Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Lincoln Inn Rises: Route 66 Motel on the Comeback-- Part 2

We decided to stop in and take a look around the place. The Illinois Rt. 66 Association was spending a Saturday night in Lincoln on its motor tour and we were considering going on it in June (but didn't). If we liked it, this is where we would stay.

The outside has never looked better as did the lobby. There was also a lot of construction going on throughout the interior and outside.

We talked with some people staying there who were impressed with the place. The receptionist was too busy to talk to, but we made up our mind that this is where we will stay the next time in town.

Hopefully, the price will not be too high.

Great News. --RoadDog

The Lincoln Inn Rises-- Route 66 Motel Makes a Comeback-- Part 1

The Lincoln Inn in Lincoln, Illinois, was out next stop on the way to Springfield. This is an older motel, built probably in the 60s that apparently has been saved from oblivion.

It had been on that long, slow road to decay that is so apparent. The people who owned it put very little money into upkeep. Part of the reason being lack of customers.

We had stayed there a couple times in some rooms that were in somewhat good shape, but definitely ones you wouldn't brag on. We liked the convenience and price, around $40. Plus, and very importantly, it was within walking distance of the Logan Lanes bowling alley.

We like to walk to where we "unwind" after a long day on the road. They also for awhile had the NTN trivia game that we love to play.

And, it was right on the Route 66 bypass.

A year ago, when we drove by it, I saw that it was now a Best Western Motel. Great news as that chain would not allow a sub par motel to be part of it.

Always Great to See Something Like This Happen. --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Funk's Grove, Illinois: It's a "Sirup" Thing

On our trip to Springfield for the Sons of Confederate Veterans Illinois Division annual conference, we stopped at Funk's Grove for some of that real pure maple "sirup" (the way you spell it if you don't add sugar). We figured this being so close to the end of the sirup season, they'd have some. They did. If you wait another few months, they're usually out of it.

They really should get someone to level their driveway. We saw a car parked by the house with license plate "SIRUP66.: Wonder whose car that is.

Since part of this trip is to find Illinois Route 66's connection with the Civil War, I inquired with the guy behind the counter, who is a Funk. He said that Isaac Funk, II, had been a Union soldier but had gotten a discharge from President Lincoln at Judge David Davis' request (a close friend of Lincoln) when his father died in 1865. He didn't know if they still had the letter from Lincoln. Probably not, but that would really be something if they did.

In 1909, Isaac Funk, II, was killed by a train at Funk's Grove.

While there, a Corvette pulled up from New Jersey. The two guys were on Route 66 for the first time and were intending to drive the whole thing out to Santa Monica. We filled them in on things to see to Springfield.

We saw them later at the Dixie.

And, We Aren't Even in Springfield Yet. --RoadDog

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wilmington's Bluethenthal Airport: World War II Connection Part 2

Plus, there are actually rocking chairs to enjoy.

Bluethenthal Airport was dedicated May 30, 1928, and named after World War I fighter pilot Arthur Bluethenthal, who was killed in an aeriel fight with German planes June 5, 1918.

He was born in Wilmington Nov. 1, 1891 and was an All-American football player at Princeton University.

In 1916, he joined the French Foreign Legion and took part in the Battle of Verdun. The following year, he joined the French flying corps. While directing artillery fire, he engaged four German planes and was killed when he was shot down about 50 miles north of Paris. he became the first North Carolinian killed in the war.

His body was brought home in 1921 and buried at Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery.

During World War II, Bluethenthal Airport was used by the US Army Air Force's 3rd Air Force. Training and anti-submarine missions took place there. In my history blog, I wrote about one plane crash and it is estimated that over twenty planes from the field crashed during the course of the war.

Commercial flights from the field began with Piedmont Airlines in Feb. 1948.

From Wikipedia.

Fly Into Wilmington. --RoadDog

Wilmington's Bluethenthal Airport: World War II Connection-- Part 1

Now called Wilmington International Airport. I flew into and out of it earler this month. I'd never been to it before, even though I'd been to the city many times.

Both coming and leaving, we had a great view of the World War II battleship USS North Carolina.

Believe me, this airport is a pleasure after the O'Hare hassle I had leaving and returning.

If you're going to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, you should look into this airport, especially now that American has direct lights into it. Plus, you have the whole fantastic North Carolina coast.

The airport has a big World War II connection, and even a World War I one.

Little Old Fly-Guy Me. --RoadDog

Chicago Tolls A-Risin'

Beware the toll booth in Illinois. Tolls are already way too high, especially if you don't have one of those transponders (in other words, double what those with them pay).

Now, because of needed improvements, the price for everyone, including those with transponders is going up starting January 1st. And, it is not going up just a little bit. Everyone will be paying almost twice as much.

That means those with transponders will go from 40 cents to 75 cents!! Those without go from 80 cents to $1.50!!!

Just one more reason to avoid Chicago and Illinois.

And, will they drop these increased tolls after the projects are completed. Fat chance of that. History shows that that just doesn't happen.

At least there are no tolls on Route 66 or the Lincoln Highway.

Just Another Illinois/Chicago Rip-Off!! --RoadDog

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mom Blamed Me for the Earthquake

I'm glad to see that the hurricane missed Topsail Beach, so perhaps there won't be much damage. At least we were prepared as much as you can be.

My fingers are recovering from those dadburn hurricane shutters.

However, Tuesday, when I was about to lose my religion on the Colemans' shutters (they're the ones who have never closed theirs), the people staying next door to Mom's came over and asked her if she had felt the earth move.

Well, I had been making lots of noise and no doubt some mini shock waves as I kicked, pulled, pushed and hammered those shutters into place. Mom told them it was probably my efforts that caused what they felt.

A few minutes later, they came back and said that they had watched TV and what they had felt was an earthquake near Richmond, Virginia.

So, I was blameless.

But, on second thought, had I used explosives that might have moved those shutters.

I Hope to Never Have to Wrestle with One of Those Shutters Again. --RoadDog

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cheap and Expensive Fuel Taxes Along Route 66

Those of us who have driven along Route 66 know where the cheaper and the more expensive gasoline spots are. The size of the fuel taxes has a lot to do with the price.

Route 66 has two of the states with the highest taxes and three of the states with the lowest. Can you guess which of the five Route 66 states are which?


The two highest states are Illinois (3rd highest) with $0.690 and California (4th highest) at $0.689.

The three lowest tax states are Arizona (47) at $0.374, New Mexico (48) at $0.372 and Missouri (50) at $0.357. I've always noticed that Missouri was low. Of course, everyone knows Illinois and especially the Chicago area is high.

Giving You an Idea of Where to Fill Up (and Really Avoiding Needles, California). --RoadDog

Doing Hurricane Duty At Topsail Beach

Last weekend, while I was vacationing at Mom's place at Topsail (pronounced Top-suhl) Beach, we started hearing about this storm named Irene that was heading for the NC coast.

Hey, we're on that coast!!

This is the closest to a hurricane as I have been in the last 40 years. At age three, I did go through Hurricane Hazel back in 1954, but did so at Goldsboro, NC, quite a few miles inland. My mother's parents lost their cottage at Carolina Beach, though. No trace of the cottage was ever found other than a few items.

There are six town homes at the Topsail Arms at the south end of Topsail Beach. My mother has one and my cousin the one next to hers. Only two units had people in them at the beginning of the week.

Mom is 80, so I was elected to prepare for Irene's arrival at four of the units. That meant bring furniture in off all three levels, both front and back, which wasn't too bad.

What was bad was getting those hurricane shutters to close. As hard as that was, it still beat nailing up pieces of plywood on all ocean-fronting doors and windows. You definitely don't want that glass breaking.

About five years ago, the association purchased these metal hurricane shutters for the front of the building. They are supposed to be effective up to 165 mph winds and are accordion-like. You pull them together, then maneuver some bolts into locking position by aligning holes.

And that was the rub of it. Just try to get those bolts and holes lined up.

And there were 32 of them. I think only 4 went in on first try. By far the worst ones were at the end unit. I am sure they had never closed theirs in all the time they've had them. It took me about two hours of a whole lot of fun, pinched palms, scraped fingers and sweat, but I mostly got the shutters closed on that one.

Not Volunteering for Hurricane Duty Next Time. --RoadDog

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our 38th Anniversary: Getting Married on the Lincoln Highway

Thirty-eight years ago today, Liz and I were in Dekalb, Illinois, along the Lincoln Highway, and preparing, at this moment to be married at the Newman Center in campus by Father Dan.

After the ceremony, we had the reception at the Holiday Inn right on Illinois Highway 38, which is the old Lincoln Highway. Today, the hotel is the Best Western. After the ceremony, we drove west on Lincoln until some point when we headed to Galena, Illinois, where we spent our honeymoon. We stayed at the old Paradise Motel, a classic mom and pop place) on US-20 (it has since been torn down and replaced by a Ramada Inn).

All those years attending Northern Illinois University and doing the Lincoln Crawl and all Il-38 was to us was just another road. We did not know it was the first transcontinental paved highway.

We're going to call Father Dan, who is now monsignor at St. Thomas Church in Crystal Lake and hoping to talk to him.

A Real Long-Long-Long Time Ago. --RoadDog

Almost Ran Out of Reading Material

One thing about traveling by air, it's a great way to catch up on some reading. And, taking a bus back and forth to O'Hare was even more "read" time.

And I have a huge amount of magazines to catch up on.

For the trip, I loaded about six National Geographics from 2009 into my carry on Globus bag, a great size for that purpose.

I read on the bus, waiting in the security line (just make sure you keep an eye on the line's progress as standing put when it moves forward angers folks behind you), then, there's the wait at the gate.

Then the plane ride (unless it isn't cloudy and I'm able to enjoy the ground which is always a lot of interest.

Yesterday, on my way back to O'Hare, I finished the last of the NGs, and then had nothing for the bus ride, or so I thought. Wait a minute. I now have my luggage and had the new book by Chris Fonvielle, Jr.'s Fort Fisher 1865: The Photographs of T.H. O'Sullivan and so had my reading material.

I also use the magazines as ballast like the ships of old. I discard as I finish and then have room for more souvenirs, which is another story.

I Hate Down Time. --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hey Mister, NO WAKE!!!

And, I'm not talking about what you have when someone dies or even the slow speed when you're out in your boat.

In this case, I'm talking about North Carolina Highway 50 between Surf City and Topsail Beach. Yesterday, we had a regular downpour after Mom and I left the Missiles and More Museum in Topsail Beach. It was so hard we had to wait it out in the IGA grocery store parking lot.

We had met some people from New York at the museum who were on motorcycles and saw them come swimming through on their machines. They sure had to be soaked.

When it finally let up, we drove on over to Max's Restaurant by the swing bridge for pizza, our initial destination.Mom had talked about bad flooding along the road before, but nothing prepared me for what we encountered when we left the restaurant. Actually, there are several signs along the road warning of high water, but since it had never rained this hard before, I never truly understood them.

I sure did today. There were probably ten different areas where the road had flooded in the seven miles between the two towns. About half were up to the door.

Most people drove accordingly, but then we had some clowns who just barrelled through the water, causing it to get even deeper and practically blinding oncoming traffic.

High Water. Now, I Understand. --RoadDog

Monday, August 22, 2011

Topsail Beach's Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel

Developer J.G. Anderson was the man responsible for Topsail Beach being here. After Topsail Island was released by the military (where it was used for missile testing) in 1948, he bought up much of the southern end of Topsail Island and began dividing lots and selling them.

His wife Emma came with him after he built a house for her on the island. According to the book Topsail Island Then & Now by B.J. Cothran, Anderson offered "lots to buyers with the stipulation that they pay 10 percent of the purchase price to the 'Church Fund,' a practice the IRS eventually stopped."

The church is non-denominational and does not have a regular preacher. Local clergy take turns each Sunday giving sermons. In return, they get free use of the parsonage across the street.

They have a fairly long waiting list.

This past Sunday, the associate minister of my mother's church gave the sermon to a packed house.

Now, That's the Way to Do Church. --RoadDog

Saturday, August 20, 2011

That Darn Seagull Had It In for Me

Yesterday, when I came back from Fort Fisher here in the Wilmington area, I stopped at the famous Britt's Donuts at the Carolina Beach boardwalk and picked up a half dozen of those sugary delights.

I decided to get a drink at the local McDonald's. However, all the available parking spaces were occupied by seagulls. When I pulled in, one particular gull took particular offense and was really squawking and head-moving. I could just about see anger in his eyes before he flew away.

As I opened the door and prepared to get out, SPLAT!! Some seagull let lose a load. Had it been a half-second later, it would have hit me. As it was, I had the wet white stuff pretty-well coating the inside of the door.

Not having any napkins in the rental car, I went inside the McDonald's, but by the time I got back out, the stuff had dried so dry napkins would do nothing for it. I had to drive the next hour back to Topsail Beach with it like that.

I'm fairly sure I know which seagull was the offender and would really like to talk to his mama about his manners.

And, here's hoping I won't get charged for damage to the interior of the rental car.

Dadburn Seagulls. --RoadDog

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Topsail Beach Summer 2011: August 17th-- Part 1: Getting Ready to Go

Preparing for summer trips always takes more time as I have to prepare the lawn and flowers for the time I'll be away.

Usually August means that I only have to cut the grass once or twice, but not this year. With all the rain we've been getting since the second half of July, it's cut grass every four days. I cut the grass Sunday and then cut it again Tuesday, only another half inch shorter.

All flowers in planters need to be watered heavily, Japanese beetle sweeps made, deadheading, weeding and so forth. I do not expect Liz to do anything outside while I'm gone.

Then, there's one last go at the the computer for e-mail (two accounts) and perhaps one-last entry on each of the four blogs since I don't know if I'll have access to a computer where I'm going.

Then, there is packing. I usually pack nothing before the day we leave. Liz does more planning for what I'll need than I do. Even so, I'm sure to leave at least one or more needed items.

Today, in addition, I had to cash a check and pick up the Firebird from where it was having brake work.

Then, I Was Ready to Go. --RoadDog

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Springfield, Illinois: April 29th-- Part 6: Best Garage

South of Chenoa, we passed the site of the old Ballard Elevator, always a striking site as it stood right there all by itself in the middle of that flat prairie land.

Nothing at all remains of it today, but its site can be located about a half mile north of the first overpass you come to. Plus, there are two one-story sheds, one of which has the name Ballard on it.

North of Towanda, we took a swing by the Best Damn Garage on the Road, Schenk's. A neat place to see from the outside with all the Route 66 stuff, but even neater inside. She was out cutting the grass and we stopped briefly to say hi. She was planning another Red Carpet Corridor party and wanted to invite us, but didn't have our address. We were going to try to make it, but bad weather and the fact we were already on a trip to the area caused us not to go.

We then by-passed Bloomington-Normal, the towns that neglect their Route 66 heritage. Not much to see there.

South of town, we got off I-55 at the Shirley exit where we saw a young couple taking pictures of each other by the Route 66 sign. Something we definitely like to see.

On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Getting Ready to Hit the Road for the Tarheel State

I fly out of O'Hare Airport in Chicago for Wilmington, NC. I know for a fact about a trip from Topsail Beach to Carolina Beach, and hopefully some Britt's Donuts, and down to Fort Fisher to see what is going on there (it's my favorite Civil War battle and what got me interested in history).

Then take the Fort Fisher-Southport Ferry across the Cape Fear River to Southport aand then tour the beaches from there to the nearby South Carolina border. Maybe get some good seafood at Calabash.

Then back to Wilmington with maybe a tour of the battleship USS North Carolina and a look at some of the Wold War II sites in the city.

I'm even thinking of a drive north to Newport News, Virginia and the Mariner's Museum. This month they drain the holding tank of the USS Monitor's turret every weekday to work on it. After that, it will be immersed in water for more than five years as part of its conservation program. Now's my chance to see a real historical artifact up close and personal.

Thinking About It. --RoadDog

Springfield, Illinois: April 29th-- Part 5: Bob Waldmire

Our next stop was at the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum, which had its origins at the Dixie Truckers Home in McLean, just south of Bloomington-Normal.

The City of Pontiac was gracious enough to offer a site for the museum right by their historic square and now I consider it to be one of the best Route 66 museums. Two new additions to it are quite large and honor a Route 66 original, Mr. Bob Waldmire, the Artist of Route 66 and a free spirit if there ever was one.

Unfortunately, he died a little over a year ago, but his artistic legacy lives on as does his life. The old VW bus that we saw so many times at various places along the road is inside the museum in all its cluttered splendor. How he ever got all that stuff in there is beyond me.

It would help if they arrange to have some sort of interior lighting.

The school bus he converted into a home is parked out back as well as mural of Bob on Main Street. The bus is a 1966, 66, het it, Chevy bus he bought in 1987 in Grants, New Mexico.

There was a young couple from Australia in the museum while we were there.

Gas was $4.10 in Pontiac.

Our new car, a 2011 Chevy Malibu, has a free 3-month subscription to Sirius-XM rRadio and we're enjoying Channel 6, the Sixties Station. But, they sure do plat a lot of Petula Clark. Must have a special on her music this week. Great music to cruise Route 66. We're on 66 and listening to "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James & the Shondells.

Cruisin' 66 and Lovin' It. --RoadDog



How About a Park to Commemorate Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway?

From the August 16th Plainfield (Il) Patch by Karen Sorenson.

A building known as the Carlson house, at the junction of US-30 and Il-59 was torn down yesterday with most people in Plainfield, Illinois, heaving a sigh of relief as it was considered an eyesore.

Of course, Il-59 here was once Route 66 and US-30 is the Lincoln Highway. The Mother and Father roads of the US. Plainfield Historical Society President Michael Bortel would like to see the almost-one acre triangular lot turned into Gateway Park to honor the two roads.

However, so far he and his group have been unable to get the property owners to donate the land and recently, they were unable to receive a $5,000 matching grant from the National Park Service for a redevelopment study.

Here's hoping that they are successful in getting the park.

Plainfield is one of only two sites in which the two roads cross, the other being in nearby Joliet on a different Route 66 alignment.

Honoring These Old Roads. --RoadDog

Monday, August 15, 2011

Retirement, Plus Five

The teachers went back to school in Round Lake, Illinois, today, and that means, I have "officially" been retired five years now. What I'd like to know is where did all that time go? I know way too much of it is spent sitting down in the basement researching and typing away with these two fingers.

After all, even one blog is too much...AND I have four.

I've also done some traveling, but not as much as I would have liked thanks to the GRBs at Big Oil and speculators.

So, now as I start year six, we're heading out for the boat and a stop at El Puerto on Fox Lake where a bunch of former Round Lake teachers are getting together to celebrate them going back to school and us sitting on the huge deck, drinking and eating Mexican food.

Tough life, but somebody's got to do it.

And, I'm Just the Guy. --RoadDog

The Vinyl Frontier: McCoys, Monkees & Kendricks

Electronic and Music stores where I can feel at home are getting few and far between these days. Just one more thing "They" meaning most people, are taking away from me.

However, I have found one, The Vinyl Frontier, about ten miles from home at 1326 N. Riverside Drive (which fronts the Fox River, part of the Chain of Lakes).

I try to get there whenever I'm in town.

They open daily at noon, and have a good collection of 45s, LPs, and CDs. In addition, you can usually find another customer to talk records with in the place, along with the owner.

Last month I went there and bought two albums and two CDs.


The CDs:

More of the Monkees: She, Mary Mary, Your Auntie Grizelda and I'm a Believer.

EDDIE KENDRICKS: The Ultimate Collection: Keep on Truckin' and Boogie Down.


The LPs:

KEEP ON ROCKIN' (4 LPs, 40 songs):

Record One, Side A

People Got to Be Free-- Rascals
Along Comes Mary-- Association
Spirit in the Sky-- Norman Greenbaum
Let's Live for Today-- Grass Roots
Love Is All Around-- Troggs
Society's Child-- Janis Ian

Record One, Side B

Love the One You're With-- Stephen Stills
Spooky-- Classics IV
One-- Three Dog Night
Different Drum-- Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys
Fire & Rain-- James Taylor
Happy Together-- Turtles

And there are three more albums worth.

The other album was HANG ON SLOOPY by the McCoys on Bang records.

Lots of good stuff and covers on this one.

Hang On Sloopy
Fever
Sorrow
If You tell a Lie
I Don't Mind
Stubborn Kind of Fellow
I Can't Help Fallin In Love
All I Really Want to Do
Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
I Can't Explain It
High Heel Sneakers
Stormy Monday Blues

Well, a few Places For Me, Anyway. --RoadDog


Retracing Lewis & Clark's Expedition...On a Cereal Box-- Part 4

GRIZZLY BEAR-- Lewis was the first to record the grizzly bear that Indians called the "white bear" because its brown fur was tipped with white. Lewis almost lost his life on his first encounter. After three more run-ins, the group's curiosity was satisfied and they didn't care to run into another. It is almost funny to read the journal entries about the confrontations with these animals.


FORT MANDAN-- The Mandans were one of the more peaceful Indian tribes the Corps encountered. They spent the winter of 1804-1805 with them and built this fort.


SACAGAWEA-- In 1804, a trader and his wife, a Shoshone Indian named Sacagawea, joined the expedition. She was hired to interpret the Shoshone language and proved to be a great asset to the Corps with her navigational skill and knowledge of plants.

She gave birth to Jean Babtiste "Pomp" at Fort Mandan in 1805. Pomp was carried on a cradleboard during the expedition.

The Corps traveled west into Sacagawea's homeland, where she was taken from her family as a girl by the Hidatsa tribe. When the Corps arrived, it was a happy reunion as the Shoshone tribe leader was her brother.

The cereal box also had suggestions for young people to start a nature journal and to get involved with protecting and preserving the land and animals of the US.

On the Trail with L&C. --RoadDog

Maybe We'll Get a Future Historian from This Cereal Box? --RoadDog

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ten Essential Chicago Barbecue Bites-- Part 3

8. JALAPENO-CHEDDAR KREUZ MARKET SAUSAGE AT AUSTIN BBQ-- They import Kreuz Market's hand-tied rings of pork-beef sausage from Lockhart, Texas. 226 W. front Street in Wheaton.


9. CANDIED PECANS AT BRAND BBQ MARKET-- "Smoked in bourbon barrel wood, these fabulous toffee pecans taste like pot barbecue." 2824 W. Armitage Avenue. (Imagine having your bbq and pecans at the same time? How do you pronounce pecans? i do it NC-style, "pea-cans," not the high-falutin' "pah-cans.")


10. SPARE RIBS AT BIG ED'S BBQ-- They are charred "one shade from black" and "ain't pretty, but the results are extraordinary." 2501 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in North Chicago.

And remember what I always say, "I never met a barbecue I didn't like."

All places are in Chicago unless otherwise noted.

That's BBQ to Me. --RoadDog

Ten Essential Chicago Barbecue Bites-- Part 2

4. BURNT-ENDS SANDWICH AT REAL URBAN BBQ-- They take the tastiest 5% of the smoked beef brisket, the deckle flap, and re-season, re-smoke and sauce it in the oven. They sell out often so don't bother asking for it at after 6 pm. 610 Central Avenue in Highland Park. (Now this one sounds real interesting and since it's not in Chicago, O might even go to it.)


5. PORK BELLY PASTRAMI AT PORK SHOPPE-- They cure pork belly for ten days, turning it into bacon. Then they put a crust on it, smoke it for seven hours. 2755 Belmont Avenue. And, I like my pastrami.)


6. Q PUPPIES AT Q BBQ-- Loved in the South, hush puppies haven't made much inroad here in the North, but these make a case for them. fried in peanut-oil balls of cornmeal-balls have kernels of corn in them. 70 S. La Grange Road, in La Grange. (Being Southern myself, I love my hush puppies, an essential part of a proper Carolina-style bbq pork plate, along with cole slaw and tea.


7. PULLED PORK SHOULDER AT LILLIE'S Q-- Kevin Pang says he never met a pulled pork sandwich he liked, but these changed his outlook. The "Boston butt arrives as rose-colored smoked pork shreds, slick from sweet porcine liquid sweated out over twelve hours in the smoker." 1856 W. North Avenue. "Really. Not liking pulled pork. Kevin obviously has never been to North Carolina.)

Getting hungry typing this. Hope I can make it to the Legion picnic in three hours.

Three More to Go. --RoadDog

Friday, August 12, 2011

How to "Staycation" Big Oil: Last Weekend-- Part 3

SUNDAY, AUGUST 7th-- Drove to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin for $3.50 Ultimate Bloody Marys at Main Street. A pint class with essentially your lunch and a shrimp bonus.

Then to Donovan's Reef to watch the Sox game (swept those rotten Twins!!), Chicago Red Hots (2 hot dogs and fries for $3.50), and brews. Very strange not to see the motel in the back. What remained after the winter fire was knocked down this past week. All that's left is the concrete pad and construction starts next week. They hope to be open by mid-October.

Looking forward to it because some Saturdays we like to stay for the band and the n we get a room. No DUI worries.

Next stop was at Captain's Quarters in Antioch, Illinois, right on Fox Lake, part of the Chain of Lakes. Nothing like a good band, ice-cold brews, a lake-view, sitting outside on a warm Sunday afternoon.

The band was Cover Story whom we've seen before and featuring a really superb female singer.

The Way to Spend a Weekend at Home. --RoadDog

Ten Essential Chicago Barbecue Bites-- Part 1

From the July 14th Chicago Tribune article by Kevin Pang.

Other cities have particular bbq styles they stick to, but Chicago doesn't so pitmasters take regional favs from other places and assemble a barbecue greatest hits.

Here are Kevin's favorites:

1. BEEF BRISKET AT SMOQUE-- Has joined the "Hundred Mile Barbecue" club. BBQ that you'd drive 100 miles to eat. 3800 Pulaski Road.


2. RIB TIPS AT BARBARA ANN'S-- considered a less-desirable cut, the bony end of the spare rib "so sublime that adding sauce would be sacrilege." 7617 Cottage Grove Avenue.


3. HOT LINKS AT UNCLE JOHN-- "...dinner version of the breakfast sausage...it's a porky, hickory-smoked Italian flag." 337 E. 69th Street.

More Stuff to get You "Hongry" Coming Up. --RoadDog

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Doing the 'Cue Thing in Chicago

From the July 14th Chicago Tribune "Saluting Chicago's original ribs" by Phil Vettel.

As we know, eating along the road is every bit as important as seeing stuff along the road.

It is also suggested that national chains be left behind. Try some local flavor.

Tribune food critic Phil Vettel listed the best Chicago "old school" rib joints. he also did a short write-up on each.

1. BARBARA ANN'S BBQ-- 7617 Cottage Grove Avenue


2. CARSON'S-- 612 N. Wells This is the only one on the list where I've eaten and it is something else. Great ribs and be sure to try the house dressing. It sounds horrible as it is based on anchovies, and I am no fan of anchovies from my pizza days. However, the anchovy dressing always works.

I always get the house dressing if any place I go has one. You never know what you're going to get.

3. CAPTAIN CURT'S-- 8210 Cottage Grove Avenue (close to Barbara Ann's)


4. LEM'S-- 311 E. 75th Street


5. LEON'S FAMOUS RIBS-- 4550 Archer Avenue


6. UNCLE JOHN'S-- 337 E. 69th Street

So, If You've Got a craving for Barbecue in Chicago... --RoadDog

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to "Staycation" Big Oil: This Last Weekend-- Part 2

While at Jack and Lidia's, one patron playing pool swore loudly. Immediately, several other patrons jumped on his case saying there were ladies present. You don't see that much any more.

From Jack and Lidia's Polish place, we drove back to Grasslake Road and to Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake. They have bands Saturday nights from 7 to 11, perfect for us early-to-bed folk. Plus, they have $2.50 Coronas and Corona Light bottles. Pass the lime.

Next-door-neighbor Melanie was bartending and had a new computer to do orders on. I volunteered to walk behind the bar and mess it up for her. She wasn't very appreciative of the offer. Two weeks ago, their computer went down. They replaced it last week on Wednesday morning and another storm came through and fried it. Reckon i see why she wasn't appreciative.

The band was Odd Man Out and we heard two sets. They played mostly newer stuff. surprisingly much of which I had heard, but not Liz. They were not the best we've heard at Captain's, but alright.

We also had planned to go over to Fox Lake for Venetian Night and the fireworks, but with all the bars and Coronas, I figured I best get myself home.

Just Can't Do Everything, You Know. --RoadDog

Retracing Lewis & Clark's Expedition...On a Cereal Box-- Part 3

How to take a road trip and not leave the comfort of your breakfast table and to keep a few more bucks out of the pockets of Big Oil. $10,7 billion profit in JUST ONE QUARTER!! Come on you GRBS!!

A map accompanies the back of the box showing the route and states. That would be Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

Some more insights:

LEWIS' JOURNAL: Lewis kept a daily journal in which he recorded hundreds of plants, animals, flowers, seeds and it became an important contribution to the scientific community for years to come.

Plus, he gathered these items and sent many back to Washington DC.

Several others in the Corps of Discovery also kept journals. Some of them used very creative spellings.

Plus, the Corps had to give places names as they went for future use.

Still Want to Retrace the Expedition. --RoadDog

Springfield, Illinois--April 29th-- Part 4: The Downtowner Motel and Museums

Continued from August 2nd.

You can check out the rest of the trip by clicking on the Springfield April 2011 label.

After that great meal at the Old Log Cabin, we drove to the wonderful Pontiac town square with what we consider the prettiest court house anywhere. We sure miss the old Downtowner Motel by the river and a block from the square and close to all those fun bars, especially Bob and Ringo's.

The owner had been a former German prisoner of war who had returned to the United States after the war and opened this business. Staying at the Downtowner was a lot like staying at the Munger-Moss in Lebanon, Missouri. Clean and right out of the 50s-60s. And, of course, near the bars. No worrying about DUIs here. Drink up and stagger home. try to fit that stupid key into the stupid key hole.

Unfortunately, the owner died and the family wasn't interested in continuing the business. After sitting vacant for several years, the building, which resembled an Alpine motel, was torn down and now a city government structure is being constructed on the site. I heard that they had been able to save the mural which had been of Pontiac history that had been painted on the back of the motel.

For Pontiac not to save a mural would be sacrilegious since it has become probably Illinois' #1 mural city.

Then, there's that great courthouse. You've got to see it both during the day and with the night lighting. Another good time to see it is during the winter when the trees don't block it so much.

Pontiac is getting to be quite the "Museum City." With a population around 10,000, they have the Route 66 Museum, War Museum, the WallDogs (my cousins) museum and now a Pontiac/Oakland Car Museum.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Schoolhouse Restaurant, Camp Dennison, Ohio-- Part 2

What started off as a brief mention on my RoadLog Blog about a restaurant near Cincinnati (possible in?) has sure become a few posts here on my Civil War blog. Now that I've finished typing this, I see that I goofed and put it on the RoadLog Blog. I hate when I do that.

The restaurant is located in the third schoolhouse where construction began in the fall of 1863. Today, it is on Highway 126. It was built with a cross construction pattern with gables containing Italianate-style bracketing at the corners.

However, it was not used as a school until several years after it was built in 1870. Again, this is why I think it was some sort of a structure connected with Camp Dennison.

Students up to 8th grade attended it. The first floor had two rooms. Black students were once educated on the second floor which was also used as an auditorium.

It continued being used as a school until 1952 when it was sold to the Ohio Gravel Company. In 1962, it was converted into a restaurant, so they're coming up on their 50th anniversary next year.

Part 1 is in my Civil War Blog http://sawtheelephant.blogspot.com.

Looking Forward to Having a Meal There. --Old B-Runner

How to "Staycation" Big Oil-- This Last Weekend

Still staying close to home until I fly to North Carolina in a week.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5th--

Mediterranean omelet at Dill Pickle in Spring Grove. Gasoline Alley at 5 pm for buck beers and that great view of Grasslake from the deck. I found out again that Cedar Inn in Lake Villa had been sold, which means an end to my deejaying!!

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6th-- Boating and floating. No bald eagle. Brats and corn on the cob at Lake Villa Days. Cedar Inn will reopen as Gellati's Pizza and Pub soon. Huge amount of work on the building. I really "Are Retired from Deejaying."

Drove to nearby Deep Lake Road and visited two places, one where I used to deejay back in the 80s. Grattan's Wharf is now Reflections, a perfect North Woods motiff bar and restaurant with a great view of Deep Lake.

Then to Jack and Lidia's Bar by Jack and Lidia's Resort, a place with small cabins, a beach and picnic grounds hearkening back to a much older lake era, now long gone. This is also a Polish place. Great small bar with polka music played by Jack on Saturday nights.

Still Not Finished. --RoadDog

Tidbits: Things to See While Cruising Those Old Roads

KANSAS-- There is a MADONNA OF THE TRAIL statue of a pioneer woman with two children and a rifle at COUNCIL GROVE, which has stood there since 1928.

The memorial to the stalwart pioneer mothers of covered wagon days is one of 12 placed by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in states through which the National Old Trails Road passed.

The 2096 mile-long (thanks denny) National Old Trail Roads was established in 1912 and also was called the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway going from Baltimore, Maryland to California, mostly along the National Road and Santa Fe Trail.

I have driven parts of it and seen several of the Madonna statues.

NEBRASKA-- If you like antique tractors, each summer there is a 150-mile ride across the state, at 13 mph. This goes through several communities during The Great Nebraska Tractor Ride.

Wow, imagine trying to get around all those tractors! Just getting around one is sometimes very frightening.

We have already missed the 2011 one, but 2012 will be June 22 and June 23. It is a short distance northwest of Omaha. But, don't plan on staying in Omaha because that is the time of the College World Series and the place gets REAL Crowded.


Drive That Old Tractor...SLOWLY Down the Road. --RoadDog

Retracing Lewis & Clark's Expedition---On a Cereal Box-- Part 2

This is one of the road trips I would like to make one of these days, even if much of the rivers have changed and often you go miles without seeing a river. I would also like to do the Natchez Trace and Oregon Trail.


CELEBRATE LEWIS AND CLARK

Thanks to the National Park Service, state agencies, and the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, the route of the expedition can be followed from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. You can honor the trail by camping along or visiting some portion of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.


HERE ARE SOME SIGHTS YOU CAN SEE AND VISIT

** Visit the Lewis and Clark State Park in Onawa, Iowa, which has a replica of the Discovery, the keelboat they used.

** Explore the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and see reconstructed Fort Mandan in Washburn, North Dakota.

** Camp at the Missouri Headwaters State Park near Bozeman, Montana, where Sacagawea was captured by Hidatsa Indians, and where three rivers merge to form the Missouri River. In Billings, Montana, find Clark's signature carved on Pompey's Pillar.

A Great Way to Get the Kids Tuned In. --RoadDog

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tidbits: Things to See When Cruising Those Old Roads

From this week's American Profile Magazine. Since I live in the Midwest, I get those bits of tids. There are also tidbits for all the sections.


WISCONSIN-- If you want to stand in the exact center of the northern half of the western hemisphere, you need to go to RIETBROCK (pop. 981). A geological marker notes the spot where the 90th meridian of longitude crosses the 45th parallel of latitude. It is exactly half way between the equator and the North Pole.

The town and township received its name from Fred Rietbrock who founded it.


ILLINOIS-- Movie fans might want to visit the 14-room red-brick Georgian home made famous in the 1990 movie Home Alone in Winnetka (pop. 12,187). This is where Macaulay Culkin made life miserable for two bad guys.

Winnetka is part of the very rich North Shore and in 2009 was named #4 of America's top-earning towns. In 1938, there was a song called "Big Noise from Winnetka." It is also the site of Hubbard Street School where Laurie Dann killed one student and wounded five others in 1988.


IOWA-- Fans of the Alley Oop comic strip about the club-swinging, time-traveling cave man should visit PERRY (pop. 7,702) because creator Vincent Trout Hamlin was born there in 1900. It was first syndicated in 1933.

When I visit my family in Goldsboro, NC, I always like to catch up with Alley in the local News-Argus paper. Then there was that song from the 50s.

A Real Cave Man. --RoadDog

Retracing Lewis & Clark's Expedition--- On a Cereal Box-- Part 1

Taken off the back of Aldi's Millville Honey Crunch 'n Oats box of cereal. OK, it's inexpensive, but here's a way to attract some attention to this historic trip, and, even better, maybe some younger folks might read it and get interested.

In the space of the back of one cereal box, there was a map, pictures (even one of a huge bear attacking the group which ought to draw youthful attention, hey, it attracted mine and I'm old!).

They also had a cereal box dedicated to Route 66.

From the Back of the Box.


ON THE TRAIL WITH LEWIS AND CLARK

JOURNEY THROUGH 11 STATES

In 1803, President Jefferson bought a huge tract of unexplored American land from the French for $15 million, called the Louisiana Territory. He hired Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to head the expedition. The expedition was called the Corps of Discovery and began May 14, 1804.

The Corps kept a detailed journal of the entire trip through (what became) 11 states. These reports include such topics as flora and fauna, Indian culture, climate and geographical mapping from the mouth of the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. The expedition was completed on September 23, 1806.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How to "Staycation" Big Oil-- Part 3

Last Sunday, as part of out stay at home protest against Big Oil and its obscene profits, we enjoyed local places.

After leaving Steve's Sports Bar in Antioch on Il-173, we went east to Il-59 and south to Grasslake Road, which along it or close to it has probably 15 bars from 59 to State Park Road (Illinois' Chain of Lakes State Park). Some are on the water and others along the road. Two bridges cross Chain channels.

I used to deejay a lot at a place called Fringe Benefits, now Drydocks, on the road.


CAPTAIN'S QUARTERS

Last stop was at a favorite place of ours, Captain's Quarters. We've been going to this place ever since Steve bought it back in the 80s and changed the name from Indian Point to Captain's Quarters. It is now owned by the people who also have Electric Harbor and the Kross Inn.

The food has always been great and cheap ($4 for a Johnsonville brat and fries). Every day, they have specials (on Monday, that brat and fries is $2 and a cheeseburger and fries is $2 on Wednesday, 35 cent wings and potato skins on Thursdays, and $10 full slab of ribs, fries and salad on Friday.

Even better, during the summer, they have bands Saturday nights from 7 to 11 (great for old fogies like us) and Sunday afternoons from 3 to 7. Nothing like drinking cold beers (iced down) for $3.25 and watching a good band on a sunny afternoon out on the Chain.

We eventually were able to get seats at the outside bar and enjoyed "R" Gang, a black and white group that can play some mighty good soul music from the 60s and 70s. The two singers can really do those old Motown moves as well.

Out on the Chain and Feeling No Pain. --RoadDog

Tidbits: Stuff to See While Cruising the States

From this week's American Profile Magazine.


MINNESOTA-- THE GRANDFATHER OF SNOWMOBILING, Edgar Hetteen, co-founded Polaris Industries and founded Arctic Cat (or as folks in the local advertiser paper call it, Artic Cat). A native of Roseau (pop. 2,633), in 1960, he and three companions drove their sleds 1,200 miles across Alaska to show durability. Hetteen died in February at age 90.


OHIO-- Here's eating in a mighty old place. The Schoolhouse Restaurant in Camp Dennison (pop.375) could get a ruler cracked over your knuckles for misbehavior. Built in 1863, it was the first two-story brick schoolhouse built in the Midwest and was reportedly visited by President Lincoln.

Since 1962, a popular restaurant has been housed in it with menus written on the original slate blackboards and old-fashioned food served on lazy Susans at each table. (You know if you spin a lazy Susan just right, stuff will fly off and strike others at your table (hopefully not yourself).

With the year 1863 and Lincoln, I would think this place might well have something to do with the Civil War. I seem to remember hearing about a Camp Dennison Union training camp and Confederate prison.

Noisy Kids at the Restaurant Are Punished with Those Noises Only Chalk Can Make on a Blackboard. --RoadDog

Chicago's Going 'Cue

From the July 14th Chicago Tribune "Why barbecue went boom!" by Kevin Pang.

Next time in Chicago, if you can afford the parking, you'll have plenty of choices for that thing we all love, BBQ. In a two-week span last summer SEVEN bbq joints opened from Gary to the Gold Coast.

There are essentially three camps defining 'cue in Chicago.

** The entrepreneurs who make pork ribs accessible to the masses (Twin Anchors, Robinson's #1 and Carson's).

** Black-owned takeouts on the South Side like Lem's, Leon's and Barbara Ann's.

** A new group in the city and suburbs with each place melding regional styles from Memphis to North Carolina (my personal favorite, but I have never met a 'cue I didn't like).

One newer place, Smoque's (a great name for a bbq place, by the way) got so popular that it was featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" with the guy who probably has the "bestest" job in the world.

Getting Hungry Just Typing This. --RoadDog

Friday, August 5, 2011

Top Ten Insights from Traveling Route 66-- Part 3

Continued from July 25th.

#8. NEW MEXICANS are Sweet, Laid Back and Friendly "Besides being the most beautiful state on Route 66." I don't know about it being the most beautiful. I kind of like Missouri myself.


#9. PRIVATE CARS should be banned from the Grand Canyon. People should arrive by train from Williams. I'd like to go by that train.


#10. Don't miss the BLACK MOUNTAINS of Western Arizona. The last 160 miles of Arizona 66 veers a lot from the interstate. Liked Oatman (even if it does lose its post office).


BONUS:

#11. Santa Monica is cool, but VENICE BEACH is cooler.

Definitely Some Interesting Observations by Mr. Hogarth. --RoadDog

Down Da 66: Illinois Burning-- Normal Does Right

Some Stories about Route 66.

1. ILLINOIS BURNING-- I was sorry to see that this past week, the 1924 Coliseum near Benld burned down. The building played host top Chuck B, Guy Lombardo, the Dorsey brothers and many others during its dance hall days. Lately, it has been an antique mall.

In the last several years, we have lost the Pighip Museum in Broadwell and the Riviera in Gardner. the last fire was under VERY SUSPICIOUS circumstances. i don't know about this one.


2. NORMAL DOES RIGHT-- WJBC AM radio in Central Illinois reports that the Normal town council is considering designating the 1930s Sprague Super Service gas station as a historical landmark at its next meeting. This would qualify it for town grants.

Owner Terry Ryburn purchased it and wants to restore it to its original form and says she has already shelled out $90,000 of her own money and has received $87,000 in town, state and National Park Service grants, but that falls way short of the $1.2 million she expects the whole thing to cost.

She wants to turn it into a visitor center, coffee shop, entertainment venue and B&B.

In 2008, the station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It Sure Would be Great to See the Folks Down in the Bloomington-Normal Area admit to Their Ties With Route 66 and This Would be a Great Way to Do It. --RoadDog

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Class of '68, Classic Cars and Wings and Shrimp

The Staycation against Big Oil continues as gas prices here in northeast Illinois continue to hover from $3.85 to $3.96.

Unfortunately, they didn't try to push it to $5 when it would have all collapsed.

Anyway, today, after boating and seeing a bald eagle and going to the National Athletic Club on Fox Lake where we completed the last stamp for the Chain crawl, we drove up to Antioch, Illinois, for their It's Thursday concert.

That meant 25 cent wings and shrimp at the Lodge on Main Street then walking back behind the place to the band shell.

The Class of '68 was playing, and, of course, that meant all that great music from the 1960s. I had heard about them several years ago when the wife of one of them contacted me on one of my blogs. I've been wanting to see them ever since and this was my first chance.

In addition, they were having a classic car show with lots of 60s autos. I saw about ten Mustangs, four Camaros and one Firebird.

Staying Close to Home and Enjoyin' It. --RoadDog

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to "Staycation" Big Oil-- Part 2

SUNDAY, July 31st

We drove to Antioch, stopping for a drink at Thirsty Turtle and a Chain Crawl Stamp, another place in the Upper Chain of Lakes you can get to by boat. It used to be Wasc's (pronounced Waz's) for many years and the Countessa before that. They're noted for their famous Door County Fish Boil, now $11.99 with $1 seconds.

Next stop was Choppers for 25 cent wings and $5.75 pitchers (it was $4 pitchers last year). It is also on the Chain Crawl but you can't get to it by boat this year because of bridge construction on Il-173. That is unless you go down a long and shallow channel.

Then, on to Steve's Sports bar, farther east on 173 and not accessible by boat. It opened in 1953 as the Four Aces, a dance pavilion, then was Don's Four Aces for many years. We were taken aback when it reopened as Emerald City, a gay bar back in the 90s. Who would have thought we'd have a gay bar out here on the Chain.

It then became Totally 80s and we went to that place as they had NTN and played nothing but music from the 80s, one of my favorite decades.

There is still a large stone piece on the entry floor with four aces. And, every day they have $2.50 Coronas and $2 pints. I'll keep that in mind.

Doing That Chain Crawl. --RoadDog

It Was a See-Through Sensation-- Part 2

Also, a Plexiglas eight-cylinder 1939 Pontiac Torpedo four-door sedan was built at the same time for the 1940 Golden Gate Exposition, on the bigger "C" body shared by Cadillac, LaSalle and Buick.

After the two shows closed, the two cars toured Pontiac dealerships nationwide.

The fate of the Torpedo Eight is unknown today. It was sold at auction and ended up in the Smithsonian Institution in DC and kept there until 1947. After that, several Pontiac dealerships owned it. It was also at the first Pontiac-Oakland Club International meeting in July 1973, when it was sold to private owners.

Chicago's Joe Bortz is responsible for saving dozens of the dream cars over the last 40 years. Manufacturers almost never gave these cars vehicle identification numbers or titles, so they can't legally be driven on the road. In the remaining Pontiac "ghost" you also can't drive it because the contact points of the Plexiglas would cause stress cracks in the body. Also, the plastic has been treated over the years to prevent yellowing.

Hoping the Volo Automobile Museum Near Me Gets It. --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It Was a See-Through Sensation-- Part 1

The Plexiglas Pontiac sedan was cutting edge in 1939, and it's still pretty cool today. From the July 31st Chicago Tribune by Paul Duchene.

It was a concept car, but perhaps two of the most interesting of them were two Pontiacs bodied in clear Plexiglas in 1939 and 1940. The first one, and only known survivor is being offered by RM Auctions in Plymouth, Michigan.

General Motors collaborated with the chemical company Rohm & Haas in 1939 to build a clear plastic car for the 1939 New York World's Fair to be exhibited in the "Highways and Horizons pavilion.

Pontiac supplied drawings of a 1939 Deluxe Six four-door sedan who constructed a clear plastic replica of the body shell and fit it on a real chassis.

Rohm & Haas had stumbled onto what they would trademark as Plexiglas while working on laminated glass techniques. Engineers discovered it could be heated over wooden bucks and would take the shape beneath it, hardening as it cooled.

This invention was used a lot in the coming World War II in aircraft canopies, noses and gun turrets.

This particular car was built as a 1939 six-cylinder Pontiac Deluxe sedan-- an "A" body shared with Chevrolet and Buick.

Nice photos accompany the article.

I'd Sure Like to See This Vehicle. More to Come. --RoadDog

Springfield April 29th-- Part 3: Pontiac, Illinois and Route 66

We figured going Il-23 cost us an hour and a half more than Il-47 to Dwight. Oh well, great scenery and different stuff.

Starting to get hungry and decided to eat at the Old Log Cabin, north of town on the old Route 66. We hadn't eaten there in several years and it is a favorite. Great food, good prices and a real slice of Route 66.

They now have a diorama inside with a sign asking children and adults not to play with it. Good thing, I had been thinking of turning it back around to face the original 66. You can't go anywhere near the place and not hear about them turning the place around to face the new alignment back in the 1920s. I looked around to see if anyone was looking anyway. They were. Sat down and busied self with menu.

A French group on motorcycles had just left.

And, they now have SWEET POTATO TATER TOTS!!! Let's talk about REAL GOOD.

I had to settle for a 10 oz.top sirloin steak with veggie, tater, soup or salad for $9.99. Good deal. Guess what my tater was?

On leaving, I saw that there was a big concrete slab on the south side of the building and thought perhaps they were going to have outside dining. Went back inside and found that the slab was there because of some serious foundation problems. But now that I mention it, perhaps they could have outside dining.

On to the Museum. --RoadDog

Monday, August 1, 2011

How to Staycation Big Oil: Enjoying the Chain-- Part 1

Staycations are a great way to show our thanks to Big Oil as they get richer. It is my own little way of keeping a "little" money out of their greedy pockets.

Hopefully, people all over are doing the same. At last BO didn't get their vaunted "Summer Driving Season" price bump because they had a "Pre-summer Driving Season" bump.

SATURDAY-- We boated over to McDonald's and had breakfast out on the boat and fed the ducks. As of late, we've been getting mighty hot temps, high humidity and no breeze, so put the boat up.

Then, we went to Steitz's on Bluff Lake and had a beer and our Chain Crawl book stamped. This places is noted for German food and opened in 1938, making it one of the oldest places on the Chain.

Next, Port O' Blarney, on a channel to Grasslake. People leave from here by their boat to go out to Blarney Island in the middle of the lake. "A Mile from Reality" as they say. We got another Chain Crawl stamp there.

We were there to see Terry Spizzeri play in the afternoon. AND, they had $2.50 bottles of Corona Light so I got my lime full. As usual, a great show by the "Half Celtic-Half Garlic Guy" and his nephew.

Then, drove to nearby Captain's Quarters which has bands Saturday nights from 7 to 11, just perfect for old folks like us. And, the $2.50 Coronas and Corona Lights don't hurt either. More limes. The five-piece Chicago Rev-Ups band was playing. Great blues, rock and Santana.

Too Much Fun, Again. --RoadDog

How's a $10.3 Billion Profit? (Actually $10.7 Billion)

Well, the good folks at Exxon-Mobil posted their second quarter profit and it was a real big surprise. They did well and IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH GAS PRICES AT THE PUMP!

The fact that we are being robbed at the pump made no difference to them. And, now they and other of their ilk, Big Oil GRBs, are acting like they have our best interests at heart as they buy those second and third homes and expensive stuff.

While the rest of us suffer.

And I wonder what their profit REALLY was. They've got all those people who can do all that creative accounting.

It is kind of like the guy I talked to at a pump at a station the last time BO had their feeding frenzy. I was complaining about the price and this little **** said "I don't care how much it goes up. I have oil stock and I'm getting richer all the time."

Yesterday, I saw the article and instead of $10.3 billion, the profit was actually $10.7 billion!!

Never Wanted to Punch a Guy So Bad in My Life. --RoadDog

Tidbits: Stuff to See in States When Cruising

NEBRASKA-- Nominate for Academy Awards 4 times, actor MONTGOMERY CLIFT was born in 1920 in Omaha. Received nominations for The Search (1948), A Place in the Sun (1951), From Here to Eternity (1953) and Judgement at Nuremberg (1961). (I just bought a VHS of From Here to Eternity for a buck. I'm not sure I ever saw the whole movie other than the famous beach scene.)


OHIO-- DON SHULA, born in 1930 in GRAND RIVER (pop. 399) was the winningest coach in NFL history with 347 career wins. He led the Miami Dolphins to Super Bowl victories in 1972 and 1973. His 1972 team recorded the only undefeated season in NFL history. (Which would have been tied had those lousy Dolphins not defeated Da Bears on that Monday Night game in 1985.)


SOUTH DAKOTA-- Visitors to Mount Rushmore spent more than $1 billion on everything from lodging to souvenirs in 2010, a record. This was a 10% increase over the year before. (It'll probably be less this year because of the GRBs at Big Oil.)

Never Been to Mount Rushmore. May Not Be Able to Buy the Gas to Do It Now. --RoadDog

Springfield April 29th-- Part 2: Ottawa, Illinois

Cruising out of Dekalb on Il-23, we saw advertising for a "Barn Sale." You know you're out in the "country" when you see that.

Gas in Ottawa was $3.90. In town we saw an interesting sign for Duffy's Auto and Sands Motel. Ottawa SURE has lots of stoplights on 23, but fortunately they work together. At one point it was neat seeing the lights change from red to green as we approached. Made me feel kind of important.

Also, an interesting Bowl-Mor sign.

Illinois-23 north of Pontiac has its own Mount Trashmore. A big festival in Pontiac featuring old farm/steam machinery, happens at the the Thresher Reunion grounds which are located by Mt. Trashmore.

We usually don't go Il-23 to Route 66, and the reason, I remembered, was that you go considerably out of your way on the road. But, we hadn't been on it in awhile, so we were ok with it.

Back on the Mother Road. --RoadDog