Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Woodstock, Illinois-- Part 2

Big fun this week in Woodstock, Illinois, as they observe the 20th anniversary of the very funny "Groundhpg Day" movie.  After much looking, the producer and director of the movie chose this town, about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, to stand in for Punxsutawney, (and I spelled it without looking it up) Pennsylvania.  The big reason was because of the beautiful old square, which tied into Bill Murray's being trapped.  The real Punxsutawney is what is called a linear main street one with buildings mostly along one road.

SATURDAY is the best day of all.  They kick it off at 10 AM with a free showing of the movie at the Woodstock Theatre which stood in during the film as the Alpine Theater.

Then, there is the Chili Cookoff from noon to 1:15 PM, and Ireally LOVE my chili.

Then, at 1:30, there is the walking tour of filming spots, usually led by Bob Hudgins, who was the person mainly responsible for the movie being filmed in Woodstock.  The first year I went, Steve Tobolowski, old Needle-Nose Ned himself, led it.

Lastly, from 3-4 PM, they have the "Groundhog Day" Movie Symposium.

SUNDAY they have the movie at 10 and the walking tour.

But, Then, That's Also Super Bowl Day.  --RoadDog

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Groundhog Cometh-- Part 1

And, I Will Be There to See Dear Old Woodstock Willie!!

It's that favorite time of the year for me again.  The Groundhog Day festivities in Woodstock, Illinois, where the famous movie was filmed, have kicked off as of yesterday with the annual pancake breakfast

This Wednesday, that certain varmint makes an appearance on the balcony of the Woodstock Opera Hpuse, which stood in for the Pennsylvanian Hotel in the movie.  Of course, Thursday, February 2nd is the actual Groundhog Day Prognostication at 7 AM.  I plan to be there and have breakfast afterwards at Angelo's in the Square where so much was filmed.

Afterwards, it is to Donovan's Reef I go where we will play NTN and watch the movie, "Movie-and-a-Beer" at its finest.

I plan to be at the Shake Off the Winter Blues Celebration at the Moose Lodge, just off the square.  It costs $15 for a buffet and then music from 8 to midnight with the group 28 Days.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Saturday, January 28, 2012

McGuire's Irish Bar in Destin, Fl.-- Part 4

The popcorn came in handy cleansing one's palate. And I drank with the pinky out.

After tasting, Liz decided to go with the Light Ale.  I went with the Raspberry Wheat.  A bit on the pricey side at $4 a pint, but the place was worth it.  Saw some of the meals being delivered and they were huge. They're especially proud of their slab of steak.

Some people ordered what we think might have been nachos and I'd have to say they were the biggest chips I've ever seen.

Everybody was smiling and having fun.

We'll Come Hungry Next Time.  Perhaps an Irish Wake Is In he Cards.  --RoadDog

Friday, January 27, 2012

McGuire's Irish Pun in Destin, Fl.-- Part 3: And Free Popcorn, Too!

Despite the bathroom signs (like they say, "Once Maybe, Twice Never." See earlier blog about the bathrooms), we will definitely be back next time through and we will also have to go to the original one in Pensacola.

At least now, I know what to look out for.


We think they made up the word.  But anyway, we finally found one seat at the bar (I had to stand).  The place, believe it or not, was packed.  Three guys behind the bar keeping the drinks coming and the two we talked with couldn't have been friendlier and more helpful.

A big bowl of popcorn was set down in front of us right away.

"Whatda ya want?"

"Don't know. We've never been here before."

"Well, let me show you what we have."

Stu then proceeds to fill up six small glasses with their home brewed selections, place them on an informative piece of paper and explains each one.  We get a chance to taste each one before ordering.

They have Light Ale (like Lite), Red Ale, Wild Irish Raspberry Wheat, Porter, Irish Stout and a seasonal selection.

Still Drinkin'.  --RoadDog

Thursday, January 26, 2012

McGuire's Irish Pub in Destin, Fl.-- Part 2

Besides all the green neon outside, McGuire's has an English double decker bus parked outside, complete with dummies.

You walk in under a sign proclaiming "Feasting, Imbibery & Debauchery."  It's anything goes.

The first thing that strikes you are all the dollar bills hanging from the ceiling and tacked to most open spots on wall and posts that don't already have some sort of Irish-related picture.  Our bartender called it their "Million Dollar Ceiling."  But I doubt if anyone has ever counted or even attempt it.  One wall was covered with Notre Dame championship pictures.

The place seems more than a bit disjointed, reminding us of the original Durty Nellie's back in Palatine, Illinois.

A famous drink there is their Irish Wake, a drink in a huge bottle, greenish in color with the blue alcohol I don't like along with other things and fresh-squeezed orange juice for $8.50...and you get to keep the glass as a souvenir.  Next time I might just overcome my dislike of the blue stuff (probably can't taste it anyway) and order one.

Countdown to St. Patrick's Day, according to their site, 50 days, 15 hours, 20 minutes, 32 seconds.
More Irish Shenanigans to Come.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Careful Bob, That Route 66 Can Be Very Addictive

And I really speak from personal experience.

From Fox Chicago Jan. 24th "Bob Sirott's One More Thing About Detours and Route 66."

Bob Sirott is a well-known television personality here in Chicago.  Before that, he was a deejay on Chicago's WLS Radio back when it played pop music.

Even though Sirott is a Chicago-boy, he has always liked detours, especially in small town America: "It's filled with friendly folks and a world of educational surprises.  It takes me back to the time dad piled out family into the Buick and drove us all the way to Los Angeles and back on Route 66."

This past Tuesday, he had an interview in Joliet and on his way back to I-55 saw a sign for the Joliet Area Historical Museum and took an unplanned detour.

He was amazed at how many artifacts and displays they had on Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway.  Then he found that none other than Paul McCartney had driven Route 66 back when he was 66 (not 64).  I imagine he talked to the same person at the gift shop that I did.

It was getting time for lunch and the museum suggested Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket in Willowbrook which has been serving up that great poultry since 1946.  Current owner Pat is Dell's son and he has run the place for 49 years.

I'm Just Saying, Beware Those Old Roads.  They Are Very Addictive and I Ought to Know.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

McGuire's Irish Pub in Destin, Florida-- Part 1

You can believe that we will go back to this place the next time through, even though I will be very aware of those bathrooms.  Don't want another embarrassing "incident."

I still have to wonder what the next female into their bathroom thought when she saw the seat up.  Some poor dumb slob got caught, no doubt.

We had driven by the huge structure on several occasions, but never stopped.  However, Monday ( Jan. 16th) night, we had met a guy from Ireland at the Swizzle Stick Lounge at the Best Western, Fort Walton Beach, who said he was going to be playing there and in the other McGuire's in Pensacola the next three months.

Plus, we had time after finding that the Oasis was not yet open for business. 

At night, the whole outside is outlined in green neon.  That is one impressive sight.  And the building is three stories high with what appears to be a huge outdoor area at the top.

Parking however, is in a lot where every effort has been made to cram as many parking spaces into as small an area as possible has been made.  Why, this parking lot makes the ones at Walgreen's look absolutely huge!

And, We Aren't Even Inside Yet.  --RoadDog

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights at Route 66's Curve Inn

This past Saturday, a very tired Liz and myself made it as far back home as Springfield, Illinois, checked into the TraveLodge and then went over to the Curve Inn for a couple or three beers.

Great crowd there having fun as usual, shooting darts, eating and drinking.  Plus, playing some really good tunes on the jukebox like "Knock Three Times" and Freddie Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights."  The second time we heard "Wasted Days" I commented that someone must really like the song.  The bartender overheard me and said that the the unofficial song of the Curve.

It seems that they were out on a bar crawl a while back, and they would play the song every place the Curve Crew visited.  It has since become a tradition of sorts.  Seems loke a song that pretty well describes this great old Route 66 roadhouse.

As a matter of fact, they had another bus trip to St. Louis to the Anheiser-Busch Brewery and several other bars in between and they were about to come back.  Folks looking at Facebook said they were getting rowdy.

We decided to leave just as the bus arrived,  First guy into the bar had a red, white and blue speedo on and dirty old man's coat and nothing else.

We Beat the Hasty Retreat.  --RoadDog

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

We got into Grenada, Mississippi , Friday night.  The temperature was in the mid-70s.  We thought McAlister's Deli, next to the Knight's Inn, had  a bar, but it didn't.  However, we walked around behind it and saw a promising place lit up by neon, called The Tiki Bar and decided to check it out.  This place was definitely Ole Miss territory as all the signs outside proclaimed.

I walked over in shorts and a tee shirt and was perfectly comfortable.

However, last night, we got into Springfield, Illinois, with temps at 29 degrees and extremely cold.  Going out to the bars. it was long pants, sweat shirts and coats.

Those 500 miles can cause a change in temperature.

Getting Colder By the Mile.  --RoadDog

Coming Back Too Soon?

Just looking at the weather for today and the two days following.

Panama City Beach, Florida, is supposed to be at 80 degrees today and in the 70s the next two.  At home in northern Illinois, temps in 20s and 30s with snow and ice.

Perhaps we came back too soon.

Oh, Well, Always Good to Get Home.  --RoadDog

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Follow Up on the Destin McGuire's Bathrooms

A follow up on the earlier post.

Evidently someone didn't find the bathroom signs very funny as in 2007, the Destin McGuire's was ordered to take the signs down.  They had first gone up in 1997 in Destin and had been up in the Pensacola McGuire's for twenty years.

No doubt, at  some point back then, a bunch of folks at the Pensacola place were sitting around after a pint or two or three and someone came up with the idea, "Hey, you know what would be funny?" 

The city or some governmental body got them for "Lack of signage properly designating bathrooms."

Evidently, something happened because they're back.  Still doing a double look at all bathroom doors.

Like the Tee Shirt Says, "Once Maybe...Twice Never."  -RoadDog

Maybe Once, Hopefully Not Twice: McGuire's Got Me

Tuesday, we drove back across the six mile stretch of open island between Fort Walton Beach and Destin,, Fl., something you don't often see along the coast in tourist areas.

Objectives were to do some grazing at the Golden Corral, visit a new NTN site and go to McGuire's Irish Bar.  Golden Corral is one of the few places I can afford to eat steak anymore.  The new NTN site, the Oasis of Destin, is not yet open, but hope to be by today.

McGuire's is one of the most interesting places we've ever been to, but I am going to talk about the last experience there. We'd just finished our pints and taken a  walk around the place and were looking at that great gift shop and being sorely tempted, when I decided to go to the bathroom.  Found them and saw a whole lot of stuff on the door, but saw the word "Men" in big print and walked right in.

I was wondering why there were no urinals and put the toilet seat up in one stall (I have been trained well) and just then heard a flush from the next stall and Liz saying loudly, "What are you doing in the women's room?"

So that would explain why there were no urinals.  Unfortunately, I met the lady from the other stall on my hurried retreat.  She and Liz found it hilarious.  I didn't so much.

I mean, these doors are set up to deliberately catch you.  And they did.

Funny now, not so funny at the time.

Believe Me, Every Bathroom Door I Go Through Now Gets Close Scrutiny.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Motelus Funnicus Guyus Strikes Again

From the Fort Walton Beach Best Western.

Yesterday morning, we were awakened at 5:45 AM, by what had to be the loudest alarm clock I've ever heard (well, truth be told, since retiring I rarely use one, so maybe it wasn't all that loud).  After much difficulty, we managed to get it turned off (hey, I even have trouble dealing with the ones we have at home, just don't use 'em that much anymore). 

The only thing was that we didn't set it.  This was the work of Motelus Funnicus Guyus, a person we have encountered more than once on our travels.

Anyway, couldn't get back to sleep.  Looked outside at the Gulf and beheld one of the prettiest sunrises ever.  Perhaps good old Motelus Funnicus Guyus' little funny bit backfired on him.

However, the guy still had one more trick up his sleeve and had the coffee maker set to turn on as soon as I plugged it in.  Unfortunately, I had already poured the water in so that set off quite a scramble.

Ya Gotta Just Love That Guy, Whoever He Could Be.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Not Sure How Interconnected These Two Stories Are

While we were in Panama City Beach this last week, I noticed two news stories about the upcoming mess called Spring Break.  Panama City Beach (PCB) evidently goes out of its way to attract college spring breakers, and I understand even their high school brethren.

Anyway, I saw that PCB is planning to try to break a record for most girls in little bitty bikinis in one place.  Just the thing to stir up the sodden guys, you know.

In other, perhaps related news, PCB is planning on upping their police presence from 54 to 88.

Makes You Go Hmmmmnnn.  --RoadDog

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Sad Day for Us Packer Fans

This morning, I wore my Packer sweatshirt to the "Romeo" meeting in the Osprey's lounge and got quite a few comments about yesterday's game.   Everyone agreed that the Packers just didn't show up.

Typing away outside the room and it is just about warm enough to take off that sweatshirt.  First time it happened since we've been here.  Been pretty cold in the mornings, but still considerably warmer than back home.

I hate those week off byes when you have a good record in the football playoffs.  I  think the Packer receiving corps was still on vacation and what was with all those fumbles?

We saw the first half of the game with a whole bunch of Packer fans at Salty Sue's on Back Beach Road, US-98, while enjoying $1.50 pints and ten jumbo smoked wings for $5.  They smoke 'em for three hours and man does that flavor come through.

We figured that if we went to another place maybe he Packers would return to the form that led to the 15-1 record, so went to Buffalo Wild Wings at Pier Park.  The place was packed with mostly Packer fans, but it was the Giant fans having most of the fun.

Most left early.

Oh well, had to console ourselves at Donovan's Reef.

There's Always Next Year.  --RoadDog

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Last Day

Sitting out here by the room on the first really decent day since we've we've been here at Panama City Beach.  It has been alright if we're sitting by the room and have the wind blocked, this past week, though.  And...it has always been at least 30 degrees warmer than back home and sun. 

I would not have liked to sit outside typing this in the 4-6 inches of snow we received a couple days ago.

But, it is the last day, so have to really enjoy it. 

Folks have really come out of their rooms and quite a few walking the beach, about 50 yards from where I sit a-typing away with my two little fingers.

We've enjpyedDonovan's Reef across the street.  One guy here at the motel said that they were going out of business.  The reason being that our friends from Columbus, Indiana, did not come down this year.  Old Larry always went across the street to have his couple of beers every afternoon.

Tough Life But Someone's Gotta Do It.  Remember, When the Going Gets Rough, the Tough Go to the Beach.  --RoadDog

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Trip Stuff: No Oysters for Me-- Where's Danica?-- NIU Goes Big Time

1.  NO OYSTERS FOR ME--  We've visited a local's place here in PCB called Dusty's Oyster Bar where we always end up where they are shucking the oysters.  Got to talkng with one of the shuckers who said Apalachicola oysters were the best in the world and that I should try one. 

I told him I had had a bad oyster back in the 1980s and couldn't eat one.  He kept insisting that I do a little "hair of the dog" and try one.  I kept saying no and he even threatened to slip one into my beer.  I kept a close eye on my beer after that.

2.  WHERE'S DANICA?--  On our way to Mobile, we spent a night at the TraveLodge in Springfield, Illinois.  While in the bar, we mentioned that we were on our way to the Go-Daddy Bowl. to which several people immediately mentioned the name Danica Patrick.

I seemed to remember she was a NASCAR driver.  We saw later that she is sponsored by the Go-Daddy folks.  I bet you, however, that she was not at the bowl game.

3.  NIU GOES BIG TIME--  Two days ago, while walking from Reggae J's to Buffalo Wild Wings at Pier Park here in Panama City Beach, we passed a store called University Sports and Gifts and decided to go in and look around.  As you would expect, they had lots of Alabama championship stuff as well as Gators and Seminoles.  As a joke, I asked where their Northern Illinois stuff was. 

THEY HAD NIU TEESHIRTS!!!  We just had to buy one for Liz.  They were $14 apiece or 2 for $20 so looked around and were also shocked to find East Carolina so bought one for me.

Hard to Believe They'd Have NIU Stuff in Panama City Beach, Florida.  --RoadDog

Friday, January 13, 2012

Joe's Corner Bar in Panama City, Fl.: NTN and Wings Too-- Part 2

Probably a good way to describe the interior is rustic and well-used.  Those of you who find it necessary to eat at Applebee's or TGIF might not like it.  But we sure do.


Plus, there are the drink prices.  I doubt that you can find a pitcher anywhere in Florida for $4 (Natty Light).  It is $4.75 for Bud Light.  You drink out of a pint Mason jar. 

There were actually folks playing NTN.  We've been to just over 950 NTN sites over the years and usually no one is playing.  And the few times we have had other players, not a word was said to us.  These folks are friendly.

They only serve one thing, and that is wings, so they had better be good.  And they are.  They come just right with no extra charge for blue cheese or ranch or the carrots and celery.  You can get them mild to burn your face off.  We went mild. 

A batch of 12 is $7, but it's a better deal at 20 for $8.75.  Unfortunately, the wings are about Buffalo Wild Wing Size, so that's pretty small.

But, the taste is just great.  Those guys at BW3 were right on the money saying they were the best.

I didn't know it, but when we were leaving, a guy said the tree that towers above the place is actually "in the place."  If it is, it is not out in the bar area, but from the outside, it looks as if an addition to the structure was built around it.  See the above photo.

As Arnold Would Say, "I'll Be...."  --RoadDog

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sharky's Opens Today

Aeriel view above photo.

As is the case with quite a few Panama City Beach hot spots, a winter close down takes place.  That is just what happened to Sharky's, but the sign and newspaper says the place will open today for the 2012 season.

This is one great beach front place for fun and libations.  From 11 to 6, they have happy hour with $1.50 pints, a great place to drink in their absolutely huge tiki bar.

Even better, it is within walking distance of where we're staying.

I see that hey have entertainment starting at 5 tonight, something about shagging, and not the English shagging, but the dance you do to Beach Music. 

Reckon We're Going to Be Some Sort of First-Nighters, Or, At Least First Dayers.  --RoadDog

Joe's Corner Pub in Panama City, Florida: NTN and Wings, Too-- Part 1

Hard to find, but definitely worth the visit.  Due to crummy weather yesterday, we took a drive over the soon-to-be-partially closed bridge between PCB and Panama City to this favorite of ours over these last several years.  It is hard to find, about a mile east of the bridge  on the north side, probably easiest to spot because of it being right next to a Comfort Inn Motel.

Using the Buzztime sitefinder, we knew that they had that dadburn addictive NTN that we play way too much of.  We looked for it the first time here and initially couldn't find it until we went to the BW3, excuse me, Buffalo Wild Wings, at Pier Place and mentioned hat we couldn't find Joe's.  The bartenders both right away said they knew exactly where it was and gave us directions.  They also added that as far as they were concerned, Joe's had the best wings anywhere around, something you would not expect to hear from a BW3.

We found it with some difficulty, even with their directions.  It turns out that it is essentially impossible to see driving west, but you can see a sign going east.

If you're looking for a place that can be called a dive bar, you came to the right place.  And, we like our dive bars.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Civil War History on the Trip

I should note that while in Mobile, we did all sorts of Civil War sight-seeing, all having to do with Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes, who commanded the famous raider CSS Alabama.

We went to his grave, saw his house, drove through a town named for him, saw his statue and found out about a hotel named for him.

He came to Mobile after the war and lived his final years.

You can see my entries on my Running the Blockade Blog.  Just click on it n this page.

Notes from the 2012 Go-Daddy Bowl

1.  HOW'S THAT AGAIN?--  We couldn't help but smile when they started announcing that fans should stick around after the game for the awards ceremony.  Usually you expect that ceremony to occur the same day as the game, but by the second quarter, it was appearing that the awards would go out tomorrow (and they surely did, the game ended at 11:59 PM.)  They should have been saying, "The awards ceremony will be tomorrow morning, real early-like."

2.  "WE REMEMBER YOU GUYS"--  Between the red of NIU and Arkansas State, as well as the red of Alabama, Mobile was awash in crimson this past weekend.  After all, 'Bama was playing in that other bowl the next day.

It did me proud that whenever a "Bama fan saw us in our NIU stuff they would invariably say, "We remember you guys.  You beat us!!"

Made you proud to be a Huskie!!"

3.  GO-DADDIED TO DEATH--  I know it was their bowl and all, but I lost count of Go-Daddy ads at about fifty.  Then, there were all those TV timeouts.  Both teams sure spent a long time just standing on the field, waiting...waiting...waiting.

A Great Time.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time for a Break/A New Friend

Here at Panama City Beach for a bit of a rest from all the hoopla of last weekend.  Right now, sitting outside by the room and looking across at the Gulf of Mexico about 50-60 yards away.  Looks like the sun is trying to break through the haze.  The breeze blowing that wonderful salt air in.

For some reason, yesterday at the motel lobby, only new buddy Bill was wearing Arkansas State colors.  However, several folks had on Northern stuff.  It was kind of funny how we got to know Bill, who said that he went to the same high school in Arkansas that Bill Clinton did, but was one class higher.  The day before, I was sitting with another Huskie fan and saw Bill walk by.  I mistook his shirt for a Northern one and invited him to sit with us.  I imagine he was wondering why I would do that, us being on opposite sides as we were.

He sat down and we went on to have a great conversation.  Then, later learned that he was in the room right next to us.  We talked there as well, plus a bit before Sunday's game.  Yesterday, they invited us to visit them if we go to Arkansas.  Just might take them up on that.

A Tough Life, But Someone's Got to Do It.  --RoadDog

Monday, January 9, 2012

Huskies Win!!

The Game That Would Never End finally ended at 11:59 pm, last  night (began at 8).  Despite an opening 12 minutes of Huskie "Not" offense and a 13-0 deficit, the boys came back to take a 14-13 lead and then scored right before half to go up 21-13.

Huskie hearts were faint when qb Harnish went out with a sprained foot in the second, but after an initial misfire, backup Lynch got a TD, then Harnish returned to engineer a TD as time expired in the second quarter.

Third quarter was scoreless after the Huskie scored a quick one to go up 28-13.  In the 4th, after a Northern field goal (three other field goal attempts were missed), Arkansas State roared back down the field and NIU led 31-20.  Later Northern scored on an interception and won the game 38-20.

Didn't get back to the room until 2 am, way past the bed  time for this old dog and I'm paying for it today.

Go Huskies!!  --RoadDog

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Feeling A Lot Outnumbered

Arkansas State University definitely has us more than a bit outnumbered here in Mobile this weekend.  I
m guessing at least 50-1, though at times it seems 100 to 1.  Here at the motel, I'd say for breakfast there were two of us Huskie fans and twelve Red Wolves fans.  I overheard one saying they had sold 8,000 tickets and Northern just 1,500.

Everywhere you go, you hear that howl and "ASU, ASU!!" 

Last night, at the Mardi Gras parade, they practically drowned out our marching band when they went by and the sidewalks ricocheted back and forth, "ASU" from one side and "Red Wolves" from the other.

These guys are really up for the game.  This would be their first-ever bowl win, overall record 0-1. 

Last night, waiting for the bus, there were two couples chatting with each other, two in NIU attire and the other two with ASU.  The NIU fans said they had to bring the other two along, even as ASU fans, because they were "family."  Now, that would be neat having a family split like that.

Mighty friendly folks though and have had some great conversations.

Here's Hoping for a Win.  --RoadDog

Mobile...the Moon Pie Capital of the U.S.?

OK, they make them in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and no doubt eat them there as well.  But the city of Mobile, Alabama, has raised the the Moon Pie Bar to new levels.  

Last night, we were at the Mardi Gras parade there and while waiting for it, a new friend pointed to a building and said that was a giant 12-foot high moon pie that the city raises to 200 feet at the stroke of midnight to set off the celebration.  This tradition goes back to 2008.  That same year, the town also set a record for largest Moon Pie ever made, some 55 pounds worth of goodness weighing in with a mere 45,000 calories.

Then, during the parade, besides assorted ballistic beads to catch or duck, there were mini-Moon Pies thrown from the floats.  Let me tell you, a Moon Pie, even a mini-Moon Pie will wake you up if it hits you.

Mini Moon Pies became "throws" at Mardi Gras parades in Mobile in 1956.

And, let me tell you, I am not a big fan of Moon Pies, but we ate one of those Moon Pie Mini Mint Crunches when we got back to the motel and it is one of the best things I've ever eaten.  I will be looking for a box of them to buy the rest of the vacation.

A few other interesting Moon Pie facts from Wikipedia:

**  The western-most Moon Pie "Throws" are in Slidell, Louisiana, which also has a Krewe of Mona Lisa and Moon Pie.

**  Oneota, Alabama, has an annual Moon Pie eating contest which started when the local Wal-Mart ordered too many of them one year.

Oh, Give Me a Moon Where the Krewes Do Throw.  --RoadDog

And We Came All the Way Down Here for Warm

Our now-annual trip to the Gulf Coast started five years ago in response to a really cold and snowy winter was and still a great relief to get away from all of that yucky stuff (sorry snowmobilers). 

However, today, I see that temps back home in northern Illinois are predicted at 46 degrees and 52 tomorrow.  Now, that is warm.  Temps here in Mobile are to be in the 70s, however and next week in Panama City Beach in the 60s and possibly 50s by Thursday.

Perhaps we should have stayed home.

Nah!  It will still be warmer here.

However, I would still like to point out that on two occasions, we got really warm January temperatures followed by some major calamities in northern Illinois.  Once was preceding the infamous Blizzard of '67 and the other was a few years back when we had tornadoes the next day.

And, Besides, We Have a Big Game Today.  --RoadDog

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Meeting Diesel

We were downtown Mobile for their Mardi Gras parade tonight.  We were told that even though the season doesn't yet officially begin, they have a parade when anything major is going on in the town.  Impressive and with a lot of black bands, the absolute best marching bands as well as the Arkansas State and Northern bands.

Caught a ton of beads and got clobbered by a lot as well.

Afterwards, we adjourned over to the park by the convention center which was billed as a pep rally, but was really an ASU rally.  They did have a real nice fireworks display, however.

We had the opportunity to meet Diesel, who is a Siberian huskie and has the role of our real live mascot.  He is eight years old and one magnificent Huskie specimen with beautiful markings.  Even more interesting, we found out that he lives in Round lake Beach, where we used to live.  He got the job because his owner's daughter was a cheerleader back five years ago.

Got some great pictures with the pooch, who we call Victor E. Huskie.

Get It!!  --RoadDog

Friday, January 6, 2012

Throwed Rolls, 586 Miles, That Close

Yesterday, was a major driving day for us, with 586 miles under the tires, all superslab on I-55.  We had to make some time after getting only 220 the day before.  Actually, it would have been less miles yesterday, except we missed the exit at Grenada, Mississippi, and had to drive to just shy of Jackson before finding a motel.

We had our Lambert's fix in Sikeston, of course, with several "caught rolls," none dropped.  Called Cajun to let him know we were there, a little tradition we have when either of us are at a Lambert's.  Had my favorite pork streak and found a new favorite item, the cucumbers and onions.

Only problem after pigging out, is staying awake, especially of importance when driving.

After the Springfield shock yesterday, we were happy to find gas in Litchfield, Illinois, at $3,30 when we stopped for our Jack-in-the-Box taco fix.  The only problem was we had to "limit" ourselves to two apiece because of the planned stop at Lambert's.

Keeping an eye on gas prices.  Most places in Missouri, usually the cheapest gas in the US, were at $3.25.  However, we did find one place south of Sikeston at $3.10 so filled up there. 


Upon arriving at Canton, Mississippi, where we spent the night, I saw the Love's station at $3.10.  On the other side of I-55, while looking for a  motel, I saw the stations with $3.20 prices.  I drove back as quickly as I could, GAS GOUGE WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!!  The big interstate sign still read $3.10.  Got to the gas pump, inserted card and it read $3.20.  DARN!!

On the way out, I saw that the interstate sign now read $3.20.

A Moment Late and a Dollar Short (I Had to Put in Ten Gallons).  --RoadDog

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ernie's Sign Is Down

Had we not got such a late start yesterday, we were thinking of stopping by the nursing home in Lincoln  where Ernie Edwards (The Old Coot on 66), owner of the Route 66 icon the Pig Hip Restaurant and listening to some stories.  We did stop by the site of his old place and home in Broadwell to see if it was still for sale.

We were on the super slab at the time and pulled off at Ernie's Broadwell exit, I call it that because there is no way the state would have put in the interchange at such a thriving metropolis as Broadwell (I'm guessing 300 people) unless Ernie "arranged something" with someone.

The house no longer has a for sale sign (I don't know if it was sold or taken off the market), but it doesn't look lived in.  However, we did see that the sign had down, with just the borders of it still there.  Looks like it might have been blown down.  Even worse, the stuff on the side of the sign that I saw was gone.  I don't know if someone in his family took it or if a passerby did.

Nor do I know if the stuff on the other side is still there either.  To tell the truth, I don't know if it was two or one-sided.

All that remains are the red boards.

Anyway, I'm hoping the Route 66 Association in Illinois gets the sign for exhibit in Pontiac.

What Happened to Ernie's Sign?  --RoadDog

What the GRB!!! Gas Jumps 30 Cents in Springfield, Illinois!

When traveling, I always keep an eye on gas prices.  Now, Illinois Highway-47 generally has the highest gas prices on any trip we go on, at least ten or 15 cents higher.  Once you get to Route 66, prices start dropping and by the time we get to Springfield, it is probably 10-20 cents cheaper than at home, $3.26 in Fox Lake when we left.

Yesterday, stations from Woodstock to Huntley were all at $3.40 (well, actually $3.39.9, but I round it up that tenth of a cent).  Also, always, the two most expensive stations between Woodstock and Dwight are the one at Stark's Corner and the BP station at Elburn on Il-38.

I correctly guessed, based on what I'd seen, that Stark's was going to be $3.50.  Nailed it.  Elburn surprised me, however and were a cheap $3.49.

However, I was really bothered when we got to Yorkville and saw two Shell stations at $3.66!!  The other places were at $3.40.  Hmmm.  Something's afoot.  GRBs are on the move.

When we got to Springfield, I was shocked to see all stations at $3.50.  I was figuring $3.20.

Last night, at some bars, I talked with locals and they said in the morning it had been $3.20 and had jumped thirty cents instantly.

Looks Like the Infamous "Summer Driving Season Is Starting a Bit Early This Year.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Getting Ready for Alabama

l should be packing and putting away the last of the Christmas decorations, but here I sit, just a-typin' away with my own  two little fingers.

Planning on driving good old Route 66 from Dwight to Springfield in Illinois and then superslabbing it on I-55 through Missouri and eating at Lambert's "Throwed Roll" Cafe in Sikeston, Missouri.

Mobile, Alabama,  is the objective for Sunday's Go-Daddy Bowl with a whole bunch of NIU fans.

On the Road Again.  --RoadDog

Some More on Chicago's Soldiers Field

I found Soldiers Field medals in benches in one area.

And, then there was a good quote, "The price of greatness is responsibility."

We were able to even go out onto the field in the south end zone.  The stadium seats between 61,500  to 63,000 people

It is a real grass field and the sod has to be replaced often.

We toured the field, but unfortunately weren't able to go into the Bears locker room.  At one time people were allowed into it, but too many things "disappeared."  We did go into an auxiliary locker room, nice, but not the real thing.  Our guide said the Visitors Locker Room would be rated a 2-star, but Da Bears is a 5-Star,

We were shown the McCaskey Sky Box (from the field) which is on the far north end.  You'd think they would have the "Best Seats in the House" or, as the Uke would say, "Must be in the front row."  But Virginia McCaskey, founder George Hallas' daughter, insists that the fans get the best seats.

Soldiers Field is owned by the Chicago Park District.

And That's the Bear Truth.  --RoadDog

Monday, January 2, 2012

Across the Lincoln Highway

Articles in the Fall 2011 Loncoln Highway Forum

**Michael G. Buettner had an article  "In Search of...The National Old Trails Road in Ohio.  As famous as the Lincoln Highway during the pre-numbered highways, was this one, which also included the even older National Road.

**  A Lincoln Highway Post Saved by Mary Lou Taylor.  One of only two original Boy Scout Lincoln Highway posts was hit by a vehicle in Mifflin, Ohio, and badly damaged, broken into several pieces.  Dick Taylor, who makes reproduction LH posts spent quite a bit of time, but managed to rebuild it.  Thanks, Dick.

**  Jeff LaFollette wrote an article about the fourth annual Iowa Lincoln Highway Motor Tour that went west to east across the state.  We went on it two years ago, great ride.  next year's tour starts in Illinois where the first day 5-6 LH spots will be toured.

**  Part 1 of the Henry Bourne Joy 1916 Journey to Utah on the LH.  This is a photo trip.  We would not even consider the LH a poorly maintained dirt road at best today.

I'll Finish the Issue Tomorrow.  --RoadDog

The History at Chicago's Soldier Field

It is too bad that Da Bears won't be hosting any playoff games at Soldiers Field this year, despite at one time being 7-3, but five straight losses will kind of knock you out of contention.  At least they won the last game against Minnesota.

This past summer, I was able to go to the field at the invite of the USMC, when  the Great Lakes Recruiting Battalion had their change of commandant.  I took a walk around the new Soldiers Field (how long before it gets a corporate name, but being named for the military perhaps not.

There were large pictures along what they call South Field of events that have taken place there.

1937  Ski jump
1978  Rolling Stones concert
1942  Army War Show
1927  Notre Dame vs. USC football game
1959  All Star Game
1926  Rodeo
1933  Music Festival
1966  Freedom Rally1926  Eucharist Congress

There were also the words to that great song, "Bear Down Chicago Bears and a ticket from the Oct. 12, 1952 Bears vs. Dallas Texans game.

A Great Trip Back Into History.  --RoadDog

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Lincoln Highway Loses Ron Preston

From the Fall 2011 Lincoln Highway Forum.

I was saddened to learn that the old Lincoln Highway lost one of its really interesting characters, Ron Preston, son of another really interesting person.

He died August 12, 2011, at age 77, following knee surgery.

When he was there, he welcomed visitors to the unique Preston Station on the Lincoln Highway in Belle Plaine, Iowa.  This very photographed site has memorabilia in the interior and is covered with historic signs outside.  This is all stuff that makes folks like me salivate.  Fortunately, I doubt that anything was for sale.

We've driven by and photographed the structure many times and a couple years ago, were able to actually meet him on the Iowa Lincoln Highway Motor Tour. Quite the character.

Always Hate to Lose Those Highway Characters.  --RoadDog