Friday, May 31, 2013

It's a Minor League Clinton LumberKing Game-- Part 1

Enjoyed watching the Clinton Lumberkings' mascot, Louie the Lumberking, definitely one of the better looking ones.  He seemed to be all over the place and hammed it up for poses with kids.

The "Star-Spangled Banner" was sung by the fifth grade chorus from a school in Morrison, Illinois, about 12 miles away.  First pitch was right at the scheduled time, 6:30 PM with game-time temperature at 81 degrees.  The first Beloit Snapper to strike out got the pa system recording of Chicago White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson saying, "HE GONE!!!"

We've been in a bit of a slump here in Clinton, with the team losing the ast 5-6 games, so we were happy to have the LumberKings put up four runs in tne 3rd inning on a wild pitch, several errors and several hits.

I saw a whole bunch of guys sitting right behind home plate taking notes and one had a speed gun.  I imagine that they were baseball scouts.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Some More Major League Ballplayers Who Passed Through Clinton, Iowa

The souvenir program had two pages of small print double columns with these players.  I only recognized about one/third of a column's worth of names.

Year/ name/ Major League team

1970  Darrell Porter--  Milwaukee Brewers
1970  Gorman Thomas--  Milwaukee Brewers--  Hey, Stormin' Gorman!!!
1973  Ron LeFlore--  Detroit Tigers--  also the White Sox
1977  Ron Kittle--  White Sox
1977  Mike Scioscia--  LA Dodgers
1977  Dave Stewart--  LA Dodgers
1979  Orel Hershiser--  LA Dodgers
1979  Candy Maldonado--  LA Dodgers
1979  Steve Sax--  LA Dodgers

Just Three Steps from the Majors.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What a Race: Just Got Back from Indy

I was at the Indy 500 these past four days, leaving Friday and returning yesterday.  We were sort of "roughing" it in an RV parked right across from the speedway, but with no wifi which is why there were no posts.

This is my second straight year and I must admit that I'm starting to get hooked on "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" as they call it.

I have never been much of a race car fan (even though I'm from NC, I'm not into NASCAR), but things change.  I even am starting to recognize names and actually cheer on favorites.

Just what I need; get hooked on something else.  Well, anyway, that racetrack does have quite the huge tie-in with old roads by the initials C.F..  Sadly, no one I talked to the last several days had ever heard of him.  Guess I'll have to enlighten them.

I'll be writing about this trip when I finish the Illinois Lincoln Highway trip.  I even found my notes from last year's Indy 500 trip so will write about that as well.

I Don't Wanna Be A Race Fan.  --RoadDog

Clinton Players (Mostly Sox) Who Made the Majors (That I Know)

From the souvenir program.

These are players I have heard of, primarily those White Sox players from 1960 to 1965.

Year--Name--  Team

1960  Jim Hicks--  Sox
1960  Tommy McGraw--  Sox
1960  Marv Staehle--  Sox
1961  Dick Kenworthy--  Sox
1961  Ken Berry--  Sox
1962  Buddy Bradford--  Sox
1962  Francisco Carlos--  Sox
1962  Bruce Howard--  Sox
1962  Denny McLain--  Tigers (Too bad it wasn't the Sox)
1963  Fred Klages--  Sox
1963  Rich Morales--  Sox
1963  Ed Stroud--  Sox
1964  Greg Bollo--  Sox
1964  Duane Josephson--  Sox

With this group in such a short time-span and even a first-place finish, maybe Clinton and the White Sox should renegotiate a farm team.  Also, Clinton had a class A team from that Chicago baseball group on the North Side, and that resulted in two other first-place finishes.  The only other 1st place finish was in 1991 with the San Francisco Giants.

That Was Quite a Productive Farm Team Back Then.  --SoxDog

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Some More on the Clinton LumberKings-- Part 2

Still looking at the Clinton baseball teams.  LumberKings is a good name as it honors the lumber barons who put the town on the map with their timber business.

From the

Attendance Record: 1988, with 127,251

The writer's take on Clinton ballplayers who went on to have the best major league careers (year played at Clinton in parentheses)

Dave Stewart (1977)
Matt Williams (1986)
Orel Hershiser (1979)
Denny McLain (1962)

Team record for home runs:  Dick Kenworthy (1961) with 22.  Doesn't match up with the Baseball Reference stat.

Play Ball.  --RoadDog

Some More Information on the Clinton LumberKings

From Baseball

The Clinton C-Sox (Chicago White Sox) were in town from 1959-1965 and played at Riverview Stadium as it was known back then.


1959  Johnny Hutchings
1960  George Noga/Frank Parenti
1962  Ira Hutchinson
1963  Don Bacon
1964  Don Bacon/Hugh Mulcahy/Don Bacon
1965  Ira Hutchinson

The 1961 C-Sox featured:

19-year-old Marv Staehle.  In 465 ABs had 140 hits, 4 HRs and .301 BA.  He even pitched in one game.

Ken Berry, 20, 453 ABs, 140 hits, 10 HRs, .309 BA 

Dick Kenworthy, 20, 472 ABs, 136 hits, 8 HRs, .288 BA.

The baseball stadium was built in 1937 and Clinton has the oldest of all the Midwest teams.

That Minor League Baseball.  --RoadDog

Hull's Trail in Ohio

For you road folk, you might want to go to my Not So Forgotten Blog on the War of 1812 for today and read about Hull's Trail.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Real American Baseball: The Midwest League-- Possible Road Trip

From the LumberKing 2013 Souvenir Book.  Location and affiliation.

BELOIT SNAPPERS--  Beloit, Wisconsin--  Atletics

BOWLING GREEN HOT RODS--  Bowling Green, Kentucky  (I think they should be the Vettes or Corvettes right, Denny.)--  Rays

BURLINGTON BEES--  Burlington, Iowa--  Angels

CEDAR RAPIDS KERNELS--  Cedar Rapids, Iowa--  Twins

CLINTON LUMBERKINGS--  Clinton, Iowa--  Mariners

DAYTON DRAGONS--  Dayton, Ohio--  Reds

FORT WAYNE TINCAPS--  Fort Wayne, Indiana--  Padres

GREAT LAKES LOONS--  Midland, Minnesota--  Dodgers

KANE COUNTY COUGARS--  Geneva, Illinois--  Cubs

LAKE COUNTY CAPTAINS-- Eastlake, Ohio--  Indians

LANSING LUGNUTS--  Lansing, Michigan--  Blue Jays

PEORIA CHIEFS--  Peoria, Illinois--  Cardinals

QUAD CITY RIVER BANDITS--  Davenport, Iowa--  Astros

SOUTH BEND SILVER HAWKS--  South Bend, Indiana--  Diamondbacks

WEST MICHIGAN WHITECAPS--  Comstock Park, Michigan--  Tigers

WISCONSIN TIMBER RATTLERS--  Appleton, Wisconsin--  Brewers

I remember seeing the Appleton Foxes and Kenosha (Wis) Twins who moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Perhaps there is a great road trip in the making here.

A Minor League Road Trip. Sixteen Teams in Two Weeks? --RoadDog

The Road to Seattle-- As In Mariners

From the LumberKings 2013 Souvenir Program.

A ballplayer in the Mariners baseball system would go through these stops on his way to the major league club:


AZL Mariners-- Peoria, Arizona
Pulaski Mariners--  Pulaski, Virginia


Clinton LumberKings--  Clinton, Iowa
Everett Aquasox--  Everett, Washington
High Mountain Mavericks--  Adelanto, California


Jackson Generals--  Jackson, Tennessee


Tacoma Raniers--  Tacoma, Washington


Seattle Mariners--  Safeco Field--  Seattle, Washington

A Part of a Stepping Process.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The LumberKings Were a White Sox Team (Even Cubs!)-- Part 1

From the 2013 LumberKing Souvenir Program.

As a big White Sox fan, I found some information in this fact-filled booklet (just $1) of definite interest.

From 1937-1941, Clinton was a minor league team for the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants.  There was no team, from 1942 to 1946 (World War II), and baseball returned in 1947 when it became a CHICAGO CUBS team.  And, unlike the Cubs,  Clinton finished in first place in '47 and '48.  (So, perhaps, instead of that old goat, maybe this explains the curse.)

After a year as a co-op and five years in the Pittsburgh organization, Clinton became a White Sox affiliate in 1959, known as the C-Sox.  Those great Sox teams of the 60s were made up of a lot of players who developed their skills there by the bank of the Mississippi.

Record/ Finish

1959--  71-52--  2nd
1960--  61-56--  3rd
1961--  69-56--  2nd
1962--  63-62--  6th
1963--  83-41--  1st
1964--  77-48--  2nd
1965--  45-72--  10th

In 1966, Clinton went back to the Pittsburgh organization.  The team became known as the LumberKings in 1994 and has kept the name ever since, through a lot of different affiliations.

Perhaps either the Sox or Cubs should get back to Clinton.

"G-o-o-o You Clinton Sox" As Andy the Clown Used to Say.  (Well, Paraphrase.)  =--RoadDog

Monday, May 20, 2013

Taking the Lincoln Highway to Iowa: Clinton LumberKings

There sure was a lot of traffic on all the roads for some reason.  Busy Thursday, I suppose.  Great Lincoln Highway signage in Illinois but someone must have stolen the signs west of Sterling as we were temporarily off the old road.

Almost got off US-30 where the Lincoln goes off to Fulton, but remembered at the last minute we needed to go to Clinton.  Once across the river and way south of the town (with all those great Clinton Lincoln Highway heritage concrete markers.  Clinton is one town that appreciates it old highway roots) we stopped at what used to be the Frontier Best Western which we thought had reopened, but a security guard came out and said the hotel was now dorms for Ashford University.

Ended up staying at the Super 8, where we have stayed a lot of times before.  Nice rooms and for just $50, that's affordable.  And, when we mentioned we were going to the LumberKings game, they gave us a pair of general admission tickets.  Even a better deal!!

Decided to get a bite to eat and went to Taco John's on 2nd Street, the old Lincoln Highway.  But, we were a bit shocked at how wxoensive they had gotten, so left and went to KFC for those delicious new boneless chicken meals ($5 for two big pieces, a side, biscuit and drink).

Free parking at the stadium, now called Ashford University Field.  The Class A Midwest League LumberKings share it with the college team.  That's good getting joint use of the facility.

Play Ball!!  --RoadDog

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Taking the Lincoln Highway to Iowa: Woodstock

May 16th

Left home with mileage at 19,264 on the '11 Malibu.  Set trip odometer to zero.  Left at 12:30 PM.

We stopped on the road by Stade's Farm to look at two baby llamas and two young Shetland ponies who were by the fence.  This is something new.  We still miss the regal Larry the Llama we used to see every time we drove to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.  Maybe the youngsters are his offspring?


We had been in Woodstock last week and knew that the trees in square were about ready to bloom so took a sidetrip to see them.  And, the crabapples were in full bloom so slowly drove around the square.  There were a lot of people enjoying them in the square as well.  I was tempted to find a parking spot, but decided we needed to get along.

Drove by the mansion that had the part of the Cherry Street B&B in the movie "Groundhog Day" where Bill Murray stayed.  Then drove along Lake Street, which had a half mile of lilacs blooming right now.  Any time is a good time to go to Woodstock, but especially now.


Of course, gas by us is super expensive in this pre-Summer Driving gas gouge.  And, we've already had the pre-pre-pre and pre-pre Summer Driving Gas Gouges as well as the semiannual change to summer driving fuel and back gouges.

Gas in Woodstock was $4.10 as it was in Marengo.  But, after that, it started dropping and was $3.68 by the time we got to Dixon, usually one of the cheaper places to fill up your tank.

Heading For Iowa.  --RoadDog

Friday, May 17, 2013

National Geographic's Best International Trips

From the March newsletter.

Amalfi Coast, Ital (I've been on this one.  Well-deserved.)

Banff and Jaspar Parks, Canada

British Columbia, Canada (I've been to Victoria and Vancouver)

Flower Route, Netherlands

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Cornwall, England (My favorite part of England.)

Pirate Route, Jamaica  (Capt. Jack Sparrow would be so proud.)

Manitoba, Canada

Montreal, Canada

New Zealand's North Island (Been there.)

Provence, France

Sure Are a Lot of Canadian Trips.  --RoadDog

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thinking Lincoln This Weekend

As in the Lincoln Highway.

In a few hours we head out for a trip along the Lincoln Highway here in Illinois from Dekalb to Clinton, Iowa, on the Mississippi.

Planning to eat lunch at the Lincoln Cafe in Franklin Grove and then seeing the Clinton LumberKings play Class A Midwest baseball tonight.  Baseball not played by millionaires, you know.

Tomorrow, hanging out in Clinton and lunch at J&D Steakhouse (like a Tad's Steakhouse).

Saturday, we join up with the Illinois Lincoln Highway Motor Tour at "Der Immigrant" Windmill in Fulton and drive back to Dekalb, with stops at Franklin Grove and Creston before a big show at the 1920s- era Egyptian Theater.

Sunday, we'll probably go as far as Joliet before heading home.

Thinkin' Lincoln.  --RoadDog

Some Chicago Area Signs You Might Want to Check Out-- Part 5

Again, nothing like an old, neat sign to hook me into a visit.  By the way, interesting to note the last names of the owners/co-owners in this series of entries.


Co-owner Charles Kowalski:  "The sign itself has been around for about 60 years in the Chicagoland area.  It was originally outside a diner for 50 years, and then my brother purchased the sign from them about two years ago.

It was made before I was born.  Now we live in a Yelp generation (?) where people make up their minds about a place before they come in...but this sign is a piece of history."


Owner Mike Allred:  "A company here in Hillside, Chicago Neon, made our sign with neon and porcelain.  The big letter Q stands for 'quality plus quantity.'  Everyone in the neighborhood uses it as a landmark: 'We're right near the Big Q sign; you can't miss it." 

People driving on Butterfield Road have to stop and check the place out.


Owner Steven Demet:  "Our restaurant has been open for 20 years and the sign has been up 15.  Arrow Signs was the company that manufactured it, (and they) made the 'A' of Graziano's in the shape of a pizza (slice).

I'm hoping the Tribune makes this a semi-regular article as there are sure a lot more interesting signs.

I Yelp Not.  (What is a Yelp person?)  --RoadDog

A Day in the Square-- Part 4

Next, walked across the street (near the spot where Bill Murray was timing his Brinks heist) and into the square itself.  The trees hadn't bloomed yet, but are close and that is a treat in itself.

Again, it was just a great spring day to be outside, something we have not had a lot of around here this spring.  We took a seat between the gazebo (where Bill and Andi had their dance) and the Union Civil War monument (site of the snowball fight) on a bench especially situated for enjoying that square.

And, we just sat and took in the sights.  Earlier I had mentioned getting Frances' apartment overlooking the square and putting my desk in front of one of the windows looking out onto it.  But, I'm not sure just how much work I would have accomplished as I would spend way too much time staring.

Quite a few people walking about and some having lunch.  A girl walked in with a husky dog and took a seat to read a book.  Well, that dog kept a careful eye on any and everything that moved.  And then, four guys came out and started throwing a Frisbee around.  Want to talk one dog's undivided attention.  You could just hear him thinking, "Hey, guys, how about me?  Throw it over here."  Sadly, they didn't.

The girl was oblivious, but certainly not the dog. 

A mother, grandmother and two toddlers appearing to be twins were walking around and came over to the girl and dog.  Well, that was one dog who really wanted to plant a wet lick on those two kids and just about knocked both kids down before the ladies grabbed them up into their arms.

Now, This Is the Way to Spend a Day in the Square.

Hip to be Square.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Day in the Square-- Part 3: Well, Afternoon, Actually

Continued walking by Swiss Maid Bakery, always good stuff but too full.

Continued on to the Memories store, or something like that name.  It is on the corner where Ned "assaulted" Bill Murray in the movie.  This is one of the neatest places in the world for knick-
knacks.  They're all neat, but, alas, I have run out of places to put them and have cut way, way down on purchases of them. 

I especially like the basement with all the Halloween and Christmas villages and fixtures as well as all those lighthouses.  I was tempted, but did not fall.

We were glad to see the restaurant at the corner where the Tip Top Cafe in the movie was located, once again open.  There have been many attempts to get a restaurant going at the corner since the movie, but rarely does it last more than a couple years.  They have that corner of the place where Bill and Andi had breakfast on all those days.

We'll have to go back and eat there before it closes again.

On To the Square Itself for Some Bench-Sitting.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Day in the Square-- Part 2

That would be Woodstock Square, in Woodstock, Illinois, about 18 miles from where I live.  One of my favorite places to visit anywhere.

The square dates to the 1840s and, as I've mentioned before, a whole lot of the movie "Groundhog Day was filmed in it.  Watch the movie and take a walk through it and you'll be amazed at how familiar it looks.

The old McHenry County Courthouse and Woodstock City Hall (now called The Opera House) dominate the surrounding buildings.  The Opera House was the Hotel Pennsylvania in the movie and one of Bill Murray's attempts at suicide took place from the tower.

We took a walk around the square after eating at Angelo's on an absolutely perfect spring day, something that has been rare around here this year.  We were surprised to see several empty stores.  Usually every unit is occupied.

We walked by where Liz's mother was in assisted living.  She had four windows right on the square.  I kept telling her that she had to stay there until I was ready to be in the place, but unfortunately that wasn't to be.  Her place is now studio apartments.

Next, Got In and Out Without Buying Anything.  --RoadDog

Some Chicago Area Signs You Might Want to Check Out-- Part 4

Sure wish I could include all of the Tribune's color photos and maybe you can get it up on your computer.  Of course, this is just a small sampling of great signs in the Chicagoland area.

I have never seen any of them but one of the ones I will write about in this entry.


Owner Bill Kwiatkowski:  In 1957, I found an old Rexall Drug sign at a shop in Waukegan and redesigned it with neon.  Our restaurant opened that same year, and the sign went up with it.

Neat sign, even neater inside the place which is real North Woods with in-shell peanuts.  Former workers have opened Tammy's in Spring Grove and the several J.J. Twigg's in the northwest suburbs and two in Missouri.


Co-owner John Protofanousis:  "Booby's is a family-owned business.  The original owner died, but his wife, Sally Friedman, still works here with us.  The guy on the sign is Mr. Friedman, and his boyhood nickname was 'Booby,' so he named the restaurant after himself.

The sign's been up since the place opened in 1961, and it's very well made.  ...We haven't had to touch it up since."

I Make It a Habit to Eat At Places With Neat Signs.  --RoadDog

Some Chicago Area Signs You Might Want to Check Out-- Part 3


Owner John Cappas:  "The 6-foot hot dog we have in front is like our mascot.  We also have a florescent sign in the back, which is my dad's liquor store sign from 1929 that he got right around the time that Prohibition ended.

My dad opened the Wee Nee Wagon in 1955...."


Owner George Lamperis:  "Our sign has been up since 1936, and we're celebrating our 75th anniversary this year.  You don't see a lot of neon signs anymore because they're very expensive to maintain, but ours is a real conversation starter.  We're a classic diner, and it's a classic diner sign."


Owner Peter George:  "The sign has my mother's name on it and was constructed  by Acme Wiley Sign Company in 1954.  It's made up of porcelain, metal and neon.  My mother paid $3,500 for the sign, which was about as much as a Cadillac cost back then.

It costs about $200 a month to maintain, but it's worth it."

A Like Those Old Signs.  --RoadDog

Monday, May 13, 2013

Some Chicago Area Signs You Might Want to Check Out-- Part 2


Owner Stuart Sawa says the sign has been up for about 50 years.  Right Way Signs maintains it and even changed it as it used to be the sign for an Italian restaurant called Parella's in 1970.


Co-owner Joe Zdralevich Jr. says his dad was a lithographer, artist and designer for a greeting card company in Joliet.  "He and and my my grandmother Mary (Merichka in Slovenian) started the restaurant in 1933 and had the sign made in 1960... in the shape of a boomerang, because people kept coming back."


Owner Monty Williamson: "We opened in 1951 and the sign went up shortly after.  My cousin, my father-in-law and his brother designed the sign, and MK Signs manufactured it.  We took it down once about 10 years ago and the building looked bare without it--  people drove right by us.  So we fixed the sign, put it back up, and now we see families outside taking pictures of it almost every day."

What's In a Sign.  --RoadDog

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Day in the Square-- Part 1

This past Wednesday, Liz and I dove into Woodstock to get some stickers from the DMV place there.

Of course, going to Woodstock, Illinois, is always a favorite thing for me.

First, we ate at Angelo's.  It recently had a complete make-over because of a show on the Food Channel which goes in and turns a restaurant completely around.  They were recently also in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, at Pier West, so the show must be making a Midwest swing.

We liked Angelo's before when it was pretty much just your standard family restaurant, meaning good, reasonable food.  We'd eaten there many times.  And, the people who made the "Groundhog Day" movie had originally planned to make Angelo's the site of the Tip-Top Cafe which was in a lot of scenes.

We wanted to check the new place out.  The new Angelo's is definitely different-looking.  But, to tell the truth, we didn't like it any better than the old one.

The food, though, was as good as ever.  I had a beef/lamb burger, something quite different and good.  Liz had the BLT-turkey club.  Sandwiches come with a cup of soup, rolls and one side.

We'll Be Back.  --RoadDog

Some Chicago Area Signs You Might Want to Check Out-- Part 1

From the May 3, 2013, Chicago Tribune "Signs of the Times" by Leah Pockett.

'A classic restaurant sign is more than just an advertisement for good food and vintage charm."  The Tribune did a photo spread on some 50+-year-old Chicago area signs as recommended by readers.  Customers like to take pictures of them.

All things being equal, I'm eating at the one with the neater-looking sign.

BUFFO'S:  431 Sheridan Road, Highwood.

Owner Larry Innocenzi says the name means court-jester or clown in Italian so he had Skyline Designs make one for the top of his sign.

HENRY'S DRIVE-IN:  6031 W. Ogden Avenue, Cicero.

Manager Sue Biernacki says there was a different sign back in the 1950s when the place first opened, but the current neon one with hot dog topped with fries and reading "It's a Meal In Itself" has been there since her family bought it 22 years ago.

SEVEN DWARFS FAMILY RESTAURANT:  917 E. Roosevelt Road, Wheaton.

Owner Sam Sadlku took over in 1976 and the restaurant has been there 56 years.  The original owner got the idea for the sign and restaurant name after he saw the movie "Snow White and the Seven dwarfs" back in the 1940s.

Well worth going to the Tribune to see the signs or look them up individually.

More Signs to Come.  --RoadDog

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lincoln Highway Murals Popping Up Like Flowers Here in Illinois-- Part 2

From the April 3, 2013, Ashton (Il) Gazette "Lincoln Highway mural installed in Franklin Grove" by Bob Logan.

March 28th the mural was unveiled on the north side of the Rooney Building, the second oldest structure in downtown Franklin Grove.  It was built in 1868.  It depicts the H.I. Lincoln building, the oldest one, built in 1866, which also serves as the home of the Lincoln Highway Association headquarters.

It memorializes the February 14, 1914, meeting of Lincoln Highway boosters in the upstairs hall of the building.  The first Lincoln Highway pins were sold here to help fund the road's construction.

It's a Lincoln Thing, You Know.  --RoadDog

Gas March-April Trip to NC

Always interesting (and sad to note gas prices on my trips).

Date/where/price/gallons bought/cost

3-20  Crawfordsville, Ind.--  $3.80 / 9.165/  $36.53
3-21 Ravenswood, W.V.--. $3.70 / 4.003 / $14.81
3-21  Wytheville, Va.--  $3.47 / 12.166 / $42.20
3-26  Goldsboro, NC--  $3.61 / 8.994 / $32.46
4-1  Galax, Va.--  $3.44 / 8.581 / $29.51
4-1 Ripley, W.V.--  $3.66 / 5.834 / $21.35
4-2  Dayton, Oh--  $3.60 / 6.964 / $25.06
4-2  Mahomet, Il.--  $3.56 / 7.230 / $25.73

Spent $227.65 for gas.

What a Gas.  --RoadDog

Coming Home: Got Home

Arrived in the driveway at 4 PM, CSDT with total mileage at 19,250 on the '11 Malibu, most all of it on road trips.  Mileage since I left Goldsboro, NC, 1041.7 and had driven 411,3 miles today.

I had been listening to a CD and when I ejected it, I had 98.3 FM LP out of Round Lake Heights, Illinois, another interesting and varied station.  That is the same number as the Whip in Farmer City.  Good stations must be close in numbers.  The great country classic station in Galax, Virginia is 98.1.

For the trip, I drove 2,178 miles.

Good to Be Home.  --RoadDog

Coming Home: Just About There Now


Gas at Pittsboro was $3.76 and Crawfordsville $3.60.  Both I-74 in Indiana.

I've often seen billboards for a place at Exit 4 in Covington, Indiana,  called The Beef House which advertises it has been voted beast steak house in Indiana and something about fantastic rolls.  One of these days i am going to have to stop there.

I sure noticed lots and lots of police all along I-74, but I rarely speed anymore to increase gas mileage.  Normally I have the cruise control on.

Of course, approaching Danville, I turn on WWHP, the Whip top listen to all that great Americana/blues music.  As it was noon and a Tuesday, I got the farm report and the Bluegrass show, The Blue Side of Town with Bill McCreary,  again (which i heard on the way down).

Gas in Forest was $3.70.  The closer you get to Chicago, the more expensive the gas.  The same holds true for Il. Highway 47 the farther north you go.

Dwight--  $3.75
Yorkville--  $3.80-$3.82
Elburn--  $3.95
Huntley--  $4
Woodstock $3,90

'Bout There.  --RoadDog

A Dandy Way to get Around Indianapolis: Back Then Anyway

A few days ago, I posted about my return trip from North Carolina, and mentioned passing a sign for the Dandy Trail on I-74 just west of I-465 and Indianapolis, Indiana..  I mentioned that I thought there was a probably a story with a name like that.  There was.

Buddy Denny wrote to tell me where I could find out more information on it.  Jim Grey has a blog and knows a lot about it after he started researching.  There is a 1921 map showing the Dandy Trail.  It was an early bypass around Indianapolis, though apparently, it was more for pleasure driving.  It was undertaken by the Hoosier Motor Club.

As far as the name?  It was named for the wife of the executive director of the organization's dog, a little Pomeranian named, you guessed it, Dandy.

Jim Grey also has done a new map of the trail as it exists today, most of it still existing.

I'll be in Indianapolis in a couple weeks, but not to go on the trail, but rather there is this little old race taking place there at a place with a Lincoln Highway connection.  Plus, the Dandy Trail crossed the old Michigan Road, much of it US-421, a highway I've taken from its northern terminus in Michigan City, Indiana, to its southern one by Fort Fisher, North Carolina.

I Feel a Roadtrip Coming On.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Coming Home: April 2nd, Cruising Indiana

Up and moving the next day and looking for a White Castle near the interstate in Indiana.  At MM 122 on I-70, saw one of those highway signs with a White Castle listed.  Got off and found the place was three miles off the road.  I hate when they do that.  There should be someway to let people know how far places are before they get off.  Maybe, put a colored stripe around places more than a mile off on the sign.

I did find a close-by Castle a little ways down the road and had my Slider Fix.  There are lots of White Castles around Indianapolis.

Passed the Big Blue River at MM 119.  Reckon there's a story there.  Gas was $3.47 in New Castle.

I saw a truck carrying two armored and armed Humvees outside of Indy.

Shortly after getting on I-74, east of the I-465 bypass, I saw a sign for Dandy Trail.  Is there a story there?  Then, there is that huge dam and earthen levee to the north of I-74.

Getting Closer to Home.   --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lincoln Highway Murals Popping Up Like Flowers Here in Illinois-- Part 1

From the April 8, 2013, Chicago Heights (Il) Patch "New Mural Installed Along Lincoln Highway" by Jeff Graveline.

It took nearly four years, but Chicago Heights is the location of the newest piece of public art dedicated April 5th at the Chicago heights Water department at 137 W. 14th Street.  It is one of 35 scattered across the Illinois Lincoln Highway Corridor.

This mural is based on a historical photo where the Lincoln Highway crossed Thorn Creek on the McEldowney Bridge.

Quite An Undertaking With All of These Murals Across the State.  --RoadDog

Coming Home-- Part 5

Returning from North Carolina April 1-2, 2013.

After the West Virginia Turnpike, I got off I-77 at Ripley and took US-33 again, this time heading northwest toward Columbus, Ohio.

I was surprised to see a rest area along the highway that was open.  You don't see a lot of rest areas on U.S. highways, just interstates.  I also passed an Ohio Bicentennial barn, with logo facing southeast.  I did not see it on my way down, of course.

Picked up a good radio station, WYSO, 91.3 FM, playing blues this Monday.  Sure enjoyed their selection.

It was getting quite dark by now (April 1st) and I decided to go to Dayton.  Got off at what is now a regular eating spot, the Skyline Chili place at Exit 39, I think.  Filled up there and then went next door and got a room at the Super 8 for $38 with tax.  Nothing great, but I was ready to go to sleep after the long drive today, 630 miles.

Gas was $3.60 at the Dayton exit.  MPG now at 31.1

Over Half Way Home.  --RoadDog

Monday, May 6, 2013

Five For the Road: Driving Trips With Gorgeous Vistas


Follows the crest of a ridge in the Shenandoah National Park meandering 105 miles between Front Royal and Rockfish Gap (Front Royal, Civil War?).  Speed limit is 35 mph, so not if you're in a hurry.  Make a day of it cruising slow and enjoying 75 scenic overlooks.

To the east, Virginia's uplands and west the Blue Ridge Mountains.

They don't mow the sides of the road, so lots of wildflowers and wildlife (even 300 to 500 black bears.

President Hoover used drought-relief funds to start its construction in 1931.  Then, Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps came and added the rock barrier walls, picnic grounds and Big Meadows Lodge.

That has the be close to, if not on, the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Someplace Else to Drive.  --RoadDog

Five For the Road: Driving Trips With Gorgeous Vistas-- Part 3


It travels the whole length of California close to or right on the Pacific Coast, but the most striking and scenic stretch is along California Hwy. 1 between Monterrey and Morro Bay, south of Carmel.  here, it is tight along the cliffs with sheer dropoffs by the water.  This stretch was built and paved in the 1920s and 1930s by convict labor.

The Big Sur area is particularly inspiring, especially at the single-span concrete Bixby Creek Bridge, quite the feat of engineering.

By San Simeon, the terrain has leveled off, but here visit the Hearst Castle, built by newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst.

I went on it way back in 1967 with my parents.  I should try to get back there some time.

Pretty Inspiring.  --RoadDog

Friday, May 3, 2013

Five For the Road: Driving Trips With Gorgeous Vistas-- Part 2

3.  GOING-TO-THE-SUN ROAD, MONTANA--  Designed by a landscape architect to take advantage of the scenery going through Glacial National Park for 50 miles connecting the west and east ends.  You'll see the mountain that gives it its name.

Narrow lanes and hairpin turns drop speed limits to 25 in some areas.  There are also bans on vehicles wider than 8 feet or longer than 21.  Passenger side folks can look straight down sheer declines to valleys.

There are shuttles called Red Buses that date from the 1930s.  During good weather, the canvas tops are rolled back so all 17-passengers can get a great view.

The entire road doesn't become accessible until sometime in June and some sections close by mid-September so plan accordingly.

Getting High on the Road.  --RoadDog

Las Vegas' Rancho Drive Built During World War II

From the March 5, 2013, Las Vegas Review-Journal "Rancho Drive played a role during Second World War" by Laura Phelps.

With the coming of war, a path was needed in Las Vegas to connect war-related materials from the north in Ely or Henderson.  Some of the war freight was carried by trains and some more in trucks.  It was decided to build a bypass around downtown Las Vegas.

The road most likely received its name from a local ranch or estate in the area.

This new road followed the bed of the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad.  Since it was laid out for trains it only had a 3% grade.

Today, Rancho Drive is a main road connecting Centennial Hills with downtown Las Vegas, running parallel with Nevada-599 which divides North Las Vegas from Las Vegas.

A Road With a War Background.  --RoadDog

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Five For the Road: Driving Trips With Gorgeous Vistas-- Part 1

From the March 10, 2013, Chicago Tribune by Katherine Rodeghter.

The United States has plenty of scenic roadways in every region and you can check manuy of them out at the National Scenic Byways Program .  These are five of her favorites:

1.  TRAIL RIDGE ROAD, COLORADO.  US Highway 34, the highest major roadway in North America in Rocky mountain National park.  Forty-eight miles between Estes Park and Grand Lake 

Dress warmly as part of it is above the treeline.  Part is closed from mid-October to late May.

2.  OVERSEAS HIGHWAY, FLORIDA KEYS--  US Highway 1 stringing together the islands for 106 miles between Key Largo and Key West.  Mangroves, great white herons and Key deer.  Completed in 1938, built along the right of way of the Overseas Railroad which had been destroyed by a hurricane.  In 1980s, much of it rebuilt, but you can still see parts of the old road/bridges alongside.

I didn't know that a section of the old railroad was preserved at Bahia Hionda State Park as a monument.  I'll have to check it out the next time I'm there.  Humphrey Bogart's "African Queen is at the Holiday Inn in Key Largo, and, of course, the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West.

And, then, there is that Duvall Street in Key west where we've often done the Duvall Crawl.

Personally, we like Islamorada better than key West.

Good Times Behind the Wheel.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Coming Home-- Part 4

I got back onto I-77 a few miles north of where the huge accident happened at the NC-Va. border yesterday.  Three people were killed on many taken to the hospital after a multi-vehicle pileup caused by dense fog.  The stretch here is an 8 mile decline/incline with fog warning signs.  I encountered that fog on one trip and believe me, that is some intense fog.  I can easily imagine a bad accident happening here.

Gas in Wytheville was $3.40 ($3.44 in Galax).

The whole way today on I-77, I saw a whole lot of Ontario cars heading north and home.  I don't know if they were coming back from spring break or winter snowbirding.One of them had a Canadian flag flying from the window.

Saw a sign for the Appalachian Bible College right by a billboard advertising: "Gentleman's Club, Totally Nude, Full Bar."  Kind of an interesting pairing.

I went by where the rock slide took place on my way down at MM-3 in West Virginia.  It was now open and all rocks off the pavement, but the shoulder was closed.  Wonder why?  Saw a whole lot of RVs heading north.

Gas on the West Virgina Turnpike was $3.70.  Got off I-77 at Ripley and again took US-33 northwest to Columbus, Ohio.

How 'Bout Them Canadians?  --RoadDog

In West Virginia, It's a Pepperoni Roll

From Wikipedia

I'll definitely have to check out one of these bad boys the next time I drive through the state.

Wikipedia says they are especially to be found in convenience stores.

They are a fairly soft white yeast bread roll with pepperoni baked inside.  The oils from the baking pepperoni get into the bread which gives it the taste.

Pepperoni rolls were invented by Giuseppe "Joseph" Argiro at the country club in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1927.

A version of it is in the military's MREs.  The pepperoni roll has a resemblance to Britain's pasty and sausage rolls found in mining communities.
Sounds Good to Me.  --RoadDog