Saturday, March 30, 2013

NC Bound Spring 2013-- Part 8: The Mad River and a New Road

Also forgot to mention passing a river between the Ohio line and Columbus going east called the Mad River.  Bet there is a story there.  Wonder if there is a Laid-Back or Calm River nearby?


The next day I found that the motel I had stayed at was just five or six miles away from US Highway 33, the one I wanted to drive as a change of pace from the usual I-70 to Cambridge then I-77 south through West Virginia.

Way back in the 1970s, we had driven it as a shortcut from Columbus to West Virginia on a trip to North Carolina and had not liked it.  It was all two-lane twisting high hills driving and through every imaginable town with plenty of stoplights.  We were not amused.  Of course, now, this sort of a drive would be right on my favorites list.  But definitely not back then.

It was so bad, I have never driven it again.

Now, however, it is mostly four lane and a lot of it limited access.  Almost like driving an interstate.  As a matter of fact, I imagine you could still drive a lot of Old 33 and I might do just that next time.  Hopefully they will mark it Old 33.

One nice thing on today's drive, I started seeing green grass. 

Can Spring Be Far Away?  --RoadDog

Friday, March 29, 2013

NC Bound Spring 2013-- Part 7: Not So Finished With First Day


Well, I thought I was finished with the first day's drive, but not so.

My brother called right before I got to the Hen House to say he was at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.  They had missed their flight from RDU to Houston and had had to get another flight.  I had just left the Chicago area. Guess we "just" missed each other.

Once on I-74, I saw a pickup truck coming by with the words "Wide Load: on it.  I've seen this quite often, but this one also had a tall, flexible pole on the front.  I was wondering about this when it struck me it was being used to double check the height of overpasses for those tall, wide-loads.

I saw several more of these trucks during the two-day drive.

Like I said, I was disappointed with the $3.80 in Crawfordsville, Indiana (it had been $2.99.9, $3, in mid January).  As bad as that was, I was even more glad I had spent the $3.80 as it was $3.96 at the next Pilot station in Pittsboro.

Passed I-74 Exit 66 (as a Route 66 fan, I like that number) in Brownsburg, Ind, shortly before the Indy bypass.  We spent an unexpected night there back during the Orange Bowl trip during a surprise snowstorm.

OK, Think I'm Finished Now.  --RoadDog

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Iconic Route 66: An Adventure and a Gas Station

From the March 21, 2013, National Geographic Geography in the News.  First written in 2011.

People used this road during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression to seek a better life in the 1930s.  During World War II, it carried much military traffic and after the war, thousands of GIs moving west for a better life.  Then, vacationing people, many to Disneyland; Mickey would be so proud. 

It was killed off by the interstates.

Nothing new in this article for Route 66 enthusiasts, but always good to get the old road in the news.

From the March 20, 2013, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin "Group kicks off restoration of Route 66 Rancho Cucamonga gas station" by Neil Nisperos.

There was a ceremony March 20th, Rt. 66 Inland Empire California is a non-profit formed to save the old station.  The group hopes to renovate it to look as it did during its 66 heyday.

It is an old Richfield service stastion that opened in the 1910s and provided services into the 1970s.

On the Old 66.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NC Bound Spring 2013-- Part 6: Indy and Chili

March 19th.

Ate lunch at the Mahomet Hen House.  As I already said, I was thinking of ordering a half a chicken, but decided not to when I was told there would be a twenty minute wait.  Instead, I had a ham steak with three sides for $7.95.  Some of the best ham I've ever eaten.  But, next time, maybe in Springfield, I will try some of that chicken they're noted for.

Listened to Bob Seger's "Beautiful Loser" and the Tribute to Jimi Hendrix on the way to Champaign, until Forrest, Illinois, when I started listening to the Whip, WWHP.  Listened to that station until I lost reception by Danville on I-74.

Gas was $3.80 at Crawfordsville, Indiana.  I should have gotten gas at Mahomet where it was $3.60.  Usually, the Pilot station near Crawfordsville is one of the cheapest prices on nthe way.

On I-74 through to the bypass around Indianapolis, arriving in time for rush hour.  Decided to go right through town on I-70 and am happy to say that traffic was heavy, but there were no slowdowns.

I-70 into Ohio and had dinner at Skyline Chili north of Dayton.  This is getting to be a regular stop for me.  Got a room at the Knight's Inn east of Columbus.

Finally Made It Through the First Day.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hen House Restaurants

Last Tuesday, I ate at the Hen House Restaurant in Mahomet, Illinois.  I knew it was part of a chain, and that there are  four of them in Illinois.  I had never seen one in another state.

Went to Yahoo! Answers, looked up Hen House Restaurants and found that: "The Hen House Restaurant began more than four decades ago in Frostburg, Maryland.  In 1961 the Warn family started the business by building a cement block structure on Bowery Street, which accomodated nine guests.  The restaurant's featured selection, chicken, became the namesake of their business."

Since they feature breakfasts, I had it figured as eggs.  I saw chicken on the menu and was going to order it, but there would be a twenty minute wait, so took a pass on it as I wanted to get through Indianapolis in theearly rush hour (about an hour and a half to the east of Mahomet.

The Hen House east of St. Louis is in either Mitchell or Granite City, Illinois.

Even Wikipedia had nothing about the chain.

Good Food, Though.  --RoadDog

Monday, March 25, 2013

NC Bound Spring 2013-- Part 5: Hen House, the First Cracker Barrel

It is not too far from Gibson City to Mahomet.  I had seen the sign for a Hen House before and wanted to stop at it at some point, and this was the time to do just that.  It is located just south of I-77 on Il-47 (which continues another couple miles before its southern terminus).

At one time there were more Hen Houses in Illinois, but now just four remain: Springfield, one east of St. Louis, Arcola and here at Mahomet.  There is an old store at Chenoa, Illinois, which is now the Chenoa Family Restaurant.  It is on Route 66 as are the ones in Springfield and east of St. Louis.  I'll have to eventually get to the Arcola one, as that is the only one I haven't been to.

The best way to describe a Hen House is as a small Cracker Barrel.  They even have the little games to play at your table and a small gift shop, but no rocking chairs outside.  I'd have to say Cracker Barrels are based on Hen Houses.  Hen Houses have a definite architectural style and sign.

I'll have to do some research on Hen House and Cracker Barrel.

Eating in the Midwest.  --RoadDog

Saturday, March 23, 2013

NC Bound Spring 2013-- Part 4: Farm Reports and Bluegrass

I like to drive through downtown Gibson City, Illinois, (between Dwight and Champaign) despite there being a sort of bypass around it.  One of these days I'm going to stop at one of the places.  Where 47 leaves the city, there is one of the busiest McDonad's anywhere (and also sometimes a stop if needed).

Just south of it is the Harvest Drive In, a twin-screen drive in movie theater.  Unfortunately, the screens are essentially just large billboards.  Opening day is March 29th in case you're interested.

One thing about listening to the Whip, you also get to hear farm reports (I knew what hog futures were, but have since forgotten).  And, of course, there are all kinds of farm-related commercials along with local places hosting bands.  At noon on Tuesday, there is a show called The Blue Side of Town featuring an hour of bluegrass with Del Curry (who must be a big-time bluegrass guy).  At 12:05, they played a great blugrass oldie "Pain in My Heart."

Still On the Road.  --RoadDog

Friday, March 22, 2013

NC Bound Spring 2013: March 19th-- Part 3: Whip Radio

Once past Morris, you start to make good time going south on Illinois Highway 47 (Il-47).  Of course, these are the open fields of Illinois and the wind was howling hard.  The huge wind farm around Odell really had the old blades to spinning.  Making lots and lots of electricity today.

One bird was trying to fly to the west and making a mighty effort.  He finally gave up, landed and proceeded to walk.

When I reached Forrest, I could pick up one of my favorite traveling radio stations, 98.3 FM, the Whip, WWHP out of Farmer City between Decatur and Danville.  Reception stays good until you get to Danville on I-74.  They play a great variety of Americana music and I am becoming a big fan of the genre (actually already was, just didn't know the name of it yet.)

Unfortunately. most of the time it is automated so no real deejay.  They also don't give the name or artist, something very important in Americana music.  A lot of the performers are little known.

Two good songs they played, I take to be "Border Radio" and "Hell On Wheels."  I'll have to find out who does these.

Gibson City Next.  --RoadDog

Thursday, March 21, 2013

NC Bound Spring 2013: March 19th-- Part 2: 103 Miles to Route 66

In Yorkville, Illinois, I saw a banner at the park north of the Fox River advertising for a Tax Dodge 10K Run, a pretty good name for this time of the year.

I also noticed that homes and trees along a ridge by the courthouse or church up on the hill had been torn down.  I'm not sure if they are making some sort of a park around it or not.  It would be an impressive park if that is what it's going to be.

The interesting old stone building that I believe to be an old gas station is home to Berenyi Auto Sales, though they might be out of  business as I didn't see any cars around it.

Entering Morris, gas was $3.80 at I-80 and $3.64 in town.

One of these days I'm going to have to stop at Boz Hot Dogs.

From our house in Spring Grove, it is 103 miles to Route 66 in Dwight, Illinois.  It takes about two and a half hours with all the townd and stoplights.

66 Or Bust.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

NC Bound Spring 2013: March 19th-- Part 1: Running Il.-47

Overall mileage on the 2011 Malibu is 17,072, and set the trip odometer to zero.  Drove Il-120 to Il-47 and south.

Gas in Woodstock, Illinois, at $3.90 and $4 in Huntley and Stark's Corner.  $3.68 in Yorkville and Morris.  Illinois Highway 47 is usually one of the highest gas prices in one of the highest price areas in the country.

Of course, the tunes were playing, interspersed with the radio.  During the course of the day, I listened to Beautiful Loser by Bob Seger, who bummed a ride on the trip (was in the CD  player when I left), the Jimi Hendrix tribute and the Lumoneers CDs.

Bob Stroud's Ten at Ten today was to 1975.  Listened to the first part on the Drive at 96.9 FM and the rest on 97.1 FM, sister stations.  The first comes in well at home and second as you get farther south'

SKY HIGH--  Jig Saw

DREAM WEAVER--  Gary Weaver
MAN ON SILVER MOUNTAIN--  Rainbow  (Coz always gets me on Rainbow songs)
OLD DAYS--  Chicago
LOW RIDER--  War (A great song for any kind of cruise.)

PLAY ON LOVE--  Starship
HOUSES OF THE HOLY--  Led Zeppelin

Can't Drive Down the Road Without Listening to My Tunes.  Just Ask Liz.  --RoadDog

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chicken in the Rough

From a discussion in Roadside Fans Yahoo e-mail group.

This was an early fried chicken franchise like Kentucky Fried Chicken.  There are still three restaurants with licenses to sell it.  The chicken originated at Beverly's Pancake Corner in Oklahoma City at 2115 NW Expressway Street.

The three locations still selling it:

CANADA:  McCarthy's Grill, 680 Cathcart Blvd., Sarnia, Ontario.


Palm's Krystal Bar and Restaurant, 1535 Pine Grove Avenue, Port Huron, Michigan

Cheer's Bar and Grill, 6211 Port tremble Road, Algonac, Michigan

Logo:  a little chick caddy saying, "I'll gladly be fried for Chicken in the Rough."

Sure Like to Try Some of That.  --RoadDog

Saturday, March 16, 2013

New Life for Louisville's Whiskey Row-- Part 2

Of course, putting old buildings, especially ones with this much history is always a great alternative to tearing them down.  This could become a destination area for locals and travelers alike.

Last May, 2012, there was some demolition going on along Whiskey Row with the back portions of two buildings, determined to be beyond saving, being torn down.

As of March 7, 2013, plans for the buildings included entertainment options and apartments now that stabilization is complete.  Two of the building on the west end are slated for multi-use development including 35 apartments and four restaurants: Bearno's by the Bridge, Sol Aztecas, Doc. Crow's Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar and the Troll Pun Under the Bridge.

The Sidebar Icehouse and Grill is set to open in April.

Whiskey Row is five buildings in the 100 block of Main Street in downtown Louisville.

I'll Have to Check This Place Out.  --RoadDog

New Life for Louisville's Whiskey Row-- Part 1

From the May 9, 2011, Louisville

This is a follow up to the blog entries of March 11-13.  The Chicago Tribune article mentioned that the Whiskey Row had fallen into disrepair but was about to get a new life.

I was completely unfamiliar with Whiskey Row, so had to do some more research on it.

This article from last year mentioned that a deal had been reached between the city and the Downtown Development Corporation to preserve the facades of all seven buildings on the row, located on Main Street.

Earlier, in 2007, the buildings had been bought and the new owner had plans to tear all of them down and put in a development of his own.  Of course, then came the GRB economic collapse in 2008 and the new owner was only to happy to get rid of the land.

An estimated $4.8 million was needed to stabilize the buildings, but once work began, it soon more than multiplied.

Saving Those Old Buildings, Especially With Such a History.  --RoadDog

Friday, March 15, 2013

So You Want to Take a Trip On Route 66?

I came across this exchange of posts in the February 1, 2013, Trip Advisor.

A person from England wrote in saying their family was planning a Route 66 trip next year and did they have any advise?

ADVISOR ONE--  It doesn't exist anymore.

ADVISOR TWO--  Why are Brits so obsessed with 66?  I don't know a single American who has driven it or even one who wants to.

ADVISOR THREE--  There is no Route 66.

ADVISOR FOUR--  There is more to America than downtown Chicago and it seems the Brits are aware of that.

ADVISOR FIVE--  Pontiac, Illinois, is a definite stop with its murals and museums.

I guess some of us Route 66 folk should monitor this site as obviously they have some clueless advisers.

If You Don't Know, Don't Talk.  --RoadDog

Artwork of Late Illinois Artist to Be Displayed in Braidwood and Wilmington

From the October 8, 2012, Herald News by Mary Baskerville.

Jack Barker of Essex, a local metal folk artist has died.  But Braidwood Mayor Bill Rulien has bought eight of his works at a recent auction and would like to have them installed along the town's Route 66 stretch

Wilmington already has the Gemini Giant and the Sinclair Diner.  Now, the town wants to install a buffalo purchased by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce near the new North island pedestrian bridge.

Making the Old Road More Fun to Drive.  --RoadDog

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Milwaukee's Holler House-- Part 2

The Pints and Pins website has a lot of pictures of the place. Looking at the building, this is a place I could surely be comfortable in and imbibe two, three.  A real old place, same family-operated, regular folks, my kind of place.

Tradition has it that Marcy and her friends started a continuing tradition to this day back in the 1950s when they were drinking and started taking their clothes off.  To this day, first-time female visitors are invited to autograph their bras and put them up in the bar.

They probably have a thousand hanging these days.  After a while, Marcy takes older ones down and puts them in boxes.

Word has it that the place looks pretty much now as it did back in 1908.  The bowling alleys are made of real wood and there is memorabilia dating back to 1912.  One price list has it costing a quarter for a hot beef sandwich and a half-gallon of beer for a quarter and deposit.

The place unfortunately serves nothing on tap, just bottles, or you can get a can of Schlitz.

Next Time we're in Milwaukee, I Know Where I'm Going.  --RoadDog

Milwaukee's Holler House-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

I was writing about the history of bowling recently in my Cooter's History Thing Blog and came across the name of this place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I'd never heard of it, so had to do some more research.

The connection to the history blog was that this bar houses the oldest certified bowling alley in the United States.  And, it's two lanes are still tended to by pinsetters.

The bar opened in Milwaukee's Lincoln Village neighborhood, the city's Southside Polish enclave in 1908 and has been rated as one of the best bars in the country by Esquire.  They celebrated their 100th anniversary September 14, 2008.

Grand opening for its first owner, "Iron Mike" Skowronski, was September 13, 1908, when it was known as Skowronski's.  In 1952, his son Gene married Marcy and took over, changing the name to Gene and Marcy's.  .  Gene has since died, but Marcy still runs it.

In 1975, it got its present name, Holler House, from a neighborhood German lady who amazed at how much noise came from the place.

Sounds Like I Place I Need to Visit.  --RoadDog

Cape San Blas Lighthouse Documentary

From the March 7, 2013, Gulf County (Fl) Star.

I was writing about this lighthouse being moved last month.

They'll be filming the move.  Port St. Joe had approved a documentary filmmaker for the lighthouse project to Lisa Curry, a Port St. Joe native living in Los Angeles.

Five bids were accepted for the project.  She will be paid $125,000 for it.

Preble Ris Engineers has offered to serve as project manager for free.

Looks Like the Move Won't Be Long From Now.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Music for the Road

Getting Ready for Another Road Trip.  Of course that means listening to local stations from time to time and listening to some CDs.  These would be ones I haven't listened to before.

Going on the trip:

POWER OF SOUL--  A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix with 19 songs by Lenny Kravitz, Eric Clapton Santana and others




SHININ' ON--  Grand Funk


Should Keep Me Busy.  --RoadDog

Cops & Doughnuts in Clare, Michigan

From the March 10-16 American Profile Magazine "Cop & Doughnuts" by Elizabeth Johnson.

In 2009, nine members of the city's (pop, 3,118) teamed up with $1,500 each and bought the 1896 Clare City Bakery before it closed, and playing on the stereotype of cops eating doughnuts came up with the name.

News of its opening made the national news.  Some of the items offered have police-themed names: Night Stick, Taser, Squealer, Morning Shift, Night Shift and Felony Fritter.

Several main street stores were vacant and they decided to do what they could to save the downtown.  They have since expanded into other storefronts with a Cop Shop with police-related items  Last summer, they opened a diner.

Way to Go.  --RoadDog

The Bourbon Belt-- Part 5: If You Go

Here is an interesting list of bourbon-related places.

**  MINT JULEP TOURS--  Considering what you're sampling, the best way to do it.  Full day tours $119 a person.

**  LOUISVILLE VISITORS CENTER--  Information of bourbon tours as well as the Urban Bourbon Trail featuring 19 local places featuring 50 or more bourbons.  301 S. Fourth Street

**  OSCAR GETZ MUSEUM OF WHISKEY HISTORY--  Bardstown, considered capital of bourbon country.

**  SILVER DOLLAR--  Funky bar with great chili, fried oysters and aged bourbons.

**  PROOF ON MAIN--  In 21C Museum Hotel at 702 W. Main Street

**  BOURBON BISTRO--  more than 160 bourbons


**  DRIVING--  From Chicago, Louisville is around 5 hours via interstate.

Like I Said, Sipping.  --RoadDog

The Bourbon Belt-- Part 4

Water is also a key to good bourbon.  Steve Dolinsky drove to Kentucky state capital Frankfort, about an hour east from Louisville.  He says the last few miles you go through a curving highway surrounded by towering limestone walls, nature's best water filter.

I have driven to Frankfort and agree about the scenery around the city and views, especially from Daniel Boone's grave.  If  you drive US-421 from Madison, Indiana, to Richmond, Kentucky, this is one of the best drives you'll find anywhere.

He was going there to visit Buffalo Trace distillery where he found a six-story rick house (where bourbon is stored to age)  which holds 24,000 barrels of the stuff.  Kentucky's cold winters and hot summers expands and contracts the barrels, enabling the bourbon to penetrate and absorb the tannins while also evaporating and concentrating itself.  Evaporation is called "Angel's share" and after a few years, some of the bourbon is gone.

Sipping, Friend, Sipping.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Bourbon Belt-- Part 3

Bourbon is a whiskey, but not all whiskeys are bourbon.  What?  Federal regulations sets in 1964 set the standards of bourbon to have a mash bill, or recipe, be made up of at least 51% corn.  Some of the better producers like Buffalo Trace and Woodford reserve use closer to 70% "enhancing the sweet, nutty and earthly flavor." 

"Other ingredients are rye (for a spicier, assertive bourbon) or wheat (for a little sweeter) plus malted barley to help jump-start fermentation.

The other rule calls for aging.  "White Dog" (moonshine) has to age in new, white oak barrels for two years. 

The barrel is every bit as much of an ingredient as the corn or rye.  Once used for bourbon, they are often shipped off to Sotland, Canada or Japan to produce Scotch and whiskey.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Bourbon Belt-- Part 2

"How is it that America's only native spirit, despite being hundreds of years old, has only recently become popular."  Perhaps Don Draper and his buddies on "Mad Men?"  Steve Dolinsky wanted to know.  Since more than 95% of bourbon produced in the US comes from Kentucky, he began his quest.  And Louisville (pronounced LEW-vull by locals, just don't call it Louis-ville).  Most of the nation's bourbon producers are within an hour's drive from there.

There are no bourbon distilleries in the city right now, but at one time there were.  However, plans are afoot to bring three of them back to the city core and occupy an area that is called Whiskey Row.

You can get Bourbon Trail brochures at the Louisville Visitors Center where you can also check out bourbon tours, where you're taken by bus to them, always a good idea considering what you're sampling.

Dolinsky went to Jim Beam in Clermont, about a 30-minute drive south of LEW-vull.  Jim Beam's grandson, Booker Noe, is a Kentucky legend.  His grandfather grew the little distillery into a worldwide player, but Noe "was responsible for the revitalization of the industry, ctreating small-batch bourbons and single barrel aging."

Smooth.  --RoadDog

The Bourbon Belt-- Part 1

From the february 3, 2013, Chicago Tribune by Steve Dolinsky.

Ever since stopping at a bourbon place in Elizabethtown, I think, (perhaps Heaven Hill) way back when with a road trip group, I have wanted to get back to some more, especially since I have taught myself to like bourbon and scotch now.  However, they were way too expensive in the tasting/gift store so didn't buy any and regretted it when we got back to our motel, the Wigwam Village in Cave City and found that county was dry.  Hard to believe a dry county in this day and age.  How quaint.

This article just reconfirms my desire to hit the trail again.

Not surprisingly, Jim Beam in Clermont, Ky., is the world's largest bourbon producer.  To take the 90-minute tour and do the tasting, it costs $8 and you get "a meager two-ounce taste."  And that, just one-ounce at a time which would be alright with me because in such places, I like to sample several different varieties.  But, you get a "keepsake plastic cup."  Steve Dolinskey tried the premium ones like Basil Hayden, Booker's and Knob Creek.  Well, I've heard of the last one.

For those of you who have never tried it or don't like it (as do many), Dolinsky describes it as having "the aroma of cooked corn bread that's been steeped in caramel, then somehow programmed to instantly heat up when it hits the back of your throat..."

Probably one of my favorite Jim Beam products now is Red Stag. 

Let's Get a Barrel On.  --RoadDog

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Music for the Road: Toby Keith's American Ride

I'm a big Toby Keith fan and have been for quite some time.  All but one song was written or co-written by him, something I always like to see. 

This wasn't one of his bigger albums, but did have the one big hit with the title track.  I also liked "If I Had One and the tongue in cheek "You Can't Read My Mind" and "If You're Trying, You Ain't."

The big reason I took this album along was that I had come across the song "Every Dog Has His Day" which was very pertaining to my NIU playing FSU in the Orange Bowl.  So we listened to that song more than a few times on the way to Miami.

The last song was the great "Ballad of Baled" with such lines as "You never mentioned I'd get my ass shot at" about serving in the Army.

Not His Best, But Better Than Most.  --RoadDog

Music for the Road: The Essential Jerry Reed

You know, the guy with that great laugh.  Well, he can sing too and recording since 1954.  he was the Good Ol' Boy before that came into style.  He says he is the luckiest man in the world because he gets to play himself.

This one has his better-known hits like 1970's "Amos Moses" and "When You're Hot, You're Hot" and "East Bound and Down" from the movie "Smokey and the Bandit."

"Guitar Man", one of his first songs, mentions Memphis, Macon, Georgia and Panama City before he finally settled in Mobile.

Other good songs:  Alabama Jubilee, Koko Joe and  Lord, Mr Ford.

"Let's Sing Our Song is a great Cajun one.  Then "Crude Oil Blues" is one we all can relate to.

Of course, too, there's the great divorce song, "She Got the Gold Mine, I Got the Shaft."

And who can forget that look he got after the bikers had beaten him up and he then ran over their motorcycles?

One Funny Guy.  --RoadDog

Music for the Road: Rascal Flatts Greatest Hits Vol. 1

Now that, I am getting ready to pick a new group of songs to cruise by as I am heading back to North Carolina, I guess it's high time I finished up the last group of CD write-ups from the Orange Bowl trip back in January.

Hard to go wrong with a Greatest Hits package and this one even includes an extra 3-song Christmas CD.  This band had racked up lots of big hits since their debut album in 2000.  Whether you consider them country or pop, they're good.

Some of my favorites: Praying for Daylight, These Days, Fast Cars and Freedom (probably my favorite)

Of course "Mayberry" is great.  Where's Barney and Goober?  Drinking what?

Then there is the one called "Skin (Sarabeth)" that sent shivers up my spine about a high school girl losing her hair to chemotherapy.

Of course "Life Is a Highway" from the movie "Cars."  Where's Mater?

Liked It a Lot.  --RoadDog

Friday, March 8, 2013

Iowa's White Pole Road-- Part 3

In the early 1900s, Iowa's roads were so bad, the state acquired the derisive name "Gumbo State."  When it snowed or rained, the roads were essentially impassable, being dirt as they were.  Farmers found it difficult to move goods and mail was often delayed.

Governor B. F. Carroll called for a Good Roads Convention in Des Moines March 8-9, 1910, and plans were drawn up for a River-to-River Road from Davenport to Council Bluffs.  A records was set when some 10,000 farmers got out and built 380 miles of roadway out of existing dirt roads.  No one was paid for it either.

It followed a more northerly route.

The original White Pole Road was so designated in 1910 and followed along the Chicago, Rock island and Pacific Railroad from Des Moines Council Bluffs.  It was touted as being straighter, leveler and shorter with a town along it every 5-6 miles.

It was not funded by the state and up to the people to maintain their sections and "drag the road" with their King drags.  The towns didn't mind because they figured the more travelers you had, the more business.

An Early Road You Probably Never Heard Of.  --RoadDog

Tennessee's Clement Railroad Hotel Museum

From their website.  While writing about some people who were children at the Pearl Harbor attack 71 years ago in my World War II blog earlier today, I came across mention of their being at this place and viewing a World War II exhibit.  I'd never heard of it and the term railroad hotel museum made me wonder, so checked it out.

It turns out this building is also the birthplace of Tennessee Governor Frank G. Clement as well as being a railroad hotel and it is located in downtown Dickson, Tennessee, off I-40 west of Nashville.  US-70 also goes through it.

They had their grand opening in 2009.  The old railroad hotel opened in 1913 and is one of the few remaining such hotels in the state.  They also have exhibits and programs on the Civil War, railroads as well as local and regional history.  They have many artifacts and items from the governor as well and you can visit his family's rooms where they lived while managing the hotel.

Railroad hotels were built as close as possible to the stations to make it convenient for passengers to spend the night on layovers or missed connections.

I-40 west of Nashville at Exit 172 North.  615-446-0500 at 100 Frank Clement Place.  Open M-Sat 9 to 5, until 4 on Saturday with $4 adult admission.

A Place to Check Out Next Time.  --RoadDog

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Iowa's White Pole Road-- Part 2

This road started in 1910, making it older than the Lincoln Highway (1913).

It was originally referred to as "The Great White Way" but now called "The White Pole Road" for the markers.

An early advertisement for it mentions "No toll roads or bridges.  Most populous route in Iowa.  best marked road in the United States.  Follow the always easy to see white poles.

Going east to west, it went through the towns of Rock Island and Moline, Illinois into Iowa, then: Davenport, Muscatine, Columbus Junction, Washington, Klota, Marples, Delta, Rose Hill, Ossaloosa, Pella, Otley, Monroe, Prairie City, Des Moines, Van Meter, Desoto, Earlham, Dexter, Adair, Anita, Wiota, Atlantic, Lewis, Oakland, Quick, Council Bluffs and into Omaha, Nebraska.

Making Me Bite on the Great White.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Iowa's White Pole Road-- Part 1

The road runs from Stuart to Missouri Valley.  Stuart also marks the eastern end of the Western Skies Scenic Byway.

The 140-mile long White Pole Road features long vistas, terraced hillsides, a Danish village and is a scenic alternative to I-80.

In the town of Casey there is Slayton Rock at the visitors center which is open from April to November.  The rock is a 500,000 pound boulder unearthed and moved to the center using a 3000 horsepower skid.

You know you're on the White Pole Road when you see the bottom halves of telephones painted white.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Here's One of Those Old Two-Laners: White Pole Road

From the website.

The next time you're in Iowa, here's a diversion you can take featuring interesting sites and easy access to I-80 for those of you afraid to get too far off the interstate.

You go through the towns of Adair, Casep, Menlo, Stuart and Dexter between mile markers 76 and 100.  Just follow the painted white poles.

In 1910, it was referred to as "The Great White Way."

I'll be writing some more about it.

No More "Gumbo State."  --RoadDog

Boy Scout Museum in Texas

From American Profile Magazine "Scout's Honor"  By Marti Attoun.

I'd never heard of this place, but figures this great organization should have one.  Some of the great treasures of the Boy Scouts of America, including the personal journals of founder Robert Baden-Powell and the first Eagle Scout Medal can be found at the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas.

It was established in 1959 and is the official home of the archives and  the 21 merit badges earned by Arthur Rose Eldred, who joined Boy Scout Troop 1 of Rockville Centre, NY, eight months after the Boy Scouts were founded in 1910.

You can see a century's worth of uniforms, camping gear, Boy Scout handbooks, merit badges and even a Parker Brothers 1926 Boy Scouts' Progress Game.  There are also full-size Scout campsites from the early 1900s, 1950s and modern day.

The museum's showpiece is its art gallery which features 47 original Norman Rockwell paintings.  Rockwell was just 19 when he landed one of his early jobs as art director of Boys' Life, the official magazine, in 1912.

Something to Check Out If in the Area.  --RoadDog

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ten Great American Beaches

From the July 18, 2012, Yahoo! Travel by Melissa Burdick Harmon.

VENICE BEACH,  California.  Famous for people watching
SIESTA KEY, Florida--  eight miles long
HANALEI BAY--  Kauai, Hawaii

VIRGIN ISLAND'S NATIONAL PARK--  St. John's, US Virgin Islands
WILDWOOD, New Jersey
LADIES BEACH, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts

HORSESHOE BEACH, LaJolla, California

With the Snow on the Way, Getting Into Beach Mode.  --RoadDog

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Top Ten Sights to See on Route 66-- Part 2

6.  Ranchotel--  Amarillo, Texas, a tourist court  (Not familiar with this one)

7.  Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico (between Albuquerque and Santa Fe (Also not familiar with this one either).

8.  Lake Havasu City, Arizona.  Quite a ways off 66.  London Bridge fell here.

9.  Wigwam Village #7 between Rialto and San Bernardino.

I Didn't See a #10.  --RoadDog

Top Ten Sights to See On Route 66-- Part 1

From the January 15, 2013, "Take a Trip Down Route 66: Top Ten Sights to See" by Vicki Lundy.

1.  Charles F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain in Chicago.  Built 1927.

2.  Route 66 Museum and research Museum in Lebanon, Missouri.  Bob and Ramona will be so proud.

3.  Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma.

4.  Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton.

5.  Afton Station in Afton, Oklahoma.  Laurel will be so proud.

And Those Are Just a Very Few Things to See.  --RoadDog

Five Reasons to Explore Pontiac, Il., on Historic Route 66

From the January 9, 2013, Happy Travels by Deb Thompson.

1.  AWESOME MURALS--  In June 2009, the Walldogs organization who specialize in wall paints, made 18 murals over a three-day weekend.  The town has walking tours (most within a several block radius).

2.  BLACK LIGHT WEDDING DRESSES--  In a small room in the Walldog Museum, one can see 4 or 5 plain white wedding dresses.  But shut the door, turn off the regular lights and the black lights on and you're in for a real treat.  (I'll have to check that out next time there.)

3.  ART CARS--They are not out in the winter months, but during the summer, look for 15 different and uniquely painted cars around town.

4.  FOUR WONDERFUL MUSEUMS:  International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum, The Livingston County war Museum, The Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Center, and, of course, our own really great Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum.

5.  HISTORIC DOWNTOWN--  And that wonderful old courthouse and drinks at Bob and Ringo's.

Well, We Knew That.  --RoadDog

Friday, March 1, 2013

Grand Opening Today of Belt's Soft Serve Ice Cream

After posting about people waiting in line for ice cream at the seasonal grand opening of the Belts' Soft Service place in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, in the previous entry, I had to dig a little deeper as the Oaks would say.  I wish they had a website, but did get some information off their Facebook page.

Today, March 1st is their grand opening for the season at 11 AM and there were people in line, probably hoping to get one of the 40 free tee shirts, tie-dyed I believe.  The business closed for winter back in mid-October.

There was mention of it in the American Profile Magazine, the first I'd ever heard of the place. 

They opened for business in 1981 and they are noted for their huge portions and variety of flavors, especially their FOD, Flavor of the Day.  The first FOD is tomorrow and will be chocolate mint.

The Wassau, Wi., Fox 55 News reported that people were lines\d up outside already yesterday.

Some past FODs from last season:  blueberry cheesecake, pistachio, blue moon, butter pecan and Dreamsicle.

I guess no tee shirt for me!!!

Next Time in Stevens Point.  --RoadDog

State Tidbits: Nebraska-- Ohio-- Wisconsin

From American Profile Magazine.

NEBRASKA--  A state historical marker in LINCOLN  commemorates the formation of the Pershing Rifles, an elite ROTC drill team at the University of Nebraska.  The founding group disbanded in 1917, but it came back and today is at more than 100 American universities.

It was founded by 2nd Lt. John J. Pershing, later commander of American forces in World War I, who was a professor at the school in 1894.

I wonder if the group the Deltas bothered in "Animal House" were Pershing Rifles.

OHIO--  ALLIANCE (pop 22,322) was recognized in 1959 as Carnation City by the state legislature for its connection to the state flower.  Alliance horticulturalist Levi Lamborn grew the flower from French seedlings and gave a scarlet boutonniere to future president William McKinley before each of his debates.

WISCONSIN--  Folks in Stevens Point (pop 26,717) camp out in anticipation for the opening of Belts', a seasonal soft-serve ice cream stand.  In 2010, grandmother Michelle Cuestas of Green bay waited at the stand for 43 hours to ensure her grandson, Brayden Banks, was the first customer.

I Hate Lines, But Love Soft-Serve.  I'm Conflicted.  --RoadDog

State Tidbits: Illinois-- Kansas-- Michigan-- Missouri

From the American Profile Magazine.

ILLINOIS--    Comedian and actor ROBIN WILLIAMS was born in 1951 in Chicago.  That is ONE FUNNY MAN.

KANSAS--   Deep-sea archaeologist and oceanographer ROBERT BALLARD was born in 1942 in Wichita and discovered the wrecks of the Bismarck and Titanic.  I sure would have liked to have been with him when he did.

MICHIGAN--  Automobiles have been banned on MACKINAC ISLAND (pop 492) since the 1890s to protect horses and carriages.  Gas prices mean nothing there, but that "don't" mean hay.

MISSOURI--  CARL FISHER  had driven a school bus for 66 years in PLEASANT HOPE (pop 614) until he retired last year.  he started at age 16 and holds the Guinness World Record for longest career as a bus driver.  And I bet I got behind him in my car at least once.

He Who Hates Getting Behind a School Bus (Especially With Younger Kids).  --RoadDog