Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Five Undefeated Eating Challenges-- Part 2


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

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


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

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

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Five Undefeated Eating Challenges-- Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

More than 40 attempts have been made with no success.

The place admits that usually it is ordered by groups.

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

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

Good Old Plentiful Road Food. --RoadDog

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nothing Like Family at Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 25, 2011

Airplaning It to North Carolina: Chili in Cincy

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

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

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

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

A 150th Birthday and a Mighty Big House

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

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

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

The Old North State. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Airplaning It to North Carolina

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

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

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

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

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

Got There. --RoadDog

Sunday, November 20, 2011

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

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



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

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

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


5A Joliet Catholic, see above.

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

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

Good Luck Guys!! --RoadDog

Lincoln Highway Maintains a Slight Edge Over Route 66

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

Teams dropping out of contention yesterday:


5A Springfield Scared Heart ((12-1)

Overall, Route 66 ended up 2-1.


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

Overall, Lincoln Highway ended up 3-2.

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

Winning Teams Next. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 19, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Tribune. --RoadDog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to Come. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 17, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then there are all those unique shops and taverns downtown.

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

A great Drive inthe Country. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hitting the Road Around Here for Color-- Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

More to Come. --RoadDog

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

From the October 16th Chicago Tribune.

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

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

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

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

Just Another Fall Day. --RoadDog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A 136 We Go. --RoadDog

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lincoln Highway Takes a Two Team Lead Over Route 66

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


8A Bolingbrook (11-1)

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


6A Batavia (12-0)

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

3A Aurora Christian (11-1)

2A Morrison (11-1)

Good Luck Teams!! --RoadDog

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lincoln Highway Takes a Slight Edge Over Route 66

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



2A Williamsville

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

7A East St. Louis


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

Winners Up Next.

LH Pulls Ahead. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Yesterday, It Was All About the Ones

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

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

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

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

ONE-- U2

That's One for the Books. --RoadDog

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

October 15th.

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

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

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

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

We saw all three sets and left at ten.

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

One Last Place to Go. --RoadDog

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honoring the Veterans on 11-11-11

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

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

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

Thank a Vet. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 10, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to Come. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

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

Continued from October 27th.

October 15, 2011.

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

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

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

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

Alumni and the Stompers Coming. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

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

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



Joliet Catholic
Springfield Sacred Heart
Chatham Glenwood

East St. Louis




2A Morrison

3A Aurora Christian

Joliet Catholic
Kaneland/Maple Park


Good Luck Teams!! --RoadDog

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

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

Losing teams for Route 66 last weekend:

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

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

Winning Teams Next. --RoadDog

Monday, November 7, 2011

Technology and Me: So Sad!

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

This is from a Zits comic strip.

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

Jeremy, "Something less irrelevant."

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Sully-Wood Connection

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

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

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

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

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

A Beer and a Drawing. --RoadDog

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

From the November-December Midwest Living Magazine.

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

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

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

Too Much Fun. --RoadDog

Friday Results IHSA Route 66-Lincoln Highway Playoffs

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

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

All the rest of the games are today.

Who You Pulling For? --RoadDog

Friday, November 4, 2011

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

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

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

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

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

More Eating and Drinking to Come. --RoadDog

Frank Lloyd Wright's Gas Station Finally Gets Built

From the Oct. 3rd Chicago Tribune.

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

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

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

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

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

More than 400 of Wright's structures still stand.

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

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

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

From October 28th blog entry.

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

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

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

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

I Bid Two Bits for Larry. --RoadDog

America's Wackiest Hotels-- Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Second Annual Lincoln Highway--Route 66 IHSA Football Playoffs

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

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


2A Williamsville

3A Wilmington

5A Joliet Catholic
Springfield Sacred Heart
Chatham Glenwood
Normal University

6A Normal West

7A East St. Louis

8A Belleville East

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

3A Aurora Christian

5A Joliet Catholic
Kaneland/Maple Park

6A Batavia

7A Lincoln-Way East

Best of Luck in the Next Round. --RoadDog

America's Wackiest Motels-- Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

Four More to Come. --RoadDog