Thursday, December 31, 2009

NTN/Buzztime 2009

I set a personal record by visiting 142 new sites this past year. These are all first-time visits for Liz and myself. Whenever on a trip, we are always looking for new places to play.

States and places played:

North Carolina-- 4
Virginia-- 1 (first-ever Virginia site)
Iowa-- 15
Florida-- 8
Wisconsin-- 4
Missouri-- 17
Oklahoma-- 1
Illinois-- 22
South Carolina-- 24
West Virginia-- 7
Alabama-- 5
Indiana-- 16
Ohio-- 13
Kentucky-- This gives a total of 858 NTN-Buzztime Sites I've visited.

Way Too Much Time Playing the Game. --RoadDog

The Jefferson Highway

November 18th Carthage (Mo) Press "Louisiana man travels Jefferson Highway from Canada to New Orleans"

Not as well-known as the Lincoln Highway and definitely Route 66 (as folks in southwest Missouri well-know), but the Jefferson Highway ran from Winnipeg, Canada, to New Orleans from 1916 to 1926 when the named highways were given numbers. US-71 shadows the old Jefferson most of the way.

Mike Conlin is the man pushing the old Jefferson Highway and has a blog about it.

Back in its heyday, it was called the Palm to Pine Highway and was a vital part of the National Auto Trail System.

It is still called the Jefferson Highway around Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Wadena, Minnesota. It passed through Alexandria and Shreveport, Louisiana; Marshall, Texas; Muskogee, Oklahoma; Baxter Springs and Paola, Kansas; Carthage and Lee's Summit, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Conlin is selling Jefferson Highway merchandise and advertising, but doesn't expect to get rich. This effort is more of a hobby.

web site

Just Another Named Highway. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tidbits: Indiana-- Iowa-- Missouri-- Ohio

From American Some interesting facts.

INDIANA-- Oldenburg (pop. 647) was incorporated in 1869 by German settlers. Called "Village of Spires" because of its many churches.

IOWA-- Exira (pop. 810) has "The Plow in the Oak Tree. The handles and part of the blade stick out of a live bur oak. Legend has it that a farmer was plowing his field when Union soldiers passed by on their way to the Civil War. He leaned the plow against a sapling, joined the soldiers and the tree grew around it.

Good story. I'll have to check it out next time through.

MISSOURI-- Cuba (pop. 3,230) has the world's largest rocking chair a little ways west of town on Route 66 at the Fanning US--66 Outpost and General Store where you can also get your Route 66 wine. This is a new attraction along the old road.

Cuba is also called the City of Murals and has an authentic Route 66 motel on the 1920s Wagon Wheel Motel with its giraffe stone.

OHIO-- Columbus is home of the nation's largest college campus by enrollment at Ohio State University with 53,715 students. I am not a Buckeye fan at all, however.

Columbus and OSU have a connection to the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain. Two Ohio Stae students from Buffalo, NY, were not happy with the wings around Columbus and started the chain.

Always Something Interesting. --RoadDog

Monday, December 28, 2009

How Bleak is Route 66's Future?-- Part 2

Back to the March-April 2008 Preservation magazine article.

Two articles accompanied the pictures. The first one, "Scenes from an Open Road" by Ann Beattie, did a great job summing the old road in my opinion.

"Route 66 was the Romantics' toad, an optimistic road, the 'Mother Road,' as John Steinbeck called it in The Grapes of Wrath. It was going to stretch thousands of miles and provide travelers with unique places to eat and to spend the night as they made their journeys, their individual journeys that nevertheless took them to many of the same places accomplishing something, or perhaps searching for the holy grail of relaxation.

It was a road that had pride of place, and also a sense of humor: The neon signs you found there were illustrative, but many were created to amuse. If the Saturday morning cartoons appealed to the kids, the cowboys on bucking broncos and 10-foot-high hamburgers dripping neon-red ketchup, pointing to diners along Route 66, were there to make the grownups smile.

The signs were either so understated they were plaintive ('vacancy'), or they were happily hyper; the leaping lizards and sky-high ladies whirling lassos described something that wasn't exactly true, but wasn't entirely false, either. The wonderlands they blinked at and pointed to were outdoor graphic novels: The talk and visuals were interrelated; the world was telling its story and you-- assuming you weren't too cool to converse-- were telling yours."

Man, I sure wish I could write like this, but that will never happen.

Great summation Ann Beattie.

Still Gettin' My Kicks. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How Bleak is Route 66's Future?

I'm finally getting around to reading the many, many back issues of magazines that I have accumulated.

The March-April 2008 issue of Preservation Magazine of the national Trust for Historic Preservation had an article by Ann Beattie featuring the photography of Edward Keating who has won a Pulitzer Prize for Photojournalism.

They are in black and white and, in my opinion paint a really bleak picture of the road as it appears today. Nothing but ruins and even the places doing well look bare and sparse.

It said that Keating had "spent many hours traveling Route 66, capturing its landscapes and historic architecture." Much of the the shots were in the west, which with its vast openness, tends to always look barren and bleak, especially in black and white.

Pictures were of the La Mesa Motel in Santa Rosa, NM, two pictures of ghost town Glenrio, Texas, the cross near Groom, Tx. and an abandoned motel and the ruined Triangle Motel in Amarillo, Texas.

Operating motels were the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, Mo, Western Motel near OKC,, Blue Swallow in Tucumcari (where the daytime shot did absolutely nothing for that wondrous old sign) and Route 66 Motel (formerly the Royal Palacio) in Tucumcari.

To believe these shots, Route 66 is on its last legs with an undeniably bleak future.

Personally, I have to disagree and Will Discuss the Subject Later. --RoadDog

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Merry Christmas to You

I finished watching my three favorite Christmas movies earlier today. That would be #1 "A Christmas Story," #2 "Christmas Vacation" and #3 "It's a Wonderful Life."

Today, the Chicago Tribune ran its list of Top Ten Christmas Movie Favorites.

1. A Christmas Story (1983)

2. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (TV-1966)

3. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

4. The Santa Clause (1994)

5. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

6. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (TV-1964)

7. White Christmas (1954)

8. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

9. Elf (2003)

10. Love Actually (2003)

I never heard of #10. WHAT!! No "Christmas Vacation?" By the way, this year is the 20th anniversary of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." Well Done.

Happy Christmas Trails to You. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How Bad Was It?-- The Lincoln Highway in 1915-- Part 4

Continuing the "fun"trip across Iowa way back then, before "hard surface roads."

In a magazine article in Motor Age, Bement wrote that "Joy was having the time of his life...he laid on his back in 18 inches of gumbo mud with the rain in his face and examined parts to see how they were standing up."

We have pictures of them fixing a brake west of Ames, Iowa, May 31st, then adjusting them. Next, they are fording what appears to be a stream, but is actually the highway west of Boone. The water eventually got to what they called "within 10 inches of tops of fence posts."

June 1st, breakfast was again taken on the side of the road. No McDonald's Dollar breakfast selections for them.

I Think I Would Even Stick With an Interstate at This Point. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Not Your Ordinary House-- "A Christmas Story"-- Part 3

Sadly to say, only the exterior and backyard scenes (the Black Bart shootout) were shot here. Fake snow had to be brought in because of lack of the stuff. Interior shots were filmed on a sound stage in California. The tire changing/really bad word and tongue on the flagpole scenes were filmed in Canada.

However, owner Brian Jones, has done a great job replicating the interior to the way we remember it from the movie from the lamp, its shipping crate and the bar of soap. You don't see do not touch signs as visitors are encouraged to re-enact as many scenes as they desire. You can even sit in the kitchen cupboard where Randy. Mommie's Little Piggy, sat when he thought Dad was going to kill Raphie.

Jones, a California native, bought the house in December 2005 for $150,000, after seeing it listed on e-Bay. He spent an additional $250,000 putting it back into its movie form (it had been modernized into a duplex).

It opened Thanksgiving weekend 2006 and this past August had its 100,000th visitor. Of course, there are many others who stop by and just peek into the windows.

Definitely on My List of Places to Go. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Not Your Ordinary House-- "A Christmas Story"-- Part 2

The article says that even when the house is closed, folks still come by to see that holuiest of holy grails, THE MAJOR AWARD from Italy "fra-gil-le" that gave off "the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window."

You know, the infamous bane of Mom, the LEG LAMP!!!

It's the house of that holiday classic, and my favorite seasonal movie, "A Christmas Story."

I have lost count of how many times I have seen it, but anxiously anticipate seeing it in a few days when TBS has the 24-hour marathon starting at 6 PM Christmas Eve. Good old Ted for remembering us.


The 1983 movie has become a cult classic. If you're like me, you can almost say the lines as they are happening on screen. The house and its infamous furnace and questionable electric wiring, was built in Cleveland in 1895. The movie's creators were searching for a house with a 1940s feel and I'd have to say this one was perfect casting.

This one, unlike the Delta House from "Animal House" is still standing and in better shape than ever.

Not Falling for the Tongue/Flagpole Trick...Again. --RoadDog

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not Your Ordinary House-- "A Christmas Story"-- Part 1

It is in Cleveland, Ohio, but it supposedly was in Hammond, Indiana, and a famous holiday movie was filmed there. Actually, mu favorite all-time Christmas movie, beating out #2 "Christmas Vacation and #3 "It;s a Wonderful Life." I refer to "A Christmas Story."

The house still stands even though a considerable amount of money has been spend to take it back to its appearance in the 1940s.

The December 6th Chicago Tribune had a nice article by Phil Marty about this holiest of bb gun palaces, where Ralphie, his mom and dad and brother Randy lived in Hammond, Indiana, but actually, it is located in Cleveland.

A Christmas Story House and Museum can be found at 3159 West 11th Street in Cleveland, about 345 miles from Chicago. More information at:

I'm Not Finished Yet. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mary Lincoln's "Personal Prison" Along the Lincoln Highway in Illinois-- Part 3

Mary Lincoln also started marshaling the support of friends, some in powerful places, and got her release September 10, 1975. She then moved to Springfield and lived with her sister. Time was spent traveling in Europe, before returning to Springfield and dying there at age 62 July 16, 1882.

Today, you can see the bed and dresser supposedly used by her at the Batavia Depot Museum. There is also a hospital ledger with notes on her moods and activities. One of these from may 20, 1875, reads "Case is one of mental impairment which possibly dates back to the murder of President Lincoln-- More pronounced since the death of her son, but especially aggravated during the last 2 months."

I have to wonder if she ever forgave her son Robert?

It is not known for sure which room she was in, but most believe it was on the second floor in what is now Apartment 2A.

The building stands a little ways off Illinois Highway-31 which also used to be the Lincoln Highway (interesting connection). A small brown sign explains the Lincoln connection of the building. Most of the once-sprawling grounds have been sold off, but there is still a garden out front.

Historians have long been divided on whether Mary Lincoln was insane or not. Some believe she was, others think she was the victim of an uncaring son.

But, Something to See Your Next Trip on the Lincoln. --RoadDog

How Bad Was It? The Lincoln Highway in 1915-- Part 3

Continuing with Henry Joy's photos from 1915 as shown in the Lincoln Highway Association's Spring 2008 Forum.

Nearing the town of Lamoille in Iowa, more difficulties were encountered, namely, stuck in the mud again.

Another phot was of a wash-out east of Ames May 31st. The road had been literally washed away near what appears to be a bridge. Another shows the crossing of a two foot washout a short time later.

They had to put new tire chains on west of Ames.

Then there was mud, mud, mud, and then some more mud in all the pictures.

Mud wasn't the only problem. On the afternoon of the 31st, a brake had to be repaired and adjusted.

I'm sure they were happy to later find a team of four horses "dragging" the Lincoln Highway near Ames on the 31st. The horses were pulling several wooden contraptions across the dirt with two me standing in the back. This stretch was actually looking non-rutted, flat, and dry. Joy and party must have been smiling.

This little part of the trip continues next entry.

And We Complain About the Occasional Roadwork. --RoadDog

Here's a Blog About One of Our favorite Route 66 Towns

I came across the Historic Tulsa Blog which on December 15th had an entry on the 11th Street Bridge which for so many years carried Route 66 traffic through town. Several pictures accompanied it, including ones from 1817, 1936 and several from 2009. It is a reinforced concrete multi span structure across the Arkansas River.

In 1929, it was altered to add ornate Zig Zag art deco and PWA Classical-oriented art deco sides. Currently, it is closed, in disrepair and unsafe even for foot traffic.

Plans are in effect to restore it and make it the center piece of a Route 66 center.

Here's what David Wickline had to say about it in his "Images of 66" book:

"The Cyrus Avery 11thy Street Bridge (19158) spanning the Arkansas River, Tulsa. This multi-span concrete arch bridge has both Zigzag Art Deco and Classical Oriented Art Deco (OK, I'm going to have to find out what these are) styling. It was used by Route 66 travelers from 1926-1973. The new I-244 Interstate Bridge was practically built on top of the 11th Street Bridge at the western end."

Why Dis the Chicken Cross the Bridge? --RoadDog

David Wicklines 66 Roadhouse-- Part 3-- Good eating Continued

Keeping with the Route 66 model, David's menu contains great road food located along the Mother Road as well as auxiliary food items and names.

Some examples:


66 Sunrise Special-- $4.66

Betty Boop Blueberry Hill Pancakes-- $4.66

Wide-A-Wake Coffee-- 5 cents


Cotton Eyed Joe's Pulled Pork-- $8.66

Texas Style CFS (Country Fried Steak)-- $8.66

Cowboy Pan Seared Steak-- $9.99 (Hey, it's under $10!)


Route 60 Chop Salad-- $3.66 side, $6.69 dinner

Tumbleweed Steak Salad-- $6.66 (Oops, that Could be devilish)


Roadhouse Chilli-- $3.99 cup $5.66 bowl

These are just some of the offerings in each category. Go on line to find the whiole thing.

Where's Dave Come Up With All These Names. And I'm Not Finished Yet. --RoadDog

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mary Lincoln's "Personal Prison" Along the Lincoln Highway in Illinois-- Part 2

Mary Todd Lincoln's son Robert, by this time was a prominent lawyer in Chicago, initiated court proceedings to have his mother involuntarily committed. After a three hour hearing, a Cook County jury found Mary to be insane and the next day she was taken to Bellevue Place.

This was not one of those horrible public insane asylums you so often hear about from the late 1800s. Bellevue catered to wealthy women and took more of a modern approach to the insane, advising plenty of bed rest and fresh air as well as activities such as piano and croquet. A period advertisement referred to it as a place "For the insane of the Private Class." Definitely not your pc-speak of today.


Even so, Mary Lincoln considered this place akin to prison.

An August 1875 letter said "It does not appear that God is good, to have placed me here." She said prayers three times a day to let her out, but to no avail. "I have worshipped my son and no unpleasant word ever passed between us, yet I can not understand why I should have been brought out here."

Historians report that she constantly lobbied for her release and that as time went on, she became more incensed that he would have placed her there.

No Place for a First Lady. --RoadDog

Mary Lincoln's "Personal Prison" Along the Lincoln Highway in Illinois-- Part 1

August 2, 2006, Chicago Tribune "Mrs. Lincoln's 'prison'" by Colleen Mastony.

Go to Batavia, Illinois, and there is a building called Bellevue Place apartments. Today people live here by choice if they have enough money, but back in the 1800s, it was an insane asylum for mentally disturbed female patients. In 1875, one First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln was involuntarily committed there by her son Robert.

There is a picture of the building with resident Chris Johnson in front of it. He occupies Apartment 2A where Mary is believed to have stayed.

Descendants of a Lincoln family lawyer were cleaning out an attic in 2005 and found a trunk with 25 old letters,20 written by Mary Lincoln herself and 11 from when she was at Batavia.


After Lincoln's death, Mary moved to Chicago, first living in the Tremont House, a fancy downtown hotel, then bought a house at 1304 W. Washington Street in Hyde Park that still stands. I guess there would be too many memories to return to her home in Springfield.

Insanity allegations started in 1875 as her behavior became more erratic. Supposedly, she walked around with $56,000 sewed into her petticoat, visited clairvoyants to communicate with the dead, and even reported that someone on a train had tried to put poison in her coffee.

Crazy or Not? You Decide. More to Come. --RoadDog

How Bad Was It? Lincoln Highway in 1915-- Part 2

Continuing with the photos in the Spring 2009 Lincoln Highway Forum of Henry Joy's 1915 trip by auto from Detroit to San Francisco for the Panama-Pacific Exposition. This being back in the real early days of the nation's road system, conditions were extremely bad, especially in Iowa which had had torrential rains turning the dirt Lincoln Highway into a regular quagmire.

Pictures of the car showed chains on it to get through the mud. At one place east of Marshalltoen May 31st, it took four hours to get dislodged. A team of horses is present (horses to pull a car out). Another photo is of "The new Fill east of Marshalltown where we were sunk the night of the 30th" according to Joy's caption. This photo showed a team of four horses pulling a flat board over some huge ruts with water clearly standing in it.

And breakfasts in this stretch were taken alongside the road, not in some nice restaurant. I guess no Made-Rite loose meat sandwiches for them.

First entry Dec. 15th.

Out Stuck in the Mud for Some More. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Good News for Route 66 in Illinois-- Part 2

I just remembered a good Bob and Peggy Kraft story from the Riviera.

The first time we drove Route 66 in Illinois back in 2002 (at least drove it as hooked 66 nuts, I'm sure we drove it while it was Route 66 but back then, it was just another road), we stopped at the Riviera.

We told the bartender this was our first time on Route 66. She told Peggy Kraft, who came out and talked to us. Bob had already retired for the night, but she went upstairs and made him come down to meet us. Poor guy probably didn't want to do it, but when Peggy said do it, you did it. Well, on second thought, he probably was happy to do it.

It was fun talking to Bob, but even better the next time when he was "hiolding court" behind the bar and swigging all those shots. I didn't ask, but they had to be watered down. With that number of shots, I would have been on the floor and might have had to climb those steps to get at the skyhigh toilet in the bathroom.

Either way, it was just one more thing that got us hooked on Route 66.

Sure Glad to See the Place Open Again. --RoadDog

Good News for Route 66 in Illinois

I already mentioned it, but the December 15th Braidwood (Il) Journal (right up the road from Gardner, ran an article about the reopening of the great old, 80 year-old Riviera, which had been essentially closed since owners Bob and Peggy Kraft decided the time had come to retire (and deservedly so since they had run the place since the '70s).

After a rocky start with a short-lived opening back in September, issues have been settled and the venerable place will now be open seven days a week. Even better, it will be managed by long-time worker Tracy Storm who has been there 29 years Also, 26-year veteran waitress Betty will once again be serving up that great food.

And, speaking of food, they are bringing back Peggy Kraft's famous dishes and expanding the menu. It is rumored that every so often, a famous bartender will make a return appearance behind the bar he manned for all those years, that is, if he can get a ride since he never had a drivers license and he will be happy to tell you why.

Hopefully, they haven't changed anything inside.

We stopped by there when returning from the MoTour back in September, but the place was closed because of the difficulties with the town.

Getting Hungry About Now. Do They Serve Breakfast? --RoadDog

Tulsa's Queen Hotel, Back Again and Better

Route 66 fans have to be happy that the 1925 Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mayo Hotel has been saved from a date with the demolition team and is now open again. The 18 story hotel closed in 1981.

In the 1980s, a really bad restoration effort stripped the building of much of its remaining splendor. In 2001, the Snyder family bought it for $250,000 and $40 million has been spent bringing it back to its former glory. The city even kicked in $4.9 million in its efforts to revitalize downtown.

Tulsa began a rapid rise in stature starting in 1901 when oil was discovered in the Red Fork area, bringing riches and making millionaires out of many. The Mayo housed the rich, powerful and famous in its 600 rooms when it opened.

Today, you can get a room there or, even live full time in it as the seven upper floors are being turned into apartment lofts.

Of course, downtown Tulsa is one big collection of art deco-style buildings, my favorite. I'm not sure, but I think when I was there for the 2003 Route 66 Festival, they were using the lobby for weddings and events.

A Definite Stop the Next Visit, But I Have the Feeling I Wouldn't Care to Spend the Dough to Stay There. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Passing of Bob Waldmire

Word is all over Route 66dom of the passing of Bob Waldmire at 8:30 this morning. The road just won't be the same.

No more seeing that raggedy old Volkswagen van at Route 66 events.

However, very few people get to live their lives exactly as they wanted.

Guess I will never get Bob to make my RoadDog logo.

The funeral will be Sunday.

Happy Trails Ye Son Of 66. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How Bad Was It? Lincoln Highway in 1915-- Part 1

The Spring 2009 Lincoln Highway Forum ran a group of pictures from a 1915 Lincoln Highway trip by LHA President Henry Joy, LHA Secretary Austin Bement and mechanic E. Eisenhut who drove the new road from Detroit to San Francisco for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in a new Packard Twin-Six.

The weather was great until they hit Iowa and the deluge came, turning the road into a quagmire of sucking mud.

Henry Joy kept a photo album of the trip which is now at the Bentley Library at the University of Michigan.

The late-great Gregory M. Franzwa, Mr. Lincoln Highway put the article together.

The pictures in this installment began east of Marshalltown, Iowa, May 30, 1915, and it took them two days to get to Ames, a trip that today would take less than an hour. But that was then.

A Close Up Look at an Early Road. --RoadDog

Illinois Tidbits

I strongly recommend going to the American Profile Magazine site and checking out tidbits which are listed by state. Mighty interesting stuff there.

I have three about Illinois.

LINCOLN (15,369)-- The only town in the US named for Abraham Lincoln BEFORE he became president. There is a statue of a watermelon near the train station commemorating the town's christening when Lincoln supposedly did it with watermelon juice. Spitting? Yuck, spit. Even if it is Abe's.

The town is also really pushing its Route 66 heritage.

CAROL STREAM (40,438)-- Incorporated in 1959 and named after developer Jay Stream's daughter Carol who was badly injured in n auto accident in 1957 but recovered to see her namesake prosper. Hey, nobody's ever named a town RoadDog. It's about time.

ELDORADO (4,534)-- was originally named Elder-Reado after founders Judge Elder and Joseph Read. Legend has it that a railroad sign painter thought the spelling was incorrect and changed it.

So, Now You Know. --RoadDog

Down Da Road: Nat'l Road-- Don's-- Recommended

Some Old News/New News About Those Old Roads.

Theses go back about a year, but still interesting.

1. NAT'L ROAD-- The Mattoon (IL) Journal Gazette reported that the National Road Association of Illinois received a $62,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration's National Scenic Byways Program for a travel guide to US-40/National Road sites in the state.

It will be the first comprehensive guide to the state's 164 mile stretch. It was hoped to be out by spring 2009. I didn't see it, but hoping it is as good as Ohio's guide to the National Road which sets the standard for state guides as far as I'm concerned.

2. DON'S-- From the December 19, 2008 Des Moines Register. There is a 1930s era terra cotta gas station at 203 East Grand Avenue Avenue. It was called Don's East Grand Service and was run by Don Roberts. It closed in August and the Des Moines Rehabbers put it on a list of 7 buildings in danger of neglect or demolition.

It was built in 1931 and is in the mission-style. The property sold for $300,000.

3. RECOMMENDED-- Jan. 13, 2009 mentioned two recommended scenic byways:

Wis. 33 from Portage to Lacrosse, 114 miles, mostly rural two lane.
Wis. 60 from Lodi (Hey, that's a Creedence song!) to the Great River Road near Prairie du Chien.

Old Stuff is Better Than No Stuff. --RoadDog

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mesker Me

The Mesker Company produced decorative sheet metal embossed with decorative objects which were used on the fronts of many downtown buildings in the late 1800s early 1900s (1885-1915 especially). This was a cheaper way to spruce up the front of your building and many business owners took advantage of it.

There were at least 54,000 Mesker installations across the nation with nearly 7,00 in Illinois. Indiana and Missouri had the second and third most Meskers. They fronts were produced in St. Louis and Evansville, Indiana, which accounts for why those three states had the most.

The Mesker business survived into the 1980s, before going under in 1986. Mesker Brothers Iron Works is now Mesker Doors, a maker of metal doors and frames operating out of Huntsville, Alabama.

Illinois is doing a survey of Mesker buildings.

Got Mesker? Look Around Your Town. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Down Da 66: Mayo-- Riviera

Some New News About an Old Road.

Good news to report along Route 66.

1. MAYO-- the famous old Mayo Hotel, hub of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, reopened officially on December 3rd. The hotel opened in 1925 and there for awhile was threatened with demolition, but after a lot of money was spent, you can stay there again, but most likely way too expensive for a poor soul such as I.

2. RIVIERA-- Also glad to see that the Riviera Restaurant in Gardner, Illinois, reopens this weekend. Hopefully the food and atmosphere will remain as it was before. Next time down, we'll be checking it out.

Great News Along the Route. --RoadDog

So, That's Utopia

Driving to work at Round Lake Middle School in Round Lake Heights, Illinois, the last two years I worked before retirement, I often wondered about a sign that said "Utopia" over a driveway along Rollins Road west of Fairfield.

I now found out what it is all about. The December 9th Chicago Tribune had an article titled "Lake County takes out its shopping list" by Krystyna Slivinski abut the Lake County Forest Preserve District going on a buying spree thanks to a $185 million referendum passed by tax payers last year.

The bad economy has caused many developers and other landowners to look to get rid of their property. Lake County, part of the Chicagoland Metropolitan Area, is one of the fastest growing areas in the US as the city sprawls outward. It has become very important to preserve as much open land as possible and as soon as possible.


One of those sites was owned by Becky Worozaken of Arlington Heights, whose grandparents purchased a few parcels of land west of Fairfield Road along what today is Rollins Road. Over the years, they slowly added to it until it today has ten acres.

Her father Alfred Hanson spent all his spare time planting trees, building bridges and ponds, landscaping and mowing. Evidently, he turned this into a place that could truly be called "Utopia." However, her father died five years ago and the family doesn't want to do the upkeep.

The land is located next to the district's Grant Woods Forest Preserve which makes it even better.

The Forest Preserve District bought the land for $535,000, about $200,000 less than it was worth during the recent boom times.

I am looking forward to when this new site is opened.

The drive along Rollins Road from Fairfield to Wilson roads is one of the prettiest in the state.

Must Be Utopia. --RoadDog

Next Up. the Lincoln Highway in Illinois-- Part 4

I did a little research on these two murals.


In 1900, the population of the city was 24,147. Today, 171,782 call it home. It was one of the first US cities to go to an all-electric street lighting system in 1881. Before that, streets were illuminated by gas lamps or not at all.

In 1908, the name "Aurora: The City of Lights" was officially adopted.

From Wikipedia


Pilcher Park is now called Pilcher Park Nature Center and still exists, offering hiking, biking and cross country trails. It is part of the Joliet Park District which was established in 1922 and today consists of 660 heavily treed acres. You Tube had a feature on a "Ride Through Pilcher Park" on a motorcycle.

Sections of the park can be rented.

I came across nothing about the old tent city, but hope they put up a marker at the site and see if there is anything left of it.

Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground. --RoadDog

Next Up, the Lincoln Highway in Illinois-- Part 3


This one shows the city's early electric street lighting system and is scheduled to be installed near the end of this year near New York and Broadway streets. The installation of these caused Aurora to be called "The City of Lights" by 1908.

Work on the Joliet one started a couple weeks ago and will be installed on the side Thayer Brothers Deli & Grill, 738 Ruby Street. This one shows the city's Pilcher Park in 1923 when it was used as a tent camp for travelers. These travel camps were a predecessor of today's motels. In 1923, about 9,000 people stayed there. The deli was chosen because of its busy location.

The murals and gazebos are all part of an effort to increase the Lincoln Highway's presence for townspeople and travelers.

The murals are being painted by Jay Allen, president of Shaw Craft Company in Machesney Park, Illinois and two others. He has spent hours of research looking at newspaper clippings and old photographs to insure accuracy.

Joliet, of course, is also known for its location on Route 66. But the Lincoln Highway goes through it as well, making it one of only two places the roads intersect (the other is in Plainfield, Illinois, on a different Route 66 alignment).

This coming June, the Lincoln Highway Association will be having its national convention in Dixon, Illinois and I am hoping to be able to attend it for the first time.

Looking Forward to Seeing Them. --RoadDog

Friday, December 11, 2009

Talkin' About US-6-- Part 2

The Nebraska Route 6 Tourist Association wants travelers to stop at the Filling Station Restorations on Saunders Avenue in the heart of Sutton. Sutton, population 8,081, is located in the southeastern part of the state and is where I-80, US-81 and US-6 intersect.

The Filling Station started out as Chris Lieb's private workshop where he restored antique cars. It didn't take long to outgrow his garage and when a building at 120 S. Saunders Avenue became available, he and his wife Barb bought it.

The back 2/3rds is full of his restoration area. The front was originally planned for his cars, but now it is becoming a Roadie-Paradise with murals painted by Carrie Bergen and other road items.

It is not open to the public yet, however, but plans are in place for it to be soon.

Something Else to Visit. --RoadDog

Next Up, the Lincoln Highway in Illinois-- Part 2

The two new murals in Aurora and Joliet will join 17 interpretive gazebos constructed mostly in the last year. These gazebos, in conspicuous places, not only offer a spot of shade, but through panels, tell the story of the Lincoln Highway and its impact on the town they're located in.

In addition, other murals have been installed in the towns of Creston, Dekalb and Rochelle. A total of 40 of them are planned for the route.

It is hoped that these murals will get families off the interstates to experience the shops, restaurants and small-town USA. The sooner they realize that the drive is as much a part of the trip as the destination, like us road folk, they more enjoyment they will have. As we see it, the trip is every bit as important as where you're headed.

All of this doesn't come free. The murals alone are valued at $10,000 apiece and are funded by grants from the Federal Highway Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce. I don't know what the gazebos cost or who pays for it, but would figure that to be around $10,000 each as well.

I myself am a member of both the Route 66 Association of Illinois and the Lincoln Highway Association of Illinois. So I am into those old asphalt strips.

Crusin' Down That Old Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Next Up, the Lincoln Highway in Illinois-- Part 1

The December 9th Chicago Tribune "Murals to tell Lincoln Highway history" by Patrick Ferrell.

This article is primarily about the two 200-foot long murals in Joliet and Aurora, Illinois. Aurora downtown was a scary place in the early 1900s until the city spent lots of money for streetlights. Travelers camped in Joliet's Pilcher Park in the days before motels.

Both cities were connected by America's first transcontinental road, the Lincoln Highway which ran 179 miles across Illinois from Lynwood on the east by Indiana to Fulton on the Mississippi.

Both Indiana and Illinois were the first states to have what were called
Seedling Miles" which were paved mile stretches to show the possibilities of a national series of "hard" roads (meaning those that were paved).

The very first "seedling mile" was by Malta (west of Dekalb and home of Northern Illinois University as I sit here typing in my Huskies tee shirt). It is located in front of Kishwaukee College.

Back to Lincoln. --RoadDog

Talkin' About US-6-- Part 1

From the Nov. 4th York (NE) News-Times. "Route 6 landmark opens in Sutton."

I tell you, Route 6 can't get no respect. None at all. Folks only hear about Route 66 and maybe the Lincoln Highway or National Road, but rarely does the Grand Army of the Republic Highway (or is it Road) come up.

Such disrespect for the second longest highway in the US (#1 US-20 is 120 miles longer).

Like most early numbered US highway, US-6 was put together by a series of existing roads from Cape Cod to California and it could also be called the Capital Road as it passes through five state capitals, including Lincoln in Nebraska.

I have driven stretches of it through Iowa and Illinois. It's another road I want to drive the entire length.

It's a 6 Thing, You Might Not Understand. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

David Wickline's 66 Roadhouse-- Part 2-- Good Eatin' at the Roadhouse

The address of his place is 480 E. Wilson Bridge Road, Worthington, Ohio. It is just south of I-275 on the north side of Columbus. You can find the web site at

Phone 614-505-6140.

He serves breakfast as well and features 5 cent cups of Wide-A-Wake coffee since he has an old sign that says "Coffee 5 Cents." Most of the prices on the menu end in 66 cents.

One really fine appetizer is the CFB as in Country-Fried Bacon. Never had anything like it before.

No item on the menu is over $9.99! Something I can definitely live with. That $9.99 item is a thick-cut 8 ounce Cattleman's Pan-fried sirloin sprinkled with cactus dust. (I would have to find out exactly what cactus dust is.)

More Good Eatin' to Come. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2009 Thanksgiving Trip to NC-- Part 4

IS WEST VIRGINIA TURNING CHICAGO?-- It appears the West Virginia Turnpike is pulling a page out of the Chicago playbook, and that is that they significantly jumped the price of driving along I-77 south of Charleston. I am fairly sure that the last time I drove it, it cost $1.25 at each of the three toll plazas. It was $2 at each this time. Big increases is a Chicago trick. Seriously cuts into my bbq eating funds.

At least the people taking your money were friendly and pleasant, unlike on the Illinois tollways where gruff is often what you get for your dough.

WHAT'S WITH THOSE WV GAS PRICES?-- I always try to fill up in Ohio or Virginia as West Virginia ALWAYS has higher gas prices. It is usually 20 cents higher off the interstate and this last time, $2.95 at the oases. Never understood why their gas prices would be so high. Must be a COAL THING.

FRIGHTENING TRUCK RUNAWAY LANES-- It always gives a moment of reflection when I drive the last miles of I-77 in Virginia coming down out of the mountains and see the signs saying truck runaway lane ahead. The last thing I would want to see is one of those big rigs coming up behind me as full speed as that grill gets bigger and bigger in the rear view mirror. Probably WOULD be the last thing I saw.

However, I'd rather have these lanes going up the side of the mountains than not. Something I can live with.

TUNNELING MY WAY THROUGH THE APPS-- Don't forget to turn on and off your lights at the two long tunnels you go through on I-77. Boy, those trucks really fly through these. Guess there is no fear that old Barney might be running a radar.

It's a Road Thing, You Wouldn't Understand. --RoadDog

David Wickline's 66 Roadhouse-- Part 1

Back on November 24th, I wrote about visiting David Wickline's 66 Roadhouse Bar and Grille north of Columbus, Ohio.

The stated reason was to have him sign my copy of his "Images of 66 Vol. I." We had bought it from Laurel Kane at Afton Station back on our 2006 end-to-end Route 66 trip and found it very useful on the rest of our trip. We didn't have to take as many pictures and his captions provided excellent information. As I said before, anyone considering taking a trip on 66 really needs to have this book along with Jerry McClanahan's "E-Z Guide."

At Laurel's suggestion, we had people sign pictures of their places along the way as an extra keepsake. I bought his "Images of 66 Vol. 2 from him at the 2008 Route 66 Festival in Litchfield, Illinois.

My belief is that David really took the idea of showing off his collection to the extreme. Imagining opening up a restaurant and bar just to show it off. Now that is some commitment to the old road.

Since Route 66 is nowhere near Columbus, this place also just might get more people interested in the road, an added bonus.

Up Next, His Collection and Food. --RoadDog

Monday, December 7, 2009

Road-Travelin' Tunes

This past trip to North Carolina was a country one as far as CDs I listened to going and coming. These were all in the letter "A" and ones I had not gotten around to listening to earlier.

Of course, I was also careful to do a radio check from time to time. I found a really good station from Farmer City, Illinois, which played blues, bluegrass, Americana and all sorts of stuff you don't hear often on the radio. It goes over the web so I now have it as an alternative station when I am not listening to the Beach Music Ones.

It goes by the name "The Whip." I'm not sure if it is strictly local or if there is a national network that the local one taps into.

The four CDs I listened to:

"X"-- Trave Adkins
"Honesty"-- Rodney Atkins
"Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll"-- Keith Anderson
"Triple Feature"-- by Alabama. This was a compilation of their first three albums: "My Home's in Alabama," "Feels So Right," and "Mountain Music." I have all three on albums, but haven't listened to them in years. Really good stuff.

Kickin' It Out on Da Road. --RoadDog

Eating Around Goldsboro, NC-- Part 2


I should also mention the great Carolina bbq sandwich I had at Dowdy-Ficklin stadium in Greenville when I attended the East Carolina-Southern Mississippi game Nov. 29th. This puts the stadium right at the top of my list when it comes to REALLY GREAT football food.

It cost $5 and filled me up to the point I didn't want a second one, even though I thought about it.

We were hoping the Dail fried chicken restaurant in Snow Hill mentioned as the best in North Carolina would be open on our way back to Goldsboro, but it was still closed. Obviously, it is closed on Saturdays.

I did try a Hardee's Thickburger for the first time when we got back to Goldsboro. This is one really good sandwich, right up there with McDonald's Angus Burger.


Located in downtown Goldsboro and in business since around 1905. My great Grandfather often ate here as it was just a block from his tire store. A few years ago it was majorly renovated and updated. A great place to get in the Christmas spirit with all the decorations inside and out.

Mom had boasted about how good their Friday flounder dinner special was, so tried it. She was right.

For $8.26, we got two large filets, two sides, and some really fine old-timey biscuits. I could have made a meal just on those biscuits.

Good Eatin' in e Neighborhood. --RoadDog

Pearl Harbor Day

Today marks the 68th anniversary of the event that sent the US officially into World War II. I say "officially" because it was very apparent we were preparing for the war years in advance.

How we were caught so much by surprise is still a mystery to me. It should never have happened.

I have written many entries about Pearl Harbor on my blog.

Sadly, the ranks of the survivors of the event grow thinner every passing day.

Pearl Harbor is a major interest of mine ever since I read Walter Lord's book "Day of Infamy" back in junior high. My students had a one and later three day mini lesson on it the last twenty years I taught.

This is also my seventh entry for the month.

The Greatest Generation. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Down Da Road: The Ten Foot Rooster-- Luminary Tour

Some New News About Old Roads.

1. THE TEN FOOT ROOSTER-- I came across an article in the Nov. 13th Orlando (Fl) Sentinel about Barberville Produce in Pierson, Florida, that sounds like a real good place to stop when you're in the state. It is a two acre menagerie of all sorts of stuff, including a ten foot high rooster that you can take home for $2,300 and become the envy or scourge of your neighborhood.

The place is located at the intersection of US-17 and Florida Highway 40.

You can also buy cast iron Clydesdale's, buffalo, bears, lions, alligators and street lights. There is also a scale model of the Statue of Liberty placed in such a way as to attract tourists.

Only about 1% of visitors are locals, the rest from elsewhere as Fl-40 connects I-75 and I-95.

2. LUMINARY TOUR-- For you Route 66 enthusiasts, the Wilson Creek National Battlefield Park near Springfield, Missouri, is hosting their 6th annual Luminary Drive Tour December 12th.

A luminary is a bag filled with sand at the bottom and a lit candle. Volunteers will light them, then visitors can drive a five mile tour. There will be 2,539 luminaries, one for every soldier killed, wounded and missing in that battle.

People can get a better realization of the number after seeing the luminaries.

On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Eating Around Goldsboro, NC

I had that good old Carolina bbq three. I just could not go to the Tarheel state without savoring some of that good stuff.


Of course, one definite stop had to be Wilber's out on US-70 Bypass. and serving that bbq since the 1960s. It is now $8 for a platter with the 'cue, two sides and hushpuppies. I also get double cole slaw. To me, the proper way to eat bbq is to have some on each forkful along with coleslaw. Then, wash it down with sweet tea.

The inside of Wilber's with its red checkered table cloths, old wooden chairs and pine paneling just seems to say this is a proper place to consume barbecue.


Another day, we went to McCall's which is on the other side of US-7- about a half mile away. I like their bbq just as well, but this is also a buffet. Along with salads and vegetables, you can also get fried chicken, bbq chicken, ribs, cracklings, bbq beef, fish and Calabash shrimp. It cost $10 on Sunday after church. Drinks are extra.

I should also mention some of the best peach and blueberry cobbler and banana pudding you'll find anywhere. There is also a new McCall's that has opened in Clayton, outside of Raleigh and across from another good 'cue place called Smithfield's.

Fightin' the Cue Wars. --RoadDog

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009-- Part 3

I-77 through West Virginia has lots and lots of roadwork, all causing you to slow down to 55 from 70 with lots of warnings of dire consequences if you don't. Several of the road construction sites, essentially every overpass,had speed detectors that flashed how fast you're driving.

Paid my $6 at the three toll booths ($2 each) on the West Virginia Turnpike south of Charleston. Then drove through the tunnel separating West Virginia and Virginia.

You can really see Pilot Mountain (or Mount Pilot as Andy Taylor would call it) in North Carolina as you descend down the mountain in Virginia before entering North Carolina. It is many miles away at this point, but very noticeable.

Sadly, I missed having one of those mouth watering pork chop sandwiches at Snappy Lunch in Mt. Airy, NC, the inspiration for Andy Taylor's Mayberry. Had to settle for grazing at the local Golden Corral.

Took US-52 to I-40 by Winston-Salem and was pleased not to encounter any traffic jams during the rush hour until I hit one by RDU Airport that lasted most of the way around Raleigh.

Way Too Much Driving. --RoadDog

Thanksgiving 2009-- Part 2

Gibson City also has a drive in theater called the Harvest Moon, but it is one with billboard screens. Not really impressive but still a drive in.

Odometer read 27,904 when I got in I-74 in Mahomet, Illinois. At the Illinois border, it read 27,952 at 12:02 PM.

Drove to Indianapolis where I picked up I-70 and took it to Columbus, Ohio, where I took I-270 north to David Wickline's 66 Roadhouse, a premier place for all road fans to stop.

Then, on to Zanesville, where I also found McRibs being back at the McDonald's west of town by the Super 8. Unfortunately, too full of an onion burger and CFB from David's. No McRibs for me.

Driving the National Road. Took this historic route through Zanesville to Cambridge, crossing the famous Y-Bridge and stopping to photograph both S-Bridges.

On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Thanksgiving 2009

I left Nov. 19, 2009 at 7:19 with 27,738 miles and arrived in Goldsboro in the evening of Nov. 20th after driving 1,087 miles. Two days of driving and a night spent at the Super 8 in Zanesville, Ohio.

Stopped at the old crossroads called Starks Corner which has sadly replaced the old gas station and restaurant. Also sad, it is usually the most expensive places for gas on the always expensive Il. Highway 47.

There is one of the largest Wind Farms I've ever seen located east of Odell, Illinois, stretching from Route 66 all the way past Il-47 for about a mile. Everywhere you look, there are windmills with those huge blades.

This past September, we saw one on a modified truck and it was huge. We've seen a big one near Lucille's in Oklahoma, but I think this is better.

Real good news. There was a sign at the McDonald's in Gibson City that the "McRib is Back." That is REALLY GOOD NEWS, but unfortunately, I had had a double bacon cheeseburger at the BP station in Dwight so was full. I am a REALLY BIG fan of these sandwiches. I didn't see it advertised at any other McDonald's along 47.

Sure Would Have Liked to Have Had One. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 3, 2009

National Road

Finally back at home after 15 days going to and returning from North Carolina where I had Thanksgiving with family.

I did manage to drive a short section of the National Road in Ohio earlier today from Jackson Town to Reynoldsburg. I had planned to drive from west of Zanesville, but it was just too foggy, rainy, and overcast. It finally let up when I got to Jackson Town.

Saw Clark's where I had that excellent chicken dinner and pie (they're famous for it and get lots of Columbus folks driving out for a bite, especially on the weekends.

Lots of neat old homes along the way.

All in all,I definitely like the National Road east of Columbus better than the Ohio stretch west of it.

Drivin' Them Old Roads. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eatin' Good in the Tarheel State-- Part 2

November Our State Magazine.

BANANA PUDDING-- Hill's Barbecue, Winston-Salem

FRIED CHICKEN-- Strickland Dail Dining and Catering, Snow Hill-- It may have been good, but the place was open when we drove to Greenville for the ECU game today, or even when we returned. I was hoping to check it out. Hard to believe they wouldn't be open on a Saturday and especially on game day with all those hungry Pirate fans driving to Dowdey-Ficklin Stadium.

COUNTRY HAM-- Jarrett House, Dillsboro

MACARONI AND CHEESE-- Simmons Soul Food, Charlotte

CORNBREAD-- Bunn's Barbecue, Windsor

SWEET POTATO PIE-- Bob's Barbecue, Creedmoor

Of all of the places listed, the only one I have eaten at is Grady's in Dudley, but I definitely like all these foods.

Gettin' Mighty Hungry. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eatin' Good in the Tarheel State

The November issue of North Carolina's Our State had an article on "Our Favorite Foods" by Bob Garner.

It listed a food and then a good place to eat it. Of course, in NC, declaring a "best Place" is tantamount to fighting words, especially when it comes to the subject of barbecue.

Anyway, here's a list:

COLLARDS-- Bum's Restaurant, Ayden

FRIED OKRA-- Miller's Restaurant, Mocksville

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS-- Old School Mill's Fresh House, Locust

BARBECUE-- Grady's Barbecue, Dudley (the only place on the list I have eaten at. Great bbq, but prices not listed on the menu board.)

COUNTRY-STYLE STEAK-- Riverside Restaurant, Hillsborough

Gettin' Hungry Typing This. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009-- Part 2

More from my drive to North Carolina.


The reason I endured the drive north of Columbus, Ohio, on I-275 was to visit David Wickline's 66 Roadhouse Bar and Grille which has now been open about seven months. I had read about it on the Yahoo Route 66 E-Mail Group.

David has now written two of the best books on Route 66: "Images of 66 Vols. 1 and 2. Both are loaded with pictures and captions of the road. I would suggest anyone taking a drive along the road should have at least Wickline's Vol. 1 and Jerry McClannahan's "E-Z Guide to Route 66."

The 66 Roadhouse is definitely not one of your cookie-cutter TGIFridays, Buffalo Wild Wings, Applebees. (However, I should add that it wouldn't be bad as a chain,) It is located at the end of a small strip mall of businesses and very close to the interstate.

His is a Route 66 enthusiast's nirvana. Anywhere you look, there are shields and pictures of the road.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

TRAFFIC JAMS-- I can attest to two really bad traffic jams that I encountered Thursday and Friday. The first was north of Columbus, Ohio, in I-270. Couldn't get on, couldn't get off and couldn't go anywhere.

That was bad, but the one on I-40 by Raleigh was even worse the next rush hour. I was pleased not to have any jams all the way from Winston-Salem to Durham, but then came Raleigh. Starting at RDU Airport and essentially to where US-70 cuts off by Clayton, it was sit and wait most of the time.

McRIBS-- Quite excited by this, but I saw they had them at Gibson City in Illinois and at the McDonald's west of Zanesville, Ohio. Unfortunately, I had already eaten both times. Evidently, McRibs are not all over the US, because those were the only ones that had them of the few places I drove by where I could see the advertising.

NO SNAPPY LUNCH-- Got off the superslab to go through Andy Griffith's hometown, the forerunner of Mayberry, Mt. Airy, North Carolina. The major goal was to get one of those really tasty porkchop sandwiches at Snappy Lunch on the main street next to Floyd's Barbershop. Andy Taylor mentioned going there for lunch on several episodes.

Parked behind the place in the municipal lot and went to it, only to find they closed at 1:14 on Friday. It was 2:15, so NO PORKCHOP SANDWICHES FOR THE DOG!!! So, remember, if you've got a hankerin' for one of those mouthwatering sandwiches, get there early.

I had to settle for Golden Corral. Oh well, I can think of worse places to eat my sorrows.

Some More to Come. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Arrive in Goldsboro, NC

Arrived at Mom's house last night around 7 PM after two days on the road. I'll have to check how many miles I traveled, but am guessing around a thousand.


Remained around $2.60 all the way through Indiana and Ohio. About $2.80 in West Virginia, $2.95 on the Turnpike. Gas is always at least 20 cents more expensive in West Virginia. Guess it is a coal thing.

Always cheaper in Wytheville, Va., and that was $2.42. The trick is to fill up in Ohio and get across W. Va. before filling up. $2.50 to $2.62 coming across North Carolina.


At least it wasn't rain, but drizzle off and on all the way through Illinois and continuous through Indiana, the first day. Cleared up in Ohio, thankfully.Great weather all yesterday.


Illinois Highway 47 south from Woodstock to Champaign. I-74 east to Indianapolis. I-70 to Columbus and on to Zanesville on Wednesday. Thursday US-40 Zanesville to Cambridge. Then I-77 south to I-74 in NC.

US-52 from Mt. Airy to Winston-Salem. I-40 east to Raleigh and US-70 to Goldsboro.

Home for the Holidays. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Denison, Iowa, on the Lincoln Highway

Did some more research on the town which has much more than just Donna Reed.

Denison is also the childhood home of CLARENCE DUNCAN CHAMBERLIN (1893-1976), the second man to fly solo across the Atlantic and the first to carry passengers.

He was born in Denison at 1434 2nd Avenue South. This home is listed on the NRHP. His father was E. C. Chamberlin who owned a jewelry store. Clarence graduated from Denison High School and Iowa State University (also on Lincoln Highway) and then served in the Army Air Service in World War I.

In April 1927, along with Bert Acosta, he circled New York City for 51 hours and 11 minutes. he also made the first ship-to-shore flight from a vessel 120 miles out to sea. He made the second transatlantic flight behind Lindbergh, but flew farther to Germany.


The Crawford County Courthouse was built in 1904 in the Beaux Arts style.

The Yellow Smoke Park Bridge was built in 1945 and is a bow string pony truss pedestrian bridge located east of town off US-30.

The Park Motel is a well-preserved example of the pre-World War II highway motel and is located where 4th Ave. South goes from one way to two.

Next Time Through, I'll Need to Spend Some More Time Here. --RoadDog

Detroit's Woodward Avenue

The November 12, 2009 Shorpy site had a very detailed view of Detroit's Woodward Avenue where Fort Street joins it.

The Soldier and Sailors Monument is prominently featured along with lots of cars, street cars and pedestrians decked out in city finery. Every male who wasn't in uniform (the photo is circa 1917) wears a hat and suit. Ladies are in dresses and hats as well.

What I like about Shorpy is that you can enlarge the pictures for even closer inspection and it then becomes a real slice right out of history.

There are lots of signs. Some of them:

Hudson's Grows With Detroit
Detroit Creamery Milk Is Health Insurance
Golde Clothes $15
National Clothing $10 $15
Elmer's Suits Furs
Kelly Springfield Tires Made to Make Good
Detroit Opera House Bond's Save $10 Clothes
Henkels Flour Always the Best November 12, 2009 Woodward Avenue 1917

The comments are interesting as well, most saying how the same view today shows how a great US city has fallen.

And US-12 has a Terminus Near Here. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Down Da 66: Sunset Sign Glows Again-- Bridge in Danger--

News of the Road.

1. SUNSET SIGN GLOWS AGAIN-- The Missouri Route 66 Association reports that on November 14th the great old sign at the Sunset Motel in Villa Ridge, outside St. Louis, is once again is lighting the night time sky. Half of the money comes from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.

Last year they did the same with the Donut Drive In sign in St. Louis, near Ted Drewe's.

2. BRIDGE IN DANGER-- It was also reported that Missouri is planning on "swift and complete demolition" of the historical bridge at Times Beach at the Route 66 State Park. It has been condemned as unsafe and instead of repairs, it will come down.

Here's hoping it won't because it will essentially isolate the great museum they have at the park and cut down attendance. Not to mention that this is a bridge that looks like a bridge, not the new ones we have today.

Hitting the Road Tomorrow

The outside Christmas lights and decorations are up so it is time to cruise on down to North Carolina to visit family for Thanksgiving.

Plans call for Il-47 to Champagne, then superslabbin' it to Columbus, Ohio, to get a bite to eat at David Wickline's Route 66 restaurant. Maybe hook up with him, talk old roads, and get him to sign the first "Images of 66."

Hope to hit a few NTN places as well.

Thursday, a drive on the National Road from Zanesville to Cambridge (my favorite stretch) and I-77 to I-40 and US-70 to Goldsboro. If not Thursday, then Friday. You never know where I'll get waylaid by something interesting.

After some great Carolina pit-cooked pulled pork bbq on Saturday, I hope to get out to the ECU-UAB game in Greenville Saturday.

I'll be gone about two weeks.

On the Road Again, Back on the Road Again. --RoadDog

NTN Cruising

This past Saturday, after leaving the Chicago 60s bands concert (New Colony Six, Cryan' Shames, Mauds and Shadows of Knight) at the Mt. Prospect Borders store by the late-great old Randhurst Mall, we went out NTN/Buzztime Cruising to new (to us) sites in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. By the way, the concert was part of the record release party of Bob Stroud's new Rock and Roll Roots Vol. 11 CD with songs like: Little Girl, Candles in the Wind, Summertime Blues, Gimme Gimme Good Lovin', Journey to the Center of the Mind, My Pledge of Love and six others.


Where the old Splinters Sports Bar was. Always thought that was a great name for a sports bar. As in sitting on the beach.

No TVs tuned to NTN, but they were happy to turn one on. No one else playing, but about ten people watching college games. Judging from monthly top ten, they have some players.

Really fine food. I had a 3.4 pound Grand Slam Burger and Liz a Monte Cristo which was almost as good as those at Bennigan's which are THE BEST.


NTN Sitefinder has it about two miles from actual location by the Kohls and Buffalo Grove Road. We drove quite a few miles looking for it, stopping for information and finally called the place.

Really nice looking place. However, no TVs tuned to NTN and when we asked a manager, he said they had the kickboxing sport coming on later that night (about FOUR HOURS later) and they weren't going to change any TVs. We thanked him and took our business elsewhere.


Another goof for NTN sitefinder, but only off a quarter mile, but it still involved some mileage. It is actually on Half Day Road and close to where US-45 and Il-21 split.

It is a Brew Pub and the ceiling in the bar is wooden beamed and three stories high. Again, no NTN on any TV. Don't you think that if a place would spend that much money on the game, they'd have it on at least one TV? However, they did have playmakers out on the bar.

Judging from the leader board, there is not much action. November 14th and only seven players listed on both games. Doubt they will keep it for much longer. Since I was driving, no beer for me even though I really like to try microbrews.

This brings our yearly total of new sites visited this year to 136 and all-time total to 852.

Cruisin' Down the Road and Playing NTN. --RoadDog

Monday, November 16, 2009

Linn-Hebron Cemetery, Illinois

Major Watson, a Revolutionary War veteran, is buried here.

It is located about two miles northwest of the town of Hebron in McHenry County, Illinois and just a few miles from the Wisconsin state line as well.

To get to it, take Illinois Highway 173 west of town, to Johnson Road, go north, and then to Hillside. Actually, I have kept my boat in a barn at a farm very close to the cemetery for the past four years.

Another interesting person buried here is Hebron resident Elmer Bigelow, who won a Medal of Honor in World War II, who died saving his ship. I will also have an entry in my history blog about him.

There is a 2002 website entry devoted to the cemetery with pictures taken just a short time after the place was seriously vandalized with much destruction done to the graves.

In 2007, a referendum was held by the township to cover expenses of the cemetery, estimated at $12,000 a year. The township took over after the cemetery association found itself unable to continue the upkeep. I didn't find out if it passed, but hopefully it did.

How I Get Waylaid. --RoadDog

Revolutionary War Veterans Buried in McHenry and Lake Counties, Illinois-- Part 3

To "Run the Gauntlet" was an Indian custom reserved for prisoners. In it, the prisoner was forced to run down two lines of facing Indians armed with war clubs and tomahawks who attempted to strike them.

I imagine that if you made it through, you were alllowed to live.

Sacketts Harbor is actually spelled Sackets Harbor, just one "t." And, it is located in the western part of the state on Lake Ontario. It was founded by land developed Augustus Sackett in 1801. I'm not sure how the second "t" was dropped. Main Street of town has many 19th century structures and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

It has a protected harbor and was the site of shipbuilding. It was a strategic location and the US Army built fortifications for its protection. Two battles were fought here during the War of 1812. Major Watson was captured at one of these.

I will do an entry on my history blog about the battles.

Next, the Linn-Hebron Cemetery. --RoadDog

Revolutionary War Veterans Buried in Lake and McHenry Counties-- Part 2

A Major Watson was buried in McHenry County in the Linn-Hebron Cemetery, about two miles northwest of Hebron, Illinois, a town that features a water tower with a basketball painted on it honoring the 1952 squad that took the state championship, a real "Hoosiers" story in itself.

Major is the man's actual first name. Too bad he wasn't an officer. "I'd like you to meet Major Major Watson" would have been a good one. I could see that on the "MASH" TV show, Hawkeye would have loved it.

Major Watson was born in Sacketts Harbor, New York November 18th, 1739, so in just two days we'll be celebrating the 272nd anniversary of his birth. He died at age 100 on March 15, 1840, in Walworth County, Wisconsin, and was buried in Illinois. Hebron is just south of Walworth County.

He served under generals George Washington and Lafayette and was at the Battle of Monmouth.

he also served in the War of 1812 and fought at the Battle of Sacketts Harbor, his birthplace. I have to wonder what he thought about that? He was captured and spent time on a British prison ship before being released through the efforts of the president.

I came across some more information in the Tryon Family in America website at website by Wesley Tryon, that mentioned this Major Watson as having a Tryon relative who was his great grandson.

It came from a private conversation with an old woman from Woodstock, Illinois. Major Watson, as a young man, was captured by the Indians and held prisoner. At one point he was made to run the gauntlet and was later adopted by an Indian chief but escaped with the assistance of a fur trader.

He moved to Wisconsin with his daughter, Clarissa (Watson) Downs.

This man sure had an interesting life, and to have lived to be a hundred back then!!!

I'm definitely going to pay his grave a visit.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Revolutionary War Veterans Buried in Lake and McHenry Counties, Illinois-- Part 1

One of the reasons it takes me so long to do these blogs is that I get sidetracked all the time.

While looking up some extra information on William Wallace in the previous post, I came across a site for Revolutionary War veterans buried in Illinois. Considering that Illinois wasn't a state during the war or even a territory of the new country until after the war, you'd think that there would not be a lot of them buried here, but, there were.

This indicates that there was a major push westward of people moving to the frontier. As we know from history, there was. And many were veterans of the war.

We lived from 1974 to 1992 in Lake County and have been in McHenry County (just to the west, ever since. I had to check out those two counties, and, because of my interest in Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway, of course, I had to look into those counties as well.

I found one each buried in Lake and McHenry counties.

No Wonder. --RoadDog

Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery-- Part 5

I guess the next time I go to Springfield, I will have to go over to the cemetery and walk around to look for some of this history, and there sure is a lot of it, above and beyond the Lincoln connection.

SOLDIERS MONUMENT-- erected 1874 and dedicated to 40 officers and enlisted men killed in the Civil War.

JOHN T. STUART-- (1807-1885)-- one of Springfield's first lawyers. Lincoln studied law under him. Served in the Black Hawk War and roomed with Lincoln in Vandalia in 1834. Served two terms as state representative, three terms in US Congress and one term as state senator.

REED C. WADDELL-- (1860-1895)-- folk figure known as "Kid" Waddell, a professional con man with an international reputation. His greatest trick was the Gold Brick Swindle where he passed off bricks plated with gold as solid gold. He earned $250,000 off this over a ten year period.

In the 1890s, he was running this scam in Paris. Five years later, he got into a disagreement with a partner and was shot six times. His body was returned to Springfield. There is an article in Wikipedia about him and how the gold brick scheme worked.

WILLIAM S. WALLACE-- (1802-1867)-- Lincoln family doctor and Mart Todd Lincoln's brother-in-law. Lincoln's son Willie was named after him, William Wallace Lincoln.
Not Finished Yet. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery-- Part 4

Back to the Cemetery for some more interesting burials besides Abraham Lincoln.

STEPHEN T. LOGAN-- (1800-1880) Lincoln's second law partner.

JAMES T. MATTHEWS-- (1818-1890)-- one of Illinois' greatest orators and in early life a close friend of Lincoln. He was a groomsman at Lincoln's wedding. A very popular resident and his funeral in 1890 was said to have rivaled Lincoln's in size.

JOHN ALEXANDER McCLERNARD-- (1812-1900)-- Union major general who also served in the Black Hawk War. Was at Fort Donelson, Shiloh and Vicksburg.

JOHN McCONNELL-- (1824-1890)-- Union brigadier general and originally Colonel of the 5th Illinois Cavalry.

LOUIS MITCHELL-- (1878-1912)-- An associate of the Wright Brothers in the early days of flight. Killed in an air crash in Montgomery, Al., October 23, 1912.

OLD BELL TOWER-- remains of a stone chapel and cemetery office. In the wall is a granite slab upon which Lincoln's coffin rested before it went into the first burial vault.

Six Feet Under Springfield. --DaCoot

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bob Waldmire-- Part 7-- Life is a Long Song

Bob is writing a long farewell letter that will be published in next month's Route 66 Pulse. The Route 66 Alliance plans to put his 1972 VW van on permanent display at a planned Tulsa, Ok. museum. Money will also be given as scholarships to students and there will be an annual prize in his name.

Waldmire earned 2 cents a table for each one he cleaned at his father Ed's Cozy Dog restaurant. He saw cars from all over driving Route 66, which sparked his interest in the road. Then, on an 1962 family vacation, he got hooked on deserts. He found that he could support his nomadic ways with his intricate drawings. His style is described as R. Crumb.

He says he is ready to die and wants three songs played at his funeral: Jethro Tull's "Life is a Long Song," the Doors' Moonlight Ride" and Felix Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer's Night Dream." He will be cremated and the rest of his ashes placed in the family's farm cemetery, in the Pacific Ocean at the Santa Monica Pier, and the rest he wants friends to scatter along Route 66.

To a Man Who Lived Life Exactly As He Wanted. Farewell Ol' Spirit of 66. --RoadDog

Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery

Springfield, Illinois

KOREAN AND VIETNAM WAR MEMORIALS for the state of Illinois are also located in this cemetery.

ROBERT IRWIN-- (1808-1865)-- his is the oldest house still standing in the city.

NELLIE GRANT JONES-- (1855-1922)-- President US Grant's daughter who was married at the White House and lived in England. After her husband died, she remarried.

JOHN LLEWELLYN LEWIS-- (1880-1969)-- American Labor leader, president of the United Mine Workers of America 1920-1960. Founded the Congress of International Organizations in 1938. Organized the United Auto Workers and US Steel Workers. After a long strike in 1946, his UMWA negotiated the first health and retirement plan.

EDWARD BAKER LINCOLN-- (1846-1850) "EDDIE" Lincoln son who died of tuberculosis.

MARY TODD LINCOLN-- (1818-1882)

ROBERT TODD LINCOLN-- (1843-1926) the only son to live to adulthood. On US Grant's staff and at the surrender at Appomattox. President of Pullman
Car Company. Minister to Great Britain. Buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

THOMAS LINCOLN (1853-1871) "Tad" Died of tuberculosis

WILLIAM LINCOLN-- (1850-1862) "Willie" Lincoln's favorite son.

More Burials Coming. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bob Waldmire-- Part 6 "The Last Original Hippie"

I just noticed that the Tribune spelled Bob's last name differently and I looked it up. I have been spelling his last name wrong allthese years. Sorry about that Bob Waldmire. I guess it is sort of a Cutty Shark thing.

Bob has been holding court at his converted school bus. I loved this quote, "Even if I died ten years ago, I can't imagine having lived a fuller life." I don't know of anyone who has enjoyed what he did more than Bob. "I've been hearing from 66er friends and some people I've never heard of. ...It just brings tears to my eyes. If I'd known it was going to be this good, I'd have gotten sick a long time ago."

Most of the time, Bob was out of touch with people. He definitely was not a member of today's connected folk generation. I doubt that he ever had a cell phone or computer. Route 66ers would pass along word of "Bob sightings."

Pixar, in their "Cars" movie, based Fillmore, the Hippie VW Van voiced by George Carlin, on Bob Waldemire. Originally, the name was to be Waldmire, but when Bob found out it would be a toy at McDonald's, being a vegan, he declined.

President of our Illinois Route 66 Association, Cathie Stevanovich summed it up well when she said, "He's Like the last original hippie." If you ever met him, or saw the VW van, you'd have to agree.

From the November 5th Chicago Tribune.

That Bob, Sure Gonna Miss Him. The Road Just Won't Be the Same. --RoadDog

Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery-- Part 1

Sopringfield, Illinois' Oak Ridge Cemetery contains some other interesting burials beside Abraham Lincoln and his family.

GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) MOUND-- where 97 Union soldiers are buried

ISHAM NICHOLAS HAYNIE-- came to Illinois as a boy and worked on a farm to obtain funds to study law. he was a lieutenant in the 6th Illinois during the Mexican War. Afterwards a member of the state legislature.

During the Civil War, he was Colonel of the 48th Illinois and in 1862, became a brigadier general. Fought at Fort Donelson and Shiloh.

ARCHER G. HERNDON-- member of "Long Nine" with Lincoln. State senator in 1836 and founder of the Herndon family in Sangamon County.

WILLIAM H. HERNDON-- Lincoln's law partner.

ELIJAH "MR. SPRINGFIELD" Iles- (1796-1883) built the first log cabin store in Springfield. Invested in land and owned most of today's Springfield at one time. Civic leader and served in the Winnebago and Black Hawk wars. His house has been preserved and is open to the public.

And, I'm Just Beginning. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Florida's Overseas Highway

One of the new All American Highways is located in Florida, running the 127.5 mile stretch of the Florida Keys, ending in Key West. It carries US Route 1.

Much of it was built on the former right-of-way of the Overseas Railroad which was completed in 1912 and either heavily damaged or completely destroyed during the devastating Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.

It was sold to the State of Florida and the road completed in 1938. There are 38 bridges including the famous Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon which is actually 6.79 miles long, but upon completion was called the Eighth Wonder of the World.

In 1982, the 37 original bridges were replaced with wider ones, but the old ones left in place and used for recreational pursuits and fishing.

The whole area is part of Monroe County and locations are given by Mile Markers.

This is probably one of the harder stretches of road I've ever driven. It is the only road through the keys and heavily traveled so congestion is a problem. Then, there is the fantastic scenery. By the time we driven those 127 miles, I am ready for a rest when we arrive in Key West.

Deserving of the New Status. --RoadDog

Five New All-American Roads

The US Transportation Department has named five All-American Roads:

Florida Overseas Highway
Historical Route 66 in Arizona
Maine's Acadia All-American Road Trenton Extension
Harriet Tubman Underground Rail Road Byway in Maryland
Michigan Woodward Avenue (M-1) Automotive Heritage

The All-American Road designation possible under the National Scenic Trail Byways Program established by US Congress in 1991. There are only 31 roads at thiis level.

To become one, an extensive research is done on the road's archaeological, cultural, historical, natural, recreational and scenic qualities. It must also exhibit characteristics of national significance and features that don't exist elsewhere.

From Leisure Group Travel.

Congratulations to These Five Roads. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Official Now-- Western Terminus of Route 66

The Nov. 10th Santa Monica(Ca) Daily Press reported that the Santa Monica Pier has always been considered the unofficial end of Route 66, but now it is the official terminus according to the Route 66 Alliance.

Tomorrow is the road's 83rd anniversary, having been commissioned on November 11, 1926. At 9 AM, there will be a procession of 66 vintage vehicles and motorbikes from Santa Monica Blvd. and Lincoln Avenues to the pier.

At one time, there was a marker at Santa Monica Blvd. and Lincoln Avenue that was thought to be a movie prop. However, it mysteriously disappeared about 50 years ago.

In 1952, the road was dedicated to the memory of Will Rogers and a plaque placed at the park overlooking the pier and the Pacific Coast Highway.

We ended our cross-country Route 66 trip in 2006 at the park overlooking the Pacific and saw a beautiful sunset before driving down to the pier, parking on it and thinking, "Wow, we made it."

At Trail's End. --RoadDog

Monday, November 9, 2009

Two More Illinois Lincoln Highway Gazebos


The October 19th reported that the Lincoln Highway gazebo in Fulton opened and is one of 16 such information centers built or planned in the state. Fulton is at the far west end of the state along the Mississippi River.

One of the four informational panels reflects Fulton's Lincoln Highway heritage. It is located on the corner of 3rd Street and 10th Avenue, twp blocks from the famous windmill and Windmill Cultural Center.


The October 19th Lincoln Way Herald News reported that another gazebo had opened in front of Lincoln Way Central High School. It is similar to the one in Fulton and funded by the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition. There is also an original 1928 Boy Scout Lincoln Highway marker there as well.

Marking and Informing the Old Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

However, they say there are 20 gazebos plnned.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bob Waldmire-- Part 5-- "The Johnny Appleseed of Route 66"

Continuing with the Tribune article.

Colon cancer is claiming him and he might have just a month to live. But he hopes to hang on until November 22nd when he has his final art show at the Cozy Dog in Springfield, Illinois. I would like to be there, but will be in North Carolina with family for Thanksgiving. However, I am hoping to see him this coming week.

His father, Ed Waldmire is said to have perfected the hot dog on a stick at the Cozy Dog after seeing it while stationed in Texas, but that is another story. Only, don't ever call it a "corn dog" around the Cozy. It is a Cozy Dog as you'll soon learn.

Bob said he knew about the cancer ten years ago, but chose to go ahead with his life and ignore it. I doubt that he ever had insurance of any sort living the lifestyle that he did. When Liz and I saw him at the Cozy Dog this last September, something about him just didn't appear to be normal. Others were thinking the same thing. About a month ago, we found out the reason, but didn't say anything about it until the article in the Springfield paper came out last week.

Of course, there was also him saying at the time that he wanted to do one more Route 66 thing and that was to travel the road and locate the final resting spots of all the people who have put their mark on Route 66 over the years.

Goodbye to Route 66's Johnny Appleseed. --RoadDog

Bob Waldmire-- Part 4-- "The Johnny Appleseed of Route 66"

From November 5th Chicago Tribune, which devoted most of a page to Bob, including one of him holding court in that crowded converted school bus he lives in.

Above the picture, a quote from Route 66 author Michael Wallis: "I always called him the Johnny Appleseed of Route 66-- his footprints, his fingerprints are all over the road." Michael sure has a way with words, but that pretty well sums up Bob Waldmire.

"End of the road for Route 66 artist: 'Last original hippie' spent his years on the famed highway; now he's ready to say goodbye." by Steve Schmadeke.

Bob Waldmire spent decades traveling up and down Route 66 in his VW bus and selling his intricate, India-ink artwork which was sometimes colorized. This is how I'll always remember him, selling that unique art. You know when you see a Bob Waldmire piece of art. It definitely requires the old cheaters to come out as, man, that stuff's small and information packed.

I'd often wanted to have him do a RoadDog logo for me in his style, but I guess it won't ever happen now. I wanted a mid-size dog running down the road. However, he would always say that I needed to have a picture of one before he could put his imprint on it.

I finally found one, but after looking at it, he said that he was sure he had seen it before. It turned out to be from a Shelly Graham photo of a dog running down the Ribbon Road in Oklahoma.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cherokee Hills Scenic Byway

The Oct. 13, 2008, Oklahoman reported that this 88-mile scenic byway through the Ozark Mountains in Adair, Cherokee, Delaware and Sequoyah counties in northeastern Oklahoma had become the state's 8th Scenic Byway.

It runs along US Highways 59 and 410 and State Highways 10, 51, 62, 82 and 110.

The Oklahoma Byways Program is a joint effort by the Cherokee Nation, ODOT and the University of Oklahoma. This new one shows the cultural, topographical, and historical features of this part of the state. (I know that I always thought there wasn't anything much to see in Oklahoma until I took my first drive through the state on Route 66 and this is one impressive state!)

Some of the locations along the Cherokee Hills Scenic Byway are the Tahlonteeske Cherokee Courthouse Museum, Murrell Home, Cherokee heritage Center and Cherokee Natural Prison.

It joins the Osage Nation Heritage Trail, Wichita Mountains Byway, Cimarron Heritage Trail, Mountain Pass Scenic Byway, Mountains Gateway Scenic Byway and the Talimena Scenic Drive which is also a National Scenic Byway.

Another Great Drive. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Handsome Harry and Lana Turner

Like I said, I'd never heard this story, so went to good old Wikipedia to get some background.

John Stompanato, Johnny's father and owner of the barbershop, lived from 1890 to 1952. His son Johnny was born in 1925 and died April 4, 1958.

Johnny was also called "Handsome Harry" and "Johnny Stomp" and was quite the ladies man, but was known as being possessive and jealous. He once even pointed a gun at Sean Connery on a movie set.

Lana Turner's daughter Cheryl hear an argument between them getting serious and stabbed Stompanato to death. The courts ruled it justifiable homicide. The Stompanato family later sued Turner for $7 million.

So, go to Cobb's, have a drink, eat some food, and get into some history.

Johnny Stompanato is interred at Woodstock's Oakland Cemetery.

Quite a Story, Definitely ET Worthy. --RoadDog

D. C. Cobbs in Woodstock, Il.

Interesting story about a a party place in Woodstock that we have visited a couple times, but I didn't know this bit of history about the place.

It is just off the square and owned by Daniel Hart who just completed a one-year renovation during which an original interior wall was uncovered. This was the site of the famous Stompanato's Barber Shop.

Fifty years ago, the son of owner John became involved with actress Lana Turner and was stabbed to death by the Turner's 14-year-old daughter Cheryl. I'd never heard this story before. The restaurant has several pictures of Johnny Stompanato.

The walls will be left as they are. Also, the original window openings were found and original 1940s newspapers will be placed in them.

From the November 4th Northwest Herald "Renovation uncovers Woodstock History" by Chris Freeman.

Sex and Sin in the Wood. --RoadDog

Bob Waldmire-- Part 3

The Chicago Tribune today ran an article and excellent video on noted Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire, calling him an icon of the road, which he certainly is.

He reminds me of a person we used to know from Put-in-Bay, Ohio, Charlie Brown. He spent his summers out on the island and winters in the Keys and drove an old Volkswagen van as well. Didn't know if I should be sorry for him, or jealous. But, like Bob, he was one of those fortunate enough to be able to spend his life doing exactly what he wanted to do and when he wanted to do it.

Anyway, here is the place to see the video and article.,0,7220519.story

Hoping to get to see him next week.

We'll Sure Miss Bob. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Civil War Monument-- Woodstock, Illinois

Along with the Spring House and gazebo, the most noticeable structure in Woodstock's historical square is this monument, originally dedicated in 1909 in quite a celebration with 3,000 in attendance.

Yesterday, Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager rededicated it in front of about 25 people, including myself and wife Liz, on it's 100th anniversary. The grandson and great grandson of the monument's maker were also there and will be in charge of working on repairs once the $10,000 is raised.

There was a nice article in the Northwest Herald about it by Diana Sroka.

More on it at my Civil War Blog:

And the Weather Was Reasonable for This Time of the Year. --RoadDog

More to Northwest Illinois Than Galena- Part 2

Another place of interest in the area is the Mississippi Palisades State Park north of Savanna where the Apple River flows into the Mississippi offering wonderful views of the Mississippi River and valley.

To the north, in Hanover, is Rocky Waters Vineyard and Winery.

Ms. Souter suggest Harbor Cafe & Pizzeria in Fulton and Domenic and Maria's in Savanna.

I'd also like to recommend the drive from Freeport , Illinois, west to Dubuque, Iowa, along the US Grant Highway, US-20. Rolling hills and once you get to Elizabeth, you follow ridges with spectacular views into valleys. It just keeps getting better as you proceed. I count this as one of my most favorite drives anywhere in the country.

Anyone who thinks as Illinois as being flat will change their minds on this road.

Great Area to Visit. --RoadDog

A Drive Along Illinois Route 120

Some favorite places on Il-120 just east of Woodstock which is at the western terminus of the road.

These occur from where the road takes a 90 degree turn, probably five miles east of town.

THE PERFECT FARM-- right at the intersection, there is what I call the ideal farm. Wooden fences all over the place, a stone fence directly in front of the house, horses, perfectly-kept red wooden barns.

GOAT HILL-- right off the road, there is a hill with a lot of goats and goat toys. Always fun to see what they're up to. Has to be goat nirvana. If I were a goat, I'd want to be here.

LEANING SILO OF WOODSTOCK-- Old farm that is falling apart, just east of the LONE WOLF on north side of road. The wooden barn in sad shape and its silo leaning over more and more every year. Pisa may have the Tower, but we have the Silo. Hard to see when trees have leaves.

LONE WOLF-- a golf place that was featured in USA Today as one of the top miniature golf places in the US. They have a stone outcrop with a wolf statue on the top "howling at the moon."

SADLY, NO MORE OLD STONE FARMHOUSE-- A short distance from the LONE WOLF, there was a neat Italianate white stone farmhouse which had to date from the late 1800s which had been abandoned. There was a fire there recently and it has been torn down. You have to see the neat old stuff as soon as you can before they're gone.

MARIAN CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL-- Catholic school and playing in the second round of the state football playoffs. Built 1959 so celebrating 50th anniversary. 734 students

TRUCK IN THE SKY-- a short way from Marian is a truck repair place with a truck up on a pole.

Nice Drive And This Is Only About Five Miles. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bob Waldmire-- Part 2

Like I said in the last post, this past September, we spent several days in Springfield, Il., on our way back from the Missouri Motor Tour.

We got up with the couple from Australia who are some of the biggest fans of the road around at the Cozy Dog and they had arranged to meet with Bob.

At the time, we thought there was something definitely not right about him. He just wasn't the usual Bob. For one thing, his beard and hair was trimmed and he looked skinnier and a bit haggard as well.

Talked with him awhile as the place was closing. He siaid that one last thing he wanted to do was write the story of where famous Route 66 folks are buried. That made us wonder even more about his health.

Well. Sure Glad We Got a Chance to Meet Him. --RoadDog

Bob Waldmire

I'm very sad to learn what we expected back as far as this past September, and that is that Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire will not be with us much longer. We're thinking about paying a last visit to him in Springfield, Illinois, next week.

We did not know him personally, but have talked with him many times over the years.

I'll never forget the time we were at his stand at the Springfield, Illinois, Mother Road Festival a few years ago when he asked if we would watch his stuff. We figured he had to take a bathroom break or get a bite to eat. Like I said, we didn't know him that well.

For him to leave all his stuff with people he didn't know is just Bob's way. Well, we waited and waited and after awhile were wondering where he was. Some people came by to say Bob was walking around to other booths and enjoying the sights and sounds. Some way to run a business.

Finally, a guy who really knew Bob came by and we were able to leave him in charge.

That Bob!!

I was going to have him draw a RoadDog for me, but guess that won't happen now.

He is the "REAL SPIRIT of Route 66."

Glad We Got to Meet Him. --RoadDog

Old News, But... It's a Preservation Thing

Back on December 5, 2008, Hampton Hotels announced their list of 9 landmarks to be restored during 2009.

This is a wonderful thing that a corporation is doing, showing an interest in things past, something they have been doing for quite some time. This is their Save-a-Landmark campaign.

People were allowed to vote for 18 days between November 12 to Nov. 30th. They received 45,000 votes to elect the nine landmarks.


PORTLAND OBSERVATORY-- Portland, Maine-- built 1807 with grand views of the harbor
MAYOWOOD-- Rochester, Mn.-- estate from 1911 to 1938 founded by Dr. Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of the Mayo Clinic.

NEON MUSEUM-- Las Vegas-- "collecting, preserving and exhibiting neon signs."
ROBERT FROST FARM-- Derry, NY-- many of his poems attributed to his Derry years where he lived 1901-1911.
TOWN OF MAYBERRY OLD CITY JAIL-- Mount Airy, NC (Andy Griffith's home town which he based the fictional TV Mayberry on)

RAIL DEPOT MUSEUM-- Troutdale, Oregon, 1907
WASHINGTON HOUSE-- Two Rivers, Wi.-- Ed Bennett's Ice Cream Parlor considered to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae.
HISTORIC ATLAS THEATER-- Cheyenne, Wy-- building there since 1887, converted to theater in 1908.

A Salute to Hampton Inns!! --RoadDog

More to Northwest Illinois Than Galena-- Part 1

The August 2nd Chicago Tribune Travel Section had an article by Janet Souter about other places you can go in northwestern Illinois besides the premier attraction, Galena.

Of course, Liz and I are very fond of Galena, having gone there for our honeymoon in 1973 and have been back many times since then. However, Ms. Souter is very correct when she says that "if you drive the back roads, you won't be sorry."

She wrote at length about the City of Fulton which is very proud of its Dutch heritage and on the Mississippi River with its 90 foot windmill, De Immigrant, standing tall and proud on the levee. It was built in the Netherlands and shipped to Fulton where Dutch craftsmen and masons rebuilt it. It is a working mill grinding grain.

Then, there's Heritage Canyon where you'll find a working 1840s village sitting in a 12 acre quarry. She goes into quite some detail on this attraction.

What she didn't mention was the fact that Fulton is on the Lincoln Highway, the nation's first transcontinental highway dating to 1913. Also, there is a wonderful old 1950s mom and pop motel called the Pines south of town as well.

In May Fulton celebrates its heritage with Dutch Days.

"After Galena, consider some back-road charms"

More to Come. --RoadDog

Illinois Route 120-- Part 2

Continuing with today's Il-120 looking at maps in the Illinois Digital Collection.

1922-- Still the only road in the area and now shown as all hard surface or oiled.

1924-- Now, there were many more roads in the Lake and McHenry counties area. This is the first time that the number 20 appears on the stretch as it is now called SBI-20 or Il-20.


A solid heavy line is now classified as PAVED: concrete, brick, or macadam (interesting that asphalt would not be listed.

A broken black line indicates improved roads: gravel, crushed stone or oiled dirt

There was even a single black line indicating "Unimportant Roads."

Roads under construction were also shown.


Il-20 (and they were using the road number inside the state outlines then, something I wish we could go back to instead of the generic squares we have now) is shown as going through the towns and villages of Waukegan, Wilson, Grays Lake, Hainesville, Volo, McHenry and Woodstock.

The road is paved Waukegan to Il-42, then shown as improved from Il-42 to Il-21. Then paved Il-21 to Volo. It is improved west of Volo for about 1.5 miles then under construction to just east of Woodstock.

Major Road Improvements Going On. --RoadDog

Monday, November 2, 2009

And, Speaking of Woodstock and Illinois Hwy. 120

I have been looking at the development of roads and highways in Lake and McHenry counties on the Illinois Digital Archives which has a series of Illinois road maps dating back to 1917. I find the easiest way to access it at the top of the Route 66 Association of Illinois site page. I love old maps, especially noting changes over the years.

Roads I'm particularly interested in are Il-120, Il. 173, US-20, US-12, Fairfield and Rollins roads. If I ever get around to figuring out how to get techno savvy (don't hold your breath), I'd like to feature these roads with pictures, information, and interesting places to visit.

Today, Illinois Highway 120, Il-120, runs from Waukegan to Woodstock. We drive it from west of McHenry when we go to Woodstock. One of the prettier drives anywhere.


From 1917 to 1922 it was shown and was the only marked route in the area.

1917-- TOWNS: Waukegan, Warrenton (today's Gurnee), Hainesville, Volo, McHenry and Woodstock. Listed only as a marked route, but nothing as far as to its name.

1921-- hard or oiled Waukegan to Volo. Dirt west of Volo through McHenry and mostly dirt to Woodstock.

On both maps, there were no other roads anywhere near this one.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Woodstock, Illinois

Tomorrow, I am going to the historic Woodstock Square for the rededication of the Union soldier monument. It was first dedicated November 3, 1909. This will also be a fundraising events because, after 100 years, repairs are necessary. It honors the 330 men from McHenry County who died during the war, almost a third from disease. (More in my Civil War Blog.)

Of course, this square, dating to the 1840s, is a real jewel. During the summer and fall, lots of events take place here. Then, Christmas time, the square is ablaze with lights.

Much of the movie "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray was filmed here. Ever since, they have had an annual Groundhog Day celebration lasting for a week.

Well Worth a Check Out. --RoadDog

Cruising North Carolina

Cathy Yerges had an article last year in the Articles-Heaven site called "Taking a Drive Through North Carolina" in which she gave a short account of various drives you can take in the western part of the state.

POTTERY ROAD SCENIC ROUTE-- 14 potteries on the route, 80 nearby (and I didn't know NC had that many potteries, must be good clay.

BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY-- the famous. Visiting family in NC for Thanksgiving this year and might just take a run on it for a bit. No leaves so can see more.



BLACK MOUNTAIN RAG-- named for an old fiddle song, lots of twists and hairpin turns.




Makes You Want to Know More. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cross Country Army Convoy-- 1919-- Part 2

An Army publicity officer preceded the convoy, lining up places to stop and publicizing the event.

Another goal of the convoy was to determine how well troops, artillery and supplies could be moved from coast to coast. For the first time, this group contained only vehicles and no horses.

His father often told stories of the trip. Bill Doran is one of only three living children of the twelve commissioned officers.

Craig Harmon, founder and director of the Lincoln Highway National Museum and Archives in Ohio organized the parade procession.

The original convoy consisted of 61 vehicles and 279 men as well as Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower. His experiences here and later during World War II led to his interstate system.

Pictures accompanied the article. One movie showed them moving along. Another showed an upside down vehicle. Others had lots of dust from the unpaved roads. There was also one of Lt. Doran.

Quite an Undertaking. --RoadDog