Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Trip Back...Way, Way Back

Yesterday, Liz and I drove to Palatine, Illinois, about 25 miles away, for some reminiscing and a homecoming football game between our Palatine and arch rival Fremd.

Stopped along the way at Target and Half-Price Books to buy CDs and a book and then to the cemetery in Arlington Hts. to visit Liz's parents' grave.

Man, there sure is a lot of traffic!!!

Then drove by the old Palatine High School off US-14, Northwest Highway.  Glad that at least some of the place is still standing and being used as administrative offices for the park district and the police station.  Cutting hall is still used for theater.  Then drove around the back of school, past Ost Field which I feel I'm partly the reason it came to be.  I went to Fremd freshman year then the last three at Palatine when the two schools were split.  My freshman year, we and the sophomores of Palatine all went to Fremd.  Juniors and seniors went to Palatine.

We had to play our "home" games at Fremd all through high school and I hated that.  So, as sports editor of the paper my senior year, I proposed building the field behind our school and it came to pass a few years later.  Of course, now Palatine High School has moved to a site off Hicks Road.

Then, ate at Photo's on Northwest Highway, near Hicks Road.  This is where the old Burger King I worked at in high school and part of college was located.  Judging by the number of customers, it is quite popular, but overrun with Fremd students.  I don't know about that.  Great food, though, and a free ice cream cone for dessert.

A Trip Back.  --RoadDog

Friday, September 28, 2012

Summer '12 North Carolina Trip-- Part 7: No Porkchop Sandwich for Me!!

Now in the home state, North Carolina after coming down the mountain and not getting flattened by a runaway truck.  Approaching Andy Griffith's hometown, Mt. Airy.  Gas the lowest of trip, $3.06!!  But had already filled up in Wytheville so didn't get any. 

Tuned into a great classic country station at 98.1 FM, that I had found on a previous trip.  They're playing some songs I haven't heard in a long time.  Ended up keeping the station until east of Winston Salem.

I was getting hungry and thinking about that great pork chop sandwich i was going to get at Snappy Lunch in Mt. Airy (and I was there before they close at 1:30 in the afternoon.  Parked behind Main Street, went to the restaurant and found a piece of paper taped to the door saying they were going to be closed this week.  RATS!!!  All this way and NO pork chop sandwich!!  Kind of defeats the purpose.

Dejected and sad, I wandered the street, looking to see if there was anything in any of the stores relating to Andy Griffith's recent death.  But, nothing, other than a big condolence card people could sign in one of the souvenir stores (and there are a lot of them.  Mt. Airy knows how to cash in on Mayberry.).

The Andy Griffith Playhouse (in his old school) has a replica of the TV Land statue in Raliegh of Andy and Opie down by the old fishing hole and that had a lot of flowers by it.

No pork chop sandwich, but there is a Golden Corral in town, so went there for lunch.  They also have Carolina bbq.

Sated, I'm On My Way.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Summer '12 North Carolina Trip-- Part 6: Cheaper Gas in W.V.

July 11th

Driving through West Virginia now and saw gas posted at $3.37 off I-77.  That is much cheaper than I would have figured to find in the state, which usually is not far behind Illinois when it comes to prices.  Although, I saw it at $3.50 in Charleston.

My overall miles per gallon still increasing steadily as I am driving five miles under the speed limit and paying particular attention to the instant mpg gauge.  By mile marker 81 in the state, the overall was up to 31.9.   It had been 30.9 this morning in Zanesville, Ohio.  When you take all mileage, not just trip in account, that is a nice increase.

Saw a big shock on the West Virginia Turnpike with gas at $3.33.

Got Gas in Wytheville, Virgina, generally one of the lowest you'll find along I-77, for $3.12 a gallon.

Virginia I-77 about MM 13 a sign warns of entering fog advisory area.  The big descent as I call it, begins an MM 7.  Great views out into the valley and can even see Pilot Mountain.  But, those runaway truck lanes up the side of the mountains are a bit frightening, especially when there are a lot of trucks on the road with you (and there usually are a lot).

Into North Carolina.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Good News on Route 66 in Springfield, Illinois

It's going to be a great combination in Springfield as the famous eatery, Coney Island, has now moved to the former Sonrise Donut building on Ninth Street, and as we roadies know, Route 66.

Emilio and Rosa Lomeli have made the 4th location of their historic eatery at 1101 S. Ninth Street (the Boulevard of Stoplights)

Coney Island dates back to 1919 and spent most of its run at the 114 N. Sixth Street, but were forced out in 2000 to clear the way for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. 

The Sonrise Donut building has been vacant for the past two years.  Before that, a series of people tried to make a go of it there, but failed.  I don't remember it when it was actually Sonrise Donuts, but have always admired its sign and once, back on 2005, actually had the opportunity to eat breakfast in the place.

It has always bothered me that it sat vacant.  That is a good chance of being demolished. And, i had eaten at Coney Dig a couple times when it was near the old State Capitol.

Let's Hope the Place Makes a Go of It.  --RoadDog

Monday, September 24, 2012

Troubling News on Route 66: The Famous Pony Bridge

Ron Warnick's excellent Route 66 News site had two bits of news of special interest to me recently.  One great news, and the other troubling.


Oklahoma has a new 8-year plan for the state's bad bridges, those considered to be in bad shape.  Three are on Route 66:

Captain's Creek Bridge, built 1932, Ok.-668 in Wellston
Timber Creek Bridge, built 1926, northeast of Sayre
Pony Bridge, built 1933, US-282 over the South Canadian River

All of these are recommended for demolition.

The one that is particularly worrisome is the Pony Bridge, I'd say the second most impressive 66 bridge after the Chain of Rocks one near St. Louis.  That is some drive across the 20+ pony bridges.  I'd sure hate to lose it.  In the classic film "The Grapes of Wrath," Grandpa was buried near the west end of the bridge.

Save That Neat, Old Bridge.  --RoadDog

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What's So Cotton About Cotton Hill-- Part 2

It appears that we somehow missed the brick part of Route 66 just off the asphalt of Cotton Hill Park by a bluff where the original 66 came out from under the lak.

I found this one mention of Route 66 back in the old days from the Clan site.

In his teen years, Dad's farm was next to Route 66 (or Rt.127) as it was known before 66).  It crossed into Sangamon County heading for Springfield. It took many men to build Route 66, "Some hauled sand and gravel and cement to a large mixer sitting in the middle of the roadbed.  Water had to be added and then mixed.."

"When the highway was constructed along our farm, the road construction crew had a small railroad engine which hauled in construction materials in hopper cars, which were parked on a narrow railroad track."

Route 66 was built around the east side of Glenarm and east of Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company.  It continues  north to join the stretch that had been built around Springfield to one south of Ball Township School.  It continued on to Cotton Hill and then to Springfield.  This last stretch around Cotton Hill was flooded when Lake Springfield was built in 1935.

A Yahoo map shows Cotton Hill in Capital Township on the north side of Lake Springfield.

So, Where Is Waldo, er, Cotton Hill?  --RoadDog

Friday, September 21, 2012

What's so Cotton About Cotton Hill-- Part 1

This place is tied into the Route 66 story of in the Springfield, Illinois, area. 

There is a Cotton Hill Township in Sangamon County (Springfield) with a population of 1,065.

There is talk of it being the home of Hunter Lake, a proposed 3,070 acre reservoir which will be made by damming Horse Creek, a tributary of the Sangamon River.  This is a project of the Springfield City Water, Light & Power Company, the folks that brought you Lake Springfield.  They have the huge smokestacks that can be seen most anywhere in Springfield.

There is a Cotton Hill Township in Missouri.  Two of the earliest settlers in the township were Henry Funderbirk from St.Louis and William Nelson from St. Clair County, Mo., who settled in Illinois in 1818.  However, I doubt that they ever raised cotton there.

Route 66 went through the township before Lake Springfield formed and covered part of it.  On one of trips to Springfield, we spent part of an afternoon looking for it.

Three Bags Full.  --RoadDog

Chicago's Wells Street

I wrote about Wells Street in Chicago on my War of 1812 blog "Not So Forgotten." today.  Quite a road and it's named after William Wells who died at the Fort Dearborn Massacre August 15, 1812.

This street crosses both Jackson and Adams boulevards for you Route 66 fans.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

What It Was, Was a Big Muskie Bucket

My pa,l Denny, made a comment on my North Carolina 2012 summer trip blog entry and told me what the Big Muskie Bucket was.

I did some more research on it at Roadside America.

The Big Muskie was the largest earth moving machine.  Just the enormous bucket remains, hence "Big Muskie Bucket."  Today, it sits on the edge of the valley that it once destroyed.

Built in 1969, it could move 39 million pounds of coal and rock every hour from rich coal seams 100-150 feet down.  It could swing its boom 600 feet and moved slowly on four giant shoes.

It continued working until 1991 and then stayed where it stopped.  In the 1990s, a bill passed called the Surface Mining Reclamation Act that required its removal.  Another one in southeast Kansas called Big Brutus still stands.

A "Save the Big Muskie" campaign failed to raise enough money to save it and in May 1999, it was destroyed for scrap except the bucket.  The original owner, American Electric Power turned the bucket into a centerpiece for a display.

Located at Exit 25 Caldwell off I-77.  Go west on SR 78 16 miles to Miners Memorial Park.

Nothing at all to do with fish.  Wonder how it got the name Big Muskie?  Maybe it looked like one.

Looks Like I'll Have to Check It Out the Next Time I'm Through There.  --RoadDog

Give Me One a Dose $7.99 Steak Dinners-- Part 3

Ronny's opened next to the Oriental Theatre one year before Munic joined them.  The story goes that the original owner wanted a son, but his wife gave birth to a girl so he gave a boy's name to the restaurant at 16 West Randolph Street, calling it Ronny's Steak Palace.  However, it's biggest contribution to Chicago dining was the turkey legs at Taste of Chicago according to Munic.

At one time, there were six Ronnys downtown.  Developers bought the original Ronny's and tore it down.  Ronny's had occupied a building with a Germanic facade where the Eitel Old Heidelberg restaurant, serving German food, had been.

Munic said that every building that was a Ronny's was torn down.  Now, the one at Clark and Lake is the last one.  The reporter asked  why Munic had not retired in 1999.  "And do what?" Munic replied.  "I'm a lousy golfer, I can't play tennis, and I can't really run the marathon anymore."

Another Chicago Legend.  I Imagine Talking to Munic is Like Talking to Schaller.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Give Me One a Dose $7.99 Steak Dinners-- Part 2

Here's how you get one of the dinners, essentially the same thing as at J&D in Clinton, Iowa.

First line up single file along the counter, select a T-bone or other food item by size and then slide down the counter with your tray.  Next, the cook makes it.  Minute three, your 8-ounce steak arrives with garlic bread, a baked potato that looks like it exploded and a salad.

The lunch steak wouldn't make it at one of those fancy, very-expensive steak houses.  It is USDA Utility, but actually juicy and tender for the most part, unless you get it well done.  Cuts range from 8 to 20 ounces.  Hey, and you can always use some of that house steak sauce if worse comes to worse.

Upwards of 400 steaks come off the grill each day, plus ribs, chicken and pizza.

Herman Munic, 73, is the owner, entered the steakhouse business in the late-1950s when he worked at Tad's which used to be next to the Chicago Theatre where you could get a full dinner for $1.09!!  Ronny's management got him to come to their place in 1964 to run it.

More Steak to Come.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Give Me Ona Dose $7,99 Steak Dinners-- Part 1

And, in Chicago's Loop, where you can always expect to pay more.

From the July 26th Chicago Tribune "A steal deal, just like in olden days" by Kevin Pang.

I think I want to apply for Mr.Pang's job.  Go to neat old places and eat.  Just my thing.  And, I thought these steak places were long-gone, but they're not.  Spending $7.99 for a full meal, and a steak one at that, is an amazing deal in these days of the price of everything going up and salaries for most folks dropping like a rock.

This steak house in Chicago at 100 W. Randolph St (near Clark and Lake streets) still has the prices in the windows.  And..they're what the rest of us 99% can afford.  Well, perhaps 85%.

I thought these steak places were gone, except, perhaps for J & D in Clinton, Iowa.  I remember eating at Tad's Steak House in Chicago back in the 60s when a full meal cost $1.99.

The next time I'm in Chicago, I'll definitely try to eat at this place.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

The Spirit of Route 66

From the May 13-19, 2012, American Profile Magazine by Audrey T. Hingley.

A real nice article on our favorite road with lots of interesting photos and primarily based on an interview with 66  fan Jim Conkle.  Really, no new information for us roadies, but we need to remember that most Americans know very little about the road (no doubt lining up somewhere to get some new technology) and this is a good primer.  Who knows, some may have actually gotten out an driven some of it.

He was 9, when he first went on it and "saw the fabled highway's seemingly endless string of service stations, diners, motels and roadside attractions, many beckoning with blazing neon signs and unique Art Deco architecture."  Since then, he has made more than 200 trips on Route 66, some hitch-hiking and many leading tour groups.

In short, back in 1949, if you wanted to drive east-west across the US, this was the way to go.  Conkle gives a short history of the road and what killed it and then its resurrection starting with Angel Delgadillo in Seligman, Arizona.

I really liked the picture of downtown Shamrock, Texas, taken in the 40s or 50s.  Definitely what the folks in "Cars" based Radiator Springs on.  And then, there was that big photo of the Route 66 logo on a road on the front cover.

You can view the whole article at

Always Great to Get Some Publicity.  --RoadDog

Monday, September 17, 2012

Let's Make It a Battleship Tour

As far as I'm concerned, the United States has never had a more impressive warship than the battleship.  I know, its day has passed and then went to the aircraft carrier and now to the submarine (which is why they are now named after states like the battleships used to be).

We are fortunate that we still have eight battleships and they have all been turned into museums.  Here's where you can see them (and date of commissioning):

USS TEXAS--  (1914)--  Houston, Texas
USS NORTH CAROLINA--  (1941)  Wilmington, North Carolina
USS MASSACHUSETTS--  (1942)  Fall River, Massachusetts
USS ALABAMA--  (1942)--  Mobile, Alabama

USS IOWA--  (1943)--  Los Angeles, California
USS NEW JERSEY--  (1943)--  Camden, New Jersey
USS MISSOURI--  (1944)  Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
USS WISCONSIN--  (1944)  Norfolk, Virgina

However, I would have liked to see the Iowa and Wisconsin anchored in their home state.  The Missouri is in a good place as it is anchored just beyond the USS Arizona.  World War II for the U.S. began at Pearl Harbor and, the blowing up of the Arizona was a key moment.  The war ended officially on the deck of the Missouri almost four years later.

I've been to the North Carolina many times.  As a student in North Carolina, I donated coins to bringing it home.  I've seen the Alabama, Missouri, New Jersey and Texas.  I'd like to go on these (might have been on the Texas which clearly is the step between the Spanish-American warships and the WW II behemoths) as well as the three I've never seen.

They Put the "B" in Battle.  --RoadDog

It Was a Gas

I kept records of my gas purchases back during my July trip to North Carolina.  Date, Gas price a gallon, gallons bought, cost, mileage and place.

7-10  $3.39, 10.387 gallons,  $32.20, 7551  Crawfordsville, Indiana (Pilot)
7-11  $3.38,  8.045 gallons,  $21.18,  7829  Zanesville, Ohio  (Exxon)
7-11  $3.12,  7.738 gallons,  $24.13,  8115  Wytheville, Virginia
7-11  $3.22,  8.284 gallons,  $26.67,  8386  Warsaw, North Carolina  (BP)
7-18  $3.26, 10.242 gallons,  $33.38,  8659  Castle Hayne, North Carolina
7-20  $3.36,  5.049  gallons,  $16.96,  8864  Burlington, North Carolina  (Pilot)
7-20  $3.19,  7.981  gallons,  $25.45,  9133  Dandridge, Tennessee  (Pilot)
7-22  $3.14,  6.030  gallons,  $18.93,  9360  White House, Tennessee
7-24  $3.40, 10.491 gallons,  $35.66,  9729  Shelbyville, Indiana  (Pilot)
7-24  $3.41,   4.719 gallons,  $16.04,  9905  Gibson City, Illinois



MPG ON TRIP:  34.33--  Not Bad. 

Thanks 2011 Malibu.  --RoadDog

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Four Bands, Two Bars, An Old Radio Show, a Fishy Place and Lots of History

Busy day today.

At 9:30 AM,  I went to the Fox Lake Historical Society's monthly meeting where we had a group of old-time radio show people put on three shows.  I was like back when people listened to the radio before the advent of the TV.

Then, it was a perfect day for boating, so went out for the 35th time this season.

At 1:30, it was over to the Spring Grove Fish Hatchery's rededication ceremony.  The village now owns it and has turned it into a park.  At one time, it was the largest hatchery in Illinois and opened in 1914.  The three piece band OCB was performing.

Next, we drove to Wauconda and watched Terry Spizzirri perform on the deck of Dock's, overlooking Bang's Lake.

Then to the Dog N' Suds in Ingleside for a Dixieland jazz band and old car show.  Funny bumper sticker on the way out from there "Leave No Millionaire Behind.  Vote Republican."  Got a chuckle from that.

Last stop was at Captain's Quarters in Antioch for the band "1969,"  playing guess what kind of music.

I'm Wore Clean Out.  --RoadDog

Friday, September 14, 2012

That Route 66 Brings in the Money

From the April 7th Springfield (Il) State Journal-Register "Study: Route 66 travelers spend $132 million per year" by Tim Landis.

A national study conducted of hotels, restaurants, museums, gift shops, gas stations, oil, car rentals and so forth has indicated that travelers along Illinois' Route 66 spend $132 million a year to do so.

Major sites for 66 in Springfield are Bill Shea's Gas Station and Museum (or as his wife says, "That man never throws anything away") and the Route 66 Mother Road Festival (starting next weekend), even though it is largely perceived as a car show.

Rutgers University and the State University of New Jersey conducted the study between 2008-2011 and received responses from 4,200 visitors.

It found that 92% were white with a median age of 55 with average income of $62,500.  Some 71% were married.  More than 60% were traveling east to west with a typical trip lasting around five days.  (Personally, I don't see how you could possibly really travel all of 66 in just five days.  Way too much to see and do.)

Bill Shea, 90, said that last year he had visitors from 87 countries.  However, state budget cuts in travel are hurting the effort.

There are 90 Illinois communities along Route 66 in Illinois, and most of them have under 5,000 populations.

I can't see how cutting travel budget helps.  This is something that brings in more money than it costs.

Route 66 in Illinois.  A Great Drive.  --RoadDog

Summer '12 North Carolina Trip-- Part 5: A Big Muskie Bucket


I then get on I-77 heading south.  At MM 37, there is an Ohio Bicentennial Barn 1803-2003.  Quite a few were painted with the logo back in 2003.  I don't know how many still stand, but this one is kept up nicely.

A yellow Corvette zoomed by with a license plate reading "USingle".

By Exit 25, there is a brown highway sign announcing Big Muskie Bucket, probably one of the more interesting names I've seen.  Probably some sort of a fishing thing.

At this time, I began watching a number on my car's Info dashboard.  It said that I was getting 31.2 mpg on average overall, not just on the trip.  It had been around 26.3 mpg when I left home yesterday.  Another reading on info was instant mpg which fluctuated a lot depending upon how much pressure I put on the gas pedal and whether I was climbing, on flat surface or coming down a slope.

I decided to see how high I could get that gas mileage, which meant I slowed down to about 5-10 miles under the speed limit.

Hey, I'm not in a huge hurry.  I'm "re-tarred" as they say down south.

Working on a Mileage Thing.  --RoadDog

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Summer '12 North Carolina Trip-- Part 4: Driving the National Road


On the road today starting in Zanesville, Ohio, right at one of my favorite short drives back through history, along US-40, the old National Road, to Cambridge.  This is a short drive, but highly scenic.

And, US-40 goes right by the Super 8.  Took it the couple miles into Zanesville.  At the famous "Y-Bridge," I saw a circle of giant urns, painted in many different colors.  Must have been one of those "Cows on Parade" things so many towns have these days where they take one particular sculpture and have folks paint them differently and place around the place.

Then, there is the beautiful courthouse that always reminds me of the one in Pontiac, Illinois, on Route 66.  East of town there is a Union soldier statue and the interesting gate to the cemetery.  There was a good breakfast crowd at Mickey's, a must-stop for a meal if you're ever passing through, but I was saving up for a go at a famous pork chop sandwich in Mt.Airy, NC.

Listening to country music on Highway 103, 103.7 FM, which I had found last night. Good station.

Back when US-40 was the main way to get from point A to B, this had to be a very heavily traveled road judging from the many, many old motels located along it.  Most all have been turned into apartments these days.  Many are in bad shape.

One really big motel continues in business, but its sign is down, so I don't know its name.

Then, there are those two neat "S" Bridges and a whole bunch of turnoffs where you can actually drive on the old National Road. 

New Concord is a neat town that I would not mind living in.  Didn't drive through Cambridge and got on I-70 west of town.  Filled up with gas at the Pilot station on I-70 near I-77.  It is always a good plan to fill up with gas before you get near West Virginia.  Prices in Ohio increase as you approach W.Va. and are always about 20-30 cents more in that state.

A Drive on History.  --RoadDog

Schaller's Pump-- Part 5: Eating and Fighting

Today. five of Schaller's children continue to run the business, making it the fourth generation. Jack mostly just "holds court."

The food, of course, is great.  The writer ordered the special butt steak sandwich, describing it as "a balled fist of broiled top sirloin, perched on a single piece of toast and french fries.  A.1. steak sauce is requisite."  There was a photo of it ad I'm getting hungry just looking at it.  Back in the 1960s, the Chicago Dail News declared Schaller's burgers one of the ten best in the city.

Jack Schaller told me one more story.  Back in the day, he used to break up fights between kinfolks over nothing in particular.  The next night the two adversaries would be back having beers again, hunched over the same stools as if nothing had happened.  In essence, the place is a second home for Bridgeport residents.

Definitely On My List If I Ever Go to Another Sox Game.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Schaller's Pump-- Part 4: Just Some Stories

With all the years I went to Sox games, I must admit that I never went to this place, but now sure wish I had. History and a beer and a burger (and FREE parking), a hard deal to beat.  And, of course, the best thing would be the opportunity to listen to Jack Schaller stories.  And I bet he could tell 'em just as well as the Old Coot on 66, Ernie Edwards.

Back to the article for some more Jack Schaller stories:

**  "They let me throw out the first pitch at the White Sox game a few weeks ago.  I had a crazy windup."  (Schaller demonstrated, his arms and legs flying everywhere, comically.)  "I don't recall the catcher, but the next day he was sent back to the minors!"  (It was Jordan Danks.)

**  "The secret of the restaurant business?  never cut portions.  You can raise your price, but if you cut portions, that's suicide."

More to Come About This Chicago Institution.  --RoadDog

Monday, September 10, 2012

Schaller's Pump-- Part 3: Changes Come to Neighborhood

The Schallers have seen the Bridgeport neighborhood change from predominantly Irish and German to Polish and Lithuanian to Mexican and Chinese.  The mighty stockyards closed.  Bridgeport became the home base to almost a century of the Chicago political machine:  Edward Kelly, Martin Kennelly, Michael Bilandic and the two Richard Daleys.

Then, the White Sox lost to the Dodgers in the 1959 World Series.  Shortly afterwards, Sox owner Bill Veeck sat in the bar, beer in hand, and told Schaller he'd purchased the contract of an outfielder from Cleveland by the name of Minnie Minosa.  Schaller said to him, "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"  Schaller was persona non grata to Veeck or a month.  Mr. Sox!!!

Some more Jack Schaller stories:

**"The young Richard Daley spent his 21st birthday here, right back in that corner."

**  "Veeck once took this man's $20 bill. he put a pat of butter on one side, a silver dollar the other.  He threw it (pronounced as true it) at the ceiling.  The coin came down.  Lo and behold the bill stuck up there!  It stayed up there for 20 years."

Mr. Schaller's Got Some More Stories.  --RoadDog

Another Ten Stops on Route 66

From the Feb. 7, 2009 Listverse site.

10.  ROUND BARN--  Arcadia, Texas
9.  U-DROP INN--  Shamrock, Tx.
8. COZY DOG DRIVE-IN--  Springfield, Il.--  Ate there many, many times..  Not sure if I like the dogs or fries better.
7.  BIG TEXAN STEAK RANCH--  Amarillo, Tcx.--  Didn't try the big one.
6.  WIGWAM VILLAGES--  Holbrook, Az. and Rialto, Ca.  Been by both, but didn't stay.

5.  METEOR CRATER--  Meteor City, Az.  Been to the front door, but not in as they wanted to charge full price even with just 15 minutes to closing.
4,  EL RANCHO HOTEL-- Gallup, NM   Stayed there
3.  JACK RABBIT TRADING POST--  Joseph City, Az.  Got "trapped" here.
2.  LOU MITCHELL'S RESTAURANT--  Chicago, Il.  Great food
1.  THE LEANING TOWER OF GROOM--  Texas  It wobbles but won't fall down.

Seen 'Em All.  --RoadDog

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Summer '12 North Carolina Trip-- Part 3

Listened to CDs most of the way, but nearing Champaign, Illinois, tuned into WBFT, 90.1 FM which had a blues show.  Then there was the great Americana Music on 98.3, the Whip out of Farmerville, Illinois.

At Mahomet, just west of Champaign, I got off Il-47 and onto I-74 (this is my way of avoiding the Chicago hassle)

I had no problem with the rush hour traffic in Indianapolis.  Took I-70 east into Ohio.  Food note, at Exit 29 in Ohio by Dayton, there is a Skyline Chili place.  Hey, got to have my Cincy chili.

East of there, at one point, I-70 went down to one lane due to construction and I was glad to see trucks in the lane that was to be closed driving slow and forcing the "I'm Too Good to Wait in Line Like the Rest of You Peons SOBs" to get into line with the rest of us peons.  Way to go, guys.  I really hate those line-cutters.

Over all MPG finally got up to 30.9 due to all the interstate, cruise control driving.  I'll be seeing how far I can get it on the trip.

Got as far as Zanesville and checked into the Super 8 on the west side of town.  Mileage driven today was 534.4.

Half Way to NC.  --RoadDog

Schaller's Pump-- Part 2

Back in 1881, there were water troughs in the front of the building, built for the horses that carried workers to and from the Union Stock Yards.  Some of the ropes used to tie the horse hangs as decoration in the bar, though painted black.

Prohibition arrived in 1920.  The South Side Brewing Co., next door, tried its hand at "near beer."  All the while, underground tunnels connected the brewery with Schaller's where barrels containing the real stuff rolled along on tracks.  A peep hole was installed, allowing only select customers entrance.

Jack Schaller said, "The government workers (enforcing prohibition) when  they all got through working, they came over here and drank real beer!"

Schaller attended Leo High School for three years before being drafted.  he fought in the Philippines with the 34th Infantry Division during World War II.  On return, he worked at the Pump scrubbing floors, tending bar and cooked in the kitchen wherever needed.

Destroying Beer and Drinking beer.  --RoadDog

Friday, September 7, 2012

Schaller's Pump, Chicago's Oldest Tavern at 131 Years-- Part 1

From the September 6th Chicago Tribune "Beef, stories served thick and juicy" by Kevin Pang.

How do you beat this: White Sox, great food and drink and a whole lotta history?

Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood (the Mayors Daley stronghold) has the city's oldest tavern, Schaller's Pump (at 3714 S. Halstead St.)  and is a mere 15 minute walk from where the Sox play (I call it Comiskey Park, but some say that's not the name)  Eat there and your parking is free, a quick $20 savings from Sox parking that you can put toward yourself and in your mouth.  That could easily cover a shrimp-and-ribs plate!!

The proprietor is 88-year-old Jack Schaller who has lived above the place for the last 35 years.  If he isn't out playing blackjack at a local casino, you can find him holding court (for you Route 66 fans, ala our beloved Ernie Edwards from the Pig Hip) in his place.  "Like many of his contemporaries, stories are his currency, spilling out from Schaller in a high-pitched and animated tenor."

His grandfather, George "Harvey" Schaller came to Chicago from Germany and opened the place in 1881 when Carter Harrison was mayor (and there have been 26 since then, including the long runs of the two Daleys).

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Back to the Wilmington Train Depot

I came across a follow-up notice that the 1869 Wilmington, Illinois, train depot had been demolished Fe. 7, 2012.  I wonder if it was the same piece of equipment that knocked the old Ballard Grain Elevator down (between Chenoa and Lexington).

There had been a 14-year grass-roots effort to save it.

Someone commented that the Chenoa train depot had also been demolished.

They'll Regret It.  --RoadDog

Who'd Do That to a Whale, Especially a Blue One?

I'm catching up on some Route 66 stuff.  From the Feb. 18, 2012, News 9 Oklahoma "Route 66 Blue Whale Struck by Vandals."

The 80-foot long, 15-foot high concrete Blue Whale was built in 1972 as an anniversary gift of current owner Blaine Davis' father to his mother (and all some women get is a fancy dinner)  It was originally part of a children's zoo.

The whale had just received a needed paint job in 2011, and now this.  The donation box had been removed over Christmas because of break ins.

The vandals wrote names (kind of a dumb thing if it is their own name) but nothing vulgar though.(their mamas did not raise dirty vandals).  No photos of the deed were posted to help with the police investigation and a new paint job was planned.

The Blue Whale is a major attraction on old Route 66 and we've seen it many times.

I'm So Blue.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wilmington's Depot Coming Down

From the Dec. 7, 2011 Free Press Newspaper.

Route 66's Wilmington, Illinois, 1869 train depot will be coming down as it is too close to the tracks for high speed trains.

The 1,400 square-foot station is one of the oldest in the state, built in the spring of 1869 by the Chicago, Alton & Mississippi Railroad.

It was decommissioned in 1972.

I don't know if it has already been torn down yet or not, but every town I know of that has allowed their depot to be demolished has regretted it.  If it is too close to the tracks, move it.  It can always be found a reuse for a building of that much architectural interest.

The one in Chenoa, Illinois, is in bad shape as well.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lincoln Highway Ran Through El Cerrito

From the Dec. 28, 2011, El Cerrito (California) Patch "First Trans-U.S. Highway Ran Through El Cerrito" by Rich Bartke.

Rich Bartke is the president of the El Cerrito Historical Society.

San Pablo Aenue is the main artery of El Cerrito and runs through Emeryville, Berkeley, Alburg, El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo, Pinole and Hercules as well as Rodeo and Crockett and a couple now-gone towns.

Originally it was the El Camino Real (meaning main road)  Then, it became part of the Lincoln Highway and later U.S.-40 and I-80.

In 1928, it was marked by Boy Scouts (replicas of them are being placed in El Cerrito)

In 1935, the Lincoln Highway Association dissolved and was reformed October 1992 for the purpose of preservation.

As a teenager, Rich Bartke's father bought a  '20 or '21 Model T Ford, upgraded it and drove the entire length of the Lincoln Highway from New York to Berkeley.

Never heard of San Pablo Avenue.  --RoadDog

Pennsylvania Lincoln Highway Original Businesses

From the Somerset County (Pa) Daily American "Lincoln Highway helped to build America" by Daniel Draper.

The Lincoln Highway was dedicated Oct. 31, 1913.  Not many original businesses are left.

In Somerset County there are motels like the Wishing Well Motel in Jennerstown and Camp Allegheny in Stowstown.

Duppstadt's Country Store opened in 1904 in Buckstown.

One of Somerset County's most famous places is gone and that would be the SS Grandview Ship Hotel destroyed by fire in 2001.  It was built in the 1930s.  Lincoln Highway author Brian Butko has written a book about it.

Gone, But Not Forgotten.  -- RoadDog

Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer '12 North Carolina Trip-- Part 2

Continuing on Il. Highway 47 to Dwight.  Gas in Mazon the lowest yet, $3.40 and $3.46 in Dwight.

Stopped at the old Ambler-Becker gas station, now a welcome center, on old Route 66, a favorite destination for me these days.  Hey, they are getting into the EV revolution and have an EV station for charging your hybrid.  It costs money, though and none of the two people at the museum knew how much it costs.  I wonder if anyone has "filled up?"

They now have Dwight's first fire engine in the place, just a tad smaller than the modern behemoths.

Always friendly folks volunteering their time in the place.

Took a look at the guest book after signing in, noting foreign 66 travelers going back several days to July 3rd (this was July 10th):

Montreal, Quebec, Switzerland, Buenas Aires Argentina, Norway, Germany, UK, France, Belgium, Cyprus, Holland, Spain and Denmark.  There were others from the same places, but only listed the place once.

Saw a sign "Livingston Co. Supports Dwight Correctional Center."  I think the state has plans to close it down.

On the Road Again.  --RoadDog

You Don't Have to Go to Europe to See a Castle-- Part 2

Of these, I'd only ever heard of #7 and #9.

6.  GREY TOWERS CASTLE--  40 rooms.  Owned by Arcadia University in the Philadelphia suburbs--  Glenside, Pa.--  free admission when classes in session.

7.  IOLANI CASTLE--  Only true royal castle.  Home of King Kalakua and Queen Kapi'olani--  Honolulu, Ha. $12.

8.  FONTHILL CASTLE--  44 rooms--  Doylestown, Pa.- $12.

9.  GILLETTE CASTLE--  24 rooms--  East Haddam, Ct.--  $6.acronym for Otto

10. OHEKA CASTLE--  acronym for Ottos Herman Kahn--  32-room luxury hotel now, originally 127 rooms--  Huntington, NY--  $25 to tour, $395 id you have enough money to spend a night.

Like the British Soldiers Making Fun of the French in Monty Python's "Holy Grail."  --RoadDog

You Don't Have to Go to Europe to See A Castle-- Part 1

We've got 'em right here in the good old U.S.A..

From the August 25th Yahoo! Travel/Budget Travel "10 awe-inspiring American castles" by Justin Ocean.

The article has pictures and much more information.  I'm just listing them, how many rooms, telling where they're located and price of admission.  In the first five, I only knew of #2.

1.  CASTILLO DI AMORAOSA--  107 rooms, 120,000 square feet winery.  Catistoga, Cal. $18, including wine tasting.

2.  HEARST CASTLE--  115 rooms, Casa Grande--  3 additional guest house with another 46 rooms, San Simeon, Cal., $25.

3.  BISHOP PALACE--  survived the Galveston, Tx, Great Storm of 1900, $10.

4.  BOLDT CASTLE--  120 rooms, on island in Alexandria Bay, New York, $8.

5.  CASTLE IN THE CLOUDS--  Moultonborough, N.H., $16.

Don't Lower That Drawbridge!!  --RoadDog

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summer '12 North Carolina Trip-- Part 1


Left home at 9:03 AM with mileage in the '11 Malibu at 7293.  Set trip odometer to "0."

Gas in Woodstock, Illinois $3.80, $3.60 in Huntley.  Shocked going through Huntley as all stoplights green and all construction through downtown completed except by the tollway. This has been a bear the last couple years.

Driving south on Il-47 from Woodstock.  Gas in Elburn at $3.82 at the super expensive BP on Il-38 and $3.70 downtown.

There had been a bad storm in Yorkville two weeks ago.  Trees still down and piles of limbs everywhere.  Gas $3.59.

There was a plane flying real low north of Morris and criss-crossing the road.  Could just about make out pilot's face.  It finally landed at the Grundy County Airport

Bob Stroud's Ten at Ten, listening to WDRV, the Drive on 96.9 FM and then 97.1 FM as I got farther south.  It was 1976:

Hotel California--  Eagles
Come to Papa--  Bob Seger
Free For All--  Ted Nugent
Still the One--  Orleans
All I Wanted to Be--  Peter Frampton
Back in the Saddle Again--  Aerosmith
Living Thing--  ELO
Smokin'--  Boston
Moonlight Feels Right--  Starbuck
Fool to Cry--  Rolling Stones

Gas in Morris $3.56 and $3.44.  The farther south you get on Il-47, the cheaper the gas. 

On the Road Again.  --RoadDog

Ten Places Every American Should See

From the July 25th Budget Travel/Yahoo Travel by Sean O'Neill.

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
French Quarter in New Orleans
Highway 1 in California.  That would be California Hishway 1, not US-1.
Times Square in New York City
Grand Canyon in Arizona

Taos Pueblo in New Mexico
South Beach in Miami Beach
Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania
Pearl Harbor in Hawaii
The National Mall in Washington, DC

I've seen all but #1, #4 and #6

Got Them old Travelin' Shoes.  --RoadDog