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

The Dekalb Footstompers at Lord Stanley's Oct. 15th-- Part 4

They have probably been at Lord Stanley's for homecoming for at least 15 years. In addition, other than at homecoming and New Year's Eve, you can get a large, one topping, pizza and two pitchers of beer for $15. Now, that is a great deal.


Huskie Fight Song
Rodeo Song
That's Amore
Lucille (Dirty Version)

Mustang Sally
Bad Bad Leroy Brown
Rings (Cimmaron)
Bad Moon Rising

E-I-E-I Eat My Shorts
Old Dan Tucker (Dirty version)
Bye Bye Blackbirds (Dirty version)
I'm Your Mailman (Dirty version)
Dirty Water

Sweet Tansvestite
Goodnight Sweetheart, It's Time to Go


Purple Haze (You haven't heard this song until its played on an accordion and tuba. Jimi would be so proud.

The Footstompers had also played during tailgating by Huskie Stadium.

It Wouldn't Be Homecoming Without the Footstompers. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Dekalb Foostompers at Lord Stanley's Oct. 15th-- Part 4

I should mention that the Stanley part of the place's name comes from two things, Stan Laurel from Laurel and Hardy and hockey's Stanley Cup. They use Stanley's face as their symbol. If you like hockey, especially the Chicago Blackhawks, this be the place for you.


NIU Sorority Botch
Do You **** on First Date?
When the Saints Go Marching In (And the Glitter Girls led a march around the place. In the past, the band would lead a walk out onto the sidewalks of Dekalb until the police put a kabosh on it.)

I Walk the Line
I Walk the Line (The Dirty Version)
Doo Wah Diddy Diddy
Boston Store (Liquor She Said, Liquor I Did)
Your Mama Don't Dance

Mony Mony
Do Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?
My Toot Toot
We Gotta Get Out of This Place
King of the Road

Way, Way Too Much Fun. --RoadDog

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Dekalb Footstompers at Lord Stanley's Oct. 15th-- Part 2 -- (Andy and Andrea Look At This)

The place was hopping and surprisingly, there were some young folks there. You expect the old ones like us, but not the young ones.


In Heaven There Is No Beer
Huskie Fight Song
Susie Q
Easier said Than Done
Folsom Prison Blues

Brown-Eyed Girl
International Polka (Shidonya, Pultitski, Leionya)
Hang on Sloopy
My Girl

You Really Got Me
In the Jailhouse Now
Cheeseburger in Paradise
Shake Shake Senora
Rocky Top (I wanted to call Andy and Andrea during this one, but unfortunately couldn't in the place. No bars in the bar.)

Too Much Fun. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Dekalb Footstompers at Lord Stanley's Oct. 15th-- Part 2


Please Turn the Sound Down on the TV Sets
NIU Huskie Fight Song-- Did we sing this?
Polka Medley-- Did we polka sitting down?
Roll Out the Barrel

Beyond the Sea
NIU Sorority Bitch-- Is this true?
Sweet Caroline-- I didn't do that "dah, dah, dah"...Yeah, I did.
Shake, Rattle and Roll

Mountain of Love
Kiss an Angel Good Morning
It's All Over Now
Margaritaville-- Jimmy would be so proud.

Too Fat Polka
Roll Over Beethoven

And, We're Just Warming Up. --RoadDog

The Dekalb Footstompers At Lord Stanley's Oct. 15th-- Part 1

Usually I put music on my Down Da Road I Go Blog, but since we saw them on the road, I'll put it here.

This was the 38th straight year that the Footstompers have played for NIU's Homecoming. First, they were at Andy's for many years and now have been at Lord Stanley's ever since. We see the same people year after year as it wouldn't be homecoming without the Stompers.

They are a four-piece band and two have been in it since 1973. Besides a guitar and drums like you'd expect, they also have a tuba and an accordion. Not your typical rock band with those instruments.

Obviously, they play polkas, but also a lot of old rock songs. But, even better, they have their own songs which are generally a bit on the spicy side like "NIU Sorority Bitch," "E-I-E-I-Eat My Shorts" and "Baby Face."

I see that there are now some of their songs on You Tube.

First Set Coming Up. --RoadDog

Doin' the Lincoln Crawl-- Part 3: A Look Back

We used to do this back in the day, many years ago, when we were students at Northern Illinois. It is still fun, but we have to be a bit more careful. Those mornings after are just too hard to handle. Plus, there's that DUI thing.

Neither of these were an issue for us back then. Hey, we saved all sorts of money drinking beer, which was 99 cents a six-pack for Old Milwaukee (in those days before light beer). Hey, a six-pack of Coke would set you back $1.49. We were "forced" to drink beer instead of pop at those rates.

Cigarettes were 3 packs for a buck at the Discount Den. Most of us smoked.

Like I said, my fraternity, the Delta Sigs and the AKLs were the ones who "found" Andy's and rescued it from the "townies." next to Andy's was McCabe's which was more for the beautiful people and top fraternities and sororities.

We really liked the 25 cent beer nights at Andy's.

Farther east on Lincoln Highway was the Candlelight right by the railroad tracks. It was a triangular shape and also had free peanuts!!

Farther west of Andy's, on the other side of the street was The Shamrock (now Lord Stanley's) and The Uprising (now Otto's).

But, like I said, we only hung out at Andy's.

Doing the Lincoln Crawl a Whole Bunch of Years Later. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 Twelve Distinctive Destinations

From the USA Today. The National trust for Historic Preservation announced their 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations that "have rich cultural and recreational experiences and 'exude an authentic sense of place'."

This year's places:

Alexandria, Va.*
Chapel Hill, NC--* Univ. of North Carolina Tarheels
Colorado Springs, Co.*-- Hey, Pike's Peak

Dandridge, Tn--* Where I usually get gas on I-40.
Eureka, Ca.
Muskogee, Ok.-- Hey, if the Merle likes it, it's ok with me.

New Bedford, Mass.
Pudacah, Ky.*-- Looking for NTN sites there.
San Angelo, Tx.-- Friend Clancy from there.

St. Paul, Mn.-- Also, I like St. Peter and St. Mary--
Sheridan, Wy.
Sonoma, Ca.

* means I've been there.

Get me On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Going for the Hole in St. Louis (As in Doughnuts)

From the May 10th Chicago Tribune Magazine "St. Louis Specialty: Doughnuts" by Steve Cavendish.

Besides that really tasty fried ravioli, St. Louis is also noted for some really fine places to eat doughnuts, or do you say donuts?

Cavendish says there is nothing fancy about these places, just low brick places that can fir maybe ten customers in at a time. And there are four of them on the southwest side of the city.


THE DONUT STOP offers a "cinnamon gob."

DONUT DRIVE-IN is on old Route 66 (near Ted Drewe's). Good Eats' Alton Brown calls theirs the best doughnuts he's ever had. And, it's on 66 and just had its neon sign redone by the Route 66 Association of Missouri.

We've had donuts from the last place on our way for concretes you-know-where.

Breakfast of Champions: Donuts and Coffee. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Route 66 Makes Front Page of Chicago Tribune-- Part 2

Always nice to make any part of the paper when you need the publicity, but especially the front page and of a major newspaper.The article is continued on page 2 with the headline "Kicks--and kitsch--on Route 66."

There is a picture of the hot dog guy in Atlanta and French tourists by a bus. Then a map of 66 across Illinois and another of its whole length.

UK resident Sonny Dudas, 31, pulled up to the Ambler-Becker gas station in Dwight, Illinois (now a museum and visitor center and said, "In Europe, it's very much the epic American road trip."

Shops in downtown Pontiac (and that beautiful old court house) report a jump in sales. The number of visitors (probably to the Route 66 Museum) has jumped from 6,900 in 2008 to over 15,000 so far this year with folks from 84 countries.

The 1930s Standard Oil Station in nearby Odell not only has a guest register but tourists have started a "Money" board where they pin their currency.

Noted Route 66er John Weiss has spent the last 15 years pushing the road and has written a book "Traveling the New Historic Route 66 of Illinois" which has sold 10,000 copies.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Way to Go, Molly's Landing

A local restaurant in Catoosa, Oklahoma, has saved a section of the famous Twin bridges over the Verdigris River, now called Bird Creek. The former west bound lanes of Route 66 was slated to be removed for a new span because of deterioration, but Molly's Landing owners stepped forward to allow a 210 foot section to be moved to their property where it will serve as a centerpiece.

Guess we'll have to stop for a meal the next time through in way of thanks.

MOLLY'S LANDING, 3700 N. Highway 66, Catoosa, Ok.

A good Deal deserves a Good Meal. --RoadDog

Route 66's Holland Burger Cafe Gets Plaqued-- Part 2

On October 16th, a plaque was dedicated at the venerable institution in Victorville, California by a group called E. Clampius Vitus, known as the Clampers, a fraternal organization dedicated to preserving western heritage.

The cafe was started by Kate and Bob Holland in 1947, who ran it until their waitress Emma jean Gentry took over in 1979. She died, but her son Brian, husband and daughter-in-law still run the place. (I got to meet all three of them).

Of course, son Brian was the inventor of the Brian Burger, which is a hand-packed paddy with mild green chili, Swiss-American cheese on Parmesan toast.

The place was featured in many scenes in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill, Vol. 2."

A definite Place to Stop. --RoadDog

Route 66's Holland Burger Cafe Gets Plaqued-- Part 1

From the Oct. 17th Victorville (Ca) Daily Press "Holland Burger Cafe a historical point of interest" by Racheal Rickman.

I discovered this place quite by accident on our end-to-end Route 66 trip when we retired in 2006. I was backtracking a segment of Route 66 we had missed because of darkness and came across this place. It was about time for breakfast and it looked interesting, so stopped. The Brian Burger sounded interesting so ordered it (you can also get beer in the morning if you want it. I didn't. The burger was every bit as good as advertised.

Guy Fieri, of the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives proclaimed Emma Jean's Holland Burger Cafe as one of the Top Three Roadside Cafes in the United States. Talk about a guy with a great job. I bet he doesn't have to pay for his meals.

Good Burgers. --RoadDog

Monday, October 17, 2011

Doing the Lincoln Crawl-- Part 2: Andy's

Today, Andy's has never looked better inside. The dropped ceilings have been raised, revealing a tin ceiling from around 1900. The whole wall behind the bar has TVs. Even better, the owner says they have the cheapest draft pints in Dekalb, $1.50, as well as bottles at $2.

Sadly, however, they are only open Friday night and Sundays for the Bears games. the owner says that is because he is spending so much time working on McCabe's next door. McCabe's was "The" place to go and be seen by the cool fraternities, sororities and students when we were at Northern and continued so well into the 80s, perhaps even the 90s. That was a big reason the Delta Sigs went to Andy's.

We first talked to the new owner, Bobby, several years ago and he was working on McCabe's back then. That is sure taking a long time. It should be open by now. And, Andy's needs to be open far more than two days.

Bobby did save the neat old Andy's sign that had been over the entrance all those years and was beginning to deteriorate badly. It is now up along the opposite wall from the bar.

However, the men's bathroom is about as bad as it ever was, and that would make it real bad. Liz says the women's bathroom is as bad as ever as well.

Here's Hoping to get Our Andy's Back Full-Time. --RoadDog

Route 66 Makes Front Page in the Chicago Tribune-- Part 1

From the October 15th Chicago Tribune "Foreigners' ultimate road trip" by Vikki Ortiz Healy.

There was a nice big photo of the Route 66 mural on the back of the Illinois' Route 66 association's Museum and Hall of Fame museum in Pontiac with John Weiss showing a map to two visitors from London. Also, there was a smaller picture of French tourists in Bob Waldmire's bus.

Pontiac's mayor, Bob Russell was there greeting the tourists saying, "There are visitors on the streets all day long. This has brought new life to our community." While many small towns are struggling these days, especially in downtowns, the old road is enjoying a great resurgence thanks to foreign tourists. (Everytime Liz and I have been on Route 66, we have encountered foreign tourists. We always talk to them and thank them for coming and give them pointers for "down the road."

These folk from foreign lands hear about Route 66 on travel programs, guide books and on the internet. Most fly into Chicago, rent a car or motorcycle and drive the length of 66 to California. Many come on organized tours.

What they get is a real slice of Americana with all the "good, the bad and the ugly.' as I like to say. Plus, there is a sampling of pretty much all the country has to offer in topography as well.

I Just Think It Is Too Bad Americans Don't Appreciate Route 66 and Our Other "Old Roads" Like the Lincoln Highway As Much As the Foreigners. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Doing the Lincoln Crawl: Andy's-- Part 1

That is what we call barhopping along the Lincoln Highway in Dekalb, Illinois. We even called it that back many years ago during our college days, even though we had no idea what the Lincoln Highway was all about. To us it was just another road.

However, since our introduction to Route 66 and old roads, we have since become aware.

Once in town, we went to Andy's, our favorite bar in college. It dates to the 1940s in that location, after having originated elsewhere. The building was built sometime in the 1880s. Before my fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, "discovered" it, it was a "townie" bar.

They had cheap booze and some really great bands over the years. As a matter of fact, the Dekalb Footstompers, who we are going to see tonight at Lord Stanley's (a hockey bar) started there back in 1972. Three of the four members are the original ones. Other popular regional bands that got their start there are Mr. Myers (Caribbean Rock) and Howard and the White Boys (blues).

Still Whetting Our Whistle. --RoadDog

A Carriage House for Lunch in Sycamore

Yesterday we stopped for lunch in Sycamore, Illinois, at a place we have been wanting to stop at for quite some time called the Towne Square. It has had several different restaurants in it over the years.

This place goes way back, to around 1900. It was at one time the carriage house of a local banker named Townsend where he kept his automobiles. His mansion is located next door.

After that, it went on to be a succession of gas stations, called the prettiest gas station in this part of the state, until about 1980 when it was converted into a restaurant. We think it was first called the Carriage House Restaurant.

It has a striking stone exterior.

We had an excellent all-you-can-eat fish fry for $9.99 with soup or salad and choice of potatoes.

Watch out, though, sales tax was 10%.

Eating in a Bit of History. --RoadDog

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's a Homecoming Trip for Us

We're heading back out to Dekalb again this weekend for Northern Illinois' Homecoming against Western Michigan.

For many years, we always went, but, until last year, hadn't been for about ten years.

There will be a parade on Lincoln Highway through downtown Dekalb tomorrow morning and then the Lincoln Crawl as all the bars will be open for alumnae.

We'll be honoring the undefeated 1961 football team at noon, and then there is all the alumnae activity before the 2:30 game.

We'll probably be leaving early from it so we can get seats at the bar at Lord Stanley's (the old Shamrock) on Lincoln Highway in downtown Dekalb.

Local favorites, the Dekalb Footstompers will be playing yet another homecoming show as they have been every year since 1973. They are a four-piece band with drums, guitar and then there are two other instruments you don't usually expect to find in a band: a tuba and an accordion. With instruments like that, how could they be bad?

Obviously, they can do oom-pah music along with rock classics and some of their own slightly risque songs like "NIU Sorority Bitch," "International Polka, "Pissanya," "Baby Face," and "Vasectomy."

Then, there's always the parade they lead when they play "When the Saints Go Marching In." These parades used to go outside onto the sidewalks until the local law said no to that. Wonder why?

Too much fun at a Footstompers show.

Hope We Recover. --RoadDog

Looking for the Eagles and Closing Down the Harbor

Tuesday, we went boating and looked for the bald eagles on Ackerman Island in Illinois' Chain of Lakes. The Fun on the Fox website had people reporting eagle sightings in various places, especially around the island.

They had a nest in a copse of trees at the southwest end of the island until that June windstorm knocked down the tree their nest was in. We had seen them in nearby trees, buy haven't seen anything the last month or so.

No eagles in the trees and went around the entire north side of the island, past the closed Port of Blarney (closed evidently on Tuesdays now that the season is over).

Hope we keep them.

Wednesday, we went out again and had the $2 Johnsonville brat and fries special at the Electric Harbor tiki bar on the east shore of Fox Lake. They are closing down entirely until next spring.

How Fast This Boating season came and Went. --RoadDog

Schlitz Taverns Getting Landmark Status in Chicago

Eight former Schlitz Taverns in Chicago are getting this status. They were built by the Schlitz brewing Company in the late 1800s-early 1900s to feature only their beer.

I write about it in my history blog yesterday.

Something else to see your next trip to Chicago.

Would papa Joe Drink to That? --RoadDog

Drinkin' Out on the Chain-- Part 7

Since the boating season around here is fast approaching its end, I might as well get to work on this listing of bars on the Chain Crawl.



Owned by the Halling family, who also own Blarney Island. When we first started boating in 1985, it was Cubs Cove, a very small place. The Halling family bought it and changed the name and made it much larger.

Reasonable prices (especially compared to out on the Island). Unfortunately, this is a all Anheiser-Busch draft place, so their good specials aren't that appealing to us.

This place is located on a channel by the Grasslake Bridge. I almost wouldn't consider it to be a part of Nippersink Lake, but guess that technically it is.

They also have weekend entertainment and are open year round, but closed on Mondays and Tuesdays after boating season.

A Boating and Drinkin' We Go. --RoadDog

Five Classic American Drives: Roadtrips Based on Movies-- Part 2


MOVIE: "Side Ways" Comedy

HIGHLIGHTS: Less visited California wine country, Santa Ynez Valley

DRIVE: Visit six towns, mostly along US-101; Santa Maria to Buellton to Santa Ynez, 41 miles.


MOVIE: "National Lampoon's Vacation" The Griswald's family epic trip to Walley World.

HIGHLIGHTS: Chicago, St. Louis, Grand Canyon

DRIVE: According to Clark's really primitive PC, 2,220 miles.

One of my all-time favorite movies. Poor little doggie. And then, there was always Aunt Edna.


MOVIE: "Thelma & Louise" Friends hit the road and fight the law before going airborne and messing up a perfectly good car.

HIGHLIGHTS: All desert shots in Utah.

DRIVE: Canyonland National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Bryce Canyon, 287 miles.

When traveling, I like to visit spots where my favorite movies were shot.

Nothing like a Road Trip. RoadDog

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Five Classic American Drives: Roadtrips Based on Movies

From Sept. 5th Yahoo! Travel.


MOVIE: "Into the Wild." recent college grad donates all possessions and life savings and sets off on a two-year journey.

HIGHLIGHTS: Alaska's Stampede Trail near Denali National Park.

DRIVE: Fairbanks to Denali, 204 miles.

Never been to Alaska.

2. ROUTE 66--

MOVIE: "Easy Rider." The south and southwest as Wyatt and Billy discover themselves in 1960s America.

HIGHLIGHTS: Follow old 66 from California much of the way eastward and then to Louisiana.

DRIVE: Death Valley, Cal. to Flagstaff, Az to Taos, NM and New Orleans, 2,017 miles.

We've been on this one.

Three More to Go. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ten Towns for Fall Color

From the October 11th Yahoo! travel "Ten Fantastic Towns for Fall Color" by Christine Sarkis.

The past several days, we have been out looking for fall color around northeast Illinois and yesterday we drove around Geneva Lake, Wisconsin, looking for it. That would be the town of Lake Geneva. Our conclusion is that there is some color, but peak foliage should be next week.

JIM THORPE, PA.-- In the Poconos. Peak Oct. 12th.
SEDONA, AZ-- 2 hours north of Phoenix. Peak mid-October.

STOCKHOLM, WIS.-- On the Mississippi River, 70 miles from Minneapolis. Peak mid-October.
WOODSTOCK, VT.-- Peak Oct. 1st to 15th.

JASPER, ARK.-- Ozarks. Peak Oct. 15th to Nov. 15th.
HOOD RIVER, OR.-- Columbia River Gorge. Peak early to mid-October.

STOCKBRIDGE, MASS.-- Norman Rockwell called it the "Best of New England." October.
FAYETTEVILLE, WV-- Late October.

MUNISING, MI.-- Upper Peninsula. Peak late September to mid-October.
JULIAN, CA.-- An hour from San Diego. Peak September to October.

Love That Fall. --RoadDog

The Royal Victorian Manor B&B in Woodstock, Illinois: Bill Murray Stayed Here

I found their website at (815-308-5432)

They offer five rooms from $125 to $175 a night on a hill above Franklin Street, the one Bill Murray kept looking down. It is a couple blocks from the town square.

The house was built in 1894 and has Victorian architecture with Queen Anne rococo decor.

Owners Karla Stewart-Martin and Everton Martin spent a lot of time and money turning the place into a Bed & Breakfast.

I saw no mention of "The Room with the Window" that would be my choice of rooms in which to stay. Of course, I would have to bring along my cassette boom box and play "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher.

I imagine they are booked for Woodstock's annual "Groundhog Day" Celebration.

I See a Rocker on the Porch Calling My Name. --RoadDog

Out to Dekalb-- Part 2: A Square in Woodstock

October 8th.

We stopped in Woodstock, Illinois, and took a ride around the great old square that was featured in the movie "Groundhog Day." There is usually something going on in it most weekends. Today there was a farmer's market on all four sides of it. Always love the sound of the tires on the bricks as we drive around it.

Glad to see the restaurant in the site of the Tip Top Cafe in the movie was still open. There have been a succession of places in it, none that survived. This one has been there two years now.

Also took a ride out to the house that was the exterior of the movie's Cherry Street Inn. (Interior shots were filmed at a nearby sound stage.) It is now open as a real-life B&B and called the Royal Victorian Manor. (See the next blog entry.) I am no big fan of B&Bs, too expensive, but as a big fan of the movie, I wouldn't mind staying in this one, especially if I could look out the window Bill Murray did when he got up each morning.

The fall color had not peaked in town yet.

"Rise and Shine Happy Campers..." --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Out to Dekalb-- Part 1: Memories of Kent State

This past Saturday, Oct. 8th, we drove to Northern Illinois University in Dekalb for the Huskie football game against the Golden Flashes of Kent State. Both teams are in the Mid American Conference, the MAC.

Of course, Kent State is where the anti-war shootings took place 41 years ago that sparked all the campus unrest. It hit NIU about a week later when a march from campus to downtown led by Milwaukee's Father Groppi resulted in a major confrontation at the Lincoln Highway Bridge over the Kishwaukee River (the original Lincoln Highway, today Il-38, was Dekalb's main street).

Police from a number of agencies were on one side and the students on the west. Rocks were thrown and a general attack came from the law enforcement types and the confrontation continued across campus to the dorms.

I was a freshman at Lincoln Hall and watched the fight continue across Anne Glidden Road. I really thought I was witnessing the end of the country, and possibly myself. Then, the fire alarm went off.

We exited the building and then an explosion occurred on the other side of the building. Went over there and students had turned over a university vehicle and set fire to it. It was burning and students watching it. The police were circling the area in cars. Most of the windows in the physical plant had been broken.

We decided to return to the dorm and shortly afterwards all sorts of hell broke loose as the police moved in and started cracking student heads and arresting.

I can remember the campus radio station, WNIU, playing Melanie's "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" and thinking the song was very appropriate. That song still takes me back.

A Mighty Scary Time. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Drinkin' Out on the Chain Crawl-- Part 6

Still on Nippersink Lake.


Mexican restaurant near Kamikaze Alley (where Fox Lake becomes Nippersink Lake) so-called because of the heavy boating that goes on through here especially on the weekends.

Great food and famous for their margarita selection. Huge outside deck.

This place used to be Leisure Point


Home of the Minnow Club. Swallow, or "Crunch" one or more minnows to join this one. Great little bar, but over the last five years has been open and closed many times as no one can seem to make a go of it. The Village of Fox Lake has also closed the place because of living conditions in the upstairs apartments.

Was open at the beginning of the Crawl, but closed. Reopened last month.

One More on Nippersink. --RoadDog

Friday, October 7, 2011

Drinkin' On the Chain Crawl-- Part 5

Continuing listing on commenting on the 38 bars on the Chain of Lakes here in northeastern Illinois that took part in the 2011 Chain Crawl. A great idea and it gives you something to do and new places to go. there were several downriver ones I'd never been to before.

Hitting Places on Nippersink Lake.


I am a member of the Sons of the American Legion here at this post. Great beer prices: 50 cent 10-oz drafts on Monday and $1 all other days. One of the few American legions in the US on the water. We hang out here a lot. I used to deejay here as well.

It was a boat company back in the early 1900s and the beams from which the boats were suspended during building can still be seen.

Across the US-12 from a 1930s art deco gas station.


It's been a bar at least since the 1920s. For a long time it was the Old Style Inn, named after a favorite local beer. Still has an old tin ceiling and recently expanded a walkout area by the road overlooking the lake. Advertise the lowest drink prices on the Chain. One of their drafts is a 32 ounce Mason Jar for $3.

More to Come. --RoadDog

The Tree's Have Started Changin'

I've been enjoying the trees here in northern Illinois as they have really started to change. My birch and honeylocusts are gold right now. Sugar maples are also starting to change.

Plus, we finally got that summer-like weather that we've been expecting. Temps have been in the 70s this week and up to the 80s for the weekend. Been boating every day since Saturday.

Tomorrow, we drive to Dekalb, Illinois, for the Northern Illinois-Kent State game and hope to see color along the way. The old part of Dekalb, just east of campus where one of the old Delta Sig houses was located, Augusta Avenue, has trees that always turn a striking yellow.

Some of the trees along the Chain of Lakes are also changing, but most haven't.

Got in the mood yesterday and put up the Halloween lights and last night, the tarantulas came out for Liz's 'puter. And, of course, the witch with the moving stalk eyes that laughs and cackles, "I'm going to get you my little sweetie!"

Can the Smell of Burning Leaves Be Far Off? --RoadDog

Thursday, October 6, 2011

US Highway 421-- Part 3

Back around 2004, I drove US-421 from its northern terminus in Michigan City, Indiana, to Fort Fisher, North Carolina.

There is no "Begin" sign in Michigan City. I drove it through town to the lake and didn't find any more 421 signs after I went north of US-20, where there is a 421 sign going south.

Went through Monticello, Indiana, home of famous Indiana Beach, which I saw for the first time. Then on to Indianapolis, where 421 now is aligned with the interstate bypass (I-465). I was sure it went through the city, probably on Michigan Road.

Southeast of town, US-421 is aligned with I-74 until near Greensburg, then on to Madison on the Ohio River, one of the most beautiful towns I've ever been on, especially with that park along the river where I had a picnic overlooking the striking US-421 bridge.

Then began one of the most striking drives I've ever been on to Richmond, Kentucky.

Coming Up. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

US Highway 421-- Part 2

From Wikipedia.

US-421 is a spur of US-21 and runs 941 miles. A third of it runs across the state og North Carolina, 328 miles.

Today, US-421 is aligned along the interstate bypass around Indianapolis, Indiana, but originally it ran right through the city. From the south, it entered on Southeast Avenue to downtown where it merged with US-40 (Washington Street) to West Street, Northwestern (now MLK Dr.) and Michigan Road.

Then it was on to Michigan City where it originally ended at US-12, near Lake Michigan. It now ends farther south at the intersection of US-20.

Some other cities the road passes through:

Indiana-- Madison
Kentucky-- Frankfort, Lexington and Richmond
Virginia and Tennessee-- Bristol
North Carolina-- Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Wilmington

All the Way on 421. --RoadDog

US Highway 421-- Part 1

From a question in the September 13th Wilmington (NC) Star News "Where does US-421 begin and end?"

It begins in Michigan City, Indiana, and ends at Fort Fisher, North Carolina south of Kure Beach (about twenty miles south of Wilmington. Along the way, the highway passes through Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia as well.

When the road was first built in the 1930s, it began in Boone, NC and had an eastern terminus in Greensboro, NC, according to website

By the mid-1930s, the highway had been expanded to Cumberland Gap, Virginia. After the completion of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel, the northern terminus of US-421 was relocated in 1950 to forty miles east of Bristol, Tennessee.

Then, northern terminus was Bedford, Kentucky in the early 50s and then to Michigan City.

I Have "Clinched" This One. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where Everything's So Dog-Gone Good-- Part 3: A History of Dog n Suds

My personal favorites are the Coney Dogs and the Charcoburgers. I especially like the charcoburgers on Thursdays at Miller's Dog n Suds when they are half price, 99 cents. Two of those and a mug of root beer, now there's some good eating.

The chain was founded in 1952 in Champaign, Illinois, by James Griggs. At one time, there were 850 sites in the US, but now its down to 18, three of which are withing fifteen miles of my home.

There are five in Illinois: Grayslake, Richmond, Ingleside (Miller's), Robinson and Love's Park.

Indiana has five: Lafayette, West Lafayette, Fort Wayne, Monticello and Indianapolis.

Two in Michigan: Montague and Muskegon.

And one each in Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Out local Walgreen stores sell Dog n Suds root beer and Green River liters.

Unfortunately, our Miller's closes at the end of the month, so must get one last fix.

Good Eating If You Can Find One. --RoadDog

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where Everything's So Dog-Gone Good-- Part 2

Miller's Dog n Suds is described as a classic 50s style diner with 21st century updates. many local teenagers got their first job carhopping and cooking in the place. All their recipes are the original ones used all those years ago, so you not only get get the feel of back then, but the taste as well.

Featured items are the Texas Burger, Coney Dogs and various versions of the Charcoburger. Then, there are those great shakes, featuring pumpkin ones right now, and, of course, root beer. I always get the 16 ounce root beer, even though larger sizes are available. The 16-ouncer comes in a frosted glass mug and larger in paper cups. It just tastes even better in a glass mug.

They have a picnic area which is great because modern vehicles are not really designed for eating inside, especially any sandwich like theirs which is prone to dripping goodies all over you. However, this time of the year, watch out for pesky stinging insects.

Good Food and Drink in a Retro Setting. --RoadDog

There are also 33 stations you can pull into and order, and even one in the next door Dry Dock Laundromat. So, you can wash and dry your clothes and get a good meal at the same time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Aarrrghh!! Mineola Invaded By the Pirate Nation

What's the world coming to? The Mineola used to have standards. But now, they will let anyone in the front door, even scurvy pirates. And we sure had a lot of them.

When we returned to the Mineola after the Chile Run. I saw a few pirates outside, but didn't think much of it. Pretty soon, I espied three boats approaching proudly flying the Jolly Roger.

Pretty soon, more arrived and the place was crawling with 'em. You couldn't turn around without bumping into one.

It turned out to be a large group from the Chain of Lakes' Forum, Fun On the Fox. I talked to two of them who said they have it every year around this time, when it starts getting cold. They had already been to four places, then planned to sack and pillage Captain's Quarters and finish up at a Pirate Party on Blarney Island (the only way you can get there is by boat.

They Were Sure Having a GOOD Time. --RoadDog

Going on the Mineola Chain Crawl

Spent most of today going on the annual Mineola Chili Run. A group of boaters take a run around the Chain of Lakes, stopping and drinking at various places.

This year's theme had the poor lil' chile pepper facing the natural disaster of being flushed down the bowl. After all, we have certainly had the natural disasters this year, both here and around the United States.

Glen and Barb, Kevin and Kelly and I met at KK's home for a food foundation to absorb the alcohol of potatoes and biscuits and gravy. We then went ti GB's and rook their 1976Larsen to the Mineola on Fox Lake. We got there at 9:30 and then had a good old-fashioned military case of hurry up and wait. Eventually, we had about twenty boats and 75 people on the run.


Finally got underway at 11 am, and it was not pleasant. Temps were in the lower 50s and we had a strong wind as well as clouds. However, conditions improved and we ended up with a great day.

First stop was the Sandbar on Lake Marie where we enjoyed $6 pitchers. Then, on to Fairmount Shores on Fox Lake for more pitchers ($10) and more food. They have sweet potato fries and feature southern-cooking.

Next stop was the Legion on Nippersink Lake and $1 drafts. Then on to the Oak Park Bar on Pistakee Lake for $2 pints. This place dates back to 1900.

Last stop was at the Mineola for chile and hot dogs. The Mineola was originally a hotel dating back to the 1880s and based on the design of the Grand Hotel in Mackinac.

Not Finished Yet. --RoadDog