Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 18th: The Fire Aboard the Royal Princess-- Part 5

It was a whole lot better on the deck. FRESH AIR!!! You can imagine how bad it was getting in the muster area with all those bodies, no air conditioning, and no chance of opening any windows.

More and more people were coming out onto the deck.

I was happy to be out on the deck because I was worried about what would happen if the fire got out of control and started racing through the ship and we couldn't open the windows to get out. At least here, we could go over the side if necessary.

I went back and forth between the two areas since my sister and her daughter were still in the muster station. Crew members started walking around with bottles of water and Coke (FREE!!) and later sandwiches as the hours dragged on.


There were quite a few ships anchored off the starboard side. I don't know if they were there to aid us or waiting to go through the Suez Canal. A tug from Port Said came out and offered to help. Over its loudspeaker, we heard its captain asking the Princess to get on a certain channel. I don't know if that ever happened. The tug stayed there all night and into the next morning.

I was surprised that there were no other emergency vessels near us, Egyptian or US. Especially since there were almost 500 Americans on board.

A Breath of Fresh Air. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 18th: The Fire Aboard the Royal Princess-- Part 4

Continuing with the story.

There were considerable announcements from the bridge, and, soon, quite a few from the captain. Finally, we were told that there had been a fire in the engine room, and that they were fairly sure it was contained (later even out), but it was still too hot to go into the engine room to be sure.

However, the life boats were to be run out, but not placed in the water, STRICTLY AS A PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE. This more than a little worried everyone. I was sure we weren't being told everything.


When I first opened the stateroom door was when I smelled acrid fumes. We could smell them even more in the muster station which was four decks above the engine room. Since you couldn't open the windows in the dining area, the fumes continued to get worse, causing those with breathing problems, including my mother, to begin to have stress. They were allowed to go out onto the promenade deck (also on Deck 5) where fresh breezes were available. Mom, Vickie, and Graham went out. Vickie came back to say that Mom insisted that I join her.

There was a lot of complaining about those fumes in the muster area.

Fire and Fumes, Oh My!! --RoadDog

Army Convoy on the Lincoln Highway

A few more recent reports about the 90th Anniversary US Army Transcontinental Convoy trip across the US.

The June 22nd Ogden (Utah) Reporter said the convoy passed through.

The June 24th Little Chicago Review (Little Chicago?) reports that the "Black and Orange Lincoln Highway cabins" will be dedicated July 1st, when the convoy passes through. There will also be a stop at Fort Bridger before the convoy continues on to Evanston, Wyoming.

The June 21st Chicago Daily Herald reports that the convoy, consisting primarily of WW II and later vehicles had one WW I one that broke down about ten times a day. There was also to be a WW II-style Bob Hope USO show with people playing Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, George Patton, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The convoy was to visit Wheaton, Aurora, Geneva, and spend the night in Rochelle, Illinois.

On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 18th: Fire Aboard the Royal Princess-- Part 3

At least the whole family was together now.

More and more people were coming into the place where we had our sit-down dinners every night. It would appear that the second sitting was just getting started with their meal when all this transpired, judging from the bread and drinks on the table.

There was even a 2001 bottle of wine there, alas, unopened and needing a corkscrew.  Look as we might, we just couldn't find a corkscrew.Lots of crew members in there as well and announcements kept coming over the pa for crew members to report to different parts of the ship.

People were talking, but no one seemed to be worried.  We were joined at the table by a family from Colombia celebrating the grandfather's 80th birthday. Only one of his daughters, who was married to a man from Douglas, Georgia, could speak English, so she did a lot of translating.

Her husband could speak a little Spanish, so helped out. They must have been fairly wealthy as they had a nanny along for the two-year-old grandson, who managed to sleep through the whole thing.  The person in charge of the muster kept telling everyone that all was ok, but definitely could have spoken louder as it was hard to hear her, even when she got a loudspeaker.

Got Them Old Sinking Blues. --RoadDog

90th Anniversary Transcontinental Army Convoy

I have been reading quite a bit about the various stops being made on the 90th Anniversary Army Transcontinental Convoy going across the United States right now. By all accounts, it is drawing big crowds and lots of interest.

I know I would have liked to have seen it at last week's Lincoln Highway Association annual convention in South Bend and to have followed it across the rest of Indiana and Illinois, but I was somewhat overseas.

It is following the general path of the original convoy ninety years ago, which means a lot on US-30 and the original Lincoln Highway whenever possible.

Hopefully, someone will post pictures of it somewhere.

I'm Sure Brian Butko Will Be Keep Us Up on the Progress. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 18th: The Fire Aboard the Royal Princess-- Part 2

Continuing. The fire aboard the Royal Princess.

About this time, I started hearing announcements over the pa system for crew to report to different sections of the ship. Definitely something going on. I opened the door to the stateroom, and there were crew members standing in the passage way with life vests on. If I wasn't sure before, I was now. Something's afoot to be sure.

They told me to return to the state room. I wasn't too worried about that as I could at least jump overboard if necessary, even though a five deck fall would be frightening in itself.

A few minutes later, a knock came at the door, and I was informed that I needed to report to my muster station with life vest, warm clothing, and a cap. People were walking quickly, but calmly down the stairs, the two decks I had to go to down to get to the restaurant on the fifth floor where we ate dinner every night.

The place was full of people and lots of orange from the vests. I couldn't help but think of what the comedian had said the first night of the voyage about how the name of Royal Princess on the life vests might not be of the best interest in advertising. He could just see people on another ship looking at the vests and saying, "Let's book our next voyage on the Royal Princess." Definitely not so funny now.

I was very happy to see Julie and Annsley on the stairs. Julie was going back to her room to get her medicine. Annsley came with me and we found Graham, Vicki, and Mom sitting at a big table near the entrance to the room, so, at least we were all together. That would have made the situation much worse to not know where your family was at a time like this.

It Was a Sinking Feeling. --RoadDog

June 18th: Mosquitoes and a Fire-- Part 1

The Royal Princess arrived in Port Said, Egypt about noon, after sailing all night from Alexandria.

We slept in late as we were quite worn out by yesterday's 3-and-a-half hour ride from Alexandria to Cairo where we visited the Egypt Museum, a mosque, and, of course, the pyramids and sphinx.

After lunch, we disembarked, right into the midst of a crowd of mosquitoes (what we call those Egyptians with little booths or who, on foot, try to get you to buy their "ancient" stuff). These guys were every bit as persistent as their brethren at the pyramids, but this time we also had to deal with carriage rides and taxis. You've got to admire their drive, but sheesh, these guys don't accept the word "no." Then, there was the security check.

Quite hot as well, and after a few blocks, Mom and I decided to turn back to the ship.

Relaxed and wrote in my journal, and saw the movie Frost/Nixon, which I had wanted to do when it first came out in the theaters, but hadn't.

The ship departed after dinner, and I was on the stateroom balcony videotaping the many ships waiting to enter the Suez Canal (Port Said is the northern terminus of the canal). About 8:10 PM, I saw and taped a lot of black smoke coming out of the smokestack (at least I presume the stack, as it was above us and out of sight. I hadn't seen black smoke at all during the voyage so knew something was afoot.

What Was That Song Celine Dion Sand on the "Titanic" Movie? --RoadDog

On the Way Home

Sitting at the table here at Mom's house in Goldsboro, NC, catching up on the last two weeks. Actually, I was not expecting to get on line until June 28th at the earliest, as we were still supposed to be on the Mediterranean cruise and visiting Greek islands today before disembarking in Athens on the 25th.

However, on June 18th, there was the little thing of a fire on board the Royal Princess that ended up cancelling the remainder of the cruise.

June 19th, while leaving Port Said, Egypt, at the northern terminus of the Suez Canal, a fire broke out in the engine room, forcing us to five hours in muster stations, life boats being swung out, and a night without power and toilets that wouldn't flush. We were, however, able to return to our cabins, and thankfully, we had an outside one.

Fortunately, There was a "Morning After." --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Taking This Road Show to the Med

I'm leaving today for two and a half weeks floating around in the Mediterranean Sea, flying to Rome, touring, and then boarding a ship for a cruise to Alexandria, Cairo, Jerusalem and another place in Israel, Turkey, and several places in Greece, including Athens. We'll also have a couple extra days to see the sights in Athens.

I won't be posting much or at all because of the really high prices to go onto the internet on the boat.

I can tell you that getting ready to fly is a real hassle these days with all the things you have to do.

It's a Sailing I Will Go. --RoadDog

Monday, June 8, 2009


While on the US Highways Yahoo e-mail group, I learned that driving a US highway from one end to another means that you have driven it from one terminus to the other.

It is not necessary to drive the whole route all at once.

I had never heard of this concept before.

Clinching a Road, Mighty Fine. --RoadDog

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Happy Anniversary Drive-In Theaters-- Part 3

So, 76 years ago, the first drive-in theater in the world, opened in Camden, NJ, the brainchild of Mr. Richard Hollingshead, partly because of a desire to show movies outside and perhaps because his mother was too large to sit in the seats at indoor theaters.

I found another account that said he started experimenting outside screening as far back as 1928. The main feature shown today, June 6, 1933, at Hollingshead's drive-in was "Wife Beware" from 1932. Poor drive-ins were already showing second-run movies.

Indoor movie operators did all they could to stymie the growth of the drive-ins, and their clout made it difficult for them to get first-run movies, so most early offerings were of the second-run and and "B" nature.

By 1942, there were 95 drive-ins in 27 states. At the peak in 1958, there were 4,063.

We used to have drive-ins in Lake County, Illinois, by Waukegan and Grayslake, but they are long-gone. And, of course, us road-folk just love anything old like that.

Gotta Love Those Drive-Ins, a Trip Back. Happy BD. --RoadDog

Happy Anniversary Drive-In Theaters-- Part 2-- A US-30 Connection, But No Lincoln Highway

A little more research on drive-ins. I'm not sure if this first drive-in was by Hollingshead's parking lot by his store, or a regular one.

The State of NJ website, has more information. Besides his interest in showing movies outdoors, the story goes that Richard Hollingshead's mother was a large woman, who could not comfortably sit in the seats at in door theaters. She remarked to him that she'd like to see movies. The idea was born.

In 1933, he showed a film on the outside white wall of his automotive parts machine shop and used his parking lot for the cars. It was located on what is now Admiral Wilson Boulevard (Bridge Boulevard back then) near the border of Camden and Penngauken. One building is still standing from that first drive-in and is part of Zinman Furs.


Looking at a map of Admiral Wilson Boulevard, I see it is also part of US-30. I looked in Brian Butko's "Greetings from the Lincoln Highway" book and did not see that the Lincoln Highway went through Camden.

At another place, I saw that Admiral Wilson Boulevard is considered to be blighted with empty factories and buildings. A campaign is on for urban renewal. A few folks aren't real happy with Zinman Furs.

What's in a Road? --RoadDog

Happy Anniversary to Drive-In Theaters

It was this date in 1933 that the first drive-in theater opened in Camden, New Jersey, which puts them at 76!!!

I came across this in It immediately became popular with people not wanting to pay for baby-sitters and young folks in search of a make-out spot.

Richard Hollingshead is credited with its creation and said, " The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children area." The original one lasted three years before closing, although by then, the drive-ins were off and running. In its hey-days, during the 50s, there were over 4,000 across the US.

There is one near us, about five miles away, so we are fortunate. It is called the McHenry Outdoor Theatre (McHenry, Illinois) and shows two first-run features every night in the summer for $7. My only big problem is the late start. By the time the second feature comes on, it's bed-time for Bonzo.

I didn't go to it last year, however, so will have to make up for it this year. I like to make it into a Retro Night. We also have a Dog 'N Suds in Ingleside, Illinois, about five miles from home. I go there, order from a car hop, get a Coney Dog, fries, glass mug of ice cold root beer, then take a 32-oz root beer to go.

If I want crowds, I can go there on a Saturday night when they have a classic car show.

Then, it's off to the drive-in.

Love That Retro Thing. --RoadDog

Friday, June 5, 2009

Some More on US-60

From Wikipedia


William Jefferson, Blythe, Jr., was traveling from Chicago, Illinois, to Hope, Arkansas, May 17, 1946 in a 1942 Buick when he lost control of it and crashed. he survived the accident, but drowned in a drainage ditch while trying to get back to the road.

Three months later, his wife gave birth to William Jefferson Blythe, III. When she married Roger Clinton in 1950, the III was adopted and name changed to Clinton.


The man who took the pictures of Pie Town in 1940, is considered one of the main Great Depression photographers. He was born July 21, 1903, in Ottawa, Illinois. In 1935, he bought a camera, and began taking Depression pictures until the early 1940s.

During World War II, he flew a million miles for the Air Transport Command, taking pictures of airport approaches. He died in Texas in 1986.


Today, the western terminus is near the California border in Arizona. In Phoenix, it is Grand Avenue. Today, it goes through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, and the eastern terminus is in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Even though it has the 0 at the end, designating a transcontinental route, in 1926, it ended at Springfield, Missouri. Route 66 was almost Route 60.

Now, You Know. --RoadDog

How about That US-60?

Reading about Pie Town, I decided to research US-60, since it goes through the town.

Good old Wikipedia provided a few more details on Pie Town which is located near the Continental Divide in New Mexico. It is unincorporated and the 1940 pictures were taken by Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee. His restaurant was called the Daily Pie Cafe.

US Highway 60

The World's Smallest Museum in Arizona has a mug specially-priced at $5.99 to commemorate what they call "America's First Coast to Coast Highway," US-60

From Wikipedia: US-60 is now decommissioned in California, although in LA, it is part of I-10 and there are stretches of the original road out in the desert.

It runs southwest to northeast through the Texas Panhandle.

In Missouri, it passes through Sikeston, home of the famous "Throwed Roll" Lambert's, well-worth a stop. Fill up on pies in Pie Town, then get your your rolls and great 'cue at Lambert's.

William Jefferson Blythe, Jr., the father of former President Bill Clinton, died on US-60 (now Route 114) outside of Sikeston, after being thrown from his car and drowning in a drainage ditch.

Kansas might be proud of its 13 miles of Route 66, but Illinois takes credit for the shortest stretch of US-60 with a .92 mile part running concurrent with US-62 at the very southern tip near Cairo. It goes by Fort Defiance State Park where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers join together.

Now, You Know About US-60. --RoadDog

Here's Pie in Your Eye

The Old Photos Blog has been running pictures taken in Pie Town, New Mexico, from this past May 31st to June 4th. They are vintage 1940 shots, some of which I had seen in the February 2005 Smithsonian Magazine.

Back in the 1920s, Clyde Norman started selling dried apple pie (?) on the Coast-to-Coast Highway, which later became US-60. Word got around that he had the best pies around and the settlement became known as Pie Town.

You can view the pictures at

Other pictures and history of Pie Town can be found at They also have the Smithsonian article here.

Mark September 12th on your calendar for the 29th annual Pie Festival, featuring you-know-what.

Pie. I Like Pie better Than Cake. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Route 66 on WGN

WGN TV in Chicago ran a segment on Route 66 on their Cruisin' Illinois segment tonight. Host Julian Crews (great name for a cruise) was on a culinary adventure from the Launching Pad in Wilmington, to the Palms Grill in Atlanta and Wild Hare Cafe and Blue Stem Bake Shop in Elkhart.

There were quite a few pictures of the Gemini Giant at the Launching Pad. English tourists Steve and Pauline Bonnington were getting their kicks there.

The, there was a long bit on the new Palms Grill in Atlanta. With the great food and decor there, this is sure to become one of the must-visit 66 sites in the state. Atlanta was referred to as a throw-back town, "as close as you can get to the hey-day of Rt. 66." Tall Paul was called the "giant hot dog man."

Then, Julian went to the highest part of Illinois on 66, Elkhart, and went up to th cemetery on the top of the hill, showing Lincoln friend, Union general, and governor Oglesby's grave. Then there was the salivating treats at the Wild Hare Cafe and Blue Stem Bake Shop.

You can view it at I just happened to come across it during a station break on AMC's "Road House."

Always Great to Get Some Publicity. --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bar-Hopping in Rochelle, Illinois

Next time you're cruising the Lincoln Highway in Illinois, you can stop in Rochelle, Illinois, to slake your thirst and get a bite to eat at several bars all located a short distance south of the Hub Theater in downtown.

Even better, they are all pretty much withing a block of each other.

We were there back in 2007, so I can't guarantee that they have the same name or specials.

DA PLACE-- With a sign reading DIZMUZBEDAPLACE featuring $1.25 drafts and located right across from the historic gas station.

STUMBLE INN-- $1.50 pints all the time. Very friendly bartender. Fried bologna sandwiches.

CHISUM'S LOUNGE-- $1.50 for 12 oz. draft. Lots of wood and a Packer bar. Karaoke Friday and Saturday.

HUB LOUNGE-- pitched ceiling and whole inside reminded me of a Northwoods bar. Homemade football signs of the old NFL Central Division: Bucs old logo, Lions, Bears, Vikings and Packers. Also, the LA Rams. When cows fly hanging from the ceiling and a sign saying we're 808 miles from Wall Drugs.

A hundred years ago, this was a meat shop and it has been a bar for at least 60 years. There is an old tin ceiling about six feet above the pitched one.

Still a couple more to go.

Good Way to Get the Dust Out of Your Mouth. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cross Plains, Tennessee

On the trip to True's BBQ, see yesterday, we drove Tn. Highway 25, a nice cruise. Cross Plains is located north of Nashville.

At the I-65 exit, there is an antique store with a muffler man and a pink elephant wearing sunglasses. Worth a visit just for those two things.

In Cross Plains, there is Thomas Drugs, an old store dating 1915 when it opened as a dry goods store. In 1928, it became a drug store and the interior looks just like the old days with its display cases and working soda fountain. It was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The town was founded in 1779 and the stores in the business district date from the late 1700s to early 1900s.

There is also an old gas station.

Good Eatin' and Some History Too. --RoadDog

Monday, June 1, 2009

True's BBQ-- Cross Plains, Tennessee

Located on Tennessee-25, about 4 miles west of I-65. I visited it a few years ago with my nephew and wife who live close by in White House. You can't miss the place with a big pig statue out front. They said this was good barbecue and were they ever right.

I had the Pork BBQ plate for $3.50 which came with one vegetable. They also have a beef BBQ plate for the same price. Vegetable selections included baked beans, white beans, cole slaw, potato salad, fried okra, and sweet corn nuggets (breaded kernels of sweet corn).

Two other things they had that I've never heard of are hoe cakes and chess pie. Had to try both. A hoe cake is a corn pancake and you could get one for 30 cents. Your bbq can also be served on one. A chess pie is custard, sugar, and eggs. You definitely want to try both of these.

True's dates to 1949. he owner went to Germany with Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, and Little Jimmy Dickens.

Sure Love My BBQ. --RoadDog