Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Racing at the Wisconsin State Fairgrouds

There was no racing at the fairground track between 1942 and 1945 because of World War II.  The last winner before the war, in 1941, was Rex Mays who also was the next one to win in 1946.

It became known as the Rex May Classic between 1956 and 1979.  he didn't race, but he had a team which won many times.

Indy cars first raced at the track in 1980.  It sounds as if there almost wasn't a race this year, but someone must have stepped up and caused it to happen.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

About This Past Sunday


Thanks to Saturday's Northwest Herald's McHenry County (Ill.) Community Calendar page, I became aware of two activities that we went to: The Pancake Breakfast fundraiser at the McHenry Moose Lodge on Il-31, a benefit to support the Alzheimer's Association.  We did that at 11:30 and got in on some raffles.

Next stop was the second annual Patriots in the Park at McHenry's Veterans Memorial Park downtown.  This was hosted by Joe's Wish, a McHenry-based organization to raise money to meet the needs of local military personnel and their families.

There were lots of vendors selling their wares and we bought an NIU Huskies dish and a 50-caliber bullet fired in Iraq that had been turned into a bottle opener.  Enjoyed talking with friends from the PLAV (Polish Legion of American veterans) who are trying to raise money to rebuild their building which was badly damaged in a Mother's Day fire.

Talked with Jerry (the former mayor of Tom's Cafe) and Jim.  Enjoyed listening to Frank Band and the Secret Stash band play.

Next stop was Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake for our favorite local band, Soda, and then we went to Never Sink Inn and Antonio's in Spring Grove.

A Fine Day Was Had By All.  --RoadDog

Milwaukee Indy Fest 2014-- Part 5

Winner of the race was Will Power who had finished #8 at the Indy 500 in May.  he led for 229 of the 250 laps, including the last 59, although much of it I was unaware of because of the usual race confusion (for me).  He only gave up the lead during pit stops.

He finished the race in 1 hour, 44 minutes and 49 seconds with an average speed of 145.243, the fastest-ever race time on this track.  At the end, he was challenged by Tony Kanaan and Juan Pablo Montoya.

After the race, and with the stands essentially empty, Will Power of Australia, who leads the Indy Car overall race, received customary champagne and Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puffs, the latter mostly in the face.

Tradition, You Know.  --RoadDog

Milwaukee Indy Fest 2014-- Part 4

We tried as we could with the ear plugs, but I was somewhat unsuccessful as the buzzing bees (what the Indy cars sound like) were still too loud.  It was joy when the race finally ended.  Pull those ineffective plugs out and talk with those friends.

Try as I do, I just don't think I'm ever going to be much of an Indy car fan, or any sort of auto racing for that matter.  I have too hard of a time knowing who is in first, second, etc.  Perhaps if they come up with lights atop the cars showing first, second, etc..

Also, perhaps having everyone pull into the pits at the same time and leave in order.  Possibly, once a car gets lapped, it's out of the race.

Anything, Something.  --RoadDog

Monday, August 25, 2014

Five Things We Love About State Fairs-- Part 5: The Giant Cabbage

GIANT CABBAGE CONTEST:  Alaska State Fair in Palmer, August 21-September 1.

Blame it on summertime's 24 hours of daylight.  Alaska, the nation's largest state, boasts fertile ground and grows some seriously oversized produce. The Giant Cabbage Contest was introduced at the fair in 1941.

The manager of the Alaska Railroad sponsored the first contest and awarded Max Sherrod a $25 prize for his 23-pounder.  Scott Robb won it in 2012 and got $2,000 prize for his Guinness World record whopping nearly 138-pounder.

They have a picture and, man, that is one really, really big cabbage.

Corned beef and Cabbage Anybody.  --RoadDog

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Five Things We Love About State Fairs-- Part 4: Pronto Pups

PRINTO PUPS--  Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, August 21-Sept 1.

Pronto Pups are plump hot dogs dressed in crispy cornmeal-fried batter and have been been eaten since 1947.  They were the first hot food eaten from a stick says franchise-owner Gregg Karnis, 60, of Becker, Minnesota.  His late father, Jack, first introduced the tasty treat.

Each year, they go through nearly 110 tons of batter and 22 tons of hot dogs while making tens of thousands of Pronto Pups.

I can't help but think this sounds a whole lot like Springfield's Cozy Dogs.  Perhaps there is some coincidence here.  I'll have to check into it.

Cozy Dog/Pronto Pup?  --RoadDog

Five Things We Love About State Fairs-- Part 3: Taking the "I Do" Plunge on a Coaster

CLASSIC COASTER--  Washington State Fair in Puyallup, Sept. 5-21.

Since 1935, the Classic Coaster-- the only remaining wooden fairground coaster in the U.S.-- has been thrilling fairgoers with its steel-railed dips and turns.  Rising 55 feet above ground in the midway, it was originally built of Douglas fir beams carried to the grounds by horse-drawn wagons and bolted into place with a Model A Ford (not exactly sure what this means).

Of interest: Dozens of couples entering a local radio station's annual wedding contest have said "I do" while taking the plunge.

Sounds like a roller coaster I could actually go on.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Five Things We Love About State Fairs-- Part 2: Big Ol' Butter Cow

BUTTER COW,  Iowa State Fair: Des Moines, Aug. 7-17.

It's like butter, only a whole lot of it.  For over a century, 600 pounds of butter has been transformed into a perfectly sculpted cow by way of tools mostly found in your kitchen.  It has served as the symbol of the Iowa State Fair

Of course, it is kept behind glass in a 40 degree refrigerated room so no sneak licks.

The first one was made by J.K. Daniels in 1911 and since then four other sculptors have made the cow.  It takes an average of five days to do build it, which includes a metal, wood and mesh wire frame before they layer it with butter.

So, It Is Hollow.  --RoadDog

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Five Things We Love About State Fairs-- Part 1: Big Tex

From the July 20-26, 2014, American Profile Magazine by Sarah Miller.

Rides on the mighty midway, animal-calling competitions, fireworks, funnel cake, kettle corn.  You'll find all these things and more at most every fairground."  But a few fairs went above and beyond in their creativity.  She picked five:

1.  BIG TEX-- State Fair of Texas (Dallas, Sept. 26-Oct. 19.  A 55-foot tall cowboy statue wearing a 75-gallon hat has been greeting folks since 1949, but as a Santa Claus statue commissioned by the local chamber of commerce to drum up the Christmas shopping season in Kerens, Texas.

In 1951, former fair president R.L. Thornton purchased the statue for $750 and hired a Dallas artist to transform the jolly guy into the giant cow-puncher.  Over the years, he has gotten a nose job and a mechanical arm that waves as well as remote speaker system lets him have a voice.

An electrical fire destroyed much of "Big tex" in 2012, but a taller, heavier and stronger "Big tex" returned last year.

Things Are Bigger in Texas.  --RoadDog

Indy Fest, Milwaukee 2014-- Part 3

After finally finding an open parking lot at the state fair grounds, as far away from our seats as you can get, we walked and walked and walked to our seats on the other side of the track.  There were a whole lot of people who wera also walking and walking to their seats.

The race started while we were walking.  Probably missed the first 4-5 laps.  It was loud on the other side of the stands but REALLY LOUD when we got to the seats about ten rows up.

Right away I noticed that you couldn't read anything trackside about who was in what place and what lap they were in at the time.  At Indy, we have plenty of information we have great information.  The announcers evidently were talking, but we didn't know it until there was a break in the race for either an accident or stalled car (we never knew).  But, in the lull, we could hear them and we were even able to talk to each other.

At least, this close to the track, I could see the numbers on the cars.  At Indy we are so high and far away that I can't see the numbers and have to rely on car colors to figure out who is where.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Taking an Oldies Music Break

Songs played on the Boomer Radio All Hit Oldies Station yesterday.

Yesterday while typing on these blogs, I tuned into this internet station and heard some nighty good stuff, though with the shortness of the songs, I had to stop really often to write their names down.  And a few I even had to look up to be sure who sang it.

WORDS--  Bee Gees
LITTLE BIT OF SOUL--  Music Explosion

YOU CAN'T DO THAT--  Beatles
BAND OF GOLD--  Freda Payne
TRACY--  Cuff Links

DRIFT AWAY--  Dobie Gray
LET ME BE--  Turtles
CRACKLIN' ROSIE--  Neil Diamond

1,2,3, REDLIGHT--  19010 Fruitgum Company
TELL HER NO--  Zombies

GET READY--  temptations
CRIMSON & CLOVER--  Tommy James & Shondells
TIGHTEN UP--  Archie bell & the Drells

DON'T GIVE IN TO HIM--  Gary Puckett & the Union Gap
WHAT KIND OF FOOL--  Bill deal & the Rhondells
THE LOVE YOU SAVE-  Jackson Five

Some Mighty Good Listenin' Music--  RoadDog-

Indy Fest at Milwaukee-- Part 2: Fun and Games on I-94 and Parking

We were sort of hoping that all the road construction on I-94 that started last year would be over...but it sure wasn't.  perhaps even worse.  First off, we had to take a confusing detour just to get on the interstate at Wis.-50.  Then. it was road construction off and on the rest f the way, of course with all those dire warnings about what will happen to you if you speed.  We never did see anyone working on it though, just lots of signs and barrels.

Always a problem on I-94 are the goody folks who go 20-30 miles over the speed limit in crowded conditions.  Traffic was heavy the whole way, but it would have been even worse going south as they had two major backups that went on for miles.  This convinced us that we didn't want to return that way.

Took the I-894 bypass out west and got off by the state fair park.  There were no parking lots open on the side we needed to park on for easy getting to out seats.  We kept driving north and finally found an open lot, paying $10 to park about as far away as you can get from our seats.

We then walked and walked to our seats at the south end.  While on foot, the race started.  And by the time we met up with the others, it was so loud with all those Indy cars going by, talking was an impossibility.  Fortunately, we had bought along some earplugs.  In the three times I've been to the Indy 500, I never needed them.  But believe me, we needed them here.

Vroom, Vroom Went the Cars Around the Track.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Indy Fest at Milwaukee-- Part 1

This past Sunday, we went to the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in West Allis, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee for the 2014 Indy Fest Race, featuring most of the drivers I's seen in may at the Indy 500.  We were all there as guests of Terri, a teacher I taught with for around 27 years in Round Lake, Illinois.  This is her last year as she is retiring after 35 years.

As such, she invited us and some of the other teachers I taught with, including Bob and Paul, so it was like old home week, even if we couldn't talk until after the race.  It is pretty impossible to talk and hear each other with those cars coming around that often (on the one-mile race track).  This was Liz's first car race and my fourth (3 Indys).

We had quite the drive getting there as we were stopped at Wilmot, Wisconsin for the Kenosha County fair.  Then, we had a slider attack at the Wis-50 entrance ramp to I-94.  It is essentially against the law to drive past a White Castle when we're hungry.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Monday, August 18, 2014

Good Times in the Area, August 16th: House, Boating, Lake, Snake in the Ointment, Steak Fry and Anniversary

Enjoyed the house, boating, a lake front park and a steak fry and one-year anniversary.

Started off with breakfast and coffee on the front porch in the morning.  The rest of the the morning enjoyed Wendy Rice's Saturday Morning Flashback on WXRT, 93.1 FM in Chicago.  She did the year 1974.  Hard to believe that year is already 40 YEARS AGO!!

Went boating on Fox Lake and did a boat float, read a magazine and listened to the music of 1974.

Afterwards, got a Polish sausage and drink at Thornton's on US-12 for $2.70 and enjoyed dining out at Fox Lake's Lakefront Park. Came home and read the newspaper out in the gazebo.  Sad to see that out property tax assessments will be published Wednesday.  We were at $9,500 last year, a really hurtful amount when you're retired.  If we ever move from here, it will be because of the horrible taxes. (Snake in the Ointment)

Came home and at 6:30, drove over to horse Fair Park in Spring Grove, Illinois (our village) and had the Firemen's Annual Fish Fry for $16 apiece.  They gave you a good-sized slab of steak, baked potato, corn on the cob, cole slaw and dessert.

Mitch Edwards and the Second Chapter Band played tunes while we were there.

Afterwards, we went to Never Sink In (a play on Nippersink Creek which runs through Spring Grove) and enjoyed their first anniversary party and grand opening of their beer garden.  A two-piece band was playing outside, so listened to them for awhile.  Liz didn't like them, but I did.

A Good Day Out on the Chain of Lakes.  Why Go Anywhere Else?  --Roaddog

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lots Going On Around Here Today

Earlier, I went out boating in Fox Lake and then had lunch at  Fox Lake's Lakefront Park.

In a few hours, we'll go to the Spring Grove Fireman's annual steak fry and listen to the band.

Also, Never-Sink-Inn in Spring Grove, Illinois, is having their one-year anniversary party in the downtown (what little there is of it).

Three other places in Fox Lake/Ingleside are also having parties.  J's in Ingleside celebrates its third anniversary with bands all day and Squaw Bar is having six bands for their volleyball fest.  Dog 'n Suds in Ingleside is having the Lakes Area Swing band, all 17 members, out in the parking lot along with a car show.

Why Go Anywhere Else?  --RoadDog