Saturday, December 31, 2011

Road Trips Planned for 2012

Hopefully, we'll get to go on the Illinois Route 66 Association Motor Tour and the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association one as well.

I'd like to go out to the Doolittle's Raiders Reunion in Dayton, Ohio, in April and the 2012 Lincoln Highway Conference in Canton, Ohio.

We're also going to Mobile, Alabama, and Panama City Beach over the winter and several trips to visit family in North Carolina.

We still are thinking about a Route 66 end-to-end trip to see how things have changed since the last one in 2006.

On the Road Again, Hope I Can Afford the Gas Money to Get On the Road Again.  --RoadDog

In North Carolina, It's a 'Cue War-- Part 2

At Bridges Barbecue Lodge, Kevin Pang had a bbq side in the state described as "de riguer," and that would be sweet tea, which he described as being "one notch over sweet, but the melted ice corrects the pitchers to just perfect."

Sorry, my own idea of sweet tea is that it is sickenly sweet.  I always order unsweetened and sweeten to my taste, but occasionally accidentally get sweet tea and that, along with my sweetener, why, it will knock you out of your seat.

Then he had a hush puppy, another Carolina de rigueur with 'cue, which he said resemble tamarind (whatever that is) and is  "long pods of dense and crispy fried cornmeal batter, a touch sweet and addictive."

And absolutely at their best just out of the fryer.  Get 'em hot.

You eat them with your bbq, or, at Wilber's, as you wait for your order.  Only problem is that you might fill up on the puppies before the meal comes.  Pace yourself.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Friday, December 30, 2011

It's Bill Shea Day in Springfield, Illinois

Today, December 30th, has been officially declared Bill Shea Day in Springfield, Illinois, in honor of his long-time connection with Route 66 in that city.  Not only is it his 90th birthday, but this year also marks his 66th operating a business along the road on the north side of town, a little south of the State Fair grounds.

No trip through town for us is complete if we do not stop and pay a visit with him (also necessary is a Cozy Dog fix).

Mr. Shea is one of the great ambassadors of the Mother Road and I am sure glad we had the opportunity to meet him on many occasions.  And he is one of the originals, those persons who were working on 66 when it was an actual commissioned road.  Earlier this year, another Route 66 original, Ernie Edwards, celebrated his 94th in Lincoln, Illinois.  Both men are great story-tellers.

I hold Bill Shea as part of the reason Liz and I got so hooked on Route 66.  Our first trip on the road was 2002.  First, we met Rich Henry in Staunton and then encountered both Bill Shea and Tom Teague at Shea's place in Springfield.  We didn't have a chance.

With so many of the originals of 66 now gone, we hold meeting these icons dear.

Happy Birthday Mr. Shea.  And Congrats to Mrs. Shea Who Has Put Up With Him All These Years.  --RoadDog

Thursday, December 29, 2011

In North Carolina It's a 'Cue War-- Part 1

From the July 3, 2011, Chicago Tribune "The war between the tastes in BBQ" by Kevin Pang.

I wrote about the background of "The War Between the Tastes" in today's Cooter's History Thing Blog since it definitely is history in North Carolina, the war between those who prefer eastern and those for western-styles in the Tarheel state.

Primarily, eastern (where I'm from)  is a vinegar/pepper base made from the whole hog and western also has ketchup and sugar added for a sweet/sour taste and made from the pig shoulder.

Kevin Pang refers to western-style as Piedmont-style.  He visited three BBQ places, all in the state's Piedmont, so his article is a good overview of ta'other side's stuff. 

If it is a "real" 'cue place, nothing fancy and a bit rustic, that only makes the food taste all that much better.

He first drove to Shelby, a 45-minute drive from Charlotte and went to Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, which has been cooking 60 years.

Rule of thumb for picking out a good 'cue place, "If you don't see a pile of wood in the back, turn around."

Good Eatin' Here We Come.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Route 66 in the Land of Lincoln-- Part 4

** Happy Birthday You Old Coot-- The 94th birthday, August 5th, of Ernie Edwards had a party at St. Clara's Manor in Lincoln, Illinois, surrounded by friends and family. Ernie used to own the famous Pig Hip Restaurant in nearby Broadwell.

Definitely a favorite Old Coot of ours. A short visit always ended up longer with all those stories, and Ernie Sure Liked to Tell His Stories.

**An article about the Chain of Rocks Bridge Festival and trip to it. Met friends at the Missouri 66 table and later ate at Ted Drewe's.

** Comedian Billy Connolly Update. He had an accident, but is ok and will continue his ride on the Mother Road.

** Death of James H. Allen (1943-2011) Former owner of Scotty's in Hamel, Illinois. Sold the place and retired a few years ago. The place now called Weezy's.

That Wraps Up Illinois for Fall. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Route 66 in the Land of Lincoln-- Part 3

From the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Fall "The 66 News."

** Josh, Wendy and Charlie Friedrich's Weekend on Route 66 by Josh Friedrich. he has a personal goal of acquiring a postmark from each of the remaining 66 communities in Illinois. hear that Landrunner?

** Some 66ers took in a ballgame at the Joliet Slammers minor league game.

** Work is progressing on the Hall of Fame Streetcar Diner in Gardner, which for many years was behind the famed Riviera.

** The first-ever dairy Queen was located on Route 66 in Joliet at 501 N. Chicago Street. The 1890s building still stands and currently is a storefront church. Dairy Queen moved out some time in the 1950s.

The Joliet Historic Preservation Commission has given the site Landmark status.

Executives from Dairy Queen were at the ceremony.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, December 26, 2011

Route 66's Twelve Days of Christmas-- Part 3

ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: THE SOURCE OF ROUTE 66-- That would be Ron Warnick's Route 66 News. Definitely agree. I especially love the music videos.

ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: PARTY OF THE YEAR-- The International Route 66 festival in Amarillo, Texas. We didn't go to it, but did do the Missouri Motor Tour.

ON THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: NEW FRIENDS-- Ed mentioned some new friends of his in Arizona where he now lives. Every time we go on the Mother Road, we meet new people and have a great time. Like that as well as seeing the sights.

ON THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: "THE SAVIORS OF THE MOTHER ROAD-- That would be the state Route 66 associations. We belong to the Illinois and Missouri ones.

ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: "THE SHOCK OF THE MOTHER ROAD"-- The Joplin, Missouri, tornado. I wasn't sure about this one, but then Ed said it was people coming together to help. We drove through the wrecked area in September and it was still sad.


Sure glad we got involved with the old road.

Another great job, Ed Klein. Check out his website at Route66World.

Time to Get Started on Next Year's List. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Route 66's Twelve Days of Christmas-- Part 2

From the Route 66 World website. Thanks Ed Klein. I enjoyed last year's recap of Route 66 and this is another fine one.

THIRD DAY-- GLOBETROTTER LODGE in Holbrook, Arizona. I haven't been there, but sounds like a great mom and pop place to stay if not at the Wigwam. Thanks for the tip.

FOURTH DAY-- ADDITION TO PONTIAC, ILLINOIS 66 MUSEUM-- That would be the Bob Waldmire bus and van. I never saw the bus when he was alive, but many times saw that van. Sure glad we got a chance to meet this person, the spirit of 66.

I've been accused, rightfully so (too much 66 stuff you know), of cluttering, but my hat's off to Bob who took it to a whole new level.

FIFTH DAY-- BIRTHDAY OF THE WAGON WHEEL MOTEL in Cuba, Missouri. That would be the 75th anniversary. We got to stay there when the old owners had it. That was quite an experience.

Even better, the renaissance of the place with the new owners.

SIXTH DAY-- BIRTH OF ROUTE 66 TV-- Jim Conkle's project. I haven't seen it, but anything that gets publicity for our old road is a great thing.

And, a Merry Christmas to You All As Well. --RoadDog

Friday, December 23, 2011

Route 66 in the Land of Lincoln-- Part 2


Montana the rabbit reigned at Henry's Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, Illinois for over seven years. Unfortunately, she died before running for president in the last election.

Big Red has succeeded her and enjoys lying on the counter, sitting up and yawning as well as being petted. Stop in and see him.

I liked the old Montana and pet her on several occasions.


It's a one and a half mile section of brick Route 66 south of Springfield. It was Route 66 from 1926 to 1930 when 66 was moved east to the current I-55.

In the 1930s, as part of the WPA project to get people working during the Great Depression, workers laid bricks over the original Portland cement section and widened. It wasn't really needed, but got people to work.

The section was placed on the NRHP in 1998. The state announced it was going to build a truck bypass around Springfield which would involve destroying half of the brick road. That was averted.

However, the bricks were getting into bad shape and new bricks were made to resemble the original and laid down this summer.

We had stopped to eat at a place south of the brick stretch returning from the Mo. Motor Tour and the waitress told us they were destroying the brick section as we sat. We hurried over only to see she was wrong and that they were repairing the road.

Thought We Had Lost Another Part of 66 Heritage for a Moment. --RoadDog

Route 66 in the Land of Lincoln-- Part 1

From the Fall 2011 Route 66 Assoc. of Illinois 66 News.

ALL ABOARD! by Ike Widner

Fifteen members took the train to Chicago for lunch at the Berghoff Cafe on Adams Street (Route 66 westbound) in 1898 even before the fabled road opened. Then they walked to Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center, in the old city library.

I'm still mad at the Berghoff for their big closing hoopla several years ago which amounted to nothing.

NEW ATTRACTION IN PONTIAC-- Two original telegraph poles originally from Odell have been installed across the street from the Route 66 Museum.

Early Route 66 often followed telegraph and railroads.


There were four Flame restaurants, but now just one in Countryside at 803 Joliet Road (66). Still owned by the same family and daring to the 1950s.

I've never been to it, but probably will as I make it my practice to eat at as many Route 66 places as I can, even if I can't afford a steak dinner anymore. Maybe chopped steak.

For Those of You Who Aren't Illinois Members. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Route 66's Twelve Days of Christmas-- Part 1

He did it last year and again this year, Ed Klein in his excellent Route 66 World blog at has done his Route 66 Twelve Days of Christmas. Go to the site and click on Daily Page to see them.

Here are his first six days listed and my comments. To see photos and get the info, go to his site.


FIRST DAY: The Boots Motel in Carthage, Mo., is back. I agree. This is the Biggest Thing on the road this year as far as I am concerned. We got to go to it on the Missouri Motor Tour in September. We've been wanting to do this ever since we first went to it in 2003. Liz especially because of its Clark gable connection.

We did drive around it one year, but the folks living there didn't seem to much like us doing it.

The ladies who bought it are great and to be greatly thanked.

SECOND DAY: THE NEW OWNERS OF THE BLUE SWALLOW MOTEL IN TUCUMCARI. I haven't met them, but we did stay there one night in 2003. Sitting out by old 66, watching that bird fly and looking at the neon of the Tepee Souvenir shop with cars driving by is something all 66ers should do.

Oh yes, have a beer in toasting as well. Maybe two-three or more.

I suppose you could sing it to the original tune by inserting extra words.

Check It Out. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some More Information on Rand Road, US-12, in Chicago's Northwest Suburbs

From the July 18, 1997 Chicago Tribune "Rand Road Smorgasboard: nature, Sprawl and All" by Jean Latz Griffin.

Rand Road is named after Socrates Rand, who came from Massachusetts in 1835 and settled in Des Plaines. Much of all the early history of the Northwest Suburbs revolved around Socrates, who lived to be 97. Des Plaines was actually called Rand from 1857 to 1869.

He was the area's first justice of the peace and performed the first marriage in 1836, started one of the area's first schools in his living room in 1838 and was the first chairman of Maine Township.

The name Rand Road is associated with US-12 clear out to Volo. Somewhere between Volo and the Wisconsin state line, it loses the name. South of Lake Zurich and south of Wauconda, there are signs on the four-lane US-12 for Old Rand Road. US-12 used to go through the downtowns of both communities until the bypass was built.

Randhurst opened in 1962, one of the first indoor shopping centers in the United States.

That Road Is Really Involved in My Life. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Took a Northwest Suburb Trip Yesterday-- Part 4: High School Days on Rand Road

Rand Road, another name for US Highway 12, has played quite a big part in my life. It goes through the village I spent my junior high, high school and early college years in. As such, I drove it many times.

In high school, I often went to Honey Hill Beach on Wauconda on summer days. Plus, back then, if you took pictures on your Instamatic, you took them over to Skrudland's Photo on Rand to be developed. Plus, two of our favorite eating spots were on Rand and Dundee roads, St. George & the Dragon and Village Inn Pizza.

Plus, this was the road we took from Palatine to Randhurst Mall, a BIG local high school hangout for all of the Northwest Suburban high school kids. You saw lettermam's jackets all over the place. More than one girl got her boyfriend's ID bracelet from jewelry shops located there.

I remember driving US-12 to lake Geneva and going through Spring Grove and thinking to myself that, "Man, this place is WAY out in the boonies." Now, we have lived in Spring Grove for 19 years. I always remember being impressed by the entrance to Sherwood Forest Subdivision with its mock castle gate and drawbridge, which is still there.

Liz and I liked to eat at Mr. Sitka's in Richmond at the intersection of 12 and Il-31. It is still there, but called Dilar's. Of course, there was a lot of things to do at Lake Geneva, including going to the Playboy Club when I was older (now Grand Geneva and with a great Christmas display).

A Lot of Memories on That Road. --RoadDog

More Wackiest Theme Hotels

From Yahoo! Travel

THE SHADY DELL VINTAGE TRAILER COURT in Brisbane, Arizona. Restored mid-20th century trailers, each fitted out with 50s artifacts and vintage Life Magazines. Dot's Diner is adjacent, a prefab burger joint.

McMENAMINS KENNEDY SCHOOL in Portland, Oregon-- spend a night in a classroom at at 1915 elementary school. Hey, maybe even get sent to the principals' office and get spanked.

I'd like to add two more.

THE DON Q in Dodgeville, Wisconsin-- regular rooms and theme rooms. Big C-9 plane parked out dront with bicycle tire art piece. Old barber chairs in lobby around huge round fireplace.

CABOOSE MOTEL in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin-- I'm not sure that you can rent a room here anymore, but each one is an old caboose.

Sleep in a Tepee Tonight. --RoadDog

Monday, December 19, 2011

Took a Northwest Suburb Trip Yesterday-- Part 3: Save-A-Pet and Da Cops

I should say that these are the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, where I spent a lot of my youth.

We stopped at Save-A-Pet a little south of Round Lake and made a good-sized donation. A couple years ago, they were in danger of going out of business, but the community rallied and saved it. About three times a year, there is an animal shelter contest where you vote on the internet for your favorite one and we do it every day.

We saw that there is now an overpass across Fairfield at Gilmer Road, which can really get backed up during rush hour. While looking for information on the road, I also came across plans for a new traffic arrangement at Fairfield and Illinois Highway 176, east of Wauconda. A roundabout is one of the suggestions. I hope it doesn't come to pass as I hate those frightening things.

Fairfield's southern terminus is at Old McHenry Road, where there are two turn lanes to go east. Old McHenry is now four lanes through here. (Again, all tis new construction done since we used to drive it.) Took it a short distance to Quentin Road and that through the land of the Really Rich (watch your speed big-time as they have a very overzealous police force, especially Hawthorne Woods) to US Highway 12, or Rand Road as it is called in the Northwest Suburbs.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Seven Longest Roads in the World

From the Dec. 28th Interbent site.

1. I-80-- 2.090 miles, much of it along the Lincoln Highway.

2. I-90-- 3,111 miles

3. Trans-Continental Highway-- 5,000 miles

4. Trans-Siberian Highway-- 6,835 miles

5. Australian Highway 1-- 9,000 miles

6. Pan-American Highway-- 27,197 miles

7. Tarim Desert Highway-- 843 miles It is so little because it is built across uninhabitable desert in Central Asia. Perhaps it is the world's "Most Lonely Highway" like US-50 in the US.

How Long theRoad? --RoadDog

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Took a Northwest Suburb Trip Yesterday-- Part 2: Fairfield Road

We took US-12 to Il-134, then east to Fairfield Road. Back when we used to live in Round Lake Beach, 17 years, we used to drive this road often when visiting Liz's parents in Palatine and her mother in Arlington Hts. after her dad died. Our house was just a couple short blocks off it.

I thought then and still think this is fine country driving, even as Chicagoland keeps growing outwards. Fairfield Road runs from its northern terminus at Deep Lake Road west of Lake Villa, southward about 25 miles to Old McHenry Road, east of Lake Zurich. You can see several small lakes along the way as well.

It is still mostly open land with farms and a lot of forest preserve lands, especially the large one east of Wauconda, Lakewood, where the Lake County Discovery Museum is located.

There are quite a few more subdivisions along the road since we used to drive it back in the 70s and 80s.

I was unable to find out how it got its name, but did read that it used to be an Indian trail and there were some native trail trees along it. These would be the ones that Indians bent when they were saplings to show the way. I've never seen any on Fairfield, though.

More to Come. --RoadDog

A Real Lincoln Highway High School

From the New Lenox Area Historical Society in Illinois.

The Lincoln Highway, the Road, and the School

The Lincoln Highway running through New Lenox Township follows an old Indian trail which later became a stage coach road also traveled by horse-drawn wagons.

When the high school district for Frankfort, Manhattan and New Lenox counties was formed in the 1950s, a contest was held to come up with a name for the new school to be built on the old Lincoln Highway, now US-30.

The name Lincoln-Way was chosen and Lincoln-Way Community High School opened in 1954.

Today, this school is called Lincoln-Way Central. Increased population in the area has led to the construction of three new high schools, all called Lincoln-Way. Only these constitute East, West and North.

An Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition interpretive gazebo now stands on the campus of Lincoln-Way Central.

It's All About the Road, You Know. --RoadDog

Top Places to See the Christmas Lights

From the National Geographic Magazine. They have photos and information about each one. I'm just listing 'em.

Brussels, Belgium
Callaway Gardens, Georgia
Medellin, Colombia
Gothenburg, Sweden
Hong Long, China

Madrid, Spain
Kobe, Japan
St. Augustine, Florida
Vienna, Austria
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

See the Pretty Lights. --RoadDog

Friday, December 16, 2011

Took a Northwest Suburb Trip Yesterday-- Part 1: 44th Anniversary

In honor of Liz and my 44th anniversary of "Going Steady" yesterday, we embarked on a short jaunt to our old stomping grounds in Palatine, Illinois. On Dec. 15, 1967, I gave Liz my ID bracelet (juniors at Palatine High School did not get class rings until spring) at the laundromat at Palatine Highway on Northwest Highway (US-14). How's that for being romantic.

She was doing laundry for her family. I figured she wouldn't suspect I was going to that there.

The laundromat is long-gone, but as near as we can figure, the former site is now occupied by a Dairy Queen.

By the way, I sure didn't have that class ring long when we finally got them.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Another Illinois Lincoln Highway Mural-- Part 2

Another mural will be soon going up on the Riegel Farm barn in University Park.

The Coalition is nearing approval for one in Sauk Village and hoping for others in Chicago Heights, Matteson, Mokena, New Lenox and Park Forest.

When completed, the Illinois Lincoln Highway murals will be the largest public art project in the country.

The murals along with the interpretive gazebos bring the highway's history to the people.

The Coalition Is To Be Commended for Their Effort. --RoadDog


The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor in Pennsylvania is having a grand opening for their gift shop at 3435 Route 30east in Latrobe today at 3 pm. Somewhere else to stop and spend your money for those neat Lincoln Highway items.

The More Lincoln Highway, the Better. --RoadDog

Another Illinois Lincoln Highway Mural-- Part 1

From Dec. 15th Southtown Star "Franklin mural latest salute to Lincoln Highway history" by Susan DeMar Lafferty.

The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition just dedicated its 23rd mural in a series projected to have over 30 when completed, this time in the town of Frankfort at the township building at 11008 W. Lincoln Highway.

This one shows Eagle Scouts and their Scoutmasters who journeyed across the Lincoln Highway back in 1928 to give safety demonstrations, publicize scouting and in conjunction with the Boy Scouts famous Lincoln Highway concrete markers along the whole road.

One of those Eagle Scouts is still alive and I had the honor of meeting him at the 2010 LH Association conference in Dixon, Illinois. I can't remember his name, though.

More to Come. --RoadDog

As a local aspect, the 1920s Folker's Hotel is shown in the background.

Each mural is valued at $10,000, with this one (and I believe most) done by Jay Allen of Shawcraft Signs.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Driving Illinois' US-136-- Part 2: Macomb

We drove through little Ipava. Kind of wonder how you pronounce it. Saw a woman at a gas station who had driven her lawn tractor up to a pump and was filling it. Sure beats lugging those gas cans around.

Then arrived in Macomb, home of Western Illinois University. Neither of us had ever been there, even though three of our Usual Suspects group graduated from it. I once had a chance to go while in college, when my fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi at Northern Illinois, took a road trip to visit their Delta Sig chapter, but I couldn't get out of my job at Lincoln Hall Food Service that weekend and had to remain.

I wasn't happy about it, and even more so one the brothers returned with tales of Lakers and other parties. I hate it when work gets in the way of good times.

We drove around looking for a motel near the Buffalo Wild Wings (where we wanted to play some NTN), but there were none in our price category (cheap). Drove all over town and the ones more affordable weren't by any bar we could walk to.

We were impressed with the WIU campus and the Macomb downtown has not one, but two squares, something you don't often see.

Finally settled on the Macomb Inn, a Best Western Hotel, fairly close to the BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings as us oldsters call the places). Played NTN for several hours, of course.

On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Anniversary of the First Motel

From the Dec. 12th MSNBC Overhead Bin "First Motel Opened 86 Years Ago Today" by Harriet Baskas.

The anniversary was on December 12th.

Today, we take motels for granted. There almost always is one when you need it. But that was not always the case.

On December 12, 1925, architect Arthur Heineman opened the country's first roadside motor hotel, the Milestone Motel, later renamed the Motel Inn on US Highway 101, just north of San Luis Obispo, California, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Rooms let for $2.50 a night.

The Spanish-style motel is no longer open with just its facade remaining along with its distinctive bell tower and original sign.

Sure Hope Someone Comes Up With a Way to Save This Piece of Americana. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Driving Illinois' US-136: Macomb, Here We Come

September 6th. On our way to Miami, Oklahoma, for the Route 66 Association of Missouri's Motor Tour.

We got on US-136 at the Dixie Truckers Home in McLean, Illinois after a ride along Route 66 from Dwight.

When we got to El Paso, Il., a cop came up behind me unobserved and gave us a scare as I was driving a few miles over the speed limit. You never know in a small town. WE drove around downtown and when back on 136, saw that he had someone pulled over.

Havana has a historic water tower and some old brick streets. This is an old Illinois River town. The bridge over the river was impressive.

Up to now, the land had been fairly flat, but there was a drop as we approached the river and then it was considerably hillier west of town.

On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Back Then: US-421 Widened By Wilmington, NC: Monkey Junction?

From the Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

AUGUST 25, 1961-- The North Carolina State Highway Commission announced that they were letting out bids for widening US-421 from Myrtle Grove Junction to Carolina Beach, where a new bridge was being built over Snow's Cut. Soon, there was to be other bids to widen 421 from Myrtle Grove Junction to Shipyard Boulevard.

The newspaper called it Myrtle Grove Junction instead of the more commonly used name, Monkey Junction. In the late 1950s, New Hanover County had changed the official name of the junction to Myrtle Grove Junction, but later reversed it to its original because of public outcry.

Wilmington officials seemed to be very concerned about the region's image 50 years ago and apparently felt "Monkey Junction" gave a wrong impression.

Luckily, today, the name "Monkey Junction" lives on.

The stretch of 421 from Monkey Junction to Carolina Beach always got me thinking beach when we drove it. You could smell that salt air. And then, there was the first view of the Atlantic Ocean from the top of Snow's Cut Bridge.

You can find out more about how Monkey Junction got its name on my Down Da Road I Go Blog. Check out the labels.

Why Would There Be Monkeys in North Carolina? --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Down Da 66: Litchfield Museum-- Historic Route 66 Bell Rings Again

Down Da 66 is about two Illinois-related items this time.

1. LITCHFIELD MUSEUM-- From the Dec. 1st Springfield (Il) State Journal-Register. Dave Jackson collected a huge array of local items during his long tenure at the Litchfield News-Herald and after his death, his wife didn't want to break it up.

An association was formed to find a place to house it and they have selected the site of the former Vic Suhling gas station near the Ariston Restaurant on old Route 66. They will keep the old "Vic Shuling Gas for Less" sign and restore the neon.

An anonymous person purchased the lot and will donate it. Now, the group has to raise $500,000 to build the sleek, art deco-inspired Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center building.

A new museum, always great news.

2. HISTORIC ROUTE 66 BELL RINGS AGAIN-- From Nov. 24th AP. The 1905 bell in the Logan County Courthouse in Lincoln has been silent for 40 years, but thanks to a $16,000 grant from Landmarks Illinois, was fixed and will again ring on the hour, even at night.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last month.

Back in the 1970s, officials determined the bell was too unsafe to ring anymore. It had been installed at the same time as the courthouse's huge clocks on the dome.

A Ringing in My Ears. --RoadDog

West Michigan Pike-- Part 4: Going Back to Paw Paw Lake

I was wondering whether Paw Paw Lake was still there and did some more research on it. According to the Lakelubbers site, Paw Paw Lake is an 891-acre lake, about two hours from Chicago with a resort history dating back to the late 1800s along its nine-mile shoreline.

Within a ten-year stretch, 50 hotels and ten dance pavilions were built. Double-decked excursion boats plied the lake. Train records indicate that one summer back then, some 40,000 visitors came to the lake.

The Crystal Palace Ballroom, built in 1925 and continuing operations into the 1950s, reportedly could accommodate 2,500.

The lake is still a resort area today, but on a much diminished level.

A Place to Visit Near the Old WMP. --RoadDog

Monday, December 12, 2011

Airplaning It Home-- Part 5: Fun and Games at Hartsfield

I had to deplane and get on another one at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport. I got off at gate B22 and looked on the board and saw I had thirty minutes to get to Gate A33. For some reason, I read that as Gate B33 and thought, "Well, that's not too far."

I got to that gate and realized where I needed to go was in a different terminal. Of course, Gate B33 was all the way at the end of Terminal B. (I don't know what I'd do if I ever got a gate that WASN'T at the end of a terminal.)

Fortunately, Terminal B's exit is half way between B34 and B1, so that wasn't too bad. I was following the gates sign when all of a sudden it started saying Concourse. I figured that must be referring to gates, but now, with the little side trip, I didn't have much time so had to ask another passenger who said they were the same thing.

I took a train to terminal A and then had a long walk out to the end of A to Gate A33. There were some interesting places to eat, including a Nathan's Hot Dogs.

That sure was a lot of traveling from one "concourse to another.

I Was One of the Last Ones to Board, But At Least I Was Able to Procure a Bin Right By My Seat. --RoadDog

West Michigan Pike-- Part 3: Paw Paw Lake "The Newport of the West"

One of the pamphlet's ads was for Paw Paw Lakw, described as "The Newport of the West" featuring "More than Five Hundred Hotels, Boarding Homes and Cottages, Surrounding a Beautiful Lake. One of the Largest and Most Accessible Resorts in Western Michigan."

The lake, however, was not on the Western Michigan Pike, but close to the east.

Also featured were Two Dance Pavilions, Beautiful Bathing Beaches, Fishing, Boating and Other Sports. The Best Place to Spend Your Vacation.

Hotel Rates: $3 to $18 per week
Cottages $7 to $15 per week and $60 to $150 for the season.

Pavilions were quite popular back then. I sure could afford to stay at these rates.

Getting My Paw Law On. --RoadDog

The West Michigan Pike-- Part 2

At one time, the West Michigan Pike was the northern extension of the Dixie Highway.

A 1915 Pamphlet was printed called "Maps, Routes and Tourist Directions of the West Michigan Pike: Lake Shore All the Way." The President of the association was Mr. Wm. H. Loutie of Grand Haven. The pamphlet is reprinted in its entirety at

I could not find any more information on William H. Loutie.

Lots of detailed driving instructions in that era before standardized signage. Interesting ads as well.

Well Worth Checking Out. --RoadDog

Friday, December 9, 2011

Airplaning It Home-- Part 4: North Carolina Invaded by Badgers

I should mention that I saw a whole lot of folks in the Raleigh-Durham terminal wearing the red of the University of Wisconsin Badgers. I would expect to see lots of Carolina blue, but not so much from Wisconsin.

Then, it hit me. Last night, UW's basketball team faced off against North Carolina in the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. I had watched the first half, but gone to sleep then because of the late hour it was getting to be, 11:00 pm. Figured I needed my beauty sleep for today's trip.

The first half had been pretty close and I had the opportunity to find out the final score. I would have asked one of the Badger fans, but they were all too immersed on the cell phones, laptops and other technological marvels.

The USA Today didn't have the final score either.

I am a big Tarheel fan, but as the years go by, I am becoming more of a Big Ten guy, so was kind of pulling for Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I found out they Badgers lost.

But, the good news, The Big Ten won the Challenge 8-4!! There was a time when the ACC easily won every year, to the point I wanted the Challenge dropped.

But, Not No More. --RoadDog

The West Michigan Pike-- Part 1

There are quite a few sites about this road that I was previously unfamiliar with.

The only one I've gone into a lot so far is Beach Towns at

These are nine towns located along the southern stretch of Lake Michigan in Michigan, going north-south:

Silver Lake Sand Dunes/Hart
Grand Haven
South Haven
Saint Joseph
Harbor Country

They also have a great little catchy song, ala "Get Your Kicks" called "When You Drive the West Michigan Pike, it's a Lovely Day."

I Think These Folks Are Serious. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here's a New/Old Road to Cruise in Michigan: The West Michigan Pike

From Dec. 8th Holland (Mi) Sentinel "Get your kicks...on the West Michigan Pike" by Stephen Kloosterman.

The beach resort towns of Holland and Saugatuck along Michigan's west Lake Michigan shoreline are preparing to market the old West Michigan Pike which originally opened in 1914 as the first paved road from Chicago to Mackinaw. This pike was credited with opening tourism for Michigan.

The bringing back of the pike has already been several years in the making. This coming June, a press tour for travel writers is being planned in advance of a big marketing push for the July 12th 100th anniversary of the West Michigan Pike.

The desire is to have the old road designated a national heritage route in the near future and work has been done toward that end.

An extensive catalog of historic sites along the route has already been prepared, using $230,000 in grant money.

And, I never heard of it before.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Illinois Tourism Fast Facts-- Part 2

Again, all statistics from 2009.

** Illinois had 82.14 million visitors, 80.46 million domestic. Of domestic, 63.25 million were leisure visitors and 17.21 million were business.

** The top five states providing visitors were Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Missouri. (I have to wonder what state ranks #1 for Wisconsin travel?) Top five international: Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany and Japan.

** Illinois ranks 10th in US in share of domestic visitors and sixth in traveler spending (especially in Chicago where every thing's so doggone expensive). Illinois ranks sixth in overseas visitors.

** The average age of Illinois domestic leisure travelers is 46, the majority married with average household income of $83,386. (I wonder if good old Route 66 brings that up or down?)

** Primary activities for leisure travelers: shopping, dining, entertainment, sightseeing, sports and museums. (I wonder how many drive Route 66 or the Lincoln Highway?)

** On average, leisure domestic travelers spent $106 per person per day.

** Illinois hotel-motel tax revenues for FY 10 were $170.4 million.

** Consumer inquiries for FY 10 were nearly 1.8 million.

Love Those Tourists. Bring That Money. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Trip to Pearl Harbor

Several years back, my mother was nice enough to take my sister, brother and wife, his son and wife and myself to Hawaii. I had never planned on going there.

But, I always knew, that if I did, the one place I absolutely had to visit was Pearl Harbor.

We went out to the place one day. First, we found a really long line waiting outside to get into the museum and get tickets to go out to the USS Arizona Memorial. I hate lines and avoid them, but this is one I would wait in.

Interesting museum, but I was raring to go out to the the memorial. there were a lot of Japanese tourists and I cannot help but wonder what they were thinking as we went on our way and once there. They did not say anything.

It is quiet at the memorial, despite all the people. Any talking is done very quietly. The list of names of Arizona sailors still aboard the ship is akin to the feeling at the Vietnam Wall.

Then, there are the parts of the ship that are still above the water or just below it. The flagpole rests on the ship.

But what really got me was the oil that bubbled up every twenty-thirty seconds from deep inside the ship. Now, that really connected me to the Arizona. The bubbles would pop to the surface, then slowly drift away.

Something I Will Never Forget.

This Date, Seventy Years Ago: Pearl Harbor

I went out and froze putting up my US flags in memory of all those military personnel who lost their lives at that Pacific Naval Base all those years ago. This event plunged America into the war that had already been going on for two years.

However, the US had been obviously preparing for hostilities for many years beforehand.

Pearl Harbor and the Alamo are two battles of great interest to me. I have around eight books on Pearl Harbor. While teaching, my students had a lesson on the event even though I never taught that part of US history.

I was surprised that only two stations have anything on tonight dealing with the it. Turner Classic Movies is showing "From Here to Eternity" and The History Channel has a special "Pearl Harbor: The Next 24 Hours." That should be very interesting as a lot happened the following day. Most accounts just cover December 7, 1941.

Not Forgetting.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Illinois Tourism Fast Facts-- Part 1

From the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

All figures are for 2009.

** Domestic travelers spent $25 billion in Illinois. International ones added another $2 billion.

** Expenditures for food service accounted for the largest single category with over $6.7 billion.

** Twenty of Illinois' 102 counties received over $100 million in domestic traveler revenue.

** Traveler expenditure directly generated 288,700 jobs. One in ten jobs in the state is directly or indirectly supported by travel expenditure.

** Travel expenditures in Illinois generated nearly $5.1 billion for federal, state and local governments. These additional taxes save the average Illinois household $1,000 a year.

Keep Those Tourists Coming. --RoadDog

Airplaning It back Home: Part 3: Too Little ECU

Almost forgot to mention the sports at Raleigh-Durham Airport.

With the time I had to kill, I took a walk-around the concourse and checked out the places selling athletic stuff. Of course, Raleigh-Durham is the center for many in the college universe, what with NC State being in Raleigh, Duke being in Durham and Carolina at nearby Chapel Hill.

You gave to expect those schools to be well-represented, and, to a lesser extent, Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. But what I really had my eye out for was any East Carolina University apparel.

One indication of a college's spot in the local pecking order can be found at a local airport judging by how much apparel is offered.

Poor ECU would like to join the ranks of the others, but it is a long hard climb. Those other three just don't want to share.

The first place I went to had absolutely no Pirate stuff. The second place had and ECU hat. I hit the motherlode in the third which has an ECU hat and even a tee shirt.

Well, that's not much, but better than nothing.

And, they didn't EVEN HAVE ANY Northern Illinois stuff. That's ok, though, neither does O'Hare.

East Carolina Has a Long Way to Go. --RoadDog

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lincoln Highway Wins Over Route 66

The results are in for the outcome of the 2011 Illinois State Football Playoffs and Lincoln Highway ended up beat Route 66 3-2.


2A Morrison won 23-14
3A Aurora Christian won 34-7
5A Joliet Catholic won 49-7 (also counted for Route 66)


5A Joliet Catholic won 49-7
8A Bolingbrook won 27-17

Congratulations Lincoln Highway.

Here's Looking Forward to the 2012 Lincoln Highway-Route 66 Playoffs. --RoadDog

Seeing Those White Lines, Thanks Mr. Hines

From the Michigan Observer & Eccentric "It was a long cooperative road to getting around" by Ruth Moehlman.

Edward Hines, a Wayne County commissioner is given credit for his 1911 invention of what is considered by many to be one of the most important developments in automobile safety, the white line in the center of the road.

He claims that an accident between an automobile and a horse-drawn wagon carrying milk inspired his idea when the milk leaked out on the road.

In other road history, in 1909, the Wayne County Road Commissioners oversaw the construction of the first concrete road, one mile long between Six Mile and Seven Mile roads on Woodward Avenue.

Mr. Hines died in 1938 and today's Edward Hines Park and Edward Hines Drive are named after him.

So, That's the Reason. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Airplaning It Home-- Part 2: The Problem With Carry-ons

Raliegh-Durham Airport, December 1st.

After the terrorist scare, I went to the gate and read some before the plane left. Be still my beating heart.

The last several planes I'd been on, oversize carry-ons were collected at the plane door and put in the hold. That's what I figured would happen now, but no. This was a bigger plane and people stowed their own carry on. There was room, but a definite problem when the plane had a full passenger department and I was one of the last ones on board.

I had checked a bag on the way down for that lousy $25 extra charge airlines have these days. On the way back, I moved my clothes into a carry on piece to save the money.

There was no room in the overhead compartments except for the one at the very back of the plane.

When we arrived at the gate at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, everyone immediately stood up to get their stuff. There was no way I could get to the back of the plane so I ended up waiting until EVERYONE was off before I could get to the back to get my luggage.

And, As It Turned Out, the Fun Was Just Getting Ready to Start. --RoadDog

Five Undefeated Eating Challenges-- Part 3

Bu Paul Toscano.

THE J&J'S KITCHEN SINK CHALLENGE AT J&J'S PIZZA SHACK-- Five locations in northern Indiana.

This one is a 16-inch round deep-dish pizza with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, green olives, black olives, ham, Canadian bacon, bacon bits and mozzarella cheese.

That SIX POUNDS of PIZZA!! And you have to eat it in one hour.

So far, there have been at least 100 attempts. The best effort to date was a 12-year-old girl who ate 16 of the 20 pieces.

It's free if you finish, otherwise $27.55.

I love a good garbage pizza.

THE HAIL MARY CHALLENGE at STADIUM GRILL in Columbia, Missouri (home of the University of Missouri).

This one involves finishing off their infamous "Unnecessary Roughness" burger with its 5+ pounds of meat., including grilled burgers, bacon, pulled pork, 3 cheeses, onion rings and fried eggs stacked between two buns. We're talking about eight inches high here. Oh, yes, and then there's that pesky pound of fries and you have 60 minutes to do it in.

No one has yet, but if you do, you get the $50 meal free along with a $50 coupon good for food and drink every month for a year. Also, the first person to eat it all gets to have a burger named after them.

Gettin' Hungry Just Typing Tis. --RoadDog

Road Trips on a Tank of Gas or Less-- Part 2


Here's where you get those neat tidal pools, but do not step on the sea urchins. Seriously. Beautiful South Coast Botanic Gardens and 12,000 acre Palos Verdes Nature Preserve and Banning Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright designed Wayfarers Chapel and Point Vicente Lighthouse.


Ogden's a town for all seasons. Two rivers meet here. Lots of indoor fun at the Salomon Center.

5. DENVER TO MOUNT EVANS, COLORADO-- (60 MILES) The first one I've been to so far.

Go to the top on America's highest paved road (14,130 feet at top). Pass through several climate zones (including the ear popping one). Photo ops, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. OK, we didn't go all the way to the top, but the part we saw was mighty pretty.

Keep the Money from Big Oil. --RoadDog

Friday, December 2, 2011

Road Trips on a Tank of Gas (or Less)-- Part 1

What with our good friends of Big Oil and their cronies keeping gas above $3 so they can afford that second gated-community home (maybe third with those profits, or another $300,000+ vehicle (what with all those HUGE profits), time has come to stay close to home.

The June 26th Parade magazine had some selected short trips for different parts of the country that you can drive on a tank of gas, or less.


The island is part pastoral with wineries and artists' studios and military with a Naval Air Station and Fort Casey. At Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve there are 17 working pioneer farms and over 400 historical structures.


Ancient volcanic eruptions formed a rugged landscape of caves, craters and cones. There are two dozen lava-tube caves to explore and a must-see Petroglyph Point, one of the largest Native American rock art as well as Captain Jack's Stronghold where the Modoc Indians held off the US Army 1872 to 1873.

Thirteen More to Go. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Airplaning It Back Home-- Part 1: BBQ and Terrorists?

Earlier today, I was driven to Raleigh-Durham Airport by my brother and sister-in-law. I was very early before the flight so walked around and found a place offering Carolina-style pulled pork bbq at Brookwood Farms.

For $9.99, I got a big helping of bbq, hushpuppies and two sides (both of mine were cole slaw) and it was good stuff. I think every airport should have one place offering a local food like the Cincinnati chili at their airport where I got some on my way to North Carolina. That way, folks on layovers can get some local delicacies.


While eating, I saw a mother and young daughter eating by the window. They got up to go somewhere and left their travel items by the table (one thing looked like a purse). I got up and walked over until I saw a man sitting at their table.

No problem.

But then, he got up and left the table as well. All their carry on stuff was still there. Very peculiar goings on, indeed.

They didn't come back. I'm starting to think to myself, what if they were terrorists who had somehow gotten a bomb or explosive devise past the security check point. If so, me sitting about 20 feet away was not a good thing. Maybe I should start thinking about moving much farther away, even if I'm not finished with my 'cue.

I went so far as to get up and look out in the concourse to see if there were any police. None to be found.

I was sure happy to see the mother and daughter coming back. And a minute later, there came the man. OK, not terrorists, but anymore you can't be too careful.

Dadburn Terrorists, But the 'Cue Was Good. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Five Undefeated Eating Challenges-- Part 2


It's just a bowl of soup, a 48-ounce bowl of soup!! And not just your regular soup. This is real hot soup with 12 different peppers, 16 ounces worth, one of which is the infamous ghost chili.

Since it began in 2009, there have been 116 attempts, one came to within two spoonfuls. It has to be eaten outside as 40% have vomited in the thirty allotted minutes. First person to succeed gets $800.


This is the largest chicken-fried steak, weighing in at 64-ounces, and, it comes with ten pounds of gravy, 4 pounds of mashed potatoes and ten pieces of Texas toast. And, at least you get the whole time the place is open from 7 am to 2 am.

There have been 175 attempts at the $70 meal which is free if you complete it. Plus, you get the collector's item t-shirt that reads, "I came to Cowtown Diner hungry and left Full-O-Bull."

I Reckon You'd Be Full of It. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Five Undefeated Eating Challenges-- Part 1

From the Nov. 23rd Shine from Yahoo! by Paul Toscano.

I'd love to visit any one of these places, not to compete, but to get a look at the huge concoctions. Maybe even to order one to be eaten over several days or to share with a bunch of friends.

THAT BURGER CHALLENGE at That Bar restaurant in Danville, California.

THAT BURGER is approximately ONE FOOT in diameter and includes two 100% Angus beef patties, one with a hole in the middle where a grilled cheese sandwich has been inserted. Each patty is topped with four cheeses: cheddar, American, pepperjack and Swiss. Then, there is the woven bacon patty.

This is then topped with crispy shoestring fries and doused with bbq sauce.

Alongside it comes a quarter pound of fries and onion rings.

More than 40 attempts have been made with no success.

The place admits that usually it is ordered by groups.

If you beat it and eat it, you get a t-shirt reading, "I ate That Burger at That Bar and it was That Good."

Getting hungry just typing this. Wonder where Danville, California is?

Good Old Plentiful Road Food. --RoadDog

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nothing Like Family at Thanksgiving

Who sang "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays?" 

I've sure enjoyed being with family who I rarely see. Besides Mom and Judy and Bob (my brother) in Goldsboro, I've gotten to see my cousin Graham and his wife Vicki and daughter Angie, my sister Julie and her daughter Annsley, and Julie's son Alex, his wife Allison and my grand nephew Emory since this past Wednesday.

Alex, Annsley and Emory (age 13 months) just got off for Bluffton, SC, a couple hours ago.  Julie and Annsley left for Richmond Hill, Georgia, on Saturday.

We had a regular feast on Thursday with some of the juiciest turkey ever.Julie, Annsley and Judy had Black Friday vendettas. I opted out this year.

Good to Be in NC for the Holidays. --RoadDog

Friday, November 25, 2011

Airplaning It to North Carolina: Chili in Cincy

It was a small plane with two rows of seats on either side of the aisle,  Unfortunately, I wasn't lucky enough to get an empty seat beside me.

There were LOTS of Packer fans, judging from hats, sweatshirts and coats.  Imagine that, Green Bay fans in Wisconsin!!  We were going to Cincinnati, so they weren't on their way to Detroit for the Turkey Day football game against the Lions.

Landing in Cincinnati, I had thirty minutes to get to the next gate for the next plane.  After a bathroom break, I walked around to see what places they had in the gate area.  I was kind of hoping they would have a place serving that great Cincy chili...and, THEY DID.

There was a Gold Star Chili place.  I wasn't hungry at all after those sliders before getting to the Milwaukee airport, but I'm not going to pass up a chance to have some of that great stuff.  I got a regular three-way and went back to the gate and ate some.Love That Cincinnati Chili.  --RoadDog

A 150th Birthday and a Mighty Big House

"It's my 150th birthday and in case you were wondering, I'm a size 165 feet tall with an 88-foot waist."North Carolina's Cape Lookout Lighthouse is 150 years old this year and has graced the state's Crystal Coast all this time.

Affectionately called "The Diamond Lady" because of the design on her sides, she is open to climbing (not me) from mid-May to mid-September and then there is that great view from the

That Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, North Carolina, is open year-round and takes the elegance to another level during Christmas according to a wonderful photo spread in the December issue of North Carolina's Our State Magazine.

The Old North State. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Airplaning It to North Carolina

About two weeks ago, I was shocked to find out that I could fly back to North Carolina via Delta Airlines for $202 including tax and round trip. I immediately dropped my plans to drive. It would cost more in gas roundtrip.

This past Monday, 11-21, Liz drove me to Milwaukee's Billy Mitchell Airport. Checked in easily, then went to one of my favorite bookstores anywhere (and right there in the terminal) Renaissance Books.

They have a whole two shelving units devoted to the Civil War, and even better, two of the shelves have nothing but books on the naval aspect of the war. Even though I don't need any more Civil War books, I bought one on Union sailors.

There was quite a bit of a backup at the security check point. The masses bunched together in one line. Then, there was another line with no one in it for those special folks too good to wait with the rest of the rabble.

I couldn't help but think the two lines should have an Occupy Sign reading 1% left; 99% right.

Got There. --RoadDog

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's the Lincoln Highway Vs. Route 66 at the Illinois High School Football Championships

This Friday two Lincoln Highway high school will have a chance to win their class in the 2011 IHSA football championship. Then, Saturday a Lincoln/66 team and another Route 66 get there chance.



2A Morrison (12-1) will be playing Casey-Westfield (12-1)

3A Aurora Christian (12-1) will be playing Mt. Carmel (12-1)

5A Joliet Catholic (11-2) will play Montini (11-2). Joliet Catholic is also a Route 66 team.


5A Joliet Catholic, see above.

8A Bolingbrook 12-1) will play Loyola (13-0)

I'd also like to point out that our town's team, Richmond-Burton (12-1) is playing Rochester (11-2) on Friday. Go Rockets!!!

Good Luck Guys!! --RoadDog

Lincoln Highway Maintains a Slight Edge Over Route 66

Nothing remains but the state championships next weekend. Last year, neither road had a team after the third round, but this year the Lincoln Highway has three and Route 66 has two.

Teams dropping out of contention yesterday:


5A Springfield Scared Heart ((12-1)

Overall, Route 66 ended up 2-1.


6A Batavia (12-1)
5A Kaneland/Maple Park (12-1)

Overall, Lincoln Highway ended up 3-2.

Classes 1A to 4A play Friday. Classes 5A to 8A play Saturday. All games are at the University of Illinois in Champaign.

Winning Teams Next. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Injun Summer"-- Part 4: "' ever' once'n a while a leaf gives way under some fat old Injun ghost..."

Sadly, over time, the cartoon began to evoke anger as well as nostalgia. As early as the 70s, some readers (NOT ME) were saying the "Tribune was running an ethnically insensitive feature that misrepresented the brutal reality of Native American history...."

In the 1990s, Tribune editors decided to end the annual tradition.

"Still, the cartoon has a powerful hold over many Chicagoans. For generations of readers, 'Injun Summer,' despite its flaws, became synonymous with the magic and peacefulness of those last warm days of the season."

I'd love to have them bring it back, but at least in the context of the story, the Tribune ran the whole thing in all its glory.

Thanks Tribune. --RoadDog

Great News for the Lincoln Highway: Niland's Corner Reopens

From the Marshalltown (Iowa) Times-Republican "Niland's Cafe."

Niland's Cafe at Reed-Niland Corner in Colo, Iowa reopened in July after being closed for a year and a half.

Sandra Huemann-Kelly operates the restaurant and the six unit Colo Motel. She is active with the Lincoln Highway Association. Neon signs at the place attract attention.

The place is located where the old Lincoln and Jefferson highways intersected. i didn't know it but a national Jefferson Highway Association formed last year.

You can check out the excellent food Tuesday to Saturday from 6:30 am to 8 pm and Sundays from 6:30 to 2 pm (with a Sunday breakfast buffet).

A restored gas station from the 30s is at the site as well.

It was open several years ago when we were on the Iowa Lincoln Highway Motor Tour and I'm really glad to see it reopened.

A Definite Stop for Us the Next Time Through. I Wouldn't Even Mind Staying at the Motel. --RoadDog

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hitting the Road Around Here for Fall Color-- Part 2: Getting Your Swiss On in New Glarus

After Lake Geneva, reporter Davis took Wi-50 to Wi-11 to what she called a "very Swiss" Green County, Wisconsin. There were quite a few roads she went on in the process. She went to New Glarus and recommends staying at the Helvetica Inn at 101 3rd Street and dinner at the New Glarus Hotel's restaurant at 100 6th Avenue. They have polka bands on the weekends. I love polka bands.

You can also sample New Glarus-brewed libations like Spotted Cow beer at Puempel's Olde Tavern 16 Sixth Avenue which is popular because of its murals and ban on juke boxes. (Hey, an old jukebox featuring records is always a welcome sight to me.)

Then, there is the New Glarus Brewing where you can get some Spotted Cow or other barley selections that aren't sold in Illinois.

We've been to New Glarus, but after reading this need to get back.

Better Not Put That Apple on Your Head. --RoadDog

"Injun Summer"-- Part 3: "' you can see the Injuns and the teepees jest as plain as kin be"

As early as 1919, the cartoon had become an annual event that people looked forward to seeing. The Tribune was already offering a high-quality print (and they still do at the Tribune store) that was ready for framing. (Today, you can also get it pre-framed as Liz did for me.)

And, it didn't stay just local. The 1928 Indiana State Fair had a feature exhibit on it. At the Century of Progress World's Fair 1933-1934, they made a life-sized diorama and even reproduced it in a fireworks display.

In 1920, a play was presented on it starring McCutcheon's son playing the role of the boy. Plays of it have been put on as recent as 1977.

One big dramatization involved 1,100 children performing it at Soldier Field in August 1941. Every year, Chicago's famous Olson Rug Co. park on the city's northwest side had a popular display of it using mannequins.

You can see McCutcheon's original black-and-white drawing at the Chicago History Museum.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Injun Summer-- Part 2: "Well, That's When All the Homesick Injuns Come Back to Play"

"Injun Summer" was an earlier era's celebration of Autumn and childhood imagination which took on a life of its own, becoming a Midwest favorite ever since it first appeared on page one of the Sept. 30, 1907, Chicago Tribune.

And, this was in a time before Halloween stuff went on sale in August, the dreaded Halloween Creep.

There was a looming deadline coming up and it was a slow news day, so John T. McCutcheon came up with what became one of the most-popular-ever features in the Tribune. he had been inspired by a string of beautiful, warm Autumn days and remembered his youth in Indiana.

The Tribune reprinted it in 1910 on page 4. reader response was so strong that it was published annually from 1912 to 1992. Aware that it was a last time, somewhere I have the saved 1992 one.

About four years ago, one house in our subdivision recreated the picture. That was the best-decorated home. They, unfortunately, haven't done it since.

If you'd like to see and read "Injun Summer," just type in Injun Summer on Yahoo!.

"Don't Be Skeered--Hain't None Around Here Now, Leastways No Live Ones." --RoadDog

It's Groundhog Day...Again-- Part 6: Shopping and Eating

The Midwest Magazine gave a list of places to shop around the square. I've only been to the last one, though.

SEASONS BY PEG-- Seasonal home decor and gift shop with all sorts of candy and sweets. As many as 30 kinds of hand-dipped chocolates, turtles and toffee. (

DESIGNS BY MAIDA-- Chicago designer Maida Korte brings her HGTV style of this home furnishings showroom (

GREEN BOX BOUTIQUE-- Local and ecofriendly goods in the gallery. Wines from nearby Salute Vineyard are $24.95 a bottle (

READ BETWEEN THE LYNES--An old-timey bookseller. The staff knows their books(


LA PETITE CREPERIE-- located in a Victorian home, the French bistro serves savory and sweet dessert crepes (

There is also a big collectible store on the square. I can't remember the name, but try to avoid this place as there are too many temptations.

Nearby is the Swiss Maid Bakery with some real great stuff. According to needle Nose Ned (Steve Tobolowski), one day during filming of the movie, Bill Murray went in and bought our the place and gave it to crew members and locals. Must have been after the great transformation.

A Great Place to Visit (and about 18 miles from us). --RoadDog

Hitting the Road Around Here for Fall Color-- Part 2

Reporter Lisa Davis suggests a drive around Geneva Lake (the town is called Lake Geneva, the lake is Geneva Lake). Make sure to take Snake Road off Wi-50 just west of town. This is probably one of my favorite short drives anywhere.

Get off 50 and go into Williams Bay and by the Yerkes Observatory take Lake Shore Drive to Fontana where she suggests eating at the Abbey Resort. (Make sure you walk around the place as well).

Then take South Lake Shore Drive from Fontana. We have two places we like to get off for drives by the lake shore, the first by the Magestic Hill sign and the second by a school.

Then, back into Lake Geneva where we like to eat at Popeye's (not the chicken chain) overlooking the lake and the historic Riviera Docks building and Gage Marine (where you can take a boat tour around the lake).

Then there are all those unique shops and taverns downtown.

We are fortunate to live only about twenty miles from Lake Geneva, but don't get there as much as we should.

A great Drive inthe Country. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hitting the Road Around Here for Color-- Part 1

From the October 2nd Chicago Tribune "Hit the road for dashes of color" by Lisa Davis.

I really enjoyed this article and pictures since much of her journey was through area we are well familiar with.

Ms. Davis begins her trip on Illinois Highway 31 heading north through McHenry County (where we live). On several occasions, you see the Fox River. She suggests a stop at Glacier Park,south of Richmond and another one for sweets at Anderson's Candy Shop on Main Street, US-12, in the village. Plus, there is Doyle's located in the old mill.

In Richmond, go west on Il-173 (173rd Airborne Road) and west to Hebron. She didn't mention it, but there is the water tower painted like a basketball honoring the 1952 Illinois state basketball champions as well as the backboards at several spots also honoring them.

From Hebron, continue north on Il-47 into Wisconsin and then Wi-120 into Lake Geneva where she suggest an overnight at the restored 1800s Queen Anne-style mansion called the Baker House.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Classic Cartoon Had Life of It's Own: "Yep, Sonny, This Is Sure Enough Injun Summer"-- Part 1

From the October 16th Chicago Tribune.

Sadly, we are a bit past Indian Summer here in the Midwest along the Wisconsin-Illinois border, but this cartoon that first appeared in the Tribune in 1907 continues to be one of my favorites.

As a matter of fact, one Christmas, Liz ordered a framed lithograph of it for me and it is hanging in our living room right now.

Every year when I was growing up, I looked forward to seeing it in the Tribune. Usually, it was on the front cover of the Sunday Tribune Magazine. Unfortunately, it is from another era and not considered politically correct these days, so the Tribune stopped running it after some complaints from Indian groups.

Just one more fall thing they're taking away from me like burning leaves, a true aspect of fall and something that gets me to roll down my car window whenever I see a pile burning away.

Just Another Fall Day. --RoadDog

Heading West on US-136-- Part 1: Irrigation Wheels

Back in September, we drove to Miami, Oklahoma, for the start of the Route 66 Association of Missouri's annual motor tour. We decided to drive a different stretch of road to get there instead of taking Route 66 (figuring we'd get plenty 66 time on the way back home).

I'd always wondered about the road heading west from the Dixie Truckers Home in McLean, Illinois. We always turned onto Route 66, but where did this road, US-136, go and what towns did it pass through?

Seemed as good a time as any to check it out.

There was a real lot to see after we crossed the railroad tracks for quite a ways except flat land and one corn field after another. There was a big wind farm.

On previous travels, we'd seen lots of huge irrigation wheeled pipes in the fields, but had never seen one operating. We saw lots of them this time. Central Illinois was having a draught this summer (whereas we, in the north, were getting an overabundance of rain).

When flying, I've often seen the green circles these contraptions make. And, they do put out a lot of water. Of interest, at the ends of each pipe is something that looks like a fire department nozzle that sprays out as well. They were so close to the road that we got a free car wash every so often.

A 136 We Go. --RoadDog

It's Groundhog Day...Again-- Part 5: Cherry Street Inn

I have already written about the Royal Victorian Manor B&B, where the "Groundhog Day" movie walking tour ends, several blocks from the square. This is the Cherry Street Inn, where Bill Murray stayed. The exterior was used in many shots, plus there was the window he kept staring out of every morning to you-know-what tune. It overlooks the real street from the movie. The interior shots, however, was filmed at a sound stage in nearby Crystal Lake.

When the movie was filmed, it was a private residence and remained so until this last year, when new owners Karla and Everton Martin restored the 1894 Victorian mansion which is now open to guests. I don't like to pay what B&Bs charge, but this is one place I want to stay.

Rooms let from$125. Phone 815-308-5432.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lincoln Highway Takes a Two Team Lead Over Route 66

Going into the semifinal games of the 2011 Illinois High School Association's Football Playoffs (there are four teams left in each of the eight classes) Lincoln Highway enjoys a 5-3 lead in teams remaining.


8A Bolingbrook (11-1)

5A Springfield Sacred Heart (12-0) will be playing Joliet Catholic (10-2) Both are Route 66 teams.


6A Batavia (12-0)

5A Joliet Catholic (10-2)
Kaneland/Maple Park (12-0)

3A Aurora Christian (11-1)

2A Morrison (11-1)

Good Luck Teams!! --RoadDog

It's Groundhog Day...Again-- Part 4

Continued from Nov. 5th. From the Nov.-Dec. Midwest Living Magazine.

Bob Hudgins, who was largely responsible for Woodstock, Illinois, being selected as the site for the movie, usually leads a tour of movie sites on both Saturday and Sunday during the Groundhog Day celebration in the town. One year, "Needle Nose Ned, actor Steve Tobolowski was the guide.

He has a lot of insights on the filming, including the "Honeypot Incident." The tour starts at the 1890 Opera House (former city hall) which stood in the for the Pennsylvanian Hotel in the movie. The tower was where director Harold Ramis looked out at the 19th century square and decided he would film here. This is also where Bill Murray's character Phil Connors tried to commit suicide by jumping out of a window.

The stage in Gobbler's Knob, where the groundhog was pulled out of his tree stump was in the corner of the square across the street from the Opera House.

There are all sorts of specialty shops and restaurants around the square where you'll find the puddle site, Ned's attack on Phil, snowball fight, dance in the gazebo and other scenes as well as the Tip Top Cafe (unfortunately a series of restaurants have all failed at the site. I still think someone should open a rebuilt Tip Top Cafe that looks like the one in the movie.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lincoln Highway Takes a Slight Edge Over Route 66

Standings after the third round of the Illinois High School Association's Football playoffs, Lincoln Highway edges ahead of Route 66, despite having fewer teams to start with at the beginning. At the end of the second round, there were six teams remaining for each road.



2A Williamsville

5A Chatham Glenwood (played Route 66's Springfield Sacred Heart)

7A East St. Louis


5A Rochelle (played Lincoln Highway's Kaneland/Maple Park)

Winners Up Next.

LH Pulls Ahead. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Yesterday, It Was All About the Ones

With all those ones in all those elevens yesterday, both calendar-wise and Veterans day-wise, Bob Stroud had to get into the act as well. There aren't many "Eleven" songs, but there are plenty of "One" songs, so he made do.

Usually his daily morning show starts at 10 am, and is called Ten at Ten. But yesterday, he started it at 11 am and called it Eleven at Eleven.

ONE-- Three Dog Night
ONE SLIP-- Pink Floyd
ONCE IN A LIFETIME-- Talking Heads

ONE TOKE OVER THE LINE-- Brewer & Shipley
ONE LOVE-- Bob Marley

ONE-- U2

That's One for the Books. --RoadDog

Doing the Lincoln Crawl-- Part 7: Still at Lord Stanley's

October 15th.

The Northern victory made the party even more festive. Spirits were high and others flowing as the place rapidly filled up to standing room only. I'd say the majority were not students, but alumni and many even older than Liz and myself.

Of course, the Dekalb Footstompers' first song was the "Huskie Fight Song" which got a lot of cheers and lusty singing. I have written down all three set lists on entries on this blog from October 21-24.

The first set was a little slow, but things were a-hopping by the second. Like i said before, the Footstompers are not a band you'd want your kids to hear when they're doing their "dirty" songs which are hilarious, especially our two favorites, "The International Waltz" and "NIU Sorority Bitch."

I sure would have liked to have beer, but after what I saw the night before with all the police pulling people over, I wasn't taking chances. I sure got way too much pop. Liz was the lucky one and got to drink because she did not have to drive.

We saw all three sets and left at ten.

Of course, we did NOT SEE one single cop car on the way back to the hotel. That figures. "Shoot, I coulda' had one, twos, threes beers."

One Last Place to Go. --RoadDog

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honoring the Veterans on 11-11-11

Besides being that number thing today, honoring our veterans will be time well-spent.

I plan on attending the American Legion/VFW ceremony at the Fox Lake train station here in Illinois at 11 am, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that marked the Armistice taking effect, ending World War I, unfortunately, NOT the War to End All Wars.

Tomorrow, I plan to attend the Marine Corps Birthday Breakfast and Toys for Tots kick-off at the Fox Lake American Legion and later, the Big Band Dance that night in the Legion Hall.

Thank a Vet. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Doing the Lincoln Crawl-- Part 6: Lord Stanley's

Lord Stanley's was the Shamrock when we were going to school. It also has an upper level that is open to the lower, but it has been closed for many years since an unfortunate incident involving the death of a girl who fell over the rail.

There are lots of hockey pennants, flags and pictures all over the place. If you're a hockey buff, this is the place for you, especially if you're a BlackHawks fan.

Every day except Homecoming and New Years Eve, they have a really good special involving a large pizza and two pitchers of beer for $15. Even if I do say so, that is a REAL GOOD deal. And judging by the number of people ordering pizzas, theirs must be very good. We've never had a pizza there, though.

Pizza and other bar foods have to be ordered at a small window at the back of the place.

Meanwhile, Northern Illinois did some adjustments during half time and came out with all guns firing and demolished Western Michigan to win easily (after being behind 15-13 at half). This made the Homecoming Party at Lord Stanley's even more festive. (The rock band Kansas was playing with the NIU Orchestra at the Convocation Center.)

More to Come. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Doing the Lincoln Crawl-- Part 5: Lord Stanley's

Continued from October 27th.

October 15, 2011.

After leaving Sully's, we went to Lord Stanley's, about a quarter mile east on Lincoln Highway. Parked in the public lots to the south of the train tracks behind Stanley's.

Yesterday, we had noticed that all of the sidewalks and meridians had been dug up between the parking lanes at the public lot farther east across from Andy's. These big holes were not marked very well, just the thing to have with drunken alumni returning for homecoming, not to mention the students. At least at these lots, there was a walkway across the railroad tracks, not like at the other place where you had to negotiate the rails and ties straight on.

Lord Stanley's was already crowded when we arrived, but there were a couple seats up bu the bar next to Rick, the Dekalb Footstompers' tuba player who was eating a pizza and having a coupla beers before the band started. He was the only one there and said he was "watching" the equipment. Of course, the NIU-Western Michigan game was on and he was closely watching that as well.

By the way, last night (Nov. 8th), I see that Toledo was involved in yet another blowout game against these very same Western Michigan Mustangs, this time winning 66-63. Last Tuesday NIU beat Toledo 63-60 in a game that went right down to the last second. For details on the NIU-Toledo game, go to my Down Da Road I Go Blog.

Alumni and the Stompers Coming. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Second Annual Illinois Route 66-Lincoln Highway IHSA Football Playoffs: Round Three

These teams won last weekend and go on to Round Three.



Joliet Catholic
Springfield Sacred Heart
Chatham Glenwood

East St. Louis




2A Morrison

3A Aurora Christian

Joliet Catholic
Kaneland/Maple Park


Good Luck Teams!! --RoadDog

Second Annual Route Illinois 66-Lincon Highway IHSA Football Playoffs: Second Round

At the end of the second round of games, the gap between Route 66 and Lincoln Highway teams narrows to one. I keep finding new teams, though, that I had overlooked in Round 1. The latest is Class 2A Morrison and Class 1A Mooseheart, both on the Lincoln Highway. I have to be much more careful next year when looking for the teams.

Losing teams for Route 66 last weekend:

3A Wilmington
5A Normal University
6A Normal West
8A Belleville East, Lockport

Losing teams for Lincoln Highway:
1A Mooseheart
5A Sterling
6A Lincoln-Way East

Winning Teams Next. --RoadDog

Monday, November 7, 2011

Technology and Me: So Sad!

I usually run any favorite comics in my Down Da Road I Go Blog, but decided to relate my problems with technology on this one.

This is from a Zits comic strip.

FRAME ONE: The father is sitting at his desk tip computer and turns to his son Jeremy (a teenager) and says, "Jeremy, what kind of new computer would you get if you were me?"

Jeremy, "Something less irrelevant."

FRAME TWO: Walt, the father, is now looking forlornly at his desktop computer.

Jeremy is walking away and adds, "Get a tablet or a smart-phone...anything but another clunky old desktop."

FRAME THREE: Walt is at the kitchen table and says to his wife, "I've just got comfortable with another obsolete technology."

I feel your pain, Walt, as I sit here two-finger typing away at my desktop computer. Only Walt has one of those slim monitors. I still have an old TV-type one.

So Far Behind Times I've Pretty-Well Given Up. --Road "Buried By Technology" Dog

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Sully-Wood Connection

I did some further research on the charcoal drawing in Sullivan's Tavern in Dekalb, Illinois, done by Grant Wood. The way they had it worded on the menu made me believe that Grant Wood did it overseas in World War I.

I found out that Wood joined the Army even though he was exempted from the draft and never went to Europe until after the war and as a civilian. His artistic abilities were used by the Army to come up with camouflage for artillery pieces.

He did train at Camp Dodge outside of Des Moines, Iowa, which served as a regional training center. This is most likely where Earl Sullivan, Sr. met him and where the drawing was done. I could find no information on Earl Sullivan's life.

More information is on this past week's entries at my history blog (

Anyway, a bit of interesting stuff for you folks driving along the Lincoln Highway in Illinois.

A Beer and a Drawing. --RoadDog

It's Groundhog Day...Again-- Part 3

From the November-December Midwest Living Magazine.

Woodstock's annual Groundhog Days festival is Feb. 1-5 next year. It didn't start until after the movie was made. They have trivia contests, a seminar, story-telling events. My two favorite ones are the free showing of the movie at the Woodstock Theatre Saturday and Sunday at 10 am. This theatre is the one that was the Alpine in the movie where Bill Murray did his best Clint Eastwood western impersonation with the girl dressed as a housekeeper.

I also like the chili cook off and seminar. Bob Hudgins, who was instrumental and getting Woodstock chosen as the site of the movie, leads walking tours of 14 plaqued sites from the movie. You can download or a tour guide at ( or pick one up at the Chamber of Commerce in the historical square.

All sites, except Cherry Street Inn and the Moose Lodge (dance scene) or with a couple blocks of each other.

Too Much Fun. --RoadDog

Friday Results IHSA Route 66-Lincoln Highway Playoffs

Last night, Route 66's Joliet Catholic won, but Belleville East lost.

The Lincoln Highway's Aurora Christian and Joliet East (also in Rt. 66 as both roads go through the town) both won. Lincoln-Way East lost.

All the rest of the games are today.

Who You Pulling For? --RoadDog

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sullivan's Tavern on Lincoln Highway in Dekalb, Illinois-- Part 2: Drinks and Art

Like I said yesterday, I sure wish we hadn't waited so long to go to this place.

Earl Sullivan, Jr., served in World War II in the Navy, and after he returned in 1948, he joined his gather working at Sully's (as it is also called). In 1952, they moved to their current location at 722 E. Lincoln Highway. They will be celebrating 60 years at this location in 2012, a long time for a bar or restaurant.

Not only do they serve food and drinks, but they also have a package store in the back. They can also take the show on the road with their "Port-A-Party" trailer parked out in the parking lot.

We talked with the 4th generation of Sullivans working behind the bar. We would have liked to try some of their food, but were too full from all the tailgating at the Northern game.


I had been planning on asking about a charcoal sketch hanging behind the bar of a soldier cleaning his rifle that seemed to be a bit out of place in a drinking establishment. It appeared to be of a World War I soldier. I noticed something about it on the menu.

It was a drawing of Earl Sullivan, Sr., made by his tent mate over in Europe during World War I. That made a real piece of art, but what was even more interesting was that that drawing was made by an Iowa boy. And that boy went on to make a more famous painting he named "American Gothic." That tent mate would be one Grant Wood.

Having a Bit of History with My Drinks. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sullivan's Tavern on the Lincoln Highway in Dekalb, Illinois-- Part 1

Like I said earlier on our Lincoln Crawl for Northern's homecoming game, we had never been to Sullivan's before and that was too bad. It is definitely our kind of place. Nothing fancy, just good drinks fairly priced, food and folks.

The menu had a brief history of Sully's which first opened a short distance east in Maple Park in 1925. the owner was World War I veteran Earl Sullivan, Sr. Along with alcoholic beverages they offered "Sandwiches Known from Coast to Coast" (hey, it was on the Lincoln Highway, America's first transcontinental road.)

the place was sold in 1935. From 1937 to 1939, he operated a tavern in Sycamore and in 1939 moved his business to Dekalb and opened Sullivan's Restaurant on South Fourth Street, moving to the corner of 6th Street and the Lincoln Highway in 1945.

More Eating and Drinking to Come. --RoadDog

Frank Lloyd Wright's Gas Station Finally Gets Built

From the Oct. 3rd Chicago Tribune.

Over his 70-year career, architect Frank Lloyd Wright only designed one gas station, and now, 80 years after he drew it up, it as about to become reality.

Wright had the early idea that America was going to need lots of gas stations as car usage increased and he came up with an idea for a network of standardized filling stations.

The Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum in New York is building one with above ground tanks and a pitched copper roof, exactly as the architect envisioned. The plans were recently discovered among letters sent between Wright and Buffalo businessman Darwin Martin. Architect Patrick Mahoney has been hired to build the $15million project.

And, the structure, when completed in June, will be open year-round since it will be inside the museum in a huge atrium. Motorists couldn't have filled up at the station anyway because modern-day building codes would never have allowed overhead fuel storage tanks in a working station.

Buffalo had a close connection to Wright as three of the architect's most lucrative clients were there. All were executives in the Latkin Company, an early mail-order business. Wright built the Larkin administration building and Martin's sprawling home.

More than 400 of Wright's structures still stand.

Quite an impressive looking structure according to an artist's rendering of the finished station.

Something I'll Definitely Check Out the Next Time I'm in the Area. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's Groundhog Day...Again-- Part 2

From October 28th blog entry.

Nineteen years after the film's release, the setting of the movie "Groundhog Day" still rocks with small-town charm. And, that's no kidding. Whereas the real Punxsutawney. Pa., gets thousands of visitors Groundhog Day, the celebration in the movie's "Punxsutawney" is on a much smaller scale. This one is in the hundreds.

I have been to it for most of the last nine years and hope to be back in 2012.

The article describes one of Woodstock's events from the celebration, the Shake Off the Winter Blues dinner-dance held at the Woodstock Moose Lodge where the bachelor auction and dance (where Bill Murray played the piano) took place, "An aging classic-rock cover band lays into a Bob Seger tune, and the flannel-wearing folks in Woodstock Moose Lodge No. 1329 cheer and crack open $2.50 Miller Lites (hey, after all this is Miller Land)." And, then, there is also the $10 pasta buffet.

This is an annual tradition for the three-day+ celebration, taking place on the Friday.

I Bid Two Bits for Larry. --RoadDog

America's Wackiest Hotels-- Part 2

LIBERTY HOTEL-- Boston, Massachusetts-- was used for over one hundred years as a prison. Today, it is a luxury hotel with rooms starting at $295. That's a lot of dough to sleep in a prison. Wonder what their wake up service is?

WINVIAN-- Litchfield Hills, Connecticut-- from $650-- This better be one unbelievably great place to stay at that price.

KATE'S LAZY MEADOW MOTEL-- Mt. Tremper, New York-- A retro and kitsch place in the Catskills owned by Kate Pierson of the B-52s. Cabins from $17!! I wonder if one is called the "Love Shack?"

AURORA EXPRESS B&B-- Fairbanks, Alaska-- consists of old railroad cars-- priced from $145 a night. And, you get to wait at the crossings.

If You're Getting Tired of Super Eights and Motel Sixes. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Second Annual Lincoln Highway--Route 66 IHSA Football Playoffs

Lincoln Highway teams took the first round with an overall 7-5 (.583) record as opposed to Route 66's 11-8 (.579). Close, but no cigar. Winner will be which road has a team going the farthest.

These teams remain and prepare for second round games beginning this Friday.


2A Williamsville

3A Wilmington

5A Joliet Catholic
Springfield Sacred Heart
Chatham Glenwood
Normal University

6A Normal West

7A East St. Louis

8A Belleville East

LINCOLN HIGHWAY (Updated 11-5. I somehow missed Lincoln-Way East and Aurora Christian.)

3A Aurora Christian

5A Joliet Catholic
Kaneland/Maple Park

6A Batavia

7A Lincoln-Way East

Best of Luck in the Next Round. --RoadDog

America's Wackiest Motels-- Part 1

From Yahoo! travel "America's Weirdest Theme Hotels"

JULES' UNDERSEA LODGE-- Key Largo, Florida-- A place where you'll need scuba training to check in. Just $500 per person per night. Right.

DOG BARK PARK INN-- Cottonwood, Idaho-- Originally a giant beagle roadside attraction. The port-a-potty is located in a 12-ft-high fire hydrant. It's a B&B now for $92 a night. The place has really gone to the dogs. Wonder if they allow pets?

WIGWAM VILLAGE-- Holbrook, Arizona (others in Cave City, Ky. and California). From the 1940s and sleep in a free-standing concrete tee pee. Unfortunately, it was still too early to stop driving Route 66 when we passed by this one. But, I did stay in the one at Cave City.

BECKHAM CREEK CAVE LODGE-- Parthenon, Arkansas-- It took four years to turn this Ozarks Cave into a hotel. Big dehumidifiers keep the dampness at bay. From $450 a night. Too expensive for me.

Four More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, October 31, 2011

Here's Some Haunting Music for Your Travels

From Bob Stoud's October 30th Rock and Roll "Rots" show. The only way to get your Spooktacular off the ground and running for its life!!

SPOOKY-- Atlanta Rhythm Section
GHOSTBUSTERS-- Ray Parker, Jr.
EVIL WAYS-- Santana

DEVIL'S RADIO-- George Harrison

WOOLY BULLY-- Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs
MAGIC-- Pilot
DEVIL'S BITE-- Todd Rundgren
THE RAVEN-- Alan Parsons Project

AS THE RAVEN FLIES-- Dan Fogelberg
LUNA-- Tom Petty
STORMY-- Santana

WHITE RABBIT-- Jefferson Starshhip

FIRE-- Crazy World of Arthur Brown
DINNER WITH DRAC (PART 1)-- John Zacherle
SUPERSTITION-- Stevie Wonder

TUBULAR BELLS-- Mike Oldfield
DON'T FEAR THE REAPER-- Blue Oyster Cult
SPOOKY-- Classics IV

Had enough scary yet? I'll be doing today's Ten at Ten on Halloween on the Down Da Road Blog.

Like! Boo!! Was That a Ghost I Saw on the Side of the Road? --RoadDog

America's Five Most-Haunted Hotels

Just in Time for Halloween.

From Yahoo! Travel and Main St. By Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell.

Photos and much more information in the article.

I just wrote when it was built, where it is and a little about one of their ghosts.

1. 1886 CRESCENT HOTEL AND SPA-- Eureka Springs, Arkansas-- Michael, a young Irish stone mason.

2. 1812 BUXTON INN-- Granville, Ohio--Major Buxton, owner from 1865-1902.

3. 1892 THE BROWN PALACE HOTEL AND SPA-- Denver-- Louise Crawford Hill.

4. 1796 THE MYRTLES PLANTATION-- St. Francisville, Louisiana-- Chloe, a slave.

5. 1888 HOTEL DEL CORONADO-- San Diego-- Kate Morgan, a lovesick woman.

Would You Like Spooking With That Room Service? --RoadDog

Too Late Now, Maybe Next Year:: Ten Must-see Fall Festivals-- Part 2

6. MADISON COUNTY COVERED BRIDGE FESTIVAL-- Iowa-- Oct. 7-9-- Nothing like a covered bridge secret pleasure. And with fall foliage too!!

7. MARSHALL COUNTY BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL-- Plymouth, Indiana. Love blueberries. Bet they have blueberry pie. Watch out for stains though. Dentist, "What happened to your teeth?"

8. WALNUT VALLEY (BLUEGRASS) FESTIVAL-- Winfield, Kansas. Sept. 14-18. And I like my bluegrass music.

9. HYDE PARK JAZZ FESTIVAL-- Chicago-- Sept. 24-25-- Not a big fan of jazz. Too much jamming.

10. ALBUQUERQUE BALLOON FESTIVAL-- Oct. 1-9. --And, on good 'ol Route 66. A can't miss combination.

Plan Ahead Next Year. --RoadDog

Too Late Now, Maybe Next Year: Ten Must-See Fall Festivals-- Part 1

From the August 3, 2011 Main Street Site by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell. Photos and more information in article. Wish I had seen it earlier. Dates are when held this year.My comments.

1. COLUMBUS OCTOBERFEST-- Columbus, Ohio-- Sept. 23-25-- Right up my alley. Beer and OOMPAH MUSIC!!

2. FALL FOLIAGE FESTIVAL-- Bedford, Pa.-- 1st two weekends October-- We spend lots of time on Fall Color Patrol.

3. LOVEVOLUTION-- San Francisco-- September 24-- A huge parade and dance. Looking at the performers, I don't think I'd go to this one. More for young folks. Now, if this was a trip back to 1967, I probably would.

4. BOOMSDAY-- Knoxville, Tn.-- Sept. 4-- Biggest fireworks display in the southeast. Maybe see a UT game as well. I love my fireworks.

5. AUTUMN CRAFT FESTIVAL-- Meredith, NH-- Oct. 1-2-- I have to avoid craft fairs. Too many temptations and I've run out of places to put 'em unless we move to a larger house.

More to Come. Sure Sorry I Missed These (Well, Some of Them). --RoadDog

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Second Annual LH-Rt 66 IHSA Football Results

After the first round Friday games last night, these are the standings. There are still first round games today.

Route 66 winners:

Class 8A
Belleville East (#16 defeated #1 Waubonsie Valley)

Class 5A

Joliet Catholic (also LH)



Plainfield South

Record first day, 4-1 (.800%)



Lincoln Way East (defeated Plainfield South, both LH and 66)




Joliet Catholic (defeated Lincoln-Way West, also LH)


7A Plainfield South

5A Lincoln-Way West

Record First Day: 3-2 (.600%)

Route 66 takes the day one results

Second Annual Lincoln Highway-Route 66 Illinois IHSA Football Playoff

I'll need to add two other teams for Lincoln Highway, Class 5A Lincoln-Way west and Kaneland. That brings the total to 11 Lincoln Highway teams vs. 19 Route 66.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Groundhog Day...Again-- Part 1

From the Nov.-Dec. Midwest Living Magazine Out & About page "It's Groundhog Day Again."

Sure was happy to come across this article about one of my favorite towns here in the Midwest. If I could retire to that fantastic square, where much of the 1993 movie was filmed, I would be one happy "camper" as the deejays said every morning to Bill Murray's Phil Connors character.

There was a great photo of Karla and Everton Martin standing in front of the Royal Victorian Manor which they recently opened as a B&B. In the movie, it was the Cherry Street Inn, where "The Talent," Phil Connors, stayed and looked out the window every morning to see the same old, same old.

There was also a photo taken inside a local store, Seasons by Peg, a candy store that I am not familiar with. Probably in that great square, however.

Most of the article is about the Groundhog Day celebration that takes place every year. I have been to every one for the last six years. Always a great time.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Second Annual Lincoln Highway-Route 66 Illinois IHSA Football Playoffs-- Part 2

The road that wins is the one that has the last team still playing, regardless of which class it is in.

Again, the Lincoln Highway finds itself outnumbered two-to-one. That makes them really big underdogs, but they pulled off a tie last year. You never know.

No Chicago teams have been included.

The Lincoln Highway Teams:

Joliet Catholic (also in Rt 66)

Aurora Marmion Academy


Lincoln-Way East (Hey, named after the road, folks.)
Plainfield South (also in Rt. 66)
New Lenox Providence Catholic

May the Best Road Win. --RoadDog

The Second Annual Lincoln Highway-Route 66 IHSA Football Playoffs-- Part 1

The regular season is over here in Illinois. After nine games, the best-of-the-best are squaring off, starting tomorrow.

Last year, I had those schools along the Lincoln Highway and those along Route 66 squared off for a last-man standing contest to see which historic road did better. Even though the Route 66 schools outnumbered the Lincoln Highway ones almost 2-1, it ended up as a tie, with the last teams from each school being eliminated in the same round.

This year, there are 19 Route 66 teams and 9 Lincoln Highway ones.

Illinois is divided into eight classes by school size.




Bloomington Central Catholic

Joliet Catholic (Also in LH)
Springfield Sacred Heart
Chatham Glenwood
Normal University

Normal West

Plainfield South (also in LH)
East St. Louis

Bellleville East

OK, That's the Route 66 Schools. --RoadDog

Doing the Lincoln Crawl-- Part 4: Tailgating--Sully's-- Lord Stanley's-- Pizza Pros

October 15th was Northern's 104th (?) Homecoming and we were up against a tough opponent, Western Michigan (actually expected to beat us).

TAILGATING-- After the parade, Liz and I went to the tailgating which begins at Lincoln Highway in one area and then extends to the Barsema Alumni Center and then all around Huskie Stadium. Lots of NIU attired folk. We got to meet the Dean of the College of Education.

We had planned to see the game itself, but there was way too much cold in the wind.

SULLY'S-- Decided to watch the first part of the game on TV at Sully's, Sullivan's Bar on the east side of downtown on the Lincoln Highway. This place was here when we were students, but we don't remember ever going to it. Nor have we been to it since we've been alumni.

Too bad. It is our kind of place and with an older clientele, probably why we didn't go there in our younger days. Northern was losing at half time, 15-13, when we left.

Some More Bars to Go To. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Doing the Lincoln Crawl-- Part 4: Home Town, O'Leary's, Fatty's

And, that's Lincoln crawl as in the Lincoln Highway which forms Dekalb's Main Street.

We often visited Andy's. The next three places we went on October 14th were not there when we were students.

We walked the short distance to Home Town Sports, a little west of Andy's. It opened about two years ago as the Upper Deck and had NTN at the time. Nice place, but with $3 pints, much more expensive than I prefer to pay. One drink and gone.

Next was O'Leary's Irish Pub, open about four years now. It is in the old J.C. Penney's store. They have $3 23 ounce drafts, considerably better price than Home Town. Never had the food, but it looks really good. Great decor as well. very Irish for some reason.

Last stop was Fatty's, within walking distance of our hotel. They have been there for probably nine years now (and, I believe, started out on Greek Row off Annie Glidden Road, named for the daughter of the inventor of barbed wire, which, by the way, was invented in Dekalb) and is one of "THE" places to go for the college students, the other being Molly's (also on Lincoln Highway).

Nothing Like a Good Crawl Through the Old Steins Along the Lincoln. --RoadDog

Monday, October 24, 2011

Time for the Second Annual Lincoln-66 IHSA Football Showdown-- Part 1

The regular season's over for high school's here in Illinois after nine games. Glad to see my old high school, Palatine, back in it with an 8-1 record. Our local team, Richmond-Burton also made it with an 8-1 record. Round Lake didn't with its 1-8 record. Wonder why?

Anyway, it's time for my second annual match up of teams from towns (not Chicago) along the historic Lincoln Highway and Route 66. Last year, it ended up a tie as both roads lost all their remaining teams in the third round.

The winner is the the road with the last man standing.

A rough count of high schools along both roads reveals 19 for Route 66 and 8 for the Lincoln Highway. And, two of those eight are also on Route 66.

So, the odds against the Lincoln are great, but, we will see.

I'll let you know the teams tomorrow.

Who You Pulling For? --RoadDog

Chicago's Route 66 Occupied!!

Saturday, Liz and I went by train from Fox Lake to Chicago's Union Station (on Route 66) as she had an appreciation luncheon at the Union League Club on Jackson Street for her old grade school, Our Lady of Grace. For $7 a ticket for both ways (and good for Sunday as well, that's a hard deal to beat.

We walked from the station to the place which took us by the Chicago Board of Trade Building. Across from it was about a hundred people with banners and beating on an array of drums as part of the Occupy Movement. There were at least 20 police there as well.

I definitely like the movement in that it is time that the guys who wrecked the economy know that there are many like myself, who are mad. The way they've gotten all the government support for their greed might make them think that no one noticed what they did. They need to be held accountable.

When the luncheon ended, we walked back. This time there was a parade going down the north sidewalk of Jackson moving toward the Occupiers. I'd say there were around a hundred in it as well as a small marching band playing what sounded like a dirge of some sort.

I didn't particularly like seeing the Revolution Banner or the placards accusing the police of killing innocent people. Allowing people like that into the protest gives the GRBs who wrecked our economy the opportunity to dismiss the whole thing as a crackpot movement.

There was also a large contingent of Chicago police paralleling the march in the street. But I didn't see any violence or confrontations.

All this reminded Liz and myself of those days back in the late 60s-early 70s when all the anti-war demonstrations were going on. We had quite a bit of it while I was a freshman at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb.

What Did That Guy in the Movie Say, "We're Mad As Hell and We're Not Going to Take It Anymore."? --RoadDog