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