Monday, March 30, 2009

Here at Folly Beach, SC

Decided to get one day at the beach in before heading home to the 40 degree weather.

Sitting here on the balcony of the Holiday Inn on the fifth floor, typing and watching the waves come ashore about 150 yards away. Listening to 1340 AM, the "Boardwalk" as they play Beach Music. Right now, it's the Drifters' "Count His Tears."


It's a small barrier island south of Charleston, with the name folly coming from old English meaning an area of thick foliate.

During the Civil War, the island was temporary home to 20,000 Union troops trying to capture Charleston.

Property at Folly Beach stayed cheap for a long time because it had been "tainted" by the Yankees. As a matter of fact, in 1942, Edward Seabrook, Sr. bought the whole island (all 1000 acres) for just $5,000.

In the late 1600s, while Charleston was being established, Folly Island and the surrounding islands were occupied by 19 different Indian tribes.


## George Gershwin wrote the music for Porgy and Bess at his home on West Arctic Avenue in 193.

## The first telephone on the island was in 1946 and street lights were installed in 1948.

## At midnight on September 21, 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit Folly Beach. Mandatory evacuation had been ordered the day before, fortunately, as 130-150 mph winds hammered the coast.

It Would be Folly to Remain for a Hurricane. --RoadDog

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Doing the Coastal Thing

Driving quite a bit today on US-21 and US-17. two major coastal roads in this area.

Rode out to Beaufort, SC, pronounced Beu-fort and on out to Folly Beach, but decided it was too windy and too late to fork over the $129 to spend a night at the Holiday Inn, which is the only motel on the beach.

Went downtown to Charleston, SC, to play NTN at the Silver Dollar on King Street, which bills itself as one of the world's great bars. but they weren't open yet at 3:30 PM.

Then, drove out to North Charleston on I-26 and played NTN-Buzztime at BW3 and Centre Pointe Bar. Saw Donovan's up on top twenty several times.

Gas has dropped a few cents since Friday, to $1.84. Highs around $1.90.

On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Did Our Route 66 Thing-- Part 7-- America's Best Value Inn

We took the superslab, I-55, from Springfield to Litchfield. There is not a lot to see along this stretch that you can't see from the interstate and that would be Art's Motel and Restaurant (and newly redone sign) and the Our Lady of the Highways.

Checked into America's Best Value Inn in Litchfield. This is where we usually stay when in town. It used to be a Best Western in the sixties and Liz's family stayed there on their trips to visit Frances' family in Independence, Missouri. She has memories of the swimming pool.

Her parents would often eat at the Gardens next door. Of course, Amby would have several high balls.

We definitely weren't happy last June to find they didn't have the reservations we'd made several months in advance for the Route 66 Festival. They did have one room left, so gave it to us at a higher price and upstairs on the second floor. As we get older, jaunts up the stairs with luggage is less and less fun.

It is right across the old four-lane 66 from the well-known Ariston and used to be right next to the famous Gardens restaurant, a long-time 66 fixture until torn down a few years back for a............WALGREEN'S!!!! Thanks, guys.

Off to Shaw's to Slake Our Thirst. --RoadDog

Monday, March 23, 2009

Did Our Route 66 Thing-- Part 6-- COZY DOG and That Darn Bridge

Prices at the Cozy Dog Now and Back Then.

Two Cozy Dogs and half a large fry is plenty enough to fill you up.

I also picked up a free CD pen while there.

Above the book for people to write their names, saw a menu with prices from a long while back. How long, I couldn't find out. I asked one of the two people there and she said she had no idea.

Anyway, here's a comparison.


Cozy Dog 15 cents-- $1.85
Hamburger 20 cents-- $2.10
Cheeseburger 25 cents-- $2.60
Fries 15 cents-- sm $1.55 large $3.10
Coke 10 cents-- sm $1.45 med $1.55 large $1.85


I forgot to mention that in Pontiac, we went right to the Il-4 bridge that the Weisses found some time back. Until the last few times we'd visited it, it was a hit-or-miss and then a lot of looking to find it. I finally did figure out where it was, however. But now, anyone can find it right away because of the new and improved signage.

Even though the bridge had to be replaced, the state did a great job and it looks the same. The original end posts, however, were kept. The one with the Route 4 logo (Route 66 replaced this road) was repainted carefully by John and Lenore as it was quite faded.

Impressive job on that old bridge.

On to Litchfield. --RoadDog

Did Our Route 66 Thing-- Part 5-- COZY DOG II

As I've said before, I'm not sure if I like a Cozy Dog or their fries better. They're both special in their own way. Then, there's the special Cozy Dog salt you put on the fries. The fries are always made fresh as well. None of that store-bought stuff for their customers.

A properly dressed CD for me has mustard and raw onions. The cook said the onions are bought at a local market and fresh peeled every day. I used to love onions, but, as I get older find they are getting hotter. Even Vidalia onions are a bit hot now. For some reason, the onions at the CD are never hot, so I load them on.

Another thing I like about the Cozy, is that you can get a shot of cherry in your pop. On that subject, when ordering something to drink, go the extra 10 cents and get a medium instead of a small. Their smalls are really small. You do get free refills for the price.

We sat at the "Liars Table," so named for the regulars who sit there in the mornings and have signed their names on the top. It used to be the smoke table for the clouds hanging over it before the state went smokeless.

Next, Prices Back Then and Now. --RoadDog

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Did Our Route 66 Thing-- Part 4 COZY DOG

When is a Dog, Just not a DOG?

When it is a COZY DOG.

Just had to get our fix. And here we were, ground zero for those cornmeal-coated hot dogs and fries, and featuring one of the great Route 66 reading libraries anywhere.

Special today was a Cozy Dig for 15 cents, well, that was the regular price a lot of years ago, probably when Ray Kroc was selling his burgers for that price.

We got the 4 Cozy Dogs and large fry for $8.95. That's a good deal as a Cozy Dog today costs $1.85 and a large fry is $3.10. You can also get 6 Cozy Dogs for $9.25.

They were quite busy, and , of course, will not make Cozies in advance, just when you order them. Went to the magazine library and got a couple Federation Newses and a New Mexico Route 66 magazine after taking a quick look at the souvenirs.

Read about the Bieleckis being on the road.

Anticipation--It's Slow GFood. --RoadDog

Did Our Route 66 Thing-- Part 3

On Down the Road.

LINCOLN-- Sad to see the Tropics standing there on that corner and still closed. Don't even think about it CVS and Walgreen's. Tall Lincoln is still sitting right across 66 from the Tropics and still reading his book after all those years in Divernon.

BROADWELL-- We were looking at the new picture of the old Pig Hip and, upon getting ready to drive away, saw a car pull up by the road and it was none other than the Old Coot on Route 66 and his young bride, Fran. That it would be none other than Ernie Edwards.

They had been out for a drive to Lincoln where they like to watch the deer at a park. They survived the winter and Ernie was just using a cane. He's looking great for 90+. Didn't get out of the car to talk as we were running behind time and, anytime you get to talking with Ernie, it can be a l-o-n-g talk. Fran said that tourism is picking up as we get into spring.

SPRINGFIELD-- Took I-55 around it to the south side as we had a Cozy Attack. The huge new Wal Mart is open, AND, even better, there is a Golden Corral by it. We've grown quite fond of these places while on the road.

It appears that an old Route 66 bar that's been there from the 1930s, the Sunset Inn, is closed. Nothing elegant, but lots of friendly folks and good conversation.

Next, Gettin' Cozy. --RoadDog

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Did Our Route 66 Thing-- Part 2

Went past the old site of the Ballard Elevator south of Chenoa. Still miss that big old thing standing there all by its lonesome. Nothing there but a little train structure with the name Ballard on it.

Took I-55 around Bloomington-Normal as usual. It will be nice when these two cities accept their 66 Heritage like Pontiac, Lincoln, and Atlanta. And that area north of the towns through the residential section is confusing.

Stopped at Funk's Grove. That road should be graded and something big put some REALLY BIG RUTS beside it. Bought a Rt 66 soup bowl and talked with the lady who is Funk by marriage. They just shut down sap-gathering a couple days ago and had a better than average collection. NO MAPLE CANDY, though!!!

Of course, in the "town" of Funk's Grove, we always like the train station and general store.

Atlanta is always a drive through, despite that horrendously-ugly water tower. I never was a smiley face fan. The Palms (Grill or Cafe?) looks like it is about ready to open. The last time I looked inside, there was a dirt floor. The counter, stools, tables and chairs are in place.

Tall Paul was still standing there with his giant hot dog.

Ernie, Fran, and Cozy Up Next. --RoadDog

Did Our Route 66 Thing

Always good to get back on Route 66, regardless of how many times we've driven it and we have done the stretch between Dwight and Springfield many, many times, and that stretch to St. Louis a lot as well.

Thursday, it took a bit longer to get to Dwight thanks to our catching just about every possible stoplight imaginable. I figure we lost about twenty minutes waiting.

Took the 66 bypass around Dwight, remarking how disappointed we are that Smaterjax (old Fedderson's) did away with all the automotive stuff inside, especially that complete set of Illinois license plates from the 1020s to 1980s all with the same numbers and letters. That was impressive. We would have eaten lunch there, but not anymore.

Took the old alignment through Odell. Liz especially likes the tunnel. No one was at the Standard station.

Pontiac has a lot of new signage for all the 66 alignments, one goes right through the square. Unfortunately, the Downtowner Motel is still closed. There is a new Lincoln statue with him leaning up against a fence by that magnificent court house which gets my vote for most impressive courthouse along Route 66.

More Mothering Coming. --RoadDog

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Short History of Carl Fisher

Also from the Feb. 17th East Hampton and Southampton Press.

Carl Fisher was born in Greenburg, Indiana, in 1874 and lived in poverty with his family. Always the businessman, he opened a bicycle shop and later one of the first automobile dealerships in Indianapolis.

He got a design for auto headlights and founded the Prest-O-Lite Company and when he sold it, he became a millionaire.

he then built the Indianapolis Speedway and, in 1913, started the Lincoln Highway connecting the east and west coasts. Soon after, his Dixie Highway connected the US north and south.

While visiting Miami, he bought swampland to the east, cleared and dredged 200 acres and built hotels, shops and night clubs. In 1915, Miami Beach was incorporated.

By 1925, Mr. Fisher was worth $20 million.

Then, Montauk.

Quite the Guy, This Carl Fisher. --RoadDog

Lincoln and Dixie Highway's Carl Fisher

Carl Fisher was a man with huge dreams who was not afraid to act on them. I already knew about the two highways mentioned, the Indianapolis Speedway, and Miami Beach, but I didn't know about Montauk, New York, which, according to Tom Clavin in the Feb. 17th East Hampton Press and Southampton Press, he was planning on turning into the Miami Beach of the north.

In 1925, he built the 200-room Montauk Manor as a residence for wealthy vacationers to launch his plans. It had a ballroom, international restaurant and was located on top of Signal Hill with sweeping views of the ocean.

It still stands today as a 140 condo apartment structure. It is one of thirty buildings Fisher had constructed in Montauk that remain.

Fisher formed the Montauk Beach Development Corporation and bought 10,000 acres for $25 million and then spent another $7 million developing it. During World War II, Montauk Manor became barracks for enlisted servicemen at the nearby torpedo testing facility. That would be ONE NICE barrack.

Quite the Entrepreneur, This Fisher. --RoadDog

Hitting the Mother Road Today

Liz and I will be traveling Route 66 today from Dwight to, perhaps Litchfield, Illinois, perhaps even St. Louis. You just never know how long it takes to cruise the road. There's always something new to see and do.

Might even get to Hamel and visit Scottie's.

Also, always interesting to see how things have changed for better or worse. Thinking Cozy Dogs right now, but who knows? Sirup, anyone?

Just Hope It Doesn't Hit Back. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Big Party in Pontiac, Illinois

Actually, it's going to be four celebrations in one, running four days, June 25 to June 28. Heritage Days, usually in August, and the Hang Loose Car Show and Cruise Night will be moved to coincide with the Walldogs painting 17 murals around town.

These murals will deal with themes ranging from Pontiac's heritage, the Vermillion River, Route 66, Harriet Humiston, and the Interurban Railroad.

March 9th Bloomington Pantagraph

Sounds Like a Good Time. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Corporate Renaming in Chicagoland

Believe me, I don't much care for it. And, its happening a whole lot here in Chicagoland.

Here is a partial (or perhaps complete list of "New Names" in Chicagoland (Chicago and surrounding area). The original names below.

Willis Tower
United Center
All State Arena
Aon Center
US Cellular Field
James R. Thompson Center (OK, not corporate. Former governor)
Ryan Field (Northwestern Wildcats football)
Playboy Building (wait, now Palmolive Building)


Sears Tower
Chicago Stadium
Rosemont Horizon
Standard Oil Building
Comiskey Park
State of Illinois Center
Dyche Stadium
Will the real Palmolive Building Please Stand Up

What Next, the John Hancock Center Becomes the Crooked CEO Lair? --RoadDog

Ain't No Sears Tower Any More

Next time you're in Chicago, don't go looking to visit the tallest building in North America (once tallest in the world), the Sears Tower. The building's still here, but the name is now the Willis Tower (what was that old sitcom?)

This London-based insurance brokerage company is not well-known here in the US, but will get some name recognition now.

However, I will continue calling it the Sears Tower. After all, it's is still Comiskey Park to me.

I must admit, also, I'm not much of a fan of anything corporate these days.

Visit the Willis Tower Just Doesn't Seem Right. --RoadDog

Monday, March 16, 2009

OK, I Admit I Like McDonald's

I know a lot of road folk sometimes tend to put down the ubiquitous McDonald's stores, seemingly in every town.

But, I have to admit liking their Dollar Menu. Their replacement for the old double cheeseburger, the McDouble (with one piece of cheese instead of two, is still as good. Then, there are the great sundaes and side salad. Those Newman dressings are outstanding. I especially like the lowfat Balsemic.

The McDonald's by us in Fox Lake, Illinois, also has copies of the Chicago Tribune for 25 cents (regular price 75 cents) Monday to Saturday.

I like their new McCafe coffees, especially the free 8-ouncers on Mondays.

Then there is that McRIB SANDWICH. Wish they had it all the time, but, then, maybe that's not a good idea.

Get Me to a McDonald's. --RoadDog

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Neat, But Too Rich for Me-- Bluffton, SC

An article in the January 30, 2009, USA Today, about Bluffton, South Carolina, which is referred to as one of the oldest second-home destinations in the US. And now, it is becoming MORE of a bargain, if you call $600,000, or $459,995 a bargain.

As nearby Hilton Head built up, the one-square mile Bluffton realized money was to be made, and began incorporating nearby areas and now there are 54 square miles. Population has grown from 400 to about 15,000.

Our economic woes have dropped prices on lots and homes.


OLD TOWN-- the original square mile town by the river.

PALMETTO BLUFF-- over 20,000 acres, low-density, and only 2,900 homes allowed for the very rich. Home sites begin at $300,000 and homes run from $1.19 million to $4.95 million. Now we know where all those hedge fund operators, investment bankers and stock market folks bought their second homes.

HAMPTON HALL-- probably the most affordable with homes going from $400,00 to $800,000. Still TOO much.

Definitely the LAND OF THE RICH FOLKS.
OF INTEREST-- In 1844, "The Bluffton Movement" started as a protest against Federal taxes and that led to the secession movement and South Carolina became the first state to leave the Union before the Civil War.

Way Too Much Dough for Me. --RoadDog

Friday, March 13, 2009

Top NEW American Travel Spots

Forbes Traveler has an interesting list of new historic and environmental sites to visit in the United States.

They are:




WASHINGTON PALACE-- Honolulu, Hawaii


JOSIAH HENSON SITE-- Bethesda, Md-- His 1849 autobiography inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

SIXTEENTH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH-- Birmingham, Alabama, a rallying point of Civil Rights marches.

SKYLINE DRIVE-- Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

FORTY ACRES-- Delano, California-- headquarters of United Farm Workers.

Always Great to Have New Places to Visit. --RoadDog

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Top Five NTN Places Last Trip-- Honorable Mention

Our quest for warmth to the Florida Panhandle also had two places I would put in the Honorable Mention category. Both had the possibility of being really GREAT PLACES, but didn't make the cut because of problems.

CALYPSO-- Panama City Beach-- When we found a motel right across the street, we were especially excited, but, then, reality.

Even with more TVs than we have seen in most restaurant/bars, none were ever tuned into any Buzztime stations at any time we went inside. I doubt that they will be keeping NTN/Buzztime much longer. The first night, they were having that wrestling/boxing fight, but they did turn one TV on in the bar. The second time we went in, the bartender told us we could only play it in the restaurant. In the restaurant, they said we could only play it in the bar. The bartender wouldn't turn it on, so we left. We did get to play it in the bar one time.

Too bad because they also had $1 pints of Coors Light and $4 pitchers every day, and, it was right across the street from where we were staying. A great combination, but we only played three times instead of daily (we were there nine days).

PINEAPPLE WILLY'S-- Panama City Beach-- One of the major hot spots in town, and no doubt packed now that the Spring Breakers are in town. However, NTN was moved out to the Pier Bar and that was open for a couple weeks when we were there.

This could be a great spot to play NTN, though, as you'll be overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Playing NTN with a water view, that's great.

Could Be Great NTN Spots. --RoadDog

Top 5 NTN Sites from Last Trip

I finally got around to listing my TOP FIVE NEW NTN/BUZZTIME sites from the Jan-Feb trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. These were unique places that I am very likely to visit again.

#5. LEGENDS-- Dothan, Alabama-- In a strip mall. Very friendly patrons and bartenders. And, you DON'T need to be a member to play. Most NTN places in town have memberships because of ABC (serving alcohol) requirements.

#4. THIRSTY GOAT-- Port St. Joe, Florida-- very small and in an old hotel dating back to 1900. They don't open until 4 PM. We were too early, but they let us play anyway.

#3. MANGO MARLEY'S-- Mexico Beach, Florida-- Your traditional Beach Bar from decor, bar, and picnic table dining. Right across the street from the Gulf. Featuring "Florabbean" food and good times. Good name as well.

#2. ARCHIE & CLYDE'S ROCA BAR-- Newburgh, Indiana-- Besides the great name (who calls a place a Roca Bar, and what is a roca anyway?) They're carrying on a tradition dating back to the 1950s with an earlier pizza place in nearby Evansville.


#1. JOE'S CORNER BAR-- Panama City, Florida-- This is a "locals" place and, if you like a "Cheers" kind of a place, this is it. They just got NTN and are already starting to get a good base of players. This is the only one of the top five places where others were playing the game. Lots of friendly folks and bartenders.

And, as the bartender from Buffalo Wild Wings said, they have the best wings in the area. Definitely try the blu cheese dressing with them. Homemade and the best I've ever had.

These were out of 16 new places we went to on the trip.

NTNing Down Da Road. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Route 66 Endangered

This month's Smithsonian Magazine listed "Ten Must-See Endangered Cultural Treasures, and one of them was good old Route 66. Personally, I'm not sure how endangered it is overall, but we definitely lose parts of it as time goes by.

The writer, Megan Gambino, said that John Steinbeck had called it the "mother road" in The Grapes of Wrath, but now it was "more of an impoverished great grand-mother." It will turn 83 this year, but is "not aging gracefully. Derelict gas stations, restaurants and trading posts, often vandalized, line its rural stretches, their neon signs long since dimmed. Developers are bulldozing quirky motels to make room for generic high-rises."

Sure, that is happening in areas, but, the opposite is also happening. Some of the motels and gas stations have been lovingly restored. New places, like Pops in Oklahoma, are opening.

However, any publicity for the old road is greatly appreciated by those of us who enjoy its charm and miles.

I'll Continue With the Article. --RoadDog

On Moving Day-- Yuck!!-- Part 3

Places we've lived since getting married .

DES PLAINES, ILLINOIS-- apartment off Golf Road near Golf Mill. I moved in at the beginning of August and Liz later after we were married in Dekalb, Illinois. Lived here 1973-1974. I was working at the Bonanza Sirloin Pit in Buffalo Grove and Liz at General Finance Corporation in Evanston when we moved in. A few days before the wedding, I got a job teaching in Round Lake, Illinois, and made that drive every day. One year.

VERNON HILLS, ILLINOIS-- apartment off US-45 (1974-1975). Moved to be closer to Round Lake. Liz still working in Evanston. One year.

ROUND LAKE BEACH, ILLINOIS-- our first house (1975-1992). Liz got a job teaching in Round Lake as well, thanks to our builder. Bought a Fairfield home on an oversized lot for $33,000 with help from my parents with deposit. We went FHA and they really made us jump through the hoops to get the loan, something obviously not done by lenders the last several years. We had this house built for us. Seventeen years.

We got spoiled with our commutes which were only a few miles.

SPRING GROVE, ILLINOIS-- our second and present house (1992 to 2009)-- Round Lake was getting too large and congested, plus, needed more room. Wanted a house on the Chain of Lakes, but couldn't afford to build what we wanted by the water. Found a lot fitting our needs in a subdivision in Spring Grove and designed our house, based on different things we liked from other homes we'd seen. About a ten mile commute until we retired in 2006. Seventeen years. This November, we'll break the previous record for length.

Hopin' to Stay Put, But, With Taxes getting Out of Hand, I Don't Know. --RoadDog

Monday, March 9, 2009

Atlantic Beach, SC-- Struggling to Survive-- Part 2

Just 390 people live in town. Many are trying to fight the town's being swallowed up by North Myrtle Beach to the north and Myrtle Beach to the south.


Atlantic Beach started out in the 1930s when a black man named George Tyson bought two tracts of ocean-front land so that other blacks could enjoy the ocean during the Jim Crow law South days. Blacks were not allowed on white beaches.

When he could no longer afford the land, he sold to a group of blacks from North and South Carolina who split the property into property for hotels, clubs and summer homes. After WW II, many black doctors, lawyers, and other professionals came here as did former soldiers when they were building the air force base.

There were bumper cars, a merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel and bars. Restaurants and businesses lined the main street. Juke boxes played the great soul music that became the basis of today East Coast Beach Music that is so popular today. The Pavilion was very popular as well.

When the Jim Crow laws started dying in the 1960s, blacks started going to Myrtle Beach, the "luster of the Black Pearl began to fade. Absentee landlords let their property crumble, and corruption moved in." Crime and drugs flourished.

The future of this town looks very grim indeed.

I know that Liz and I accidentally ended up in this community the first time we came to the Grand Strand area, and beat a hasty retreat out of it. We were very frightened and have never been back.

Back in the 90s, a movie called "The Shag" was made about Beach Music, and the Atlantic Beach Pavilion was used for the dance scenes.

Let's Hope They are Able to Come Up with a Solution to the Problems. It Would Be a Shame to Let This Part of History Fade Away. --RoadDog

Looking at the States and Towns I've Lived In

I was born in North Carolina and lived there eight years. I lived for a half a year in Jacksonville, Florida. Then back to North Carolina for a year and a half. Then with the exception of a year, I've lived in Illinois.

That would be about 46 years in the Land of Lincoln.

Towns I have lived in:

Goldsboro, North Carolina-- Wayne County
Greenville, North Carolina-- Pitt County
Jacksonville, Florida-- Duval County?
Rolling Meadows, Illinois-- Cook County
Palatine, Illinois-- Cook County-- Palatine Township
Dekalb, Illinois-- Dekalb County (pronunced De- Kalb)
Dunwoody, Georgia-- Dekalb County (pronounced de- cab)
Athens, Georgia-- ?
Des Plaines, Illinois-- Cook County
Vernon Hills, Illinois-- Lake County-- Vernon Township
Round Lake Beach, Illinois-- Lake County-- Avon Township
Spring Grove, Illinois-- McHenry County-- Burton Township

These last three places are considered villages.

On Moving Day-- Yuck!!-- Part 2

These are the places I've lived and roughly the time frame.

Goldsboro, NC-- two places: apartment and then rented home (1951 to 1954)
Raleigh, NC-- two places: a rental home and house Dad bought (1954 to 1960) kindergarten to 3rd grade

Jacksonville, Fla-- Dad bought a house (1960) half of 4th grade
Greenville, NC-- Rental house (1961-1962) second half of 4th, all of 5th

Rolling Meadows, Il-- rental house (1962-1963) 6th grade
Palatine, Il-- Dad bought house (1963 to 1970) 7th to 12th grades and freshman year in college

Then, my family moved to Dunwoody, Ga, outside of Atlanta and lived there from 1970 to 1989.


Dekalb, Il--(Northern Illinois University) Lincoln Hall dorm and Delta Sig house (1969 to 1971) freshman and sophomore years

Athens, Ga-- (University of Georgia) two dorms and a trailer (1971-1972) junior year

Dekalb, Il-- (Northern Illinois University) apartment (1972-1973) senior year

Palatine, Il-- last quarter at Liz's parents' house while doing student teaching and two months until we got our apartment. (1973)

Not counting college, that would be ten times my family moved from birth to sophomore year in college. There are seven more for myself in college. A total of 17 places. I guess I am above the dozen average.

Then There's Getting All Those Boxes from Stores to Pack Stuff In. --RoadDog

On Moving Day-- Yuck!!!!

I hate moving. I never have liked moving. I hope not to move anytime soon, but may have to when property taxes here in Spring Grove, Illinois, hit $10,000 in five to six years. Right now, they are a bit over $8,000. Way more than the services I receive.

Sunday I read Julia Keller's "Lit Life" column in the Chicago Tribune. She was reviewing Louise DeSalvo's new book, "On Moving: A Writer's Meditation on New Homes, Old Haunts, and Finding Home Again."

In the column, Keller says that the average American moves almost a dozen times in their lifetime.

I got to thinking about my moves. I used to move a lot, but, since 1975, have only moved once. One thing I did notice was that each time Liz and I moved since we got married, we had considerably more "stuff" to move, mostly mine. I'm a "stuff" accumulator.

Early moves were with the family as Dad worked his way up the business ladder with Quaker Oats. Then, there were the college days.

Since college and marriage, there have been just four moves with three coming in the first three years as we situated ourselves with work and affordable housing. We have been in our current home in Spring Grove since 1992, the second longest I've ever lived somewhere.

A Somewhat Complete List of Places Later Today. As Good as Memory Permits, Anyway. --RoadDog

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Atlantic Beach, South Carolina, Struggling to Survive

Article in Feb. 1st Panama City News Herald about a beach town that hit upon hard times, Atlantic Beach, South Carolina, by Jeffrey Collins of AP. "Once-segregated beach town struggling to survive."

One of the few businesses left in town, the Crazy Horse strip club, has paid its 2009 taxes early to keep the town from laying off its few remaining employees. Now, this is not something you'd expect to see regarding any town located by the shore, especially the Grand Strand where high-rises are replacing the old mom and pop places. People flock here for fun in the sun, but not poor Atlantic Beach.

Collins writes that the town appears frozen in time since the quarter square mile place looks essentially the way it did back in its heyday, 50 years ago, only more run-down.

It is also physically isolated from the other communities with its only point of entrance and egress at US-17. All other north-south roads are blocked.

A Sad Beach Story to Be Continued. --RoadDog

Keep an Eye Out for Mesker's

Last year, the Southern Illinoisian ran an article about the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency asking residents to help compile a list of all Mesker stores in the state.

A Mesker storefront has a "distinctive ornamental iron facade or storefront components. These were mass-produced by the Mesker Brothers in St.Louis and the George L. Mesker Co. in Evansville, Indiana.

They have a map of every known Mesker in the state at The website will also teach you what to look for.

This was a popular way for store owners to fancy up the front of their stores in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Even more enticing, it was comparatively cheap.

So far, 570 have been identified in Illinois and over 2,600 on the national map. At one time, 45,000 stores sported Meskers.

Got Mesker? No, I Got Milk. --RoadDog

Friday, March 6, 2009

Seneca Guns-- Never Heard of Them

After reading Amy Hotz's "25 Things You Didn't Know" Face Book for Wilmington, Number 24, I didn't know what a "Seneca Gun" was. Never heard of it before. Looked it up.

According to the USGS, is more of a name than an explanation. It is a noise sometimes accompanied by shakings. The name originally came from a short story by James Fennimore Cooper in the early 1800s about the strange noises around lakes Seneca and Cayuga in New York state.

The name also applies to the mysterious noises sometimes heard along the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

I've been in North Carolina a lot, but have never heard one of these, other than some sonic booms around hometown of Goldsboro from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

So, That's a Seneca Gun? --RoadDog

One of My Favorite Places-- Wilmington, NC-- Part 3

Continuing with he Face Book 25 things you didn't know.

17. KEEPING MY SOUTHERN WAYS-- still have sweet tea, magnolia blossoms, Civil War Re=enactments, and oyster roasts.

18. LIKABLE, but have kicked out blow-hards like Hazel, Bertha, Fran, Diana, Floyd, and others.

19. STYLISH-- have changed from brick roads and buggies to asphalt and speeders. Also getting rid of ugly power lines and putting them underground.

20. GETS DANDRUFF-- every spring covered with yellow-green pine pollen. Everywhere.

21. SHORT-- only 30 feet above sea level.

22. SERVED OUR COUNTRY-- William Cooper, one of three North Carolina signers of the Declaration of Independence from Wilmington.

23. RUTHLESS IN LOVE-- Back in the 1700s, stole entire population of Brunswick Town, today a state historic site.

24. MYSTERIOUS LOUD BOOMS-- some call them Seneca guns. (I don't get this one.)

25. LOVE TO SPILL THE BEANS-- The Wilmington Star-News is the state's oldest continuously-operating newspaper.

Amy sure did a great job with this project. All members of the Face Book Nation should gave a copy of this.

Carry Me Back to Old Wilmington. --RoadDog

Another Ten Route 66 Spots-- Part 2

Continuing with List Universe's ten stops from yesterday. Glad to say that Liz and I have been to all ten as well as the first ten listed earlier this week.

5. METEOR CRATER-- Meteor Crater, Arizona, just past Winslow. Population 2. The meteor hit 50,000 years ago and made a crater 4,000 feet wide and 570 feet deep. Went here, but found they were closing in 15 minutes so figured it wouldn't be worth the $12 or so admission.

4. EL RANCHO HOTEL-- Gallup, NM-- Built 1937 by the brother of movie producer D.W. Griffith. Many movies made in the area and stars stayed here like Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Erroll Flynn, and Kirk Douglas. We stayed here and got to meet and talk with the owner, quite an interesting man.

3. JACK RABBIT TRADING POST-- Joseph City, Az-- You see the billboards for miles. Famous "Here it is" out front. Get you picture taken on the giant rabbit.

2. LOU MITCHELL'S RESTAURANT-- Chicago, Illinois-- Watch out for the line. Open until 2 PM. Right by Union Station and Sears Tower. Great food and definitely try the home-made toast and marmalade. Coffee puts Starbucks to shame. Watch out for Chicago 10% sales tax, though.

1. LEANING TOWER OF GROOM TEXAS-- Ralph Britten built it to attract travelers. Sure does.

And these are just a VERY FEW of the interesting things to see while getting your kicks on Route 66.

Down Da Road I Need to Be Going. --RoadDog

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another Ten Stops Along Route 66

The February 7th List Universe followed up on the first ten sites (see yesterday) with another ten of interest.

#10. ROUND BARN-- ARCADIA, OKLAHOMA-- green lumber soaked in water to bend to shape. It had just closed when we arrived. Impressive from the outside, though.

#9. U-DROP INN-- SHAMROCK, TEXAS-- probably the most recognizable site along route. Also, not open, but very impressive art deco.

#8. COZY DOG DRIVE IN-- SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS-- birth place of the corn dog, well, maybe. Founded by Ed Waldemire, father of eccentric Route 66 artist Bob Waldemire. Like those dogs with mustard and raw onion slices. Then, there's those fries. I think I like them as much as the Cozies.

#7. BIG TEXAN STEAK RANCH-- AMARILLO, TEXAS-- Since 1960, the home of the 72-oz get it free if you eat it all in an hour along with baked potato, salad, roll, and shrimp cocktail. So far, 60,000 have attempted and 8,500 succeeded. Didn't even think about trying it. Did have the Rocky Mountain Oysters, though. Taste like chicken.

#6. WIGWAM VILLAGE-- HOLBROOK, ARIZONA AND RIALTO, CALIFORNIA-- Teepee motel. Sleep in a wigwam. Once seven in US, now, only three, the other in Cave City, Kentucky. Every time we arrived at one, it was too early to stop. Maybe next time. I did stay at the Wigwams at Cave City, Kentucky.

Ten more reasons Liz and I are hooked in Route 66.

More to Come. --RoadDog

One of My favorite Places-- Wilmington, NC-- Part 2

9. SUPER SMART-- UNCW, University of North Carolina-Wilmington-- has 73 undergrad degrees, 32 grad, and 11,840 students. Cape Fear Community College has 7,500 students. I wouldn't have minded going here or, especially teaching.

10. HAVE SECRETS-- there are miles of hundred year old tunnels under Wilmington. Plus, there is a bee hive on the city's coat of arms.

11. CRIMINAL PAST-- famous pirate Stede Bonnet, the "Gentleman Pirate," captured here.

12. HAD PROUD MOMENTS-- one was when the new nuclear submarine USS North Carolina commissioned here recently, but most people not allowed to attend.

13. LOVE TO PARTY-- NC Azelea Festival, Riverfest, 4th of July Fireworks, Lighting World's Largest Living Christmas Tree. (Does Carolina Beach still have a Beach Music Festival).

14. HARD TIME NAMING SELF-- Originally to be called New Carthage, then New Liverpool, then New Town, then Newton, and finally you-know who.

15. EATING-- at one time rumored to have more fast food places per capita than any other town in the US. Then there's Britt's Donuts in Carolina Beach if you can catch it open.

16. TOUGH OLD BIRD-- Survived hurricanes (including Hazel), German U-Boats in WW II, race riots, fires, and two feet of snow in 1989.

Still Not to 25 Yet. --RoadDog

One of My Favorite Places-- Wilmington, NC

Between the aesthetics, history, river, proximity to the beaches (especially Carolina and Topsail), food, and Fort Fisher, I'd have to say Wilmington, North carolina, is one of my favorite places anywhere.

On March 1st, Wilmington Star News' Amy Hotz had a fun "Face Book" 25 Random Things About Self" report. Evidently, this "25 Things" is quite popular on Face Book, even though I've never been on it. I've heard about Face Book though.

Here's what Amy had to say:

1. SEMI-FAMOUS-- one nickname Wilmywood-- more than 300 films made here since 1980s.

2. RAISED HENRY BACON, the architect of Washington, DC's Lincoln Memorial-- also buried here.

3. GETTING FATTER-- population growing: 1990-- 55,000; 2000-- 90,330; 2010 est-- 99,781.

4. NOT TELLING AGE-- but George Washington visited.

5. INTO ARTS-- lots of sculptures around town ranging from Oscar Wilde to Charlie Daniels.

6. LIKES FISHING-- states largest flathead catfish (78 pounds) and black drum (100 pounds) caught in Cape Fear River.

7. ATHLETIC-- Michael Jordan, Meadowlark Lemon, Roman Gabriel, and Sonny Jurgenson lived here.

8. COMPULSIVE-- there are 19 seams over the Bradley Creek Oleander Drive Bridge.

More to Come, 25 After All. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ten Stops Along Route 66

Several months back, List Universe had a Ten Stops Along Route 66.

They were:

10. GEMINI GIANT-- Launching Pad Restaurant-- Wilmington, Illinois
9. DIXIE TRUCKERS HOME-- McLean, Illinois
8. CHAIN OF ROCKS BRIDGE-- St. Louis, Missouri
7. TED DREWE'S FROZEN CUSTARD-- St. Louis, Missouri
6. MERAMEC CAVERNS-- Stanton, Missouri
5. BLUE WHALE-- Catoosa, oklahoma
4. CADILLAC RANCH-- Amarillo, Texas
3. BLUE SWALLOW MOTEL-- Tucumcari, New Mexico
2. SITGREAVE'S PASS-- Between Kingman and Oatman, Arizona
1. SANTA MONICA PIER-- Santa Monica, California

Happy to Report That We've Been to All of Them. --RoadDog

Jack in the Box

I'm using the book I was talking about yesterday, "Fast Food" by John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle, as a source for a little history of a favorite hamburger joint of Liz and myself, Jack in the Box.

The first one was in San Diego in 1950, which the authors refer to as one of America's primary hamburger "hearths." Its store design and signs were designed to draw attention of the driving public.

The 870 unit chain was bought by Ralston Purina in 1968. Expansion to 1,100 units, though caused a loss of identity and the chain divested itself in the Midwest and east.

Liz and I are particularly fond of the Monster Tacos, but I understand they are dropping them. Personally, I like the regular tacos just as well, then there's that great hamburger.

Nearest one to here is in Litchfield, Illinois, on Route 66.

Having a Jack Attack. --RoadDog

Paul Harvey-- Friend of Route 66

Very sad to see that Paul Harvey has died at age 90. His life was intertwined with Route 66 in that he was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and had radio shows in Tulsa and St. Louis, both on 66, before settling in Chicago for the majority of his career.

He also gave radio shows for the little guys, the mom and pops of the world. If the traditional Route 66 isn't mom and pop, I don't know what is.

In addition, Ron Warnick in his Route 66 News, noted that on two occasions Paul Harvey directly touched Route 66. Once when he did a bit on Wrink's Market in Lebanon, Missouri, and was very impressed with the 99 cent bologna sandwiches.

Another time, the Friends of the Mother Road group was trying to raise money to work on Vernelle's Motel sign in Doolittle, Missouri. Mr. Harvey sent a personal check for $1,000.

On a more personal note, Paul Harvey also did a show on my grandfather's casket flowers in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Since he was such a farmer, the casket spray was made up of vegetables.

Good-Day!! --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fast Food-- Part 2

Continuing with the book "Fast Food."

Chapter 5 titled "Hamburger Places, Part 2" has histories of Jack in the Box, Burger King, Burger Chef, Hardee's, Hamburger Hamlet, Wendy's, and Krystal.

Chapter 9 is "Breakfast Places:" Winchell's, Dunkin' Donuts, Perkins, IHOP, Waffle House, Bob Evans, and Cracker Barrel.

Chapter 10 is "Chicken Places:" Early chains like Chicken in the Rough, the Chicken Box, then Kentucky Fried Chicken,Popeye's, Church's, and Bojangle's.

Chapter 16 is a case study on Springfield, Illinois, describing the development of commercial avenues, arrival of restaurants with comparisons over the years, and so forth.

Outstanding Job. --RoadDog

Fast Food

A couple weeks ago, I went to a store called Half-Price Books in Arlington Heights, Illinois, located in a shopping center at the corner of Dundee and Rand (US-12) roads.

Retired as I am, I have begun to try to cut back on books that I buy, but ended up getting six books on areas I have interest. Two were on the naval actions of the Civil War, two were on music (charts from the 50s to 2000 and black music) and two were of road interest.

This being the road blog, one of the books is "Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age" by John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle. For $5, this was a really great deal. It is part of the Road and American Culture series. Series editor is Drake Hokanson, a name I am familiar with.

Chapters are as follows: Rise of the Quick-Service Restaurant, Quick-Service Restaurants in Auto Age, Restaurant Chains, Hamburger Places, and McDonald's.

Other chapters were about places serving sandwiches, ice cream, breakfast, chicken, seafood, pizza, tacos, steaks, and concept.

One whole chapter is devoted to the roadside restaurants in Springfield, Illinois. This being on Route 66 and a place we've visited many times, it is of great interest.

If You Only Get one Book on Roadside Food, This Should be the One. --RoadDog

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lincoln Logs: Stangl Pottery-- Hoosier Happenings--

Some New (Well Newer) News About an Old Road-- the Lincoln Highway. Just clearing out some old stuff from last year.

1. STANGL POTTERY-- was begun by Samuel Hill in 1814 in Flemington, NJ. By 1900, it was called Fulper Pottery. They had striking factories where they made the pottery. From the 1930s to 1978, Stangl's Flemington Outlet was a big tourist spot. In Nov. 1978, they ceased manufacturing and closed forever.

They were known for innovative art ware, bright and colorful bird figurines and floral and fruit pattern hand-painted dinnerware.

2. HOOSIER HAPPENINGS-- The Jan. 22, 2008 Hoosier Happening Blog had two pictures of buildings along the LH. The author refers to self as a road aficionado.

3. TEIBEL'S-- On May 10th, Hoosier happenings wrote about Teibel's Restaurant in Schererville, Indiana at US-30/US-41. In 1929, two brothers, Martin and Stephen Teibel started a 12-seat diner there and it became a Lincoln Highway institution. He had several pictures including one with a half a chicken for 50 cents. A joint meeting of the Indiana and Illinois LHA chapters was held there last summer.

Liz and I had the opportunity to eat New Year's Eve dinner there. I'll be back, but next time want to eat in the restaurant part instead of the banquet rooms. A lot more expensive than 50 cents I can assure you, but worth it.

Down Da Lincoln I Go. --RoadDog

Doing That Syrup/Sirup Thing-- Legend

There are quite a few places around here and the great Midwest that have maple syrup demonstrations going on now, even though I suppose there are more in Vermont.

I went to the Funks Grove Sirup site and found out about a legend as to how Indians discovered it, excuse me, Native Americans.

Legend has it that an Iroquois Chief Woksis put his hatchet into a tree for safe keeping overnight. The next day he removed it and went hunting. By chance, there was a bowl underneath where he had placed the hatchet and during the day, sap ran into it.

His wife mistook it for water and used in her venison stew. As it cooked, the water evaporated, leaving that sweet and sticky substance. It sure sweetened the stew, and, an industry was born.

Gettin' Sweet on Route 66. --RoadDog

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Down Da Road to Maple Syrup

One place to go this time of the year is to any place that is making their own maple syrup (or SIRUP according to Funk's Grove).

An article in today's Northwest Herald (Illinois) was about the annual Festival of Sugar Maples at Coral Woods Conservation Area in Marengo, Illinois, (about 25 miles from home here in Spring Grove) that went on last weekend and will reopen for March 7th and 8th from 10 AM to 3 PM.

It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup and you can only do it when temps are above freezing (which put a kabosh on last weekend with our unseasonably cold. Tapping occurs until the end of March when the trees start to bud and the sap turns bitter. Sap is 97% water and 3% sugar. Gives new meaning to the term sugar water. The older and larger diameter the tree, the better. A tree with a 25-inch diameter can easily handle 3 taps.

Of course, we have the world-famous Funk's Grove Sirup on Route 66, just south of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. Sirup is spelled correctly because, according to them, when the maple sirup is 100% pure, nothing added, this is the correct spelling. Plus, the spelling is an eye-catcher.

I'm especially fond of their maple candy.

Thinkin' About getting My Maple Fix as I Type This. --RoadDog