Thursday, March 31, 2011

Looking Out a Plane Window

Yesterday, on the flight from Cleveland to Milwaukee, I had a window seat and was fortunate there were not a lot of clouds so got to look out, something I'd rather do than read. Love looking at the ground from way up in the air.

Flew along the south shore of Lake Erie and saw the Davis Besse nuclear reactor and just had to think about what is going on in Japan now. Didn't see South Bass Island or Put-in-Bay, something I was looking for. We've got to get back there sometime.

Looked out the other window and saw Detroit, the Windsor Strait and Lake Huron off in the distance. Then, it was flying over Michigan's Lower Peninsula and my third great lake of the day, Lake Michigan.

Passed over what probably was Muskegon, with a river flowing through it and a small lake by the big lake with what appeared to be about three ice floes.

No ice on Lake Michigan or any of the others. As we came into Milwaukee, I could see that there was still small patches of snow in spots.

I Like Looking Out Plane Windows. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

OK, Got Home Yesterday...Well, Today

My brother Bob and his wife Judy dropped me off at Raleigh-Durham Airport yesterday at 3 pm and I had a three hour wait before the plane took off for Cleveland. The flight left on time and got right upto the gate in Cleveland. That sure is a long, long walk from Terminal D to Terminal C, where the connecting flight was leaving for Milwaukee.

When I got there, I thought I heard the gate attendant asking for a volunteer to be bumped for $250, but wasn't sure. No one was making any moves toward the stand. A few minutes later, I heard her call for a volunteer again.

This time, I heard that a bump would involve an over night stay which they would cover along with vouchers for dinner and breakfast. AND... a voucher for $300 for a future flight with Continental.

I called Liz to tell her I wouldn't be home tonight.

Just TOO good of a deal to pass up!!

Unfortunately, they were unable to get my luggage off the plane and it went to Milwaukee where I picked it up earlier today.

I stayed at the Airport Sheraton and ate at their Horizons Restaurant, quite a bit nicer than what I'm accustomed to. Great seafood pasta dish.

The Stuff I'll Do for $300. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Confederate Ironclad Ram in a Kids' Playground

As we were driving around Seven Springs, North Carolina looking at various Civil War markers, we drove by a playground. It was surprising that such a small town, 85 people, would have such a large playground.

But, even more surprising was the scale model of a Confederate ironclad ram that was sitting in the middle of a large sandbox made up to look like a wharf area. The sides were painted an off-black and sloped and in front was a pipe painted black as well representing a cannon.

This was connected to a real Confederate ironclad, the CSS Neuse, which was built in a corn field on the north side of the Neuse River which flows through the town. This was the only Confederate ironclad that was almost destroyed by the enemy before it was launched. This was part of Union General Foster's December 1862 raid against Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Union artillery firing from the south bank of the river and from the bluff where the Methodist church is today damaged the ship, but it was successfully repaired.

Anyway, kids today can recreate their own Civil War naval battle. Definitely something you don't see every day and a great way for young folks to touch their town's history.

A Different Sort of Ram. --RoadDog

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tell Me About Fremont, NC

Saturday, my brother and I drove over to Fremont, North Carolina for their annual Daffodil Festival, I believe their 25th. The downtown, off US-117, was blocked off as were several other blocks. The main reason we were there was to see the long-time Beach Music show band called the Embers, who started back in the late 1950s.

The city of 1463 persons in northern Wayne County was chartered in 1862, In 1958, Raleigh (NC) News & Observer writer Bugs Barriger called the Fremont "Daffodil Town" due to the numerous flowers growing in the area and the name stuck. Unfortunately, having the festival in late March for weather reasons, puts it several weeks after peak bloom for the flower.

Two notable citizens are Charles B. Aycock and Johnny Peacock. Aycock, born in 1859, was elected governor of the state in 1901 and is now referred to as North Carolina's "Education Governor" for strides made in that field during his term. The local high school is named for him.

Johnny Peacock was a baseball player capable of playing many poitions, but mainly catcher, signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1936 who had a long major league career.

Fremont is a classic small town North Carolina community with many churches and civic groups. Unfortunately, there are many vacant businesses along main street even though there isn't a commercial row with all the big box places that so often kills off the old downtowns.

I have also heard that there is a considerable gang and drug problem in town as well, but I saw no evidence of it while we were there.

Small Town USA. --RoadDog

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Eatin' Breakfast Out East in NC

From the Jan. Our State Magazine "Sunny-Side Up: Breakfast in the East" by David Bailey.

This was a list of places the author says you should stop at if touring that part of North Carolina. I am just listing the places. The article had write-ups on them.

BAKER'S SQUARE RESTAURANT-- 227 Middle Street, New Bern. Evidently not part of the restaurant chain.

BYRD'S RESTAURANT-- 196 NC Highway 58 South, Kinston

CAPT'N JIMS SEAFOOD RESTAURANT-- 316 Fulchers Landing Road, Snead's Ferry

FLO'S KITCHEN-- 1015 Goldsboro Street South, Wilson

HELEN'S KITCHEN-- 2405 North Marine Boulevard, Jacksonville

OLD PIER HOUSE RESTAURANT-- 101 K Avenue, Kure Beach. Used to be on the Kure Pier until Hurricane Hazel destroyed it in 1954.

PURPLE ONION CAFE-- 4647 Main Street, Shallotte

YODER'S DUTCH PANTRY-- 4102 NC Highway 118, Grifton

I'd like to add Mae's Restaurant in Seven Springs and Central Lunch in Goldsboro.

Good Eatin' in the Old North State. --RoadDog

Historic Manor Motel in Joliet Making a Comeback

From the March 21st Channahan-Minooka Patch.

Well, actually, the motel is in Channahan. It is located on historic US-6 and an alignment of Route 66 and has been providing lodging for travelers on both roads, and I-55, since 1954.

The current owner, Prakush Silveri has been in the process of updating all 77 rooms since he bought the place in 1998 and so far 52 have been completed. Rooms go for $50 to $60 a night.

The colonial architecture of the place is striking and would fit right in at Mount Vernon.


It was begun in 1947 by Walt Anderson, a masonry contractor, who built a unit and added others until he opened for business in 1954. He ran the place until the 1970s when Jeff Kowalski bought it and it began to decline.

Even before the motel opened, Anderson had a restaurant, coffee shop, cocktail lounge and dining room in 1953. It still stands today across US-6 as the Ivo Express Bar & Grill. In 1954, a gas station was added to the holdings along with a liquor store.

We stayed there back around 2005 and were impressed with what Mr. Silveri had accomplished. He is also proud of the place's Route 66 heritage and spent quite a bit of time showing us a scrapbook with pictures of the place through the years.

Glad to See Another Historic Motel Being Saved. --RoadDog

Friday, March 25, 2011

"What'd Y'all Have?" Eating Breakfast at Mae's in Seven Springs-- Part 1

Seven Springs, North Carolina is just about 13 miles from Goldsboro, but to my knowledge, I'd never been there.

Mom had mentioned she'd heard of a place called Mae's Restaurant there, but had also never been, so it was time to correct that.

For such a short distance, it seemed like it took forever to get there. The 55 mph speed limit was just a suggestion to others on NC-111 and NC-55. Actually, it was twenty miles less than you should drive if you don't want to get run over.

We passed the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, got on 55 and a few miles later, were parked in front of Mae's.

Nothing at all fancy about the place. We ate off Styrofoam plates with plastic knives and forks and drank out of Styrofoam cups.

A waitress came right over and asked what we wanted. I said a menu. After a bit, she found one. Another customer jokingly said you just tell them what you want, but that doesn't mean you'll get it. You eat whatever they bring you.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Yes, There Were Studebaker Trucks-- Part 3

** In 1957, Studebaker Transtar trucks and all of their trucks featured a bold new grille.

** Studebaker's 1957 Scotsman automobiles were very successful and caused the company to introduce a Scotsman pickup truck in 1958. This truck was one of America's lowest-priced trucks but did not match the sales of the automobile.

The November 2011 page featured the very first Scotsman truck to roll off the line.

** In 1960, the Lark-based Champ pickup truck was introduced in 1960, receiving a new-style box in 1962 based on Dodge's "Sweptline" truck box, whose tooling and production fixtures had been purchased from Dodge in 1961.

** From 1962 to 1964, Studebaker offered diesel powered trucks. Shown was a short-nose 96-inch BBC (Bumper-to Back of Cab) model. Restrictions on overall length of truck-and-trailer rigs led to the introduction of the BBC model which enabled longer trailers to be pulled.

Some Stuff I Didn't Know. --RoadDog

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Back to North Carolina-- Flying Time Again-- Part 2

MARCH 21st

No problem going through the security check point and no full body scan. Sure takes awhile for me to get everything back on afterwards, however.

Walked out to the gate and looked through my new Civil War book. Another Continental plane had been late and a whole lot of people were waiting to fly to Houston. I talked with a lady who had flown to Milwaukee to see her great nephew for the first time.

Our flight left on time for the short flight to Cleveland. We received a complimentary beverage. Wow!!


When I got off the plane, I saw that the flight to Raleigh-Durham had been set back 15 minutes. Plenty of seats at the gate and waited the 50 minutes and then we took off.

Lots of clouds and at one time, I thought I saw some lightning flashes off to the easst. About that time, theilot came on and said they were changing course to fly farther to the west to avoid a small band of storms and that it would add a little time to the flight. However, as soon as they got the ok, they were going to get back on flight plan and recoup some of the time.

Another complimentary beverage!! This time, the whole can of pop.

Saw one really beautiful sunset between two layers of clouds.

Arrived at RDU and was shocked to have my bag ($25) come off fifth!!!

Bob and Judy picked me up and we drove to Goldsboro.

Sweet Home Goldsboro. --RoadDog

Yes, There Were Studebaker Trucks-- Part 2

** From 1937-1939 Coupe Express truck was car-based and is highly sought after today.

** Another popular Studebaker truck was the M-Series which debuted in 1941 and was in production until 1948 (with the exception of World War II).

** South Bend, Indiana's Scherman-Schaus-Freeman Used Car Lot offered many M and 2R Series trucks in 1951. In the July photo, the Studebaker Administration Building could be seen in the background.

** The George E. Burnett Company was one of several that Studebaker used to ship its cars and trucks to dealers. The Burnett Co. used 2R-Series to move the vehicles.

** Studebaker half-ton trucks received V8 power in 1955.

See the USA in Your Studebay. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yes, There Were Studebaker Trucks-- Part 1

Until now, I never knew that. My grandfather on my mom's side ran a Studebaker dealership in Goldsboro, NC, from 1939 to the 1950s. My brother always buys her Studebaker items for her birthday and Christmas. There is always a Studebaker calendar and this year's one is about Studebaker trucks, with a nice photograph on each month.

Some interesting Studebaker truck facts:

** The 2R-Series of trucks made from 1949-1953 was the company's most succesful truck line, selling over a quarter million in that time.

** Studebaker did not make a pickup truck in the 1920s, but some passenger cars were converted into them. There is a picture of one in front of the South Bend, Indiana Studebaker retail outlet and service center which later became home of the Freeman-Spicer Studebaker dealership and later the Studebaker National Museum.

** In 1935, Studebaker was producing the T-Series trucks.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back to North Carolina-- Flying Time Again-- Part 1

Technically, I haven't finished writing about my Thanksgiving trip here back in 2010 (but at least I'm almost home on it), but here I am again in North Carolina.

Only this time, I flew. With the GRBs doing their gas dance and the Dakota getting about 18 mpg, I couldn't afford to drive.

Yesterday, I drove the 45 miles to Milwaukee's Billy Mitchell Field, stopping along the way in Kenosha by I-94, for some sliders at White Castle. I don't miss a slider opportunity and it is real hard to beat their $2.99 Snack Pack: three A-1 sliders, fries and drink (less than the price of a gallon of gas!!)

No delays on 94 getting to the field and parked at the $5 a day SuperSaver lot (with free shuttle). You can also do a sleep, park and drive at many local motels for $60-$65 (includes up to 14 days parking) and one of the park and fly places also has $5 a day.

No problem at the counter. Unfortunately, at Mitchell, the stores and restaurants are mostly before you get to the security check point. I remembered from the past that they had a great little bookstore with both used, but mostly used books, and it was still there so checked it out.

They had one of the best history collections I've ever seen with lots of Civil War, World War I and World War II books. I ended up buying The Confederate Navy: The Ships, Men and Organization, 1861-65 edited by William N. Still, Jr., for $25. You get free parking for up to two hours if you just want to go to the store as long as you spend $12. It is actually a collection of essays by some of the foremost authorities on the subject.

I read two of the chapters on the flight. Great book.

The Flights Up Next. --RoadDog

Monday, March 21, 2011

Heading Home from North Carolina-- Indiana Wants Me

Started having dadburn snow flurries near Louisville.

By Mile Marker 44, saw sign for Comiskey Pike. Anything to do with the Sox?

Great arch in I-65 by Columbus, Indiana. A great town to visit if you're ever by it. Interesting architecture. Stopped there for a McRib meal. Just gotta have those McRibs!!! Gas $2.90.

I always have to wonder why trucks can be going real fast, but let one pass another truck and they take forever. Must be something they do just to bug as smaller folks.

I-65, or at least part of it in Indiana, is called the Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway.

Picked up I-74 in Indianapolis. Now heading for Champaign, Illinois. In a pasture, I saw a horse stand-off. There were three on one side facing two on the other.

Got to Crawfordsville, Indiana, where I usually get gas. GAS GOUGE!!! Back on November 20th, I filled up for $2.60. Today, December 2nd, it was $2.86!!! Twenty-six cents in less than two weeks. Thanks a lot Evil Axis.

And, I'm noticing the truck's mileage is way down, probably 18 mpg (down from 22) on the highway.

Hopin' I Can Get Home While I Can Still Afford to Drive. --RoadDog

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Any Old Gulf Will Do-- Part 5


Fellow Flatlanders
Slow Go at the Drug
Little Bitty Burgers
Gas Gouge
Barefoot and Beachin'


No Gras
'Cue at Sue's
No Pier Park
Outdoors at the Calyp
Donovan's Again

More to Come. --RoadDog

Where To Find a Multi-State Buy-Way Sale

U.S. 80 HI-WAY SALE-- Third week in April and October. Mesquite, Texas, to Jackson, Miss., 392 miles.

US 11 ANTIQUE ALLEY YARD SALE-- May. Meridian, Miss., to Bristol, Va., 502 miles.

GREAT US 50 YARD SALE-- May-- Ocean City, Md., to Sacramento, Ca., 3.073 miles.

US 40 HISTORIC NATIONAL ROAD YARD SALE-- June. Baltimore, Md., to St. Louis, Mo., 824 miles.

HISTORIC 127 CORRIDOR SALE-- August. Gadsden, Al., to West Unity, Ohio, 654 miles.

LINCOLN HIGHWAY BUY-WAY YARD SALE-- August. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia, 800 miles.

Scrape Together Your cash. Hit the Road and Get Some Deals. --RoadDog

Now, That's Some Linear Shopping-- Part 2

Today there are dozens of similar multi-state sales between April and October. Once a date has been set, anyone along the route can participate. These sales draw thousands of visitors looking for deals.

Importantly, it also acquaints then with back roads and they get a bit of highway history as well.

Patricia McDaniel, of Dublin, Indiana, started the Historic National Road Yard Sale along US-40 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of it. The Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Yard Sale started in 2005 to publicize the first transcontinental road. Yard sale traffic last year along it increased 200%.

Cleanout That Attic. --RoadDog

Now, That's Some Linear Shopping-- Part 1

Linear shopping, as in a shopping mall of sorts hundreds of miles long. As in shopping along a US highway over one of many states.

A four hundred mile garage sale in other words.

There was an interesting article in the May 2010 American Profile Magazine "Highways & Byways" by Vicki Cox. Most of the photos were taken along the Lincoln Highway's Buyway that was held August 5-7 last year and is being again planned for this year.

Van Wert, Ohio, is at the center of two buy-ways, the Lincoln and the Highway 127 Corridor Sale.

"Yard sales, garage sales and flea markets are an American phenomenon rooted in the economic downturn of the 1930s. 'Having survived the Great depression, people hoarded things,' says Bruce Littlefield, author of Garage Sale America. 'By the '40s and 50s, they realized they had too much stuff and had to let some go.'"

The Highway 127 Corridor Sale is considered the original multi-state highway sale, starting in 1987, the brainchild of Mike Walker, a Fentress County, Tennessee, official trying to get folks off the interstates and onto America's scenic back roads. It extends 654 miles from Gadsden, Alabama to West Unity, Ohio.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, March 18, 2011

OK, Barren County, Kentucky

I just had to wonder where they came up with a name like Barren to name their county. Myself, I wouldn't think this to be a name that would attract many people. It's sort of a negative connotation.

I did some research.

The county formed in 1799 and the early population was primarily Scots-Irish, hence the name Glasgow for the county seat. Current population is 41,184. A town I have visited is also in it, Cave City, home of one of the Wig Wam Motels (where I stayed two nights on the American Road Kentucky Road Tour a few years back.

It was at this time in my research I figured "Barren" must refer to the fact that the county is dry, you can't buy any alcohol. I didn't know that and hadn't toted my own in. Thought I might die of thirst but buddy Denny Gibson had a surplus so I got to wet my whistle at the bonfires at night. Thanks, Denny.

In 2005, Cave City did vote to allow alcohol to be sold at a couple restaurants.

The county is quite proud to have been voted by the Progressive Farmer as "The No. 1 Best Place to Live in Rural America."

Much of the county's business is tied to the nearby Mammoth Caves.

I finally found out the county got its name from barrens, vast treeless plains or prairies that are common in southern Kentucky. But, the land is anything but barren with its rich soil growing many crops. Also, most of the county consists of rolling hills.

So, Why Did They Call It "Barren?" --RoadDog

Heading Home from North Carolina-- 2010-- "Hell is Real"

Still in the Bluegrass State.

Passed a welcome sign for Barren County. Have to wonder where they got that name.

Every so often, speed limit drops from 65 to 55 for no good reason that I can see. No construction.

Passed Dinosaur World with the T-Rex-like one menacing us on I-65. I did go there a few years back and it's worth it.

Gas in Cave City $2.90.

I'm thinking KDOT must just put up concrete dividers every so often so they can drop the speed to 55 and possibly for revenue from speeders, but didn't see any cops. Perhaps they just store the dividers in this fashion.

Saw a sign reading "Hell Is Real!" across from Adult Book & Video. Wonder what that is all about?

Gas at Exit 81 $2.80.

Saw signs near Elizabethtown for Makers Mark and Heavenly Hill distilleries. Tempted, but I need to get home. Been to Heavenly Hill. Neat tour and tasting, but was shocked by how much they wanted for a fifth.

Will I Ever get Out of Kan-Tuck? --RoadDog

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Any Old Gulf Will Do-- Part 4


King Cake
Red Beans, Rice and Gumbo
Route 66
Tiki Bar
Reggae J's
Why We Rebs Take Grief


'Dem Plates
Redneck Riviera
Trop Rockin'
The Osprey
Gulf Dining
Tiki Bar
Senior Drinking
Donovan's Mayor

Mighty Good Times at Panama City Beach, Florida. --RoadDog

A New Museum on Route 66

From the March 16th Morris (Il) Daily Herald.

The new museum is in Godley, Illinois, in the northern part of the state and is called the Illinois Route 66 Mining Museum.

March 26th, they will be having a cleanup day after a ceremony to honor the 46 men and boys who died and are still entombed in the Diamond Mine Disaster which took place March 26, 1883.

The building is at the site of the former Godley village hall and features both Route 66 and mining exhibits.

It was made possible by a joint effort of a grasslands group, the Godley Red Carpet Corridor Committee (coming up in early March), the Village of Godley and the Route 66 Association of Illinois.

Jus' Somethin' Else to See on the Mother Road. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On the Road, 66 That Is

Winter 2011 Newsletter of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.

Oklahoma is my third favorite Route 66 state behind Illinois and Missouri.

Jill Ann Church does a great job putting together a very informative newsletter.

Some items written about in the most recent issue:

** Mention of the new Munger-Moss Motel sign in Lebanon, Mo. (our favorite 66 motel).

** The Oklahoma Association had a two-day hands-on preservation project at the famous Lincoln Motel in Chandler where they repainted the metal surface of the neon sign September 11, 2010.

The motel is under new ownership and much renovation is going on. (Definitely high on our list of places we want to stay at.)

** A place to visit (we haven't) is the Edmond Historical Society Museum in the WPA-built former armory of the 179th Infantry, 45th Division Oklahoma National Guard

** Another place to visit (we haven't) is the Dobson Museum in Miami which has a big display of Texaco memorabilia.

Always Something New to See on the Route. --RoadDog

Lost in Bowling Green

December 1, 2010.

Perhaps it was the euphoria from the sliders or the fizz from the pop, but I got back to I-65, got on and was cruising along blissfully when I saw signs with arrows pointing straight ahead to NASHVILLE!! Oops!! Got on the wrong entrance ramp, didn't I.

I had to go about four miles before I could get off on US-31 North about five miles out of my way. But, Bowling Green is a really nice town and I have driven through it before. One of these days, I just have to go to the Corvette Museum. Once I was going to, but it was on a day they had a big Vette rally and peons like me driving Dodge trucks were not allowed to park by the museum. Well, if they're going to be that way, I'll take my admission and go elsewhere.

I did see a neat sign at the Crescent Bowl, got on US-231 and saw the Cardinal Motel with a statue of a cardinal outside.

There was an old truck parked out in front of Guns 'N More. A neat old restaurant called the BBQ Hut was closed and for sale.

I ended up driving about ten miles on my detour.

Even Detours Can Be Fun. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Heading Home from North Carolina, 2010-- Home-- Dec. 2, 2010

Unfortunately, there had been a family emergency and Andrea and the kids weren't there so it was just Andy and me. We ate at that great Hollywood Chinese place and spent a lot of time on the computer looking up songs.

The next day, I definitely had plans to go to the BP station west of I-65 to stock up on that great treat called Chocolate Uglys. However, it was rush hour and traffic to get on the entrance going south to Nashville was really backed up so I had to get on I-65 going north.

From White House to the Kentucky border, not too far, I don't believe I've ever seen more unmarked police cars. One was even a white Dodge Charger. There was even a white unmarked SUV, beware soccer moms.

In Kentucky, I-65 is called the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Expressway. I stopped for gas at Franklin as Andy said it was cheaper there than in White House. It was. In WH, it was $2.75 and $2.70 in Franklin.

In Kentucky, I was going 75 and was passed by a Mini-Cooper like I was sitting still. Guess we don't have to worry about those unmarked cars here.

Coming into Bowling Green, home of the National Corvette Museum (and, of course, where Chevy makes the car). I saw a sign for White Castle...SLIDER ATTACK. Spent $2.99 for a Saver meal: three sliders, fries and drink. Good deal.

Saw a Gulf station. Gas in Bowling Green was $2.85!! (I could live with that today, but not back then.)

Next...Stuck in BG. --RoadDog

History of the Loveless Cafe and Motel-- Part 1

This last trip to the Gulf of Mexico, Liz and I had the opportunity to stop at the Loveless Cafe southwest of Nashville. I've heard a lot about the place and now was the time.

We got off I-24 and took a really pretty drive on Tn-49 and 249. One town we went through was Ashland which I think I've heard is famous for their catfish. Actually, the place is really easy to find if you're on I-40, just four miles south of it.

The food (especially the secret recipe biscuits and jams which are placed on your table) is every bit as good as I'd heard.

The place mats had a Loveless Word Find with words like: tradition, Natchez, jam, bacon, Tn pride, neon and bbq. There was also a maze from Natchez to the Loveless (since the place is right by the northern terminus of the Natchez Trace.

There is also a picture of their famous sign as well as a short history of the place.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, March 14, 2011

Any Old Gulf Will Do-- Part 3

Our effort to get away from the lousy cold Feb. 16th to March 3rd.


Dirty Old Car
Reggae J's
Cats in the Belfry


Sharkey's in the Afternoon
Reggae J's

Good Time If You Can Get There. --RoadDog

Heading Home from North Carolina to White House-- Dec. 1, 2010

Before I return to NC, I figure I ought to finish up writing about my last trip there three months ago.

I was in the '05 Dakota gas-guzzling truck and now on my way back home, by way of White House, Tennessee (north of Nashville off I-65).

Gas was $2.74 in Goldsboro, NC, so filled up.

Listening to my new Four Seasons Christmas album. I didn't like most of it at first, but it sorta grew on me. Also listened to Darius Rucker's (he of Hootie and the Blowfish) new album, "Charleston, S.C.--1966." Another great effort.

As usual, took US-70 to Raleigh and picked up I-40. That I-40 from Raleigh to Durham is about as intense of driving as you'll ever see. If you get through at any time without a jam, you're doing fine. I got through no problems, though.

I was getting the hungers so decided to stop at the Golden Corral at Hanes Mill Mall in Winston-Salem. I had been there once before and found it with difficulty as it is several miles from the exit.

This time, I was unable to find it. But, I did find nine stoplights, all red, on my way. When i decided to give up looking for it, I could see I-40 in the distance, but it was a case of "You Can't Get There from Here."

There was no I-40 exit west, but one east (of no use to me).

About ten more red lights later backtracking, I finally was able to get on the interstate and continue on my way.

I WON'T be grazing THERE again. I later did find a Golden Corral west of W-S.

Arrived at White House just about the time my nephew Andy got home from business in Alabama. I drove 624 miles (no telling how many at that lousy mall in Winston-Salem).

If You're Hungry, Don't Go You Know Where. --RoadDog

Goin' By Air

Thanks a lot GRBs, and especially those of you at BO, Big Oil!!

Can you believe it, the Axis of Evil is using the horrible thing that happened in Japan to raise gas prices?

Last November, I ended up spending $400 for gas on the truck that I drove to North Carolina. And that is not including the two nights at a motel and food along the way. It is always a two-day trip to drive the 900+ miles to NC.

With the truck getting 17 miles now (down from 22) and gas prices around $3.50 here in Illinois, even though it will be about 20 cents cheaper elsewhere on the trip (except West Virginia and western North Carolina), that is still 50 cents a gallon more expensive than last November.

Yesterday, I made arrangements to fly Continental Airlines from Milwaukee to Raleigh-Durham, with one stop in Cleveland for $319 with all taxes and another $50 for luggage.

Here's Hoping I Don't Have to Always Keep Flying. I Really Like Driving. =--RoadDog

Friday, March 11, 2011

Any Old Gulf Will Do-- Part 2

This Is Our Little Old Trip to the Warmth Last Month.


A Station for Me
It's a Pirate's Life for Me
Mardi Gras in Panama City
Old Town F-L-A
NTNin' and Barhoppin'


Larry and Gary
Wampus Bread
Fried-Green 'Maters
Reggae J's

A Real Good Time Had By All. --RoadDog

Did Our Fat Tuesday Thing-- Have Some Jamboulie-- Part 1

We had as good of a Fat Tuesday in the area as we could, which wasn't much. Should have stayed along the Florida to Mississippi coast. Would have been warmer, anyway.

Monday night, I listened to Tom Marker's annual Lundi Gras show on his Bluesbreakers show on WXRT from 8 to 10. As usual, he played some good stuff with a variety of New Orleans/Louisiana music from zydeco, Cajun, blues, jazz, second-line and carnival.

Tuesday, I listened to Mardi Gras tapes that I had made over the years in the morning.

We gathered up the "throwed" beads (meaning those we had caught) we had caught at the Panama City parade and took them with us to Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, which was featuring shrimp 'po boy sandwiches, various shrimp dinners and jamboulie. We had to wonder what jamboulie was. Was it some sort of Cajun/French dish we weren't aware of.

After some discussion, it was determined that it was jambalaya, old Hank would be glad we figured it out.

Bon Ton Roulet (Is That How You Spell It?). --RoadDog

More to the Sign Than I Thought

A photo post of the Hamel Meramec Caverns barn as it now looks, on the Yahoo Route 66 e-mail group, shows that the line with the word CAVERNS is still there, so just the word Meramec at the top is entirely gone.

I didn't remember it as we were just speeding by on I-55 when I caught sight of it.

Or, at least that's going to be my excuse.

Regardless, it is sad to have lost that bit of 66. I am not sure if this was an original barn with the advertising on it or not. Hopefully the 66 Illinois Association can find another barn to paint.

Paint That Barn. --RoadDog

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Look at Route 66 from Hamel to Broadwell in Illinois

Last Thursday, Liz and I drove Route 66 from Hamel to Litchfield, then from Springfield to Dwight and took notes of any changes we saw.

MERAMEC CAVERN BARN-- as reported yesterday, the upper part is just splinters after a big wind storm in the area.

RICH HENRY'S in Staunton-- Rich now has the very first Bob Waldmire van, actually a '67 air-cooled engine Volkswagen station wagon. Resident rabbit greeter and postcard-stamper Big red was to be on St' Louis TV, the following day. He is being groomed to take Montana's place.

SOULSBY STATION in Mt. Olive. The south side of the sign is getting really faded and there is a hole in the north side.

FARMERSVILLE-- The restaurant at Art's Motel is called Art's BBQ. It didn't appear to be open.

SPRINGFIELD-- Right where northbound Route 66 turns east, stands a round bar which was there during the 66 heyday. For many years it was called George Ranks, then it was closed for several years before reopening in 2010. It is right next to that neat old car wash neon sign. Worth a stop.

WILLIAMSVILLE to BROADWELL-- Route 66 is in really bad shape after this winter. be prepared for a real bumpy ride.

BROADWELL-- Sorry to see a for sale sign at Ernie and Fran's house.

A Quick Look at Illinois Route 66. --RoadDog

The Groundhog Did It-- Part 4-- The Old Tip-Top Cafe

I was more than a little happy to find the building where the Tip Top Cafe was located open and even if I wasn't particularly hungry, I went in to eat something and sit where it all happened.

It is now called ABC, standing for Athenian Broiled Chicken.

They have reasonable prices like one-third pound burger and fries for $5, gyro, fries and pop for$6.99 along with shish kabobs and other Greek fare.

Unfortunately, a couple was sitting right at the crook in the wall where Andi and Bill were sitting in the movie, but I sat the next table over, where Ralph and the other guy were sitting, "Morons, your bus is leaving."

It would be even better if they recreated the Tip Top from the movie, but at least it is open again.

Too bad that the actual site of Bill's puddle was covered up with landscaping improvements, but the marker was moved a few feet away. I think they should have done the landscaping around it.

One other place that you could see just the other side of the old man begging on the corner is the Swiss Maid Bakery. One day, Bill Murray went in and bought out the place and gave it to crew and onlookers.

I saw a man of about 28 standing outside the Swiss Maid holding what appeared to be a baby in a blanket, but upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a golden retriever puppy. Talk about your spoiled dog.

I Have to Wonder About the Guy, But at Least I Got to Eat in the Tip Top. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Goodbye Meramec Caverns Barn Sign in Hamel-- Part 2

No trip on Route 66 for us is complete without a stop at Rich Henry's Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, located on the 1930-1943 alignment of Route 66.

Rich was our first encounter with Route 66 folk back when we were getting hooked in 2002. Rich and Big Red, who is taking on Montana's greeting and post card-stamping duties, greeted us. Always great to visit with him and the wascally wabbits.

As usual, we talked 66 and told him about the sad shape of the Meramec Caverns barn. He was unaware of it and said it must have happened over the previous weekend when the whole area from St. Louis to Litchfield experienced some horrendous winds and that must have been what caused it to collapse.

The owners evidently didn't care to make any effort on their part to help keep the barn preserved. If someone else didn't do it, there it sat. Rich and the the Illinois Association had tried to get them to apply for grants, but the owners would do nothing unless somebody else did it for them.

Sad to have owners of a historical site who don't have any incentive to try to save it.

Oh, Well, Maybe They Can get the Owners of the Round Barn south of Springfield to Allow a Sign to Be Painted on It. --RoadDog

Goodbye Meramec Caverns Barn Sign at Hamel-- Part 1

This last Thursday, Liz and I cruised Route 66 in Illinois on our way back from the beach. We hadn't been on it since the Illinois 66 Motor Tour in June.

Back then, we noticed that the barn that had a Meramec Caverns U.S. 66 Mo. sign painted on it was in extremely bad shape. It was located east of I-55 and 66 between exits 30 and 33 near St. Paul's Lutheran Church (with the blue neon cross).

At time, the sign was still there, but much of the rest of the barn behind it was in bad shape and looking ready to collapse.

We saw that the front was just a pile of splintered wood down to the last line, U.S. 66 Mo.. I know the Route 66 Association of Illinois put a lot of time into restoring it.

According to Dave Wickline in his Images of 66, Vol. 2, the black and white scheme was from the 1930s. (There still remains one of the Cavern Barns in Illinois a little north of Pontiac.)

Sorry to Lose Anything 66. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Groundhog Did It-- Part 3

Even though I wasn't that hungry, I just had to stop at the new ABC Greek restaurant, on the site of the movie's Tip Top Cafe where so many scenes were shot. Bill Murray's puddle is also just outside the place.

Angelo's Family Restaurant across the square and next to the Opera House (Pennsylvanian Hotel) was supposed to be the original Tip Top, but the vacant store across the square was chosen.

There was nothing in it, so the crew built a restaurant and ran lines for water and electricity. When shooting was over, they removed everything unfortunately. For many years, it sat vacant after that and then a series of restaurants tried and failed to do much.

One called itself the Tip Top Bistro, but featured upscale food. Another was an ice cream place. It seemed that whenever there was a place open, either we weren't hungry or felt they were too expensive. Or, they were closed or out of business.

As such, we never got a chance to eat inside and I really wanted to because of the movie experience.

Now Was My Chance. --RoadDog

Oregon's Old McKenzie Highway Makes NRHP

From the March 7th Washington Examiner.

Oregon's Old McKenzie Highway, also called Highway 242, is now on the National Register of Historic Places, joining 2000 other sites in the state on that prestigious list. The 34-mile-long road links Deschutes County with Lane County, crossing the Cascades in the process.

The road is narrow and made for smaller cars. Ian Johnson, historian for the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office says, "It's very evocative of what driving was like in the 1920s."

It began in 1862 as a wagon route following old Indian trails through the mountain range to link Willamette Valley to the Bend area. The highway was built in 1924 and even though renovated many times, it still retains the 20s-style geometry and alignment.

Many of the original features including narrow and windy (not sure what this means) sections without shoulders. Its construction was to promote tourism and recreation in Oregon with seeping vistas of mountains, forests and lava beds. According to Johnson, "It was aligned to make an impression on tourists."

One big feature along the road is the Dee Wright Observatory, built in 1935 by the CCC, which offers some fantastic panoramic views.

I've looked at photos taken along this road. Wow!!

So, Another Place to Check Out If I Can Ever Again Afford the Gas to Drive Out There. --RoadDog

Monday, March 7, 2011

Any Old Gulf Will Do-- Part 1

A Short Look at Our Latest Trip.


Drivin' My Life Away
Breakfast at Mickey D's
The Might "O"
My Old Kentucky Home


Between a Cliif and a Stream
'Bama Rocket Man
Dining at the Rest Area


Beach Highway
Beach We Are Here
The Calypso Problem
Usual Suspects at Donovan's

Finally, WARMTH!! --RoadDog

The Groundhog Did It-- Part 2

Back to January 29th for the Woodstock, Illinois, Groundhog Festival.

I saw several folks heeding MTV and walking around in shorts, despite the wintry temperatures and one was an adult about my advanced age. Who'd have believed that?

There had been Groundhog stories in the Home State Bank, the old Woodstock post office (which was used a s a holding area for extras in the movie.

I then went over to the Woodstock Square Mall where I saw there was a new Museum of the Groundhog with free admission, open Sat to Tuesday from 10 to 4. They didn't have much but are building their collection. Not much on the movie, though, mostly on the animal itself.

There were several book sales going on and I ended up buying about five World War II books. Plus, on the second floor, they had folk groups taking turns entertaining us.

Not a bad place to visit.

Nothing Like a Little Ol' Hog. --RoadDog

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Groundhog Did It-- Part 1

A few notes on Woodstock, Illinois' annual Groundhog Days Festival from January 29th.

When Liz's mother was in assisted living at the Village Cove on the great Woodstock Square, I told her she was going to have to hand in there until I got to that point as that would be a great place to go. You've got shopping, restaurants, cultural activities, a movie theater, and lots of bars within walking distance.

Unfortunately, she wasn't able to hold on, especially when the place went from being assisted living to apartments. Today, it is called Murphy Block Studios.

I still wouldn't mind living there.

After seeing the movie, I went over to the Opera House (old City Hall) and paid my buck for the chili tasting, something I really look forward to despite the crowd. Between the chili and popcorn at the theater, I was full.

Took a walk around the square and found a bookstore which had a small book on the "Groundhog Day" movie by Ryan Gibley from BFI Press, but the $16.95 price was a bit steep for such a small book, so didn't buy it. I might have gone $10.

More Books, a Groundhog Museum and Entertainment Up Next. --RoadDog

Home Again: 100,000!!

Love traveling, but always really happy to get home. After sixteen days out on the road, we arrived home Thursday night. We were definitely hoping to get home before the GRBs raised the price of gas to where we couldn't afford to get home.

Gas prices March 3rd started at $3.24 in Missouri, $3.46 in Springfield, Ill., $3.70 in Yorkville, Illinois, and a very-high $3.74 in Elburn. Of course, in a few weeks, $3.74 will look cheap, but that's another story. Not that Illinois is a rip-off, but, wow!!

We ended up putting 2,593 miles on the 2003 Malibu and even hit 100,000 miles about four miles into the trip. We've never had a vehicle get that many miles before.

On the way down, we drove Il-47 to I-74 to In-63 to US-41 to the Penneyrile Parkway in Kentucky to I-24 to Tn-49 to I-65 to US-331 and US-98.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hootin' and 'TNing Our Way Across Mississippi

March 2nd, we left Biloxi and drove west on US-90, enjoying the view of the Gulf the whole way to Gulfport where we took US-49 northwest to Hattiesburg and eventually the state capital at Jackson. US-49 is divided four lane the whole way and it is not hard to see exactly where the older two lanes were due to the contour-hugging of the southbound lanes.

In Jackson, we went to Hooters for lunch and to play NTN. It is great to see more and more Hooters getting the game. Plus, hard to beat the $5.99 ten boneless wings and fries. I had a #8 with Roadog. Klofmn at Hello Folks came in #9 so I'm sure he was looking.

Continued on I-55 ro just south of Memphis and stopped at the Horn Lake Hooters for some more NTN and a driving break.

We had not been to either of these places before and they proved to be the last of 23 new sites we visited during the trip.

Playing WAY TOO MUCH NTN!! --RoadDog

Getting Your "Clicks" on 66 in Oklahoma

Be forewarned. If you're cruising the Mother Road in Oklahoma today, you'd best be buckled into that seat or you will get a ticket. And, it also would be a good idea not to drink since the seat belt "lookie, lookie, checkie, checkie" is a big reason to pull folks over for DUI.

This "Get Your Clicks on Route 66" continues all day and into the night. Lt. Garrett Vowill came up with the name for the campaign.

This past August, a similar campaign along State Highway 66 (the old Rt. 66) netted 460 tickets and in November, one from Kansas to Texas cost 750 people some money.

From the March 4th Oklahoman.

I just read in another source that this click-it campaign happens four times every year.

Hey, there Was a Song Like That!! --RoadDog

That "Awful" Road: US-90

Specifically, I refer to US-90 from Biloxi to Waveland, Mississippi, along the Gulf of Mexico. I don't say this from a scenery standpoint as it is magnificent. It is mile after mile of riding right alongside the water and across two really impressive bridges. This is driving at its finest.

But, what I refer to are the traffic and stoplights of which there is an abundance of both. That's to be expected with all the people living in the area as well as tourists and gamblers.

But what gets me is that whenever a car pulls up from a side street (even when its not a major thoroughfare, the lights on 90 change almost immediately to allow them to proceed. This causes big backups. Hey, US-90 is the biggie!! Let them wait.

And, you'd better believe that you'll have to wait if any car from a casino wants to get on the road. You know, money talks.

I also get the "Awful" part of the name from my nephew Andy who calls a big southern diner chain "Awful House" instead of Waffle House. I guess he had too many late drinking night meals there.

But, anyway, there seems to be a Waffle House about every four or five miles along US-90. I've never seen so many.

Come On Planners, Give Us a Break on US-90!! --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Basking on the Porch at Beauvoir

Yesterday, I was able to do something I've been wanting to do for a long time, and that is to sit in a rocking chair on that huge porch at Jefferson Davis' home in Biloxi, Mississippi, enjoy the sun and have a talk with a person who works there.

Also toured it and am amazed at its recovery from Hurricane Katrina when it was partially destroyed. Even at 22 feet above ground level, there was a food of water inside because of the storm surge. The tour guide believes the only thing that saved the structure was the 3 and a half inch pine floorboards.

The home was built in 1852, lost to taxes after the Civil War, brought by the Dorsey family who invited Jefferson Davis there to write his memoirs and later sold to the Davis family. Jefferson Davis, his wife and one of his daughters lived there.

After his death, it later was sold to the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who operated it as a Confederate veterans home until the 1950s when it was opened to the public.

A huge project is going on now to build a Presidential Museum and Library. Unfortunately, that has closed access to the Confederate Cemetery on the grounds as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier.

Sitting in History. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jimmy Buffet Don't Love Us

I had to tell this story that happened Feb. 26th in Panama City Beach, Florida.

We were at the Calypso Bar and Grill across from the Driftwood Lodge on our last night in town and sitting outside at their back tiki bar overlooking the small lake, having a beer, and listening to a one man band who said he was impersonating a band and playing great music when a group of party folk came in.

Judging from the beads, they had evidently been down at the St. Andrew's Mardi Gras parade all afternoon and had also been to a few places before getting to us and definitely feeling no pain.

One guy was especially funny, who immediately asked the entertainer to play a song, "Anything as long as it wasn't Jimmy Buffett!!" At which point, the guy on the stage started strumming the introduction to "Pencil Thin Mustache" which really got the guy going.

At one point, he threatened to jump into the lake butt naked if Jimmy Buffett was played, which started another Buffett song. Someone yelled that wouldn't be fair to the gators in the water if he did.

Then, we heard that even though Buffett has the tourist rip-off Margaritaville at Pier Point Park, that Jimmy didn't love us here at PCB.

Fortunately, the entertainer played another guy's song, so the guy calmed down a bit.

I kind of agree with the guy, that Buffett these days seems more interested in how much money he can make than with his fans. Just go into any of his Margaritaville stores and look at the prices of anything.

Maybe JB Really Doesn't Like Us No More? --RoadDog

Last US World War I Veteran Dies

I knew it would happen, and with Frank Buckles' health issues the last several months, I knew he was near the end of his life, but even then, it is sad as we have lost our last living connection to that long-ago war. Frank Buckles, 110, died February 27th.

He is the last of our "Doughboys," the 4.7 million who fought in the war and had been active in the last years of his life in attempting to have a national memorial in Washington, DC.

He was born in Oklahoma and, even though just 16, made several attempts to join the military after the United States got into World War I, before finally convincing an army captain that he was of age.

After the war, he returned to Oklahoma and then lived in Canada before moving to New York City where he got into the shipping business. At the outbreak of World War II, he was in the Philippines and captured by the Japanese and spent the rest of the war in prison, even though he was a civilian.

I have been following Mr. Buckles a lot on my history blog at

Go to it and click on Frank Buckles' label.

My great uncle and both grandfathers were in World War I.

The End of a Great Generation. --RoadDog

Biloxi In the Morning

Yesterday, we were planning to get up by Jackson, Mississippi, or Memphis, but were delayed by Liz's trip to a clinic as she picked up respiratory infection. Decided to drive out to Biloxi to spend the night at the Super 8 Motel right on the beach, where we had stayed four years ago.

We were interested in seeing how much recovery was made from Katrina. And there has been a lot. Of course, when we went it had just been over two years since the disaster.

Most of the casinos are back, and now completely land-based. Before they were sitting on huge barges, which, of course, were badly damaged in the hurricane. A lot more businesses also have rebuilt, but you still see lots of concrete pads making the former sites of structures.

At least US-90 is completely repaired as they were still working on it the last time we were there.

Nice Improvement. --RoadDog