Thursday, April 30, 2009

NTHP Endangered Sites

A little more info on some of them. You can go to their website to get pictures and much more information.

CENTRAL PLAZA HOTEL-- Los Angeles-- built 1966-- 19 stories, curved-- in danger because of plans to raze it.

MIAMI MARINE STADIUM-- Miami, Florida-- for water activities with great views of downtown and striking overhang. In danger because the city is lukewarm on its preservation.

DORCHESTER ACADEMY-- Midway, Georgia-- one of the earliest schools for blacks, founded 1801. The striking 1934 boys dorm is the only remaining building and in danger from deterioration. (This and the Rosenberg schools should receive much emphasis.)

More to Come. --RoadDog

NTHP's 2009 Eleven Most-Endangered Sites

Every year I look forward to this organization's list of most-endangered sites. It focuses public attention on some classic spots we might not have for long and that is always a good thing. I am a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

This year's class includes:

Century Plaza Hotel-- LA
Miami Marine Stadium-- Miami
Dorchester Academy-- Midway, Georgia
Lanai City-- Honolulu Hawaii
Ames Shovel Shops-- Easton, Massachusetts
Memorial Bridge-- Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, Me.
Mount Taylor-- Grants, NM
Human Service Center-- Yankton, SD
Manhattan Project's Enola Gay Hangar-- Wendover, Utah
Cast Iron Architecture-- Galveston, Tx

Oops, seem to have missed one. I'll have to go back and look.

OK, it is the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois (my home state, wouldn't you know).

Save That Old Stuff!! --RoadDog

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Five Days on the Road-- Charlie Brown's

I just got back from a five-day road trip with the American Road Forum group.

I met up with the Bremers on Friday morning at Charlie Brown's on Main Street in Speedway. This is not your cookie cutter breakfast joint. For some reason, the walls were covered with Indy 500 pictures and posters. Could the fact they are about a third of the mile from the track have something to do with it?

I highly suggest the Charlie Brown omelet which is loaded par excellence. The Bremers told me about a major urban renewal program Speedway is planning which will really change the downtown appearance on Main Street, where Charlie Brown's is located. It will also have traffic circles. Can't say much about that as I HATE traffic circles. You never know where you're going to be hit from. Met the city manager who is a friend of the Bremers and CB regular.

They took me over to the CVS store so I could get some toothpaste and deodorant, two things I forgot. I guess that's what happens when you pack in a few minutes. That wouldn't have happened had Liz been along.

Absolutely gorgeous weather, but windy, windy, windy.

A Full Stomach, Now for Some Road Stuff. --RoadDog

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lincoln Highway Military Convoy

The April 12th Chambersburg (Pa) Public Opinion had an article on the upcoming Lincoln Highway military convoy which will retrace the original one made back in 1919. Harry Fike will be in it driving a 1918 Dodge Army Staff Car.

The new convoy will spend its first night in Fayetteville. The first convoy spent an unexpected night at Chambersburg after failing to get beyond Frederick, Maryland because of breakdowns.

The Chambersburg Public Opinion July 7, 1919, said there was a mishap at the Western Maryland Railroad bridge near Thurmont, Md., when the top of one of the vehicles was knocked off while going under it. This caused a detour where three trucks ran off the culvert and had to be pulled out.

The objective of the original convoy was to test long-distance motorized transport and to demonstrate the need for better roads as well as recruiting. Of course, a young Army officer by the name of Dwight Eisenhower was along and later, as president, he initiated the interstate system.

Sure Would Like to See This Convoy, But Unfortunately Will Be Out of the Country When it Happens. --RoadDog

Thursday, April 23, 2009

American Road Spring Cruise: On the Road Again This Weekend

Just got to get some traveling in before gas gets too expensive for me.

I leave today for an American Road Magazine Forum Group trip in Indiana and Ohio. Planning on stopping at 6-8 new NTN sites in Lafayette and Indianapolis on the way down.

In honor of Lincoln's 200th birthday, tomorrow, we're going to see the grave of Carl Fisher in Indianapolis. He was the father of the Lincoln Highway, Dixie Highway, Indianapolis 500 Speedway, and Miami Beach. Talk about your shaker and movers. A trip to the Speedway is also planned. A cruise along the National Road to Richmond, Indiana follows.

Saturday we cruise to Cincinnati and Sunday, it's a trip to the American Sign Museum in Cincy.

On the Road Again, I Just Can't Wait to get On the Road Again. Right, Willie?-- RoadDog

Down Da 66: DeCamp Station-- Missouri-- Old Cars-- On the Radio

At the quarterly meeting of the Route 66 Association of Illinois meeting this past Sunday, the SCV meeting in Springfield, and the drive home:

1. DECAMP STATION-- south of Staunton, is getting a matching grant to help do something about the horrific sulphur smell from their well water.

2. MISSOURI-- A representative from the Missouri Rt 66 Association was there and said there are lots more Route 66 Festivals in the state now. He also expects Route 66 signage in the state to improve significantly as there will soon be 900. Every turn will be marked. These historic signs will be blue instead of the usual brown.

I remember the most trouble I ever got into with Ramona at the Munger-Moss was when I mentioned that Missouri's signage left something to be desired, especially compared to that of Illinois. I won't say that again.

By the way, the last time we were in Missouri a few years ago, the signage was already much better.

3. OLD CARS-- Get your old, classic cars south of Springfield. There are now two places for it south of town. DAVE'S CLASSIC CARS has been in business for awhile now. It is on the east side of I-55, a bit south of the Glenarm Exit. CLASSIC CAR is a new business on the west side of I-55 by Exit 88.

4. ON THE RADIO-- Two really fine Springfield Radio Stations to tune to when in town: 100.5 FM which plays classic rock and 101.9 FM KOOL OLDIES. I know they always dedicate the whole weekend of the Route 66 Festival to us.

5. A RECORD STORE-- Last Saturday was National Record Store Day, with focus on the mom and pop stores we 66ers so love. Springfield has a good one, which is actually bucking the steady loss of places, and expanding upstairs.

It is called Recycled Records and sells new and used cassettes, albums and CDs as well as reconditioned equipment. It is near the Hilton.

A local radio station was doing a live broadcast and the place was packed. About the only thing I don't like about the place is that you have to have an employee get the CD from under the glass case.

I bought seven CDs including "Western Union" by the Five Americans and "History," a greatest hits compilation by John Fred & the Playboy Band. They sure had a lot of great stuff besides "Judy in Disguise."

On Da Road Again. --RoadDog

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More Route 66 News from Springfield, Illinois

Well, Sherman, actually. Sherman is a suburb of Springfield located to the north of the capital city.

Also from the April 17th Springfield State Journal-Register by Amanada Reavy.

A park is being planned for Sherman and Route 66 will be a big part of it. Plans are moving along for the Veterans Memorial and Route 66 Historic Gateway Park which will cover about 11 acres along Sherman Boulevard (Bus. 55) north of Family Video.

Village Trustee Jeff Mitchell said there are three aspects of the park. The primary part is to honor veterans and will feature engraved bricks with the names of service men and women.

Secondly, it is a tribute to Route 66 and sections of the original road are in the park.

Thirdly, it is a conservation area for native plant species and flowering prairie grasses and a system of interpretive plaques and trails. A shelter and picnic tables are planned.

The entrance and parking lot design are already in place thanks to a $30,000 state grant.

I'm not sure exactly where this is. Perhaps by the old Route 66 rest area north of town, or perhaps along the old stretch of abandoned 66 in town.

Definitely One More Route 66 Place of Interest in Illinois. --RoadDog

Springfield Route 66 Getting NRHP Recognition

Monday, I reported on a 1.3 mile stretch of the original Route 66 being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here is some more information on the stretch as reported in the April 17th Springfield State Journal-Register which lists the Illinois Route 66 Association as its source.

It was originally known as Olde carriage Way, the 1.3 mile section between East Lake Shore Drive and New City Road opened in the 1920s and is a part of the original Route 66 alignment through Springfield.

It opened before Lake Springfield was constructed in the 1930s, and part of it lies at the bottom of the lake now.

It is said to be the longest surviving stretch of the ORIGINAL 66 in Illinois. Two other sections in central Illinois-- a restored brick stretch off Illinois 4 between Chatham and Auburn, and a stretch south of Litchfield in Montgomery County, are already on the NRHP.

I am not sure exactly where this section is, but will have to check it out the next time we're in town.

Always a Good Bit of News. --RoadDog

New Owners for Scotty's in Hamel, Illinois

The last time through Hamel, we stopped at Scotty's for lunch at the great old Route 66 veteran, Scotty's. It's a real trip back. We were disappointed to find that it was for sale (asking price $500.000). Way more money than I could afford, and I don't won't to have a bar or restaurant any way (Way too Much Work!!).

Found out April 19th at the Route 66 Association quarterly meeting in Litchfield, that it had been sold. Owner Jim Allen, who is very active in the association was there. We had the last April meeting at his place.

He said closing was May 21st. He is not sure what the new owners from Edwardsville plan to do with the place, but is going to put in a good word to continue with the Route 66 theme.

Jim invites everyone to drop in May 15th when he has his grand closing party complete with band and specials.

One good bit of news is that they are donating their famous Jackalope to the Route 66 Museum in Pontiac.

Sure Will Miss Jim and His Efforts. Thanks. --RoadDog

Long Weekend on the Road-- Part 3

THE CURVE INN April 17th

We quite accidentally discovered the Curve Inn by accident, having turned too soon once on our way back to the Route 66 Hotel. We drove by this building and said, "Wow, that is a bar" and very close to the hotel. We hadn't seen it because it is behind a McDonald's.

We've been back every time we've stayed in Springfield. This is a classic Roadhouse. If TGIF, Chilis, or Applebee's are your thing, don't go here. It can get a tad rowdy sometimes and is always fun with really fine bartenders to keep the food and drinks coming. We've met some interesting characters.

"Mom" is an especially delightful person. She is about 80 and in at least once a week to play darts. She is every one's favorite, and affectionately called "Mom,"a name she seems to enjoy.

We really enjoy the Friday afternoon beer garden bands. They've already started it this April and there was a solo performer playing out there before a big crowd. Another deejay/karaoke guy was setting up inside to take over after the outside entertainment ended at 10 PM, but I was gone before that.

Great food and prices as well. Drinks are reasonable and there's always a special. Tonight's was all Bud products for $2 a bottle.

A Definite Visit When in the Springfield Area. --RoadDog

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Long Weekend on the Road-- Part 2

April 17th continued.


PARTYING ON ROUTE 66

I drove I-72 to Springfield and visited three bars on old Route 66. Capital City Bar and Grill is on Springfield's southeast side and on the Route 66 Bypass (Dirksen and Stevenson). It wasn't there when Route 66 existed.

This is a favorite place to play NTN-Buzztime and also has great food. This being Friday, I had their all-you-can-eat walleye special for $5.99. Really outstanding stuff at a great price. I just missed a buddy that I often play NTN with, JJ, but had a great talk with Wes, who works at the U of I-Springfield library.

They had live entertainment.

Checked into the Travelodge which also was a Route 66 motel and then drove the short distance to the Curve Inn. Last month, when we stopped at the Cozy Dog on our way to Litchfield, we had noticed that the Sunrise Inn appeared to be closed. It had been on Route 66 since the 30s. It is open so that's good news.

The Curve Inn dates back to the 20s and was named for a curve Route 66 made at that point. This is a real Route 66 Roadhouse if there ever was one. A few years ago, it was inducted into the Route 66 Association's Hall of Fame.

More Route 66 Fun and Games to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, April 20, 2009

Long Weekend on the Road

I just completed a 580 mile trip in Illinois from Friday to Sunday.

I drove Il-47 to Dwight and then US-66 to Bloomington-Normal where I took I-55 around to US-51 south. This is the first time I've been on this stretch of 51, which is four lane divided and 65 mph, like driving the interstate.

I was on an NTN-playing mission here. I went to Snappers on the beautiful square in Clinton, but the bartender had no idea what I was talking about when I asked to play the game. I found out later that it was coming to Snapper's. I'll definitely be back, looks like my kind of place.

I continued south on 51 to the B-Dub (Buffalo Wild Wings) in Forsyth and then went to Just One More in Decatur. I really liked this place and was it ever crowded. If there ever was more of a Cheers-type crowd, I sure would like to know where it was. There were all types in there, from young to old. many were enjoying the outside bar. This was my 800th NTN site that I visited.

Bar Hoppin' on 66 Next. --RoadDog

Stretch of Old 66 May Win Spot on Register Soon

From the April 17th Springfield (Il) State Journal-Register, Tim Landis.

The application to the National Register of Historic Places for a 1.3 mile stretch of original pavement southeast of Springfield was first filed more than a year ago, but returned for more information. Now, according to Barbara Wyatt of the Washington office, it appears to be ready to be listed.

Preservationists call this the longest, still-drivable section of the original Route 66 in Illinois.

This stretch of road is 16 feet wide compared to today's 24 feet norm and is used by farm equipment . people commuting to Springfield and school buses carrying students to Ball Elementary School.

Route 66 fan, author, historian, and preservationist John Weiss was instrumental in the effort and says he knows the road is rough and narrow, but would like to see it preserved while saving its historic character, perhaps using rubberized concrete instead of asphalt to fix the potholes.

Improvements are planned by the county, but presently there is no money to do it.

Saving Route 66 One Piece at a Time. --RoadDog

Morrison, Illinois' Preservation Ordinance

In a move to help preserve Morrison's historic downtown district and Lincoln Highway alignment, the city now has a new ordinance which allows owners of buildings and homes in these two areas to make improvements while freezing property tax payments for eight years.

They are also moving to have the whole downtown placed on the National register of Historic Places.

The Lincoln Highway is a very picturesque drive through town.

April 19th Quad City Times.

A Step in the Right Direction.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame 2009 Inductees

I was at the quarterly meeting of the Route 66 Association of Illinois meeting in Litchfield, Illinois earlier today and found out this year's Hall of Fame inductees and the winner of the Tom Teague Ambassador Award.

The four Hall of Fame inductees are:

The Crossroads Drive-In in Mount Olive
The Mill on 66 in Lincoln
Statesville Penitentiary in Crest Hill
Sprague Super Service in Normal

This year's winner of the Tom Teague Ambassador Award are Lenore and John Weiss.

Congratulations to All. --RoadDog

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Railings and Sidewalk on Chicago's Michigan Avenue Bridge

And, speaking of bridges...

In time for Chicago's centennial celebration of the 1909 Burnham Plan which turned the city into what it is today (despite the ex-governor, extreme taxes, and sky-high parking), the famous Michigan Avenue Bridge is being returned to its original appearance, and it looks great.

One side's railings and sidewalk have been completed and they are starting on the other. Traffic and pedestrians have had a bad time of it though.

The new railings are based on the original 1920 design by architect Edward Bennett, who co-authored the 1909 plan. The articulated hub-and-spoke pattern railings are a little taller to meet safety standards and are painted a ruddy-plum color called "Bordeaux."

The whole project is slated to cost $3.5 million.

From the April 5th Chicago Tribune article by Blair Kamin.

Always Great to See Something Old Repaired Rather Than Destroyed, and Especially When It Looks Even better Like the Il. Highway 4 Bridge in Pontiac, Illinois. --RoadDog

Roebling and Kenton

Yesterday, I wrote about the Dixie Highway and a statue of Simon Kenton being erected at the John A. Roebling Bridge between Covington, Ky, and Cincinnati, Ohio. I have to admit that I didn't know anything about these two men, so did a little Wiki Biz. Both are notable for their accomplishments.

JOHN AUGUSTUS ROEBLING-- born Johann August Robling in Germany June 12, 1806, died July 22, 1869. Famous for his wire rope design bridges, especially the Brooklyn Bridge and the one renamed after him at Cincinnati.

It was started in 1856 but ran into financial difficulties and the Civil War, and wasn't completed until 1867, at the time, the longest suspension bridge in the world until the Brooklyn Bridge.

It was placed on the National register of Historic Places in 1975 and closed for a few months 2006-2007 for major repairs and for awhile in 2008 for painting. There is now an 11-ton weight limit so buses can no longer use it.

SIMON KENTON-- April 3, 1755 to April 29, 1836. Noted frontiersman and good friend of Daniel Boone, saving his life at Fort Boonesborough, Ky, when Boone's knee cap was shattered by a bullet and Kenton carried him under a flurry of shots, back into the fort. Fought in Dunsmore's War against the Shawnee and at several engagements during the Revolution. Buried in Urbana, Ohio.

Interesting Men. --RoadDog

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Dixie Highway

The March 16th North Kentucky.com had an article about the Dixie Highway by Chris Mieman.

The Dixie Highway, all 5000+ miles of it, had two major routes, both ending in Miami, Florida. The eastern one started in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and western one had a terminus in Chicago.

It was the brainchild of Carl G. Fisher, who also was the father of the Lincoln Highway, Indianapolis 500 Speedway and Miami Beach (no wonder he wanted it to go to Miami).

He pitched the idea at a governors convention in 1915. Like the Lincoln Highway, it was not built new, but traversed existing paved surfaces.

Northern Kentucky wanted the Three-L Highway or Alexandria Pike to serve as its Dixie segment, but the Covington-Lexington Turnpike became the alignment in 1915. The Covington to Erlander segment was completed in July 1916 and 400 trees were planted along it and a statue of Simon Kenton was placed at the John Roebling Bridge.

The Erlinger-Florence stretch was completed by 1921 and it was open to Williamston in September 1924. The whole Kentucky alignment was not finished until the opening of the bridge over Rockcastle River in Laurel County in 1925.

A Little Bit O' Dixie on Your Mind. --RoadDog

"The Buck Stops Here" from El Reno, Oklahoma, on Route 66

I was recently looking at the List Universe where they had a bit on 15 misquotes in politics and military. One was about President Truman's "The Buck Stops Here" sign on his desk. The article said this originated at the desk of the colonel at the Federal reformatory in El Reno.

A Yale historian has discovered an El Reno newspaper from 1942 with that phrase on his desk. Truman's sign was a gift from that institution.

The More You Don't Know. --RoadDog

Hitting the Old Roads

Getting ready to make a quick trip down to Springfield, Illinois, for a Sons of Confederate Veterans Illinois Division Annual Convention at the Hilton Hotel downtown. REBELS IN LINCOLN'S HOME??? How about that.

I intend to take Route 66 from Dwight to Bllomington-Normal, then to get off on old US-51 and take it through Clinton, Forsyth, Decatur and Taylorville to play NTN at four sites.

Friday night, I will go to Capital City Bar and Grill on the southeast side of town (along the old Route 66 bypass) and Curve Inn, on the original alignment.

Keep on Down That Two-Lane Highway. RoadDog

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tribune's Suggestions for the Real Chicago-- Part 2

Continued

3. CHICAGO DOG-- You've just got to have one of these. A real good one can be had at Hot Doug's at 3324 N. California Avenue. While there, you can bone up on the City Council's 2005 ban on foie gras (liver of force-fed ducks). Before the repeal of it in 2008, owner Doug (Get it, Hot Doug's) Sohn was fined $250 for serving a fois gras-garnished sausage named for the alderman who sponsored the ban. (Ah, civil disobedience in Chi-Town.)

4. PUTT-PUTT AT THE MORTUARY-- Palatine's (northwest suburban Chicagoland) Ahlgrim Family Funeral Home at 201 N. Northwest Highway (US-14) has a miniature golf course in the basement. Forty years ago, owner Roger Ahlgrim decided to put the f-u-n in funeral, and had a gold course constructed downstairs with various spooky obstacles like a coffin, graveyard, crypt, and red-eyed skull. However, no games can be played when there is a funeral service upstairs. I've attended many funerals here, including most recently, that of my mother-in-law and two high school classmates.

There is also a 3/4 scale windmill in a small park by the parking lot.

5. LANGUAGE THING-- Stand at the corner of Lawrence and Kedzie avenues in the Albany Park neighborhood and hear Urdu, Polish, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Hindi, Romanian, Cambodian and even more obscure languages being spoke. Then look at the store signs in Spanish, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and more.

Sounds like a more real Chicago than the sanitized one the mayor gave.

Compiled by Monica Eng, Alan Artner and Patrick T. Reardon

Well, Ive Done #1 and #4. --RoadDog

Tribune's Suggestions for the Real Chicago

The April 8th Chicago Tribune had a memo to the 13 International Olympic Committee evaluators from "Some die-hard Chicagoans" with five suggestions of things to see to get a true feel for Chicago. Chicago is going for the 2016 Games. I kind of hope we don't get it for the hassle aspect that also comes with them.

I found them interesting.


1. STROLL-- along LaSalle Street from the art deco Board of Trade Building at Jackson to Randolph (Route 66) and enjoy all the outdoor sculpture (plus interesting buildings and some early skyscrapers). (Better yet, book a walking tour with Route 66's Windy City Road Warrior if you REALLY want to see some neat stuff.)

OBAMA CONNECTION-- visit the former Baskin-Robbins at 1400 E. 53rd Street (soon to be a Subway shop) to see where Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson exchanged their first kiss in summer 1989.

Neat Stuff to Be Continued. --RoadDog

Did Our 66 Thing-- Part 8-- Shaw's

Back in March, I reported on a day and a half trip along Route 66 from Dwight, Illinois, to the Chain of Rocks Bridge.

Still continuing with it.

We're now in Litchfield, but TOO full of Cozy Dogs and fries to get our taco fix and the local Jack in the Box.

We did have a thirst needing to be slaked, and what better place to do that than at the old Route 66 watering hole called Shaw's.

Before the last Route 66 festival in Litchfield this last June, we'd seen the place many times, but it is far enough away from the Best Value Inn to make it a car trip, not something I like to do when visiting a different town and drinking stuff stronger than pop. We were (now that the Gardens is no longer there) walking over to the Passport Lounge near the Ariston. However, now that the Shaw owners have embraced Route 66, this is the place to drink in town.

The place has been on Route 66 since the 20s, originally as a gas station and restaurant. The bar itself is in the old gas station.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Tripplehorn on Route 66

I came across an article in the May Ladies Home Journal, ok, it's my late mother-in-law's subscription, about Jeanne Tripplehorn, a TV and movie actress (HBO's Big Love and movie Grey Gardens), who is also a big Route 66 fan. I have to admit that I have never heard of her before, but she moves high up on my list of folks to see because of this.

The articles says that she mentions the road going through Tulsa, Ok, where she's from and ends in Santa Monica, her current home. She is also a spokesperson for the World Monument Fund, which has recently listed Route 66 as one of the 100 most-endangered sites. They mobilize aid to save them.

She says she is planning a trip along Route 66 this summer since her son is now old enough "to appreciate the fake dinosaurs, teepee-shaped motels and other pieces of Americana that dot its way." She says, "it's the stuff of legends."

Go to wmf.com to learn more.

Way to Go, Jeanne and Welcome Aboard the 66 Train. --RoadDog

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

US-61-- The "Blues Highway"

The March 11th hattiesburg (Ms) American had an article about the highway that is forever linked with one of my favorite kinds of music, Da Blues.

A new marker for the Blues Trail has been dedicated in Vicksburg at the corner of Washington and Jackson streets.

Highway 61 is strongly identified with the blues. Many artists traveled north on it on their way to jobs in the Midwest and Chicago, the World Capital of the Blues.

Both the rise of the automobile and development of the US highway system in the 1920s and 1930s coincided with the explosion of the blues, jazz and spiritual in the north.

Originally, US-61 ran from New Orleans to Grand Portage, Minnesota on the Canadian border. It connected the blues cities of Memphis, St. Louis, and St. Paul.

In Mississippi, it was originally mostly gravel and covered 400 miles through the main business districts of towns. Today, it mostly bypasses down towns and has been significantly straightened, shaving 80 miles off the length.

The 1921 Federal Highway Act mandated numbered highways. In 1926, work on US-61 began and continued into the 1940s. By then, at least seven blues singers had recorded songs about 61.

One of two Mississippi Blues Trail markers are on 61, the other being in Tunica.

See www.msbluestrail.org

Blues You Can Use. --RoadDog

Grapes of Wrath

I have to admit that I have not yet read John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath." But, now with the 70th anniversary, it would be a good time to do so. As a Route 66 fanatic (not just a fan), it would seem to be the least I could do.

I do possess a copy of the book as well as Steinbeck's "travels with Charlie" which I also haven't read. My excuse nowadays is that I spend way too much time on these four blogs. Weak as it is.

I did, however, see the movie "Grapes of Wrath." The one thing I'm most impressed with was the fortitude of the mother, who kept the family together through her sheer will. I don't know how anyone could face such a magnitude of misfortune and just continue on plugging away. A true hero.

It's About Time. --RoadDog

Happy 70 Birthday, Mother Road

Well, actually Route 66 is 83 years old, but its name "Mother Road" dates officially to this date in 1939, with the publishing of John Steinbeck's "grapes of Wrath" following the valiant Joad family from Oklahoma during the depths of the Dust Bowl and Depression.

John Steinbeck was the first to call Route 66 the Mother Road: "They came into 66 from the tributary side roads, from the wagon tracks and the rutted country roads. 66is the mother road, the road of flight."

From the April 13th Inland Daily Bulletin article by Joe Blackstock.

Along with Main Street USA, the Mother Road is used often to name Route 66. Route 66 is making a comeback, although Mr. Blackstock paints a bleak picture: "While his classic book has endured the passage of time, the highway has not fared so well, mostly disappearing below the smooth surfaces of a half dozen interstates." Personally, I thing Route 66 is in a lot better shape than that.

Mr. Blackstone does a short description of the book in the rest of the article saying that the Joad family and others were short on money and put everything they owned into overloaded trucks and cars for the perilous trek to the promised land, California, for a better life. They were complete with patched tires that were constantly going flat, leaky and overflowing radiators and a precarious list.

They drove at night through sweltering Arizona, came down a hill past the mining camp of Oatman and finally saw the Colorado River and California at needles.

There, they weren't greeted nicely. A sheriff told them, "If you're here tomorra this time, I'll run you in." The Joads and all the migrants were derisively called "Okies" by Californians, "You ain't in your country now. You're in California, an' we don't want you goddamn Okies settlin' down." Late that afternoon, they struggled up the steep mountain pass and then got hassled at a fruit inspection station in Daggett and got gas in Barstow.

The story ends with them crammed into farming camps in Central Valley, still being victimized, but most importantly, surviving.

So, A Big Old Happy Birthday to "The Mother Road." --RoadDog

Monday, April 13, 2009

Profile, Did You Know-- Part 2

American Profile Magazine

OHIO-- Chess and Checkers-- Thue John G. White Collection of Chess and Checkers at the Cleveland Public Library is the largest chess library in the world with over 30,000 bound and catalogued volumes and manuscripts, plus a huge number of chess sets. White died in 1928 and bequeathed his collection and established a trust fund to acquire more material.

SOUTH DAKOTA-- n "A Bed in a Shed" is what owners Bill and Barb White call their B&B in a renovated 1907 Herrick Elevator in Herrick, (pop. 105).

WISCONSIN-- n Broaster corporation is headquartered in Beloit (pop. 35,775). It is famous for its chicken cooking method that combines pressure cooking and deep frying that was invented in 1954 by L. A. M. Phelan.

Mighty Good Eating If You Can Get It. --RoadDog

Schutt Sports Company-- Litchfield, Illinois

Litchfield, Illinois is located on Route 66.

Schutt Sports, a history.

1918-- Bill Schutt manufactures basketball goals out of his hardware store in Litchfield.

1935-- makes first football face gear

1962-- Schutt Co. purchased by Del Humphry who begins lobbying to make face guards mandatory in football.

1963-- Face guards made mandatory.

1963-- Del Humphry develops loose strap for face guards.

1969-- Joe Namath switches to Schutt face guard and wins Super Bowl III.

And, It's On the Mother Road. I Wonder How Far from Shaw's. --RoadDog

Profile Did You Know

The American Profile Magazine a few weeks ago had some interesting information on some Midwest places.

ILLINOIS-- Litchfield (pop. 6,815)-- the world's largest manufacturer of football helmets and face guards is headquartered here, Schutt Sports. Founded 1918. Litchfield is on old Route 66.

KANSAS-- The Allen-Lambe House Museum in Wichita was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is considered to be one of his last "Prairie houses." It was built for Henry J. Allen, who was governor from 1919 to 1923.

MISSOURI-- the ice cream cone was named the state dessert in 2008 and was first served at the 1904 World's Fait in St. Louis.

Neat Places, Midwest Places. --RoadDog

Road Trippin' 2009-- Part 5

MARCH 31st-- Tuesday

Looking for 52
Charleston Adieu
Names You Don't See Everyday
Flo's No Lady
52 to NC

APRIL 1st-- Wednesday

Western Carolina 'Cue
Old Records
Trick Fish
Another Charleston
A Smokin' Good Time

APRIL 2nd-- Thursday

Hoss Would've Been So Proud
Old Towns and Murals
A River Ride
White Tails and Mail Pouches
A Cinchili Thing

APRIL 3rd-- Friday

Going Down With the Motel
Yankee Breakfast
Where'd They Hide the B-Dub

On the Road Again. That's the Trip. --RoadDog

Friday, April 10, 2009

Road Trippin' 2009-- Part 4

MARCH 28th-- Saturday

A Day to Be Married
It's a Long, Long Way to PB
Montana's
Wingin' It Out in the Sticks
Stormy Weather
Attack of the Gnats
Lost in the Woods-- Part 2
Katie's


MARCH 29th-- Sunday


Best Continental-- Good Eatin' at the Express
Kinfolks Adieu
Return to "C"

MARCXH 30th-- Monday

SC 'Cue
To Folly is To Beach
Bar Hoppin'
Don't Save Your Sand Dollars
Snow at Home, No Hurry to Return


Coming Up Next. Looking for 52. --RoadDog

Down Da 66: Congrats Tulsa & OKC-- Gold's Back-- Walldogs Coming

Some New News About an Old Road.


1. CONGRATS TULSA & OKC-- Forbes has released its list of best metropolitan places to live and Tulsa and Oklahoma City are numbers 5 and 6. Not bad for an old road's legacy.


2. GOLD's BACK-- Speaking of Tulsa, the famous old Meadow Gold Sign is going back up again, and near its original location. The old site was at 11th and Lewis and the new one is 11th and Quaker. It was constructed in the 30s and was lit until the 70s. The building's owners wanted to tear the building down and the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture and others rallied to save the sign.

3. WALLDOGS COMING-- The Bloomington Pantagraph reports that the WallDogs will be coming to Pontiac, Il., to do 17 murals in June with themes of Pontiac's heritage, Route 66, the Vermillion River, Harriet Humiston and the Interurban Railroad. The city is moving other events to coincide with it including Heritage Days, Car Show and Cruise Night. June 25th to 28th will be quite the time to be in town.

Keep On Down That Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Road Trippin 2009'-- Part 3

Trip in a Nutshell.

MARCH 25th--

Waffle Man
Carolina Wings
Taking Columbia
Miserable/Scary Drive
Too Much Coke


MARCH 26th

Grazing at Cici's
A Bridge Too Far
A Fort for the Ages
The Battery
Tis Folly
Too Much Coke-- Part 2

MARCH 27th

A Beau and a Head of a Place
Bluffing Our Way to Rehearsal
Lost in the Woods-- Part 1

Still Not Finished. --RoadDog

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tripping 2009-- Part 2

Day By Day-- To South Carolina.


MARCH 23rd-- Monday

Super Slabbing Again
Jackin' the Box Again
Ol' Boring Illinois
Indiana's Oldest
Better Driving
Louie's Home

MARCH 24th-- Tuesday

Still Slabbing
Bluegrass State of Mind
Grazing at the Corral
The Colonel Would Have Been Proud
Mountain Drive
Spartans and Greens

Next-- The Lizard and Dog's March Through South Carolina. --RoadDog

Tripping 2009

A Day-to Day Breakdown Synopsis. Route 66 and Missouri Leg

MARCH 19TH

Back to the 66
Pontiac's Getting Better
No Maple Candy for Us
Cozy Dog
It's a "Shaw" Thing

MARCH 20TH

Henry's, Scotty's, and the Chain
Jackin' Tacos and Jumbos
Nostalgiaville
Trailhead City
Sonic Thing I

MARCH 21ST

Harry's Home
Liberty, Lee and Ray
Sonic Thing II

MARCH 22ND

It's a Cuz Thing
Going to Kansas City

On the Road Again, We Were On the Road Again. --RoadDog

NTNin' Down Da Road

This past Family Tour 2009, was also one where we visited many new-to-us NTN/Buzztime sites. We went to a total of 58 places. The number in parentheses is the total sites in the state we've visited.


MISSOURI-- 14 (60)
KENTUCKY-- 2 (14)
SOUTH CAROLINA-- 24 (45)
NORTH CAROLINA-- 4 (26)
VIRGINIA-- 1 (1)
WEST VIRGINIA-- 5 (8)
OHIO-- 6 (26)
INDIANA-- 2 (34)

The site in Virginia was our first-ever in that state. We've been to Virginia many times going over the Civil War battlefields, but haven't been back since we got into NTN/Buzztime other than driving I-77 through the panhandle.

We have now been to 797 different NTN sites, very likely the most of any 'hooked" folks.

Way Too Much Time NTNin'. --RoadDog

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Did Our Route 66 Thing-- Part 8-- Shaw's Bar

We had driven by Shaw's Bar, on the original Route 66 alignment, many times over the years, but had never stopped in because it looks quite plain on the outside (nothing that would indicate an old place whatsoever. Plus, it was out of walking distance from the America's Best Value Inn.

This past June, we heard that many 66ers were using the place as an impromptu headquarters during the Festival. We dropped in twice that Saturday and found outside appearances could be deceiving. Inside, it looks old and definitely not homogenized like a TGIF, B-Dub, Chili's, etc.. Then, on top of it, we found the place had been in business since the 1920s and serving up food and drinks to thirst 66ers ever since.

The place was packed that night after the dinner and awards. Everyone signed a banner which they proudly display. Not only did Route 66 'discover" Shaw's, but Shaw's "discovered" Route 66.

They now have a sign outside that prominently shows the shield and the date from the 20s (can't remember exactly what it was, though).

Glad to Have Another Business Aboard. --RoadDog

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Back Home Again

It was a long trip, even by our standards. On the Road: 18 days, 3700 miles, nine states, two cousins, one wedding, two storms, 17 motels, one beach, one fort, two Charlestons, interstates, two-lane roads, US-53, US-66, murals, BBQ, more eatin', and 58 new NTN sites.

States, in order: Illinois, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

Roads: Il-47, Route 66, I-70, I-64, I-75, I-40, I-26, US-17, US-52, I-77, I-64, US-52- I-74, Il-47.

Towns and cities:
Springfield, Il
St. Louis, Mo
Independence, Mo
Louisville, Ky
Lexington, Ky
Knoxville, Tn
Hendersonville, NC
Spartanburg, SC
Greenville, SC
Columbia, SC
Charleston, SC
Beaufort, SC
Bluffton, SC
Folly Beach, SC
Florence, SC
Salisbury, NC
Lexington, NC
Winston-Salem, NC
Wytheville, Va
Beckley, W. Va.
Charleston, W. Va
Huntington, W. Va
Ironton, Ohio,
Portsmouth, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Batesville, Ind.
Greensburg, Ind.
Indianapolis, Ind
Crawfordsville, Ind.
Champagne, Il.
Dwight, Il
Woodstock, Il

And, many, many more.

Good to be Home, Though. --RoadDog

Thursday, April 2, 2009

On US-52-- Part 2

Took the road through South Carolina's Low country. At one stretch, it was called a causeway and considerably higher than the land on either side of it which had lots of water on it in a swampy sort of thing.

I think everyone is Florence drives their car whenever we go through there. The traffic is tremendous and horrendous.

We visited Irby's downtown to play NTN and found out they were a private club and the NTN wasn't working anyway. Then drove way out to a mall and went to Indigo Joe's and played NTN-Buzztime. Real nice place and with some players, but none were there when we visited. The bartender told us she'd tell the regulars we'd been there.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On US-52-- Part 1

Yesterday, we took US Highway 52 from Charleston to Salisbury, NC.

We've been on the road a little in Iowa and most of it in Illinois.

A few years ago, I took it from Joliet, Illinois, to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. But, I'd never been south to its terminus at Charleston. The northern terminus is at Portal, North Dakota, at the Canadian border.

The southern terminus is very hard to find, and we drove around Charleston (as far as the Battery area) a whole lot looking for it and believe we finally did find it.

We first went through some depressed areas once we finally found signage for the road.

Went through North Charleston and then two interestingly-named towns of Goose Creek and Monck's Corner. The road was heavily commercialized and at points, it is eight lanes. In college, one of my favorite groups was Goosecreek Symphony who did that great rendition of Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz." Wonder if they were from there?

On the 52. --RoadDog