed or stamped.