Friday, July 31, 2009

Chicago Tours

The July 30th Chicago Tribune Play section featured a tourist edition of laces you can go and interesting tours you can take while in the Windy City.

One is, of course, an Obama tour of sites the president was connected to while in the city. It covers downtown Chicago to Hyde Park, 22 miles there and back. Reporter Christopher Borrelli said there were several Obama tours, but this was the most fun.

Cost is $43. For info 4 hours.

They will provide you with a bike and offer many other tours.

More Tours Tomorrow. --RoadDog

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lincoln Logs: Old Dutch Mill-- Brick LH Pillar-- Hoosier Happenings

News of the Lincoln Highway. New News About an Old Road.

1. OLD DUTCH MILL-- I see in the Lincoln Highway News, that new owners are rehabbing the Old Dutch Mill, east of Van Wert, Ohio, and along the old Lincoln Highway. New owners Dawn and Mike Van Doren did not know their place's role in transportation history, but do now.

They say work is needed on the roof, but the bar is still there. Back in the 1920s, it was a one-stop place for travelers with gas, food, and lodging.

It has striking architecture and I'm glad to see it coming back.

The guy behind me wasn't too happy with me the first time I saw it, as a sudden pull-over became necessary. He was following too close anyway. I guess I should put a sign up on he back of the car saying, "Caution, I Stop for Interesting Stuff."

2. BRICK LH PILLAR-- Also from the Lincoln Highway News, July 28th, The Mid-Ohio Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association has repaired a red brick pillar dating back to 1921 to commemorate the bricking of a stretch of the Lincolnmin Crawford County, west of Bucyrus. Mighty impressive.

3. HOOSIER HAPPENINGS-- The July 28th Hoosier Happenings blog took the first of two parts of a trip along the Lincoln Highway in Elkhart County. Lots of good pictures and text. Check it out at

If you want to find out about anything going on along the Lincoln Highway, I suggest you check out the Lincoln Highway News blog.

Who Says the Old Road is Dead? --RoadDog

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sugar Bowl Sign to Be Saved-- Part 3

Working with the store's new owners, Des Plaines, Illinois, officials have committed $20,000 to restore it.

Joy Matthiessen, director of the historical society, said it was erected in 1957 and is part of the visual landscape.

Sadly, old signs like this are disappearing very quickly. Problems are difficulty of upkeep, restrictive sign ordinances (especially for signs hanging over the sidewalk like the Sugar Bowl's.

Another great sign is the Northgate Shopping Center in Aurora, and the Marshall Field's sign in Chicago. There are also some "ghost signs."

"In cases such as Wrigley Field's marquee or the Chicago Theatre sign, the building itself is the main target of protection. Less common, preservationists say, is securing landmark status for what some have dubbed 'Roadside Americana'."

More to Come. --RoadDog

More on Easy Rider

Some interesting things from the movie.

Phil Spector played the cocaine dealer at the beginning of the movie.

They were actually smoking real marijuana doing those sequences.

The football helmet Jack Nicholson wore on the motorcycle was the one he used in the movie Head."

Steven Stills wrote the song "Find the Cost of Freedom" at Hopper's request to be used in the movie. It wasn't used, but later was the flip side of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young's "Ohio."

Scenes used in the movie were mostly along the road. I'll list some of the sites next.

"Head Out on the Highway." --RoadDog

Monday, July 27, 2009

Has It Come to This?

After reading this comic strip, I realize that I haven't even heard of a lot of this stuff, much less have any idea how to use it. But, I should talk, I'm pretty bad in my own way. Gone are the days you had to suffer through looking at some one's vacation photos, or worse yet, SLIDES.

Today, there are a LOT MORE options to dull folks to death.

Sunday's Cathy comic strip made me laugh and made me afraid.

It opens with her on the computer reading a screen. Each new line is a new panel.

Hi! Greetings from our vacation!

I tried leaving a photo/text message on your cell, but it said you weren't connected.

So anyway, I'm e-mailing the address of the phone-cam blog that posts mobile photos from our trip...or you can access our regular digital shots on the site that's doing our online albuming!

Or, visit our family vacation URL and see live-feed video of our in-car sing-a-longs!

I can't wait to hear what you think of Dad and Conner's fishing photo journal! wasn't the footage of Emily's raft ride hysterical?! E-mail back with your vote for "funniest film edit"! The kids are having a contest! Also, forward this note and you favorite shots to...

Then, you see Cathy unplugging the machine.

The last panel shows her with a cup of coffee thinking, "Put me down as one who misses the picture postcard."

Anyone know what her friend was talking about?

Me No Understand!! --RoadDog

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sugar Bowl Sign to Be Saved-- Part 2

The 50-year-old bright red and yellow neon sign hanging outside the Sugar Bowl restaurant in downtown Des Plaines, Illinois, will be saved. It even says that the inside is air conditioned, something not necessary today. This is good news as it is a classic. These are the kinds of signs I look for when on the road. Rarely have I been disappointed eating at a place advertised in such a way.

I have eaten at this place, and other than the 10% sales tax, it was a great experience. (It is on US-14, or Northwest Highway as it is called in this part of Chicagoland.) Within a couple blocks is another restaurant you have to experience called the Cho-Choo, where your meals are delivered to you on a model railroad train if you're sitting at the counter.

There was an article in the July 22nd Chicago Tribune by Georgia Harvey called "Sweet memories help save a 1957 vintage neon sign."

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, July 24, 2009

Easy Rider: Electric Prunes and Fraternity of Man

Two other lesser-known groups on the Easy Rider soundtrack.

LA's ELECTRIC PRUNES were somewhat better known on the basis of their top 11 hit, "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)" and follow-up " Get Me to the World on Time" which peaked at #27. I always thought their big hit was titled "I Had Too Much to Drink (Last Night)" Well, that's what it sounded like.

Their third album, 1968's "Mass in F Minor" was a psychadelicized mass. "Kyrie Eleison" from it was used in the movie "Easy Rider" for the drug-fueled Mardi Gras sequence.

The FRATERNITY OF MAN was a blues/psychadelic rock band from the 1960s who broke up after recording two albums. Members were from or later joined the Mothers of Invention, Little Feat, and Captain Beefheart.

They were most famous for their song "Don't Bogart Me" which was used on the "Easy Rider" movie.

So, Now You Know. --RoadDog

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Easy Rider-- OK, Who Were the Holy Modal Rounders?

We know who Steppenwolf, the Band, Roger McGuinn, and Jimi Hendrix are, but who in the world are, or were, The Holy Modal Rounders? They're the ones who did "If You Want to Be a Bird" which I believe was featured as they were driving down the road.

Looked it up in Wikipedia and found out they were an American folk duo from New York City consisting primarily of Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber. Actor Sam Shepard was also a member at one point.

"If You Want to Be a Bird" was taken from their fourth album, "The Morey Eels Eat the Holy Modal Rounders" which was released in 1968. It included a track called the "Bird Song." This is essentially Ray Price's "You've Done me Wrong" with altered lyrics and was prominently featured in the movie "Easy Rider."

So That's Who Those Guys Are. --RoadDog

Easy Rider Soundtrack

I dug out my old LP of the "Easy Rider" soundtrack and am listening to "The Pusher" right now by Steppenwolf. One thing you might not know is that country star (and the father on "Gremlins," Hoyt Axton wrote the song.

Here are some memories for you, the soundtrack listings:

1. The Pusher-- Steppenwolf
2. Born to Be Wild-- Steppenwolf
3. The Weight-- Smith (performed by the Band in the movie)
4. Wasn't Born to Follow-- Byrds, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin
5. If You Want to Be a Bord-- The Holy Modal Rounders
6. Don't Bogart Me-- The Fraternity of Man
7. If Six Was Nine-- Jimi Hendrix Experience
8. Kyrie Eleison Mardi Gras-- The Electric Prunes
9. It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)-- Roger McGuinn, written by Bob Dylan
10. Ballad of Easy Rider-- Roger McGuinn

Two others not on the soundtrack, but listed by IMdb as in the movie:

Let's Turkey Trot-- Little Eva. Written by Gerry Goffin and Jack Keller
Flash, Bam, Pow-- Electric Flag

Take a Load Off Fannie. And You Put the Load Right On __. --RoadDog

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Saving Those Old Signs-- Part 1

One of the things that makes appreciating and seeking out the old roads of the US such a fun thing to do is the old signs, especially neon ones. These are the ones that appear not to have been mass-produced like today's back lit ones.

One of my favorites is the one hanging over the sidewalk in downtown Des Plaines, Illinois, The Sugar Bowl. Because of that sign, I felt obligated to eat there, and the food was really good, as you might expect from a place in business since 1957.

Glad to see that the city has decided to spend $20,000 to help restore and preserve it for future generations.

Today's Chicago Tribune had an article on it "Sweet memories help save a 1957 vintage neon sign" by Georgia Garvey.

More to Come.

Good News for Us Road Folk. --RoadDog

Easy Rider-- Little Steven's Comments-- Part 2

A big old thanks out to Little Steven in his Underground Garage radio show for reminding me that this was the 40th anniversary of one of my favorite movies, "Easy Rider." I saw it nowhere else.

Continuing with his comments.

"But really, he didn't have a choice. His destiny was set, just like Jesus in the novel "Last Temptation of Christ," he knew he had to stay nailed to that cross.

Dennis Hopper's character, Billy, named after Billy the Kid, on the other hand, for all his totally authentic hippy-cowboy-outlaw appearance actually, under the surface, would share the philosophy of short term greed with the establishment and have more in common with them than he would ever have recognized and in some ways, every thing he and Peter Fonda's character were fighting against was alive inside him.

Peter, Dennis, and Terry Southern wrote it. Dennis directed it, Peter produced it, Jack Nicholson would get famous from it, and Burt Schneider and Bob Wrinkleson paid 500 grand for it; a pretty good deal.

It broke all studio rules and virtually single-handedly created the independent film industry. It reflected the European film industry, but remained deeply red, white and blue, even though those colors were smearing a little bit.

It was, in the end, Cassavettes with drugs. It revealed an America terminally hypocritical, unable to reconcile its ideals and its reality. If you go back and watch the film now and it doesn't particularly appear to be revelatory is because what was shocking truth back then has now become every day mundane reality and we've learned to accept and ignore and deny."

Well Said, Little Steven. --RoadDog

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Easy Rider-- Little Steven's Comments-- Part 1

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of movie "Easy Rider" this month, here are Little Steven's comments on the flick from his Underground Garage radio show. I feel he pretty-well summed up the movie nicely.

"'Easy Rider' was my generation's 'On the Road.' It came to us in the version of a movie because Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road' came out in the fifties, which was a book decade. 'Easy Rider' was part of the movie decade of the sixties. It premiered Bastille Day, July 14, 1969, which also happens to be Woody Guthrie's birthday, by the way, happy birthday Woody! But our heroes in 'Easy Rider' were not 'Bound for Glory.'

It might not be that unusual today, but at the time it was a profound revelation for us to have confirmed on film by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper that at least in the immediate future, in order to be honest and free, and live a life of adventure, you had to be an outlaw. That was the premise, at least at the beginning of the film.

The film would be our Rosetta Stone of a new cynicism that would really define the rest of our lives. Facts and our culture very quickly catching up to the movie's cynicism.

Now, along the way, Peter Fonda's character, Wyatt, also known as Captain America, had the opportunity to change his destiny. He could have stayed at that really cool commune or take the choice of that rancher and his Indian wife because Wyatt recognized the peaceful harmony and integration with nature the rancher had achieved."

Where does Little Steven come up with this stuff? He is kind of like that deejay on Northern Exposure when he gets like this.

More to Come.

Top Ten GM Standouts-- Part 4

I'll finish the last four quickly as they didn't really mean anything to me.


1984 Pontiac Fiero-- Conceived as a two-seat companion to the Firebird until a last-minute decision made it 4-cylinder and economical with most having manual transmission. Well, at least it looked sporty. I'd have to say today's Pontiac Solstice is an upscale version of the Fiero.


1996 EVI

Started life as the Impact, the worst car name in history. But the battery-operated two-seater put GM at the forefront of the alternative car field. Died a few years later when a battery supplier couldn't be found.


2001 Pontiac Aztek--Defined butt-ugly because of the rear-end.

2002 Cadillac CTS-- Saved the division with its "leading-edge design.

Well, these are Jim Metaja's picks.

A GM FAN, Myself. --RoadDog

A Recap of June 21st: A Longest Day

We were in front of the Four Seasons in Cairo, Egypt at 4 AM, then a bus ride to the airport, where we found they didn't have tickets for us. Mom had to buy the tickets.

Then, a nice ride across the Mediterranean to London's Heathrow Airport where we had a five hour layover, but not too bad as we found a nice place to eat and I was able to buy a Northern Soul multi-CD.

An uneventful flight across the Atlantic, then, hell at JFK Airport in New York City.

Uneventful flight to RDU, then Graham's van, the ticket, and getting lost.

With the different time zones,this was a 30-hour day. Sure glad to get to Goldsboro.

I'd Just As Soon Not Have This Much Fun Again. --RoadDog

Fun and Games at RDU

That would be Raleigh-Durham Airport, June 21st.


That was unbelievable to have made that triathlon across JFK Airport, only to have to wait another 50 minutes to take off.

But, it sure was nice to be in a seat, and finally on our way to North Carolina. We made it. There was a church group of teens from the Goldsboro area returning from mission work in the Philippines on board as well.

The steward was hilarious with his comments. All those mandated safety announcements were much more fun and had folks actually paying attention. The guy could go on the comedy circuit with his spiel, which was much more funnier than the other comedians.


Despite the 50-minute delay, we arrived at the airport at 11:57 PM, not too long after we were supposed to get there.

You'd never believe it, but we were at the farthest gate possible. I wouldn't have it any other way. It cost $3 to rent a luggage rack. Then, we had a bit of a wait to get the luggage (of course). The guy pushing Mom was really helpful and made sure the off-airport lot bus got there to pick us up.

He dropped us off at Graham's van. When we got to the booth to pay, the person asked for the ticket. What ticket? Vickie didn't give me a ticket. The attendant suggested I look in the visor...and there it was. It cost $66 with coupon, but, we were on our way.


We ended up on the wrong road leaving the lot and spent awhile driving around Raleigh before finding something that looked familiar and eventually getting on US-70 and on to Goldsboro. We pulled into the driveway at 3:00 AM, EDT, after being in the air, on the ground, and on the road 30 straight hours.

This Was Truly One Long Day. --RoadDog

The State of Plane Eating

It's getting so that even when soda is free, you get a small cup. I've heard some planes actually charge you for it.

Then, the cocktail and beer on the American Express flight was $6!! That is as bad as out at the 'ol ballpark.

Why, they don't even give you that free itsy-bitsy bag of peanuts are chips. You can buy a small bag for $3.

You'd better eat before you get on, or bring stuff with you.

A Guy Could Starve and Dehydrate On the Planes These Days. --RoadDog

Monday, July 20, 2009

Down Da Road I Go Hits #1000

This blog had its 1000th entry today. It started a couple months after this one, and is more about what I'm up to and music. It is at

This one has 972, and Saw the Elephant, my Civil War one, has 679. Way too much posting, but it sure helps to be retired. However, between my written journal, which has been going on since 1978, yard work, traveling, and now boating, it's hard to find the time anymore.

Congrats to Down Da Road I Go. I don't believe most blogs reach that many, or even last that long (started 2007).

And, Who Said I'd Be Bored When I Retired? --RoadDog

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Top Ten GM Standouts-- Part 3: Firebirds and Camaros


Last, but not least of the Sixties GM cars is the 1967 Pontiac Firebird/Chevy Camaro. Gave GM a double-barrel competition to the Ford Mustang in the affordable sports car category.

I am a big fan of the Pontiac Firebird, and certain Camaros. Even though they were similar in design, I definitely liked the design of the Firebirds better.

I actually bought a 1967 Firebird convertible and had it for about 15 years. It was drivable, but needed a lot of work. My friend Phil rebuilt the engine and I bought a new top. Sure loved driving that car, but NOT WORKING ON IT. If I ever get another old car, it will be one that has already been restored.

I also bought an '85 Firebird, and still have it. This needs body and interior work, and I'm considering making it my "old" car.

Gotta Love Those 'Birds. --RoadDog

Friday, July 17, 2009

Top Ten GM Standouts-- Part 2

Jim Mateja, who has been writing about autos for the Tribune for 30 years, lists ten things General Motors has produced that he'll never forget.

Yesterday, I covered his 50s threesome. Today it's the three from my era, the sixties.

1960 CHEVY CORVAIR-- Immortalized in Ralph Nader's "Unsafe at any speed. Sorry Road Maven. Gave birth to consumer watch dog groups and federal agencies. But the way I lok at it, it made sporty looks affordable and paved the way for the Mustangs and GM pony cars.

1964 PONTIAC GTO or "GOAT"-- A trim level of the Lemans that launched the muscle car era in the US, although sadly, an attempt to bring it back a few years ago on an Australian chassis failed. I had a 1967 Pontiac Tempest that looked just like a GTO and had a V-6. It flew. I was in Australia a short time before the release of the new GTO. After seeing the Holden, I knew it wouldn't have much of a chance of making it. A person buying a GTO wants something that looks like a sports car.

One More Sixties Car to Go and to Me, It Was the Best. --RoadDog

Going Through Our Own Little Hell at JFK-- Part 5

This was definitely shaping up to be the longest, hardest, meanest hour of my young, er, somewhat old life.

But, the key here was that we still had a chance to make that plane, even with all the distance, delays, security checks and waits. All we had to do now was make it to the gate. One last obstacle and we're home, well, almost.

Slide right on by, right? Not so. As it turned out, the gate couldn't have been any farther from the check-in point. It was at the v-e-r-y end of the airport, last gate. Very last gate. And that considering that the international terminal was about as far away from where we were now that you could get.


There were escalators, moving sidewalks, and straightaways to run-walk. The lady pushing Mom really earned her tip that day. She was running also. I ran on ahead, figuring if I could get to he gate, I could get them to wait (since I still did not know if they knew we were coming).

Got there with a minute to spare. I was out of breath and really sweating, but, by golly, we were there. WE HAD MADE THE PLANE!!!! Tutu would be so happy.

I was all smiles as I sat down. We had made it through hell, but we were on our way out.

But wait a minute. The plane left the gate at the appointed time, but then there was a line of planes ahead of us waiting to take off. We were FINALLY AIRBORNE FIFTY MINUTES LATER. Just one more little parting gift from JFK.

Fun and Games in the Big Apple. --RoadDog

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Anniversary of One of the Greatest-Ever Road Movies

The movie "Easy Rider" was released July 14, 1969. This movie really wowed me from the start, even though back then, old roads didn't really mean much to me. But that soundtrack just didn't let up. One great song after another. Plus, it was hippie days.

I first heard about the anniversary when listening to Little Steven's Underground Garage from this past Sunday. If you like that good old rock and roll of the garage variety, as Cat Mother called it, this is the show for you. Not only does he play the old stuff, but new garage rock as well. He did one of his insightful introductions and played applicable songs, two of which were on the original soundtrack.

It starred Peter Fonda as Wyatt, Captain America, and Dennis Hopper as Billy. Jack Nicholson really made an impact with his way-out lawyer George Hanson role.


Some great quotes from the movie. No wonder Jack Nicholson was nominated for best supporting actor, he had some great lines as they sat around the fire and pontificated.

"You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I don't understand what went wrong with it."

"They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em."

Billy: "Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut."

Think I'll Have to Drag Out That Old Piece of Vinyl and VHS Tape. --RoadDog

Top Ten GM Standouts-- Part 1

The June 7th Chicago Tribune ran an article , with pictures, by Jim Mateja, of the top ten successes among General Motors' offerings over the decades from the 50s to 00s.


1954 CHEVY CORVETTE-- true American sports car, still-known for exotic styling and jaw-dropping performance and the biggest, baddest V-8 the company has.

1957 CHEVY BEL AIR-- Featuring those tail fins, a small redesign from the 1956 model. Still one of the most-popular collector cars.

1959 CADILLAC-- Hardtop or convertible as big as a yacht. Had the very-largest fins ever!!

I was alive in the fifties, born 1951, but too young to get into cars at that time. However, the next decade was a different story.

Ahh, Corvettes!!! Next, My Generation. --RoadDog

Rich Rheingold

I was very sad to hear that noted road enthusiast and founder of the US Route 20 Yahoo e-mail group is in a late stage of Mantle Cell Lymphoma and will be going to the doctors to see his options at this point.

He has been battling the cancer for quite some time.

He is interested in knowing if anyone is willing to take over operation of the e-mail group.

Always sad news to hear something like this. Good luck Rich. Our prayers are with you and your family.

A real friend of the road.

A Truly Great Man. --RoadDog

Going Through Our Own Little Hell at JFK-- Part 4

While we were waiting, I kept looking at my watch and seeing the minutes tick by. Westill had a little time, but that was fast slipping by. Where is this "pusher?' And worse yet, I was perfectly capable of pushing Mom. The ticket agent seemed unconcerned. I asked if she could call the gate and tell them to wait and received a blank stare. Whether she did, I'll never know.


A lady finally showed up. But, we still had to go through ANOTHER SECURITY CHECK!!! If I have to take off my shoes again, I'm going to explode. I really need to get loafers for airport travel. It's sure make my life easier. A big problem is that I have to double knot the lace or it will almost instantly come loose. When I'm in a hurry, it's pretty for certain to really knot up on me, involving intricate maneuvering to get it unknotted.

I could hear a few remarks as the "pusher" got us right up to the head of the line, but I didn't care. After all, we have a plane to catch and not that long to get there.

Will Me Make It? Stayed Tuned. --RoadDog

Down Da Road: Goodbye Sears Tower-- Save Three Bucks At the Arch

Some News of the Road

1. GOODBYE SEARS TOWER-- Today is the day that the Sears Tower ceases to be, and the name Willis Tower replaces it. It joins Marshall Fields and Comiskey Park in the list of gone Chicago names. Ya gotta have a scorecard to keep up with the changes. What will they sell next? How about renaming the whole place RoadDog City?

Like with Comiskey, I will continue to call it Sears Tower. Stuck in the old days.

3. SAVE THREE BUCKS AT THE ARCH-- This weekend, it will cost you $3 less to go to the top of St. Louis' Arch as part of an NPS country-wide effort for the American people. Some other parks are for free.

Whenever I pay my taxes, I try to think of our fantastic national parks and it doesn't hurt so much. Well, not as bad.

So, Like Now It Will Be Known as the Willis Ledge? --RoadDog

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So, What is the Proper Way to Cruise the Dixie Highway, Or Any Old Highway for That Matter

The Zensshipji Blog, did a series of posts from a cruise down the old Dixie Highway in late June to early July.

Before starting, the author listed Dixie Highway Road Trip Rules, which I completely concur with. These are good to follow for the Dixie, Lincoln, National, Route 66, or any other old road you might want to travel.

Here they are:

1. Don't drive on the interstate.
2. Follow the traditional Dixie Highway or US-25 as much as possible.
3. Do not eat fast food.
4. Do not eat at a chain restaurant you can visit regularly.
5. Eat at restaurants listed in "Roadfood"
6. Stop at whatever museums, minor league baseball games, monuments, interesting architecture, or whatever strikes your fancy en route.
7. Take pictures.
8. Tweet/blog/tumble on our way
9. Make journey in six or seven or tennish days.

Well worth reading the trip blog as well. A true old road person. I'd surelike to see the Dixie get an active organization like 66, LH, and the National Road.

Good Advise. Thanks Zenshipji. --RoadDog

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Iowa Lincoln Highway

The July 13th Belle Plaine (Iowa) Now reported on the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association's meeting this past Saturday at the Belle Plaine Museum.

It was reported that byway signs are being developed and should be installed by early next year. There was a discussion about the MVPA convoy of old military vehicles that passed through the state on their 90th anniversary drive from DC to San Francisco.

Thirty-one vehicles have committed to the Iowa Lincoln Highway Motor Tour August 28-30. I am considering going on this.

A report was given on the 2009 Lincoln Highway Association meeting in South Bend. Dixon, Illinois will host the 2010 one and Iowa will do the same in 2017.

It's a Lincoln Highway Thing. --RoadDog

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tip of the Hat to Fayetteville, NC

The folks in Fayetteville, NC, have put together an impressive list of driving tours to highlight various aspects of its history.

Each tour starts at the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and have maps and different places to stop.

You can see the complete list at

Look at the left side. List of tours:

African-American Heritage
All American Adventure
Civil War
Gaelic Beginnings
Historic Architecture
Patri-Arts and Gardens
Patriotic Past and Present
Religious Freedom
Lafayette Trail-- New
International Cuisine-- New
Other Trails

Pretty Impressive There, Fayetteville. --RoadDog

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Going Through Our Own Little Hell at JFK-- Part 3

Then, there was a long walk to a train to take us to the rest of the airport. The person pushing my mom stayed with us until this point, and I gave him a nice tip to thank him.

A rider on the train was kind enough to help me get my mom off as I had the luggage with me. I forgot to mention that to rent a luggage cart was $5. I should also mention that the first five I put in did not take, and I had to insert a second fiver, so it cost $10. But, there was no way I could move that luggage any other way.

Then, we had another long walk to the domestic flights. My mom was just about used up as there was no one to push her at this time. Then, there were lots of elevators to take up and down at certain places.

We finally arrived at the American Airline ticketing area which was largely closed at this late hour (about 10:30 PM). We went to one employee who told us to go elsewhere to a spot. We did, but still no one showed up to check our baggage. Went back to the first person, who said it was at a different area she directed us to. We did check the luggage, but then had to wait a long time for someone to show up to push Mom.

Wait, It Ain't Over Yet... --RoadDog

Litchfield, Illinois, World War II Plane Crashes

Another thing that should be marked along Route 66 and that most people don't know about, is the February 15, 1945, crashes of two Douglas A-20 Havoc Light Bombers at a farm along Route 66 (near the present Kruse Auto Salvage on South Old Route 66).  This took place during World War II.

The two planes were in a snow storm, gas low, and nearby fields closed because of the storm. No one was injured and the two planes were dismantled and removed.

You can see more of the story at

Just one more thing from the largely overlooked US homefront during World War II. Route 66 was also a major avenue for troop and munition transport from the eastern to western US.

It's a Bird, It's a ______. --RoadDog

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Down Da 66: The Ledge-- The Dixie-- The Show

Some New News About an Old Road in Illinois.

1. THE LEDGE-- If you dare, in Chicago at the Sears Tower, opened earlier this month. Venture out on it if you dare, but they say it can hold weight comparable to an elephant so I guess I might be safe. Look down if you dare.

2. THE DIXIE-- The July 8th Bloomington Pantagraph reports that the Dixie truck Plaza in McLean, Illinois is almost finished with a $500,000 remodeling program, but will continue to hold true to its Route 66 heritage. Hey, bring back the clocks.

3. THE SHOW-- The Pontiac Route 66 Museum is selling tickets to see the Route 66 musical to be at the Chautauqua Park pavilion August 6-9th. Tickets are $8 for adults and can be purchased at the museum.

Down Da Road I Go. --RoadDog

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Watching the Horses Run

Today I got together with some teachers I taught with for many years at John T. Magee Middle School at Arlington Park Race Track in Chicago suburban Arlington Heights, Illinois at the intersection of US-14 (Northwest Highway) and Wilke Road.. I haven't been there for many years and had forgotten how much fun it was.

Parking on Wednesdays is free and admission is $5. The grandstand is magnificent and the grounds immaculate with shrubs and thousands of flowers. I only made $2 to win bets and won two of the 6 races I bet on, with two other number two finishes, a number three, and one no-finish. I came home $53 wealthier.

Definitely a great way to spend an afternoon. Thursdays are senior days where age 55+ gets you in for $3.

Place a Bet for Me. --RoadDog

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Going Through Our Own Little Hell at JFK-- Part 2

Bon Ton Roulets, as the French Say, or is it the Cajuns? Let the Good Times Roll.

And were they ever the "good times" and did they ever "roll."

The flight from Heathrow was a little delayed, but not too bad, but I knew one hour to get from any international terminal to a domestic one would be cutting it close. And, it sure was.

I don't think we could have parked any further from a gate as we were. Very long walk just to get to the gate area. Fortunately, BAW had someone there at the plane with a wheel chair to push Mom.

We had been told in Cairo many, many, many hours earlier, that our luggage was to be checked all the way to RDU (Raleigh-Durham Airport in NC). But, no, that did not happen. We had to wait, and, of course, our luggage was among the last off, and Mom's wheelchair was last off. Fortunately, the person pushing Mom said he was fairly sure we'd have to get our own luggage.

A person from British Airways came out to tell us we had to get a move on to get to our connecting flight. Oh yes, and we had to get our luggage to go through customs again. No DUH!!

The initial customs was fairly fast, but then, there was a back up at the security check. Having a person in a wheelchair definitely helps at this point.

Wait, It Ain't Over Yet!! --RoadDog

Going Through Our Own Little Hell at JFK-- Part 1

Or, How to cram 30 hours into a 24-hour day.

Our homeward trip after the events of June 18th, the fire aboard the Royal Princess, occurred on June 21st. I figured it would be a tiring day, but it was so much more than I could ever have hoped for.

It started innocently and early enough with a nice bus trip to the Cairo, Egypt, airport, then went down from there. First, our tickets were not in the system, causing Mom to have to buy our tickets after a promise of reimbursement.

Then, a nice BAW flight to London's Heathrow Airport and a five hour layover. An uneventful transatlantic flight to New York's JFK, and that is where the fun began.

I'll write about the early part of the 21st later, but, I'd like to write about what transpired on good old American soil while it is still burned in my memory.

Fear and Loathing at JFK, Next!! --RoadDog

Monday, July 6, 2009

Military Convoy Near End

The 90th Anniversary military convoy is now near the end of its journey after 20 stops and starting earlier this month in Washington, DC.

Tonight, it is in Sacramento, California, and tomorrow Stockton, where it will spend the night before going to its final destination, San Francisco. Fifty-five vehicles are expected in Stockton as the Military Vehicle Preservation Society retraces the original 1919 route.

Sure Wish I Could Have Seen It When It Was in Illinois Or At the Lincoln Highway Convention in South Bend. Unfortunately, I Was Out of the Country.

Reliving History, One Vehicle at a Time. --RoadDog

Saturday, July 4, 2009

June 19th-- "There's Got to Be a Morning After"-- Fire Aboard the Royal Princess

Mighty tired and slept very well from 2:30 AM to about 8.

Still no electricity and the toilet was getting intense. All the ships anchored near us were gone. I still don't know if they were waiting to assist us or waiting their turn to go through the Suez Canal.

The tug was still milling around, like the proverbial Egyptian "Mosquitoes" who had so plagued us at the tourist sites in Cairo and Port Said (pronounced Sa-id). Guess he figured on a big payday if he got to tow us back to port (which was only about five miles away).

We were still sitting where they dropped anchor last night.I wasn't sure if they would have breakfast, but went up to Deck 9 anyway. They did, but in greatly modified form, just cereal, fruit, pastries, and sandwiches. Better than nothing.

The passengers looked tired, but the crew looked completely worn out but still doing their job.

Sitting Out in the Mediterranean. --RoadDog

Passing the Time Aboard the Royal Princess

Well, you know that somebody just had to sing "Morning After" by Maureen McGovern from the "Poseidon Adventure. And, of course, there was the ever-popular song from "Titanic," "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion, my sister Julie's favorite performer.

They did. Would have joined along, but didn't know the words, except for "There's got to be a morning after" which I joined in loud and strong.

I only saw one guy sort of lose his cool when he yelled back to the girl in charge when she repeated the same thing for the nth time, "Why don't you just KEEP QUIET unless you have something new to tell us!!!"

I would have sung "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," but, alas, also didn't know the words and the weather wasn't quite the same.

We did talk with a couple of crew members. One was a girl from South Africa who had been on cruise ships for ten years, and never had a situation like this. Another guy from England had recently graduated from college there and had joined the crew to see the world for awhile before getting a job on land.

I talked with a man from England in the Muster area about World War I and World War II, especially since so many veterans from WW II are dying now, and we're down to less than a handful of WW I vets, including two from England and one from the US.

The poor crew had to wear life preservers for four hours straight and that had to be hot. Thankfully, they let the passengers take them off after a short time. Some folks used the battery light on them to provide some light in the rooms.

Can Anyone Think of Another Good Ship Disaster Song? --RoadDog

Friday, July 3, 2009

More on the 1919 Military Convoy

The June 24th North Platte (Ne) Telegraph reported that the first convoy in 1919 was slowed in Dawson County by quicksand. The 90th anniversary one stopped in Lexington for lunch and was in Omaha on the 24th, Grand Island on the 25th, and Ogallala on the 27th

The July 2nd Tooele (Ut) Transcript reports that the convoy had arrived after leaving Washington, DC, on June 13th in their 28 day trip to recreate the original one's path 90 years before.

Art Pope, the convoy director, is in a 1942 Ford Sedan that didn't see combat, but was used behind the lines by staff.

Let's Giddy Up 'N Go. --RoadDog

June 18th-- The Fire Aboard the Royal Princess-- Part 8

Around midnight, after almost four hours, passengers were allowed to go to decks 9 and 10. I heard that they had gotten the air conditioning going in the interior areas, plus, this is where the pool area was located, so, at least there was open air. Throughout the time they were up there, we saw groups of crew members carrying water, pop, and food up there.

It seemed to take a long time for all the people at Muster B on the 5th deck to exit and climb the stairs. The people with mobility problems did not have to go up the stairs, thankfully, but I did hear that the crew was considering helping them up. Instead, those that remained were able to go out on the promenade again.

The muster area was really trashed by this time. Urinals in the bathrooms were ok, but the toilets were near overflowing. I felt sorry for the ladies.

Around 1:30, we were told we could return to our staterooms, although there was no electricity and the toilets wouldn't flush. Thankfully, we were on a balcony, so could open the sliding glass door for the breeze.

The poor crew must have been up all night. They are to be commended for their efforts and training which were really put to the test. Plus, the fire could have been much more serious, but the efforts to contain it were successful.

This Could Have Been a Lot More Serious. --RoadDog

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Royal Princess

Wikipedia had an article about our ship, the Royal Princess.

It was the eighth of the "R" Class of smaller cruise ships, built in 2001 for Renaissance Cruises. As such, it is the sister ship of the Tahitian Princess and Pacific Princess, also of the Princess line.

It was bought after Renaissance Cruise Line collapsed in 2001 and sailed for Swan Hellenic from 2003-2007 as the MS Minerva II. On April 7, 2007, it was transferred to Princess Line and renamed the Royal Princess. On June 18, 2009, while on a 12-day cruise in the Mediterranean, the engine room caught fire outside of Port Said, Egypt, and the passengers were once again made subject to the Egyptian "mosquitoes" when it returned to port.

Fortunately, there were no injuries, but a lot of disappointed people when they didn't get a chance to go to the Holy Land. However, Princess was nice enough to refund the full cost of the voyage and give 25% off the next cruise and made arrangements to fly everyone home. Something you just don't see often in today's corporate world.

Maybe Next Time. RoadDog

June 18th-- The Fire Aboard the Royal Princess-- Part 7

One bit of "fun" that we did have out on the promenade deck was watching the antics of a bottle nose dolphin as it splashed about with joy up by the ship. Later, we found out that it was attracted by the lights, and since we weren't going anywhere, this was a perfect play ground.

There were quite a few people lining the rails to watch, and a lot of kids as well. However, the two-year-old from Colombia slept through this as well. I found out the Colombian family must be very well-to-do as they had a full-time nanny with them for the child.

This mammal was having a REALLY good time. It almost appeared to be smiling at us.

After a little while, everyone was asked to go back inside for some reason. Perhaps in case the tug was to push or perhaps too many people were coming outside to get out of the increasingly hot conditions in the muster area, and there were still some fumes, but not as bad.

The crew began walking around handing out cans of pop and bottles of water. Sandwiches were also handed out as we had been there for about 3 hours now. One lady couldn't eat cheese and a special effort was made to procure a sandwich without it. Again, the crew couldn't have been more courteous or helpful in these trying conditions.

I'll Have a Sammich and Coke. Thank You. --RoadDog

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June 18th-- The Fire Aboard the Royal Princess-- Part 6

As I said, it was much more pleasant out on the deck, as it was stifling and the acrid smell hard to take inside the muster station, which was completely closed in.

I kept walking in and sitting with my sister and her daughter to make sure they were alright. They refused to come outside. The Colombian family came out as well.

The captain continued to make announcements. At first, he just said they thought the fire was contained, but it was too hot to enter the engine room to check. The lifeboats were run out, but not lowered, just as a precaution. This greatly worried everyone.

The person in charge of the muster kept checking to be sure everyone was there, usually calling by room number. I heard her say room 7098 and I yelled that they were out on the deck, until my sister reminded me that odd numbers were on the starboard side and this would be on the other side, so I went up to tell her.

I Hadn't Noticed the Even-Odd Number Thing Before. --RoadDog