Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nothing Like a Good Day Boating-- Part 1

Just got back from an afternoon of boating with Kevin, Kelly and Frank.  I haven't been out on a boat since July 9th, when we put our boat up because of the drought.  We went out in Kevin and Kelly's boat and down the Fox River here in Illinois on the Chain Crawl.

Liz and I ended up getting an additional four passport stamps, Kevin and Kelly three.

They picked us up at the Legion and then the cruise downriver to Epic Deli, by the Johnsburg Bridge, the old Raymond's Bowl.  This new place is definitely a great addition to the Chain of Lakes with truly epic sandwiches.  They are huge.  I had a hot dog with pulled bbq pork and cole slaw.  Fantastic.  We'll be back.

More Boating to Come.  --RoadDog

Monday, July 30, 2012

Eating At Lou Mitchell's in Chicago-- Part 3

Dave Clark says there are cameras mounted all over the restaurant with feeds back to the office where the woman owner of the places watches everything.  He talked with her and she said that she gets mad when her employees aren't doing anything.  But, I have to wonder when they have time not to do something as they are always really busy.  But, like my old boss at the Palatine Burger King used to say, "If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean."  Wonder what he meant by that?

I like the Route 66 signs around the place (and there is a Route 66 Hampton Inn Landmark sign in the window (which I would have liked to see mounted higher).  But, at least they had it.

Then, our breakfasts came...and, they were HUGE.  There was something about a Lou Mitchell's egg being considerably bigger than what you usually get at a restaurant.  I tend to believe it.  And, they didn't cut the ingredients either.  That was one thick omelet and just oozing with that feda cheese.  The hash browns more resembled potato chips, they were cut that thin.

And then to that great rye bread, they bake themselves; two real thick slices.  There were two jellies to put on it, one I believe was grape and, of course, that orange marmalade.  I put a little bit of grape on a part of one piece just to try it.  It was OK, but the main attraction was the marmalade and I loaded up.

I tell you, I could easily make a meal out of just coffee, toast and marmalade.  I'll have to look on the menu to see if that is an option.  But, then, those omelets are real good too.

On leaving, Dave said that Lou Mitchell's was originally located across the street, but that building was torn down in the 1950s and they moved to the current site.

Decisions, Decisions!!  --RoadDog

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Eating at Lou Mitchell's in Chicago-- Part 2

The place was very crowded, despite it being a little after 9 in the morning.  Dave, who has eaten there often (he lives nearby) says it is always crowded, with a little lull starting around 10 in the morning to 11, when the lunch crush begins.  The place isn't open for dinner.  The owner says she makes enough money the first two meals that she doesn't have to be open longer.

The owners haven't been the Lou Mitchell family for quite some time, but they keep things the same.  They claim to have been open since 1923, but only since the 1950s in this location as its previous site was torn down then.

We were seated at a long table with others dining beside us.  Most breakfasts will run you about $8 to $10 (with most close to $10 and worth every bit of it).  I would have liked to order the coffee, which is fantastic, but decided not to.  I ordered a Greek cheese omelet with rye bread.

Finished off my Milk Duds while waiting (Denny saved his as I mentioned).  Then, the waitress comes over with a little bowl with a big chunk of an orange and, believe it or not, a prune.  I sure can't remember when a prune last came with a breakfast I bought.  Guess they have an interest in regularity.

And, We "Ain't" Even Eaten Yet (Well, Other Than Milk Duds, a Prune and an Orange).  --RoadDog

Friday, July 27, 2012

Eating At Lou Mitchell's In Chicago-- Part 1

When Denny told me he was going to meet up with Dave Clark for a walking tour, I was tempted too meet him then, but, when he said they were having breakfast at Lou Mitchell's on Jackson Street in Chicago, it was a done deal.  I'd never eaten at the place before I got into Route 66 and had driven by it several times and eaten there once since 2002.

I'm not much one to pass up that opportunity, so, it was all aboard the train and $15,50 later, we choo-chooed our way to Chicago's Union Station where I was practically run over in the stampede out of the place.  Those are sure some real fast walkers.  With great dexterity, I survived and even found my way to Jackson Street after getting  out on Adams.  I always get lost in the new Union Station (never in the Great Hall).

Lou Mitchell's is easy to find with the flashing light bulbs.  Then, there was good old Denny waiting outside.  Like I said in an earlier post, I had just seen him in Cincinnati on Tuesday.  So, we meet again.  This time on my home turf.

Then, we had the great donut caper.  When Dave Clark arrived we inside and felt pretty special being given those Sugar Daddies (or is it Sugar Babies?).  Turns out, they were Milk Duds, shows you how observant I am.  Either way, they are good.  I think Denny didn't eat his because he plans to build a display around them back home in Cincy.  I wonder how they'd taste on Cincinnati chili?  Then, you could have a seven-way.  Maybe call 'em Dud Chili.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Top 100 North Carolina Icons-- Part 10

And, the last one.  These are from the July Our State Magazine.

91.  VIRGINIA DARE--  First English child born in what is today the United States.  And, we still don't know for sure what happened to her.

92.  WHITE SQUIRRELS--  The legend has it that sometime around 1949, a carnival truck carrying white squirrels turned over and they escaped.  Since then, the stork has brought many white squirrel babies.

93.  DUKE CHAPEL--  Gothic-style outside.  Three organs with 12,000 pipes inside.  Do they play basketball inside?

94.  LONGLEAF PINE--  Grows naturally in all 100 counties.  Pretty and makes great mulch.

95.  SWEET POTATOES--  The sweet state veggie.  becoming a real big crop.  I personally love those sweet potato fries.


96.  RJR--  One of the largest players in what was once the state's major industry.  Currently transforming self.  Cough-Cough.

97.  CAROLINA PANTHERS--  The state finally gets a pro team.  Now, three pro teams, well, maybe not the Bobcats.

98.  HARDEE'S--  Started in Greenville in 1960.  Nearly 2000 stores worldwide now.  And Dad had a chance to get in on the ground floor.

99.  OUR SOUTHERN ACCENT--  Manny, many different versions all through the state.  One of the most interesting ones once was what you heard on the Outer Banks before it became connected.

100.  OUR STATE MAGAZINE--  One of the best magazines out there in my opinion.  I look forward to reading it whenever I return home to the Old North State.

Well, I Sure Learned Some Stuff.  Every State Should Have a List Like This.  --RoadDog

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Route 66 Friendliness in Chicago Today

It doesn't surprise us 66ers any, but today, I saw a great example of it.  I met buddy Denny outside Lou Mitchell's on Jackson Street (excuse me, Dave, Boulevard).  I had just seen Denny in Cincinnati Tuesday, but here in Chicago getting ready for an extended cruise on Route 66.

I was joking about him not meeting me at the Dunkin' Donuts a few stores east when a lady came walking down the sidewalk with a box of Dunkin' doughnut holes.  We knew what they were because they were dropping out of the bottom of he box they had given her, of course emblazoned with the company's name.

Dave alerted her to her unknown plight and she ran over to tables outside of Lou Mitchell's (Yes, you can now dine al fresco) and started repairing it.  Nice 66er, that Denny. 

Then, a Lou Mitchell's employee comes out of the door and helps her put her doughnut hole box in a plastic bag.

Now, That's Just Plain Nice.  And, They Weren't Even Lou Mitchell's doughnut holes.

By the way, Denny FINALLY got that box of Sugar Daddies he didn't get that one Father's Day.

100 North Carolina Icons-- Part 9

Some I knew were NC, others not.

81.  DOLLEY MADISON--  A modest Quaker girl from Guilford County became first lady and outran the British.  Not sure if she had anything to do with the sweets and thought there was no "e" in her first name.

82.  THE OUTER BANKS--  "OBX"  I get it.  But can't get interest there either.

83.  SWEET TEA--  The only ingredients are lots and lots 'o sugar, water and tea, but yet it tastes different wherever you go.  I like mine unsweetened, then Sweet 'N Low.  Goes great with Icon #67.

84.  THE GREENSBORO FOUR--  Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond changed the world, just by sitting down.  And so many don't know who they are.  Heroes of the first order.

85.  YADKIN VALLEY WINE--  NC is along the same line of latitudes as Italy and Spain.  Hey, I Like Dublin Wine.


86.  DOGWOODS--  The daisy was the state flower from 1917 to 1941, then you-know-what became it.  Nothing can be prettier than to be in Carolina when these are blooming around the same time as #69.

87.  FLAT ROCK PLAYHOUSE--  The State Theater of NC, now playing for 60 years.

88.  OLD SALEM--  A Moravian settlement at the foot of a big hill became the right side of a little hyphen.  Don't forget the "shell" Shell Station there.

89.  LANCE--  Nothin' could be finer than snackin' on 'em.

90.  BISCUITVILLE--  Everyone in the South makes biscuits.  Some make a lot.  I keep meaning to visit one of these places, but 'cue keeps getting in the way.

Ten More To Go.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Doing a Roadie Thing Tomorrow in Chicago

And, it involves good old 66 and lots of architecture.

I'll be taking the Metra train into Chicago tomorrow and meeting Denny G. and Dave Clark at Lou Mitchell's on Jackson Street for breakfast (I could make one off that great coffee, homemade bread and jellies).

Then, we go on one of Dave's great walks around the area, learning all about the various buildings.  I've been on it before, but this will be a good refresher course.

66 and Architecture.  Alright By Me.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dead Man's Waltz in Cincy

Yesterday, Denny and I kicked off our day with the dead and ended it with the dying (at the time).

The first place we went on our eat and drink our way across the two-state area (Ohio and Kentucky) was the magnificent old Spring Grove Cemetery and after some searching and with the help of the staff, we found the graves of Civil War Confederate Colonel/General (still some question about his rank) Philip N. Luckett and Union generals Godfrey Weitzel and Jacob Cox (who were involved with Fort Fisher).  Lastly were two really big names in the war, Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase and General
"Fighting Joe" Hooker.

A total of 40 Union generals (mostly by brevet) and the one Confederate colonel/general are buried there.

While we were driving around (listening to tunes), we got to talking about the song "Lawyer's, Guns and Money" and when we got back, Denny mentioned that he had the very last album recorded by Warren Zevon, the Wind.  I knew about it, but had never heard it.  Well, we just had to pop it on.

A lot of downer songs, but then Denny said that even in health, Warren's music was on the weird side.  I had to agree.

This morning, we watched his last appearance on the David Letterman Show.  He still had a great sense of humor and sang three of his songs, two I'd never heard and then "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner."

Doing That Waltz.  --RoadDog

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Arrived Here in White House, Tennessee

Yesterday made the long drive from Goldsboro, NC, to this place, arriving about 7:30 PM, CDST.  I was told that it is about 620 miles of mostly interstate driving on I-40.

Gas prices were as low as $3.20 in Goldsboro and got to as high as $3.36 until Asheville, which is generally the highest along I-40.  It was $3.60 at one station there and $3.30 at another.

I got gas near Burlington, NC,  for $3.36 and Dandridge, Tn, usually a low price on my travels through the area.  And, it was $3.20 at the Pilot station.  In White House it was $3.13 in town and $3.28 closer to I-65.

Stopped at Mebane, NC, at the Smithfield's Chicken and BBQ place for my last taste of that good Carolina 'cue, large plate with double slaw, 'cue and hushpuppies for $8.15.  And, they have good stuff.

Not much traffic, thankfully, around Raleigh and out to the airport.  Hit Knoxville at the after work rush hour.  The city can fool you as I made it past the downtown with not slow-down until I got well to the west of it and then, it was time to stop.

I had dinner at Krystal's west of Knoxville.  I like their burgers which are very similar to my beloved White Castles.  Enjoyed their $2.99 snack pack which was a great deal: 3 Krystals, fries and drink.

Lost an hour due to CSDT and hit Nashville at rush hour so got off at Tn-109 to Gallatin, then Tn-25 to Tn-76 to White House to avoid that really bad Nashville rush hour.  Really pretty driving on the winding last two roads.  Went over to the BP west of I-65 and stocked up on my Chocolate Uglys before driving to Andy and Andrea's place.

Now, for the Toys.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

100 North Carolina Icons-- Part 8

71.  GRAVEYARD OF THE ATLANTIC--  The Lanrador Current and Gulf Stream meet just off Cape Hatteras and lots of ships have met their end here, despite the best efforts of Icon #2.

72.  THE KENNEDY ROCKER--  Digging a bit for this one.  JFK's favorite chair came from P&P Chair Company in Asheboro.

73.  RED CLAY--  Not so good for crops, not so good for potting, but helps keep us away from the earth's 10,000 degree core.

74.  TEXAS PETE--  "Pass the Pete."  No wonder so many NC restaurants have it on the table.

75.  THE SOUNDS--  Where fresh water meets the salt.


76.  BROWN MOUNTAIN LIGHTS--  Burke County's unexplained lights still mysterious.  Another Roswell or is it haunted.

77.  DALE EARNHARDT--  Big #3.  A decade after his death, he's still remembered.

78.  VENUS FLYTRAP--  The only place this plant grows in the country is within a 60-mile radius of Wilmington.  If anyone else tries to claim it, we'll bite you.  Should be the state flower--er--plant--er--bug eater.

79.  BOB TIMBERLAKE--  Paints pictures that sell in the millions.  Makes furniture that sells in the billions, but still likes his $6 plate of Lexington barbecue. 

80.  GREAT DISMAL SWAMP--  112,000 acres of forested wetlands.  Wild when George Washington bought it.  Still wild today.

More Than You Ever Thought You'd Know About the Old North State and There's Still 20 More.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

100 North Carolina Icons-- Part 7

61.  FRASER FIRS--  It just wouldn't be Christmas Eve without 'em.

62.  NC STATE FAIR--  Food, food and food.  Fun, fun and fun.

63.  EARL SCRUGGS--  Before the devil went down to Georgia, this guy was pickin' that banjo.

64.  RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK--  Lots of smarts here.

65.  82ND AIRBORNE--  They jumped at Normandy and they're still jumping at Fort Bragg.


66.  ACC BASKETBALL--  What can I say!!  Even if I am becoming more of a Big Ten basketball fan.

67.  BARBECUE--  Nothing could be finah than eating some of this, be it eastern or western Carolina BBQ.

68.  CHEROKEE INDIANS--  A key piece of our culture, somewhat shamefully so.  But still a proud people.

69.  AZALEAS--  A welcome sight every spring.  And, then there's that NC Azalea Festival in Wilmington.

70.  MOONSHINE--  Some say it tastes like gasoline, but I've had some of the smoothest, best-tasting shine ever.  Hey, no NASCAR without it.

Thirty to Go.  --RoadDog

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oh, Give Me a Britt's Where the Donuts Do Roam

And big thanks to microwaves.

Around the Wilmington area, just say Britt's and people know exactly what you are talking about.

Located  on the Carolina Beach, NC, right by the boardwalk, in a small, cooled by fans building, are some of the best doughtnuts you're ever going to have, Britt's Donuts, which has been selling those tasty morsels ever since the 1930s.

Just a long counter, seats, and your choice  of only glazed doughnuts.  That's it.  Only, now they cost 90 cents.  I can remember  25 cents and I think 75 cents the last time I had them.  I ordered a half dozen for Mom, my sister an myself for $5. An even better deal is a dozen for $7.  Mom asked if we could have the other six for $2 more and they were nice enough to say yes.

Happy to find out they are now open seven days a week from 8 AM to 10 PM until Labor Day.

Way back in the 70s, I had the brilliant idea to order a dozen to eat the next morning.  Big mistake.  They were terrible.   A Britt's donut is best eaten immediately.  However, we had extras left over and popped them into the microwave and they weren't bad.

Now You Can Eat Them Later!!  --BrittDog

Britt's

100 North Carolina Icons-- Part 6

Some of these I knew, some I didn't.

51.  DOC WATSON--  Sad to lose this great musician.

52.  WATERFALLS--  Some of them are Linville, Elk, Bridal Veil.  But, they all follow the same basic principle, gravity.

53.  JOCKEY'S RIDGE--  Ecologically-speaking, the tallest active sand dune system on the East Coast.  Barefoot-ologically speaking, Ooh, Ooh, Ow. Hot! Hot! Hot!

54.  CALABASH SEAFOOD--  Just this side of the SC border.  Sometimes called the Seafood Capital of the World.  Eat some and you'll probably agree.

55.  BLACK BEARS--  Around 11,000 of them.  Don't pet.


56.  JOHN COLTRANE--  Jazzy jazz.

57.  "CAROLINA IN MY MIND"--  James Taylor's song mentions "Carolina" 13 times.

58.  DEAN SMITH--  Great coach, great for the game and much easier to spell and pronounce that that Duke guy, Krzyzewski.

59.  N.C. MUSEUM OF ART--  First art museum in country established with public funds.

60.  PILOT MOUNTAIN--  Was this the Mount Pilot from the "Andy Griffith Show?"  A right-striking landform.

Andy and Barney Used to Go Over to Mount Pilot.  --RoadDog

Sunday, July 15, 2012

100 North Carolina Icons-- Part 5

41.  LAKE MATTAMUSKEET--  Largest natural lake in NC with over 30,000 acres with dseepest point at five feet.

42.  MT. MITCHELL--  Highest point in eastern US at 6,684 feet.

43.  THE PRESIDENTS--  Andrew Jackson, James Polk and Andrew Johnson.

44.  BULL DURHAM--  Or is the Durham Bulls?

45.  ANDY GRIFFITH--  The Pride of Mt. Airy (the real Mayberry).


46.  RICHARD PETTY--  Let's see, left turn, left turn, left turn, left turn.  I think I got it.

47.  FURNITURE--  An industry built from hardwoods grown right here.

48.  WACHOVIA--  The name of a tract of land  where Moravians settled...and, then a bank.

49.  BILLY GRAHAM--  Some people have a fear of public speaking and some overcome it.

50.  WILD HORSES--  In Corolla and Shackleford Banks, wild Spanish mustangs draw hundreds of thousands a year.  Go ahead and try to run one down.

Half Way There.  --RoadDog

Saturday, July 14, 2012

100 North Carolina Icons-- Part 4

31.  Sandhills--  Southern Pines is the horse capital of NC, Pinehurst is the golf capital and Candor is the peach capital  These are all in the sandhills, formed 25 million years ago.

32.  Norfolk Southern Railway--  Its predecessor was the Southern Railway.

33.  Neese's Sausage--  Making 'em since 1917.  Never heard of 'em myself, but willing to try.

34.  Krispy Kreme--  Which way do I go.  Wait a minute, today I had Britt's Donuts from Carolina Beach.  Even better.

35.  Intercoastal Waterway--  Cutting through 300 miles of sounds, rivers, creeks and marshes.  One of the Army Corps of Engineers most impressive accomplishments ever.  We crossed it four times today.


36.  Asheville--  A different kind of a place for a different kind of folk.  Check out the McDonald's by the I-40 exit for Icon #10 to see one reason.

37.  Barrier Islands--  They protect the mainland.  I've been on one since Wednesday night.

38.  Live Oaks--  Not your typical oak tree.  Saw a lot of them today at Fort Fisher.

39.  Hanes--  In the late 1800s, the Hanes brothers owned a tobacco business, but in 1900, RJR bought them out and they started making socks.

40.  NC Zoo-- 1,500 acres where the animals get to see silly humans making faces at them.

Sixty More to Go.  --RoadDog

Friday, July 13, 2012

100 North Carolina Icons-- Part 3

Today, I played a little Name That Icon game with my cousin, her husband, my sister, aunt and mother. All but my cousin's husband are Tarheels, but even though he is a Virginian, he held his own.  In case my aunt reads this, I need to relate that she is really a Blue Devil, not a Tarheel.

21.  Pepsi--  founded in New Bern.  Wins the taste test in my book, but I'm a bit biased.
22.  Blackbeard--  hung out all over the coast and they're recovering items from what they belive to be his ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge.

23.  Seagrove Pottery--  Over 100 potters spinning and spinning and spinning.
24.  Mount Olive Pickles--  The pickle plant is actually at the corner of Cucumber and Vine streets.  How pickled is that?  Dad was born in Mount Olive so I am also biased about it.  I love that I can now buy it in Illinois.

25.  Uwharries--something about a very old mountain range.  Never heard of it.
26.  Tobacco barns--  Once all over the place and the backbone of the NC economy.  Fewer and fewer every  year.

27.  Shagging--  The official dance of us Beach Music folks.
28.  Muscadine Wine--  might even help you shag better.

29.  Carolina Style Hamburger--  with mustard, slaw, chili and onions.  What!  No slaw dogs?  Waiting for a national chain to get it.
30.  Battleship USS North Carolina--  one mighty impressive warship docked in Wilmington since the early 1960s.

Seventy More to Go.  --RoadDog

Thursday, July 12, 2012

100 North Carolina Icons-- Part 2

11.  Fontana Dam--  480 feet high, 2,365 feet long and 376 feet thick.  Damn, that's a big dam.
12.  Thomas Wolfe--  Wrote lots of manuscripts, but most famous for five little words, "You can't go home again."
13.  Wright Brothers--  From Ohio, but did something famous in the state.
14.  Pinehurst No. 2--  Nearly 600 golf courses
15.  Charles Kuralt--  Journalist from Wilmington who would not like I-40

16.  Moravian cookies--  So good people wrap them as Christmas presents.  I must have been a bad boy as I've never gotten any.
17.  Tweetsie Railroad--  Hear the engine climbing through some very rugged terrain go "Tweet, tweet."  The little engine that tweet.
18.  Lin Cove Viaduct--  153 segments, all but one curved.  When completed in1987, it linked Icon #1 and Icon #7.
19.  Belk--  William Henry Belk used $750 in savings to open his first store in Monroe in 1888.  Belk stores.
20.  Daniel Boone--  When he got married and settled down in Rowan County, he said, "All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse and a good wife."  In that order?

More to Come.  --RoadDog

100 North Carolina Icons-- Part 1

From the July 2012 North Carolina Our State Magazine by Michael Graff.

I was born in the state and many of my family still live here.  I'm visiting at the beach right now.  This is a list of things every North Carolinian can be proud of.  I'm mostly just listing them, but will go into detail of a few.

1.  Blue Ridge Parkway
2.  Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
3.  Cheerwine--  Salisbury's finest pop, well around here,soda.  When President Eisenhower imbibed, he exclaimed, "Ike likes."
4.  Mast General Store--  Generally very general.  I'm not real sure about this one.
5.  Cape Fear River--  all 202 miles of it

6.  Appalachian Tral
7.  Grandfather Mountain
8.  Interstate 40--  A superslab? Give me a break.  All 420 miles and 176 exits.  Don't get caught going from the airport to Raleigh during rush hour.  World's largest parking lot.
9.  Loggehead Sea Turtles
10.  Biltmore House

More.  --RoadDog

Monday, July 9, 2012

Road Music

OK, getting ready to hit the road again.  And, I gotta have my tunes.

Usually that means taking along 5-6 CDs that I haven't listened to yet.  If I'm lucky that means that some of those albums will imprint on my mind this drive.  I also spend time going up and down the dial listening to local stations.  You never know what you'll find.  And that means the Good, the Bad and the Mighty Ugly.

My CDs for this trip:

THAT'S WHY GOD MADE THE RADIO--  Beach Boys

IT'S ALL GOOD--  Joe Nichols

EL CAMINO--  The Black Keys

THIRTY MILES WEST--  Alan Jackson

AMERICANA--  Neil Young and Crazy Horse

We'll See What Imprints. --RoadDog

On the Road Again

Getting ready to head out on the road again for the first time in a long time.  I'll be going to North Carolina to visit family at Topsail Beach, near Wilmington.  I'll be driving through Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia along the way.

Hoping to get some of that great Cincinnati chili off I-70 north of Dayton and Wednesday, visiting that great Snappy Lunch in Andy Griffith's hometown of Mt. Airy, NC.  It will be interesting to see the town's reaction to his death last week.

I'll be watching the gas prices along the way, of course.

Later this summer, thinking of going on the Iowa Lincoln Highway Tour and possibly the Missouri Route 66 Motor Tour (which is the weekend before the Northern Illinois-Army football game at West Point which we are considering going to).

On That Old Road Again.  --RoadDog

Fireworks On a Lake

Saturday evening, we headed out to see the annual fireworks show in Fox Lake.  We had been hoping to go out in the boat as we haven't done that for awhile, but reports of approaching storms changed our minds.

We have often been able to watch them from our deck in the past, but now the trees have grown up and plus they are now shooting them off toward the east side of the lake instead of in front of the soon-to-be-torn-down 1880s Mineola Hotel, which is closer to us.  And the loss of the Mineola is a sad story in itself.

We first went to Captain's Quarters, but the place was a mob, so decided to drive over to Stormy Monday and try our luck there.  Much more to out liking and we were able to actually park in their lot and got a table on the deck with the Usual Suspects.

The place got more and more crowded.  One guy was scaring us when he would set off a cherry bomb or M-80 off the piers until we figured out who he was and kept an eye after that for some forewarning.

It was an impressive display with fireworks being shot off from the middle of the lake, by us on the south side and across the lake on the north side.  Someone inside played "God Bless the USA" and some song about Fireworks sung by a newer female artist.  And, of course, Jimi Hendrix's "Star-Spangled Banner."

A Great Way to Spend a 4th of the 7th.  --RoadDog

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Fox Lake, Illinois, Gas Bump Hits Again

And, for the second time in a week.  Seven days ago, it was down to $3.46, then, bang (bump) up to $3.66 the next day.  Then, by Thursday, it was down to $3.50.  Yesterday, BUMP!  You guessed it, up to $3.70.

However, yesterday, driving to Stormy Monday, the Mobil station was still at $3.50, so it was a quick stop and top off before they too joined the "Bump!!"

No reason for this other than profit incentive.  This makes the fifth gas bump the local stations have pulled since summer began.

Good Bucks When You Do That, But Mighty Unneighborly.  --RoadDog

Heading Out to the Lake Fireworks Tonight

After careful thought, and despite the HOT we're experiencing, Liz and I are heading out to the boat in a several hours and will be out on Fox Lake for the fireworks.  This will be the first time out for us to see them from a boat in many years.

The problem is not the hundreds of boats that will be out on the lake (the Chain of Lakes has been called the second busiest pleasure boat area in the U.S. after the Intercoastal Waterway.  It isn't even the boat cops.  It's the other cops on land being every so watchful for drinkers.  And, of course, those really frightening roadblocks which so remind me of movies about Nazi Germany.

This means it will be a dry watch for me.

Oh Well, I'll Survive.  --RoadDog

So Hot You Could Fry An Egg Where?

From the July 6th Chicago Tribune by Rob Manker.

It has been surely HOT here in the Chicagoland area with over 100 the last three days and mid-90s today.  But some relief tomorrow in the 80s.  And, it has been upper 80s, lower 90s the week before.

I wrote more about the term "So Hot You Could Fry Eggs on the Sidewalk" in my Cooter's History Thing Blog from today (also wrote about mermaids).

However, this article had mention of our beloved old Route 66 in connection with that one-horse, many stubborn burro town up in the mountains, Oatman, Arizona.  Every 4th of July since 1991 they have held the Sidewalk Egg Frying Contest, well-worth the price of admission.

Frying eggs there, with their high heat and low humidity give the eggs a chance, but this year's 15 entrants, even being allowed to use strategic aids like foil, mirrors, magnifying glasses (beware any stray ants) but no blowtorches or that ilk, were unable to fry that proverbial egg.

Sometimes You Wins, Sometimes loses.  --RoadDog

Friday, July 6, 2012

Gas Prices Affecting Summer trips?

An interesting graphic in the June 2012 AARP Bulletin "Summer Vacations Poll"

From a study conducted of 1,000 adults age 18 and over conducted by SSRS April 25-29, 2012.

ARE YOU PLANNING TO TAKE A SUMMER TRIP THIS SUMMER:

Ages 18-49:  Yes 43%  No 56%
Ages 50-plus:  Yes 42%  No 54%

DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY TO YOUR TRAVEL PLANS BECAUSE OF COST?  18-49 first, 50-plus second.

Cancelled/Delayed trip:  13%  10%
Stay Closer to Home:  26%  23%
Take Shorter Trip:  15%  10%
Stay with Family/Friends:  23%  21%
None of These:  34%  40%

HAVE YOUR VACATION PLANS BEEN AFFECTED BY GASOLINE PRICES?

18-49:  Yes 42%  No 57%
50-plus:  Yes 42%  No 57%

I am still taking several summer trips, but other than the trip to North Carolina to visit family at the beach, am taking closer to home trips.  Plus, I consider where we live in northeast Illinois as being a vacation in itself.

Gasoline prices have definitely affected plans.

Dadburn GRB Big Oil.  --RoadDog

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Day Downriver on the Chain Crawl-- Part 3

Next stop was at Dead End Saloon in Fox River Grove, right by the US-14 (Northwest Highway) bridge.  We liked this place from last year's Chain Crawl.  We had coupons for half off pizza, but they don't start making it until 5 PM, Monday through Friday, so we ordered a really great cheeseburger.

Then to Port Barrington in Port Barrington.  Along the way, we passed a really neat waterfall someone on a bluff has made.  It has been on TV.  Only wish it had been on.  Plus, we found another bald eagle nest that we had read about on the Fun On the Fox website.  There were some young ones in it, but the water by the tree was way too shallow to get too close to it.

We liked Port Barrington in the old building it used to be in (from the 1880s) which was torn down to make some upscale town homes.  The new one is nice, but lacks the character.  Not many drink or food deals either.

Last stop was at one of our favorite places on the river, Hermann's Low Life Bar.  The name says it all, our kind of place.  Buck drafts today as well.  It is on a series of channels running off the main river and has been owned by the same family since the 1930s.  Always fun to listen to the owner and locals swap stories and cut-downs.  Then, there is that Hot Cop Porn.

The menu is on a board by the bar and everyone kept changing hot pop corn to the other name until they just decided to let it go.

Then, back through the lock (again, no waiting) and last stop was at the Legion by US-12 in Fox Lake.

A Good Day of Boating.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Small Town 4th of July

Just came in from watching Spring Grove's fireworks display from the foot of our driveway, and, I'd have to say, another fine effort, lasting 25 minutes with an impressive finale.

We've always been able to see them from our front yard, but this year they were shooting them off from Thelen Park instead of Horse Fair Park like usual.  We weren't sure if we'd be able to see them, but not only did we see them, but we saw them better.  Our neighbors across the street planted trees and those had the audacity to grow tall.

At noon, I went to Horse Fair Park and paid $5 to park my car (going to the fireworks fund).  Walked over to Main Street and found a pl;ace in the shade for the parade, which, as usual featured a lot  of older tractors (as this still is somewhat of an agricultural community.

There was a hitch of Clydesdales and about twenty miniature horse, talk about the big and small of it.  By far the most popular floats had people shooting water at the bystanders as it was extremely hot; we broke 100 degrees today.

Then, I went to the festival grounds and had one of the sweetest ears of corn I've ever had.

Small Town, USA!!  --RoadDog

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

20th Time Out Boating, 4th of July Gas Gouge

Our objective was to make 20 times out in the boat by the 4th of July and we made it today.  It would have been sooner had it not been for all the really, really hot days which we've been and still are having.

This has been ONE HOT and FRY summer so far.  Boated over to McDonald's for breakfast and then over by the eagle nest on what we call Bird island, but no one was home.

On the way over, we noticed that the good gas folk in Fox Lake, Illinois, had raised the price from $3.45 yesterday to $3.66 today.  hey. it's the 4th of July, time to make money.  We lucked out and the Shell station was still at $3.45 so filled the Malibu up and also a 2 1/2 gallon can for the boat.  two hours later, they too were at $3.66, which we figured they'd be.

Played NTN at Donovan's and then went to the Route 12 Bar and Grill and the Legion in Fox Lake.

Time to Go Out Watering the Plants.  --RoadDog

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Day Downriver on the Chain Crawl-- Part 2

This was a major day for getting our Chain Crawl passports stamped with the places farthest downriver.  Like I said in the previous post, June 26th, we used to go all the way south to Algonquin every year at least once, but probably back around 1992, we found ourselves not welcome at Port Edwards, the last place before the dam, because we weren't in proper fancy attire (Hey, we were out boating!!  S'cuse us!!).

And, they had the only place to dock.  Had the village had their own, we would have gone as they had several neat little bars (since torn down) that we could have visited.

Port Edwards, an upscale place, was not on the Crawl last year and we were wondering if we would be told to leave.  But, we weren't.  Sat at the bar with a great view of the river and had a couple drinks.  The Chain Crawl book has coupons and this place had buy two drinks and get a free appetizer.  And considering all their appetizers were at least $8, a real good deal.  So we all ordered.  Great deal and the bartender couldn't have been friendlier.

I inquied about the old paddlewheel boat, the Algonquin Princess,  that used to be there.  She said it was until a few years ago  when its owner and captain died.  His kids did not want to continue the business and it was sold and now is located at Gage Marine in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  We'll have to look for it the nexrt time we're up there.

Next Stop, Dead End Saloon.  --RoadDog