Monday, December 31, 2012

Oops, Accidental Posting to Saw the Elephant Civil War Blog

I hate when I do this, but, it happens.  I accidentally posted to that blog.  More trip stuff there.


Football On the Road Yesterday

Yesterday, it was a drive on I-24 to I-75 and, like Sherman, a March Through (Well, drive-through) Georgia.

And, we had to find some way to find out what Da Bears were up to and that's not easy in the South.  For some reason, Georgia is not big on Da Bears.

Entering Atlanta, we started seeing lots of vehicles with Falcon flags and stickers and even more as we approached downtown.  We then realized the team must be playing at home today in the Georgia Dome.  They were.

A whole lot of them were in the "Whadayahave? Whadayahave?" Varsity right across from Georgia Tech and near the Dome.  Talked with one group at the next table decked out in Falcon attire and congratulated them on the great year they were having and said we'd pull for them unless they played Da Bears or Da Pack.


Asked how "The Burner," Michael Turner was doing and told them he was from NIU.  They didn't know that.  But they did know we were in the Orange Bowl and they'd never heard of us before.  Even if worse comes to worse, at least folks will know who we are.

Leaving the Varsity was all sorts of fun as there wasn't an entry ramp where we got off.  Toured the Georgia Tech campus, then a whole bunch of Atlanta as we kept encountering streets closed because of the game and cops directing traffic.

Finally back on I-75 and cruising southward.  We did learn the Bears had a 20-10 lead during the Falcon game.  The Bears have to win as well as the Packers for Chicago to get into the playoffs.  We were especially hoping the Bears won because then our friends, all rabid Packer-haters, would be forced to cheer for the Pack.

Found out the Bears won, good, but unfortunately, the Packers lost, so no playoffs for the Bears this year.  Appears our buddies couldn't find a way to pull for the Cheeseheads.  Maybe it will end Smith's tenure and hopefully Cutler's as well.  That's two straight years they have squandered a great first half with a train wreck the second half.

They would have lost the first playoff game anyway.

This morning I see the Packers and Vikings will play again this coming Saturday night.

Go Pack!!!!!!!!!!   --RoadDog

Sunday, December 30, 2012

And, Speaking of Dropping Things

We made it as far as Dalton, Georgia, last night.  We had hoped to be south of Atlanta, but then we had encountered the worst that Tennessee could toss at us; more on that later.

Anyway, while watching the news last night on the Atlanta Fox station, I saw that they were putting the final touches on their annual New Year's celebration.  It's highlight is also dropping something.  You'd never guess what they would drop in Georgia. 

Think of a famous agricultural product from the state.  OK, think tree.

In a state with so many places names after the product, it comes as no surprise that they drop a........PEACH!!!

Feelin' a Bit Orangey Myself for Some Reason.  --RoadDog

Friday, December 28, 2012

It Was a Time of Oranges...It Was a Time of David Vs. Goliath

And, we're going.  It is David (AKA NIU) vs. Goliath (AKA FSU).  And the meeting date is New Year's Night in Miami (well, near it).  And we're hoping for the best.

These are definitely the most expensive tickets to any such event that we have ever bought.

We'll be showing out Northern Illinois spirit all those many miles.

We have a room right by Hollywood Beach, Florida, where we'll spend New Year's Eve (four places within a half block).  New Year's Day will be Huskie rallies, a pre-game alumni reception, and, the game.  Here's hoping for the best, but we don't play BCS teams, even the bad ones, very well.  And, Florida State is definitely not a bad BCS team (along with a penchant for running up scores).

Then, we're thinking a couple days at Clearwater Beach and a week at PCB.

Off and Away We Go.  --RoadDog

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's a Pickle Thing...You Wouldn't Understand

Just what would a town that calls itself the Pickle Capital of the World drop?  You got it.

Every New Year's Eve, some 2,000 revelers enjoy pickles, cookies and hot chocolate during the Mt.  Olive New Year's Eve Pickle Drop in Mount Olive, NC, (pop.4,589).  A glowing green pickle drops into a redwood tank.

It started as a lark 14 years ago when Johnny Walker, president emeritus of the Mt. Olive Pickle Co., gathered with a few employees to watch a pickle slide down a rope and it grew from there.  Since Walker had another party to attend that night, he had it at midnight Greenwich Mean Time, which would be 7 p.m. eastern.

It's just as dark at 7 as at midnight.  The party begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 7:05 p.m.  Partygoers bring canned food items for a local food bank and have a chance to win a door prize which includes a 3-foot pickle identical to the descending dill.

I need to go there sometime for this event as my family is much-tied to this town,  My dad was born there and my grandparents lived there.

It Drops Home With This One.  --RoadDog

Dropping Possums and Coal

In the self-proclaimed Possum Capital of the South, a descending marsupial marks the countdown at the New Year's Eve Possum Drop at Clay's Corner in Brasstown, NC, (pop 240).  Owner Clay Logan calls it a "hi-tech redneck event."

PETA has sued the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to prohibit the use of a live opossum for the event.  Logan says that in past years, the unharmed critter was released afterwards.

He started the shindig in 1993 to attract customers to his out-of-the-way store.  He sells possum-related hats, tee-shirts,postcards, etc..  It also features hillbilly humor, a Miss Possum contest and fireworks.

Shamokin, Pennsylvania, (pop. 7,374) its a New Year's Eve Coal Drop.  Hey, its in the heart of coal country.  A large black lump of Styrofoam wrapped in multicolored lights drops down a flagpole.

And, Pickles Get In On the Act.  --RoadDog

Thar She Drops

From Dec. 25-29 American Profile Magazine "Countdown to New Year by Marti Attoun.

In Manhattan, Kansas (pop. 52,281) it's a large, shimmering red 4-foot aluminum apple descends from a flagpole above Varney's bookstore.

In Allentown, Pa., a 200-pound Liberty Bell comes down.  In Mobile, Alabama, a 12-foot-tall Moon Pie does the same.


In 1829, British naval officer Robert Wauchope erected the first descending ball in Portsmouth, England, to allow sailors to set navigational instruments from offshore.

A "time ball" went up on the roof of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London to serve as a public time signal.  To this day it rises to the top five minutes before 1 p.m., then drops at exactly 1 p.m.

The real biggie is the one in Times Square in New York City which began in 1907.  It was originally iron and wood.  These days it is the center of the world's attention as a glittering 12-foot diameter Waterford Crystal ball descends 77 feet.

And, other cities across the country now do it.

Can't Beat Fun Dropping Things.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Matteson's Lincoln Highway Mural Unveiled

From the Dec. 24, 2012, Southtown Star by Susan Demar Lafferty.

The 30th mural in the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition was unveiled this past Dec. 22nd at 3627 W. 216th Street in Matteson.  It is the 7th in the Southland (south of Chicago).

About 50 attended the unveiling of the unique mural, unique in the fact that it is actually on the place it pictures and even has a 3-D element to it.  It highlights the Mahler family's auto garage which had served Matteson for over 100 years.

There are 179 miles of the Lincoln Highway across Illinois and plans call to eventually have a mural in every town along it as well as nearby ones.  All the murals are hand-painted by Jay Allen, owner of ShawCraft Sign Company and valued at $10,000 apiece.  When all the murals are up, the effort will be one of the largest public art projects in the country.

Way to Go ILHC.  --RoadDog

Monday, December 24, 2012

Florida Scenic Highways

The Florida Scenic Highway Program started in the mid-1990s.  They now have 24 roadways in it.

A1A is also a National Scenic Byway between Volusia and Duvall counties.

Beach driving has now been banned at Fort Mantanzas National Monument, south of St. Augustine.  In Florida, the area between mean high water and the ocean is considered a state highway.


Nebraska Designates Nine Scenic Byways in 2009

From the Nov. 17, 2009, Sioux City (Ne) Journal.

Lewis and Clark Byway--  231 miles

This one includes the Lewis & Clark Fish Camp on the site of the former Mahas Creek near the Missouri River where the expedition caught 318 fish one day and 800 the next.

Gold Rush Byway--  158 miles

Lincoln Highway Byway--  400 miles.

Always Great to Go for a Drive With a Purpose.  --RoadDog

Saturday, December 22, 2012

You Can Still Get Yer Chicken in the Rough

When I first got interested in Route 66, I came across this popular chicken that was once sold along the Mother Road and elsewhere across the country.  I was thinking that I needed to one day stop and get me some.  But, most likely, I thought it was probably no longer served anywhere.  So it was going to be like getting one of Ernie Edwards' famous PigHip Sandwiches.  Wasn't going to happen.

However, I came across three locations where you can still get it.  Unfortunately, back when I wrote this information, I wasn't including dates, so maybe they do, maybe they don't.

1535 Pine Grove Avenue in Port Huron, Michigan

6211 Point Tremble Road in Algonac, Michigan

680 Cathcart Blvs. in Sarnia, Ontario

By 1950, the company had its chicken franchised in 250 places.

One of its ads had a rooster and a chicken playing golf.  The chicken says, "I'd gladly be fried for Chicken In the Rough."

Maybe I Need To Go To Michigan.  --RoadDog

Friday, December 21, 2012

Five Irish Farmers Drive 66 on Their Tractors

From the Oct. 8, 2012, Irish Central "Five Irish farmers ride Route 66 from LA to Chicago" by Antoinette Kelly.

Kevin Curran's "Bets," a 1963 Fordson Dexta tractor left Los Angeles on October 7th and plans to drive 2,500 miles to Chicago.  He figures on fifteen days.

He has made other treks in Ireland, but none this long.

He and the others are raising money to fight cancer for the Irish Cancer Society.

Good Cause, Great Fun.  --RoadDog

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The East Carolina-Marshall Football Game-- Part 1

The day after Thanksgiving, my brother Bob drove his son Andy, grandson Charlie and me to Greenville, North Carolina for the East Carolina game.  Dad would have been so proud to have so many generations going to the game.   Mom and Dad have a business scholarship at the school and they gave Mom four tickets for the game.

We drove US-13 north from Goldsboro to Greenville.  Both Mom and Dad graduated from ECU (ECTC for Dad).  Most likely, I would have gone there had I continued living in North Carolina.  The whole family lived there for a year and a half back for half of my fourth grade and whole fifth grade where I went to the lab school.  The ECTC stood for East Carolina Teachers College.  Mom became a teacher (and my sister and I followed in her footsteps.

Greenville has certainly grown a whole lot since we lived there.  I had on my mind a stop at the local Carolina BBQ place, Parker's,  and we found it.  Wow, bbq, cole slaw, hush puppies, tea and two other sides.  Then, a football game.  That's living mighty fine.

Then, it was to the stadium where we had an assigned parking space right next to the field, well, one spot over from it, but I guess beggars can't be choosers.  And, for free!!

If ECU won the game and University of South Florida lost, then the Pirates go to the Conference USA Championship game versus Tulsa.  So, there was a lot riding on the game.

Getting Into That Pirate Thing.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

NC Thanksgiving Trip: Antietam Battlefield

November 20th

I drove the short distance from Hagerstown, Maryland, where I had spent the night across rolling hills and on a two-lane road.  Upon arriving in Sharpsburg (the Confederate name for the battle after the town), I found out why I could not find any motels in town during a search on the internet before leaving home.  There were none.

I had wanted to eat breakfast in town, which is past the National Park Service Visitors Center and maybe strike up a conversation with some locals or other Civil War buffs.  But, there were no restaurants other than a couple bars that advertised food, but neither appeared open.

I did pass the Battle View Market, which appeared to be more a small grocery store than anything else.  I went inside to get a coffee and doughnut, but found they also had regular breakfasts, so I ordered an omelet that turned out to be very so-so.  The locals really kept to themselves so no conversation was struck. 

They did, however, have battle souvenirs and even dug bullets.

I later heard at the battlefield that the town of Sharpsburg has passed laws keeping the town looking as much as it did in 1862 as possible and that there would be none of the Gettysburg hoopla surrounding this battlefield.

Then, I went to the visitors center.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Route 66 Museum in Litchfield

From the October 8, 2012, CBS St. Louis.

It should be open sometime in 2013 across the street from Jubelt's Bakery and the famous Ariston Cafe at what used to be Vic Suhling's"Gas for Less"station whose sign remains (but building long gone).

The building is built, but there is a lack of funds for the exhibits.  It will also be home of the Montgomery County Genealogical Society.

The expected cost is $500,000.

Illinois loves its Route 66 as there are already Route 66 museums at Joliet, Odell, Pontiac and Springfield.

Something else to see in Illinois along the Mother Road.

Loving That Old Road.  --RoadDog

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gas Expenditures on the NC Trip

Date, location, price per gallon regular, gallons bought, price

11-18  Crawfordsville, Ind.,  $3.40, 10,529, $35.9
11-19  Zanesville, Ohio, $3.33, 7.767, $25.86
11-19  Hagerstown, Md, $3.56, 10.481, $37.70
11-20  Ashland, Va., $3.24, 6.822, $22.10
11-29  Goldsboro, NC, $3.23, 6.680, $21.57
11-30  Wytheville, Va., $3.16, 7.242, $$22.88
12-1  Reynoldsburg, Ohio, $3.30, 9.754, $32.18
12.1  Crawfordsville, Ind., $3.33, 7.173, $23.88
12-4 Fox Lake, Il, $3.40, 8.197, $27.86

Total gallons bought 74.645.  Money spent $249.42

NC Trip November 2012: Car Stats

I left home November 18, 2012 with odometer at 10,983 miles and set the trip o. to zero.  Returning home December 1st, the odometer was  13,301 miles and 2318 for the trip.  The overall mpg was at 27.8 when I left and 32.8 on return.

I listened to the usual Sunday shows on my way around the Chicago area on Il-47.  That would be Breakfast With the Beatles on WXRT and Rock and Roll Roots on WDRV.

Gas prices on 47:  $3.65 in Elburn, $3.35 in Yorkville, $3.48 in Morris.

About the time I got to Forrest, I picked up 98.3, the Whip and had plenty of Christmas music.  In Gibson City, I was stopped by a fast-moving, but short train.  Drove through the downtown where they had a big Christmas tree set up in the middle of the street.  I have never seen a busier McDonald's than the one at Gibson City.

Listening to the new Jason Aldean album and the Rolling Stones' Greatest Hits double CD, Grrr.

Got my first gas of the trip in Crawfordsville, Indiana, on I-74.

Gas Prices Next.  --RoadDog

Saturday, December 15, 2012

No Place for a Fear of Heights in Australia

From the Dec. 9, 2012, Chicago Tribune "Dragging a fear of heights above Sydney" by Suzanne I. Cohen.

This is about her walk/climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.  I was fortunate to see it thanks to Mom who took my sister and me there back around eight years ago.  We had the opportunity to climb it...but, there was no way that was going to happen.  Some of our tour group did climb it and were not of much use the rest of the day.

One of its records is the world's widest single-span bridge at 161-feet (with two train tracks, 8 traffic lanes, a pedestrian walkway and bicycle lane).

By the Numbers:

** 1,332 steps to climb
**  3.770 feet long
** 6 million rivets
**  Nicknamed the "Coat Hanger" for its arched design
**  440 feet from the top to the harbor (called Port Jackson)

They had simulation drills before climbing.  Donned jumpsuits, hard hats with radio headsets and locked onto a static line anchored to the guard rail (just in case you do you-know-what).   It took two hours to get to the top in the three-and-a-half hour trip.

The Travel Channel calls it on of the Top Ten things to do in the world.

Something I Have No Intention of Ever Doing.  I'll get My Kicks Just Driving Across It.--RoadDog

Reliving Chistmas Past on the Lincoln Highway-- Part 2

Definitely a place on my list the next time through Pennsylvania.  I have never driven the Lincoln Highway east of Canton, Ohio.  Maybe a stop next November on my way to North Carolina.  I would also like to be in Gettysburg on November 19, 2013, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Since opening his museum in 1998, Jim Morrison has had to expand several times to showcase his ever-growing collection.  Among his prized collections are holiday displays that were once in Columbus and Chicago department stores.  He has the Columbus, Ohio's Lazurus Department Store's Tudor Town, but his favorite is the 90-year-old display from Chicago's State Street Marshall Field's.

The nearly-life-size Nativity scene was made by master carvers in northern Italy at the end of World War I and brought to Chicago and shown for only a few years.

After decades of gathering dust, Target, the parent company of Marshall Field's donated the entire exhibit to Morrison's museum.  It is part of a larger collection of religious items.

There is also a Christmas around the world with Grandfather frost and St. Lucia.

Another exhibit is Christmas Memories of the 1950s.

Then, A Visit Might Give Me Ideas. Maybe I'd Best Not Go. --RoadDog

Reliving Christmas Past on the Lincoln Highway-- Part 1

From the Dec. 9, 2012, Chicago Tribune "Reliving Christmas Past" by Jay Jones.

Paradise, Pennsylvania, is in Amish country along U.S. Highway 30 (the Lincoln Highway).  And, as the sign in the parking lot says, "We're more than you expect,"  especially if you like Christmas and all its trappings.

Museum curator and founder, Jim Morrison, has found a place for his huge collection of Christmas memorabilia.  He started his collection at age 7, the day after Thanksgiving 1946 on a trip to Philadelphia, about an hour east of the museum.  He used a quarter to buy three small cardboard houses at the Woolworth's store. 

They are in the museum's first gallery, a replica of F.W. Woolworth's store at Christmas time. (Woolworth's first store was in nearby Lancaster.)

Morrison says he had a four bedroom house in Maryland so filed with his collection that he ended up sleeping on the sofa.  "It's an addiction," he says.  I can relate to that.

The National Christmas Center opened in 1998 and is at 3427 Lincoln Highway in Paradise, Pa..  Admission for adults is $12 and is open Saturdays and Sundays in March and April, then daily May 1 through January 6th.  It is closed, of course, on Christmas Day.

Something Else to See.  --RoadDog

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ten Best States to Retire In This Year

From the Oct. 26, 2012, Yahoo! Finance--  Business Insider by Mandi Woodruff.

Considers seven key factors: cost of living, property taxes, violent crime rates, climate, life expectancy for seniors, recent population growth in senior demographic and unemployment.

1.  Hawaii--  despite of cost of living
2.  Idaho
3.  Utah
4.  Arizona
5.  Virginia

6.  Colorado
7.  Tie: Florida and New Mexico
9.  South Dakota
10.  Tie: California and Texas

If they keep raising our property taxes here in Illinois, we're out of here.  Almost $10,000 now.

We're Outa Here!!  --RoadDog

Thursday, December 13, 2012

That Old Time Music and Bluegrass in Galax, Virginia

The radio station WBRF transmits from Galax, Virginia.  Never heard of it, so looked up some information on it on good old Wikipedia.  I'm glad I did as I'm putting it on my list of places to visit next time through.

The city of Galax is located in the southwest part of Virginia, by its panhandle.  I figured it was pronounced Galax with a short first "a", but it turns out to be a long "a."

It is famous for its "old-timey music and musicians."  Actually, the whole area between Galaz and Mt. Airy is considered the center of this genre.

"Old Time Music" has its roots in the folk music of England, Scotland, Ireland and Africa.  It also features folk dances such as square dancing, buck dancing and clogging.  Its instruments are acoustic stringed ones.  One of the better-known groups is The Lost City Ramblers.

The Blue Ridge Music Center is located just a few miles away from Galaz on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 213.  Every year the Old Fiddler's Convention is held as it has been ever since 1935.

Getting My Andy, Porkchop Sandwiches and Music to Boot.  --RoadDog

Classic Country, 98.1 FM WBRF in Galax, Virginia

The station transmits at 100,000 watts from a transmitter 3,500 feet above sea level and you can get good reception all the way from north of Wytheville, Virginia to Greensboro, North Carolina.  That's over the air.  They also stream live.

A recent partial playlist:

XXX's AND OOO's--  Trishas Yearwood
LOVING UP A STORM--  Razzy Bailey
LET IT SNOW--  Anne Murray

NOBODY FALLS LIKE A FOOL--  Earl Thomas Conley
WALK ON OUT OF MY MIND--  Waylon Jennings

They even have Charlie Brown's "On the Beach" Beach Music show on Saturdays.

Like I Said, Mighty Good Country.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Two Really Fine Radio Stations on the Trip-- Part 2: Classic Country

I left Goldsboro on Nov. 30th, listening to the double CD, Grr, the  Rolling Stones greatest hits package, to Durham and then Lobo to Winston-Salem where I tuned into 98.1 FM WBRF, a station featuring classic country music, which, unlike WWHP, has deejays playing the music (at least during the day).  I listened to it through Mt. Airy and past Wytheville, Virginia, until I hit the first of the two tunnels on I-77.  The last song I heard was Mac Davis' "It's Hard to Be Humble."  After the tunnel, I lost reception.  I guess because I was on the other side of a really big mountain.

I've listened to this station on many occasions while driving through this area.  Being a big country music fan (and I'm listening to the station right now streaming over the internet), I love the songs, especially since they are old, like me.

I did some research on the station at its website.  They broadcast out of Galax, Virginia, in the southwestern part of the state and near Mt. Airy, NC, Andy Griffith's hometown and Snappy Lunch.  A look at its broadcast area puts Mt. Airy right in the center.

They claim to play 50 years of country and from 6 PM to 10:30, play bluegrass and Old Time Music (more on that later). 

When You're Perfect in Every Way.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So, Where Actually Is Farmer City?

All these times through the area on my way to or from North Carolina, I never did know exactly where Farmer City was (the town where WWHP is located).  I was very familiar with Farmersville on the old Route 66 between Springfield and Litchfield in Illinois (off I-55).  At first, I was thinking that was what they were saying, even.

Plus, they often had commercials for places in Urbana/Champaign and Bloomington/Normal so very likely somewhere between those two twin cities.  I looked the place up, and it is half way between the two places on US-150/I-74 in DeWitt County.  As of the 2000 census, it had 2,055 people. 

It was first settled in 1830 and Lincoln went through the area on his judicial circuit riding.

Farmer City is classified as a city, so is the City of Farmer City.


The station claims to be located somewhere between Memphis and Chicago and Blues all day Mondays.  The station streams at

Two Really Fine Radio Stations on the Trip-- Part 1: The Whip

I've driven to North Carolina so often, I have found two radio stations close to the same FM number that I always try to tune in when I'm in the area.

The first is in central Illinois at 98.3 FM,. WWHP, the Whip.  On Il-47, you start to get good reception at Forrest, north of Champaign.  This station plays bluegrass, alternative country, blues and Americana, often on auto-feed, but sometimes with a deejay (even better).  They are based out of Farmer City, Illinois, 

There was to be Christmas parade in a local town and were playing Christmas songs I'd never heard before.  Of course, any time I listen to the station, I hadn't heard most of what they play which is why I like it so much.  (I was hoping they hadn't switched to the all-Christmas song format that so many stations do this time of the year these days.  Heard it on the way back and there was no Christmas music!!  Good news.

I take I-74 east from Mahomet, past Champaign-Urbana and reception continues until about half-way between those two towns and Danville.

Well worth giving it a listen if you're in the area.

Give Me That Whip and I'll Cruise.  --RoadDog

Monday, December 10, 2012

Music From the Road: Lobo

And, I had always thought Lobo was the name of the group made famous for "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo," kind of a takeoff on Me and Bobby McGee as I always think.

I brought along The Best of Lobo CD for my driving pleasure.  And, I read in the liner notes that Lobo was just one guy, Roland Kent LaVoie.  Actually, I was thinking Lobo only had that one hit that hit it big, #5, but he also had two other Top Tens #2 "I'd Love You to Want Me," and #8 "Don't Expect Me to be Your Friend."  And, then there five other Top 40s.

LaVoie sold 15 million singles and three million albums!!  He grew up in Florida and as a teenager competed with a band which had Gram Parsons and Jim "Spiders and Snakes" Stafford in the Winter Haven, Fl. area.  His producer for "Boo" was Phil Gernhard who had worked with the Royal Guardsmen on those Snoopy hits.

I also liked "She Didn't Do Magic," "A Simple man," "A Big Red Kite, "Rock and Roll Days" and "Rings."

Well Worth a Listen.  --RoadDog

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bits of 66: Motels-- Street Car-- Sonrise Donuts

Some Newer News About An Old Road.

1.  MOTELS--  The Helium web site's Lonna Gonya listed the best places to stay on Route 66: Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, NM, 1939, operated by Lillian Redman 1958-1998; El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, NM, 1930s; Wigwam Villages San Bernardino and Holbrook, Arizona and the Munger-Moss  Motel, Lebanan, Missouri.

We've stayed in all but the Wigwams as we always reached them too early in the afternoon to stay.  Maybe next time.

2.  STREET CAR--  The Riviera street car has now been moved to nearby Gardner, Illinois.  The town came out, lifted it onto a flatbed truck and took it away.  Its new location will be next to the historic jail in town.

The move was necessitated by the fire that burned down the old Riviera that looked highly suspicious.

3.  SONRISE DONUTS--  This neat place with its striking sign, is set to reopen in Springfield, Illinois.  Back in 2005, we were fortunate enough to catch a meal there on one of the rare times it was open.


Friday, December 7, 2012

71 Years Ago-- "The Day of Infamy"

As I do every year at this time, I devote mention on all my blogs to the events of that day 71 years ago in Pearl Harbor, when the United States was hit by a giant "sucker punch" from the empire of Japan.

The retaliation was incredible.

Not Forgetting.  --RoadDog

Music From the Road-- Part 2: Country, No Chaser

Along with Steve miller's "Book of Dreams" I had three recently released CDs by country stars: Jason Aldean's "Night Train," "Toby Keith's "Hope on the Rocks" and Josh Turner's "Punching Bag."  Of course, liking all three of them, I liked all three albums.

Josh Turner, of course, was often singing in that really deep voice of his.  I always look to see the writing credits as I respect them even more when they are singing their own songs.  Josh Turner does that on most of the songs.  Some were co-written with Ben Hayslip and Mark Narmore.  "For the Love of God" featured Ricky Skaggs.

Toby Keith put out a typical Toby Keith album, co-writing most of the songs, but only one with Scotty Emerick who used to be in on most of them.  Bobby Pinson is in on six of the ten cuts and Rivers Rutherford on two.

Jason Aldean does very well being Jason Aldean and singing country music with an edge, often taking the little, loser guy approach to life.  Neil Thrasher wrote a lot of the songs.  One, "The Only Way I Know is sung with two up-and-coming country singers Luke Bryan and Eric Church.  I especially liked "1994" with the "Joe Diffie" chorus.  Diffie is one of my favorites.

Liked 'Em All.  --RoadDog

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Music From the Road-- Part 1: "Book of Dreams"

I did get to listen to all five of the CDs I took along on my recent North Carolina Thanksging trip. One thing I can say about the '11 Malibu is that it has a great sound system as does the '05 Dakota.I have to admit there were times that the volume might have been just a wee bit LOUD, but not as loud as some of those vehicles where, when they are near you, you think there is an earthquake happening.  You know, the ones I call, "Boom-Booms."

Anyway, I popped Steve Miller's "Book of Dreams" from 1977 into the old CD player on the third day out as I drove from Hagerstown, Maryland, to the Antietam Battlefield.  It will now always remind me of the drive that morning down the country roads with all that fog this particular day as well as looking around Sharpsburg for a place to eat breakfast.  And, that was not as easy as you'd expect as Sharpsburg has gone out of its way to make sure it retains the same look as it did back in 1862 and avoid the commercialization of Gettysburg.  Also played it driving to Harper's Ferry and then backtracking into Maryland and to the DC horror.

Of course, this album had the biggies: "Jet Airliner," "Swing Town" and "Jungle Love," but I was wanting to hear the other songs on it as I had never bought it back in the 70s.  "Winter Time" reminded me a whole lot of the Mamas and Papas "California Dreaming" for some reason.

Then, there were two songs that could have been big hits if pushed: "True Fine Love" and "The Stake," a great blues song.

A Great Album.  --RoadDog

And, speaking of the 1970s, Bob Stroud goes back to 1970 on his Ten at Ten show on Chicago's WDRV, 97.1 FM at 10 AM and 10 PM CST.  Not only the music, but the bits of information given every two songs.  I'll be listening and recording.

Good and Bad News Out of Route 66's Times Beach, Missouri

FIRST, THE GOOD NEWS: The Route 66 Park near Eureka, Missouri, established in 1999 with a visitors center in an old 66 restaurant (now separated from the park because of the bridge closing) announced that soil sample testing shows it is still safe after the dangerous pesticides caused the town to be shut down.

THEN, THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS:  From the Oct. 27, 2012, Eureka-Wildwood Patch.  I just read that the bridge, which has been slated to be taken down, is now being taken apart, well, at least the deck is.  It has been declared unsafe, even for pedestrian traffic.  The 80-year-old bridge was a part of Route 66 connecting Times Beach across the Ceramic River.

The concrete deck is being cut into slabs and removed while the beams will be left in case the bridge is rebuilt in the next five years.  They expect to be done by December 14th.

I'm glad we 've had the opportunity to drive across the bridge several times before it was condemned.  here's hoping it can be rebuilt, especially since it does cause a problem with the Route 66 Park, with its visitors center/museum now being separated from park itself.  Now, you have to get back on I-44 to get between the two parts.

Here's Hoping the Bridge is Rebuilt.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Route 66 Attraction: Mitchell's Caverns, California

From Wikipedia (and I promise to make a donation this week as I use this source a whole lot).

In the previous post, I mentioned the Mitchell Cave.  I don't remember seeing it or knowing about it back when we went through there in 2006, but at one time it was a privately-owned tourist attraction and now operated by the state.  Perhaps I'll go there the next time through.

It is now called Mitchell's Caverns in the California State Mitchell Cavern Natural Preserve and is located at the end of Essex Road (the one Jack Mitchell built) near I-40 (The Needles Expressway, I didn't know that) in San Bernardino County, California.

Jack Mitchell owned and operated the site from 1934 to 1954 as it served as a tourist attraction and rest stop for travelers along the old Route 66.  He also had mining rights in the area and dug several prospect holes and tunnels, some of which still exist.

It became a state recreation area in 1956.  The surrounding area is now part of the National Park Service's Mojave Desert unit, but the caverns are still operated by the state.  Tours can be arranged.

Something to See Out in the Desert.  --RoadDog

Mojave Desert Area Route 66 Towns Named Alphabetically-- Part 2

The Auto Club of Southern California had free drinking fountains built that resembled old-fashioned wishing wells.  They are still there, but out of order.

These desert towns are now essentially "ghost towns."  But, between some of them there are interesting signs and messages formed of rocks.  I was interested in the various dry washes that evidently at times host floods.

Twenty miles east of Essex, Jack Mitchell found a limestone cavern in the Providence Mountains.  He single-handedly built a road to Essex to attract travelers.

Along with the rock art, you can find shoe trees and even a boxer short tree.

Things to Do Out in a Desert.  --RoadDog

Mojave Desert Area Route 66 Towns Named Alphabetically-- Part 1

From the December 23, 2009 Pasadena (Ca) Star-News.  Part 7 of an ongoing series by Claudia Heller.The town of Fenner was once on Route 66, but because of realignment is now off, the same with Goffs.

Approaching the town, there is a 20-foot high sign announcing "GAS"  which is so expensive that management has a sign asking travelers not to harass employees about the prices.  There is a small picnic area, pond and a station serving food.  (Yes, you have to take out a second mortgage to get gas in Amboy.  Even more expensive than Chicago.)

Fenner is a former railroad water station along with others across the Mojave Desert, all named alphabetically: Amboy, Bristol, Cadiz, Danby, Essex, Fenner, Goffs, Homer, Ibris and Java.

Essex, west of Fenner, used to have cafes, markets and garages with on-duty mechanics.  It was known as a place where you could get a free drink (of what not mentioned, but being in a desert, perhaps water?)  In deserts, restaurants and gas stations charged you if you wanted a drink of water.  (OK, that answers it.)

I'm Getting Thirsty, But Not for Water.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Getting Our "Oranges" Ready: A Bowling We Go

Last year this time we were making plans to go to the Go-Daddy Bowl in Mobile.  Right now, we are planning to go to the Orange Bowl in Miami.  Is there a difference between the two bowls?  You betcha there is.

Although, we sure had a great time at that last one and played Arkansas State, a team and school that reminded us very much of out NIU.  This year, the opponent will be Florida State.  That is a huge jump in competition and we sure are hoping for the best.  Our team is hot and on a roll, but alas, we are still mid-major which always means difficulty when we play one of the Big Boys.

We have already gotten a room for New Year's Eve and day as we plan to drive down.  Last year, we paid $40 a ticket for the Go-Daddy Bowl, but now that we are in the land of the Big Boys, prices have certainly gone up.  Lowest nose-bleed seats in the end zone are $75 and go up to $225.

Ouch!!  --RoadDog

California's Cultural Survey of Route 66

From the Dec. 22, 2010, Los Angeles Times.

Catching up on some older articles.

The California Preservation Foundation and the National Park Service used a $65,000 grant to do a cultural survey of the famous highway.  A 1931 AAA guide showed that there was 332 miles of Route 66 from Needles to Los Angeles.

A number of Route 66 sites in the state are already on the NRHP, including the Aztec Hotel in Monrovia and the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena.

Lots of desert in That State.  --RoadDog

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Football On the Road Home Yesterday: Way Too Sad

Yesterday, I had plenty of college football on the way from Columbus, Ohio, to home. 

My brother Bob called to congratulate the Huskies on the victory and said he had watched the game all the way through.  Mom had called last night during the game to say she too was watching.

I had a nice talk with the manager of the Skyline Chili place off I-70 in Dayton, Ohio.  He had watched the game last night and said it was one of the best he'd ever seen.  Of course, I was in full Huskie garb at the time, just in case someone didn't know who I was for.  We talked Huskie football for awhile and I told him that unfortunately we would soon have to be looking for a new head coach even though Doeren was signed through 2017.

At the Pilot station in Crawfordsville, Indiana, a carload of Nebraska Cornhusker fans pulled in and piled out for food.  They were in full regalia as well and headed for Indianapolis for the Big 10, er-11, er-12, well, now Big 14 Conference Championship game with Wisconsin.  I said nothing to them as I'm pulling for Wisconsin.  Of course, who cares about little-bitty NIU when you're from one of the Big Guys.

I tuned into 670 AM, the Score, and listened to the Georgia-Alabama SEC Championship game on my way.  This was a great game, going back and forth a lot.  I was for Georgia as I did go there one year and several family members graduated from there.

Enjoying the game (Georgia was ahead) when they did a recap on yesterday's games.  I was enjoying hearing the MAC Championship game which NIU won in double overtime over a very good Kent State team. 

That is when the bombshell dropped.  They announced that our coach had become the North Carolina State football coach.  Again, I knew it was coming, but was hoping for at least one more year to prove himself since most of his starters are from the previous coach who left two years ago.  When you hire a young coach like Doeren, they are always looking to go to the next level, no matter what they say about commitment and loyalty.

Sure wasn't a happy drive the rest of the way, especially when Georgia lost.

At Least Wisconsin Demolished Nebraska.  --RoadDog

Bits O' 66: Waldmire-- Joplin

Bits 'O 66--  Some bits of news about the old road.

1.  WALDMIRE:--  From the Oct. 12, 2012, Pontiac Daily Leader.  A movie crew was at the Route 66 Museum and Hall of Fame filming Bob Walmire's school bus and van for a documentary on our late-great friend and one of those characters you meet along Route 66.  Looking forward to seeing it.

2.  JOPLIN:  From the Oct. 20, 2012, Kansas City Star.  Joplin, Missouri is still recovering from that devastating May 2011 tornado, but will host the International Route 66 Festival Aug. 1-3, 2013.  Also connected to the event, will be a meeting of the eight state Route 66 Associations and National Park Service which will explore ways of preserving and promoting the road.

The last two festivals have been held in Victorville, California, and Amarillo, Texas.

We're planning on going to this one.

Just Some News.  --RoadDog

Getting Your British Kicks on the Mother Road

From the October 12, 2012, Telegraph (UK) "Get your taste of Britain in a pub on Route 66."

Farmers Gastropub in Springfield, Missouri, has been voted by Telegraph readers as the best British pub outside of the United Kingdom.

You can get bangers and mash as well as Morland's Old Speckled Hen.  The pub imports British foods, but some are a little different because of strict US food laws.

Where's That Shepherds Pie?  --RoadDog

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Doing Some More National Road

Just got back home after a two week trip to North Carolina for Thanksgiving.

Today, I had some time to kill so figured this would be a good time to take the National Road/US-40 through Columbus, Ohio, since it was a Saturday.  But got lost partly because of myself and one-way streets so missed most of down town, but did see the Confederate Cemetery at Camp Chase and the Route 40 Motel west of town.

Entering Indiana at Richmond, I got off I-70 to visit the National Road Welcome Center and found a ceremony to dedicate a marker going on outside the place so stuck around to see it.  The Indiana National Road Association, working with other groups has a series of explanatory markers across the entire state now.

Doing Mt NR Thing.  --RoadDog

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Shows of Myrtle Beach, SC-- Part 2: It's a Christmas Thing

Breakfasts both Tuesday and Wednesday were at Uncle John's Restaurant, a half block away from the Dayton House.  We got to choose from ten different breakfasts and this was much nicer than what you usually get in the motel lobbies.  I had an omelet the first day and French toast the second, both times with sausage and juice.

Tuesday, we went to the Tanger Outlet Shopping Center off US-17.  This was an upscale bargain center (kind of an at-odds concept if you ask me).  Since there is nothing really upscale about me, I wasn't too impressed and there weren't a lot of places of interest to me, so did a lot of walkning and only bought a couple things at the first store I went to, Vanity Fare.

Back to the hotel and rested before going to Benjamin's Calabash Buffet, and, wow.  Lots of nautical decor and more different kinds of seafood than you can imagine, including crablegs and probably ten kinds of shrimp.

Then, it was on to the Carolina Opry (next to Pirates Voyage) for their annual Christmas show, and was that ever an entertainment extravaganza.

I'll write more about it later.

Who Needs Branson With This MB.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Shows of Myrtle Beach, SC-- Part 1

The last three days I was along with my mom's church group to Myrtle Beach on a seniors trip.  For $175, it was a hard deal to beat.  That included the bus trip there and back.  Two nights in a suite at the Dayton House Hotel right on the Atlantic Ocean.

Monday, we ate lunch at the Myrtle Beach Cracker Barrel and at 6 went to the Pirates Voyage Christmas Show.  This was in the old Dolly Parton Dixie Stampede building and included a  four-course meal. 

After that show, we went to Shadrack's Christmas Light Show at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans stadium.  That was quite a light show put to Christmas music.

Also included was a full breakfast at Uncle John's Restaurant across from the Dayton House for both mornings.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Yep, That Chandler Harnish Is That Good

Also, on my first day on the road, November 18th, I had it in my plans to stop at the Skyline Chili place at Exit 29 on I-70 in Ohio (north of Dayton) for some of that great Cincy Chili.  After having a delightful four-way meal ( I don't particularly care for the beans in five-way), I saw a guy wearing an Indianapolis Colts sweatshirt finishing his five-way and watching the Colts game on TV.  They were playing the Patriots and getting blown out.

I told him that they should put former NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish in and give him a chance to play.  He said that the Colts had released him, which is a good thing as he was not going to get much of a chance to play with that Luck qb.  (Harnish had gotten picked last in this year's NFL draft, Mr. Irrelevant.)

He said that he had seen Harnish play and that he was more impressed with his play than Luck's.  He agreed that Harnish is a good qb.

Hope Harnish catches on somewhere other than the Bears, unfortunately.  They have no idea when it comes to quarterbacks.

In Total Agreement.  --RoadDog

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lincoln Highway Wins the Showdown Over Route 66

There were just two Lincoln Highway and one Route 66 team left in the competition going into the semifinal weekend and the two old roads shared one, Joliet Catholic.

Joliet Catholic lost and the other Lincoln team, Lincoln-Way East, named for the highway, won and will go on to the championship game against Glenbard West today.

The first competition ended up with a tie.  Last year Lincoln won, so Lincoln Highway is now 2-0-1. 

Congrats Lincoln!!  --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Gotta Watch the Speed More

While cruising through the town of Huntley, Illinois, early into my trip, I saw a cop getting ready  to turn onto Il-47 going south.  He  got in behind me, one of the worst feelings you can get when driving.  I wasn't sure if I had been speeding as I wasn't really watching the speedometer at the time, but sure did when I saw him. I was sure happy I hadn't had a drink or two.  But even then, a cop behind you is never good.

A short time later, he passed me in the left lane.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

About a mile down the road, he pulled off...even better news.  Then another half mile down the road and he's back behind me again.  Not a good thing.

He continued following me past the tollway and mighty close to my  bumper.  Now what? Then, the lights came on.  I pulled over and, thank goodness, he pulled around me and pulled the guy over in front of me.

Breathing a Big Sigh of Relief, I Continued, But Kept an Eye on the Speed.  --RoadDog

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Getting Ready to Shove Off

Within the hour, I plan to be on the road and heading for North Carolina by way of Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.

I'm packed (except for the stuff I will for sure forget), the Christmas lights are up, the plants will be watered thoroughly and cars in the garage repositioned.

I haven't exactly figured out how I'm going from the Battle of Antietam site in Maryland to Richmond, perhaps US-15.

Hopefully, I will be able to post along the way, but you never know with motels, especially the cheaper ones I frequent.

Here Come the Music and the Miles.  --RoadDog

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Road Music on the North Carolina Trip

Heading out for Thanksgiving with the family tomorrow morning, so, of course, I go nowhere without my music.  I like to bring along some CDs that I haven't listened to yet for the cruise.  Of course, I also listen to local radio stations in between the CDs.

I have three recent country CDs for this trip:

NIGHT TRAIN--  Jason Aldean
PUNCHING BAG--  Josh Turner

Then, there are two others that I have not heard before, oldies though they be:

BOOK OF DREAMS--  Steve Miller Band
BEST OF LOBO--  You remember "Me and You and a Dog Named ____."

I'm hoping to make it to Zanesville, Ohio, tomorrow night, then take the National Road to Cumberland, Maryland, Monday night and then tour the Antietam Battlefield on Tuesday and Goldsboro, NC, Wednesday.

Lots of Miles, Lots of Tunes.  --RoadDog

Doing My Cincy Thing-- Part 2: Well, Chicago and Ohio

I'm listening to WXRT right now and Terri Hemmert, host of that great Breakfast With the Beatles show on Sunday mornings, is interviewing another Ohio expatriate and both said they were happy to get out of the state and to Chicago.

I have a love-hate emotion toward Chicago.  I love the history, buildings and sports teams, plus, I grew up in the Northwest Suburbs so that is always home turf to me, but hate the rip-off prices you encounter everywhere, especially downtown.  We used to go to places in Chicago two or three times a month until the Cubs got lights back in the 80s and then the city instituted the on-street parking bans for out-of-city folk and, of course, now, there is that whole expensive parking meter thing.  I go to Chicago maybe once a year now.

Ohio, on the other hand is one great state.  I like it all.  It started with Cleveland, and especially the area called the Flats and then for many years, Put-In-Bay by Toledo/Sanduskey on America;s North Coast. Of course, then there are those two great performers from Put-In-Bay, Mike "Mad Dog" Adams and Pat Dailey.

 Most recently, thanks to my buddy Denny, it's been Cincinnati.  Besides being the setting for my all-time favorite sit-com, "WKRP in Cincinnati," this is one varied, amazing city.  I'm thinking right now of getting there for the Reds' season opener in April this spring.

And, then, there's that great Cincy chili.  I'm figuring on stopping on I-70 tomorrow to get some of that stuff at he Skyline Chili place located north of Dayton.

Sure Lovin' That State.  --RoadDog

Friday, November 16, 2012

On the NRHP and Just Off the Lincoln

From the Nov. 25, 2011, Ogle "Black Hawk Statue."

Oregon's (Illinois) most famous landmark is now on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) as of Nov. 5th.  Kind of surprising it wasn't on the list earlier.  It is an important work in the history of American sculpture by famed Lorado Taft.

The Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce estimates the statue gets 400,000 visitors a year.

Most call it the Black Hawk statue, but the 50-foot high Sauk medicine man statue is not really him.  It is the largest monolith poured concrete statue in the United States, built in 1910 and unveiled and dedicated in 1911.  It stands tall and proud on a bluff overlooking the Rock River and is owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

As can be expected with something that old, there are repair concerns with it, so hopefully this will help.

The statue is fairly close to the Lincoln Highway and has been an side trip for its travelers right since the road first opened in 1913.

Impressive Piece of Work.  --RoadDog

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Closing Down the 2012 Boating Season-- Part 3

I put maybe 50 gallons of gas in the boat over the course of the season and not bad.  Some of the bigger boats on the Chain go through that in a day or less.  Of course, when most of the time we putt out to the middle of a bay or lake, turn the engine off, turn the radio up and float, that just doesn't use up a lot of gas, except when we drift too close to a shore and have to turn it on and putt back to the middle.

I generally read a magazine (newspapers are too hard to read in the breeze) and Liz works crosswords.  She is usually in the bow and I'm at the stern.  Should there be too much sun, we put up the Bimini top.

Another favorite thing is to boat over to McDonald's for breakfast and then eat it out in the cove.  This always draws a lot of mallards, Canadian geese and seagulls begging for food.  And then the squabbles begin, much to our entertainment.  There are not many places where you can boat into a McDonald's, but you can here in Fox Lake, Illinois.

The first several times out, we had an added bonus and were able to go over to the bald eagle nest on Fox Lake and watch the two fledglings and two adults.  Unfortunately, they soon left and didn't return for the season that we could see anyway.

We had to replace the mooring cover as the old one was nine years old, so that cost $850.

The fuel gauge didn't work for most of the year, but occasionally would.  We have it on order to be fixed at Midwest Marine in the spring.  Its kind of nice to know how much gas you have, especially when out in a boat.  It's not like you can walk to a nearby gas station.

And, speaking of gas, I go to local gas stations with my two 2 and 1/2 gallon containers and get gas.  As expensive as gas was for automobiles this last summer, it's always at least a dollar more on the water.

All-in-all, a Pretty Good Season of Boating.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The North Carolina Baseball Museum

From the March 2011 Historical News.

This museum is located at Fleming Stadium in Wilson, North Carolina at 300 Stadium Street and is open year round.  It has over 3328 square feet and showcases NC memorabilia from ballplayers from the state, such as Catfish Hunter, Hoyt Wilhelm, Gaylord Perry and Enos Slaughter.

Also, there are things from ballplayers who spent time in the minors in the state like Ted Williams, Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts.

Might just be worth a look. 


Those Great In-N-Out Burgers

Folks from California to Arizona and even a few in Las Vegas know it.  But many others don't.  I'd never heard of it, despite having been out to California on occasion.  The first I really knew about it was when I read about one of the founders of the chain dying and posted about it to the American Road Forum.

And, once you've had one, you'll swear by it.  If not THE BEST, at least one of the best.  Like with McRibs, it is somewhat of a cult phenomenon.  Let a new store open and there are lines...guaranteed.  I agree that it is one fantastic burger, if not the best I ever ate.

At In-N-Out Burger, everything is based on quality at the 232 restaurant chain that has resisted efforts to get it to move out farther east.  I'd love to have one in Illinois.

It was founded in California in 1948.  The official menu features just four items.

A lot of their success is based on "people management."  They Take care of their employees who are referred to as associates.  They are paid above minimum wage and receive more benefits than at a typical fast food-type restaurant.  Plus, there is the big opportunity to move up.  About 80% of management started at the bottom and worked their way up.  There is even an In-N-Out University for managers.  As such, they have one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the industry.

There is even a book called "In-N-Out Burger: A Behind the Counter Look At the Fast-Food Chain That Broke All the Rules" by Stacy Perman.

Getting Hungry Just Thinking About 'Em.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

So You Think You Know Your Cars-- Part 2

7.  Dale Earnhart was killed on the last lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001.  Who won it?

8.  In what year did Ford Motor Co. put a V-8 motor in one of its low-priced vehicles?

9.  Who built the very first 4-cylinder engines for Ford's Model "T" motor car?

10.  When the Beach Boys sang about their "409" it was about a Chevy engine with 409 cubic-inches and 425 horsepower.  In what year did it come out?

11.  In 1964, Oldsmobile came out with their first muscle car called the 4-4-2.  What do those numbers stand for?


7.  Michael Walthrip

8.  1932

9.  Dodge Brothers

10.  1961

11.  four barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual transmission and two dual exhausts

Oh Well, I Didn't Know That Much About Cars.  --RoadDog

So, You Think You Know Your Cars-- Part 1

From the April 27, 2012, Northwest Herald.  Without cars, there would be little reason for roads.  And then, some cars are just more "fun" to drive.  Here are some questions about cars.

1.  In what car was Ray Huron driving when he won the first Indy 500 in 1911.

2.  Who is credited with being the father of the Ford Mustang?

3.  Chrysler Corp. used a super heavy duty truck axle as an option in its Muscle Cars back in the day.  Name it?

4.  In what year was the first Pontiac GTO made?

5.  In 1949, 1950 and 1951, Ford had its famous "shoebox"models.  They had a convertible in only one year.  What was it?

6.  In what year was the Chevy Corvette "Sting Ray" produced?


1.  Marmon Wasp

2.  Lee Iacocca

3.  Dana

4.  1964

5.  1951

6.  1963

Are You Knowledgeable, Or Just a Driver.  --RoadDog

US-12 Beats US-14 in First Showdown

This was the first year that I had US-12 (Rand Road) have a showdown with US-14 (Northwest Highway) here in Illinois.  Both roads have played a big part in my life and both go through Palatine, where I lived from 7th grade to sophomore year in college.  As such, it is the place I most identify as my hometown.

Right now, we live about a half mile off 12 here in Spring Grove.

Teams losing in the third round:

US-14:  Maine South (8A), Palatine (8A) and Marian Central (5A)

US-12: Palatine (8A)

Last team standing is Lake Zurich (7A)

Lake Zurich is about 18 miles away from me.

Congratulations US-12!!!  --RoadDog

Monday, November 12, 2012

Going Into the Semifinals, Lincoln Highway Takes a 2-1 Lead

After three rounds, the Lincoln Highway has taken a 2-1 lead over Route 66.

The following teams were defeated this past weekend:


Lincoln-Way West (5A)


Edwardsville (7A), Wilmington (3A) and Williamsville (3A)

Still in the playoffs:


Lincoln-Way East (7A) and Joliet Catholic (5A)

The best Route 66 can hope for is a tie.

Go 66.  --RoadDog


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Observing Veterans Day

In a few hours, I will be out at the Fox Lake, Illinois, train station for the Veterans Day observance by the American Legion, if we don't get blown away.  It's unseasonably warm, but the winds are howling.

Yesterday, I went to the Marine Corps 237th Birthday Breakfast at the Legion in the morning, with all the tradition that entails and all the Leathernecks.  We had five World War II veterans and nine Korean War ones, all at reserved tables.

Then there was the cutting of the birthday cake with the first piece being split by the oldest Marine present (WWII member of Chesty's Marines) and the youngest (on active duty) to show the continuation of the Corps.

That night, we went back for the annual Veterans Day Dance, featuring the 17-piece Lakes Area Swing Band, playing all those great Big Band songs.  A highlight was the couple dressed like what you would expect in 1945.  I just have to wonder how many of the Greatest Generation stood at the bar in their uniforms back then.

Thank You Veterans!!  Semper Fi!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Upcoming Trip to North Carolina: the National Road and Antietam

I'm planning on going to North Carolina for Thanksgiving with my family.

Right now, I'm leaving on November 18th and planning to drive the National Road from Cambridge, Ohio, to Cumberland, Maryland as I've never been on that section before.

I am also planning a stop at the Antietam Battlefield in Maryland as I haven't been there in many years, plus, we just recently observed the 150th anniversary of the bloodiest day in American history.

On the Road Again.  --RoadDog

Fastest Highway in U.S. Opens

Last month, the fastest highway in the United States opened in Texas.  The so-called Pickle Parkway (kind of a strange name for a road) features a speed limit of 85 mph and is officially State Highway 130.  It was named for former Congressman J.J. Pickle and is 41 miles long connecting Austin and San Antonio.

It is hoped it will alleve traffic on nearby I-35.  It is a toll road costing 15 cents a mile.  Taking it will get you there six minutes faster.

I guess I would save the $6.15 and go the superslab.

Cheap As Ever.  --RoadDog

Friday, November 9, 2012

Doing My Cincy Thing-- Part 1

This past summer, coming back from my visit to my family in North Carolina, I stopped at Cincinnati to visit with my friend Denny.

I met up with him July 22nd at the American Sign Museum in its new digs   I had been to the old place a couple times, but this one is a definite step up.  Todd Swornstadt, owner and chief bottlewasher was on hand to give a tour through the new facility which also features a neon shop that is open weekdays, an added bonus to anyone going there.  Touring the museum, you see the old signs and with the neon shop, you get to see new ones being made.

Todd worked at a trade magazine for signs for twenty years called Sign of the Times.  His great grandfather was editor of the very first issue of it.

In late 1998, he had an idea about creating a museum devoted to the history of American signs.  His family put up a million and a half dollars and the museum was started from scratch.  He opened for business in April 2005.

Sign Here.  --RoadDog

US-14 (Northwest Highway) Takes Slight Edge Over US-12 (Rand Road)

Both roads started off the playoffs with 7 teams apiece and stood at 4 apiece after the first round.  In the second round, US-14 lost one (Woodstock North) and US-12 lost two (Grant and Richmond-Burton, the two closest to us).  Woodstock's Marian Central and Woodstock North played each other.

Going into the third round this weekend:


Maine South (8A), Palatine ((8A), Marian Central (5A)


Palatine (8A) and Lake Zurich (7A)

May the Best Road Win.  --RoadDog

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Route 66 Still Holds Slight Lead Over Lincoln Highway Going Into the Third Round of Play

The Illinois High School Association's annual football playoffs enter their third week and the Route 66 schools continue to hold on to the lead they've had ever since it started, 4 to 3.

In competition last weekend, Lincoln Highway teams from Kaneland and Mooseheart lost as did Route 66 teams Bolingbrook, East St. Louis, Normal University and Carlinville.

Still competing (with class)


Lincoln-Way East (7A)
Lincoln-Way West (5A)
Joliet Catholic (5A)


Edwardsville (7A)
Joliet Catholic (5A)
Wilmington (3A)
Williamsville (3A)

Go Teams!!  --RoadDog

Where Folks Head For Their Fall Road Trips

From the Fall 2012 Allstate Motor Club Drivetime News.

Trip Advisor's Top Five fall activities.

1.  39%  View colorful fall foliage

2.  26%  Go wine tasting/visit vineyard

3.  22%  Go to a state/county fair or fall festival

4.  20%  Attend a football game/collegiate homecoming

5.  20%  Go to a food festival

Well, Liz and I did take our annual drive around Wisconsin's Geneva Lake (Lake Geneva as most call it) for the color.

And, I did go to four high school football games.  Liz and I went to four Northern Illinois games, two of which we actually attended in the stadium, the other two enjoying it outside the stadium and in a bar in Dekalb.

Best Watch Out for Those Wine Tasters on Those Colorful Roads.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Best Places to Stay on Route 66

From by Lenna Gonya.  Comments are mine.

BLUE SWALLOW: Tucumcari, NM,  1939.  Owned by Lillian Redman 1958 to 1998.  We spent a great night outside having drinks , watching cars drive by on 66 and watching the birds fly and the neon.

EL RANCHO:  Gallup, NM:  1930s.  Well worth a stay, especially in the main lodge.  Great little bar as well.

WIGWAM VILLAGES: San Bernardino, Ca. 1947 and Holbrook, Az.  We've seen both and both as of 2006 were in great shape and carefully restored.  Unfortunately, both times we got to these places, it was way too early in the day to stop.  But sure looked and took pictures.

MUNGER-MOSS:  Lebanon, Missouri.  We've stayed there many times.  Always a pleasure with Bob and Ramona.

Sleep On 66.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Five Main Reasons Why They Come to 66

From the June 27, 2010, Oklahoma City Oklahoman "International travelers roll into the Route 66 Museum in Clinton" by Max Nichols.

A record 35,000 people visited the museum in 2009 and of that 35% were international from 23 countries according to Pat Smith. 

Their five main given reasons giving for driving Route 66:

1.  The open road, small-town America and freedom.
2.  "The Grapes of Wrath" phenomenon.  They want to see the Dust Bowl area of the 1930s and travel the road used by those moving west for a better life.
3.  The People.  Route 66 folks have the reputation of being "ultra-friendly."
4.  Nostalgia of the old motels, diners, stores and classic cars.
5.  Popular Culture Icons--  jukeboxes, the "Route 66" TV show and books by Jim Ross and Michael Wallis.

It is sad to see how few Americans know much about Route 66.  We probably meet more foreigners on the road when we travel it than Americans.

They Know.  We Don't.  --RoadDog

Monday, November 5, 2012

World's Friendliest Countries

From the Oct. 24, 2012, Forbes by Beth Greenfield.

Based on HSBC's Expat.Explorer survey of 5,339 expatriots based on:
1. ability to befriend locals
2.  success in learning local language
3.  capacity for learning local languages
4.  ease of fitting into new culture

1.  Cayman Islands
2.  Australia
3.  United Kingdom  (I'd say true outside of the London area which is extremely unfriendly.)
4.  Canada
5.  New Zealand

6.  Spain
7.  United States
8.  Bermuda
9.  South Africa
10. Malaysia


Lincoln Highway's Schmuhl School History: One-Room Schoolhouse

From the New Lenox (Illinois) Historical Society.

The school was a short distance south of US-30 (Lincoln Highway) and was built in the to replace the one on the farm of Henry Schmuhl which burned in 1932.  It was one of 140 one-room school houses in the 1940s  in Will County at one time.

Today's brick one was built and classes began in 1933 and was considered very modern for the times and even had a furnace in the basement, electricity , eater and indoor chemical toilets.

As with all one-room schools, it had all eight grades, but a typical enrollment was around twelve students so it wasn't overcrowded.

Teacher salary was $80 a month, with $5 going to pension.  The teacher also cleaned the building.  In 1949 or 1950, it was divided into two classes with the lower grades upstairs.  In the 1950s it became part of School District 122.

The New Lenox Historical Society bought it in 2000 and moved it to its present site on Hickory Creek Barrens.  It used to be on the southeast corner of US-30 and Schoolhouse Road.

Back in the Old Days.  --RoadDog

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Closing Down the 2012 Boating Season: A Recap-- Part 2

We got the boat in very early for us, in May (sometimes as late as Mid-July), and immediately had problems.  I launched it and then met Liz at Rick's, where we dock it, and, as she was coming down the channel, she couldn't get the trim to go up or down (it had at launching and cruising over).  We took it over to a friend's who knows a little something about boat engines (I know nothing).  He and two others couldn't find the problem.

Left the boat at his place and the next day did a slow cruise (couldn't get the trim down) to Midwest Marine in Antioch on Lake Mary.  They took it out of the water and fixed it while we had lunch at the Sand Bar Grill and Bar.

It ran fine for the rest of the season.

We got signed up again for the Chain Crawl for 2012 and enjoyed going to the 39 places on the water for drinks and food.  We made several trips downriver with Kevin and Kelly, hitting those places on the Crawl.  Plus, there were several multiple Crawl boat outings on the upper lakes (several by Liz with them while I was on vacation in North Carolina).

We made it to all 39 places, our objective.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Friday, November 2, 2012

Let the Second Round Begin: US-14 vs. US-12

We enter the second round of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) football playoffs this weekend and this is the first time I have schools from these two Northwest Suburban roads squaring off against each other.  US Highway 14, is usually referred to as Northwest Highway here in Illinois and US Highway 12 is Rand Road.  Both have played a big part in my life, even to the present as we live just off US-12 here in McHenry County.

Last weekend, both roads had 7 teams in the playoffs.  Dropping out were:

US-14:  Fremd 8A, Crystal Lake South 7A, St. Viator 6A.

US-12:  Fremd 8A, St. Viator 6A and Wauconda 5A.

Still Playing:



Maine South


Marian Central
Woodstock North

These two teams are playing each other so one will advance to the third round.





Lake Zurich





May the Best Road Win.  --RoadDog

The Drive's "A to Z"

This morning, the Drive, WDRV FM in Chicago kicked off their semiannual "A to Z" week+ long airing of some 2,000+ songs in alphabetical order.  Every time they do it, they add and drop songs, so it is not the same list each time.

Right now, Steve Downs is playing them, then Bob Stroud at 10 AM.  Because of this, there will be no Ten at Ten until at least Nov. 12th.

Since I got up this morning, they played these songs:

ADDICTED TO LOVE--  Robert Palmer
AFRICA--  Toto
AFTER MIDNIGHT--  Eric Clapton
AH LEAH--  Donnie Iris

AIN'T NO SUNSHINE--  Bill Withers
AIN'T THAT A SHAME--  Cheap Trick
AIN'T TOO PROUD TO BEG--  Temptations
AIN'T WASTIN' TIME NO MORE--  Allman Brothers

AJA--  Steely Dan
ALABAMA GETAWAY--  Grateful Dead
ALISON--  Elvis Costello
ALIVE--  Pearl Jam

ALL ALONG THE WATCH TOWER--  Jimi Hendrix--  Of interest Steve Downs said both of these songs were recorded on the same night at the same recording studio, and Dave Mason was on both of them.  He played on the Jimi Hendrix version and then walked to the room where he was recording and did it as well.  I didn't know that.
ALL DOWN THE LINE--  Rolling Stones

Some Real Good Stuff.  Listen in at

I should mention they will take a break Sunday monrning from 7 to 10 CST (remember to fall back on your clocks) when Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots show goes back to 1972 for songs playing during that presidential election. 

Do You Remember Who Was Running for President in 1972?  --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ten at Ten Halloween Songs

Today, Bob Stroud did his annual Halloween Ten at Ten show on the booing.  It will be rebroadcast again around 10 PM CDST tonight on WDRV Chicago.

Actually, his long-lost relative Count Frankenstroud hosted the show.

DANCING WITH MR. D.--  Rolling Stones

SUPERSTITION--  Stevie Wonder

FRANKENSTEIN--  Edgar Winter Group
DEVIL WOMAN--  Cliff Richard

Mighty Creepy.  I'm Going to Go Hide Under My Bed.  --RoadDog

Reading the Bumper Stickers at Wintzell's in Mobile, Alabama-- Part 2

Great food and lots of reading material if you don't mind craning your neck.  These are just some of the ones near enough to read.

Here are some more:

Parents never fully appreciate teachers until it rains all weekend.  (As a former teacher, I can relate.)

Paychecks don't go far...just fast.

If a man could have just half his wishes he would double his troubles.

Executive--One who decides quickly and then gets somebody else to do the work.

Success is just a matter of luck--just ask any failure.

Nothing keeps a family together as much as owning just one car.

When an optimist gets a worm in an apple, he goes fishing.

People want the front of the bus, back of the church and middle of the road.  (And, I've seen a couple of them.)

If all the cars in the country were placed end-to-end, someone would pull out and try to pass them.

I'll Have to Go Back and Read Some More.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Route 66 Keeps an 8-5 Lead Over the Lincoln Highway in the IHSA Football Showdown

The first round of the IHSA 2012 Football Tournament is over.  It started with Route 66 holding a 16-13 lead in the last-man standing battle.  Both roads had eight teams drop out.

Lincoln Highway teams dropping out: St. Charles East, Batavia, both Plainfields, Lincoln-Way North, Rochelle, Aurora Central Catholic and Morrison.

Route 66 teams waiting until next year:  Both Plainfields, Springfield, both Bloomingtons, both Normals (no joy in the Bloomington-Normal area) and Mt. Olicve.

Teams enteringthe second round:


Class 7A Lincoln-Way East

Class 5A  Kaneland, Lincoln-Way West, Joliet Catholic

Class 1A  Mooseheart


Class 8A  Bolingbrook

Class 7A  Edwardsville, East St. Louis

Class 5A  Normal University, Joliet Catholic

Class 3A  Wilmington, Williamsville, Carlinville

Who You Pulling For?  --RoadDog

The GRBs Jumped Gas 14 Cents!!

As I figured, it wouldn't take the GRBs at Big Oil, hedgers and investment types long to cash in on profits from Hurricane Sandy.  We even went so far as to top off the '03 Malibu yesterday while gas was still $3.46 ($3.45.9) in Fox Lake, Illinois.

Today, the same station was at $3.60.  Wonder how much it will be tomorrow?

The government needs money, lots and lots and lots of money.  Why not tax gas the full amount of increases taking place after a natural disaster and then have an additional no-good Samaritan charge on the people responsible for the prices going up.

They don't care who has to suffer if they have a chance to make a profit.

The No-Goodniks!!  --RoadDog

Reading the Bumper Stickers at Wintzell's in Mobile, Alabama-- Part 1

This past January, we were in Mobile, Alabama, for the Go-Daddy Bowl game between Northern Illinois and Arkansas State.  Us Huskie fans were greatlt outnumbered by the Red Wolf fans and everywhere you went, the Red Wold howl was heard whenever they encountered each other.

The bartender said that was all she hear the previous night and there was a fair amount of it the afternoon we were there.

I had a really tasty crab omelet Po'Boy sandwich.  Definitely something you don't often get.

Besides food and atmosphere, Wintzell's is famous for the bumper stickers all over most every open bit of space, walls and ceiling.

Some of the better ones near us:

The upper crust is just a bunch of crumbs stuck together with their own dough.

A hypochondriac: is one who is happy about being miserable.

Some after dinner speakers are so gusty they should be called-- Gust of Honor.

More to Come

Monday, October 29, 2012

Closing Down the 2012 Boating Season: A Recap-- Part 1

When we're not out on the road, we like to be out on the boat and we just officially put an end to the 2012 season on Saturday when I towed the boat over to the barn in Hebron, Illinois, where I store it for the winter.

With Frank's help, I pulled the boat last Wednesday and took it over to Midwest Marine in Antioch who had it winterized, prepped for 2013 and the hull cleaned by Thursday.  Picked it up Friday and Liz cleaned the inside and took stuff out for the winter.

Nothing to do now but wait six or seven months and get it our and back on the water.

Darryl, our marine mechanic, says times are getting rough here on the Chain of Lakes, so much so that he has had to start working part time for another marina to make ends meet.  He says that a whole lot of the boats he used to work on have been sold because of the economy.  Hey, house payment or boat payment?  How you going to call that?

Plus, there is the super-expensive gas, and if you buy it on the water, it is at least a buck more.  Then, mother nature kicked in this summer with the drought which caused the water level to drop so low that a lot of props were destroyed along with lower units when items were encountered.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Hurricane Sandy and Big Oil Profit

With all this news about the storm off the east coast, I wonder how much longer before we get a spike in gas prices here in the Midwest.  Hey, Big Oil, what's the use of having a big, possibly devastation storm if you can't make some money off it?

Gas has been dropping rapidly around here.  I'm enjoying it, but I have been brainwashed into thinking that $3.50 a gallon is a good price.  I hate when that happens.

And, you speculators and hedgers.  You know who you are.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Get Your Motoring Adventure" on Route 66 did a survey back in 2010 and it found that 40% of people choosing to cruise Route 66 do so "for motoring adventure" even though it has been removed from official road maps.

But many states still promote their stretches of the old road with "Historic Route 66" signs.  Also, a whole industry has sprung up to support those people wanting to drive the Mother Road to relive the American driving dream (that is until these gasoline prices wrecked it).

There are Route 66 guides, maps and even folks making a living off the road.

Di you say Route as in "Root" or the other way?

Way Too Hooked to Turn Back Now.  --RoadDog

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ten Roads That Will Scare You Silly

From Listverse.

10.  A75 Kinmont Straight in southwest Scotland
9.  Kelly Road in Ohioville, Pennsylvania, especially a one mile stretch of it
8.  Deadman's Curve in Clermont County, Ohio where 222 meets 125.  It was part of the Ohio Turnpike in 1831.

7.  Boone County, Illinois, by Belvidere.  Called Bloodspoint Road.
6.  Stockbridge Bypass in England, formerly part of M-67.
5.  M6 Motorway in England, longest road
4.  Tuen Mon Road in Hong Kong

3.  Highway 666 in the United States in Utah
2.  A229 from Sussex to Kent, England
1.  Clinton Road in Passaic County, New Jersey

For pictures and explanation, go to Listverse.

OK, Now You Scared Me and It Isn't Even Halloween Yet.  --RoadDog

And, Speaking of Horseshoe Sandwiches

Believe it or not, there is a website dedicated to Springfield and Central Illinois' famous Horseshoe Sandwich.

Check it out at

This past August, the day after visiting the Illinois State Fair, we went to Norb Andy's which says it has the original sauce as served at the Leland Hotel that was located across the street from it.  Mighty fine eating.

But, the fact is you can get a great horseshoe sandwich (and even one for breakfast) at most places around Springfield.  For sheer variety, get into D'Arcy's Pint.

Bad For You, But Oh So Good.  --RoadDog

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A New IHSA Challenge: Rand Road (US-12)-Northwest Highway (US-14)

Having the Route 66 and Lincoln Highway teams face off is fine, but I want to have some closer to home here in Spring Grove, Illinois (on Route 12).  These two highways have been in my life ever since the early 1960s.  Both went through Palatine, Illinois, where I lived from 6th grade to freshman year in college.  I graduated from Palatine High School.

US-12 is called Rand Road, named after Asa Rand from the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.  Northwest Highway, US-14) got its name from its location, running through the Northwest Suburbs and one of the first to be paved.

These are the teams making it to the 2012 IHSA football playoffs starting this weekend.  I'll run it like I do the other competition.  Last Man Standing wins.

This fall, I saw Richmond-Burton play two games, Palatine and Fremd play each other and Grant play another playoff team, 8A's Stevenson.

Palatine, Fremd, and St. Viator serve both roads.


Maine South (Hillary Clinton's high school)
Palatine (RoadDog's high school)

St. Viator

Marian Central
Woodstock North



Lake Zurich

St. Viator


Richmond-Burton (serves Spring Grove)

May the Best Road Win.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

3rd Annual Lincoln-66 IHSA Football Showdown-- Part 1

Lincoln Highway leads the showdown 1-0-1.  One win, one tie.


St. Charles East
Lincoln-Way East
Plainfield North
Plainfield Central

Lincoln-Way North

Kaneland (Maple Park)
Lincoln-Way West
Joliet Catholic

Aurora Central Catholic




8A  Bolingbrook

East St. Louis
Plainfield North
Plainfield Central

Normal Community
Normal Community West

Normal University
Joliet Catholic

Bloomington Central Catholic



Mt. Olive

Lincoln Highway has 14 teams and Route 66 has 17.  Route 66 has had more teams in each of the previous showdowns.

Joliet Catholic, Plainfield North and Plainfield Central are playing for both highways.  Sure are a lot of teams from Bloomington-Normal and, then, there are all the Lincoln-Ways.  Must grow some good players in these places.

Play Some Pigskin!!!   --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sorting Out the Best of the Best in Illinois High School Football

That's right, the 2012 edition of the massive, 256 team, Illinois High School Association playoff begins this weekend.  And that means, we begin the Third Annual Lincoln-66 IHSA Football Showdown, pitting teams making the playoffs from those two historic roads against each other.

The IHSA Playoffs by the numbers:

256--  number of teams in it

32--  number of teams per class

8--  number of classes

239-  number of football programs which have won state titles

13--  number of titles won by Joliet Catholic, the most of any team  (Joliet is back again, but with just a 5-4 record.  They represent both Route 66 and Lincoln Highway.

3--  number of teams representing both 66 and the Lincoln

27--  the number of seasons in a row Mt. Carmel has made the playoffs

28--  number of undefeated teams in the field

53--  number of 8-1 teams

60--  number of 7-2 teams

76--  number of 6-3 teams

40  Number of 5-4 teams

16--  the number of 5-4 teams that didn't make it (determined by the # of victories by their opponents).

Find Out the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 Teams Tomorrow.  --RoadDog

Bits of 66 Catching Up-- Blue Whale-- The Boots-- Denny's Big Trip

Bits of 66--  Some Sort of New News On the Old Road.

1.  BLUE WHALE--  From Feb. 23rd--  Thieves broke into the collection box and stole $15.  A local woman has since donated three surveillance cameras.  The big fish, er, mammal, has been vandalized twice so far in 2012.

2.  THE BOOTS--   From May 7th St. Louis Today--  Five newly redone rooms opened at the Boots Motel in Carthage, Mo., today.  Wonder if Bob and Ramona at Munger-Moss will get mad if I stay there.  I also want to stay at the Wagon Wheel in Cuba.

3.  DENNY'S BIG TRIP--  My buddy Denny just finished a huge 6,269 mile, 28-day trip this past summer, using 240 gallons of gas in doing so.  He drove Route 66 the whole way from Chicago to Santa Monica and took a lot of US-70 on the way home. 

You can read about his exploits and see pictures at

My Yard Would Never Forgive Me If I Left It That Long in the Summer.  --RoadDog

Retailer's Redesign in Chicago Hits the Target

From the July 26, 2012, Chicago Tribune by Blair Kamin.

When Target announced last year that it was going to open a store in Louis Sullivan's former Carson Pirie Scott & Co. store at 1 S. State Street, I was worried it would somehow be turned into one of those giant boxes the chain so loves.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The new store opened July 25th. and it "strikes the right balance between preserving the aesthetic integrity of one of the nation's great works of architecture and projecting the visual brand of one of the nation's biggest retailers."

The building took its shape between 1899 and 1906.  Louis Sullivan had already made his reputation designing skyscrapers and now turned his talents to the horizontal plane.  The building's steel frame was clad in lines of white terra cotta.

The buildings upper floors are now offices and it is called Sullivan Center.  The Target store is on the bottom two levels.

A perfect repurposing  (well sort of) of a remarkable piece of architecture.  I'll have to go to my local Big Box Target in McHenry and buy something, no wait, I bought the new Jason Aldean CD at it last week.

Thanks Target, We Needed That.  --RoadDog

Monday, October 22, 2012

One Last Trip Down the Fox River (For the Season)-- Part 2

This took place Oct. 8th.

Once past the dam and lock (and the tender said that just one other boat had gone through today), we made for a new one that has opened called River Side a little south of the 176 bridge, but found that it wouldn't open until 4 PM and we didn't want to wait around.

So, then, second choice, Joey B's just to the south of the 176 bridge.  We'd enjoyed out visit back in the summer, but after a really hard climb out of the boat, the low water has resulted in some mighty high piers, we walked the 100 yards to the place, only to find that it too was closed, but the sign led us to believe indefinitely.

Back to the boat and a bit of a perilous drop into it from those high piers, and we went to the other side of the bridge to Kief's Reef.  Of course, more really high piers.  We decided that we'd best take along a step ladder the next time we go downriver.

We found out in there that Joey B's had had "some problems" and was closed for awhile, but the bartender wouldn't say exactly for what.  She did say that this summer had been VERY hard on all the places south of the locks because of the drought and resultant low water.

We had a couple beers and an appetizer before going back through the locks (again, we were the only ones) and stopped at the Snuggery just south of McHenry and had their half-pound cheeseburger and fries special for $5.  Great food.

Last stop was the American Legion in Fox Lake by the US-12 bridge.  Mondays are 50 cent drafts.

A Good "Last Day" Downriver.  --RoadDog

Get Your Butt Kicked on Route 66: The Bunion Derby and Today

From the April 8, 2012, Arizona Daily Sun by Neil Weintraub.

In 1928, Charles C. Pyle organized a 3,400 mile footrace from Los Angeles to New York Vity in 84 days with a top prize of $35,000.  The first 2,000 miles were on the new Route 66.

There was only one Arizona runner, Nicholas Quamawahu, a Hopi Indian from Orabi who dropped out in Arizona.  Pyle's "Footrace Across America" became better known as "The Bunion Derby."  It began March 4, 1928 with 199 runners.  Only 55 finished and it was won by 20-year-old Andy Payne of Oklahoma, with an average of 10 miles per hour.

The Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association (NATRA) recently ran one of the most challenging stretches of the Bunion Derby which occurred on the 13th day, the steep Ash Fork Hill where Quamawahu dropped off.  This is the 43-mile trek from Seligman to Williams, a 1700 ft incline.

The nine NATRA runners started near the Welch exit and retraced a few miles of the exact path, then took a graded dirt road, part of the Old Trails Highway.  After three miles, most of the present-day runners were walking after having their butts kicked.

Getting Your Butt Kicked You Know Where.  --RoadDog

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Something Real Fast Flew By Yesterday on Route 66 in Illinois

From the Oct. 20, 2012, Chicago Tribune "Officials gleeful at 111 mph Amtrak run" by Jon Hilkevitch.

It was a bird, no plane, no...a train that blew by the 15-mile stretch between Dwight and Pontiac, Illinois yesterday in the trial run of the newly renovated high-speed track.  Construction of the track was the reason for all the portapotties along that stretch in recent months.

The Amtrak train reached 111 mph, one mph more than was the goal and marked the fastest a train has traveled in Illinois for more than 70 years.

Of course, we've been startled in the past by trains flying along that stretch pretty fast even before the new tracks.  Then, there was the derailment south of Pontiac near the old state highway patrol station.

The short leg between Dwight and Pontiac is part of the 284 miles of the Union Pacific Railroad corridor which is being built to accommodate the faster trains planned for use between Chicago and St. Louis. 

The map in the article pretty-well traces Route 66 across the state.

Construction of this corridor was part of the reason for the demolition of the old Ballard Elevator between Chenoa and Lexington and the Chenoa train station in recent years.

So, That's What It Was.  --RoadDog

If You're Headed for the Marlinton, W. Va, Roadkill Cook-off, You're Too Late

From the Oct. 8, 2012, Yahoo! Travel "The Roadkill Cook-Off."

Maybe, not all the food prepared was real roadkill, but, anyway....

This is run in conjunction with the Marlington, West Virginia, Autumn Harvest Festival and like I said, you're too late for it as it took place September 29th.  They feature such delicacies as squirrel, groundhog and possum.

2012 Winners:

1ST  (ALSO SHOWMANSHIP)--  The Ridge Runners for their Stuffed-Bear-Ron-A-Saur-Us (It would be interesting to know what was in it.

2ND--  East Meets West Virginia for their Venison and Rabbit Stew

3RD--  Woodrow Woodrats for their South of the Border Nachos

PEOPLE'S CHOICE--  Pochahontas County Pro Start for their Porcupine Stew (hope they took the quills out.)

Waiting Till Next Year.  --RoadDog

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hatch, New Mexico

On Oct. 9th and 11th, I wrote about the New Mexico Green Chile Trail and one of the towns I mentioned was Hatch, New Mexico.  The name was of extreme interest to me for some reason.  I had heard of it before, but didn't know anything about the place, other than they are famous fro their chiles, and that they had a festival honoring their local product.

Wikipedia here I come.

It was originally called Santa Barbara in 1851 when it was first settled.  Apache raids drove settlers away until 1853 when Fort Thom was built.  The settlers returned, but when the fort was closed in 1860, the town was abandoned again until 1875 and then it was renamed for famed Indian fighter Edward Hatch, who had been a Union general during the Civil War.  He was then the commander of the New Mexico Military District.

The population of Hatch explodes up to 30,000 for the annual festival.  I'm not a big green chile fan, but would sure like to be there someday for the festival.

A Place in the Sunshine.  --RoadDog

Fatal Bus Crash on I-71 in Kentucky

Back on October 8th, I was writing about my drive back from North Carolina in July this past summer.  After spending Saturday July 21st in White House, Tennessee, I drove to Louisville on Sunday and took I-71 east to Cincinnati. 

Along that stretch of road, I saw a sign referring to a fatal bus crash the 1980s, but was driving too fast to read it, so had to look it up.

It turns out that on May 14, 1988 a drunk driver drove into church school bus returning from an outing at King's Island amusement park, causing the deaths of 27 aboard it.  And 34 of 67 were also injured.  Most of the victims weer teenagers.

This took place in Carroll County, Kentucky, at the site of the sign.

A Very Tragic Happening. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Route 66: Union Is Last Stop for Santa Fe Sign

From the July 24, 2012, Chicago Tribune by Mitch Smith.

The Santa Fe sign that sat atop the  building at Jackson Street and Michigan Avenue in Chicao, near the terminus of east bound Route 66 is going to stay in the state instead of moving to New Mexico.

The Illinois Railway Museum in McHenry County (where I live) will take possession of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway sign  on the roof of Chicago's Railway Exchange Building at 224 S. Michigan Avenue (across from Grant Park).

The Creative Santa Fe art group also tried to get it for Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I was a bit torn by the whole thing.  I'd like to see it stay in Illinois, but then again, the name was Santa Fe and that was on Route 66.

The white letter were on the building until June when they were taken down and replaced with a sign for Motorola Solutions.

Union is about 60 miles northwest of Chicago.  Museum volunteers will refurbish the sign and after that it will join the display of Santa Fe equipment and railroad signs.  They already have a Santa Fe locomotive on display.

Glad to Keep It in the State.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Third Annual Illinois Lincoln-66 IHSA Football Showdown Coming

The regular Illinois football season is winding down with just one game remaining.  That means I will soon be listing the teams at all levels on Lincoln Highway and Route 66 who made it to the playoffs and again will run a competition to see which roads' teams get the farthest.  This will be third year for it.  It was a tie in 2010 and Lincoln Highway squeaked by last year.

This year, I am thinking about also having a US-12 (Rand Road) versus US-14 (Northwest Highway) Northwest suburbs to Wisconsin state line competition so I can list Richmond-Burton (US-12) which serves Spring Grove and good old Palatine (both US-12 and US-14).

Lovin' That High School Football.  --RoadDog

The Lincoln Highway, the Road and the School

From the New Lenox (Illinois) Area Historical Society "The Lincoln Highway, the Road and the School."

The Lincoln Highway ran through New Lenox Township following an old Indian trail which became a stagecoach route in the 1840s and was also used by horses and wagons.

When a high school district was formed for Frankfort, Manhattan and New Lenox townships in the 1950s, a contest was held to name the new high school which was to be built along the Lincoln Highway.  The Lincoln-Way submission was selected and Lincoln-Way Community High School opened in 1954.  Today, it is called Lincoln-Way Central because population growth has led to the creation of Lincoln-Way East, Lincoln-Way North and Lincoln-Way West.

The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition has built an interpretive gazebo by Central.

Honoring an Old Road.  --RoadDog