Wednesday, May 16, 2012

National Historic Trails-- Part 2

11.  *Pony Express, 1992, 1966 miles
12.  Selma to Montgomery, 1996, 54 miles
13.  El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, 2000, 404 miles
14.  Ala Kahakai, 2000, 404
15.  Old Spanish, 2002, 2700

16.  *El Camino Real de los Tejas, 2004, 2580
17.  *Captain John Smith Chesapeake, 2005, 3000
18.  *Star-Spangled, 2008, 290
19.  *Washington-Richambeau Revolutionary Route, 2009, 606 miles

I Can Also Think of Others That Should Be On the List.  How About the Natchez Trail?  --RoadDog

National Historic Trails-- Part 1

From good ol' Wikipedia.

The article mentioned nineteen trails, but didn't list them.

Here's the list.  An asterisk indicates that I have been on part of it.  I have not been on the full length of any of them.  All are designated National Historic Trails, but I am just listing the name, date established and length authorized:

1.  *Oregon, 1978, 2170 miles
2.  *Mormon Pioneer, 1978, 1300 miles
3.  *Lewis and Clark, 1978, 3,700
4.  Iditarod, 1978, 2,350
5.  Overmountain Victory, 1980, 275 miles

6.  Nex Perce, 1986, 1,170
7.  *Santa Fe, 1987, 1203
8.  *Trail of Tears, 1987, 2,200
9.  Juan Batista de Anza, 1990, 1200
10.  *California, 1992, 5,665

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

America's National Historic Trails-- Part 1

From the American Profile Magazine "National Historic Trails: Pathways to America's past" by Marti Attoun.

Most of the article was about the Santa Fe Trail, but there was some information on the program as well.  It began in 1978 with four trails and now is up to nineteen, with the most-recent addition of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary National Historic Trail in 2009.  I wrote about the 2008's Star-Spangled National Historic Trail in my "Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 Bicentennial Blog."

Altogether, the trails comprise 37,000 miles "trodden by explorers, prospectors, pioneers, soldiers, traders and trappers."

These routes were important to our nation's history and heritage. "whether trade, migration or military campaigns" according to Steve Elkinton, program leader for the National Trails System.

The oldest were used by native Hawaiians in ancient times and Spanish colonizers in the Southwest in the 16th and 17th centuries.  Alaska's Iditarod follows a frozen dogsled course from Seward to Nome.  The shortest, at 54 miles,  follows the 1965 Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Each trail has and organization similar to the Santa Fe one, and are joined in the Partnership for the National Trails System.

Being an Old Highway sort of person, this takes me back one more step into history.  The roads before they were mostly paved.

Hit the Road, Er, Trail.  --RoadDog

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Boating Season Officially Starts Today

The 2012 Chain Crawl gets its kick-off today starting at 11 AM at the American Legion on Nippersink Lake.  After that, it's on to four more bars and a good start on getting our passports signed.  I'm not sure how many bars are in it, but will find out today.  We get our passports, book, and tee shirts.

Weather calls for rain off and on, but that makes no difference as our boat isn't in the water yet.  We'll be doing this by car. 

We've actually already been Chainin' as we've been to Stormy Monday for a band as well as Captain's  for another already.  Plus, the Usual Suspects have found Stormy Monday, our old Costello's and Baja Benny's on Fox Lake, for our Friday get-togethers.

Yesterday the Spizzirris came in and did a free audition at 6 PM and got another gig in June.  We sat out on the deck on an absolutely gorgeous afternoon and evening and a pretty nice sunset.

Stormy Monday has a band at 2 PM, the Mineola has a Red Solo Cup Party and Captain's has Redeye Express starting at 7 PM.

Out on the Chain and Feelin' No Pain.  --RoadDog

Friday, May 11, 2012

National Historic Trails: Santa Fe Trail-- Part 2

The wagons were loaded with anything from buttons, cloth, thread, knives, sugar, playing cards to handkerchiefs and would leave for the six-to-seven week long journey to Santa Fe.  Traders even sold their wagons and returned with silver coins, wool and mules.  AS you can see on the map, more than half of the trail is in Kansas.

Last fall, "rut nuts" as members of the association call themselves, gathered in Dodge City, Kansas to share research and visit a site west of town where the wagon ruts can be seen.

Besides Point of Rocks, other major places on the Santa Fe Trail is a tree stump in Council Grove, Kansas, where U.S. agents signed an 1825 treaty with the Osage Indians guaranteeing safe passage through Indian land.

Back then, leaving Council Bluffs meant 600 miles to Bent's Fort, an 1840s post near La Junta, Colorado, before you'd see another building.  This site has been reconstructed.  Another place is Fort Union National Monument near Watrous, N.M., where you can see remains of the adobe fort and wagon ruts.

This trail is definitely on my list of things I'd like to drive some day along with any of the other eighteen trails.

Maybe One Day.  Oh, Give Me a Rut Where the Buffalo Roam.  --RoadDog

National Historic Trails: Santa Fe Trail-- Part 1

From American Profile Magazine "National Historic Trails:  Pathways to America's Past" by Marti Attoun.

Faye Gaines lives near Springer, New Mexico and right by some historic wagon ruts made by hundreds of freight and military wagons traveling the Santa Fe Trail.  Gaines is 85 and has been living there since she was 4 and is big backer of the old Santa Fe Trail, which is one of 19 National Historic Trails and also is custodian of the Point of Rocks, a mesa near her place with a spring at its base, a popular campsite and watering hole along the 900-mile trail that linked Missouri and New Mexico.

Modern-day travelers come to her ranch, owned by the family since 1898.  She greets them and shows rock piles marking the graves of early travelers, only one whose name is known, Isaac Allen, because his name is chiseled into a stone.

There are 700 members of the Santa Fe Trail Association whose goal is to preserve and promote William Becknell's 1821 trail established to move American goods to Spanish-speaking customers in the new Republic of Mexico.

Franklin, Missouri, was the original starting point, but by 1827, it had moved to Independence, Missouri, and then, in the mid-1840s to Westport, Missouri where goods were shipped by steamboat on the Missouri River then loaded onto freight wagons.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Getting My Kicks on You Know What

Not earth-shattering news or anything like that, but it sure made my day yesterday before all internet access went bye-bye (was it the sunspots?).

Anyway, at 5:48, WXRT-FM in Chicago played this little old song called "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" by that little old band called DePeche Mode.

Then, later I was in the kitchen and Liz had the TV on and the old "Leave It to Beaver
 show was on.  Poor Theodore had been on a TV show and gotten out of school for it.  Everyone tuned in and he wasn't on.  Everyone was giving him a hard time and the Beav kind of ran away.

His parents were getting worried, and good old bro Wally said he figured his brother had run off to Hollywood to be on TV and movies and was probably going to be driving a sport scar on Route 66 like the TV show. Wally was always only to happy to interject his ideas.

Turned out, the TV station filmed their shows and then it would be on the air the next week.

Not Big Things, But I Sure Do Get a Kick When Something About Route 66 Comes Up.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Woodstock a Good Place to Retire

That would be Woodstock, Illinois.  According to yesterday's Northwest Herald, Woodstock has been chosen by Where to Retire Magazine as one of the top places in the U.S. to retire.

I'd have to concur, especially if you can live at that great old 1850s town square, as featured in the movie "Groundhog Day."  Or, I also like the surrounding neighborhoods with all those great Victorian homes.

My mother-in-law lived her last years at an assisted living place right on the square.  I kept telling her she had to hang in there so I could get her place.  You would rarely-ever have to leave it.  I could just plop my desk and 'pute by the window and spend hours looking out.

There are also all sorts of places to spend your money and eat out on Il-47 and US-14.

It's a beautiful square with lots of activities, plus restaurants, the Opera House with all its performances, a movie theatre, and probably ten-twelve bars within a couple blocks.

However, there is still that Il-47 traffic hassle and McHenry County has some of the highest taxes anywhere in the U.S..  One other thing is that their gas is usually very high.  Yesterday, it was $4.10 at most places.

Actually, we were in Woodstock on Monday, on our way back from Dekalb and ate at Colemans.  Last night, I was back in town and ate at Tommy's and went to the McHenry County Civil War Round Table meeting at that huge library.

Don't Surprise Me None.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gettin' a Taste of 1962 Beach Music

Thanks to Fessa John Hook at Cashbox Magazine, I'm sitting here a two-finger-typing-away and listening to some really fine music and information concerning the Beach Music Top 40 for 1962.  Some of the songs I recognize others I don't, but it is great stuff.

To give you a bit of a taste:

#40  GROWING CLOSER TOGETHER--   Impressions
#39  MAKE IT BE ME--  Flares
HONORABLE MENTION (H.M.)  WHEN MY LITTLE GIRL IS SMILING--  Drifters

#38  THINGS I WANT TO HEAR--  Shirelles
#38  BABY IT'S YOU--  Shirelles
#37  SOUL TWIST--  King Curtis & the Noble Knights

#36  SHERRY--  Four Seasons
H.M.  I FEEL GOOD ALL OVER--  Fiestas
#35  I KNOW--  Barbara George
#34  THE WANDERER--  Dion

H.M.  I'M BLUE (THE GONG GONG SONG)--  Ikettes
#33  I WANT A GUY--  Marvelettes
H.M.  A SHOT OF RHYTHM AND BLUES--  Arthur Alexander
H.M.  FRANKIE & JOHNNY--  Brook Benton

SPOTLIGHT:  SAN-HO-ZAY, I'M ON MY WAY TO ATLANTA, SITTING ON THE BOAT DOCK--  Freddie King

#32  I'M TORE DOWN--  Freddie King
#31  GREEN ONIONS--  Booker T. & the MGs

Go to Cashbox Magazine, click on radio and go to the charts to Beach Music at the bottom.  It will be on for several more days.

Give It a Listen.  --RoadDog

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Marilyn, We'll Miss You

From the May 4th Chicago Tribune editorial.

As the Hawk would say "She Gone!"  Well, almost gone.

After almost a year, the 26-foot sex symbol will soon be leaving Chicago for warmer climes in San Diego.  The weather has dulled her a bit, but there is no doubt Marilyn Monroe was a hit with tourists and residents alike.  Lots and lots of photos ops there, something akin to Mr. Parker getting his fishnet-stocking lamp in "A Christmas Story."

Monroe is posed as in the famous shot from "The Seven Year Itch" with her dress blowing up and her trying to hold it down.  Of course, her underwear is exposed leading to many, many photos going upward.

Unfortunately, I never got a chance to see her, but would have liked to, but there is my no-go to Chicago because of rip-off thing, so I didn't.

Better Go See Her Real Soon.  --RoadDog

Friday, May 4, 2012

One Less Billy Goat to Kick Around

From the April 20th Chicago Tribune "1 fewer Goat kicking" by Rob Manker.

When in Chicago, you really need to get yourself over to a Billy Goat Tavern for some Cheez-boigers, cheez-boigers, cheez-boigers, but now, there is one fewer as one of the locations is closing after thirty years in the Loop because of a big rent increase.  This one is at 309 W. Washington Street near the Civic Opera House.  Rent went from $6,500 a month to $16,000.

Of course, Billy Goat Tavern was made famous by the famous Billy Goat curse on the Cubs and the Saturday Night Live John Belushi skit. 

The "Original Billy Goat" is at 430 N. Michigan Avenue.  While not where it was originally located, the Sianis family considers it the relocated version of the original which opened in 1934 near the current United Center.

I was lucky enough to finally get a chance to eat at the one in Randhurst Village in Mt. prospect last summer.  It was every bit as good as I had hoped and much more reasonably-priced than I thought it would be.

There are still nine others in the Chicagoland-area and one in D.C..

Maybe They Should Open One at Wrigley Field and Get Rid of That Horrible Curse (Especially after seeing yesterday's game).  --RoadDog

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Florida's Perdido Key

We drive through the island, but never stop when going to Mobile and Biloxi from Panama City but have never stopped.  Beautiful drive, though.

From Pensacola Tourist Magazine.

NAME COMES FROM--  Spaninsh for "lost."

BIG LAGOON STATE PARK-- On the Intercoastal Waterway, 689 acres.  Great views from 40-ft tower.

FORT McREE RUINS--  pre-Civil War fort, accessible only by boat.  Built to guard entrance to Pensacola Bay (Fort Pickens on the other side).  At Perdido Key's eastern-most point.  Definitely something I would like to see.  I had read that it was no longer there.  Of course, not having a boat in Florida could be a problem for me.

JOHNSON BEACH, GULF ISLANDS NATIONAL SEASHORE--  National Park, covers eastern end of the island.  Lots to do here.  $8 admission

ROSAMOND MONUMENT, JOHNSON BEACH--  honors Escambia County resident for his service in Korean War.  Died at age 17 rescuing wounded soldiers.

Maybe, We'll Have to Stop next Time Through.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

See the "Big Mama" in Dubuque and Vicksburg

From Wikipedia.

I came across mention of this ship, the Sprague, and found there was a model of it in the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa, although the real one no longer exists.  It must have been something to see, being the largest steampowered, sternwheel towboat ever built, earning it the name "Big Mama" at 275 feet long, 61 foot beam, 7.4 foot draft ship powered by coal-fired steam operating between 1902 to 1948.

It was built by Captain Peter Sprague and could push or pull 56 coal barges at once, setting a record at 60 one time.

After it was decommissioned, the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was its next home where it operated as a restaurant, museum and theater until it was wrecked and burned there May 15, 1974.  Pieces of it are still in the Mississippi River.

The Friends of the Sprague sponsored a mural of the boat "The Big Mama of the Mississippi" as one of the Vicksburg Riverfront Murals.

Now, You Know.  --RoadDog