Friday, December 31, 2010

Going for an NTN Cruise-- Part 1-- Beers Around the World and Sliders

Yesterday, the Kellehers, Liz and I drove up to Cheesehead Land (Wisconsin) to play some NTN at some new-to-us places: Uncle Mike's Highway Pub and the Brat Stop, both in Kenosha off I-94 by Wis-50. We finished our tour at home base, Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes.

Always enjoy playing with them as together we make a really good team. We had four top twenties.

Even better, there are four NTN sites within a mile of each other and all are fairly close to motels. One, Rush Street, is as close as you can get, in the Best Western. The other one is the BW-3, er, Buffalo Wild Wings. And, there is a White Castle close by for those Slider attacks.

A perfect place to get your NTN fix.

It is always a good idea to visit new sites as soon as you can since most will probably drop NTN by the end of a year. The wonderful folks at hq just don't have a clue as how to keep sites. They could ask me. I've sure been to a lot of sites and know. But, they ask not.

From what I saw, neither place will have it for long. And both are popular places, especially the Brat Stop which is known for having the best, although expensive, of that sort of food.

These two new places put us at 52 new sites for the year and 910 overall.

Uncle Mike's Tomorrow. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gas Prices Gouging Me!!

We seem to have a new "Evil Axis" consisting of Big Oil, investors and no doubt the good folks out in the Middle East. Someone, somewhere, is driving up the price at the pump tremendously in the last month.

Prices around here (northeast Illinois) range from $3.22 to $3.26, the highest since the frenzy back in 2008. That's up from $2.90 a month ago.

Do they remember what happened to the economy the last time they did it? Or, perhaps the family suffering that came with it? Or the fact their greed served as a launching pad for the economic problems that cropped up and still exist?

What really gets my goat is that the federal government doesn't do anything to stop it.

Anyway, These Prices Are Really Going to Have an Effect on Road-Trippin' This Year. --RoadDog

The National Road's Impact on West Virginia-- Part 1

From the September 3rd West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Today, the historic National Road is a second choice of those whizzing by on I-70, but, in the early years of the 19th century it was referred to as "The Road That Built a Nation," the first federally-funded effort of the young nation. (The second federally funded road was between Detroit and Chicago now known as US-12.)

The National Road's roots go back to the 18th century with Braddock's Road and the General Forbes Road.

It was part of an overall transportation plan for the United States, including an extensive canal system and work on it was commenced in 1811 at Cumberland, Maryland. The road is also referred to as the Cumberland Road as a result. By 1818, it was completed to what eventually became West Virginia, but was a part of Virginia at the time.

It eventually was completed all the way to Illinois.

That is slow construction by today's standards, but you have to consider the primitive road-building tools they had at the time.

I have never been on the really short stretch of the National through West Virginia (kind of like Kansas on Route 66), but plan to do that some day.

More Coming. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

While on the Subject of Dana, Indiana-- Bert Shepard

This little town is also the birthplace of another notable son, Bert Shepard.

I'd never heard of him, but saw that he had a short career in MLB, so did some research.

It turns out that he was a pitcher with the Washington Senators in the 1940s after losing a leg in World War II, the only major player ever to do so with an artificial limb.

He had pitched in the minor leagues before the war, but Bert joined the Army Air Corps as a pilot of a P-38. After 33 missions, he was shot down over Germany and lost a leg. He taught himself to walk and pitch.

When he returned to baseball, he was signed by the Senators and, on August 4, 1945, with Washington trailing the Red Sox by a lot, he went in for relief and pitched five and a half innings, giving up one run on three hits in a 15-4 loss.

Later, he was a player-manager in the minors until 1954.

Two other items of interest from that game in 1845:

Shepherd came in for JOE CLEARLY, the last Irish-born player in the majors. Also, Boston's TOM McBRIDE tied a major league record with 6 rbis in the 4th inning.

I Didn't Know That. --RoadDog

Dana, Indiana, to Keep Ernie Pyle Museum-- Part 2

The state was planning to move the contents to the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, but the residents of Dana would have nothing to do with it. After all, Ernie Pyle was born in Dana, not Indianapolis.

Ernie Pyle did not write about the generals and commanders in the war, but rather about the regular-Joe soldiers, the rank and file. He was killed by a Japanese machine gunner April 18, 1945. None other than the president broke the news to the country.

The museum is housed in the white frame tenant farmer house in which Ernie was born and contains many of his and family's personal items. It became a state historic site in 1976 and the local American Legion raised $100,000 to have the home moved from the outskirts of town to the center.

This is not the first time Indiana has walked away from one of its historic sites. In the 1980s, they did the same with the Wilbur Wright Memorial Birthplace in Millville. A private group took it over and it has worked out well. Last year, they recorded a record 9,000 visitors thanks to billboards along I-70 (which don't mention the long distance once you get off).

Dana is 25 miles north of Terre Haute and I-70. It is at the intersection of US-36 and Indiana 71. US-36 is called the Ernie Pyle Memorial Highway.

Here's Hoping for the Best. --RoadDog

Confederateland and South of the Border

The recent rediscovery of the wreck of the Confederate gunboat CSS Peedee (I've also seen it as Pee Dee) has gotten a lot of press. I came across an article that linked the gunboat's remains with two roadside attractions, one still exists, so will write about it here.

From the Dec. 28th Columbia (SC) Free Times.

The Peedee was destroyed by Confederates to prevent its being captured by Union forces. (If you'd like to read more, go to my Civil War blog

The wreck would occasionally come to view during periods of low water in the Peedee River.

In 1954, a group of local businessmen destroyed most of what was left of the ship after spotting it when they brought in a bulldozer and made a roadway to the riverside and then attempted to drag it ashore for display at their planned roadside attraction to be called Confederateland near Marion, SC.

The Peedee broke into pieces with the effort and they grabbed whatever they could. A thirty-foot long piece of the stern was recovered along with the boiler, two engines and the propeller shafts.

They opened Confederateland and charged folks 25 cents to see the artifacts. No conservation was done and most of the items disintegrated over time. Obviously, Confederateland then closed.

The boiler somehow ended up on display at South of the Border, a really huge roadside attraction/tourist trap at I-95 on the NC/SC border. It eventually disappeared, most likely sold for salvage.

So Much for That. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End of the Line for Wilmington's World's Largest Christmas Tree?-- Part 2

City officials are now thinking that maybe it is time for the tradition to end. At least for the tree's sake. Some say it should be cut down, others that it might be saved, but it definitely can no longer be used as a Christmas display.

This year, the lighting ceremony was eliminated.

During one World War II year, it wasn't lit for fear of aiding the enemy. However, after that, it was lit as a symbol of hope and a return to normalcy.

Lighting the tree was the brainchild of Wilmington Town Commissioner J.E.L. "Hi Buddy" Wade, who was later mayor. In the first year, 450 electric lights were placed on it. In 1999, the number was up to 7,000 and last year down to 4,000 on two miles of 12-gauge wire.

In 1986, some city officials suggested the tree to be cut down, but it was saved by a massive petition campaign.

If you're in the area, this may be your last few days to see it. Lights are on from 5 to 10 pm until December 31st. It's at Hilton Park at 401 Hilton Street.

Hope They Can Save It, Even If It's Not a Christmas Destination Anymore. --RoadDog

End of the Line for Wilmington's World's Largest Living Christmas Tree?-- Part 1

From the Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

This could very likely be the last Christmas lighting for the live oak tree, estimated to be over 400 years old, after an 82-year-lighting display. It's not that the city doesn't want to spend the money and effort, but the poor old tree is showing its age.

The Oak, located in Hilton Park, was first lit in 1928, and after all these years has become a tradition for many local families and even visitors who go out to look at its Christmas finery.

It once stood 70 to 95 feet tall, it is now down to just 50 feet. It's branches still cover 110 feet, though. But, now, the lights are suspended from a utility pole instead of its branches, to take the weight off. They have been weakened from 400+ years of hurricanes and ice storms.

Save That Old Tree Which was Standing There During Both Battles of Fort Fisher and Wilmington's Occupation During the Civil War. --RoadDog

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dana, Indiana to Keep Ernie Pyle Museum-- Part 1

From the Dec. 25th Indianapolis Star "Dana works to raise $1M to maintain Ernie Pyle's beginning" by Will Higgins.

The little town of Dana, Indiana, near the Illinois border a short distance from Terre Haute, is dying. The population, now 658, continues to drop and business after business have ended. There isn't even a gas station or grocery in town anymore.

Then, the state of Indiana recently pulled the plug on one thing that the locals could not abide, and that was the shut down and proposed moving of the contents of a small museum honoring favorite son Ernie Pyle, the famed World War II journalist.

Locals rallied and it has been announced that the state will be turning the Ernie Pyle State Historic Site to the Friends of Ernie Pyle organization. Its thirteen members are setting out to raise a $1 million endowment fund to sustain operations indefinitely.

Last year, just 1,579 people visited the site, the least of any state historic site.

A Worthy Project. --RoadDog

Down Da Road: Largest Cross-- New Lincoln Highway Mural

Some New News About Old Roads.

1. LARGEST CROSS-- CBS 10 from Terre Haute, Indiana ran a bit on what they call the World's largest Cross located in Effingham, Illinois, by the intersection of I-70 and I-57. They said it ranks right up there with Texas' Cadillac Ranch in Route 66 and Ohio's Butter Jesus (I must admit that I've never heard of this one) as strange roadside attractions.

It stands 198 feet and was erected in 2001 as a symbol of hope. At the base there evidently is a place for people to leave testimony.

I f I recall, there is also one of these giant crosses in Texas along 66 as well.

2. NEW LINCOLN HIGHWAY MURAL-- The Dec, 25th Kane County (Il) Chronicle ran an article about the newest mural put up by the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition along the 179-mile corridor the country's oldest cross country highway cits across the state.

It is located on the Geneva, Il. Masonic Lodge at 10 S. Street and is the latest in the ILHC's goal of establishing murals in all 24 communities along the corridor.

This one features a motorcycle policeman and one of the first traffic lights showing the impact of the growing popularity of the automobile.

Each mural, and there are a lot already in place, is unique and hand-painted and valued at around $10,000.

The organization is to be commending for bring "Road History" to the masses.

At Least Until We Can No Longer Afford to Drive Because of the GRBs at Big Oil. Who'd Have Figured We'd Be Paying $3.16 a Gallon This deep Into December. Bit, I'm Sure It Won't Be Long Before We Perceive $3.16 as CHEAP, Figuring Prices Get to Where the GRBs and Our Enemies Want Them. --RoadDog

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas on Route 66-- Part 2

Taken from Ed Klein's Route 66 World Blog at Go to daily page.

On the SEVENTH DAY of Christmas, Route 66 Gave to Me-- Memories of 66-- Ed spotlighted Earl and Cheryl Cory. I know we have met some really interesting people on our 66 travels, some of whom are no longer with us like Tom Teague, Bob Waldmire and Dot (the Texas mini museum.)

EIGHTH DAY-- All the associations. Liz and I belong to the associations of Illinois and Missouri.

NINTH DAY-- New businesses of 66. Ed spotlighted David Schwartz's Pics on Rt. 66 website.

TENTH DAY-- New businesses of 66-- Part 2-- Becky's Barn in Auburn, Illinois. We stopped there on the Illinois Motor Tour last year. Friendliest folks you'll ever meet.

ELEVENTH DAY-- Road Tours and Festivals. We've been to a bunch of 'em and will be to more.

TWELFTH DAY-- The Responsibility to Keep Route 66 Alive which Ed said is a fitting way to end the Twelve Days of Christmas. This would include supporting the associations and businesses.

Great Job Ed Klein. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 23, 2010

T-Giving NC- 2010-- Ohio Travelin'

November 21st, hit the road at 8:50 and by 8:52, was driving under that great "Welcome to Ohio Arch over I-70.

Saw a sign for Skyline Chili at Exit 29 and also another one at Exit 36. So, if you're a-longing for some of that really great Cincinnati 3-Way to 5-Way chili, this is where to get off if it is after 10 am. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't. Oh well.

Just west of Exit 41 is a barn with the Ohio Bicentennial logo painted on it along the north side of I-70. I understand there were quite a few such barns at the time. (There is also one on I-77 south of Cambridge.)

I saw a sign for Tim Horton's restaurant but know nothing about it.

Some interesting names at exits: Mud Creek at 41, Mad River at 43. Exit 44 is Wright Air Force Base and Museum as well as Wright Brothers site.

I like the Ohio state highway signage which incorporates the outline of the state. I sure wish Illinois would do that like it once did. The rectangle in use now is very generic.

Still on the Road, Day 2. --RoadDog

The Twelve Days of Christmas on Route 66-- Part 1

I came across a blog with a different take on that old holiday song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." This was "The Twelve Days of Christmas on Route 66."

It was on the Route 66 World blog at I will just list the things they were thankful for and some of my own comments.

For photos and more information, go to the site. They are up to the eleventh day right now.

ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS ROUTE 66 GAVE TO ME-- Sprague's Super Station in Normal, Illinois. Finally something for Route 66 from the two cities which seem to have turned their backs on the Mother Road. At least, with the new owners, it won't get torn down, but not much has been done because of financial reasons since they got it.

SECOND DAY-- The Route 66 Association of Illinois. They belong as do Liz and I. We joined in 2002 after meeting founder Tom Teague at Bill Shea's in Springfield.

THIRD DAY-- The People of Route 66-- Part 1-- Ken "Landrunner" Turmel. We've met him several times and have his wonderful Route 66 postal cancellation stamp lithograph.

FOURTH DAY-- The Places of Route 66-- Part 1-- Motel Safari in Tucumcari, New Mexico. We've seen it. but not stayed. It is a hard choice between the Blue Swallow and here. Sounds like it is another trip back to the day, so possibly the next trip.

Also downtown Tucumcari which is being revitalized.

FIFTH DAY-- The Events on Route 66-- The Mother Road Rally every June from Chicago to Santa Monica. It's a motorcycle thing, the ultimate way to enjoy the road if I wasn't so afraid of them.

SIXTH DAY-- The People and Places on Route 66-- Part 2-- Rich Henry and Henry's Rabbit Ranch. If there is a better ambassador for 66, I'd like to know who they are. He was the first 66er we met on our first trip on 66 back in 2002. He sure hooked and reeled us in.

Last Six Days Tomorrow. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Route 66: An All-American Road-- Part 4

Other things that appeal to international travelers along the route are the towns and people, something you don't get to experience on the interstates. They drive across 8 states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas(a real little bit), Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

There are three time zones.

You get to see all sorts of topography: forests, prairies, desert, mountains and rivers (along with a big lake and an ocean).

Talking to locals is also fun (and a big reason it takes us so long to drive on any part of the road). Then, there are all the quirky things to see and do like the Blue Whale in Oklahoma and Cadillac Ranch in Texas.

My own thought on the subject is that you get to see the "Real America." That means the good along with the bad.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Route 66: An All-American Road-- Part 3

Continuing with the story by Jim Winnerman in the Christian Science Monitor.

Route 66 first aroused international interest because of John Steinbeck's 1939 book "Grapes of Wrath" where he referred to it as the "Mother Road, a path of opportunity for people seeking a new life in the American West as they fled the Dust Bowl during the Depression."

In 1946, there was the popular song "get Your Kicks on Route 66" sung by Nat King Cole. Since then, it has been recorded by more than 200 artists in several languages.

Then, in the early sixties, there was the TV series "Route 66" featuring two men going across the US in a Corvette. This was very popular overseas.

Since then, there have been the 1969 movie "Easy Rider" and then in 2006, the animated feature "Cars."

Take My Way. --RoadDog

Monday, December 20, 2010

T-Giving NC--2010-- NTNin' at Buffalo Wings and Rings-- Richmond, Indiana

It is quite easy to get Buffalo Wings and Rings confused with the much-larger chain called Buffalo Wild Wings. Not all BWRs have NTN, but all BWWs (I still call them BW3s) do.

We'd played at the Buffalo Wings and Rings on a previous trip when we stopped for the night in Richmond. At the time, we weren't expecting to stop there so had not done any researching NTN sites ahead of time.

Our motel was close to the restaurant and we were very happy to find they had the game so played awhile.

The first motel I tried to stop at, the Motel 6, had an even better price, but way too many people waiting to check in, so I ended up at the Days Inn across the street.

I had their signature gyro sandwich which was very good.

Sadly, as far as NTN, this place was all too typical. No one was playing and the game wasn't even on any TVs, despite a good-sized crowd in the place. When the game is not even on, this is never a good sign.

They also have just five boards. The bartender put the game on for me. The Buzztime scores were from 6,200 to 7.900, low for this time of the month.

I played a couple games and did have a national #11 with 9829 on Buzztime for RoadDog. I also played part of the hour-long music game and was happy they had so many old country song questions.

It will be too bad to lose this as an NTN site, expecially with all the nearby motels within walking distance.

There is a Biffalo Wild Wings about a mile down the road, though.

Definitely a Long First Day. --RoadDog

Route 66: An All-American Road-- Part 2

The international interest in Route 66 is remarkable. Personally, I believe more Europeans know about the road and want to drive it than Americans. There are Route 66 clubs in Romania and the Czech Republic, two places you wouldn't expect to find ones.

A man from Belgium, Swa Frantzen, created the Historic Route 66 website, one of the first internet sources for the road.

Route 66 is what you'd have to call a cult status, which is why you find such interest in Soulsby's Shell Station. The station's owner, Mike Dragovich, says the station "is better known overseas than it is in this country." Americans tend to whiz by on nearby I-55.

Sweden's Linda Persson and a fried drove 66 in 2007 in a 1975 Pontiac they purchased especially for the trip. According to her, "Route 66 is just something everyone has heard about."

Swa Frantzen who has made the trip twice with his wife, said, "Route 66 is seen everywhere as a symbol for adventure, freedom, being a rebel, being on the road, even rock 'n' roll."

Not to mention a trip back into another time as well as living proof that, "Gettin' there is Just as Important as being There.".

More to Come. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mister Boffo Tells It like It Is

I couldn't help but have a chuckle over a comic strip in Mr. Boffo back in Jan. 17, 2010.

In these days where anything you know how to use today is gone by tomorrow and you have to learn some different technology this hits home. I don't care if the new technology is better and faster, I just don't like learning new stuff, especially when in a few months it will be obsolete.

Plus, as far as environmentalists and all the Green Folk, what happens to all the "new" technology when it is discarded?

Anyway, the strip reads:

"They Can't Take That Away from Me."

Then, it continued, "Another example of an old, no longer viable song lyric that hasn't stood the test of time."

Oh, Yes!! I am always wondering what "they" will take away from me next.

Never Used an ATM and STILL Uses Audio Cassettes. At Least for Now. --RoadDog

Route 66: An All-American Road-- Part 1

From Jan. 18, 2009 Your Time "Route 66: Historic road west still drives interest" by Jim Winnerman in Christian Science Monitor.

Of course, this kind of an article will always attract my interest for some reason.

Mr. Winnerman started off talking about Soulsby's Shell station in Mt. Olive, Illinois and called it an unlikely attraction for international tourists. The place opened in 1926 and closed since 1991, but, it's being on the historic Route 66 draws the tourists in.

From 1927 to 1985, Route 66 stretched 2,448 miles (much more when you add in different alignments) from Chicago to Los Angeles when it was a major thoroughfare for travelers going west.

A John Steinbeck novel, hit song, TV show and several movies transformed the stretch of asphalt into an international symbol of American wonderlust.

Today's motorists do the road on motorcycles (the best way to do it, but I'm afraid of them), RVs, tour buses and cars, both current and vintage (of course, a Corvette is the best way by auto).

Michael French and wife Vanessa of southern England rented Harley's in 2008 and made the end-to-end trip with another British couple: "For the four of us it was the desire to see the 'real' America and experience for ourselves the amazing spirit Americans had and to try to appreciate the trials endured on their search for a better life out West."

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, December 17, 2010

Orton Plantation in North Carolina is Bought

From the December 1st Wilmington Star-News.

Big house, tourist spot with lots of grounds bought for $45 million.

That would be Orton Plantation, near Wilmington which was bought by billionaire hedge-fund trader Louis Moore Bacon who has not told his plans for it. He currently lives in London, but was born in Raleigh and has family in the Wilmington.

He is also a direct descendant of Roger Moore who built Orton in 1725.

The property was bought from the family of Laurence Sprunt who have owned it since 1884. The Sprunt family is also a notable group who have had ties with the Wilmington area for two centuries.

The property includes 8,300 acres along with the plantation house.

The popular tourist site, especially its magnificent gardens, has been closed for renovation since June.

Bacon is listed by Forbes as the 238th-richest man in America with $1.7 billion and has a history of buying natural lands and preserving them.

Let's hope he continues this mode with Orton. It would be a shame if people couldn't visit the place anymore.

Hoping for the Best. --RoadDog

Hey Architecture Fans...Wright Mansion for Sale

From the Oct. 24th Chicago Tribune Elite Street column by Bob Goldsborough.

And for a cool $2.89 million, it can be yours!!

Riverside's Avery Coonley Mansion, built from 1908-1912 has just come on the market. For that price, you get five bedrooms, 6,000 square feet Prairie Style home that makes up two-thirds of the former estate. Frank Lloyd Wright even went so far as to describe it as his best house.

In 1950, it was split into two houses that now sit on two adjacent lots and have separate owners. What you would be buying is the part that housed public rooms and the servants' quarters.

Owner dean Eastman bought the 12-room mansion in 2000 for $975,000 and then spent large amounts to restore it.

It also includes five baths, three fire places, a wine room, a back deck, a reflecting pool, a summer house and a sunken garden.

On 2005, Eastman bought a decrepit Wright-designed coach house that was part of the original mansion for $350,000 and allowed the long-time resident to live there until until she died. He later restored it and the grounds and listed it for $1.6 million twice before taking it off the market.

There are lots of articles about this historic house.

Looks Like There is Some Money in Those Wright Houses. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas on the Border

The last two weeks, I've been listening to a Christmas CD while driving the Dakota that I bought about six years ago, but never listened to it until now. I sure wish I had, as I put it right there next to my favorite Christmas albums.

It is subtitles: A Spicy Holiday recipe of Texas Blues, Hot Country and Mexican Salsa. It's mighty good stuff.

I don't know if it was performed by a group brought together for that purpose or if it is a regular group, but either way, it is one fine group of musicians and vocalists.

It was produced by John Darnall and features Johnny Neel, Fats Kaplan, Gary Smith, Martin Stoek, John Darnall, Tom Roady (how's that for a road name?), Dennis Solee, Chris Harris, Mike Black and Guy Penrod.

There are all sorts of musical influences in the songs, from Zydeco, Cajun, Mexican and Caribbean.

I think I got it for $3-$5.

Well Worth a Listen. --RoadDog

Some more Information on the Four Seasons' Christmas Album

I've seen that it was released in both 1962 and 1966, but is described as a best-selling Christmas classic with the great rocker "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

The only new song that I can figure is "Christmas Tears" written by Bob Crewe (who else) and Sid Bass.

Amazon has four new ones from $46 and 16 used from $7. I don't know if these would be CDs or albums.

CD Universe says it came out in 1962 and describe it as "as one of the best-ever pop-rock Christmas albums' right up there with Phil Spector's and the Beach Boys. But, it is "a bit more traditional and only rocks sporadically."

That was what I didn't like at first, but, it really grows on you.

Sherry My Rag Doll. --RoadDog

Christmas Cruisin' CDs-- 4 Seasons Christmas Album

Definitely getting into the Christmas mode these days.

While in North Carolina, I bought a Cd at Sears (bet you didn't know they still sold Cds, well, on a very limited basis and probably just at Christmas). I had always wondered if the Four Seasons had put out a Christmas collection. I figured they had, but never had come across one.

My mom was ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at Berkely Mall and I was wandering around to kill time. I saw Christmas CDs at Sears and started flipping through them AND THERE IT WAS!!

The 4 Seasons Christmas Album.

And, even better, it was just $5!!! I would have quickly given $10 for it. After what seemed to be twenty minutes, I finally was able to pay for it. Slowest cashiers I have ever seen.

I played it off and on all the way back to Illinois. At first, i was a bit disappointed as I was hoping for more songs like their version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" which is vintage 4 Seasons. But the more I heard, the more I liked.

So, it will join my collection of top Christmas albums along with Jimmy Buffett, Beach Boys and the Tractors.

And a Bog Ho-Ho-Ho to You. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

T-Giving NC--2010-- CDs-- Part 2

I had already had the new one by the ZAK BROWN BAND: YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE in the truck when I left. I listened to it some more. Another great effort by the band. No sophomore jinx here. Well worth a listen, especially "Knee deep' with Jimmy Buffett.

The other two-CD set by a country star I had with me was HITS ALIVE by BRAD PAISLEY. This is his first greatest hits collection to my knowledge and contains 14 studio hits as well as 11 he does live.

Some of the tunes: Mud on the Tires,Ticks (who'd have figured anyone would have ever done a song with this title), Little Moments, Celebrity, Alcohol and Online.

Live, he does more greatest hits like Water, American Saturday Night and I'm Gonna Miss her.

This guy can sing 'em, play 'em and is a world-class practical joker by all accounts. Probably my favorite country performer right now.

But, I Look So Much Better on the Internet. --RoadDog

T-Giving 2010: CDs-- Part 1

Before I left, I went into my collection of CDs and picked out five I had not yet listened to to take along with me on the trip. Nothing like cruising down the road and listening to tunes.

Every so often, however, I start doing a seek on local stations as well. All sorts of really good stuff out there as well.

I had along with me two-double CD collections featuring country stars. One of them was TILL THE LAST SHOT'S FIRED: THE DEFINITIVE GREATEST HITS OF TRACE ADKINS--

One of my current favorites with that country voice of his. This one has 28 of really fine tunes including all of his "Kickin' Tunes like "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," "Rough & Ready,"Chrome," "Hot Mama," "Marry for Money" and Ladies Love Country Boys."

Also more reflective ones like "You're Gonna Miss This" and "Then They Do."

Of course, there is also that song that always "gets me" when I hear it, "Til the Last Shot's Fired."

You Want to get Some Real Fine Country, here It Is. --RoadDog

T-Giving NC-- 2010-- The Road Home

Time to Head for Home.


The Road Home
Missed It
No Golden Grazin' for Me
Get My Golden Grazin'
Mountain Passin'


Dogs Take My Wallet?
No Chocolate Uglys
Sliders for Breakfast-- More Healthy Eatin'
Unexpected Bowling
More Healthy Eatin' in Indiana-- McRibs Again
Gas Gouge
47 Home
Home Sweet Home

Love Road Trippin' Bur ALWAYS Good to Get Home. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eisler Brothers Store

Here's what David Wickline had to say about the Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store in his "Images of 66" book.

"Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store (1925) at 7109 SE Highway 66, Riverton. Ot was originally a Standard Oil Station and Cafe named the Williams Y-NOT-EAT Bar-B-Q. In the 1940s the name changed to the Williams AG Food Market until 1973. Eisler Brothers Store is home to the Kansas Historic Route 66 Association.

Eisler's has a superb deli featuring hand-crafted sandwiches. The gift shop is packed with a great selection of Route 66 memorabilia. Check out the original stamped tin ceiling. Behind the store is a vintage outhouse (David didn't say if it was still operational or not.)

Scott Nelson, Proprietor. (620) 848-3330."

"Images of 66." Don't Leave Home Without It. --RoadDog

Eisler Brothers Closes

What little of Route 66 that Kansas has in its 13-mile stretch got a little bit less recently. According to Ron Warnick in his Route 66 News blog, the Eisler Brothers store in Riverton, Kansas, closed. The owners are now having a family squabble for ownership which hopefully will soon be settled.

Liz and I have stopped here every time we've ever driven through the state. Great food, lots of Route 66 stuff and characters as well. This is where I first met Dean Walker and his feet. I wasn't ready for the demonstration either. That will sure take your voice away.

Here's Hoping It Won't be Closed Long. --RoadDog

T-Giving NC-- 2010-- Goldsboro

A Quick and Silly Look at My Trip to North Carolina for Family Thanksgiving.


Ring Mom's Bell
No Bell Here
A Cafeteria Experience
Sam's Place
Cook My 'Cue


A Very, Very Christmas Tree Day
A Central Lunch
More Trees
A Historical Town

On My Way Home Next. --RoadDog

Monday, December 13, 2010

T-Giving NC-- 2010-- Goldsboro

A Quick Look at the Trip.


Black Friday
A Brotherly Trip
Lost Again in Green Town
'Cue and Calabash Shrimp


Antiquin' With Bob and Judy
Front Porch Decoratin'
It's a Vampire Thing, You Wouldn't Understand


A Religious Experience
Eatin' With the Ladies
Bears Beat Vick

Not Through Yet. --RoadDog

Florida Scenic Highways-- Part 4

Explaining some of the last post.

GREEN MOUNTAINS-- this road runs down the center of the state and consisted of a lot of rolling hills. I guess in Florida you can make a mountain out of a mole hill.

COURTNEY CAMPBELL-- A 4-mile causeway and bridge on the northern part of Old Tampa Bay. It got its name from Courtney Campbell, a US representative and road person who was instrumental in the beautification of it.

Now, You Know. --RoadDog

Florida Scenic Highways-- Part 3

From Saturday.


River of Lakes Heritage Corridor
Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway
The Ridge
Florida Black Bear
Green Mountain (Mountain in Florida?)**
Sun Coast Scenic Parkway
Courtney Campbell**
Palma Sola
Bradenton Beach


Tamiami Trail-- Windows on the Gulf
Indian River Lagoon-- Treasure Gulf
Lemon Bay/Myakka Trail
Broward County A1A
Florida Keys

** On next blog entry.

I have driven the Florida Keys many times and it is the longest 100 or so miles I've ever driven. There is so much to see and so much to watch out for, i am always ready for a nap when we get to Key West.

Definitely a site to check out.

Driving Down Those Really Flat Roads (Green Mountain?) --RoadDog

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Florida Scenic Highways-- Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about a site that I found on the scenic roads in the state of Florida.

Here is a breakdown of the roads by region. You can view a map of the road and information as well as links at the site:


Pensacola Scenic Bluffs
Scenic Highway 30a
Big Bend


A1A Scenic & Historical Coastal Byway
William Bartram*
J.C. Penney Memorial**
Old Florida Heritage Highway
Heritage Crossroads: Miles of History

*William Bartram (1739-1829) was a noted American naturalist famous for his botanic and bird drawings who explored the St. John's River in 1774, where the scenic byway is loacted.

**Yep, that J.C. Penney. Remember to use your Penney Charge Card.

Taking a Tan Break. --RoadDog

Friday, December 10, 2010

T-Giving NC 2010-- Northwestern vs. Illinois

While still on Il-47, I went through the town of Forrest which has an old mom and pop motel called the Midwest Motel and one of those little family restaurants called the Eagle's Nest and the junction with US-24.

I picked up a Chicago AM station with the Wildcat-Illini game which was being played at Wrigley Field, the first football game there since the Bears left in 1970.

Gibson City had the cheapest gas I'd seen so far, $2.72 along with a double-screen Harvest Moon Drive-In.

I popped my Kinda Kinks CD in which had a lot of greatest hits tracks as a bonus to the original ones.

That would have been fun to be at Wrigley, but would have cost more than I would care to pay. The running back we had such a problem with when Northern played Illinois, Mike Leshoure, also ran over the Wildcats in the Illini first possession. Three plays and Illinois had a TD.

The game was referred to as the All-State Wrigleyville Classic (sponsored by All-State Insurance).

Entered Indiana by Danville and stopped at my usual Pilot Station in Crawfordsville and found gas the cheapest yet, $2.60. I'd been on I-74 since Mohomet (west of Champaign).

I saw that there was a White Castle at Exit 66. All that horrendous construction was still going on along I-465 in Indianapolis.

It was getting late. I would have the Illinois-Northwestern game off and on throughout Indiana. Illinois quickly went up 14-0 before the Wildcats figured out where they were. Lost the game most of the way on I-70 east of Indy. I finally picked it up by Richmond and heard the end of the game. Unfortunately, Northwestern lost.

I got Room 110 at the Days Inn for $51.50, tax included.

Played NTN at the Buffalo Wings and Rings a short distance away. I had a #12 nationally, but was the only one usual.

Enough for a First Day. --RoadDog

Florida Scenic Highways

Florida's not just Orlando and beaches. You can drive down some pretty good roads as well.

Today, I came across of very good site for us roadies to take a look at before our next trip to F-L-A.

Liz and I have gone to the Florida Panhandle the last three years and will no doubt go again thanks to what has all the appearances of a fourth straight cold and snowy winter coming our way.

You can find the site at

The state is divided into four areas and 23 highways. Each one has a in depth look at it. An extensive list of links also accompanies each highway.

Well Worth Checking Out. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Travelin' 'Spenses for North Carolina Trip 2010-- Part 2

I have been these routes back and forth to North Carolina a lot of times so have a pretty good idea of where the cheapest gas is along the way.

Again, you will find West Virginia as the most expensive, followed closely by Illinois. The gas at Crawfordsville is generally the cheapest in Indiana. Ohio is usually the third most expensive.

The interstate stations around Burlington and Mebane, North Carolina are usually the cheapest as well.

Asheville, NC, is normally the most expensive gas along I-40 in that state. If you fill up at Mebane, you can make it through to Dandridge, Tennessee, where the Pilot station has cheap gas.

Generally, anywhere you find a Pilot station, that will be your cheapest gas and they are nice enough to post their prices on signs by the interstate. Where you find a Pilot, other stations in the area usually will match the price as well.

On I-65, my nephew Andy told me that gas at the Tennessee-Kentucky stateline is usually the cheapest, and they were.

More Gas Coming. --RoadDog

T-Giving NC-- 2010-- Goldsboro


Mom's Entourage
Bringing Christmas Downstairs
The Evil Christmas Tree
Way Too Young


Taken at the Retro
Andy & the Gang
A Holly 'Cue Time at Wilber's
Folks Coming Home
Getting My Veggies
Cat dares
"I Got No Place Else to Go!"


Commiseratin' With Family Over Turkey

Still There. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

T-Giving NC 2010-- The Road There

A Quick Look at the Trip.

NOVEMBER 20TH-- Saturday

Road Preppin'
McRib Nirvana
Huskies on the Road
Fall Classic at Wrigley
The Other Richmond

NOVEMBER 21st-- Sunday

Another McRib Nirvana
The National
More Hot Air
Takin' Me Home, Country Roads With Big Tolls
carry Me Back to Old Virginy

NOVEMBER 22nd-- Monday

Going Down the Mountain When She Comes
Andy's Home Time
Snappy Chop
Gosbore here I Am

Finally here, or is It There? --RoadDog

Travelin' 'Spences NC Thanksgiving Trip 2010-- Part 1

I drove 1077 miles to Goldsboro, North Carolina and 1,197 coming back for a total of 2,274 miles. In addition, I put on another 102 miles going to Greenville, NC, for the ECU game.

I spent $349.87 in gas. These higher prices Big Oil is keeping this year sure cost me.

Gas prices:

11-20 Morris, Il. $2.87
11-20 Crawfordsville, In. $2.60
11-21 Hebron, Ohio $2.70
11-21 Wytheville, Va. $2.68
11-22 Mebane, NC $2.70
12-1 Goldsboro, NC $2.74
12-1 Hickory, NC $2.76
12-1 Dandridge, Tn $2.58
12-2 Franklin, Ky $2.70
12-2 Crawfordsville, In. $2.86
12-2 Saunemin, Il. $2.80

On Illinois Highway 47, Morris is usually at least 10 cents cheaper than anywhere to the north.

Crawfordsville, Indiana, is always the cheapest between Illinois and Indianapolis.

Get your gas before West Virginia as that is always the most expensive. That is why I filled up in Hebron, Ohio (although Cambridge, Oh is better as far as amount of gas to get across W.V.).

More Gas Coming Up. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Iron Brigade Memorial Highway

Today, I posted about US Highway 12, which is also now called the Iron Brigade Memorial Highway in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. This unit was one of the Union's best fighting organizations during the war; one that Confederates hated to face.

Three of the regiments were from Wisconsin and one each from Indiana and Michigan.

The Illinois signage is especially striking and we have an example near where I live in Spring Grove at US-12 and State Park Road.

You can view the entry at my Civil War blog,

I Always Like it When a Road Goes Memorial. --RoadDog

The Bottom of It All

Before today, the last day I posted was Friday. Saturday I spent the day cleaning and preparing for our Bears game party on Sunday. Sunday was the party, then yesterday, our internet and cable system was down all day.

One really nice thing about having parties is that it gives me the incentive to clean the basement and especially my computer area. This is something I rarely do.

I have always wondered how some people (like my wife) can keep their desks so free of clutter. While teaching, we had a lot of women and even men who could do the same. Invariably, my reviews included something about a messy desk. But, hey, I knew where everything mostly was!!

Not me, give me a flat surface and I can clutter it up in no time. And, I'm talking about minutes, not hours.

I can actually see the desk top for a little while. I'd heard rumors it was there, but now we have proof.

But what do I do with that pile of stuff I moved off the desk?

Oh well, I saw pictures of Einstein and Edison's desks and there is a definite similarity.

So, You Might Say I Finally Got to the Bottom of It. --RoadDog

Saluting Our Valiant Heroes at Pearl Harbor

Although this is not related to roads, although part of I-65 in Kentucky is dedicated to Pearl Harbor and I'm sure other roads in other states are as well, every year this time, I take time to honor our fallen military personnel and survivors of that sneak attack that finally got us into World War II.

Our entrance was inevitable by that time, but it was amazing that we could have been caught that unprepared.

Anyway, I put up US flags in both the front and back of the house despite today's extreme cold.

It's sad to see that the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association is meeting out in Hawaii to determine whether or not to end its organization. Age is now doing what Japanese bombs and torpedoes couldn't do 69 years ago today. All survivors are in their upper 80s, lower 90s.

While I was teaching, my students certainly heard about Pearl Harbor, especially when I began teaching US history. What began as a one-day study, eventually became three days.

A little later I'll posting several Pearl Harbor entries on my history blog, Cooter's History Thing at If you go to the labels I have a large number of posts dealing with the event.

I'll Never Forget. --RoadDog

What US Highway Were You Born Closest To?

The Yahoo e-mail group for US-50 posed this question of interest so I am am repeating it here.

What US highway were you born closest to?

I'd have to say US-70 and US-117 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. One of them went directly by the old Wayne Memorial Hospital on Ash Street near Herman Park and today is classified as a business route.

Of interest, my grandparents on my mother's side lived about two blocks away on Jackson Street. My mom was born in that house.

How About You? --RoadDog

Friday, December 3, 2010

Here's Some Road Music For Ya'

From Dave Hoekstra in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Paul McCartney wrote "Helen Wheels" to be a British version of Route 66 and we all know he drove Route 66 during his 66th birthday. The tune is nothing like "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" but does mention places in England like our song does.

Hoekstra's picks for road songs, especially those dealing with Route 66.

ROUTE 66-- Nat King Cole (Hey, I like Asleep at the Wheel's version the best).
66 HIGHWAY BLUES-- Steven James
OUT ON THE ROAD-- Jimmy Radeo (Chicago)
PROMISED LAND-- Chuck Berry (St. Louis)
LONG WAY FROM ST. LOUIS-- June Christy (Springfield, Il)
BIG TOWN-- Ronnie Self (Springfield, Mo.)
HOPPIN' IN JOPLIN-- Mary Anne Price
CRAZY MAMA-- J.J. Cale (Tulsa)
BALLAD OF HOLLIS BROWN-- Leon Russel (Tulsa)
NEVER BEEN TO SPAIN-- Three Dog Night (Oklahoma)
ONE O'CLOCK JUMP-- Count Basie (OKC)
SO LET'S ROCK-- Bob Wills & Texas Playboys
BLUE YODEL NO. 1 (T FOR TEXAS)-- Jimmie Rodgers
BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX-- Glen Campbell (Albuquerque)
IT WAS I-- Skip & Flip (Southern Arizona)

Name That Tune. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 2, 2010

T-Giving NC--2010-- Back Home Again

Arrived home several hours ago and won't be up too much longer as I am real "tarred." I put another 560 miles on the car today, leaving White House Tennessee a little before 8 am this morning and superslabbin' it on I-65 to I-465 around Indianapolis to I-74, then Il-47 most of the rest of the way home.

I was going to watch for the oval barns in Illinois along 47, but it was dark by the time I got to Dwight, so I didn't see the other five or so remaining along the stretch.

I had snow flurries across most of Illinois, but nothing stuck. More proof that winter is here, or at least, almost here.

I was on the road for thirteen days (five of which were driving).

I will definitely need to get a vehicle that gets better gas mileage than the Dodge Dakota as I spent way too much at the gas pumps and found that we had a gas gouge at some point recently. Gas at the Pilot station in Crawfordsville, Indiana, was $2.60 on November 20th and $2.86 today!! OUCH!!!

THE GRBs Are At It Again. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

T-Giving NC 2010-- Cruisin' Illinois-- A Football Game

After leaving McDonald's, I remembered that the Huskie-Ball State game was being aired on 670 AM, the Score, so tuned in hoping I'd be able to hear the whole game as I was driving away from Chicago. (I had even thought about driving to Muncie and seeing the game once I found out that was who we were playing, but got too late leaving to make it.)

Northern was leading 35-7 at half. Ball State scored two quick touchdowns right away, just like Toledo had done the game before this. I don't know what happens to our defense at half time. But the Huskies buckled down and went on to win 59-21.

We definitely have quite an offense this year. (I see in yesterday's paper that we ended up scoring the 11th most points this last season.)

It was great to hear the long-time voice of the Huskies, Bill Baker, all the way to Champaign, Illinois, where I lost the signal.

With this victory, Northern Illinois clinched the West Division of the Mid-American Conference and will meet the East Division winner December 3rd in Detroit to decide the champion.

Wrigley Field Hosts College Football Next. --RoadDog

Route 66 Bike Trail in Illinois

From the October 29th Bloomington (Il) Pantagraph.

McLean County in Illinois is slated to get $1.5 million for a stretch of bike trail to be built along the old Route 66. This will go to making a 4 mile stretch between County Road 29 in Towanda and Normal's Shelbourne Drive. The local share of the project will be #386,000.

The engineering report will be completed by 2011 and the whole project in place by 2012.

The Historic Route 66 Bike Trail will eventually run 370 miles from Chicago to the Missouri state line and run along the former roadway of Route 66 and Illinois Highway 4.

Part of it is completed between Towanda and Lexington. An additional 4.5 mile stretch southwest of Bloomington to Shirley opened a month ago.

Then You Can Drive It or Bike It. --RoadDog

Sunday, November 28, 2010

T-Giving NC 2010-- Cruisin' Illinois-- Oval Barns and a McRib

Still on Il-47, I saw another oval barn about a half mile west of the road that I had never seen before. There are another five oval barns along 47, more than I have seen on most roads. They have interesting architecture, but I have never been able to find out anything about them. I call them oval barns because of their shape and they have pre-formed bricks on the sides.

Gas, as usual along Il-47, is more expensive than anywhere else except West Virginia on my trips to North Carolina.

At Main Street, the Fisherman's Inn is for sale. At one time it was one of the premier places to eat in the western suburbs, but had gone down several years ago and closed. Blackberry Inn is still open and the Home of the Bellybuster sandwiches.

During commercial breaks on WXRT (which are very long), I would switch over to Chicago's 100.3, Rewind Radio, which was playing some great music.

I felt it necessary to stop at the McDonald's in Yorkville where we traditionally stop whenever on a trip. Of course, this being McRib time, it was also necessary that one be eaten.

Huskies Up Next. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 25, 2010

T-Giving NC 2010-- Part 1-- Proper Road Cruisin'

Day One November 20th

I was late getting off, not until about 10 am. Drove the usual avoid the Chicago hassle route to get around that town. I took Il-47 south all the way to I-74, stopping in Yorkville for a McRib meal at the usual McDonald's we stop at every trip. The meal was $4.49 (we're paying $4.99 in Fox Lake).

I listened to Wendy Rice's Saturday Morning Flashback on WXRT as she was spotlighting 1984. I particularly enjoyed "Do It Again" by the Kinks, "Something About You Baby" by Dave Edmunds and a cover of Van Halen's "Jump" by Aztec Camera. Who'd have thought of a slow version of "Jump."

The movie spotlighted was Ghostbusters. Like Bill said, "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!!" And who could forget that big mean ol' Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man?

Construction on Il-47 in Huntley is ongoing, but I have to take it to bypass Chicago. It wouldn't be bad at all if I didn't have to stop for EVERY stoplight. I was glad to see their Dairy Mart was able to survive. It is a town institution dating back to at least the 1950s and back when Huntley was a little-bitty farm town out in the middle of nowhere. Way before the outlet mall and Del Webb's Sun City development.

Huskies on the Air, Next. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Getting Ready to Hit the Old Road

Leaving for North Carolina in a couple hours.

I just found out Northern Illinois is playing Ball State in Muncie, Indiana, this afternoon. Thinking about swinging through there to catch part of the game.

Looks like Il-47 to Forrest then east on US-24 to I-65 to Lebanon, Ind., and Indiana-32 to Muncie.

I wish I had known the Huskies were playing Ball State as I would have left much earlier.

On the Road Again, Almost. --RoadDog

Friday, November 19, 2010

NIU Homecoming 2010-- Part 10-- Footstompin' on the Lincoln Highway-- The Dekalb Footstompers

This band has been a long-time favorite of ours, dating back to the early 1970s. They got their big start at our favorite Dekalb bar, Andy's on Lincoln Highway. Andy's is still there and still has the same name.

Two other regional favorite bands, Howard and the White Boys and Mr. Myers also got there start there. But of all of them, our favorite is the Footstompers.

With a name like Footstompers, they have to be good...and they are. This is one band that really lives up to its name, but what would you expect from four guys playing a guitar, drums, accordion and tuba. And three of them are original back to 1973.

They play a lot of polkas, oom-pah music, oldies and they have a lot of their own "dirty songs" like "NIU Sorority Bitch," "Baby Face," "Vasectomy,"and "International Waltz."

They greeted the crowd, which was standing room only by their start at 5 pm, and said this was their 37th straight time playing for NIU's homecoming. Of course, they do a great version of the "NIU Fight Song" and we did it several times during the course of the show.

The place was swaying back and forth to be sure. And, it was generally an older crowd, many of whom said they'd been to about all of the Footstomper Homecoming Shows. Definitely a case of growing older, but not up.

It had sure been way too long since we were at this tradition, but we'll be back there again next year.

Good Partyin' With the 'Stompers. --RoadDog

Plans for US-20 Byway in New York State Announced

From the Nov. 18th Madison County (NY) Courier "Scenic Byway Unveils 2011 Plans."

The Route 20 Association of New York State held their 10th Annual Meeting and Dinner at the Colgate Inn.

Association President Dr. Ellen McHale announced the association's goals for the upcoming year.

*** A new website, road map and guide

*** Increased visibility

*** Work with the NYSDOT on installation of scenic byway signage

*** Assist in the soon-to-be built Route 20 Tourism Center in the town of Cherry Valley

** Adding to and enhancing the 16 scenic tours of US-20.

It's great to see an organization like this working hard to increase the visibility and public knowledge of one of our old roads like this. Too bad we don't have a similar organization here in Illinois.

Keep Up the Great Work. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cruising to Cheesehead Land

Liz and I took a ride up north of the border into Wisconsin today.

Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes had their buy one-get one free drink special. Buy that $2 pint, get one free. There is a new cook running the restaurant. We sure miss the one we had, especially on Thursdays when they had half price pizza.

The new guy is considerably more expensive, but today had the biggest, most delicious-looking reuben sandwich I had ever seen. With fries, it was $6.95. I may have to try one next time.

We had a pretty good NTN run with about eight top twenties, including a #1. Not bad considering all the perfect scores people were getting.

Afterwards, we drove over to Mar's Trading Post Inn in Wilmot. Part of the building dates to the 1840s, and if you're ever looking for that perfect small town Wisconsin bar/pub, this be the place.

Great prices as well. Pints were $1 and we had chicken strip sandwiches with chips for $1.

Eating and Drinking Cheap in Wisconsin. --RoadDog

Down da 66: Route 66 Motels

Some New News About an Old Road.

I'm glad to see efforts are being made to save two great old ROUTE 66 MOTELS>

1. DeANZA MOTOR LODGE-- Located at 4301 East Central Avenue in Albuquerque, New Mexico featuring a great old neon sign with southwest architecture for the units.

Tamara Portnoy is going to restore it to its former glory and is looking for old photos to help her. It is on the NRHP and she wants to restore it to its former glory.

2. TRIANGLE MOTEL-- In Amarillo, Texas. It would be great to see this motel back to its former glory in time for the 2011 Route 66 Festival. Alan McNeil paid $20,000 for it to save it from the wrecking ball. The Route 66 e-mail group set out to raise $3000 to help and needs another $700 to reach the goal.

3. MUNGER-MOSS MOTEL-- in Lebanon, Missouri. This one doesn't need saving because of the gracious Lehmans, but the classic old sign had seen wear and tear over the years and it really needed fixin'. It was turned back on recently in all its former glory.

Save Those Old Motels. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The World's Largest Yard Sale

From the August 23rd Time Magazine.

This outdoor garage sale/flea market runs through six states along US-127 from Hudson, Michigan, to Gadsden, Alabama.

The Lincoln Highway has been operating a similar event for several years now called the Lincoln Highway Buy Way, but this one, billed as The World's Largest Yard Sale, started 23 years ago and covers 675 miles for four hectic days starting the first Thursday of every August. (This could be a problem with those, like me, who'd like to also attend the Redneck Fishing Tournament.

This year, some of the places offering these must-have items are doing so because of the economy. They've lost their homes.

Some of the larger towns US-127 passes through:

Hudson. Mi.
Cincinnati, Oh.
Covington. Ky.
Frankfort, Ky.
Danville, Ky.
Jamestown, Tn.
Crossville, Tn
Chattanooga, Tn.
Gadsden, Al.

Ready, Set, Sell. --RoadDog

The Redneck Fishing Tournament-- Part 2

The boat that catches the most carp can take home hundreds of dollars and do their bit to save the ecosystem. A definite way to be environmentally correct and no doubt have a good time doing it. I'm not sure if they go by number caught or poundage in determining the winner.

I'm sure alcoholic beverages are all about, especially to those "wounded in action."

"A flying adult silver carp is like a sea-to-air missile." 'One of these nails you, it's like getting hit with a brick,' says Zach Nayden. As the interview on the boat was going on, one of the crew got whacked right in the face by a carp, bringing yells of, "That was awesome!"

Nets and bats are allowed, but not fishing poles.

This past August was the sixth annual competition and boats paid $50 to enter the two-day event.

You can go to for some great video and information. Bath is southwest of Peoria and northwest of Springfield.

Guess I'll have to make Arrangements for This Drinking, er Competition Next Year. --RoadDog

A Timeline for Chicago's Kennedy Expressway-- Part 2-- President Kennedy

Continued from November 15th.

1955 City Council approves rerouting the northwest expressway to avoid razing St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

1956 North Siders protest the constant burning of wreckage from homes being leveled. Dump trucks continually feed burning fire at Belmont and Kedzie avenues.

Feb. 23, 1957 1,174 families and 202 individuals have been displaced to date.

Nov. 5, 1960 Construction on the Northwest Expressway completed.

Nov. 7, 1960 Henry Kararkiewicz, 42, an auto repairman, becomes the first drunken driver arrested on the new highway.

April 28, 1961 President Kennedy makes his first visit to Chicago since being elected. Hundreds of thousands meet his motorcade along the expressway.

Oct. 19, 1862 Motorists abandon cars and stand on hoods on the expressway, causing a massive traffic jam on Kennedy's second visit.

March 23, 1963 Kennedy in town to dedicate a new terminal at O'Hare Airport, his last Chicago visit. He caused a panic among police and Secret service when he orders the motorcade stopped on the expressway to shake hands with people at Cumberland Avenue.

November 22, 1963 President Kennedy assassinated.

November 29, 1963 The Northwest Expressway is renamed in Kennedy's honor.

From the November 5th Chicago Tribune

Definitely a Kennedy Thing. --RoadDog

Grant in Missouri

My Civil War blog entry for today was the second part of my August 24th entry about the marriage of Julia Dent and U.S. Grant in St. Louis and Grant's attempt at farming that didn't work out so well.

The article in the August 22nd St. Louis (Mo) Post-Dispatch also listed places in the St. Louis area associated with Grant, including the wedding site, Jefferson barracks, White Haven, St. Paul Cemetery, Grant's Farm, the 1904 World's Fair and others.

So, if you are both the Civil War Buff and a roadie like me, you can get the best of both world's in St. Louis on this eve of the 150th anniversary of the war and 84th anniversary of the Mother Road.

On the Civil War Road Again. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Redneck Fishing Tournament-- Part 1

I came across this story in the August 23rd Time Magazine. The article was mainly about the invasion of Asian carp on the Illinois River and efforts to keep them out of the Great Lakes, but it started with information about the Redneck Fishing Tournament held in bath, Illinois, along the river in July.

The event started in 2005 as a way to cut down on Asian carp, specifically solver carp, who have the habit of jumping out of the river whenever a motorized boat goes by.

Asian carp eat like crazy, can grow to more than 40 pounds and with all those bones, few Americans want to eat them. As such, their numbers continue to grow at an alarming rate.

In Bath, there is an eight mile long channel next to the Illinois called the Bath Chute. It is loaded with thousands of Asian silver carp. Once a year, hundreds of fishermen descend on the town with intentions of catching the carp, but without hook or tackle. The idea is to use a hand-held dip net and catch them in mid-flight.

This is not a task without danger as the fish are flying at a high velocity. Getting hit by one is not unlike getting hit with a hard line drive.

But, Yet They Come. --RoadDog

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gettin' My Travelin' Music Together

Sometime later this week, I figure to be out on the old road heading to North Carolina for the Thanksgiving holidays.

I'm not sure exactly which way I'll go, but am thinking of US-34 through Indiana then pick up US-33 in Ohio.

But, I have to also plan the music I will listen to when not tuned into local stations.

My Five Road CDs:

TILL THE LAST SHOT'S FIRED: The Definitive Greatest Hits of Trace Adkins

CHARLESTON, SC 1966-- Darius Rucker

MY KINDA PARTY-- Jason Aldean

THE BIG TO-DO-- Drive By Truckers

HITS ALIVE-- Brad Paisley

On the Road Again in a Country Sort-of Way--RoadDog

Results of the First-Ever Lincoln Highway vs. Route 66 IHSA Playoffs

Going into action in the Quarterfinals this last Saturday, Route 66 had a 6-2 lead over Lincoln Highway.


Joliet Catholic


Joliet Catholic

Unfortunately all these teams lost.

So, the final score of the last man standing contest was 0-0, a tie.

Those of you pulling for Route 66 can claim that you were 6-2 going into this last round.

Lincoln Highway fans can claim they had fewer teams to start with, 10-18, and that the Lincoln won the only head-to-head competition when Lincoln Way North defeated Normal Community.

Better Luck Next Year. --RoadDog

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Iron Brigade Memorial Highway

I wrote about this highway in my Civil War blog: in today's entry.

This is the stretch of US Highway 12 running through Wisconsin.

A Great Drive Along a Civil War Road. --RoadDog

A Timeline for Chicago's Kennedy Expressway-- Part 1

From the November 5th Chicago Tribune.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Northwest Expressway, now called the Kennedy Expressway.

I have taken this road into Chicago many times, taking the Tri-State to the Edens Expressway and suffering and waiting through where the Edens joined the Kennedy at one of the classic bottlenecks of scary driving of all time.

1939 Cook County Board directs highway department to draw up plans for a northwest superhighway estimated to cost $40 million. I imagine this new road was to be based on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

1943 Plan Commission recommends construction of seven expressways costing $232 million.

1946 The northwest route is given top priority and expected to cost $77 million. This was to connect Orchard Field airport (now O'Hare) with the city which had just gotten the field from the US Army.

1946 Chicago officials announce they will start acquiring 72 pieces of property along the proposed northwest route. That sure would raise property values.

1954 Plans to extend the "L" (elevated trains) along land acquired for the northwest and southern (Dan Ryan) expressways.

Mote to Come. --RoadDog

Veterans Monuments in Chicago

The next time you're in Chicagoland and want to check out veteran memorials, the November 11th Chicago Tribune had an article by Ron Grossman "Honoring heroes: Often unnoticed, memorials pay tribute to veterans."

There are five photos as well.

See for an entry on November 11th.

Thank a Veteran. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NIU Homecoming 2010-- Part 9-- Footstompin' on the Lincoln Highway

I would have liked to have stayed at Huskie Stadium to see the end of the game, but, if we wanted to find a seat at Lord Stanley's downtown on the Lincoln Highway, that we had best get there before the game ended.

Lord Stanley's used to be the Shamrock when we were there and for many years afterwards as well. But in the 80s, it changed to the new name and now includes a bar called The Annex. If you are a hockey fan, particularly the Blackhawks, this is your place to go. Of course, Liz and I are bandstand jumpers now, so that is ok for us.

Elegant Lord Stanley's ain't. If you're expecting BW3 or Chili's, don't go here. It is one of those stick-to-the-floor kind of places. But, if you're looking for a non-Yuppie kinda place, this be it. You will have a GOOD time.

Even though we've never had it, they are noted for their pizza and during the course of the show, we saw lots of them consumed.

Beer was $7 a pitcher.

All the parking places directly behind the place were already taken so we had to park a bit farther away. Every table was already occupied as was all seats at the bar, but we got lucky and just as we walked by, two people got up and left. Within seconds, we were seated at their stools.

What Luck!! --RoadDog

Homes Fell, the Kennedy Rose-- Part 2

Construction of the Kennedy cost $232.3 million and became a foundation for Mayor Daley's reputation as a master builder. Its connection with Orchard Field, now O'Hare Airport caused it to become one of the world's busiest.

The new road quickly became the road to work for thousands. The Kennedy also became the way Chicagoans left the cities as suburbs boomed.

From 1958 to 1964, more than 3/4s of the Chicagoland region's expressways were completed. The Kennedy was first envisioned by master city-builder Daniel Burnham in 1909. In the 1920s plans were drawn up for a major road to parallel the tracks of the Chicago and North Western tracks.

The Kennedy was also very innovative as it included two reversible lanes to carry extra traffic during rush hours.

Not only did Democrats support its construction, but also Republicans, a rare occasion in Illinois politics. It further benefited from congressional approval and presidential support of the interstate highway system. The federal government triple its monetary support for road construction and ended up paying 90% of the cost.

Next, a chronology of the Kennedy Expressway.

I've Driven This Road Many Times. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Route 66 Led World War II Doctor to Fontana, California-- Part 2

He bounced around military bases before serving in the Pacific Theater where he was a battle surgeon at Guadalcanal and Saipan. At Leyte Gulf in the Philippines he was on ships attacked by Zeroes and kamikazes.

he was in North Luzon when he was ordered home. He decided he didn't like the Chicago area so he took his footlocker, $300 and drove west on Route 66. He looked at a gynecology practice in Beverly Hills but decided he didn't like it.

He got back on 66 and drove east, stopping at San Bernardo and Fontana. He bought a place on Merrill Street, one block off Sierra and in 1953 built a home in Fontana where he lived with his wife Honey and children. Honey died in 1999 at age 86, and Max Goldstein still lives in the house.

He boasts that he once shot a hole-in-one on the 7th at Pebble Beach.

I Haven't Been Able to Find Any mention of Him Here in Fox Lake, Illinois. --RoadDog

Homes Fell, the Kennedy Rose-- Part 1

From the November 5th Chicago Tribune "Homes fell, the Kennedy rose' by Richard Wronski.

Fifty Years Ago, expressway changed the face of city. Chicago, that is.

Not everyone appreciates the construction of the Kennedy Expressway. Hundreds of homes were taken by the city, torn down and paved over. The Kennedy is an eight-lane marvel, 400 feet wide and 16 miles long.

At 11 am on November 6, 1960, Governor William Stratton, Mayor Richard J. daley and Cook County Boar President Dan Ryan officially opened the Northwest Expressway as it was then called. So, that's where we got the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Governor Stratton called it "the greatest highway in America." The Congress Street Expressway (now called the Eisenhower) had already opened a few weeks earlier.

Three years later, the Northwest Expressway became the Kennedy Expressway, a week after he was assassinated on November 22, 1963. During Kennedy's three visits to Chicago during his presidency, hundreds of thousands had lined the Northwest Expressway to watch his motorcades from O'Hare.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Unsolved Dekalb, Illinois Murder Case

From the November 7th Chicago Tribune "Disappearance oat NIU in 1970 echoes today" by Angie Leventis Lourgos and Becky Schlikerman.

With the news that a suspect is in custody for the disappearance/murder of NIU freshman Antinette "Toni" Keller who disappeared just two days before Liz and I went to Northern's Homecoming, comes this story about a girl disappeared October 2, 1970, while I was a sophomore at the school. I must admit that I had no recollections of it.

But the two stories are eerily similar.

NIU senior Donna Doll, 21, was last seen alive leaving her job at the school library October 2, 1970. She never returned to her rooming house on the Lincoln Highway. A major search was held and the body was found nine days later in a corn field a little more than a mile west of campus (and right off the Lincoln Highway, Illinois Highway 38).

The Keller case may come to a close, but the Doll one remains an unsolved one, surviving in two binders and a box full of documents at the Dekalb County sheriff's office. Pathologists determined that Doll had been suffocated with a pillow or plastic bag and there was a prime suspect but too little evidence.

Then, of course, there were the five murders at NIU on Valentine's Day 2008.

Sad Stories Along the Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

The Traveling Cup: Travels of the Blackhawk's Stanley Cup-- Part 4

I was just reading that the World Soccer Cup is heavily guarded and no one but winners and heads of state get to touch it. Definitely not a People's Cup like the Stanley.

MOOSE JAW, SASKATCHEWAN-- Besides having one of the neatest names for a town (right out of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show) and having Al Capone run an alcohol distribution network from there and you can tour the Tunnels of Moose Jaw that were used for the illegal operations. Troy Parchman took the Cup here.

WINDSOR, CANADA-- Located right across the river from Detroit and was the childhood home of Coach Joel Quenneville took it for two days. He also had it there another time when he marched with the Cup in Windsor's Canada Day parade.

HINSDALE, ILLINOIS-- Brent Sopel is from Saskatchewan, but lives in Hinsdale. His four kids ate cereal from the Cup and he drove it through town on an old tractor and renewed his wedding vows in front of it.

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA-- Known as the coldest city in Canada and nicknamed Winterpeg-- had a two-day celebration for Captain Jonathan Toews, the series MVP and Canadian Olympic star. He was greeted by 10,000 spectators and a lake was renamed after him.

And that is just some of the things that happened to the Stanley Cup this past summer. That cup that doesn't look much like a cup sure gets around.

I'd Like to Drink a Beer From It. --RoadDog

Route 66 Led World War II Doctor to Fontana, California-- Part 1

From the September 19th Redlands Daily Facts by Wesley G. Hughes.

The former chief of staff at St. Bernadine Hospital, Max Goldstein, celebrated his 100th birthday. In 1947, he took Route 66 to a new life in Fontana.

He grew up during the Depression in Canada and had a tough time of it. He graduated in 1935 from the University of Toronto and moved to Chicago for his internship and residency and after just two weeks on the job, earned the headline "Doctors Lose and Gangsters Win."

"Luigi Alterry, a lieutenant of Al Capone, 6 feet, 250 pounds, wearing a beautiful suit was stretched out on a gurney, and I'm taking bullets out of him," said Goldstein.

Four years later, he opened a medical practice in Fox Lake, Illinois. (Hey, that's where I live). He applied for citizenship and soon a notice to appear at Great Lakes, the Army headquarters, where he was appointed a lieutenant in the Medical Corps. (Actually, Great Lakes was Navy. Army would have been Fort Sheridan.)

More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, November 8, 2010

NIU Homecoming 2010-- Part 8: Huskie Football 1983

After meeting Lou Wicks at the game, I got to thinking about that special team.

That 1983 Huskie team was one of our best ever. It kind of put Northern Illinois on the football radar with one of our first victories over a "Big Guy" school, Kansas.

Actually, looking at the games from 1983 remind me a lot of this year's 7-2 team.

Like this year's 4 of the first 5 games on the road, Northern opened with four straight road games, one of which was a loss to a Big Ten team, Wisconsin. Then we had three home games like this year.

The final record, with the win at the California Bowl was 10-2. It was also our last year in the Mid American Conference as we pursued bigger conferences.

The Season:

@ Kansas W 37-34
@ Wisconsin L 9-37
@ Kent State W 38-7
@ Ball State W 27-14
Western Michigan W 27-3
Eastern Michigan W 34-15
Bowling Green W 27-23
@ Miami W 17-0
@ Central Michigan L 14-30
Toledo W 26-10
Ohio W 41-17

CALIFORNIA BOWL vs. Cal State Fullerton W 20-13.

I still have a California Bowl Mug and pennant.

That Was Some Fun Year. Now, We Have That Team from Ohio Whose Name Can't be Mentioned. --RoadDog

Traveling Cup: The Travels of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-- Part 3

One thing I really like about the NHL's tradition of letting Stanley Cup winners take it out to their hometowns.

BUFFALO, NEW YORK-- The Hurricane Deck at Niagara Falls was renamed the Hurri-Kane Deck for Patrick Kane's visit and the Cup got wet from the falls. The next day, the Cup returned with Kane to Chicago and made an appearance with Jimmy Buffett, lucky Cup!! No parrots were injured.

MAPLE RIDGE, BRITISH COLUMBIA-- Cup goes wake-boarding with Andrew Ladd and Colin Fraser.

MORRISTOWN AND LIVINGSTON, NJ-- Went golfing with John Madden and Donald Trump. Got fired.

VANTAA, FINLAND-- Antti Niemi and Cup enjoyed a sauna.

I know of no other trophy that has such an interesting life.

It Seems Like They're Really Trying to Find New Ways to "Entertain" That Cup. --RoadDog

IHSA Playoffs: Lincoln Highway vs. Route 66

It was a really bad day for Lincoln Highway Saturday as the teams were 2-5. Route 66 did a lot better at 6-4.

Just two Lincoln Highway teams remain, Class 2A Morrison and Class 5A Joliet Catholic (also Route 66)

Route 66 has six reams remaining: Class 5A Joliet Catholic (also Lincoln) and Springfield, Class 4A Pontiac, Class 2A Staunton and Williamsville and Class 1A Lexington.

Going into the Quarterfinals Route 66 has a 6-2 edge.

Go Lincoln!! --RoadDog

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NIU Homecoming 2010-- Part 7-- Buffalo Stompin'-- California Bowl '83 MVP

As we were watching the game, I got to talking with the couple next to me. They were both NIU grads and he had played football at Northern and is now head coach at Tremont High School in Illinois.

I've been a Northern fan ever since going there and we got to talking about the past. He played on the 1983 Huskie squad that went 10-2, one of our best records ever, including a season-opener 37-34 victory over the University of Kansas, our first-ever victory over one of the big boys. We capped off the season with our first bowl victory.

Not only did Lou Wicks play on the squad, but he was the MVP of the California Bowl, running for 117 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.

That year, he ran for 1209 yards and averaged 5.7 yards a carry.

That's some Huskie royalty there. And, it was the year we defeated Toledo, quite a rare feat for the Huskies.

I Was Impressed. --RoadDog

IHSA Playoffs: Lincoln Highway Vs. Route 66/Rock and Roll Roots Vol. 12

There were no games for our teams last night. All play today.

i will have the updated standings on Monday since I don't blog on Sundays.

For those of you who are music fans, Bob Stroud is having his CD release show and party tomorrow, the 7th, of his new Rock and Roll Roots Vol. 12.

He will play all the songs from 7 to 10 am on the drive, 97.1 FM streaming live at if you don't live in the Chicago area. After the show, he has the first record release party at the Borders in Oakbrook featuring many 60s Chicago bands like the Buckinghams, Cryan Shames, Mauds, Shadows of Knight and New Colony 6.

He has another show the following Saturday at the Borders in Schaumburg.

Worth a listen and even better yet, go to the show.

Great Chicago Sixties Music. --RoadDog

Friday, November 5, 2010

Traveling Cup, the Travels of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-- Part 2

A Diary from the Road.

Here are some high points from the travels of the Cup:

ORONO, ONTARIO-- About an hour north of Toronto. Bryan Bickell-- a lifejacket strapped on the Cup as it went fishing.

ROSEAU, MINNESOTA-- Less than ten miles from Canada, Dustin Byfuglien-- Cup and people went four-wheeling to the Canadian border.

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA-- Second-largest city in province. Colin Fraser-- Serenaded by bagpipes and escorted by Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Was Dudly Doo-Right there?

SEA BRIGHT, NJ-- Mike Haviland-- Along with 60 close friends took Cip to Sea Bright Beach on the Jersey Shore where it was mobbed by beachgoers.

TRENCIN and NOVA DUBNICA, SLOVAKIA-- Marian Hossa (from Trencin) and Tomas Kopeckey (from Nova Dubnica)-- Hossa ate pirogi and Kopecky had Slovakian soup out of the Cup. They took it to medieval Trencin Castle.

More to Come About This Roadin' Cip. --RoadDog

Round Two IHSA Playoffs, Lincoln Vs. 66 Begin Tonight

Those are going to be cold games tonight and tomorrow, but lots of cheering will be going on as all eight classes go back to the gridiron as we continue to see who comes out number one, and, in our case, whether Route 66 or the Lincoln Highway will have the last team standing at any level.

Right now, Route 66 leads 10-7. It has ten teams left compared to seven for the Lincoln. At the beginning last week, 66 led 18-10, so the lead has been cut down.

Lincoln Highway has the tiebreaker where one team beat a 66 team last week.

I'm pulling for the Lincoln Highway this year.

Go You Lincoln. Ra-Ra Ree, Kick 'em in the Knee. Ra-Ra Ras... --RoadDog

The Traveling Cup, Travels of the Blackhawk Stanley Cup-- Part 1

The October 10th Chicago Tribune had a whole page devoted to the travels of the Stanley Cup as various Blackhawk players, coaches and executives took it all over the world from Bolingbrook to Paris over this past summer.

I think it is neat that hockey allows winning players to take the cup out to the fans and towns of the world, so they can see it up close and personal-like. Just try seeing the Super Bowl or World Series trophies.

This past summer, the 35 pound trophy found itself on the road about 100 days. Each person got the cup for a day and sometimes two. Most took it to their hometown. It went to hospitals, police stations and a myriad of other places, including a sauna in Finland. In Paris, it went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and fishing and boating in Canada (but, it had a life preserver strapped on it).

The Tribune had a map of the US and Canada, showing the towns it visited (mostly Canada). It also visited seven places in the Chicago area: Bolingbrook, Chicago, Elmhurst, La Grange Park, Hinsdale, Lombard and Hoffman estates.

Overseas, it went to two places each in Finland, Slovakia and France and one in Sweden.

Now. That's Some Traveling. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 4, 2010

And, Speaking of Pontiacs...--Part 1

Pontiacs are still my favorite cars even though they are no longer made. Like they used to boast, "We Build Excitement!"

I have owned five Pontiacs in my life.

Two were bought used and three new.


Tan color, six-cylinder and it would fly with its 6-cylinder overhead drive. Bought it used around 1975. I used this driving back and forth to NIU when I was getting my Master's degree and it would fly down those back roads.

My hippie college prof said one day that he was cruising down the road from Madison and saw this tan car way back and withing a few seconds, it was behind him, passed and was soon out of sight.

It looked just like a poor man's GTO. Of course, GTOs were made off this model.

Wish I Still Had It. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pontiacs Coming to Pontiac, Illinois

Just in time to observe, not celebrate, the demise of this great American automobile, the mayor of this Illinois Route 66 community between Joliet and Bloomington-Normal, announced that note Pontiac authority and collector Tim Dye is moving his museum to town.

Pontiac already has one of the biggest Route 66 museums and hall of fame on the fabled road. Plus, there is the war museum next to it. This past year, the International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum opened, and then there are all those fantastic murals the Walldogs painted all over town.

Hey, the Walldogs are also related to the RoadDog, twice removed or was it three times.

Tim Dye has been collecting all things Pontiac for 30-plus years. He cites Pontiac's location on Route 66 (even though he now is in Tulsa, Oklahoma, also on the Mother Road) and proximity to Chicago as big reasons for the move.

Among items he is bringing: 21 Pontiac automobiles, one of every Pontiac hood ornament ever made, and even a Pontiac horse buggy from before the company made automobiles.

Just One More Thing to Like About Illinois' Stretch of Route 66. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

IHSA Football Week 2: Lincoln Highway vs. Route 66

Right now Route 66 leads 10-7 with ten teams still playing compared to the Lincoln's seven.

However, last week, Route 66 had 18 compared to the Lincoln's 10.


Class 7A

East St. Louis
Plainfield South (also on Lincoln)


Joliet Catholic











Lincoln-Way East
Plainfield South (also on Route 66)


Lincoln-Way North


Lincoln-Way West
Joliet Catholic (also on Route 66)



I'll Have to Check to See If There Are Any Head-to-Head Matchups. --RoadDog

NIU Homecoming 2010-- Part 6-- Buffalo Stompin'

Great day for football while in the sun, but there were enough clouds to put a real chill in that hard blowing-wind.

We won't sit on the student side of the stadium as they never sit down, plus, most have those clapper things. At least there are more students at the game these days. There was a time back in the 80s and 90s when there weren't more than a few hundred. Some school spirit.

When I was a student at Northern, I rarely missed a home football or basketball game. You have to really back your school. Besides, we had a REAL good time in the stands with our smuggled in libations.

The team didn't seem to be relishing the day and stalled three straight times on drives and then our field goal kicker missed THREE STRAIGHT kicks. We finally scored, then they drove right down the field to tie it.

Another score for us and then they intercepted us and ran it in for a TD.

We did have a 17-14 lead at half.

Third quarter the Huskies came out firing on both defense and offense and shut down Buffalo after that. We left a little into the 4th quarter with NIU up 33-14. I would have liked to stay, but we wanted a seat in Lord Stanley's on Lincoln Highway in downtown Dekalb so we could see the Dekalb Footstompers. No NIU homecoming with be complete without seeing those guys.

Met an Interesting Person Sitting Next to Us. --RoadDog

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lincoln Highway vs. Route 66-- Week 1 Standings

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) 2010 Football playoffs for the first week have concluded. Out of 258 teams in eight classes, only 179 are still playing.

With our contest between the Lincoln Highway and Route 66, just 17 remain.


In Day 1, Friday, of the first round, one LH team, Dekalb, lost.

On Day 2, Batavia and Plainfield North lost.

Lincoln Highway was 4-1 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday for a 7-3 record.


In Day 1 action, Bolingbrook, Normal Community and Bloomington lost.

Saturday, Bloomington Central Catholic, Springfield sacred Heart Griffin, Plainfield North, Collinsville and Normal West Lost.

On Friday, Route 66 was 5-3 and Saturday 5-5 for a 10-8 record.

Lincoln Highway won the only head-to-head contest when Lincoln-Way North defeated Normal Community.

Route 66 still holds the lead 10-7. Remainingteams tomorrow.

Go You Lincoln. --RoadDog

NIU Homecoming 2010-- Part 5-- Gating Our Tail and Buffalo Stompin'

From October 26th entry. This past October 16th, Liz and I drove to Dekalb for NIU's homecoming. We used to go every year, but hadn't for the last ten years, something about those kids getting much to young (or is it that we're getting much too old). But as Jimmy B. says, "Growing Older, but Not Up."


Or, is it tailgating? What good homecoming could not have tailgating. We hadn't brought any of those items along with us, but walked over to the new (well, five years old) Barsema Alumni Center and found each college had an alumni tent. We sought out the College of Education and were among the last ones in.

They had a nice spread of burgers (I think some kind of a vegetable burger) and brats as well as home-made tater chips. No alcoholic beverages though, but pop. We managed to survive.


We walked over to the stadium and bought tickets for the game for $25. Almost lost Liz walking up all those inclined walkways. We exited to the stands the first chance we got and found we were about twenty rows too low. But I figured Liz couldn't go any further so found a seat and watched the first three quarters of the game on a great sunny, but windy day.

It was expected that Northern would run all over Buffalo, but that sure was not the case in the first half.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lincoln Highway (4-1) vs. Route 66 (5-3)-- Part 1

Only two states can have this competition, Illinois and California.

Earlier this week, I listed high school teams located on each old road and we're having the Route 66 vs. Lincoln Highway Playoffs.

Since there is quite a disparity between the number of teams in the IHSA playoffs (the Lincoln has ten and 66 has eighteen, now that East St. Louis has been reinstated by court order), the final winner will be last man standing. At least that's what I'm thinking about now. Ties will be decided by head-to-head.

The first games were played last night.



Plainfield South
Lincoln-Way North
Lincoln-Way West
Joliet Catholic





Plainfield South
Joliet Catholic


Normal Community

Plainfield South and Joliet Catholic are in both Lincoln Highway and Route 66, since both towns are on both roads.


The only Route 66-Lincoln Highway Match Up was where Lincoln-Way North defeated Normal Community 38-23.

First Round games continue today. I take tomorrow off, but will update on Monday.

Like I said, because of the number disparity, I'm pulling for Lincoln Highway, but like both. I've been to these towns many times.

Go You Lincoln Hwy!! --RoadDog

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Frightening Cape Fear-- Part 2

Talking about Wilmington, North Carolina and the Cape Fear River area.

Being such an old town, there are many old houses. And, old houses and buildings equal ghosts. And. that's not counting the old cemeteries. Even more ghosts.

One famous ghost is said to inhabit the Fort Fisher State Historic Site near the entrance of the Cape Fear Rover. During the Civil War, it guarded the entrance to the river for blockade-runners.

It fell in January 1865 after two Union attacks. Confederate General W.H.C. Whiting was wounded, taken prisoner and died in New York. His wife later had his body disinterred and buried in Wilmington. His ghost has been reportedly seen at the old fort.

For those wanting to get even more scared, there is a Ghost Walk of Wilmington tour owned by John and Kim Hirchak. One of their big stop is at Gallows Hill where criminals were executed. You can also take the Haunted Pub Crawl which promises "levitation and libation."

The article also goes on to talk about non-scary things you can do like take a ride on the ship Henrietta II along the river. The whole city and area has lots of great restaurants and unique stores. Many movies and TV shows have also been filmed in the area.

I Knew This Was a Great Place to Visit. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Frightening Cape Fear-- Part 1

From the October 27th Houston Chronicle "North Carolina Cape Fear Scares" by Kristin Finan.

Well, first of, even the name Cape Fear is a bit scary all by itself. And the cape in question did strike fear into the hearts of sailors as its treacherous shoals claimed many ships over the ages.

Then, there is the Cape Fear River leading to Wilmington, North Carolina, a very old city.

As Kristin says, "Stephen King could come here for inspiration."

Old cities have old homes and old cemeteries, prime real estate for ghostly sightings and apparitions.

Even the famous carnivorous plant, the Venus flytrap calls the area its home, the only place in the world.

Then there are plenty of venomous snakes in the wild as well as alligators in the rivers and swamps and sharks out in the ocean. Then, there are the numerous dangerous snakes at the Cape Fear Serpentarium. But these are caged and behind glass.

More to Come.

It's Enough to Really Scare You to Death. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Going on a Lincoln Highway Roadtrip for the Illinois IHSA Football Playoffs

While doing the Route 66 high schools, I decided to check out what schools from the Lincoln Highway made it.

8A-- None

7A Plainfield North 7-2 (also in Route 66)
Lincoln-Way East 8-1
Plainfield South 8-1 (also in Route 66)

6A Batavia 5-4
Geneva 7-2
Lincoln-Way North 7-2
Dekalb 5-4

5A Lincoln-Way West 7-2
Joliet Catholic 8-1 (also in Route 66)

2A Morrison 8-1

Ten teams for the Lincoln. We'll see which road does the best.

Since there are fewer Lincoln Highway schools, I'll pull for them. But those Lincoln-Way schools are usually pretty good as is Joliet Catholic.

Go Lincoln!! --RoadDog

Going on a Route 66 Illinois IHSA Playoff Roadtrip

This Friday, the Illinois High School Association's football playoffs begin. I took a quick look through the playoff pairings and found these teams along the Mother Road playing in it. By classes:

8A Bolingbrook 5-4

7A East St. Louis was in it at 9-0, but had an ineligible player and was dropped out.
Plainfield North 7-2 (also on Lincoln Highway)
Plainfield South 8-1 (also on Lincoln Highway)

6A Collinsville 5-4
Normal Community 7-2
Normal West 7-2

5A Joliet Catholic 8-1 (also on Lincoln Highway)
Springfield S.H.G. 8-1
Bloomington 6-3
Springfield 7-2

4A Pontiac 9-0
Bloomington Central Catholic 6-3

3A Wilmington 9-0

2A Staunton 8-1
Williamsville 8-1
Carlinville 8-1

1A Lexington 6-3

Here's Hoping for a Lot of 66 in the Finals. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homecoming 2010-- Part 4-- Room at the Inn


We then drove to Lincoln Highway with the idea of seeing if we could find a room for he night. I didn't really think we would, but you never know.

Travelodge, the old Motel 6 where we spent so many misguided homecomings in the past wasn't an option. It was bad as a Motel 6, but really bottomed out when Travelodge took it over. People who know me, know that a motel has to be ESPECIALLY BAD for me to refuse to stay. Plus, the sorry excuse who murdered the five students on St. Valentine's Day 2008, stayed here before his foul deed.

The parking lot of the Best Western (old Holiday Inn where we had our wedding reception back in August 1973). They even had an employee posted at the entrance.

We went to Magnuson Inn & Suites (the old Baymont Motel) and found the parking lot to have spaces so decided to try our luck. Liz went in and they did have rooms that people had canceled so we got one. But, we paid big-time for it. All Liz would say was that it was double what we usually try to pay (which is $60). She still won't tell me.

Anyway, it is next to Fatty's where we had plans of going anyway.

We always like it when we can get a room by some place we're going. Cuts down on the DUI factor.

Tailgating Next. --RoadDog

Down Da 66: Car Hits Cafe-- Betty Estes Honor

Down Da 66-- Some New News about an Old Road.

1. CAR HITS CAFE-- The Tulsa World reports that early this morning, a car crashed into the Corner Cafe, located at the corner of Peoria and 11th Street, Old Route 66, at 2:11 am this morning.

Then it backed out and left the scene. Fortunately the place was closed at the time. Police believe it was very likely a drunk driver as bars close at 2 am.

A classic case of eating on the run if you ask me. Or, oops, this is not my garage.

2. BETTY ESTES HONOR-- The October 26th Pontiac Community News reports that the Illinois Route 66 Heritage Project presented Betty Estes of Pontiac with an award for her many contributions to the creation and development of Route 66 as a tourist attraction in Illinois. They are also establishing a college scholarship in her name in the tourism field.

Betty was Pontiac's first tourism director. She and her late husband Bud are great people and completely devoted to Pontiac. He was a big reason for the War Museum next to the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum.

The plaque reads in part:

In Honor of Betty Estes
"The Mother of Our Road"

Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Person. --RoadDog

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pennsylvania's USCT Grand Review Commemoration

A year-long commemoration is being held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to honor the 145th anniversary of the November 14, 1865, Grand Review of United States Colored Troops who had not been allowed to participate in the Grand review held in Washington, DC May 23-24th, I865.

United States Colored Troops from 25 states participated in the original one. USCT re-enactors from all over will be participating in the new one.

When the women of Harrisburg found out the USCTs had not been allowed to participate in DC, they set about having their own review. On November 15, 1865, led by Grand Marshal Thomas Morris Chester, who had served as captain of a Harrisburg company raised in the black community there, marched to the home of Senator Simon Cameron.

The commemoration will take place in Harrisburg Nov. 4-7. Other events are planned, including cleaning up cemeteries where USCT are buried in the area.

You'd Have to Wonder Why These Brave Black Soldiers Were Not Allowed to Be in the DC Grand Review? --B-R'er

Down Da 66: VW-- Shoe Tree-- 66 Bowl

Down Da 66-- Some new news about an old road.

1. VW-- Bob Walmire's Volkswagen van and school bus have been relocated to the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac. Sure glad these two items were saved as it just won't be the old 66 without its artist and hippie spirit, Bob Waldmire.

2. SHOE TREE-- I see that the Shoe Tree in Oklahoma has fallen down. Too bad, but it was looking bad for some time now. I'm sure it won't take long for a replacement to be found and decorated.

3.. 66 BOWL-- The great 66 Bowl sign in Oklahoma City has been bought by the Junk Yard Daddies and can be seen at their junkyard where they are restoring it. They are located at 541 North Ann Arbor. Looks like a definite stop for us the next time we're in town.

Just Some Stuff. --RoadDog

NIU Homecoming 2010-- Part 3

After looking at the pooch statue, we drove on to Augusta and College avenues to look at the trees primarily. However, the Delta Sigma Phi house where I pledged was located here back in 1970. The duplex (the owners live in the other half) is still there, but not a fraternity anymore.

If a film company ever wants to have a perfect collegiate residential or 1930s neighborhood site, this would be it.

Unfortunately, the trees had mostly passed prime time. This season is not going to go down as the most colorful in northern Illinois.

We then went to the Village Commons Shopping Center on Lucinda across from the dorms. We always stop at the VC Bookstore to see what Huskie items they're selling. I bought an NIU Football Huskie hoodie for $17.

We also saw there is a new sports bar/restaurant there where Rick's used to be located. Rick's was a very popular place to meet and have a soda pop, pizza or sandwich back when we were in school. This was its second location, the first being out on Lincoln Highway near the McDonald's.

Back at the Old Alma mater. --RoadDog