Saturday, April 19, 2014

Record Store Day Today

Go to the site, find the nearest location and relocate yourself to one of those grand old mom and pop record stores. Also, if you have one of those great Half-Price Book Stores, that is another great place to stop. Not only do they have a great and ever-changing selection of used and new books, but also the same can be said for their vinyl albums and CDs. It usually costs me at least $30 to go into one, particularly the place at Dundee and US-12 in Palatine, Illinois. I call them the national chain mom and pop record/book store. I see that there are also two mom and pop record stores near me, both about 15-20 miles away. One is in Antioch, Illinois, and the other is in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Listening to WXRT's Saturday Morning Flashback to 1973 and they are saying a lot about Record Store Day. Give it a listen as it goes on until noon. Anyway, Support Those Record Stores. --RoadDog

Friday, April 18, 2014

Missing My Long-Gone Record Stores

With tomorrow being Record Store Day (personally, I prefer National Record Store Day), I think back on three of my all-time favorite record stores that are no longer with us. All of them had listening posts and great selections as well as owners or employees who were very knowledgeable and helpful.. And, you could always find other record nuts in there to talk with. //// The first one was Record Revolution in DeKalb, Illinois, right on the Lincoln Highway. No trip to NIU was complete without a visit here. //// Then, theer was Full Cyrkle Records in Crystal Lake, Illinois, where I always enjoyed talking with owner Skip and Sean. //// Lastly was a place it always cost a hundred bucks to go in since they featured Beach Music, something we have little of here in Illinois. Mean Jean and Stanley were great at keeping me up on what is newest in the genre. //// All Gone But Not Forgotten. --RoadDog

Banjos in Baltimore and TURN in Virginia

From the April 2, 2014, USA Today "State-By-State." //// MARYLAND-- Baltimore: a six-month exhibit about the banjo in Baltimore opened this week at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Baltimore is home to the first banjo factory in the country in the 1840s. I sure didn't know that. //// VIRGINIA-- The Virginia Tourism Corporation has launched a TURN trail to help visitors explore the Colonial and Revolutionary War-era attractions featured on the new AMC series that debuted Sunday about the U.S.'s first spy ring. //// I am hooked on it already, even though it takes place near New York. //// It's a Redcoat Thing. --RoadDog

Planting Trees in Illinois, Watching Prairie Chickens in Iowa

From the April 3, 2014, USA Today "State-By-State." //// ILLINOIS-- Volunteers plan to plant more than 200 trees to replace those lost in Gifford in November's tornado. Two dozen tornadoes touched down in Illinois November 17, 2013. We didn't have a tornado, but I lost a tree that was knocked down by high winds as well as some large branches off another one that day. //// IOWA-- People are invited to come out and watch prairie chickens to their courtship ritual dance at Kellerton. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said the Annual Prairie Chicken Festival will start before dawn April 5th at the Grand River Grassland Bird Conservation Area. //// Dance, Chicken, Dance!! --RoadDog

US-80 Hi-Way Sale This Weekend From Alabama to Texas

From the April 3, 2014, USA Todat "State-By-State. //// ALABAMA-- Alabama is joining Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas for the US-80 Hi-Way Sale April 18-19th. //// Alabama has organized the World's Widest Yard Sale along US-80 for the last two years. US-80 was the first coast-to-coast, all weather highway in the country. I always thought it was the Lincoln Highway. ////

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Record Store Day This Saturday!!!

Last Saturday when I went to my local mom and pop record store, Vinyl Frontier, in McHenry, Illinois, I was happy to find out that this coming Saturday is that great day where we get to thank those bastions of music still available to us technologically impaired folk. //// Those great (and many late-great) mom and pop record stores. This happens not just in Illinois, but all across the country and even overseas. They have lists of mom and pop record stores in every state and you can find them at //// We had planned a trip to DeKalb to see the NIU spring football game, but it looks like weather and other things will keep us from going there, so I will definitely be in McHenry at the Vinyl Frontier. //// I understand there are some interesting things you can buy in addition to all the vinyl and CDs. //// So, Get Out There, Say Hi, and Buy Somethin'. ---RoadDog

Dave Clark Five's Greatest Hits

OK, a bit off topic, but no good road cruise can go without good road music and here is some great stuff. As I wrote in my Down Da Road I Go Blog, I have been an a Dave Clark Five state of mind ever since seeing the special on them on PBS last week. I knew they had a lot of hits, but, wow, that many!!! //// This past Saturday, I went to my local mom and pop store, Vinyl Frontier, in McGHenry, Illinois, and bought three Dave Clark Five albums: Return, Glad All Over and Greatest Hits. //// There were ten mighty fine songs on the Greatest Hits album: Over and Over, Everybody Knows (I Still Love You), Can't You See That She's Mine, Bits and Pieces, I Like It Like That, Catch Us If You Can, Because, Anyway You Want It, Do You Love Me and Glad All Over. //// Now, That's Some Great Music. --RoadDog

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Getting Our Kicks on Route 66 Songs

Listening to some current songs which mention Route 66. //// First "Anybody Going to San Antone" by the Eleven Hundred Springs. They took the old Charlie Pride song and updated its sound. ""Walking down Rote 66...." //// The new CD "We Are Tonight" by Billy Currington has a song titled "One Way Ticker." In it, Currington mentions "I'm gonna dip my toes in the river of life //// Buy me a Harley and Route 66 it, a one way ticket and I'm gonna enjoy the ride." //// Yep, Billy, We Still Really Enjoy the Ride. --RoadDog

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cruising Music: NC Spring 2014 Trip

When I travel, I alternate between local radio stations and CDs I haven't gotten a chance to listen to yet. This past trip, the CDs were: //// Speed of Darkness by Flogging Molly; From Here to Now to You by Jack Johnson; Drinks After Work by Toby Keith, Sunshine & Whiskey by Frankie Ballard; Redneck Crazy by Tyler Farr and Magpie and the Dandelion by the Avett Brothers. //// That was quite an assortment from new drinking country, to old drinking country, to Irish rock, to new rock and Rockin' Bluegrass. //// I liked all the CDs, although the Avett Brothers required several listens. I liked several songs right off the bat, but the others grew on me. //// Pop That CD In. --RoadDog

Midwest Culinary Classics-- Part 4: Lagomarchino's

When traveling, what better way to pick up local culture, than eating local? Here is another likely spots to eat in the Midwest. As I said, we will be checking out Breitbach's Country Dining in tiny Balltown, Iowa, (pop. 68), near Dubuque and half-way between there and Decorah, where we hope to see their famed bald eagles. //// LAGOMARCINO'S-- Moline, Illinois. Now, here's another town we have been to often, we're huge fans of the Quad Cities out there on the Mississippi River, but this is yet another place we've never heard of before. //// The century-old soda fountain, established by an immigrant from northern Italy, is best-known for hot fudge sundaes topped with whipped cream which is nearly as high as the ice cream is deep. //// Sauces arrive on the side, in a little glass pitcher. A lunch favorite is ham salad, served on a house-made Swedish rye. //// Located at 1422 Fifth Avenue, Moline. There is a newer Lagomarchino's in East Davenport, across the river. //// --Getting Hungry. --RoadDog

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Good, the Good and the Really, Really Bad

All that happened on Saturday around here. //// The first "Good" was that the big stores had opened their yard nurseries, always a favorite time of mine around northern Illinois. That means that spring has arrived. And, with the 70s temps, it sure felt like it. Well, the hail storm in the morning wasn't so good. //// Another really "Good" thing was that I went to my local mom and pop record store in McHenry, The Vinyl Frontier, and found out that next Saturday is the National Record Store Day Celebration, always a favorite of mine. But, even better, I saw a young boy, maybe 8th grade or freshman, going through the stacks. Not ONLY wasn't he downloading tunes, this young guy was grabbing albums. Maybe there is hope for us old, non-downloading folks after all. Maybe albums, CDs and cassettes will somehow survive. //// Now, the BAD and something that definitely will affect my travels this summer. The price of gas had passed tghe "magical" $3.99.9 mark all over McHenry, Illinois, and was at $4.10, or $4.09 as most would say. //// Nolt Every Thing Goes Your Way. Thanks GRBs. --RoadDog

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Balltown, Iowa: State's Oldest Restaurant

OK, I'd never heard of this town before, but found out it is in Dubuque County, Iowa. And, we have been to that city many times as it is favorite of ours (and about twenty miles from Galena, Illinois, another favorite. //// The next time we're there, perhaps as early as next weekend, when we go to DeKalb for the NIU Spring football game, we're planning on heading out to the Mississippi River from there before gas gets too expensive. //// A stp at Breitbach's is planned. //// Hope to Check It Out. --RoadDog

Midwest Culinary Classics-- Part 3: Watts Tea Shop and Breitbach's Country Dining

WATTS TEA SHOP-- Milwaukee-- Since 1870 has sold crystal, china and other fine items in an old-time tearoom. Expect delicate finger sandwiches and sweets like a light, custard-filled Sunshine Cake. Located at 761 N. Jefferson Street. //// BREITBACH'S COUNTRY DINING, Balltown, Iowa-- Billed as Iowa's oldest place to eat and drink. It is now owned by the family's sixth generation, having opened during the Civil War in 1862. // Fire destroyed it twice (2007 and 2008) and the tiny community (pop. 68) twice urged its rebuilding. // The popular buffet has a house-made corn relish, pickled beets, fried catfish and other items. Located at 563 Balltown Road. //// --RoadDog

Friday, April 11, 2014

Midwest Culinary Classics-- Part 2

I'd never heard of this award before, but here are some previous Midwestern winners. //// KRAMARCZAK'S: Minneapolis, Minnesota. (2013) Ukranian immigrants began making sausage, bread and pirosky (filled buns) by hand. It still does to stock its deli, bakery, sausage kitchen and restaurant. Other treats are nalysnkky (meat-stuffed creoes) and varenyky (stuffed dumplings). At 215 E. Hennepin Avenue. //// ST. ELMO STEAK HOUSE: Indianapolis (2012). Dinner-only restaurant began as a tavern in 1902 Classic steakhouse with special horseradish sauce. At 127 S. Illinois Street. //// More to Come. --

Midwest Culinary Classics-- Part 1

From the March 16, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Mary Bergin. //// The James Beard Foundation announced finalists in its annual culinary awards //// Past Chicago winners of this prestigious award: Calumet Fisheries in 2010, Tufano's Vernon Park Tap in 2008 and the Berghoff in 1999. //// One of the finalists this year is Sokolowski's University Inn in Cleveland, a cafeteria-style restaurant that began as a tavern in 1923 and started serving Salisburg steak to construction workers in the 1950s. That entree coupled with Polish foods like pierogi, kielbassa and stuffed cabbage rolls are still served. Located at 1201 University Road. //// However, winning a Classics Award does not ensure a great future. Chicago's Berghoff closed in 2006, but then reopened (I'm still mad about that one. The family sure took advantage of folks in that move and made a lot of money in doing so. //// The Pickwick Restaurant and Pub in Duluth, Minnesotawon it in 2007, then was sold in 2010. It had begun serving simple grub as a beer brweers pub 100 years ago. Now it is known for its char-grilled steaks, seafood and pasta. It is at 508 E. Superior Street in Duluth. //// More Good Food Coming At Ya. --RoadDog