Monday, October 24, 2016

NIU Homecoming 2016-- Part 1: Meetin' and Greetin'


We took the usual way to DeKalb: Il-120, Il-47, Il-176 and Il-23.  There was a huge Fall Farm on 176 and we also saw two huge pumpkin fields along 176.  It's that time of the year, you know.

Stopped to have our slider crave at White Castle in DeKalb and then parked by the Barsema Center.  We had game tickets and parking at the Barsema Center (Alumni) because of our involvement in the NIU Foundation.

Checked out the gift shop in the Center then came across Terri, out NIU contact for the Foundation at the Alumni Tent area.    She took us over to meet the new Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Laurie Elish-Piper, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Christopher McCord and the President and CEO of the NIU Foundation, Catherine Squires.  All of them have been connected with Northern for a long time.

They had a band playing inside the tent and all alumni could pick buttons telling which decade they graduated in which helped with introductions.

The NIU Huskie Marching Band then came by for several songs, including out NIU Fight Song.  We talked with the President of NIU, Douglas Baker.


Friday, October 21, 2016

A Busy Day August 14-- Part 7: All-Around Taps and White Doves

The combined rifle team of the McHenry American Legion Post 491, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600 and the Polish Legion of American Veterans Post 188 then fired a three volley salute.  Then the All-Around "Taps" sounded.  One bugler starts and is joined in by one after another until at one point all are playing the mournful but respective song.  Then one after another quit until there is just one and then none..  This part of the ceremony always chokes me up and brings a tear to my eyes.

The singer sang "America the Beautiful" and then there was the dove release.

There was a really big crowd that I would estimate at between 400 and 500 in attendance.

Afterwards Bill's Little Big band provided music of the era and a local radio disc jockey had a radio program that you might hear.  The songs they played before I left were "In the Mood," "Moonlight Serenade" and "Sentimental Journey."


Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Busy Day August 14-- Part 6: Merchant Marine Recognition

As I said, the ceremony was nearing its end when I arrived and there was a prayer and then "God Bless America" was sung, accompanied by Bill's Little Big Band.  It is so sad to see the World War II vets so old and crippled.

Then  the band played the service songs of the Coast Guard (I don't believe I'd ever heard this one before), Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Army.  I was also happy to hear (also for the first time) the song of the U.S. Merchant Marine.

I am very happy to see the Merchant Marine finally getting the recognition they so much deserve because of the important role they played in the war.  I am sure floating around in U-boat infested waters (often in the frigid North Atlantic) in a ship loaded with ammunition or oil is not my idea of a pleasure cruise.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Meskers on Route 66 in Illinois

I have written about these prefab building fronts that came into vogue in the late 1800s, early 1900s.

Here is a list of buildings with Mesker fronts along Route 66 in Illinois:

Atlanta--  4

Carlinville--  2

Dwight--  1

Edwardsville--  2

Elkhart--  1

Lincoln--  1

Normal--  1

Plainfield--  1

Staunton--  1

Virdon-- 6


A Busy Day August 14-- Part 5: Keeping the Spirit of '45 Alive

I left the Parish Fest and New Odyssey right as the last song ended.  I dropped Liz off at Sunnyside in Johnsburg and then drove to Veterans Park in McHenry, Illinois, for the annual Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive.  This event honors the Greatest Generation and is well-deserved.  It is also one of the biggest and longest-running observations in the United States.

Unfortunately, they always have it on the same day as Parish fest in Johnsburg.

I arrived for the last part of it.  Sad that the announcer told the World War II veterans to stand "as well as you can."  The World War II veterans and people are getting very old and their health is often failing.  It is sad to see them so old.  I was born in 1951 and growing up, World War II veterans were everywhere.  You didn't think much about them being around.  They were just there.  Nothing special.

But, as we lose them in increasing numbers, we need to honor heir sacrifices and efforts as much as we can.

Missing Those Old Guys and Gals.  --RoadDog

Monday, October 17, 2016

Saw New Odyssey in Wilmington, N.C. September 24th

As I was checking to see if I had spelled Odyssey correctly (I did, but for some reason it didn't look right) for the Busy Day posts, I looked up the word odyssey online and along with the spelling and correction, I found the New Odyssey site so decided to take a look at it.

While checking their appearances, I saw they were appearing at a church for a show in Wilmington, N.C., on September 24.  I also knew that I was going to be nearby that date in Topsail Beach so decided to see them again.

That day, I drove to Wilmington and toured the USS North Carolina battleship and the Cape Fear Museum before going to Casey's Buffet for a great southern meal.

I then surprised the members of the group when I showed up at the church.  Nobody had ever seen them so I told the people around me about what to expect.  There were seniors, middle agers and kids in attendance and they sure had a good time.  Everywhere I looked, there were smiles and people moving with the music.  And, this time they got to see Gary Todd's drum coat.


A Busy Day August 14-- New Odyssey-- Part 4: No Drum Coat

Then they did a Santana song (I don't know the name, though).






BLUEGRASS SONG  by Flatt & Scruggs with the band playing each others' instruments at the same time.  Something you've got to see to believe.

OH WHAT A NIGHT--  Four seasons


HOW GREAT THOU ART--  The horns were highly memorable on this one.

They ended it with a country song.

Everyone gets to hear their favorite type of music during a New Odyssey show.

We were disappointed that Gary did nor put on his Sgt. pepper's drum coat.  We asked Michael afterwards about not seeing the coat, always a favorite with audiences and he said they had done it.

A Sad Thing When the Mind Goes, Michael.  --RoadWhat

Friday, October 14, 2016

Good Times Here Last Weekend-- Part 8: Boating and the Chain Crawl


Bob Stroud played New World songs on his Ten at Ten on WDRV in honor of Columbus Day.

We went out for a boat ride around Fox and Nippersink Lakes and stopped at Stormy Monday on Fox Lake for a drink.  After putting the boat up, we went to Dino's Den on Grand Avenue on the channel where we keep our boat and had a drink and got a passport stamp.

Next stop was El Puerto on Nippersink Lake for another passport stamp and enjoyed some seasonal beer and chips and salsa.  Then to Sunnyside and watched the Cubs lose to the Giants in Margarativille in the thrid game of the NLDS.

Gettin' Stamps and Drinki' Beer.  --RoadDog

Good Times Here Last Weekend-- Part 7: Filling Up on "Tastes" and Beer

We have learned that the best way to do a "Taste" walk like this is to just get one thing between us and split it.  That way you will be able to make it to more places before you get full.  And these portions to "taste" are definitely not small.  Of course, at many places we washed it down with liquid libations.

The next two stops were also ones we needed to go to to get passport stamps for the Chain Crawl (41 places to go during one summer and fall).  Between the weather and going to N.C. so often this year we still have a lot of places to visit for those stamps.  The big end-of-crawl party is October 22nd.  Unfortunately, we won't be attending because of Northern Illinois' Homecoming.

Chain' O' Lakes Brewing Company is a purveyor of craft beer and we got two samplers and sat outside in the biergarten and were entertained by a solo performer.  Hey, after all, it is Oktoberfest.  Then, we went to Corkscrew Pointe which had mini Bloody Marys for a buck.  We watched the end of the Bears loss to the Colts there.  We sure could have won this one.

We then had biscuits & gravy and mac & cheese at Little Chef Restaurant and country rigatoni at Bimbo's Italian Kitchen.

Next was pumpkin pancakes at Windhill Pancake Parlor which now has all their Halloween decorations up which sure are impressive.  Last stop was Foxhole Tap & Pizzeria, located in the basement of the 1880s hotel where we had bruschetta, pulled pork sliders and pizza slices.  We were joined by Glenn and Barb (some of our Usual Suspects) there.  We later adjourned to Sunnyside for a couple more before calling it a day.

Mighty Full for Some Reason.  --RoadAteTooMuchDog

Good Times in the Area Last Weekend-- Part 6: Da Bears and Da Taste


Hard to believe today would have been John Lennon's 76th birthday.  Terri Hemmert featured him on her Breakfast With the Beatles show on Chicago's WXRT this morning.

I was able to take care of some yard waste in the burn pile as we can only do that on weekends in October, November, April and May.  I produce quite a bit of yard waste.

Liz and I went to the Squaw Bar in Ingleside, Illinois, on Rollins Road, and watched the first half of the Bears game with "The Usual Suspects."  It is nice this time of year as we can have the viewing outside in their pavilion.

At half, we drove over to McHenry, Illinois, to take part in their Flavors of Fall Taste Fest where 18 places offer "tastes" of food for $1 to $3 a taste.  We always have a great time doing this and made it to 7 of them.  We started at the Polish Legion of American Veterans and split smoked sausage and cabbage rolls.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Good Times In the Area Last Weekend-- Part 5: Beer & BBQ Walk

Not all of the places were bars on the walk.

Next stops were:  Piggly Wiggly, Wings, etc., Chad Arnold State Farm, Hannah's, Merle Norman,  Lake Street Antiques, Rugan's, Village Thrift Shop, Ooh La La Boutique, Lodge of Antioch, Selinas Secret and PM&L Theatre.

Bars and restaurants were Limerick Lounge, Wings, etc., Rugan's and the Lodge of Antioch.

There were four more, but I'd had enough to drink and way too much to eat.

Best beers were the McKenzie's Pumpkin Cider at the Limerick Lounge and Shock Top twisted Pretzel at Merle Norman.  Best spreads of food (these two places had several items instead of just one) were the Lodge of Antioch with BBQ pork flatbread pizza and deserts and Rugans which must have had five things, all of which were really good.

I met a former student of mine at the PM&L Theatre as well as my State Farm agent.

Listened to NIU's loss to Western Michigan and watched the Cubs game at Sunnyside and Margaritaville,


Good Times in the Area Last Weekend-- Part 4: Homecoming Parade and Beer & BBQ Holiday Walk


I went to the Grant High School Homecoming Parade in Fox Lake, Illinois, at 9 a.m.  They had two marching bands, Grant High School and Gavin Middle School.  Marching bands are my favorite parts of any parade.  As usual these days, very little effort was put into floats.

Then I drove to Antioch, Illinois, and got signed into their Beer and BBQ Holiday Walk.  They had 18 places each offering two Oktoberfest-type craft beers and at  least one form of something 'cue'd.  Two of my favorite things.  It cost $40 and money raised went to fund Antioch's Christmas celebration.

This lasted from noon to 4.  I managed to make it through 14 places before I threw in the towel.

My first stop was the Limerick Lodge, a big-time football bar.  When the Packers and Bears meet, they divide the place in half with Bear fans and Packer fans sitting in assigned areas.

Just Gettin' Started.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Good Times In the Area Last Weekend-- Part 3: Hanging Out With the Usual Suspects


Drove into McHenry and went to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Meijer (and bought a much-needed CD storage unit.  I didn't even know that they sold it as everybody seems to download these days.  Maybe there are still a few of us holding out?)  Had those great sliders at Steak 'N Shake.  Also had their seasonal offering of a pumpkin spice milk shake.  I don't know of any other shakes as good as these.  Even better, it was happy hour so I got it for half price.

Came home and cut the grass.

We then went to the American Legion on Nippersink Lake in Fox Lake and joined up with a group of friends (The Usual Suspects) and watched the Cubs play a lose one in their victory over the Giant in game one of the NL Division Championship.


Good Times in the Area Last Weekend-- Part 2: Southern Fried Rock


Enjoyed listening to one of my favorite types of music, Southern Rock on Bob Stroud's Ten at Ten on Chicago's WDRV, the Drive at 97.1 FM.

The songs played:

CALL ME THE BREEZE--  Lynyrd Skynyrd
HEARD IT IN A LOVE SONG--  Marshall Tucker Band

CAUGHT UP IN YOU--  .38 Special
JACKIE BLUE--  Ozark Mountain Daredevils
IMAGINARY LOVER--  Atlanta Rhythm Section

DIXIE CHICKEN--  Little Feat
SWEET MELISSA--  Allman Brothers

Name That Tune (from the above songs):  "I Ain't Ever Been With a Woman Long Enough For My Boots To Get Old."  RoadDog

"Heard It In a Love Song"

Good Times in the Area This Past Weekend-- Part 1: Why Go Anywhere Else?

This past weekend, there was more than enough to do around here.  Between the high school, college and Bear football games, decent, but a little chilly weather, as well as the Chain Crawl, Beer and BBQ Walk in Antioch, Bears game in the outside garage at the Squaw Bar and Autumn Food Walk in McHenry as well as boating, it was a mighty good time.


It was a rainy day so we decided to hit some of the places we haven't visited yet on the Chain Crawl for the Chain of Lakes.  We still need some passport stamps.  Of course, this would be done by car, not boat.

We drove to Fox River Grove and went to the Dead End Saloon, right on the Fox River by the US-14 (Northwest Highway) bridge.

Next stop was further upriver at Herman's Lowlife Bar and Grill in Lake Barrington Shores, one of our favorite places on the Chain.  Unfortunately, it is at some distance so we rarely go there. The name says it all.  These first two bars are what some would call dive bars.  We love our dive vars.  As always, lots of great conversation with other patrons.

Last two stops were at Riverside at Burton's Bridge on Illinois Highway 176.  These three bars were all on the Chain Crawl and Fox River (well, Herman's is on a channel to the river).

Last stop was at Sunnyside Tavern in Johnsburg.