Monday, December 30, 2013

NC Bound T-Giving 2013-- Part 7: Getting Lost at Wright-Patterson AFB

NOVEMBER 22ND, 2013: One report after another this morning about this being the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. And, a big reason I am here near Dayton as I hope to go on board JFK's Air Force One at the Mational Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, northeast of the city.

But, with the rain coming down hard and what I expect to be big crowds doing exactly what I'm doing, it might not happen. I expected the plane to be outside.

Had my hot breakfast (and a good one at Best Western Plus hotels).

Rain had the visibility way down as I drove from Exit 29 to Exit 44, then there was another 15 mile drive south to get to the base where I promptly lost the signage and got into a long line of cars. A much longer drive than I had expected. They had armed guards checking ID's. That is when I realized I had accidentally gotten into the line going into the base itself. The museum is adjacent to the base. This must have been just before the next shift reported to work.

The guard was polite, but I wasn't going any farther. He didn't know exactly how I could get to the museum and called another guard over who directed me. Made a turn-around and continued for what seemed to be another long drive to the museum with the steady rain making it difficult to see signage.

I Don't Want to Think What Kind of Names I Must Have Been Called While Making My Back-Up at the Air Base Gates. --RoadDog

NC Bound T-Giving 2013-- Part 7: Gas

Prices spent on gas for the trip November 21-Dec. 4, 2013:

11-21 Englewood, Ohio-- $3.28
11-24 Hebron, Ohio-- $3.26
11-24 Wytheville, Virginia-- $3.07

12-3 Goldsboro, NC-- $3.25
12-3 Wytheville, Va.-- $3.09
12-3 Rockbridge, Ohio-- $3.08

12-4 Pittsboro, Indiana-- $3.00 ($2.99.9)   Gas for under $3, well, one-tenth of a cent under $3.
12-4 Dwight, Illinois-- $3.00 ($2.99.9).

And, I never thought I'd see the day when I thought $2.99.9 was a "Great Deal!!" Curse You Big Oil!!! Long gone are the days when I once pulled out of a gas station when I saw they were gouging us at 34 cents a GALLON!!

Totals for the trip: I drove 2.153 miles, bought 62.594 gallons of gas and spent $196.62.

Putting Those Bucks Into the Pump. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Getting Your Kicks on Route 66-- Part 3: America's Main Street

Definitely some interesting items on this list, many of them, though I am a Route 66 nut, I sure didn't know.

Route 66's nicknames include "America's Main Street" because it actually was the main street in the towns it passed through since they were already paved

"Mother Road" thanks to John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath;" "The Road of Dreams" (I don't remember hearing it called this, but can understand its connection what with Americans seeking a better life during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl); and is properly co-designated "The Will Rogers Highway" because the famous American humorist came from Oklahoma.

CYRUS AVERY of Oklahoma is referred to as the Father of Route 66, but he actually really wanted the US-60 number (as the U.S. highways ending in "0" were considered the most important east-west routes). He even had 60,000 maps printed in 1926, showing his road as US-60 and even began erecting signage with US-60 on it. When it became obvious he wasn't getting the US-60 number, he and others settled on US-66 in Springfield, Missouri, which is why it is called "The Birthplace of Route 66."

Some Interesting Stuff. --RoadDog

Friday, December 27, 2013

Getting Your Kicks on Route 66-- Part 2: Decommissioned and Bobby and Nat

4. Route 66 is the only federal highway to be decommissioned from the 1926 grid that created the U.S. Highway System. However, it was not decommissioned all at once, just parts at a time as the corresponding U.S. Interstate was finished. The very last stretch was decommissioned in Williams, Arizona, in 1984.

5. Bobby Troup met Nat "King" Cole within days of he and his wife Cynthia arriving in Los Angeles in February 1946 after driving across the country on 66. For some reason, the name "Winona" in his song is used out of order of places visited driving east to west.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Getting Your Kicks On Route 66-- Part 1

From the September 24, 2012, CNN Travel "Get your kicks on Route 66" by Rick Antonson. Some interesting stuff, some of which I didn't know.

1. Over 2,000 of Rt. 66's original 2,448 connected miles are still there.

2. John Steinbeack conceived "The Grapes of Wrath" on a late 1937 summer drive from Chicago west to Los Angeles on Route 66, which he called the "Long Concrete Path." His wife took the phrase from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

3. Of the 116 episodes of the old TV show "Route 66," only two were actually filmed on Route 66: one in Needles, California, and the other in Santa Fe, NM. Filming for the series did occur in 81 towns in 23 states.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bill Shea Dies

From the Dec. 15, 2013, Springfield (Il) State Journal Register "Bill Shea, founder of Springfield's Route 66 Museum, dies" by Lauren Leone-Cross.

Bill Shea's Route 66 Museum/gas memorabilia place is located on Peoria Road, the old Route 66, near the Illinois State Fairgrounds. One thing he always did was personally greet all his visitors. I know he came right up to Liz and myself when we first came to his place back in 2002.

He converted his gas station into his museum, because as his wife said, "That old man. He never throws anything away." I know the feeling, Mr. Shea.

He began pumping gas on Route 66 in Springfield in 1946, after he left military service in World War II and continued that until 1995, when he started his museum. His place at 2075 Peoria Road is filled with gas-related items and I was always impressed with the small vial of sand from D-Day that he had there. He was at D-Day  His health was declining in 2012 and he was not always there to greet visitors even though I'm sure he would have if he could.

In 2011, Springfield decalred Bill Shea's birthday, December. 30th, as "Bill Shea Day." He was often seen in Illinois travel commercials and magazines.

Sure Going to Miss Him. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In Case You're Wondering About the Ten Inexpensive Activities and Games

Like I said in the last post, "Road Trip Bitch" is just one of ten games listed in good old Listverse from March 11, 2010, "10 Inexpensive Activities and Games." These are the other ones. Pictures and information accompany the article:

10. Nerf Wars
9. Capture the Flag
8. Road Trip Bitch

7. Stealth
6. Ghost Hunting
5. Scavenger Hunt
4. Manhunter

3. Urban Exploration
2. Cemetery Safari
1 Geocaching.

OK, Get Busy. --RoadDog

Don't Be the "Road Trip Bitch"

From the March 11, 2010, List Universe "10 Inexpensive Activities and Games."

This is just one game of ten they mention that applied to driving down the road and is more geared for a bunch of teenage guys or 20-somethings. Not recommended for families.

The game requires a silly hat, the sillier the better. Before departure, the driver designates things to be catalysts for the game. That would be something seen along the road, like a large white van, a car with a headlight out, state license plates, a certain sign or anything they might so choose.

If the catalyst(s) is seen, someone yells it out and everyone, whether they've seen it or not, yells it and punches the car roof. The last one to do so becomes "The Trip Bitch" or "Car Bitch" and has to wear the silly hat. That hat must be worn at all times, even in restaurants and bathroom breaks. That person is also open to any and all ridicule.

However, if said person is not the last one to yell and punch the roof the next time a catalyst is spotted, they're no longer the you-know-what and no longer have to wear that silly hat. Someone else gets the honor.

Helps to Pass the Time. I Spy With My Little Eye.... --RoadDog

The Bells of El Camino Real-- Part 2

In 1914, Mrs. Forbes started the California Bell Company because of the heavy demand for souvenirs bells and full-sized bells. By the end of the 1900s, most of the original 450 bells had been removed because of widening and modernization of the road. Others were lost to collectors or the scrap heap.

In 1933, the Calfornia Division of Highways took over the care of the bells. In 1963, it allotted $19,000 for 81 replicas to be built.

In San Bruno, a Mission Bell was dedicated at the City Hall and in the 1990s there was another revival movement to replace all of the old bell sites with modern inexpensive cement bells made to look like the earlier ones.

Mrs. Forbes company is still in business at A solid brass bell went for $3,095 (unpainted $2,295). The bells are 18 by 18 inches and weigh 85 pounds. The 1910 bells cost $25 with $2 shipping.

You can find the most El Camino Real bells along US-101.

In 2005, 555 bells were erected.

Sure Glad They're Keeping Those Bells. A Real Bell-Ringer. --RoadDog

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Bells of El Camino Real-- Part 1

From the Dec. 21, 2009, San Mateo County Cal) Daily Journal "Rediscovering the Peninsula: El Camino Real bells" by Darold Frederick.

Back in the early 1900s, Mrs. A.S.C. Forbers of Los Angeles, an early auto fan, took a trip to the San Francisco Peninsula visiting old missions along the El Camino Real. She was greatly confused by conflicting and poor directions and wrong roads and vowed to do something about it.

The El Camino Real, The Royal Road, was built in the 1700s and connected the old Spanish missions. A member of the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, she began placing 100-pound clapperless bell replicas on a 7-foot tall gooseneck iron pipe to mark the way. These bells were the only markers along the route, there were no signs or numbers yet.

On April 15, 1906, te first bell was erected at Plaza Church in Los Angeles. The next one was put up in 1909 in Redwood City, San Mateo County. Bells along the whole 700 mile stretch were completed by 1913 even though some wanted a bell every mile. The El Camino Real Association also was involved in the project.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 19, 2013

NC Bound T-Giving 2013 (Nov. 21st)-- Part 6: Confusing Indy Signage and Wrong Motel (But I Got My Skyline)

Now I'm enetering the Indianapolis metro area on I-65 from the northwest and ready to get on the bypass 465 to go around it (I remembered all the road construction on I-65 and I-70 in September that led to the horrific traffic jam on I-465 south of the city so was not going my usual way, I-74 to I-465 to I-70 coming from Illinois). I took I-465 East and was cruising along when I saw a sign for I-465 South. I knew I had to go south on the bypass to get to I-70 east of town, so took it.

It turned out that this was the I-465 South going around the west side of town. I'm cruising along wondering if I was on the east or west side until I saw a sign for Speedway. Man, I'm on the WRONG SIDE. Rats. The best-laid plans done in by poor signage.

Now I faced that really bad traffic jam on I-465 south of town, but I hadn't seen any signs for I-65/I-70 construction so decided to chance a drive through downtown despite the fact it was evening rush hour by now.

Took my usual Sam Jones cutoff to I-70 and rolled through town in heavy traffic, but no jams. Clear cruising.
Easy drive into Ohio and stopped at my usual Skyway Chili place in Englewood at Exit 29. Got my large four-way and checked out the motel coupon magazines I had picked up at the Ohio Welcome Center and saw the Best Western Plus at the exit had rooms for $59. Unfortunately, there was a Clarion Motel between Skyline and the Best Western which wasn't very well marked and I went to that, but when they told me the room was $100 realized I was in the wrong place.

Got to the right motel, checked in after a 401.8 mile run today.

Lost Again. --RoadDog

Three Threatened Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

J.J. WALSER HOUSE-- 42 N. Central Avenue, Chicago (1903). On a narrow lot in Austin neighborhood and in need of major repairs.

WILLIAM F. ROSS HOUSE-- 1027 Meadow Road in Glencoe (1915). For sale "as is."

WILLIAM J. VANDERKLOOT HOUSE-- 231 Prospect Road in Lake Bluff (1915). An American System Ready-cut "Cottage A" bungalow. Built as a summer rental cottage.

An American Master. --RoadDog

Historic Alden Road in Illinois

Located in my county, McHenry. A two-lane rural road in the west part of the county. At the turn of the last century, 1900, it was all homes, barns and fields. It starts at the Wisconsin border and intersects Il-173 in Alden and ends northwest of Woodstock near Il-47.

Some 5,000 vehicles a day use the southbound lane and the McHenry County Department of Transportation has proposed a seven mile road widening project which will impact several historical properties.

Currently the road is 60-feet wide, including the right-of-way and they want to increase it to 120 feet.


Interesting List of Route 66 Places to See-- Part 2


The 1939 Rock Cafe in Stroud, Skyliner Motel (OK, I don't remember this one for some reason) and the museums in Elkhart and Clinton, and the Trade Winds Motel in Clinton where Elvis stayed.


Oldest Philips 66 station, 1936 U Drop Inn in Shamrock and leaning water tower in Britten.


Tucumcari, vintage motels in Santa Fe and El Rancho Motel in Gallup.


Wigwam Motel in Holbrook (called Wigman in the article), Meteor Crater, Twin Arrows and Two Guns (where a big battle between the Navajos and Apaches took place and at one time a big tourist trap.


Needles, Mojave desert, Amboy, Bagdad Cafe, "Wigman" Motel in Rialto, Bono's Deli and Pasadena Rose Bowl.

Just a Start, Just a Start. --RoadDog

Interesting List of Route 66 Places to See-- Part 1

From the Nov. 25, 2013, Huff Post "Road Trip on Route 66, Americana" by Sidonie Sawyer.

OK, we 66ers have seen them, but always good to get any publicity we can. Broken down by state: 

ILINOIS-- Henry's Drive-In, Castle Carwash, Rialto Theare, Gemini Giant and the Lincoln Springfield sites.  
MISSOURI: Ted Drewes in St. Louis, Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, Rail Haven and Wild Bill Hikock shootout in Springfield and Boots Motel in Carthage.

KANSAS: 4 Women On the Road in Galena, 1925 Eisler Brothers store in Riverton and Crowell Bank in Baxter Springs--robbed by Jesse James.

Five More States to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, December 16, 2013

Route 66 in Illinois Loses Bill Shea

Sad to hear that Bill Shea, long famous for his ties in Springfield, Illinois, with his gas memorabilia museum, passed away this past Saturday. Liz and I feel fortunate to have met this interesting character many times and we've sat outside his place by the picnic table and listened to his stories many, many times and never got tired of it.

On our first trip on Route 66 back in 2002, we met not only Mr. Shea, but Tom Teague as well, sitting out on some chairs and after just a few minutes, we were hooked on Route66.   We never had a chance to NOT become Route 66 Roadies.

Poor Illinois has sure lost some of its greats over the last several years, including Bob Waldmire and, of course, Ernie Edwards.

Fortunately for us, though, Bill's son was always at the station and I'm sure will continue on in the Bill Shea Way.

We'll Sure Miss You Bill Shea. --RoadDog

Food Trails Reach Across the Country-- Part 3

Some other food trails worth eating:

THE CONNECTICUT CHOCOLATE TRAIL identifies sweet shops where world-renowned chocolatiers and local artisans create handmade goodies.

NEW HAMPSHIRE'S ICE CREAM TRAIL-- The state has more than 130 dairy farms and this trail spotlights 39 ice cream stands and shops offering locally-made you-know-what. I scream, you know the rest.

THE APPLE PIE TRAIL in Orange County, New York. Includes more than a dozen orchards and farms producing 25 varieties of apples, many offering pick-your-own and fresh pies. I bet there's a few caramel apples, too.

CALIFORNIA CHEESE TRAIL-- Over 50 miles in Sonomo and Marin copunties with two dozen cheese artisans offering farm and creamery tours. Hey, and tasting, too. Wisconsin is so jealous.

FRUIT AND WINE TRAIL in Palisade, Colorado. Learn how fruit, wine and farm products are grown, prepared and marketed. Known as the Peach Capital of Colorado, the area also produces apples, apricots, cherries, pears, plums, melons, chili peppers and more.

Something Every State Tourisn Department Should Get Involved With. Nothing Like Eating Your Way Across a State. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Food Trails Reach Across the Country-- Part 2: SC, the Birthplace of Barbecue?

Most (of the South Carolina BBQ joints) are small, family-owned restaurants and roadside stands witn recipess handed down through the generations, some in one-of-a-kind settings, too. The Schoolhouse BBQ in Scranton, for example, is housed in a renovated former African-American schoolhouse." I wonder if that would be one of those Rosenwald Schools?)

And, South Carolina claims to be the birthplace of barbecue (though I'm sure this is open to debate). Experts at Drayton Hall, the country's oldest unrestored plantation house, "have established the state as the birthplace of barbecue, dating to the 16th century when Native Americans introduced it to Spanish colonists."

Up Next, Some Other Food Trails. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Food Trails Reach Across the Country-- Part 1

From the Nov. 10, 2013, Chicago Tribune by Irene Smith.

The last several days I wrote about the Barn Quilt Trails in Ohio and other states.

Now, it is time to write about Food Trails. As the subheading said, "Barbecue, pies and more on tourism maps." "Trails aren't just for hiking. Increasingly, state and local tourism officials are creating trail itineraries to showcase the unique culinary traditons of a state or region."

South Carolina is known for its beaches and golf, but tourisn officials are hoping to lure tourists inland for food, more specifically, SC BBQ. " A new SC Barbecue Trail identifies more than 162 barbecue joints across the state where travelers can find 'slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone, good ole' barbecue.'"

And, that's good stuff, though mustard-based in the SC places I've eaten.

But, Like I Said, I've Never Met a 'Cue I Didn't Like. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oops! I Made a Mistake in the Route 66-Lincoln Highway Showdown: Lincoln Highway Wins

And, it was a big one. For some reason, I didn't pick up on Sterling Newman Central Catholic as being on Lincoln Highway. Sterling is on the Lincoln. And, that school won the class 2A Championship. So, instead of there being a tie with Lincoln Highway's 6A Batavia and Route 66's 5A Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin winning championships, I now declare Lincoln Highway as the winner of the 4th Annual IHSA Lincoln Highway-Route 66 Showdown.

Winners in the eight classes (Championship games played in Dekalb, Illinois, home of NIU:

8A Naperville Central
7A Mt. Carmel (High School of NIU's Jordan Lynch who is one of the six finalists for the Heisman Award this Saturday!!! Unfortunately, they defeated Route 12's Lake Zurich to win it, however)

6A Batavia (Lincoln Highway)
5A Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (Route 66)
4A Rochester (Of course)  Richmond-Burton and Johnsburg are in 4A.

3A Stillman Valley (In Richmond-Burton's conference)
2A Sterling Newman Central Catholic (Lincoln Highway)
1A Lena (On US-20) out near Galena.

Wrapping It Up for Another Year. Congrats Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

Watseka's Full Bull Smoke House Saloon

I mentioned seeing this place in the previous post and they have a website. It is located in Watseka, Illinois, by the Indiana state line, at 217 East Walnut Street.

They advertise killer hickory-smoked bbq, booze and live music.

Looks Like a Place for Me. --RoadDog

NC Boud T-Giving 2013-- Part 5; Strange Truck

From Sauneman to Forrest, I listened to another favorite radio station of mine, 98.3 WWHP out of Farmer City, Illinois. Their music could best be classified as Americana, and, of course, I get those farm reports, always great to have while driving through all that Illinois farmland. I turned it off however, before I got out of range as they were playing nothing but a steel drum concert which I didn't like so well.

Normally, I take Il-47 all the way to I-74 in Mahomet, Illinois, near Champaign, and then that to Indianapolis. However, my last time through Indianapolis, I-65 and I-70 were under construction and I got caught in a huge traffic jam taking the bypass. I decided to take US-24 east to I-65 and that to Indianapolis to avoid it. It started to rain in Dwight and continued the whole way until I got east of Indy.

In Watseka, Illinois, I saw a sign for The Full Bull BBQ and Saloon, a place I might have to check out sometime.

Gas was $3.29 in Indiana. Stopped at Kentland, Indiana, at a McDonald's and saw that they had Bears cups with the purchase of a large-size meal. You'd think being Indiana, the cups would have been Colts.

At 1:34 PM, I saw a convoy of four cop cars with flashing lights escorting a truck with something big under a tarp. I have to wonder what that was all about. About 25 miles north of Lebanan, Indiana, I saw a bad accident in the northbound lanes and a huge backup on I-65.

Home for Thanksgiving. --RoadDog

Ohio's Barn Quilts-- Part 2

Today, there are over 4,000 quilt squares on barns and other buildings in 34 states, most located on 120 designated barn quilt trails. Suzi Parron, author of Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement, says, "The trails are very localized. What's going on is local pride."

Quilt squares are painted by farmers, professional artists, high school art students, quilt guilds, 4-H groups and other organizations. Local communities put together their quilt trails and seek grants to cover the materials. Local minicipal departments and people volunteer services.

Barn quilts remind people of their agricultural roots (especially for areas like our McHenry County in Illinois which used to be very farming until the growth of Chicago outward). In Morgan County, Colorado, enthusiast Nancy Lauck, 65, has painted nearly 200 barn quilts since 2007. She has painted 16 small quilt squares on her family's 1909 cattle barn in Fort Morgan.

Many barn owners have also repaired and renovated their barns after receiving a quilt.

It's a Movement I Can Barn. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

N.C. Bound T-Giving 2013-- Part 4: A Route 66 Burger King

NOVEMBER 21ST: Gas in Morris, Illinois, was $3.10, but $2.99.9, ($3) with gas purchase. I still really hate Big Oil for making me think (and get excited) for seeing gas at $2.99.9. That is NOT CHEAP, like they'd love us to believe. I still wish I could find information about their quarterly profits which have to be absolutely HUGE!!

South of Morris on Il-47 and passing Il-113 and sign to Coal City which was one of the places hit by last Sunday's tornadoes.

Now that I have passed out of the reception area on the Drive, 97.1 FM and the A to Z Countdown, I popped the new Paul McCartney CD called "New" into the player. This is a mighty good album for someone 70+ of age.

Stopped for one of those great new Burger King rib sandwiches at the BP station at Dwight by I-55. This was owned by Route 66 Hall of Famers Ambler-Becker after the old Marathon station dating back to the 1930s was rehabbed. This is probably the only Burger King you can eat at with a Route 66 theme. Of course, Route 66 used to go through Dwight, but now is Il-53 and Il-47.

Having a Rib With 66. --RoadDog

Monday, December 9, 2013

My 3010th Post

Well, I missed the number 3,000 post, but today noticed I was at #3008. Two posts into today, I see that I am at 3010. That sure is way more than I expected to make when I started back in 2007.

And, this was the only Blog I planned to have. I now have WAY TOO MANY with seven, but get great enjoyment out of researching the information, but not too crazy about the typing part as I am a two-fingered typist. But, I am a fast two-fingered typist, thankfully.

My niece Andrea in White House, Tennessee, helped me get it all set up.

Way Too Many Posts and Blogs. --RoadDog

Ohio's Barn Quilts-- Part 1

From the April 21-27 American Profile "Barn Quilts: Folk art movement covers the countryside" by Marti Attoun.

Donna Sue Groves and her mother, Maxine, bought a farm in Adams County, Ohio, in 1989 and came up with an idea of how to add some pizzaz to it and honor her mother by painting a quilt square on it. She remembered in her childhood watching her mother and grandmother sewing and socializing with friends over magnificent quilts.

In 2000, she expanded her folk art idea and, as an Ohio Arts Council employee, decided she could enlist local artists to paint them on barns throughout the county and this would also draw tourists.

The Adams Count Quilt Sampler Committe was set up and drew guidelines for the 8-foot-by-eight-foot painted wooden quilt squares. On October 2001, an "Ohio Star" quilt debuted at the Lewis Mountain Olde Thyme Herb Fair in Manchester, Ohio.

The squares caught on right away and soon barns all over the county had them and tourists began driving the back roads looking for them. "Donna Sue's gift to her mother had become a gift to rural America."

And, I Like to See Patterns on Local Wooden Barns. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It Was 72 Years Ago: Pearl Harbor

Even though I didn't teach about Pearl Harbor for my first 13-15 years, I did after that. Rarely did I ever have any students (7th graders) who knew anything about it. I even once had a Pearl Harbor veteran come and speak to my classes about that Day of Infamy, the Greatest Generation's JFK Assassination.

Today, I am writing the name of one American who died that day on each of my blogs.

GERALD G. LEHMAN of Hancock, Michigan. On the USS Oklahoma. His remains were returned to Houghton County and reburied in 2010.

I wrote about a New Hampshire man who also died on the Oklahoma that day whose body has been identified but not returned as of yet which is causing some big problems. It is in my World War II "Tattooed On Your Soul" Blog.

The Greatest Generation.  (GreGen)

The World's 18 Strangest Roadways-- Part 4

15. CANTON AVENUE-- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Small cobblestone street in Beechview neighborhood. 37% grade. That's 37 feet up for every 100 feet horizontal. Has an ongoing feud with New Zealand's Baldwin Street which has a 35-38% grade as the world's steepest drivable street.

16. THE HIGH FIVE INTERCHANGE-- Dallas, Texas. Where I-635 connects to U.S.-75. Tremendous verticle mode here with lanes as high as a 12-story building in places.

17. LOMBARD STREET-- San Francisco. A curvy icon. Originally had a 27% grade but was too steep for early autos. In 1922, 8 curves added and reduced to 16% grade. It was two-way until 1939.

18. TIBBITT TO CONTWOYTO WINTER ROAD-- Northwest Territory, Canada. Made famous by the History Channel's "Ice Road Truckers." 370 mile ice road from diamond mines over interconnected lakes.

How Steep Is Too Steep? Wonder How Steep the Turn Off US-12 at Sunset Road in McHenry County Is? --RoadDog

The World's 18 Strangest Roadways-- Part 3

12. KARAKORAM HIGHWAY-- Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. 800 miles linking with China through the Himalayas, Karakoram and Pamir mountain ranges. Three miles above sea level in spots.

13. AVENIDA 9 DE JULIO-- Buenas Aires, Argentina. Opened in 1937. Eight lanes each way in some spots.

14. TROLLSTIGEN-- Rauma, Norway. Through a mountain pass. Opened in 1936 and called "The Troll Ladder" with 11 hairpin turns. An average of 2800 feet above sea level and a 9% grade.

No Place For Backseat Drivers. --RoadDog

The World's 18 Strangest Roadways-- Part 2

6. THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT-- Swindon, England. Notoroius for its many roundabouts and also has five smaller roundabouts. (I hate roundabouts. You never know when or where you're going to get hit.)

7. HIGHWAY 1-- Iceland. The "Ring Road" loops around the entire island.

8. THE CHEROHALA SKYWAY-- Robbinsville, NC. Fifty miles long two lane road that cost over $100 million. Opened 1996 and varies from 900 feet to 5,400 feet. Serves as part of border between NC and Tennessee.

9. YUNGAS ROAD-- La Paz, Bolivia. "Road of Death" Check It Out.

10. DALTON HIGHWAY-- Livengood, Alaska. Gets a nod for extreme remoteness and desolation. Some 414 miles of unpaved gravel with no restaurants or gas stations. What? No motels?

11. CAPULIN VOLCANO ROAD-- Capulin, New Mexico. On an extinct volcano. Covers two mles of extremely narrow road with 6% grade.

Some Strange Roads Here. --RoadDog

Friday, December 6, 2013

The World's 18 Strangest Roadways-- Part 1

From Popular Mechanics by Chris Sweeney.

1. HANA HIGHWAY-- Maui, Hawaii: 600 curves and 54 bridges in just 52 miles.
2. PASSO DELLO STELVIO-- Lombardy, Italy: Stelvio Pass with 48 hairpin turns and average 7.4 foot grade.
3. GUOLIANG TUNNEL-- Hunan, China: Chiseled out by hand in the 1970s. 15 feet high and 12 feet wide. (Hopefully no vehicles.)

4. MONUMENTAL AXIS-- Brasilia, Brazil: world's largest median.
5. THE ATLANTERHAVSVEIEN-- More of Romsdal, Norway: 8 small bridges passing over 8 small islands.

Boy, That's One Weird Road. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 5, 2013

NC Bound T-Giving 2013-- Part 4: School Speed Zones

I had to switch from my usual 96.9 FM to 97.1 FM by Lily Lake and had some folks really angry at me for going the state speed limit of 20 mph past the old school. Sorry guys, but I'm not getting a speeding ticket. I always have to wonder if that 20- mph is required when you see kids outside or is that the speed anytime school is in session. I found out from a cop friend that technically it is anytime school is in session. A warning to Chicago drivers as they now have speed cameras near all schools that operate for many additional non-school hours in an effort to get money for the city..

Gas at the Elburn BP at 47 and Il-38 was $3.27. That is usually the most expensive gas on Il-47.

Of course, along with trucks and lots of traffic, another problem you occassionally encounter on Il-47 is slow-moving farm machinery.

Gas in Yorkville, the town that seems to go on forever, was mostly around $3.10. Il-47 is torn up between US-34 and Il. 71, including the whole downtown by the Fox River. I started losing 97.1 FM in Yorkville, so no more A to Z, sadly. The last songs I heard were "Uncle Jon's Band" by Grateful Dead, "Under My Thumb" by Rolling Stones and "Under My Wheels" by Alice Cooper.

Well, time to pop the old CD in, and it was the new one called "New" by Paul McCartney.


Lincoln Highway and Route 66 Play to a Tie

The 2013 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football Tournament is now over and our two famous old highways played to a tie in the 4th annual competition. Both roads had one team win their division's championship.

For Route 66 it was 5A's Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin. For the Lincoln Highway, it was 6A's Batavia.

Congratulations to Both Roads.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NC Bound Thanksgiving 2013-- Part 3: Huntley, Testicles and Stark's Corner


Almost unbelievably, road construction in Huntley, Illinois, is, at least temporarily, completed. It has been torn up at the tollway along Il-47 for much of this past year. Now, you have to worry about the multitude of stoplights where if you hit one, you hit 'em all.

Of course, it shouldn't be long before construction starts again. Finished just in time for the annual turkey testicle festival at the Park Inn downtown. This is a long-standing party taking place every Wednesday before Thanksgiving, another reason for turkeys to hate the holiday.

Stopped at Stark's Corner by Il-47 and US-20 south of Huntley. This has been a gas station for a long time, but the original structures have been torn down and non-descript modern buildings built. They are also usually the most expensive gas on 47 and were at $3.30.

"Gambling has come to Stark's Corner!!" Those video slot machines that are popping up in pretty much every bar in the state are also at Stark's now. I didn't, of course, play. I did buy a pack of Sabritones chile and lime chips. I really love those and this is the only place I've ever seen them.

Beer and Testicles Tonight in Huntley. --RoadDog

Route 66 Continues Slim Lead Over Lincoln Highway in IHSA Playoffs

Going into the final week championships this Friday and Saturday (played at NIU's Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Illinois, a homefield advantage for Lincoln Highway, since Lincoln Highway passes right by the stadium.

Route 66 continues its one game lead.

Remaining teams for Route 66 are

5A Springfield-- Sacred Heart-Griffin and 2A Stauton.

The remaining team for the Lincoln Highway is 6A Batavia.

Staunton will play Friday and the other two on Saturday.

So it comes down to the final day.

And Me Being Strictly Neutral, Go, Both Roads!! --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NC Bound Thanksgiving 2013: The Drive's A to Z, Music to Cruise By

Nothing like great road cruising music and this is exactly what I had. The Drive had begun this A to Z all the way back on last Thursday and they were planning on finishing sometime today. Around 2,000 songs played during that period. As you can see in the previous post, we were now in the letter "T" when I left:

TURN UP THE RADIO-- Autograph (The things go better with Coke song.)
TURNING JAPANESE-- Vapors (Rats, got it in my head again.)

TUSK-- Fleetwood Mac
UNCLE JON'S BAND-- Grateful Dead

UNDER MY THUMB-- Rolling Stones
UNDER MY WHEELS-- Alice Cooper.

I left Spring Grove at 8:55 CST, reading at 29.0 mpg, mileage 22,478 and set the trip odometer to zero. Tuned into WDRV right away as the CDs could definitely wait.

Many of the roads were covered with mud from farm machinery as they were finishing harvest season and we'd had some rain. I noticed someone had made a dinosaur out of scrap metal on Ringwood Road near Miller Road.

Gas in Woodstock was $3.25, usually some of the most expensive gas in the area.

 Have That Stupid "Turning Japanese" Song in My Head. -- RoadDog

NC Bound-- Thanksgiving 2013: Driving Down the Road and Road Music, Nov. 21st

Last minute packing and had to get a gallon of gas to mix with two-stage oil for the snowblower and fire it up, just in case of snow while I was gone. It fired up. Lots and lots of smoke, though. Drove to Woodstock, Illinois, and picked up Il-47 south.

Enjoyed listening to the Drive's A to Z along the way, first on 96.9 FM and then 97.1 FM. The two stations simulcast. Those songs are the way to travel, starting with:

TUNNEL OF LOVE by Bruce Springsteen.
TURN ME LOOSE-- Loverboy


And, That's Just to Get Going. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NIU Homecoming-- Part 6: The Game and Footstompers

We had great chairback seats on the 45 yard line about twenty rows up. NIU was supposed to handle Akron easily, but that was not the case. Northern led most of the game, but not by much. We left with five minutes left and Northern hanging onto a 27-20 lead. We had to get to Lord Stanley's to get a seat for the Footstompers and still were too late and had to stand for awhile before getting seats at the bar. Liz is a master at getting seats in crowded places.

We saw that Northern had won by that score and the DeKalb Footstompers opened with The Huskie Fight Song and everybody was singing at the top of their voices. The party was on.

Right after the song, Dave, the guitarist (the others play the drums, accordion and tuba) said this was the 40th straight homecoming that they had played and we were there for the very first one in 1973 at the old Andy's on Lincoln Highway. And, here we all are again. Three of the four members of the Footstompers are original. Talk about your longevity.

And, as usual, it was a great party. We stayed for two sets before driving back to the hotel.

We then walked across the street to Pizza Pros and had some nightcap drinks and enjoyed watching the students. Were we ever that young?

Another Great NIU Homecoming. --RoadDog

NIU Homecoming-- Part 5: Tailgating and the Prez

Continued from November 13th.

We found out that the store in the Barsema Alumni Center was having technical difficulties with their cash register and wouldn't open for awhile, so we took a walk around the alumni tailgating area. All sorts of the schools had tents with free food, pop and were giving away free NIU stuff. All things that I really like.

First stop was the NIU Alumni tent and then the College of Education. Ran into Terri who is our contact at Northern for our education scholarship and she took us over and introduced us to NIU's new president, Doug Baker. He is a very approachable man and had pictures taken. I think he will continue the great job Dr. Peters did before him.

Went back to the Barsema Center a couple times and on the third, saw the store was open. I immediately went in and spent $30 for the book, but unfortunately, Dan, the author, had left by then so I didn't get it signed.

Disappointed, we walked over to the stadium and picked up our will call tickets then went over to the huge Fatty's tent where a band was playing and had a couple brews before game time.


Ten Tips for Avoiding Speeding Tickets-- Part 2

Continued from Nov. 13th.

4. KEEP QUIET. Present your license, registration and insurance card. Be polite but don't answer anything else. Don't swear at the officer or be confrontational.


6. Check for TECHNICAL CALIBRATION OF THE RADAR.Check the MANUAL on UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICE. Make sure the speed limit signs are up to code.

8. The JUDGE is not there to find you not guilty. They are a part of the revenue collection machine. Give them a reason to find you not guilty. Ask your arresting officers questions in court.

9. Get a FRIEND in your local police department.

Pressure your STATE REPRESENTATIVE to stop federal and state incentives for speeding tickets.

"Hey Judge, Old Buddy, Old Pal." as Jerry Reed Said. --RoadDog

Great BBQ Joints

From the May 8, 2013, Yahoo! Travel, Forbes "Great BBQ joints across America" by Larry Olmsted.

I'm just listing them. Check out the article for pictures and more information:

OKLAHOMA JOE'S BBQ-- Kansas City, Missouri
HOT ROD'S REAL PIT BBQ-- Wharton, Hew Jersey
THE SALT LICK-- Driftwood and Round Rock, Texas

THE SHED BBQ & BLUES JOINT-- Mississippi and Alabama. The original one is in Ocean Spring, Mississippi (We've eaten at that one). Also Gulfport, Miss. and Mobile, Alabama.

17TH STREET BAR & GRILL &MEMPHIS CHAMPIONSHIP BARBECUE-- 3 in Illinois (including the original), two in Las Vegas
CENTRAL BBQ-- Memphis , Tennessee

DINOSAUR BBQ-- New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
HITCHING POST and HITCHING POST 2-- Casmalia and Buellton, California
OAK, THE NEW FAT ALLEY-- Tellerude, Colorado.

Love My 'Cue, But No NC? --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Final Points On the Map-- Part 7: Point Roberts, Washington

Occupying a geographical oddity, residents of the peninsula that is home to Point Roberts, Washington (pop. 1,314), must drive through Canada to get to the rset of the U.S. mainland by land.

The unincorporated community, known locally as "The Point" rests on five-square miles of U.S. soil because it is south of the 49th parallel which consitutes the Canada-U.S. border.

The peninsula is twenty miles south of Vancouver, Canada, but has its own U.S. post office and even zip code, but is not physically connected with the rest of the nation.

The Oregon Treaty of 1846 ended a long-standing border dispute but created this quirk on the map. Living in Point Roberts can be challenging. Public school students in grades 4-12 are transported daily by bus into Canada, around Boundary Bay and back to the U.S. for classes in Blaine, Washington (pop. 4,6840. Navigating international checkpoints, especially in this day and age, can be very frustrating for residents needing to get somewhere fast.

At the same time, however, some Point Roberts citizens consider their situation like living in a gated community.

Interesting Places. --RoadDog

Monday, November 18, 2013

Route 66 Hangs Onto One-Team Lead

After four rounds, there are four Rt. 66 teams remaining and three Lincoln Highway, with both roads losing three teams.


7A: Edwardsville
6A: East St. Louis
5A: Springfield--Sacred Heart
2A: Staunton.


6A: New Lenox-- Providence and Batavia
3A: Aurora Christian.

Best of Luck to the Remaining Teams. --RoadDog

Route 12 Wins Over US-14 Again

After four rounds, US Highway 12 (Rand Road in Illinois) is the last-man standing in its competition with US Highway 14 (Northwest Highway). This last Saturday, all three remaining US-14 teams went down to defeat.

US-12's Lake Zurich, about 15 miles from here, won their game.

Lake Zurich was the only remaining of four US-12 teams after the very first round. US-14 started off with a 7-4 lead.

Congratulations US-12!! Way to Hang In There!! --RoadDog

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Music, Northern Illinois and Eating

Hopefully you have tuned into WDRV, the Drive here in Chicago while they run their semiannual "A to Z" where they play some 2,000 songs over a week+ and do it alphabetically. It streams on

We have been wearing Northern Illinois gear all over of late and we sure are getting a lot of congratulations and compliments on how well our football team is doing. The last place we went today, there was a guy who graduated from NIU in 2003 and had been married on the football field of Huskie Stadium and had his reception in the Barsema Alumni Center.

The bartender at Main Street Station said he had watched the game Wednesday and that earlier today some NIU alumni had been there and were making bids on the football teams U.S. veterans gear worn that night.

Also at the last place, I overheard a guy across the bar from us talking about the old Puppet Bar and saying that all the old puppets had been destroyed. I told him that four remained at which time he looked at me and said, "My God, you're Don T. Magestic!!" That was my old deejay name. It turns out he was a regular at the old Neptune's Cove and Eagle Point where I really cut my teeth learning how to disc jockey. He still gets together with the owners of Neptune's Cove and will send them a picture.

And, did we ever do some eating at the Taste of McHenry Christmas Walk, hitting about ten places.

It Was a Great Day. --RoadDog

Points On the Map-- Part 6: The Southernmost Point

A painted concrete buoy, erected in 1983, at the corner of South and Whitehead streets in Key West, Florida (pop. 24,649) marks the southernmost point in the continental United States. It draws nearly a million visitors a year-- almost all with cameras.

Key West Mayor Craig Cates, 60, likes to say: "We could make a lot of money for the city if we had a dollar for every photo."

Actually, cartograophers list Ballast Key, a privately owned island in the Florida Keys, as the official southernmost point, but Key West gets the public honors with its stunning ocean view and the fact the buoy is just 90 miles from Cuba.

The buoy sits right where a Western Union cable once connected with Cuba. A nearby plaque commemorates Cubans who have drowned trying to escape Castro's Cuba.

We used to stay at the Southernmost Motel right close by that buoy.

The buoy reads: The Conch Republic (with logo)
90 Miles to Cuba
Key Wesy, Fl
Home of the Sunset.

No Doubt, Those Sunsets Are Outstanding. --RoadDog

Friday, November 15, 2013

US-14 Still Leads US-12

At the end of the second round of the IHSA football playoffs, US-14 (Northwest Highway) still maintains a lead over US-12 (Rand Road) but it is now down to 3-1.

US-14 teams still remaining:

8A Barrington
6A Crystal lake- Prairie Ridge
4A Harvard.

For US-12, the sole remaining team is still Lake Zurich going into the third round.


Points On the Map-- Part 5: Four Corners Monument

Many states share tri-points, but Four Corners is the only quadripoint in the country.

According to James Fraser Hart, professor of geography at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, "Boundary lines follow human activity.... they follow the way people use the land."

Otherwise, they are typically drawn in straight lines such as Four Corners which was largely unsettled in 1848 when Mexico ceded the area to the United States after the Mexican War. In 1863, Congress approved a map with straight lines running east to west and north to south which created Four Corners shared by four states eventually.

Of course, boundaries often follow rivers and there are none in the area. There are a lot of straight line state borders out west.

Two More to Go. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Route 66 Still Leads, But Lincoln Highway Cuts Into Lead

After the end of week two, Route 66 still leads Lincoln Highway 7-6 with the Lincoln Way teams making a big impact on the Lincoln Highway.


7A Edwardsville
6A East St. Louis
5A Joliet Cathonic, Springfield-- Sacred Heart-Griffin and Normal University

4A Belleville Althoff Catholic
3A Williamsville
2A Staunton


7A Frankfort Lincoln Way East
6A New Lenox-- Providence
6A Batavia and Frankfort Lincoln Way North

5A Joliet Catholic and New Lenox-- Lincoln Way West
3A Aurora Christian.

Going Into the Third Round. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NIU Homecoming 2013-- Part 4: NIU Football

From 1973 to about ten years ago, we used to go to every NIU Homecoming, but then had a stretch where we stopped going until about five years ago when we started going again.

Stopped at the Barsema Alumni Center and saw that the Huskie store wasn't open, but Dan was outside at a table selling copies of his new book on NIU football. He had his own personal copy of the book on the table which was signed by most of the Huskie greats that he features in it. Once the Huskie store opened, we could go in and buy a copy and he would sign it.

While waiting, we talked Huskie football, something I always enjoy doing. He said that writing the book came about because it combines three of his favorite things: NIU, NIU football and writing. (Sounds likeme.)

He grew up in Odell, Illinois, before attending NIU. Odell is on Route 66 so we had something else to talk about as Liz and I are huge Route 66 fans.

He agrees that it was a complete shame that the 2003 team didn't get to go to a bowl game even after posting a 10-2 record, beating Iowa State, a ranked Maryland and, best of all, a ranked Alabama. This happened while a lot of 6-6 teams played in bowl games. Anyone who says NIU didn't belong at this year's Orange Bowl should consider our trip makes up for that huge slight back in 2003.

Always Great to Talk Huskie Football. --RoadDog

Points On the Map-- Part 4: Four Corners Monument

Where four states converge and visitors enjoy the unique Four Corners Monument and the photo-op it has where you can be in four states simultaneously.

A bronze disk is embedded in granite marks the very spot near Tee Nos Pos, Arizona (pop. 730). It is surrounded by seals and flags that honor the four states and tribal nations that share the georgraphical point. The site is managed by the Navajo Nation, which charges $3 admission per person.

Snapshots of the some 250,000 visitors show creativity such as the boy doing pushups with one hand in Colorado, the other in Utah, one foot in Arizona, the other in New Mexico. A girl performs a backbend the same way. (With me it would be me getting hurt in four states all at once.)

A couple kisses across state borders. More to Come. --RoadDog

Points On the Map-- Part 3: The Mason-Dixon Line

One major accomplishment was transporting the heavy stones, which were made in England and it wasn't like they were using established roads. They were forging through wilderness and setting a marker every mile as well as placing crown stones bearing the coat of arms of the Penn and Calvert families every fifth mile.

Babcock says that toward the end they had 115 men employed in the effort, "a small army." The east-west portion parallels latitude calculated from 15 miles south of Colonial Philadelphia.

Using modern tools, volunteers have located 190 of the 230 markers along the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, repairing many and replacing a few. Many of them are on private land and others are open to public view.

An added bonus of my trip along the old National Road from Wheeling, West Virginia, a few years ago was seeing a couple of the Mason-Dixon markers, especially since I am into the Civil War.

North or South of That Line. --RoadDog

Ten Tips to Avoid Speeding Tickets-- Part 1: Slow Down

From the November 4, 2013, Yahoo! Autos, Popular Mechanics by Phil Berg. A Bad Thing That Can Happen to You While Driving.

Richard Diampnd of the Washington Times really hates speeding tickets ever since he got his first one at age 16 and he's been fighting them ever since. He says, "The motorist is a source of revenue." Some 54% of all tickets given out are still for speeding.

These are his tips to avoid 'em:

1. If traffic suddenly slows, there is a reason. Usually a cop.

2. Be ready for anything. There are moving and stationary radar and speed carmeras. In Vermont, all officers have to do is guess how fast you're going and it will hold up in court.

3. Keep a low profile. Don't call attention to yourself. A minivan is less likely to be watched than a Ferrari.

I'd like to add a few at this point. Keep an eye in the rearview mirror as they can come up behind you. Plus, if you see the people behind you slowing down, there is probably a cop back there. Never be the fastest car out there. If you are constantly passing cars and no one has passed you in awhile, slow down. If the trucks slow down, you'd best do so as well.

Of course, as I get older, I don't drive as fast as I am usually not in a big hurry to get there plus slower speed saves gas.

Those Things Are Expensive, Plus Don't Help Your License. --RoadDog

Ten Best Islands

From the Nov. 11, 2013, Yahoo! Travel, Conde Nast Traveler.

These picks by their readers. Photos and text in the article.

10. Big Island, Hawaii
9.  Great Barrier Reef Islands, Australia (Hundreds of islands and I thought it was just reefs.)
8.  Oahu, Hawaii

7.  Moorea, Moorea
6.  Sea Island, Georgia
7.  Bora Bora, French Polynesia
8.  Kiawah Island, SC

3.  Maldives, Indian Ocean
2.  Kauai, Hawaii
1.  Maui, Hawaii

(The last two weeks I wrote about Maui during the war in my World War II blog "Tattooed On Your Soul.")


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Points On a Map-- Part 2: The Mason-Dixon Line

THE MASON-DIXON LINE: Best known as the demarcation between North and South in the years leading up to and including the Civil War, but this survey was actually erected a century before the war to settle a Colonial feud between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The Penn family of Pensylvania and the Calvert family of Maryland had long argued about the border between their two colonies and, abiding by a court order, hired the acclaimed English surveyors George Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to mark the border.

Placement of stone markers began in 1763 and some of those stones are still there and also by borders of Delaware and West Virginia.

Todd Bacock, 48, a surveyor from Athens, Pennsylvania, helped launch the Mason & Dixon Line Preservation Partnership in 1990 and has spent many hours working to preserve these historic markers. He is amazed at the accuracy of the line, which was charted based on the stars, as well as the sheer physical accomplishment of marking it.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, November 11, 2013

Points On the Map-- Part 1: Geographic Center of Lower United States

From the July 21-27, 2013 American Profile Magazine "Points on the Map: Searching for America's significant, historic and quirky landmarks" by Carol Crupper.

"Man-made boundaries sometimes make for interesting landmarks. American Profile looks at five unique points on the U.S. map."

1. GEOGRAPHIC CENTER OF THE CONTIGUOUS UNTED STATES: A trapezoidal stone structure with plaque two miles northwest of Lebanon, Kansas, (pop. 218) marks this point. This is the georgraphic center of the Lower 48 states and is marked by a ten-foot high monument (climbing on it is forbidden, however).

A 1918 survey established the spot and in 1941, civil leaders in Lebanon donated money and labor to build the monument figuring it would be good for tourism. In a case of build it and they will come, even before the movie, tourists began arriving.

And, they're not just from the U.S. They've also had a Japanese game show as well as an "X-Men" movie film crew.

One Down, Four to Go. --RoadDog

Sunday, November 10, 2013

An Old Marine, Well Sorta, Celebrates the 238th Birthday

Today, November 10th, 238 years ago, the USMC was established. Yesterday, I went to the Tom Grosvenor Memorial Marine Corps Breakfast with a whole big roomful of jarheads at the Fox Lake (Ill.) American Legion.

I was a Marine for six short weeks in OCS at Quantico, Virginia, as they needed second lieutenants but then the Vietnam War ended so they didn't need me.

Regardless, I was Marinized.

I'll be writing about it next week in my Wortld War II blog.

Happy Birthday, USMC. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 9, 2013

NIU Homecoming 2013-- Part 3: Mugs and Alumni

Once checked into the Best Western on Lincoln Highway (Il-38) we immediately went next door to Fatty's to see if they had new NIU Football 2013 mugs. The parking lot was jammed, so decided to try again later.

But, a wrong attempt to get into the parking area at the Convocation Center and we found ourselves again passing Fatty's so this time parked at another hotel and Liz walked over. They were charging $5 to get in, but let her go in when she said we were just there to get mugs. They had them and now they are on our kitchen counter with ones from the last two years.

We had a parking place in the preferred area by the Barsema Alumni Center and had no problem with this attempt at parking. The NIU alumni tents were right there as well.

We stopped at the Barsema Center and found the author of the new "NIU Football" book was there to sell and autograph copies of it. It was just printed a few months ago and definitely comes at the right time as these are the best years of Huskie football since we went to Division 1A. We had had great success in the early 50s and 60s, but not much until Joe Novak took over the program in the 90s and built the success we have today.

These Are Great Times to Be a Huskie Fan (and believe me, we went through some mighty hard times before we got here). -- RoadDog

10 Great Places: Take Out-- Part 4: Pequod's and the Fat Man's


Patterson was amazed when he saw the deep-dish pizza with a caramelized crust served at this Lincoln Park spot. "This was the thickest pizza I've ever seen. You have to put up a fight with this slice to get it out." You have to wind the string of cheese with a fork. "It's like catching a big fish."


"You pick up the rib and the meat falls right off the bone." He also likes the three cheese mac and cheese and collard greens.

Some More Places I Need to Go. --RoadDog

10 Great Places: Take Out-- Part 3: The Plan B Burger


Patterson's future wife took him here on their third date. He ordered his standard: a double cheeseburger with bacon and was amazed it was half the size of his face. "They just turned my world upside down." He also likes their lobster mac and cheese. Wow, a lobster mac and cheese. Sign me up. So, you wonder why Patterson "fell" for his wife?


With hundreds of options for your sandwich, including one recently named after Patterson, this is no ordinary sandwich joint. Bread is baked to order and include a "dirty secret sauce.

Getting "Hongry." --RoadDog

Friday, November 8, 2013

10 Great Places: Tasty Takeout-- Part 2


Patterson has had lots of fried chicken in his life, but he is very impressed with the spicy golden-brown coating at this Mid-City eatery. The greens and cornbread is just as good.


The name says it all. Patterson was impressed with the milk shake they make with a slice of pie, milk and ice cream. They throw it into a blender and mix it. You can pick pieces of the pie out of the shake.


Patterson usually sticks with dishes he knows, but really liked the muu satch, a grilled chicken skewer served at this popular Thai restaurant.

Eatin' On the Go. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 7, 2013

NIU Homecoming 2013-- Part 2: Pumpkins to the left, Pumpkins to the Right

I should mention tha while bypassing some of the traffic on Il-47 in Woodstock, we had quite a delay while we waited for traffic pulling into the McHenry County Fairgrounds for the big annual Hot Rod and Cycle Show.

Just south of US-14 on Il-47, we saw a big crowd at the Red Barn Pumpkin Festival.

Fall festivals have become big business in these parts. There is a huge one just a mile from our house at Stade Farm and another one a few miles west of Il-47 on Il-176 going to Marengo. These last two places have parking for hundreds of cars and usually are quite full when we drive by. There is another huge one on Il-47 just past the tollway in Huntley called Goebel's. We always like the giant pumpkin on top of the silo.

It also seems like most farms, and this is big-time farm country, have at least pumpkins for sale. They don't call Illinois the Pumpkin State for nothing, regardless of what our politicians do.

It Was a Real Orange Experience Driving to Dekalb. --RoadDog

10 Great Places: Tasty Takeout-- Part 1

From the July 26, 2013, USA Today "10 Great Places: We're all in for takeout this tasty" by Larry Bleiberg.

Daymon "Daym" Patterson, host of the new Travel Channel show "Best Daym Takeout" likes to eat in his car. Here are ten of his favorite spots to do this:

SAMMY'S FISH BOX in BRONX, NY: City Island Eatery. Loves the huge portions, especially the shrimp cocktail, cod and his favorite, the fried shrimp.

POSITIVE PIE in MONTHPELIER, VERMONT: Especially liked the meatless margherita pizza.

DINO'S CHICKEN AND BURGERS in LOS ANGELES: Family-run and has incredible chicken in a Greek marinade served with a tortilla and cole slaw.

Take Me Out to the Restaurant. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 10: The Log Inn


In 1825, Henry Haub built the one-room log inn on the stagecoach route between Evansville and Vincennes, Indiana, and the place has been feeding hungry travelers ever since. In 1844, Abraham Lincoln dined here on a stop while campaigning for Henry Clay's run for the presidency. In the 1860s, the inn's cellar became a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Today, on a busy Saturday, the place gets as many as 500 people for country fare served family-style at each table.

Now, this is a place I will definitely put on my list of visits as I often drive through Evansville along US-41 coming back or going to North Carolina. I did drive by it once, but had just eaten. It is 12 miles north of Evansville and 1 mile east of US-41.

Getting Hungry Just Thinking About It. --RoadDog

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 9:: Hays House


Located along the old Santa Fe Trail, the Hays House Restaurant has been feeding travelers since 1857. Seth Hays, the town's founder and great-grandson of Daniel Boone, built the log building, which is still part of the restaurant.

Fried chicken, ham and from-scratch food are still trademarks. It was frequented by 7th Cavalry Lt. Col. George Custer during the 1860s.

A 2011 fire threatened to close it down, but 25 town residents chipped in and bought the landmark.

So It Continues. --RoadDog

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 8: Tadich Grill

These are taken from theAmerican profile Magazine article by the same title. All of these places are now on my radar to visit. I love good food along with my history. I had heard of Pirates' House, Old Talbott Tavern, The Golden Lamb, The Log Inn and Antoine's.


Established during the Gold Rush of 1849 as a coffee stand in a tent on a bustling wharf in San Francisco Bay, the relocated grill remains busy with lines waiting for a table or stool at the 80-foot-long counter.

A no-frills restaurant claiming to be the nation's first eatery to grill seafood over mesquite charcoal (since 1920). Seafood's the thing, but also steak, lamb and corned beef hash.

I Left My What in S.F.? -- RoadDog

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 7: The Golden Lamb


Jonas Seaman opened the inn and tavern in 1803 and chose an easy to illustrate name since many pioneers couldn't read. Today, customers can still feast just as the ones in the past did and that includes 12 U.S. presidents and English novelist Charles Dickens, who has a dining room named in his honor.

Furnishings include more than a hundred antique Shaker tables, chairs, chests and cupboards. Definitely try their famous Sister Lizzie's Shake Sugar Pie, made from a recipe found in one of the inn's cabinets. It is Ohio's oldest inn.

I was fortunate to visit there, but can't remember if we ate there while on an American Road roadtrip or just had drinks in the bar.


Second Annual US-14 Vs. US-12 Football Showdown Results After Week One

US-14, Northwest Highway, dropped three teams from 7 to 4 in last weekend's action, but still hold a 4-1 lead over US-12. It had been a 7-4 lead.

Remaining US-14 schools:

8A Barrington

6A: Crystal Lake-- Prairie Ridge

5A: Woodstock-- Marion Central

4A: Harvard.

The only remaining US-12, Rand Road, team is 7A's Lake Zurich.

Best of Luck in Week Two. --RoadDog

Remaining Lincoln Highway Schools At End of First Week

These schools located along the Lincoln Highway remain for the second round. They are down to 9 from 17. Both roads (also Route 66) lost 8 teams in the first round. Again, schools are listed from largest, 8A, to smalled, 1A.

8A: Aurora-- Waubonse Valley

7A: Frankfort: Lincoln Way East

6A: New Lenox-- Providence; Aurora-Marmion Academy; Batavia; Frankfort- Lincoln Way North

5A: Joliet Catholic; Maple Park- Kaneland; New Lenox- Lincoln Way West

4a: Rochelle

3A: Aurora Catholic

Best of Luck in Round Two. --RoadDog

Monday, November 4, 2013

Route 66 Maintains Its Slight Lead Over the Lincoln Highway

After the first round this past weekend, Route 66 maintains its two team lead over the Lincoln Highway, 11 teams to 9. This was the same lead it had before IHSA football playoff action started.

Route 66 teams remaining, starting with the largest school in Class 8A to 1A:

7A Edwardsville

6A East St. Louis and Normal Community

5A Joliet Catholic, Chatham-Glenwood, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin and Normal University

4A Belleville-Althoff Catholic

3A Williamsville

2A Carlinville and Staunton.

Maintaining the Lead. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 2, 2013

10 Of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 6: Antoine's Restaurant


Before Antoine Alciatore began dishing up French-Creole cuisine at his restaurant in 1840, most meals at public tables were basic offerings of boiled or roasted meat, fowl or fish without sauces.

Alciatore introduced culinary delights such as chicken creole, crawfish etouffee and shrimp remoulade and helped make New Orleans a world-class dining destinatiom. In 1889, his son Jules created oysters Rockefeller, a rich green dish the color of money and named for oil magnate John D. Rockefeller.

Today, the founder's great-great grandson Rick Blount, 56, continues the family's tradition at America's oldest family-run restaurant.

I had heard that the place was quite expensive which kept us from going there the one time we were in New Orleans, but, next time.

On My List of Places to Eat. --RoadDog

The Color Around Here Finally Arrived

This has been quite a strange fall as far as the color of the leaves is concerned. Some trees already turned and are bare, still others haven't even started to turn yet. However, the mass of them are now in full color. I read in the Tribune that the warm fall in the early going delayed the turning. And, we did have a spell of frost in the mornings. That always brings it on.

This is at least two weeks after when it usually happens, but tomorrow we plan to take full advantage of it and take a cruise through the countryside. And, after all, Da Bears don't play until Monday night.

Our subdivision is beautiful, plus Grasslake Road from State Park Road to the bridge is amazing.

I'd say Geneva Lake is in the plans for this coming week.

Enjoying It While We Can. --RoadDog

Friday, November 1, 2013

100 Year Old's Birthday Gift, a Ride in Her '41 Ford

From the Oct. 21, 2013, Yahoo! Shine by Beth Greenfield.

Helen Wall of Massachusetts was in her 20s when her husband Wally shipped off for World War II as a fighter pilot. He had just recently bought a brand new 1941 Ford Super Deluxe convertible for $1,100. On his return from service, they drove that car for ten years.

This past Monday, just a couple days from her 100th birthday, she got a special birthday ride in that very same car. Her husband died 21 years ago, but back in the 1950s, they sold the car for a couple thousand dollars in order to buy a VW bus they needed for their greenhouse business.

The buyer of the car was neighbor Ed Smith, who, a short time later moved several towns away. Smith is a vintage car collector and kept the vehicle and still owns it.

On Monday, he drove it to the care center where Helen Wall lives and picked her up. She is in the nursing home only because she can no longer walk.

Afterwards, she related some favorite memories of the car like driving around with the top down, the color of it and her getting a drivers license just before they bought it. She said her husband tried to teach her but got mad and quit. She went on to get driving lessons on her own and passed.

That Was Sure Some Birthday Present. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 31, 2013

US-14 Vs. US-12 IHSA Football Showdown

I started this little showdown between high schools in my part of the state, the northest, last year. Same rules as the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 apply. It's is essentially last-man standing wins.

Going into week one of the playoffs, there are 7 teams for US-14 (called Northwest Highway around here) and US-12 (called Rand Road) has 4.


8A: Palatine-- Fremd and Barrington

7A: Arlington Heights-- Hersey

6A Crystal Lake --Prairie Ridge and Crystal Lake Central

5A Woodstock

4A Harvard.


8A Palatine-- Fremd

7A Lake Zurich and Arlington Heights-- Hersey

4A: Richmond-Burton (our hometeam).


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lincoln-66 IHSA Football Showdown 2013: Lincoln Highway Teams

There are a total of 17 Lincoln Highway teams against 19 for Route 66. Here are the Lincoln's pride and joy:
8A: St. Charles, Plainfield South and Aurora-- Waubonsee Valley

7A: Geneva, Plainfield East and Frankfort-- Lincoln Way East

6A: New Lenox-- Providence, Aurora-- Marmion Academy, Batavia, Dekalb and Frankfort-- Lincoln Way North

5A: Joliet Catholic, Maple Park-Kaneland and New Lenox-- Lincoln Way West

4A: Aurora Central Catholic, Rochelle, Aurora Catholic.

Plainfield South, Plainfield East and Joliet Catholic represent both the Lincoln Highway and Route 66.

Good Luck to Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lincoln-66 IHSA Football Showdown- 2013: Route 66 Teams

Welcome to the 4th annual contest between these two venerable roads we have here in Illinois. The winner is the road with the most teams at the end.

This year, Route 66 has 19 teams from class 8A to Class 1A (smallest schools). They are:

8A: Plainfield South

7A: Edwardsville and Plainfield East

6A Normal Community West, East St. Louis, Bloomington and Normal Community

5A: Joliet Catholic, Chatham--Glenwood, Springfield- Sacred Heart-Griffin and Normal University

4A: Belleville-- Althoff Catholic and Pontiac

3A: Bloomington Central Catholic, Wilmington and Williamsville

2A: Carlinville and Staunton

1A: Mt. Olive.

No Chicago teams are included.

Best of Luck to Route 66. --RoadDog

Monday, October 28, 2013

NIU Homecoming 2013-- Part 1: Raining On Our Coming Home


Left home with lots of clouds and 80% chance of rain. We were playing a WDRV Ten at Ten cassette for the year 1969 and the very first song to come on when leaving the driveway was that great old "Two Hangmen" by a favorite group of ours from college days, Mason Proffitt, out of Indiana. They played at Northern Illinois a whole lot of times back when we were going there.

Great way to start the drive which is about 65 miles to DeKalb. Brought back memories.

It took us forever to get through Huntley, town of many, many, many stoplights now (not to mention road construction. At one time it was just two stoplights, but even then, almost impossible to get through the light at Main Street.

We had rain off and on, but no real hard stuff until reaching Sycamore, about ten miles from DeKalb, when it really began pouring. I could hardly see the road and this on a day we would be spending a lot of time outside.

However, by the time we got to DeKalb, it stopped and began to clear. Turning on Lincoln Highway, the 90-minute tape came back around to "Two Hangmen." Was that a good sign?

Back Home Again to Home Sweet College. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Barhopping On the Drive Home: Sit'N'Bull, Main Street and Donovan's

After leaving Lake Geneva, we took the US-12 ecpressway to Pell Lake Road and got off heading east. 

Took a ride around Powers Lake and stopped in a place we haven't been in at least ten years, the venerable Sit-N-Bull Inn. If there was ever a better name for a bar, I sure don't know what it would be. Just a bunch of guys doing just that. Saw pictures of an old bar called The Red Onion, that looks to have dated back to the 20s-30s that has since burned down and used to be located right by Sit -N- Bull. Some of the guys remembered it.

Then to a favorite place on Sundays, Main Street Tap in Twin Lakes. The place was packed and enjoyed complimentary meatballs and chips.

Last stop at Donovan's Reef before going home.


Still No Major Color Around Wisconsin's Geneva Lake

Yesterday, we took another drive around Geneva Lake (most folk refer to it as Lake Geneva, but the real name is Geneva Lake). We did a reverse drive, north side first and then south. Sadly, there were spots of color, but no major jaw-dropping ones, just like when we did it two weeks ago before the NIU Homecoming game. Always a pretty drive, though.

Drove around the residential area just west of downtown Lake Geneva (this is the correct name of the town and what gets folks confused about the lake name) and then, of course, that Wisconsin Rustic Road to beat all Rustic Roads, Snake Road. I don't know how you get a prettier three mile stretch of driving than this.

Then through lakeside areas of Williams Bay and into Delavan where we stopped at the Abbey Resort for a walk-around. Then, it was the North Lake Shore Drive back to Lake Geneva.

Like I said, there were a few spots of color, but not much.

Gas in Lake Geneva was $3.26 and $3.20 in Delavan.

Maybe Next Week? --RoadDog

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 6: Union Oyster House


Housed in a 1716 brick building, the place has served oysters, clam chowder (of course) and seafood since 1826. Statesman Daniel Webster regularly bellied up to the U-shaped mahogony bar for platters of raw oysters consumed with tumblers of brandy and water.

Another regular was one John F. Kennedy who has a wooden booth named in his honor.

This place is steeped in history including a claim that the first toothpick used in the United States was used here. It is listed as a National Historic Landmark. Along with seafood, it also serves traditional New England fare like Boston baked beans and Indian pudding.

It's A Toothy Situation.  --RoadDog

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Small World: Another TNT's-- Part 2

Bob said that the food was great, the place crowded and you got to see your food prepared right in front of you. The clientelle is always friendly as are the owners and workers. The name TNT, however, still hadn't made an impression on me.

We took seats at the counter and ordered. I had a hankering for the corned beef hash and eggs for $5.99 and Bob got a humongous omelet for $6.99.

That corned beef hash was the best I've ever eaten along with the sourdough toast to sop up my overeasy eggs.

All of a sudden, the name TNT's hit me. I asked the waitress what it stood for and she said, "Tina and Tasso's." It all came back to me then.

I said, "There used to be one in Antioch that my wife and I really enjoyed."

She replied that they were one and the same and that she used to work there. Usually, the owners come in by now, but had not arrived by the time we left as I sure would have liked to have said hi.

As the saying goes, "I'll Be Back." --RoadDog

Small World: Another TNT's-- Part 1

Back a lot of years ago, one of our favorite places to eat in the Lake/McHenry counties area was a place on Il. Highway 173 west of Antioch, Illinois, called TNT's (for owners Tina and Tasso). Great food, especially their Greek chicken which was out of this world, specials and drinks. Plus, really friendly owners and wait staff.

Unfortunately, the place closed and became California Coal House and eventually Dublin O'Shea's before suspiciously burning down. Today, the site is fenced off and all that remains is the foundation. Always saddens us to drive by it.

This past Saturday, while on the way to the Northwestern-Minnesota game in Evanston, my buddy Bob mentioned a place named TNTs in Arlington Heights, Illinois, as a possible stop for breakfast on our way. We stopped in at its location at 1705 West Campbell Street between Wilke Road and Reuter Avenue.

The Name Connection Still Didn't Dawn On Me, However. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 5: Old Talbott Tavern


Opened its doors in 1779 as a stagecoach stop and for years has been offering food, drink and a shelter in its noted Flemish stonework. Famous guests have included Daniel Boone and steamboat inventor John Fitch.
The most-requested menu item is the Hot Brown sandwich, made of bread topped with sliced ham and turkey, Mornay sauce and garnished with tomato and bacon.

A chef who worked at Louisville's Brown Hotel during the 1920s when the sandwich was invented, brought the creation to the Old Talbott. Fried chicken, steaks and seafood also are offered.

The most popular beverage is, unsurprisingly, Kentucky bourbon, served at the world's oldest bourbon bar.

I was fortunate to eat at this place thanks to an American Road Magazine tour put together by Denny Gibson and the Road Maven. That sandwich WAS EVERY BIT AS GOOD as it sounds. I'm hoping to get back there sometime.

Good Eating With Just a "Bit" of History. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 4: The Pirates' House


A 1734 brick gardener's house, built shortly after the first English colonists, led by James Oglethorpe arrived, serves as two of the restaurant's 15 dining rooms in the restaurant located one block from the Savannah River.

In the 1750s, the gardener's house became a tavern and inn frequented by seafarers and pirates. Today, you can see wooden-pegged, rough-hewn ceiling beams and rare editions of the book Treasure Island, which contain references to the inn.

Popular menu items are southern food and, of course, seafood.

My sister lives by Savannah, so next time there I'll have to visit.

A Little Bit of the South in Your Mouth. --RoadDog

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 3: King George III Inn


In 1681, Samuel Clift bgan ferrying wagons across the Delaware River between Bristol and Burlington, N.J., and opened the Ferry Inn where travelers ate and spent the night. Many of these early inns were combination eating, drinking and lodging.

In 1735, a grander King George II Inn was built on the site and famous guests have eaten there since then, including James Madison and wife Dolley.

Today, the inn has five dining rooms with a varied menu. Inside and outdoor dining offers a river view.


10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 2

Here is a list of the other nine places:

King George II Inn, The Pirates' House, Old Talbott Inn, The Golden Lamb, The Log Inn, Union Oyster House, Antoine's Restaurant, Tadich Grill and Hays House.

I'll be writing about all of them.

I have eaten at two of the places thanks to buddy Denny.

Thinking About Getting to 'Em All. History and Food, Good Combo. --RoadDog

Monday, October 21, 2013

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 1: "Old '76 House

From the American Profile Magazine by Marti Attoun.

So, get a great meal in some mighty old surroundings. Hey, that's a win-win situation. Here is a list of ten places that are all over 150 years old:

#1. OLD '76 HOUSE, TAPPAN, NY. Owner Robert Nordon calls it "the oldest dining room in America." The Dutch tavern, built in 1686, is still serving good food like crab cakes, roast duckling and Yankee pot roast.

Originally known as Mabie's Tavern, this is where colonists gathered on July 4, 1774, to adopt the Orangetown Resolutions protesting British taxation and the occupation of Boston. Later, Continental Army commander George Washington met here and in 1780, it served as a jail for British Army Maj. John Andre after he was caught conspiring with U.S. General Benedict Arnold.

George Washington Ate Here (Maybe Slept). --RoadDog

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Route 66's a Trip-- Part 4: It's Habit-Forming

Country and Western singer Jess McEntire said in an interview that he is on a mission to reintroduce to America the magic of Route 66 as he promised his parents he would do.

"In your backyard, there is a treasure, Route 66. Discover the Route and its treasures and rediscover yourself. You will be glad you did."

But like I said, beware as Route 66 is goll-durned habit forming. Even just one little trip can get you hooked. I know it has for us, ever since our first "on purpose" trip on it back in 2002.

We had been on it back in the 60s, but back then it was just another road. Now, it is something else. I like to say it is America as it was back in the day. A slice of small-town America which is still out there. Some of the friendliest folks you'll ever meet.

Do You Say "Root" or "R-out-e" 66? --RoadDog

Friday, October 18, 2013

Route 66's a Trip-- Part 3: Too Easy To Get "Hooked" on Route 66

In Braidwood, Illinois, the radio travelers met two young girls coming off shift at the Polka Dot In who shared their experiences working there. That is a great old-timey place.

In Lincoln, Illinois, they met an elderly woman named Joy who shared how Route 66 became interwoven in her life. "I could share a lot more but the point is clear. For all of us on the tour, it provided a reawakening of small town values and downhome genuineness where everyone looks out for everyone."

And, Pontiac, Braidwood and Dwight are just an hour from Chicago. I could have told Paul Lepek and the others to be careful as that road is highly addictive.

One Little Drive, and You're Hooked. --RoadDog

Lane Lindstrom's Radio Station WJEZ, 98.9 FM

Last entry, I mentioned Paul Lepek going to Lane Lindstrom's radio station in Pontiac, Illinois, but there was no mention of whether the station broadcasts over the air. It does.

He is at WJEZ 98.9 FM and plays a classic hits format. He deejays and has three others on staff, so it is not canned music like so many small stations play. You get a real live deejay.

Actually, I came across this station the last time I drove by Pontiac. It happens to be near the numbers of the WWHP in Farmer City, Illinois, WBRF in Galax, Virginia, with all that great classic country. When I travel, the tunes are on all the time; either CDs, cassette tapes (if I'm in the '85 Firebird or '03 Malibu) or radio.

I'm listening to WJEZ right now.

Last song played was "There's a Kind of a Hush" by Herman's Hermits. Now, "Save the Country" by Laura Nyro and "Arizona" by Mark Lindsay.

Route 66 Radio. --RoadDog

Route 66's a Trip-- Part 2: Doing That Old Thing

Once the radio guys got to Joliet, however, they found Route 66 signage in abundance and also encountered many people and tourists who stopped by and shared stories. They also traveled to Pontiac, Atlanta, Lincoln and Springfield, all towns that revel in their Route 66 heritage (not like Bloomington-Normal, Illinois).

In Pontiac, they met Lane Lindstrom who runs an old-time radio station with old-time radio machinery that still works. This brought back memories of Lepek's early Elgin radio days. (I wonder if Lindstrom broadcasts?)

In Atlanta, Illinois, they met Bill and Rhonda from that great Palms Grill Cafe downtown. This is a restaurant that looks to be right out of the 1940s from food to decor. Great food and at reasonable prices.

Nothing Like a Trip On Old 66 Across Illinois. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Route 66's a Trip-- Part 1: Deejays Take A Trip

From the June 27-July 3, 2013, Lake County (Il) Journal. "Route 66 a trip" by Paul Lepek.

I wish I had come across knowledge of this trip ahead of time as I sure would have liked to accompany them as a guide as I know quite a lot about the stretch here in my home state of Illinois.

"We have one of life's great treasures right in our backyard: .....ROUTE 66. As the broadcast host from WRLR, along with my counterparts from FOREST 92.3 near London in the UK, Paul Peters and Geoff Kemp, we set up a series of broadcasts to rediscover this awesome part of small town Americana."

They started in downtown Chicago at Lou Mitchell's on Jackson Street (66's east-bound lanes) in the Loop (and a proper way to kick off any 66 drive). The place was bustling as usual.

Next stop was at Harrah's Casino in Joliet. He mentions that it is hard to find a Route 66 sign in Chicago, but no longer the case when you get to Joliet. (Indeed, from Chicago's Loop to Joliet, it is my belief that the Mother Road has essentially been obliterated.)

Sure Wish I'd Known. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Attention All You Old Music Lovers: Beach Music Top Ten 1956

Not exactly from the road, but many road warriors are "old" (well, tend to be "older" and here is some music that might be just right. I don't remember anything from then as I was just five-years-old, but I am an fan of real-old rock songs and, of course, Beach Music.

This is from Fessa John Hook's Beach Music Countdown, Classroom Reunion #1 for 1956 which you can hear on his site. But, you'd better hurry up and give it a listen as he changes the year sometime this week.

#10. I'M IN LOVE-- Fats Domino
#9. RUBY BABY-- Drifters

H.M. IVORY TOWER-- Otis Williams & Charms
#8. IN PARADISE-- Otis Williams & Charms
#7. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL-- Shirley and Lee

#6. WITCHCRAFT-- Spiders
H.M. TELL ME BABY-- Hurricanes
#5. ALL AROUND THE WORLD-- Little Willie John

#4. HONKY TONK-PT. 2-- Bill Doggett

#3. GOOD ROCKIN' DADDY-- Etta James & the Dreamers
#2. NIP SIP-- Clovers
#1. JUST A GIGOLO/ I AIN'T GOT NOBODY-- Louis Prima and Keely Smith.

The Good Stuff.  --RoadDog

Burnsville, NC a Treat-- Part 2: Mountains, Quilts, Sculptures and Murals

Burnsville likes to tout the stuff they already have. Of course, there are the mountains and a great view of NC's Mount Mitchell and there are 17 peaks in Yancey County that are more than 6,000 feet tall.

There are also the squares, quilts from 4-foot wide to 8 feet all over downtown. The one at Heritage Lumber resembles a circular saw. Burnsville Hosiery's are socks arranged in a star and many regard the one at the Yamcey Common Times Journal as the best as it tells time (accurate to within six seconds). There are more than 200 of them in Yancey and Mitchell counties, each one different. You can get a map of Quilt Trails in western NC for $5.

There are also murals and sculptures in Burnsville. More than 500 artists live in Yancey County, one of the highest concentrations in the United States.

The Nu-Wray Inn sits on the square in Burnsville and has been there since 1833, but is no longer lodging. The town is pretty-much closed down by 10 PM (I can tell you Mt. Airy, NC's downtown, Andy Griffith's hometown, closes by 6 PM on Saturday night). And, you can get a drink in the county now as it was one of the last dry NC counties until 2010.

Sounds Like a Destination. I Imagine There Is Good Eating As Well. --RoadDog

Burnsville, North Carolina a Treat-- Part 1: Named For A War of 1812 Privateer

From the July 2013 Our State Magazine (NC) "Burnsville" by Jeremy Markovich.

I'd never heard of this town until I wrote about Otway Burns in my War of 1812 blog, Never Forgotten. He was a famous privateer from North Carolina in that war with a very interesting story.    There is a statue of him in the town square, even though he never lived there. The town was named after him.

Strangely, you'd expect a town named after a seagoing man to be near or at the coast, but Burnsville is up in the Appalachian Mountains, near Asheville.

Burnsville is small town America, perhaps even another Mayberry with its 1700 people located in Yancey County which only tallies just 17,000 people.

Residents want a slice of the tourism business and a big subject of conversation is "The Road." That would be U.S. Highway 19 East which will become a four-lane road that will connect with I-26 and then make Asheville just 40 minutes away.

Perhaps a Stop in Order the Next Time Through Western North Carolina. --RoadDog

Monday, October 14, 2013

How About That

Last week, the cost of a barrel of oil dropped $2. At the same time, gas prices around here jumped 16 cents a gallon.

Go Figure. --RoadDog

Henry Ford Made America Smaller-- Part 3: Ford the Bill Gates of His Time

Henry Ford's true genius lay in his vision of low cost transportation for the common man. (I've head it said that he put the people of the United States on wheels.) Until Ford came along, only the rich could afford automobiles. It was Ford's idea to sell low-cost, no-frills, dependable cars.

Today, more than 240 million vehicles are registered in the U.S.. (Sometimes, when I'm out driving, I think they are all in front of me or coming toward me when I want to make a left turn. We personally have four of those horseless carriages.)


Bill Gates' innovations conquered communication in the late 20th century. Henry Ford conquered transportation in the early part of the century. "Both men took an arcane device and made it indispensable in everyday life. Plus, these men brought about "countless spin-off businesses, social genres and enterprises both criminal and benevolent."


Saturday, October 12, 2013

NC Bound Fall 2013-- Part 5: Route 66 Fix in Dwight, Illinois

Once past Morris, Illinois, Il-47 opens up and is a fast drive to Dwight, right by I-55. Always like the sign on the barn reading "Repent Ye Must Be Born Again.

Of course, I have to get my Route 66 fix and that road passes through Dwight. Stopped at the old 1930s Ambler-Becker gas station that now houses the Dwight Welcome Center which is open during the summer.

I always enjoy talking Route 66 with the knowledgeable folk manning it and looking at the guest book to see where people are from.

As usual, there are a lot of European and other foreign visitors. So far today, there had been 18 visitors from out of the country: Australia, UK and Panama. Also new is the original Dwight fire truck which was reconditioned by Kenny Howard. It still runs.

I also like looking at the maps with stick pins showing from where visitors come. There is a world on, a U.S. one and a new one of Europe.

Worth a Stop. --RoadDog

Friday, October 11, 2013

Henry Ford Made America Smaller-- Part 2: The Model T

Henry Ford's Model T first hit America's roads in 1908. At the time, the country was primarily a rural society powered by horses and steam. In 1914 he built the first continuously moving automobile assembly line and now a Model T rolled off the line every 24 seconds. More than 15 million had been built when the last one came off in 1927.

His business methds and techniques still form the basis for many indistries to this day. In the 1930s, Kiichiro Toyoda came to the U.S. to study Ford's factories and processes. Of course, his company became Toyota.

Thanks a Lot, Henry. --RoadDog

NC Bound Fall 2013-- Part 5: Johnson Mound Forest Preserve

I mentioned this place earlier on my trip to North Carolina for the fall. I've used Illinois Highway 47 many times and driven by the sign for this place everytime, but never stopped to see it or even look it up like I have now done.

It is in Kane County, Illinois, and the mound in this case was not an Indian burial mound, although I did read that Indian treaties were signed on it as it rises about 200 feet above the surrounding prairie.

It actually is a karne, a glacial deposit and is the highest point in Kane County. There was something about a prominent FBI tower either in the forest preserve or near it. I'm not sure exactly what this is about.

The Shabbona Elm Tree, hundreds of years old, once stood on the mound. It was named for Chief Shabbona, of the Pottawatomie Indians. Sadly, the tree died of Dutch Elm disease in 1972. The forest preserve was acquired in 1927 and was originally 97 acres, but is now 743 acres. There is a stone picnic pavilion on the summit.

Thinking about checking it out on our way to NIU's Homecming tomorrow. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 10, 2013

NC Bound Fall 2013-- Part 4: Creed Bratton

Driving south on Il-47, I heard a commercial for a guy named Creed Bratton who was going to be at one of the local gambling casinos in the area. But what really got my attention was that he was on the sitcom TV show "The Office" and had played in one of my favorite 60s bands, the Grass Roots. That would have to be a great show.

I'd never heard of him before and the only Grass Roots person I had ever heard heard of was singer Rob Grill. Well, I just had to look him up in Wikipedia.

Creed Bratton was born William Schneider in 1943 and while a teenager decided he wanted to be in music. He helped form a band called 13th Floor which got Rob Grill in it and changed their name to the Grass Roots. They immediately had a Top Ten song with "Let's Live for Today." Then came a series of big hits including "Midnight Confessions" among others. He stayed with the band for their first four albums before leaving over a disagreement with the band's producers over songwriting.

He most recently was a member of The Office" cast where he played himself. He is the white-haired older guy.

Wonder if he told jokes, played music, or perhaps a combination of both?

So, That's Creed Bratton. --RoadDog

Henry Ford Made America Smaller, More Congested-- Part 1

From the July 30, 2013, USA Today by Paul Labadie.

Paul Labadie has given tours as a Model T driver at the Henry Ford Museum for ten years. He'd like folks to know that Ford did not invent the automobile nor did he invent the assembly line (Ransom Olds did). Actually, what Henry Ford can take credit for, really, is the traffic jam. Think about that the next time you're sitting there.

July 30th marked the 150th anniversary of Ford's birth. "Starting out as a simple farm boy's dream, Ford's Model T would clog our streets, create cities and suburbs, employ thousands and put America on a never-ending road trip."

More to Come. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Taking Advantage of Indian Summer: Andy Gump Would Be So Proud

After a really crummy four days of rain and wind from Thursday to Sunday, the good weather has returned in what we call Indian Summer, one last romp in the sun.

We've been boating the last two days and are heading out again in a few minutes.

The trees have started to change big-time in our subdivision in Spring Grove so yesterday after we got off the boat, we took a ride up to Wisconsin and drove around that beautiful Geneva Lake, but it is at least a week away from prime fall color. A few trees had changed, but most hadn't. We'll go again next week.

We did eat lunch out at Flatiron Park in Lake Geneva at the east end of the lake near the Riviera Docks and had a great view. The park features the statue of Andy Gump. He was the first daily cartoon carried in the Chicago Tribune back in the early 1900s. His creator lived in Lake Geneva.

"No Chin" Andy. --RoadDog

Monday, October 7, 2013

The End of the Boating Season Saturday and Oktoberfest

Well, Saturday was the end of the 2013 Chain Crawl here on the Chain of Lakes in northeast Illinois. Celebrated with a big party and lots of free stuff at Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake. Some die-hards came by boat and got drenched in the downpour. Fortunately, we were sitting under a big tent on the patio with friends Don and Pat and Glenn and Barb.

Usually, Liz and I win absolutely nothing, but today was our day. We won several hats, a six pack of pumpkin ale and three bottles of booze. Oh, did I mention we also won $100. Makes up for all those dry runs.

Afterwards, we stayed for the first set of the Average Joe Band.

We then went over to the Fox Lake Lakefront Park for Oktoberfest and enjoyed the Alpiners playing oom-pah music for a set as well as German food and drink.

Though the Chain Crawl is over, we still need five more boating outings to make our goal of 40 times. We would have had it today, but have not gone out the last four days because of rain and threat of rain.

Good Times in the Area. --RoadDog

NC Bound Fall 2013-- Part 3: That's Boz To You


Continued south on Illinois Highway 47, my preferred way of avoiding the Chicago Hassle. Passed a park sign for Johnson Mound Forest Preserve. Was that a hill or perhaps an Indian mound? Land is fairly flat through here. Gas in Yorkville was $3.77 and $3.66 in Morris.

Just after crossing the interstate I-80 north of Morris, there is a hot dog stand I've been wanting to check out for a long time and this was the day to do it. Besides that, I was getting hungry. It is on the west side of the road and called either Boz or Bozo Hot Dogs. There is a round something or another after the letter "Z" on the sign.

Turns out it was just something round as inside on the wall menu, it said you could order a Boz Dog for $2.25, which is what I did. The meat was so-so, but the toppings made this a good one with a whole bunch of stuff including big chunks of tomato and celery salt if desired. I desired. Celery salt is very important for it to be a Chicago dog. You could get a jumbo dog for $3.25 and I overheard the order-taker saying this was much better meat so will try that the next time.

It's a Dog Thing, You Wouldn't Understand. --RoadDog

Long Strange Trip Ending for Volkswagen's Hippie Vans

From the Sept. 23, 2013, Yahoo! News by Stan Lehman and Bradley Brooks.

They carried hippies to their be-ins and whatever in the 1960s and serves as a workhorse across the developing world, simply called "Bus" by its fans.

Brazil is the last country making the Volkswagen vans, but that ceases December 31st. Production is stopping because of new laws for air bags and anti-locking brake systems for 2014. The company making them says they can't meet the standards.

In Brazil, they are called Kombi, an abbreviation of the German word kombinationsfahrzeug which means cargo passenger van.

Production in Germany stopped in 1979 because the vans could no longer meet European safety requirements. Production in Mexico stopped in 1995, leaving them being made just in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

You Mean Those Things Weren't Safe? --RoadDog

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fox Lake's Annual Oktoberfest Tonight

Always a good time and right now planning on going over to Lakefront Park off US-12 after the Chain Crawl party at Captain's Quarters. Besides German food platters, the Alpiners Band will be playing oom-pah music from 7 to 11. I really love oom-pah music.

Sadly, though, Fox Lake's Oktoberfest is getting the reputation like the Round Lake spring carnival. Having it sure brings on the really nasty weather. Last year, my cousin Joe and I like to froze at Oktoberfest. Today, it's a 90% chance of rain and temperatures dropping down to the lower 60s tomorrow.

Well, I Might Go to Oktoberfest. --RoadDog

Chain Crawl 2013 Ends Today

As the 2013 Chain of Lakes boating season rapidly draws to a close, the Chain Crawl is having their final party this afternoon at Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake in Antioch. We will be there for the many prizes, fully expecting to win what we usually do...nothing.

But, it's fun and, after all, a whole bunch of boat nuts. Some of them are even going to flotilla it to several places before arriving, despite the forecast calling for 90% chance of rain and storms.

After the prizes are awarded (to other folks) the Average Joe band takes the stage from 7 to 11.

Great Times on the Chain. --SeaDog