Saturday, September 27, 2008

Richmond, Indiana

Richmond,Indiana, is somehow involved with the Model T Ford cars. We noticed a Model T museum west of town and this pst summer, the 100th Anniversary Model T get-together was held there. This town is also right on the old National Road/ US-40.

We stayed at the Motel Six and, while checking for a place to eat, found Buffalo Wing & Rings within walking distance and with lots of neon and two great electric palm trees. Even better, when we got inside, they had NTN. We hadn't originally intended on going through Richmond, so I had not bothered to look up NTN sites. So, this was a real bonus, not to mention that great food and 99 cent frosted mugs of draft.

Found out later that there was a BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings) about a mile away.

We really like NTN sites within walking or short drive of a reasonable motel when we're on the road. We rank those sites Class A.

Roadin' and NTNin'. Mighty Fine. --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two Lanin' and Super Slabbin'

Because of our late leaving, we had to change our course yesterday.

We took Illinois Highway 47 as usual to avoid the Chicago hassle and/or tolls. It is about 40 miles out of the way, but worth the extra driving. Very scenic and rolling driving for part of the way, but getting very built-up as Chicagoland meanders out to it. Many more fields are sprouting homes these days.

Gas prices dropped as we got farther and farther away from the Chi-town area.

Il-47 had a lot of much-needed construction along the way. This past winter's alternating warmth and cold spells really did a number on it. Twice we had to wait awhile on one lane stretches.

We caught the superslab, I-74, by Champaign and took it east. Originally I had planned on taking it to US-41 in Indiana and south to Terrie Haute and then Indiana 46 to Columbus (one of the most magnificent drives in the country). Then go to beautiful Madison on the Ohio River and US-421 to Lexington. Another great drive.

Oh well. It was I-74 to Indianapolis where we got onto I-70 and took it to Richmond, Indiana, on the Ohio border were we Sixed it for the night.

Just Can't Wait to Get on the Road Again. --RoadDog

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gas Prices On the Road

One disappointment I've had with retirement is how little I've been able to be on the road, thanks to the good old GRBs at Big Oil.

We're on the road right now in Richmond, Indiana.

I've kept an eye on gas prices today as we traveled. Gas in Fox lake was at $4 and the Citgo in Spring grove was $4.10.

Prices along Illinois-47 were $4 to $4.10 generally, with one BP station in Yorkville at the highest i saw, $4.20. Morris generally has the cheapest on 47 and ranged from $3.86 to $3.90.

Mohamet, near Champaign, was $3.80. Indiana west of Indianapolis was a low of $3.68 at Crawfordsville and $3,80 closer to Indy.

We heard on the radio that oil spiked $15 today. By the time we got to Richmond, gas was $4. I don't know what it was this morning, but I'd bet it was around $3.80. It sure doesn't take the GRBs long to hike that price up. But just let it drop $15 and that takes weeks to go down at the pump.

Just Love Those GRB Big Oil Companies. --RoadDog

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blues in Mississippi-- Part 2

Continued from September 18th.

One side of the cast iron marker has raised gold leaf lettering. The other side is vinyl with images, photos and details. They are 45 square inches.

They are located as far north as Tunica and, 340 miles away at Gulfport is #24 commemorating WJZD, the first blak-owned radio station on the Gulf.

The Civil War Trails program in Virginia and North Carolina was the inspiration. Even Elvis gets one in Tupelo. There is no trail map yet, but one is planned in the future. There is a rough one at www.msbluestrail.org.

Marker #36 at Natchez commemorates the 1940 fire at the Rhythm Club which killed more than 200.

Heritage Trail Director Alex Thomas is not worried about gas prices hurting blues tourism because of the international blues fans. "The whole experience of driving down Highway 49 or 9, especially at night,--you think about what life was like during those early years. These artists went above and beyond to create this culture. You see the old plantations, the cotton fields and some catfish farms. You can't go to any other place and say it looks and feels like the Mississippi Delta."

Blues You Can Use. --RoadDog

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Now, That's One B-I-G Burger!!!

Yahoo's Most E-Mailed Photos earlier this week featured the biggest burger I've ever seen outside of that onion burger in Oklahoma.

It is the pride and joy of Denny's Beer barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, located in the central part of the state. This big boy weighs in at 123 pounds. If that is a little daunting, they also have 6, 3, and two-pounders.

They have a deal going wit their 2-pounder. If you eat nit all in an hour, you get a tee shirt, certificate and half off the $15.95 tab.

Other monster burgers weigh in at 6 pounds ($35.95)
15 pounds (49.95)
50+ ($79.95)
and 100+ (379.95)

You have to order well in advance for the monsters.

Denny's reports that they sold 6000 monster burgers in 2004.

See October 22nd for guy who ate the whole thing.

Now, We Need a Denny's Burger in Paradise. Get Crackin' Jimmy. --RoadDog

Landmarks Illinois Lists Most Endangered Buildings in Chicagoland

The one I am MOST interested in is Windy City Road Warrior Dave Clark's personal project, the Castle Car Wash at 3801 Ogden Avenue, along the old Route 66 in Chicago.

It was built in 1925 as Murphy's Filling Station and is the last historically intact gas station inn the Chicagoland area (but not Illinois with those wonderful old stations in Dwight, Odell, and Mt. Olive)

It says the castlelike structure is vacant and deteriorating.

The Chicago Tribune had voting as to whether each building should be saved or destroyed. As of yesterday, it stood at 1,126 to save and 678 to destroy.

I'd sure like to see it saved as, once you get out of the Loop, there isn't much of 66left in Chicagoland until you get to Joliet.

Keep on Down That Route 66. --RoadDog

RoadDog's Top GM Vehicles

OK, then, here are my top General Motors vehicles:

1967 Pontiac Firebird
1968 Pontiac Firebird
1969 Pontiac Firebird
1970 Pontiac Firebird
1971 Pontiac Firebird
1972 Pontiac Firebird

And so on, so on, so on. Until 2002 Pontiac Firebird.

Also, love those Vettes, Grand Ams, and Malibus.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy 100th GM-- Part 6-- Phelan's Top Ten Vehicles

The last GM list, I promise. Detroit Free Presss columnist Mark Phelan, begs to differ on GM's list of ten-best vehicles:


1901 Curved Dash Oldsmobile-- first mass-produced US car
1912 Buick-- established Buick in China-- ???
1948 Cadillac-- first with fins
1847 Chevrolet Suburban-- first workhorse and family vehicle and inspiration for Chevy HHR
1959 Cadillac--the ultimate US auto design and fins
1967 Chevy Camaro-- Mustang fighter
1991 Saturn SL/SC-- proved GN could make a good small car
1999-- Chevrolet Silverado-- engineering marvel
2002 Cadillac CTS-- Put Cadillac back on the luxury map
2004 Chevrolet Malibu-- bland on the outside but the equal of a Honda Accord and Toyota Camry inside and the basis for the acclaimed 2008.

Hey Mark, What About the 1967 Firebird?? --RoadDog

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy 100th GM-- Part 5-- Top Ten GM Vehicles

General Motors came out with a list of what they consider to be their top ten vehicles over that 100 year period.


1. 1910 Cadillac Model 30-- first enclosed car
2. 1912 Cadillac-- first electric starter
3. 1927 LaSalle-- designer Harley Earl's first creation
4. 1930 Cadillac V-16-- world's first V-16
5. 1936 Opel Olympia-- first German unibody car
6. 1953 Saab 9-2-- Saab's first production car
7. 1955 Chevy Bel Air-- uncluttered design
8. 1953 Chevy Corvette-- first American sports car
9. 1964-- Pontiac GTO-- the first muscle car
10. 1996-- EVI-- first modern electric

What! No 1967 Pontiac Firebird, the First Affordable Sports Car (Well, Camaros Too, But I'm More of a Firebird Guy. --RoadDog

Happy 100th GM-- Part 4

Some more interesting facts about the company as printed in the September 14th Chicago Tribune's Transportation section using GM as the source.

1927-- Cadillac starts LaSalle and closes it in 1940.

1931-- GM forms Holden in Australia (they brought over a Holden to be the new GTO)

1983-- GM forms joint venture with Toyota.

1986-- Group Lotus acquired. Bought by Bugatti in 1993.

1989-- Saab joins GM.

1990-- Saturn formed.

1999-- Add Hummer

2004-- Oldsmobile stops production.

2008-- Hummer's on the Block

Now, That's Some History. --RoadDog

Blues in Mississippi

You could argue that Mississippi is the birthplace of the blues and now, blues fanatics can take a blues tour of the state.

The June 1st Chicago Sun-Times, reports that the Mississippi Blues Trail. More than 40 markers have been placed around the state telling the stories and events of blues legends.

Some are easy to find, others are hard.

The writer couldn't find the David "Honeyboy" Edwards marker in Shaw along Ms-448, but "felt the Delta heat...absorbed the moisture of Porter Bayou...saw the desperation of abandoned buildings in uptown Shaw. I did not have to take notes. I will always remember a place where I saw the blues." Now, that's the blues up close and personal.

The first regal blue and gold marker was erected in December 2006, and there will be nearly 100 before the end of the project.

I Got the Blues in My Shoes. More to Come. --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Down Da 66: Lost Dogs-- Czech Velorexes on the Road-- Chicago's Mr. Breakfast Picks...

Down Da 66-- Some New News About an Old Road.


1. LOST DOGS-- Are officially On Da Road Right Now and cruising and playing down Route 66. They are making it an interactive affair. You can follow their shennanigins and pickins' at http://www.myspace.com/the lostdogsmusic.

I was very impressed with the songs they let you listen to, especially "Scenic Routes" and "Devil's Elbow." Give them a listen. I'll have to keep my eyes open for a local appearance.

Yesterday, they played at the Cozy Dog in Springfield Illinois at noon and then Ted Drewe's in St. Louis at 5.

Today, it's a show at the Meremec Caverns.

Some other shows:

20th-- Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma
24th-- Wigwam Motel-- Holbrook, Az
26th-- Original McDonald's-- San Bernardino, Ca.

CZECH VELOREXES ON THE ROAD-- Dave Hoekstra in the Sept. 8th Chicago Sun-Times reported that seven folks from the Czech Republic (almost typed Czechoslovakia) are on Route 66 in some-looking contraptions called velorexes. They are a three-wheel car powered by a motorcycle engine with maximun speed of 60 mph. They were originally developed for the handicapped.

They met on Saturday at Klas Restaurant on Cermak Road in Cicero and will be on the road 30 days. Perhaps they will meet up with the Lost Dogs?

There are 4-5 Veloreks in the Chicago area and 20 in the US. They are 11 feet long and 56 inches wide.

They are blogging at http://velorex66.tym.cz. Hope you enjoy your trip.


3. CHICAGO'S "MR. BREAKFAST"-- Better known as Alan Barrett, is on a mission, not from God, but to eat breakfast at every single place in Chicago. So far, he has found the Best Omelets at Orange at 3231 N. Clark Street; Best Coffee at Ina's at 1235 W. Randolph Street, and Best Overall, at that great old Route 66 stalwart, Lou Mitchell's at 565 W. Jackson Blvd.

Getting Hungry Now. How About some Flapjacks? --RoadDog

Happy 100th GM-- Part 3

Some More Interesting Stuff About General Motors.

1897-- Ransom E. Olds rolls out his first car; it takes until 1901 to mass produce the Curved Dash Olds.

1899-- Adam Opel builds his first car in germany, GM picks up the company in 1929.

1902-- Henry Leland introduces Cadillac.

1903-- David Dunbar Buick founds his namesake; Bill Bill Durant takes it over in 1904.

1907-- The Oakland Car Co. forms. GM takes it over in 1909.

1908-- Durant forms GM; buys Oldsmobile later that year.

1909-- Rapid Motor Vehicle Co., better known as GMC, Cadillac and AC Spark Plug come on board.

1911-- Durant founds Chevrolet; GM won't get it until 1918.

1912-- Cadillac wins a manufacturing trophy for its use of interchangeable parts.

1919-- Fisher Body and general Motors Acceptance Corp. are added.

1925-- General Motors acquires Vauxhal Motors in England.

Thanks Sept. 14th Chicago Tribune which used GM as its source.

More to Come. Happy Birthday, GM. --RoadDog

Down Da Road: Springfield Rally-- Jefferson Davis Highway

Down Da Road-- Some news of the road.


1. SPRINGFIELD RALLY-- Springfield, Illinois, a rally was held by 50 people in front of the Executive Mansion to protest Governor Rod Blagojevich's $2.8 million cut in the state's preservation agency budget which has caused some historic sites to shut down or drastically cut hours. The state faces a huge budget shortfall (don't we wish we had some of Alaska's oli money).

They urged support of the the Senate Bill 1103 to reverse the cut. Of course, we on the road, like to stop at historical places, so that hurts tourism. Sept. 13th Springfield State Journal-Register.


2. JEFFERSON DAVIS HIGHWAY-- The Captain John W. Randall Sons of Confederate veterans Camp 649, of Dardanelle, Arkansas, had fall cleanup along Highway 22. It is also known as the Jefferson Davis Highway This designation was pushed by the United daughters of the Confederacy in 1925 and the state legislature so declared it in the same year. In 1937, the Arkansas Division of the UDC erected a monument on a part of an 1839 fort.

The SCV camp has a nice marker along their stretch of road:

Adopt a Highway Litter Control
Next One Mile
Sons of Confed. Vets

Good Advertising If You Can Get It. --RoadDog

More on Zero Mile Markers

Some more from Richard F. Weingoff's "Zero Milestone, Washington, DC" article.

The second convoy was to drive over the Bankhead Highway, named for Alabama politician and US Senator John Hollis Bankhead, who was a leader in early American roadbuilding. The Bankhead Highway was to connect DC with San Diego, running through most of the Southern states. Several sections of US-78, part of the old Bankhead Highway, were renamed for his son, US Representative William B. Bankhead. --from Wikipedia.


Sen. Bankhead, the oldest senator and last-surviving Civil War veteran in that august body did not attend the beginning of the second convoy. The 77-year-old senator had died shortly before it.


OTHER ZERO MARKERS

The October 1923 American Motorist Magazine had an article about problems facing early auto drivers. "Motorists are familiar with the conflicting statements of roadside markers as to distance to and from a certain city or town, all because mileage was measured from different points....With official milestones in each city and town, all disputes...can be accurately settled...."

There were several zero milestones around the country.

The Pacific Milestone was dedicated in Grant Park across from the US Grant Hotel at the western terminus of the Lee Highway.

On May 12, 1924, there was one dedicated in Nashvile, Tennessee.


The Washington, DC, milestone is in front of the National Christmas Tree when it is standing.

Nice Backdrop. --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy 100th GM-- Part 2

The Chicago Tribune also ran a list of top innovations as brought to us by General Motors.

1903-- Valve-in-engines (Buick)
1909-- six-cylinder passenger car (Chevrolet)
1910-- First closed-body cars in US (Buick)
1912-- First Electric starter, lighting, ignition in US (Cadillac)
1912-- All-steel bodies (Oakland)
1914-- V-8 engines (Cadillac)
1915-- Top and windshield standard
1918-- Ethyl gasoline
1923-- Annual model change
1923-- Four-wheel brakes (Buick)
1930-- 16-cylinder engine (Cadillac)
1937-- Column -mounted gearshift (Pontiac)
1953-- Chevrolet Corvette
1954-- "Pillarless" hardtop sedans (no steel between front and back seat windows)
1955-- Bucket seats (Chevy)
1974-- Catalytic converter
1994-- US debut of day-time running lamps
1996-- OnStar emergency communications system

Pretty Impressive!! --RoadDog

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy 100th Birthday to GM

Tomorrow, September 16th, marks the 100th anniversary of Will Durant's attempt to give the American public a choice in what they drove. Congratulations General Motors.

Unfortunately, these are not the best of times for the venerable giant which is now hemmoraging a billion dollars a month. Whether there will be more birthdays is to be seen. GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz says these are very challenging times with auto sales the slowest in years and economy in bad shape.

People's buying habits are changing with the outrageous gasoline prices (but notice WHO IS MAKING UNIMAGINED PROFITS). Plus, the government wants all auto fleet models to be getting 35 mpg by 2020. Lutz sees the 4-cylinder engine as the predominant one in 5 to 10 years.

Anyway, Congratulations GM. From a GM Guy. --RoadDog

Almost a Retro Night-- Part 2

That was a great meal at the Dog 'N Suds, but since i hadn't been able to stay out on the boat as long as I wanted, I still had some time to kill, so went by Menard's and Home depot at US-12 and Il-134, and looked at the nurseries even though that wasn't very retro. Then had one of those great Frostees at Wendy's before driving to the McHenry Outdoor Theater to see "Back to the Future" and "Wayne's World."

The theater is 8 miles from the Dog 'N Suds, so that's a lot of retro in close proximity. As I approached it, it seemed way too dark, and for good reason, it was closed. As it turns out, they are only open Fridays and Saturdays after Labor Day.

Well, It Was Almost a Full Retro Night. --RoadDog

Friday, September 12, 2008

Almost A Complete Retro Night Last Night-- Part 1

Yesterday, I planned to do a retro thing after boating.

First, I went to the local Dog 'N Suds in Ingleside, Illinois (there are two others in nearby Richmond and Grayslake which is probably more in a small area than any place in the US).

Enjoyed their customer-relation signs like "Be Nice...Or Get Out" and "If Your Not Served in 5 min., You'll Get Served in 8 or 9 min. (Maybe 12) RELAX" while waiting for the car hop to return with my order.

I was thinking about getting on of the World Famous Coney Dogs, but settled for a Charco-Burger when I found they were the special of the day at 99 cents. Of course, washed it down with an icy mug of root beer. Mighty fine eating.

Shake of the month was pumpkin, but I was too full.

Prices this year:

World Famous Coney Dog- $2.19 or $3.99 basket (with fries and cole slaw)
Charco Burger-- $1.98 or $3.78 basket
16 ounce mug of root beer-- $1.40

Miller's Dog 'N Suds is open March to October.

Listened to oldies as played by Y-103.9 FM out of Crystal Lake while enjoying that great food.

A Great Start to a Retro Night. --RoadDog

Top Secret Recipe Moved

That top secret would be Colonel Harland Sander's handwritten recipe of 11 herbs and spices that he concocted back in 1940 at his small southeaster Kentucky restaurant and the one he used to launch the ubiquitous KFC chain in the early 1950s.

Tuesday, it was moved from KFC's corporate offices in Louisville for the first time in decades. This undertaking was accomplished with a high degree of security. Corporation President Roger Eaton let it be known that he "didn't want to be the president who lost the recipe." It was placed in a lockbox and then handcuffed to security expert Bo Dietl, who climbed aboard an armored car and driven away escorted by off-duty police.

Until now, it has been in a filing cabinet with two locks inside a vault behind a door with three more locks.

KFC has 14,892 locations worldwide at the end of 2007.

Sept. 10th Chicago Tribune "Chicken recipe's Security Beefed Up" by Associated Press.

The Colonel Would Have Been So Proud. And to Think, He Was Willing to Share with the Pig Hip's Ernie Edwards on Route 66. --RoadDog

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Some More on DC's Zero Milestone

I came across a good article by highway historian Richard F. Weingoff titles "Zero Milestone Washington DC." This includes pretty much anything you want to know about the monument, including an impressive picture gallery showing all four sides as well as a photo of President Warren G. Harding at the dedication as well as a song "Hail! Hail! The Caravan!" written for the occasion. A Shrine Cravan drove 3,300 miles from San Francisco to be at the ceremony.

There are also picturesof the dedication of the Tennessee Zero Mile Marker and the November 17, 1923 Pacific Milestone dedication of the western terminus of the Lee Highway. Plus, the Memphis, Tn, milemarker.

Weingoff includes details on both convoys leaving from the marker.

How Far is That Town? --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Zero Mile Stone-- Washington, DC

While doing research on the US's last remaining World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, who is trying to get a National World War I Memorial on the Mall in Washington, DC (a much overdue thank you to that generation), I came across the Zero Mile Stone by the White House.

From Wikipedia:

It was originally intended to be the milestone from which all road distances in the US were determined. It is south of the White House at the north edge of the Ellipse within President's Park.

The two foot square, four foot high monument has a bronze 16-point compass rose and top of it.

The following inscriptions are on the sides:

NORTH-- Zero Milestone

EAST-- Starting point of second transcontinental motor convoy over the Bankhead Highway, June 14, 1920.

SOUTH-- Point from measurement of distances from Washington on highways of the US.

WEST-- Starting point of the first transcontinental motor convoy over the Lincoln Highway, July 7, 1919.


HISTORY

The current Zero Mile Monument was the idea of Good Roads Movement member Dr. S. M. Johnson who was inspired by Ancient Rome's Golden Milestone located in the Forum.

On July 7, 1919 a temporary marker was erected for ther Lincoln Highway Convoy. On June 5, 1920, Congress authorized a permanent one which was dedicated on June 4, 1923.

Next Time in DC, I'll Have to Look for It. --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Model T Factory-- Ford's Piquette Avenue Plant

The Tribune had T on the mind on August 31st, with another article, this time on the birthplace of the Model T, the Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit.

It has been a work-in-progress for eight years and will perhaps be quite a museum one day.

Henry Ford insisted on the latest safety features so it had sliding steel doors separating areas, a sprinkler system, and smokers had to do so outside.

It cost $70,000 to build in 1904. The first 15,000 Model Ts were built here before it was outgrown in 1910 when production was moved to Highland Park,Michigan. Studebaker bought the building and moved in.

Hey Guy, Get a Horse. --RoadDog

Same Model T in the Same Family for 80 Years

August 31st Chicago Tribune article by Jim Mueller.

Henry Ford made over 15 million Flivvers between 1908 and May 1927. Why they called it a Flivver is something I don't know.

One family, the Bigas of Carpentersville, Il.; Stevens Point, Wi.; and Signal Mountain, Tn., have had theirs since the early 1930s. It has been a work truck after being converted. It could either be a 1925 or 1927, or even a 1921. No one is sure.


According to Bill Grams, co-owner of Volo Antique Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois, there are lots of Model Ts out there with parts still easy to get. He says he sees a resurgence in interest as a second hobby car for muscle-car guys. He says to expect to pay between $12,000 and $16,000 for a really good one.


Me and My Model T. --RoadDog

Stats on the Car That Put America on the Road

That would be Henry Ford's Model T,which turns 100 this year. It's what put us regular, non-rich folk on the road.

Here are some stats for a Model T:

$825-- Cost of a Model T made in detroit in 1908. Efficiency had cut the price to $545 by the time production ceased in 1927. Imagine that, the cost of a car actually DROPPING!!!

13-21 M.p.g.-- Fuel economy of the 1,200 pound car.

45 m.p.h.-- top speed of the first Model T's 20 horsepower, 4-cylinder engine.


15,000,000-- sold. The Model T was the best-selling car in the US until the VW Beetle sold more in 1972. The Toyota Corolla passed it in 1997.

I got to ride in a Model A, which I understand was a step up from the T once and that was quite an experience.

Thanks to the Chicago Tribune for the stats.


Oh, Gas, Where is Thy Sting. --RoadDog

Saufen Und Speil Final Day

For a small community, Johnsburg, Illinois, can really put on one huge party, and, not only that but a big parade. Along with all the politicians, especially this time of year, the high school marching band, there were two large contingents of antique tractors, one from Johnsburg and another from nearbu Ringwood. This is keeping with the agricultural former nature of McHenry County. Of course, now, many fields are sprouting houses as the Chicago sprawl reaches its tentacles outward.

Afterwards, there was lots of food and drinks as hordes descended on the park by the community club. We were lucky enough to get a picnic table out by the entertainment and beer tents and had to defend it vigorously throughout the afternoon.

Dr. Rhythm & the Rockers played party songs outside while a german oompah band played in the club.

Well worth a stop-by if you're in the area the weekend after Labor Day next year.

A Good Time Had for All. --RoadDog

Monday, September 8, 2008

Recalling an Old Road, Route 110 to the Beach-- Part 2

Massusetts Highway 110 runs 69 miles from Boyston to US-1 at salisbury Beach.

Many folks on their way to the beach consider a stop at Biggart's Ice Cream in Haverhill, formerly the Clover Leaf Dairy, a must-stop. The Biggart's have owned it since 1994, but the original place opened in 1936.

Then, there's Skip's in Merrimac, probably the most famous place along the beach road. They are known for their fries and Suzie Q potatoes which are made from a machine that's been there from the beginning, 1946. A bright yellow arrow directs you to the premises.

Just before you his the beach on US-1A, there's Foote's which has been operating since 1946 and serving up some mighty delicious homemadeice cream and fried clams.

Diane Foote Joubert has been working there for 50 years, starting when she was 12. She's seen lots of changes at the beach, including the loss of the Lon Tiki and Peppermint lounges, the roller coaster, and the Frolics which hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis. These places have been replaced by new homes and condos.

Thanks to Newburyport News Staff Write Jill Harmacinski for the article.

How Boring. But at Least Some of the Old Beach Road Remains. --RoadDog

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Banjo and Beer Night at the Saufen Und Spiel

After eating all that food at the Taste of Spring Grove, I almost didn't make it out to the Banjo and Beer Night at nearby Johnsburg, Illinois' Saufen Und Spiel. Hint to the Spring Grove organizers, DON'T HAVE IT DURING SAUFEN UND SPIEL!!!

As it was, I missed the banjo band and had to settle for the Margarita Island band playing all that Buffett, reggae, and party music. Oh the crosses we have to bear. I gave up thoughts of getting to the beer tent because of the masses congregating around it. Prices, though must have been good, as I haven't seen this many inebriated folks since New Year's Eve in Key West several years ago.

One guy was constantly tottering and held up by his wife. This person got into a conga line, prompting bets at our table as to whether or not he'd still be in line when they came back around. He wasn't.

A QUESTION OF FOOD

This was too much like that great old John Cleese/ Monty Python skit in the cheese store. Corn on the cob was a buck, so I went and got tickets for it. Waited in line only to find they were out. Okay, how about a Diet Coke. Nope, out of that. Alright, a water then? Nope, plum out.

Okay, then you must still have hot dogs. Yep, but we're out of hot dog buns. You CAN have it on a burger bun, though. Done deal. I had to cut it. At least they bhad sauerkraut (hey, this is a German festival and they do serve brats), onions, and relish, so I had a fine Vienna beef hot dog on a burger bun, loaded.

I'll have to get there earlier next year.

No Food For You!!! At Least It Wasn't the Soup Nazi. --RoadDog

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Taste of Spring Grove, Illinois

Just got back from the first taste, and hopefully it won't be the last. Unfortunately, because of all of Thursday's rain, we had to walk from the gate, about a quarter mile to get to the grounds. But, it is a nice walk with mature trees lining one side.


EATIN' OUR WAY THROUGH

Five local restaurants and the fire department were offering food. Defintely try Bacci's Giant Pizza Slice which is roughly the size of a half pizza. It's huge. Then, there are Tommy's beer nuggets and about the closest NC-style pulled pork I've come across up north. All I can say is that those fire guys know how to make up some mighty fine chili. I didn't try any of Billy's offerings as I've had them often. I highly recommend their Vienna hot dogs and superb Italian beef.

All these are located on historic US-12, which runs right through the middle of town.

O'Shaneys Irish Pub is located in "downtown" Spring Grove, if you can call it that. It sure isn't very big. It is right across from our famous statue and in a building that is over one hundred years old. Of interest, its been a bar/restaurant for the whole time. They were offering their famous chicken wings, a definite taste treat.

Great Food Offered Here, and Getting More All the Time. --RoadDog

On Eating Your Dessert First on the Lincoln Highway

It would appear I'm a day late and many calories short on this one, but the student newspaper of Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, the Northern Star, reported that last night, from 6-9, seventeen downtown restaurants and stores were offering free desserts!!

These stores were all members of the Celebrate Downtown Partnership. The food was free and the stores also had sales. Donations to the Safe Passage domestic violence shelter were accepted.

Sounds like a great idea to get locals and students downtown. Especially those broke and hungry frat rats. They have money, but need it for beverages.

Now You Can have Your Dessert and Eat Your Cake as Well. Don't Tell My Doctor or Mom. --RoadDog

Friday, September 5, 2008

Recalling an Old Road, Route 110 to the Beach

The July 8th Newburyport News had an article about an old bypassed road that took generations of vacationers to Massachusetts' Salisbury Beach, namely Route 110.

Bill Laird, 66, remembers when the road was a real horror show with traffic really backed up on busy summer weekends.

Forty years have now passed since I-495 was built, relieving the congestion, but hurting businesses along 110.

Victims were the old Riverview drive in theater in Haverhill which closed in the 1960s and the Coach House Hotel (only the sign remains) However, the popular Skip's Snack Bar in Merrimac is still doing fine.

There was also a curve which made "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" for being one of the longest curves on any highway.

My family used to make reugular treks to Carolina Beach, North Carolina, and there were certain things you'd see along the way that showed you were getting closer and the excitement would rise. Then,there was also that first salt air smell.

Joanne Ratcliffe, 67, recalled the thrill of making it to Beach Road in Salisbury and getting a glimpse of the roller coaster. She KNEW then that she was AT THE BEACH.

More to Come... --RoadDog

Lincoln Logs: Creston Booster Days-- Waymarkers

Lincoln Logs: New News About an Old Road.


1. CRESTON BOOSTER DAYS-- September 12-14th-- Illinois. This is the 52nd annual event which marks the end of communication celebrations through this stretch of Illinois Highway 38, better known as the Lincoln Highway, through this part of the state.

Nearby Malta has Illinois' first seedling mile. Two weekends ago, Rochelle had its annual Lincoln Highway Heritage Festival the same weekend Dekalb had its Cornfest, one of the largest free-music celebrations in the state. Cornfest also marks the return of the students to the campus of Northern Illinois University.


2. WAYMARKERS-- Been marking, this time, a part of the old Lincoln Highway in California, specifically the part that goes past the state capitol building in Sacramento. That section was originally called the Northern and Central Valley Routes.

From 1917 to 1927 this was the Lincoln's northern route from Truckee which passed the capitol building (begun in 1860 and finished in 1873) and skirted the northern edge of the Capitol Mall and Capitol Park on "L" Street.

It met up with the southern route that went back to Reno, Nevada, at 29th Street where the now united route continued on to Stockton.

Several pictures of the capitol and a 1917 map of Scaramento are featured.


Mighty Fine Old Road, That Lincoln. --RoadDog

Saufen Und Spiel-- Fish Hatchery

Lots going on here in the northeastern part of McHenry County, Illinois, this weekend.


SAUFEN UND SPIEL

It is time for the 37th annual Saufen Und Spiel celebration in Johnsburg, just a few miles south of Spring Grove. This honors the village's German heritage.

It kicks off tonight with a blacklight beanbag toss and entertainment by Bony Knees.

Tomorrow, the annual Banjo Beer Night will be put on by the Lions Club featuring food, beer, and entertainment by two groups: Jim Barret Banjo Band and Margarita Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett tribute band).

Sunday is the big day of the celebration with a 120 unit parade at 12:30 followed by food, games, and entertainment at the community club. Dr. Rhythm and the Rockers will perform outside and a German polka band inside.

This is always the first weekend after Labor Day and well worth a trip.


TASTE OF SPRING GROVE AT THE FISH HATCHERY


At one time the majority of fish caught in the northern Illinois came from this historic hatchery. The state has since turned the site over to the village which plans to turn it into a park. Last fall, residents and supporters of the hatchery voted early and often and obtained a $50,000 grant from the Illinois Historic Preservation Commission and American Express.

This year, the first Taste of Spring Grove takes place at the hatchery. Local restaurants will beoffering food and there will be a $15 wine tasting event.

It also gives residents and visitors a chance to see how the restoration of the hatchery is going and the chance to tour the grounds.

Let's Hope This is the First of an Annual Event. --RoadDog

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lincoln Logs: --Mansfield Goes Lincoln-- LH Meets Pa. Turnpike-- Nevada, Iowa Celebration

Lincol Logs-- Some new news about an old road.


1. MANSFIELD GOES LINCOLN-- Ohio, that is. The June 8th Mansfield News Journal reports that Lincoln Highway fans are joining the town's 200th anniversary celebration by painting fire hydrants around town with the Lincoln Highway logo. I wonder what the dogs think?


2. LH MEETS PA. TURNPIKE-- The Historical Marker database featured an article by Christopher Busta-Peck of Bedford, Pa., where the Lincoln Highway met the Pennsylvania Turnpike. On October 1, 1940, the first 160 miles of four lane concrete highway from Carlisle to Irvin opened. Some motorists waited days to ride on the new super highway.

It was extended east to Philadelphia and west to the Ohio line in 1957.


3. NEVADA, IOWA CELEBRATION-- The August 21st Nevada Journal reports that the 25th annual Nevada, Iowa Lincoln Highway Days started August 22. The local high school is holding a torch run in honor of the 25th anniversary and the Olympics.

Saturday, there will be a parade in the morning followed by an antique tractor show, PIG WRESTLING, watermelon seed spitting contest, Mid-American Pulling Association Lawn and Garden Tractor Pull, hula hoop contest, and bands providing entertainment.

Now, This Festival Has Some Things I've Never Heard of Before. --RoadDog

Down Da 66: One Tank Trip-- 19th Annual Road Trip-- Rolla 66 Summerfest-- Blades Are Back

Still trying to catch up from all the time I lost with the sore thumb. Some New News About an Old Road.


1. ONE TANK TRIP-- The June 4th Joliet Herald News reported that Chicago's ABC Channel 7 traffic and transportation reporter Roz Varon slected Joliet's Route 66 attractions as her first feature segment on "One Tank Trips." It aired between 5 and 7 am on Friday and included sites such as the Joliet Area Museum, the Railto Square Theatre, and the Route 66-themed park on Broadway.


2. 19TH ANNUAL ROAD TRIP-- took place in early June by the Route 66 Association of Illinois. At least 100 people were expected for it. Three more Hall of Fame members were inducted on the Saturday at Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois.


3. ROLLA ROUTE 66 SUMMERFEST-- was held in early June as well. This was its 14th annual celebration. It originally started to promote downtown Rolla, but has become an area-wide celebration. There was a Miss Route 66 competition and hundreds of classic cars made an appearance.


4. BLADES ARE BACK-- And now for some more recent 66 news, the Route 66 News reports that this past weekend, the Route 66 Association of Illinois descended upon the Millin Lincoln, and returned the windmill blades to the outside. Plans are for it to become a Route 66 Visitors Center.


Nice Job, Folks. Hopefully, No One Went Jousting with It. --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Julia Keller on Roads-- Part 2

On August 22nd, I wrote about Julia Keller's Lit Life column in the Chicago Tribune of June 15th.

She was doing a review on Marianne Wiggins' novel "Shadow Catcher" and wrote some great roads about old roads that pretty well sum up my feelings exactly. So, I will continue.

"Roads have personalities. Even the bland ones stick with you.... Such blandness becomes a road's most remarkable feature--especially when that blandness is contrasted with the peppy individuality of a Route 23, with its sprightly mix of roadside souvenir shops, mom-and-pop eateries and the occasional hubcap emporium and military surplus shop."

It would sound like Route 23 is just such a road as the Lincoln Highway and Route 66.

Later, she wrote, "For many of us, summer means road trips. Highways are the nation's bone structure, its skeleton, the thing that binds us and holds us upright."

Now, these are some mighty good words for summing up my feelings exactly. I just wish I cared to spend all the extra money now necessary for gas to fuel that wonderful roadtrip.

Like Any Good "Roadie" Will Tell You, Gettin' There is Just As Important as the Destination. Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway." --RoadDog

Barack's On the 66-- Part 2

Then, the report goes on saying that one woman introduced herself and embraced Obama while one man pushed his baseball cap back on his head and muttered, "Don't that beat all."

Obama made his way slowly around the Bell Restaurant, chatting quietly with anyone who was interested. He shook hands with four retirees saying he was sorry for all the fuss. A young waitress, Mary Andersen took his photo on her cell phone and said, "I think he's awesome. His personality--I'm so nervous and overwhelmed."

Shirley Tucker, 58, of Phillipsburg confided, "I started liking him the first time I saw him. I can't believe he's here. He reminds me of JFK."

John Daniels has been out of work for sixmonths and Obama spoke to him about stabilizing the economy and creating jobs. Daniels said, "You do that and I will vote for you forever."

A young white mother, holding Tarrien, a bi-racial 15-month-old son, was there as well and and Messud mused that "the small boy may never fathom the historic nature of the moment, in which he has encountered the first presidential candiddate in America's history to look like himself."

Pretty impressive Article, Ms. Messud. --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Barack's On the 66

First, Sir Paul, now this. The celebrities are on the road.

I was interested to find out that Barack Obama visited Bell Restaurant in one of my favorite Route 66 towns, Lebanon, Missouri. This was an unannounced stop and even better, I've also eaten breakfast in the place. It is about a quarter mile from the classic Route 66 motel, the Munger-Moss, home of Bob and Ramona Lehman.

There was an article on Obama in the September 1st Newsweek by Claire Messud where she talked about his appeal. She went into detail on his visit saying that was "an audible intake of breath at his arrival."

Then, she describes the place: "The Bellis a diner with cracked orange vinyl seats, speckled formica floors and fat slices of pie in tight Seran Wrap, visited by frustrated flies, dotted along the counter. Out back, there is a bell-shaped pool, empty now, visible through smeary plate-glass windows. The air inside hangs heavy with tobacco, andmany of the patrons are leathered by a lifetime of smoking. They are largely older, white, country people, surprised at their late lunches or early suppers by the grand retinue and the man at its center."

More to come.

Quite the Descriptive Feast. --RoadDog