Saturday, June 29, 2013

Doing My Lincoln Highway Centennial Thang-- Part 1: Tunes and Fording Streams

I had hoped to do the whle Lincoln Highway Centennial thing this week and next week, and that would have been to travel with the caravan from Dekalb all the way to Kearney (where they arrived today) and then enjoy the festivities in the city and attend the Lincoln Highway Association next week until Friday, but things just didn't work out.

So, I did a very abbreviated thing, just one day.

JUNE 27, 2013

Listened to the Drive's Ten at Ten on the way to Dekalb; today's feature, One Hit Wonders.  When that show ended at 10:45, I popped my Morrison Hotel CD by the Doors into the player and listened to it the rest of the day.  For some reason I had not listened to it when it came out in 1970, but was familiar with "Roadhouse Blues" and "Waiting For the Sun."  I lost count of how many times I listened to it, but by the second time pretty much liked every song, especially "Peace Frog."

Cruising the road "ain't" nothing if you're not listening to the tunes.  I alternate between CDs (cassettes in the '03 Malibu and '85 Firebird) and local radio stations.

Noticed a whole lot of new "ponds" out in the numerous farm fields I passed on the way and I also had to ford a new "creek" on Queen Anne Road, my bypass around Woodstock.  We have had rain here every day since last Friday.  Whenever we get that much rain, Queen Anne Road floods.

Took It Mighty Slow Across That Creek.  --RoadDog

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Now, I'm Participating in the Lincoln Highway Centennial, Well, a Little Bit Anyway

In just a few minutes I'm out the door and driving to Dekalb, Illinois, where I will watch the west-bound caravan of classic cars that left Times Square in New York City Sunday, headed for Kearney, Nebraska, for this weekend's celebration and the following week's Lincoln Highway Association 2013 Annual Conference there.

Hoping to meet up with my buddy Denny, who has been in the caravan since New York City, driving his 1963 Comet convertible, which, as he says the highway was fifty yerars old when his car was made and now the car is fifty years old and driving the Lincoln Highway on its centennial celebration.

I want to show him my old school, Northern Illinois University, which is right on the Lincoln Highway.  Altgeld Hall, the original building of the school has been beautifully restored, plus they have turned Cole Hall into a striking memorial for the five students killed by the mad man five years ago.  Maybe we will find William the Goose's marker at the Lagoon.

Then, perhaps partake of some good old deep-fried Cajun potato salad and beer nuggets at Fatty's on the Lincoln Highway.  Of course, neither are particularly good for you, but taste mighty good, especially if you've never had them before.

Then, I will follow out to Rochelle and Franklin Grove before returning home tonight.

Gettin' My Lincoln On.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

They're Talking About Lincoln Highway's Centennial-- Part 6

Google Alerts

Pine Bluffs celebrates 100th anniversary of Lincoln Highway--  Wyoming

Kearney Hotels Ready to Accomodate Lincoln Highway Centennial--  KHCI-TV

Group to mark creation of nation's first transcontinental--  Trib Town, Seymour, Indiana


Lincoln Highway stop takes in Shawshank sites--  News Journal, Ohio

Joy's very own 1916 Packard to lead parade--  Kearney Hub

Carl Fisher slogged across America to build support for the Lincoln Highway

Miss Iowa Alyssa Prieble to greet Lincoln Highway Tour in Belle Plaine

Members of Lincoln Highway Association visit county

Road trip celebrates Lincoln Highway

Classic cars to travel through G.I. for highway's anniversary

Well, It Sure Hasn't Been Overlooked.  --RoadDog

They're Talking About Lincoln Highway's Centennial-- Part 5

From the June 21 Yahoo Alerts:

Downtown decked out for highway celebration--  Kearney Hub

Lincoln Highway's 100th birthday tour will pass through Kingston this Saturday--  Princeton Town Topics

Google Alerts

Lincoln Highway caravan: 140 old cars and 270 people from nine countries--  Kearney, Ne., Hub

Lincoln Highway Association stops in Fallon--  Nevada Appeal

Lincoln Highway trip to mark road's centennial--  Fox 19 (mentions Russell Rein)

Caravan to traverse Tracy's portion of Lincoln Highway--  Tracy, Cal.

More yet to Come.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

They're Talking About Lincoln Highway's Centennial-- Part 4

The Journal Star ran a spread of photos, many taken along the stretch by Elkhorn, Nebraska, west of Omaha.  I liked numbers 8 and 9 of cars stuck in the mud back then.  Also, there is an interesting picture taken of the Elkhorn brick road with part of it in the driver's sideview mirrot.

Driving the Lincoln: The Great American Road Trip--  Lima (Ohio) News

Archway Set to Lay Original Bricks From Lincoln Highway--  KHGI TV/KWNB TV

Caravan of Classic Cars to Pass Through Area for Lincoln Highway Centennial--

Always Good to get good Press.  --RoadDog

They're Talking About Lincoln Highway's Centennial-- Part 3


The Mighty Lincoln Highway: First Road to Connect the Nation Celebrates 100 Years--  RGJ Nevada

Enthusiasts Mark 100th Birthday of Lincoln Highway

Lincoln Highway Centennial Paves the Way For Ultimate Summer Road Trip--  ABC News

Original Parts of Lincoln Highway Exist

Many Family-Friendly Stops In York County's Portion of Lincoln Highway, the Nation's First Transcontinental Roadway--  Lancaster On Line

World-Herald Editorial:  Lincoln Highway, Vision Changed U.S.--  Omaha, Nebraska.



They're Talking About the Lincoln Highway Centennial-- Part 1

As I said, I have both a Google and Yahoo Alerts pages to keep up with the latest news on the road.  And, there have been lots of reports and article of late because of all the centennial hoopla.  I am just giving the title and source.


Lincoln Highway's 100th Year Celebrated in NV, UT--  Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Lincoln Highway: A Peek At History--  Mansfield News Journal

Lincoln Highway Was More Than a Road For Posting Burma Shave Signs--  Lincoln Journal Star (I have to admit I liked this title.)

Lincoln Highway To Mark Road's Centennial--  Courier-Journal

Lincoln Highway Aficiondos To Descend On County This Week--  Morning Journal News

Celebrating the Lincoln Highway--  KNOP News

Highway's 100th Birthday Party to Roll Through Ayburn--  Auburn Journal

Classic Car Enthusiasts From Iowa Caravan Through Wisconsin--  News Radio 620

Lincoln Highway Celebrates 100 Years--  Tennessean

Caravan of Classic Cars To Pass Through Area for Lincoln Highway--  Stockton Record

And, There's More.  --RoadDog

Monday, June 24, 2013

They're Talking About the Lincoln Highway Centennial-- Part 1

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Lincoln Highway and even as I write this, two convoys of mostly classic cars are making their way from San Francisco and New York City with a destination of Kearney, Nebraska, June 29th for a big celebration in the town, after which, the Lincoln Highway Association will have their annual conference in the city for the next week.

My buddy Denny is on the east convoy, leaving New York.  I am hoping to maybe meet up with him in Dekalb, Illinois, and accompany the cars to Iowa (or even maybe Kearney).

I have both a Yahoo and Google alerts for the Lincoln Highway and there has been plenty in the press, expecially towns through which the convoys pass and, of course, Kearney.  Tomorrow I will starting writing down some of the headlines and sources, but right now I have some items that need planting before the next round of storms roll in.

Getting the Lincoln Out of Here.  --RoadDog

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Give Me Some of That Tupelo Honey-- Part 3

The biggest challenge is protecting the bees from disease and parasites that can destroy an entire colony.

And then, there is uncertainty about the weather.  If it's too dry, the blossoms don't produce nectar; strong winds can knock the blossoms off the trees; and if there are too many rainstorms, the bees can't gather the nectar.  Plus, after the tupelo trees finish blooming, the bees go on to gather nectar from other trees and plants which produces an inferior honey.  This can also contaminate the tupelo honey if it is not removed in time.

In a good year, the Laniers can harvest up to a hundred 50-gallon barrels of tupelo honey.  And,this honey can cost up to $20 a pound because of limited production and the labor involved.  White tupelo trees  grow in abundance only in the wetlands of the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia.

Ben Lanier's expertise was used in the movie "Ulee's Gold" when he and his wife taught actor Peter Fonda how to handle bees.  The family's bee yards were used in filming locations and Fonda was stung at least once.

Ben has been stung many times but doesn't wear gloves or protective gear and only a veil over his head when moving hives or harvesting the honey.  There is a picture in the article of Ben holding a tray of some sort that was full of bees.  I sure wouldn't do that.

I checked out their website and their honey sure is expensive, but I'm still going to get some (and I'm not a big honey fan).

Give Me the Honey!!  --RoadDog

Friday, June 21, 2013

Give Me Some of That Tupelo Honey-- Part 2

The tupelo trees bloom between mid-April and early May in the Florida Panhandle, near the crook of it where it joins the peninsula of the rest of the state.  Each day during this time, Ben Lanier ventures into the swamp to check his 800 hives.

His bees are very busy during this time, flying in and out gathering nectar from the flowers, depositing it in wax honeycomb cells and fanning it with their wings to reduce its moisture and turn into honey.

Then, Ben and his hired hand transport the honey to Wewahitchka where a centrifuge extracts the sweet substance, prized for its mild floral flavor, high fructose content and light amber color.  The honey is then strained through cheesecloth and sold by local retailers and mail order.  I'm thinking about doing that if I can't wait until next winter.  Hopefully they will still have some.

Ben's wife Glynnis says its like fine wine.  She is in charge of shipping off the mail orders.  "It has the best flavor and doesn't granulate like other honeys."

Getting a Strong Need for Some Tupelo Honey.  --RoadDog

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Give Me Some of That Tupeo Honey-- Part 1

From the April 7-13, 2013, American Profile Magazine "Tupelo Tradition" by Start Englert.

It was interesting to come across this article after I had written so much about tupelo honey earlier this year.  You might say I have developed a craving to try some and that is exactly what I'll do next winter when we are down in the Florida panhandle.  I can't find any offered around here (in Illinois).

Ben Lanier, 54, was standing in a swamp near Wewahitchka, Florida (pop. 1.981) and listening to the sound of thousands of honeybees feasting on the white tupelo blossoms in the trees.  "Hear the bees.  That's a tupelo roar.  That's a pretty sound."  You bet, and real good for the family coffers.

Lanier is a third-generation beekeeper.  His family has harvested the tupelo honey in the Appalachicola River Basin since 1898 when his grandfather started the bee business with a $500 loan from a local farmer.  Ben's father took over the business in 1953, and Ben did the same in 1991.

"I have bees in the same places my granddaddy did 100 years ago," says Ben.  Beehives must be cleaned and readied each spring for the two-week tupelo tree bloom.  And, I had always thought tupelo honet referred to a Van Morrison song.

More sweetness to Come.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Those Streetcars-- Part 3

Cities with Modern Systems

Tacoma, Wash.
Portland, Ore. (also has a heritagesystem)


Tempe, Ari. (modern)
Tucson (modern and heritage)
Washington, DC, (modern)
Oakland, Cal.  (modern)
Atlanta (modern)
St. Louis (modern)
Kansas City, Mo. (modern)
Issaquah, Wash. (heritage)
Cincinnati (modern)
Oklahoma City (modern)
Salt Lake City (modern)
Milwaukee (modern)

We Need More Heritage Ones.  --RoadDog

Those Streetcars-- Part 2

From the October25, 2012, Chicago Tribune "A streetcar renaissance."

A graphic showed the loacations of existing streetcar systems and proposed ones.

  "Many American cities use or are returning to streetcars to quell congestion.  Some systems use modern cars, similar to the "L," while others use heritage cars (what I'd like to see) that replicate the classic appearance of older models.  Some cities, such as New Orleans, San Francisco and Philadelphia, have long has streetcar systems and use a mixture of old and newer equiment."

Here is a list of cities using Heritage Systems (include some replica cars)

Little Rock, Ark.
San Jose, Cal.
San Francisco
San Pedro, Cal.
San Diego
Fort Collins, Col.
Tampa, Fla.
Savannah, Ga.
New Orleans
Lowell, Mass.
Charlotte, NC
El Reno, Oklahoma (I didn't know that and right on Route 66)
Astoria, Ore.
Memphis, Tn. (OK as long as they're not named after Confederates.)
Galveston, Tx
Kenosha, Wis.

Clanging Down the Tracks.  --RoadDog

Those Streetcars-- Part 1

I have been writing about a proposed new streetcar system in Milwaukee and the history of Chicago's streetcar system in my Cooter's History Thing Blog the last two days.

I think the idea of bringing back mass transportation that doesn't use gas is something whose time has come.  Nothing like the sound of that clickety-clack and bell on these old modes of transportation.  Especially the classic cable cars in San Francisco.  "Rice-A-Roni, (Clang-Clang) a San Francisco treat."

A Streetcar Named.....  --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just Hangin' Around Town, Clinton That Is-- Part 3

The John D. Van Allen store is located at the center of downtown Clinton at 2nd Street (the old Lincoln Highway) and Fifth Avenue.  The striking Howes Building dating to 1900 stands just to the east.

Clinton has a public art project at this intersection with statues of an eagle, otter, catfish and a fox (maybe a wolf) on each corner.  By each one is a concrete picture of a trolley, steam locomotive, log rafts and a train depot with bridges.  The statues represent animals in the area and the pictures the transportation that led to the growth of the city.

We had an afternoon to kill and went to some places  to have a drink.  First was a new one to us called Manning's Whistle Stop on 2nd Street..  We had heard about the place last night while driving home from the LumberKing game.  They advertise as the place for fans to meet before and after the game.  They are located close to the ballpark.

Not many people in there this early in the afternoon.  I'd classify it as your typical sports bar.

Next stop was Midway Sports Bar, also on 2nd Street and close to J&D Steakhouse.  This was one of the first places we went on out first trip to Clinton and we really enjoyed it back them, especially with their ultimate jukebox.  That had just about any song a person our age would want to hear and was the idea behind my Ultimate Jukebox downstairs at home in Margaritaville.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Monday, June 17, 2013

Roadtripping to National Museums-- Part 6


Soldiers' letters, an air raid shelter and a Sherman tank show how life was.  Founded by historian and author Stephen Ambrose, it also shows life in the prelude 1930s, the Normandy Invasion (D-Day) and the Pacific battles.

Highlights include a reproduction Higgins boat, the landing craft that carried soldiers ashore in amphibious assaults (the one on "Saving Private Ryan" when they landed on D-Day).

Visitors can get up-close views of ongoing restoration work in the John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion.

Opened in 2000 as a D-Day museum, it is now designated as the nation's official World War II museum by Act of Congress in 2003.


It is in the process of being built and scheduled to open in 2016.  The centerpiece is the 20-foot-long tent used by General George Washington as an office and sleeping quarters during the war.  The museum will house original artifacts, manuscripts, rare books and works of art.

Patrick Henry's law books, Bristish and American muskets, canteens and diaries will help relate the story of our War for Independence.

How about a War of 1812 Museum?  To my knowledge, there isn't one.  And there was no mention of the World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, but then again, there are a lot of museums.

If Only We Can Afford the Gas to Get There.  --RoadDog

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Roadtripping to National Museums-- Part 5


Release you inner child at the home of the National Toy Hall of Fame and take a ride on a 1918 carousel and hopscotch down Sesame Street..  Opened in 1982 and featuring the personal collection of Margaret Woodbury Strong, the museum has hundreds of thousands of toys, dolls, board games, electronic games, books, photographs and historical material dealing with playing.

Be sure to see Thomas Edison's 1890s singing doll, an 1843 Mansion of Happiness board game and a 1933 Monopoly game handmade by Charles Darrow, who first marketed the game. 

Maybe you'll even find that toy your mon threw out.


A complete workshop with tools templates, molds, ledgers used by guitar craftsmen John D'Angelico and James D-Aquisto is featured at the museum's "Great American Guitars" exhibit, featuring instruments by top American guitar makers like E.F. Martin, Orville Gibson and Fender.

The museum has a 15,000-instrument collection (besides guitars).  There are ornate reed organs and 500 horns and other band instruments made by G.C. Conn Company in Elkhart, Indiana  There is even a combination crutch and electric lap steel guitar made for country singer barbara Mandrell after a leg injury and a heart-shaped trumpet from the 1978 movie "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Two More to Go.  --RoadDog

Friday, June 14, 2013

Just Hanging Around Town, Clinton That Is-- Part 2

At J&D Steakhouse, I ordered the top sirloin steak for $9.99 which came with baked potato, Texas toast, salad and soup despite the owner's recommendation of the pork chop.  Liz got that and it was one-and-a-half inches thick and so tender you could cut it with your fork.  The owner said he makes them up for the weekend on Fridays as the special and usually runs out by Saturday afternoon.

J&D would have to be classified as a first generation steakhouse, along the lines of the old Tad's or Ronny's Steakhouses.  Second generation were the old Ponderosas and Bonanazas.  Third generation is today's Chilis, Longhorns, Ryans and Outback's.

After the great lunch, we walked around downtown Clinton and saw an old sign for Boegel's Men's Wear and the John D. Van Allen & Sons store.  This was essentially Clinton's Marshall Fields department store and was in a building designed by noted architect Louis Sullivan.  And, like any of Sullivan's building, it has a striking exterior.  It is now home to Wagner Pharmacy.

Just Hangin'.  --RoadDog

Roadtripping to National Museums-- Part 4


Paintings of the first five U.S.presidents by America's foremost portraitist, Gilbert Stuart, are among the treasures exhibited in the free museum, a gift from Andrew W. Mellon.  Holdings include masterpieces Lavender Mist by Jackson Pollock, The Hobby Horse by Deacon Robert Peckham, Green marilyn by Andy Warhol, and Home, Sweet Home by Winslow Homer.

Also included are photographs by Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams and Walker Evans

Museum opened in 1941.

Considering that I don't recognize the names of any of those paintings, I should get myself into that museum.


More than a thousand tribes are represented in the Smithsonian museum which opened in 2004 as the first national museum to the preservation, study and exhibition of native Americans. 

Of particular interest is a full-size hand-painted 19th-century Lakota tipi, beaded regalia for horses, Geronimo's and Chief Joseph's rifles and the wall of gold.

About Time They Got This One.  --RoadDog

Roadtripping to National Museums-- Part 3

NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE--  Built at the Lorraine Motel where Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.  The museum chronicles the black struggle for freedom and justice.  A great use for an old motel that otherwise probably would have been torn down.

Photographs, newspaper accounts and three-dimensional scenes illustrate pivotal moments in the struggle: the 13th Amendment (1865) outlawing slavery; the Brown v. Board of Education decision (1954); Rosa Parks' bus boycott (1955) in Montgomery, Alabama; forced integration by federal troops of Little Rock (Ark) High School (1957) and demonstrations, sit-ins, marches and voter-registration campaigns.

The museum opened in 1991.

This would be an interesting visit, but at this time I am boycotting Memphis because of the park name situation.

NATIONAL CIVIL WAR MUSEUM, HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA--  The museum has over 24,000 artifacts, photographs, manuscripts and other printed materials.  Popular exhibits include Robert E. Lee's personal Bible inscribed by him: "R.E. Lee, City of Mexico, Sept. 1847," and found under his ransacked wagon four days before he surrendered at Appomattox.

There is also a leather glove worn by Stonewall Jackson and a Union uniform belonging to Lt. Philo Hersey.

The museum opened in 2001 and was founded by former Harrisburg mayor and Civil War buff Stephen R. Reed.

Definitely one I'll be checking out for some reason.

Roads and History Just Go Together.  --RoadDog

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Roadtripping to National Museums-- Part 2


A red-and-white 1907 Thomas Flyer which went 22,000 miles to win the epic New York to Paris Race is one of 200 rare and valuable cars in this collection of gaming industry pioneer William F. Harrah.  An 1892 steam-powered Philion is one of the oldest existing American-built automobiles.

 Also there is a 1937 experimental Airomobile, a sleek 1938 Phantom Corsair, Frank Sinatra's 1961 Ghia and Elvis' 1973 Eldorado Coupe among many others.

The museum opened in 1989.


The shrine to America's National Pastime, containing nearly 40,000 artifacts, 500,000 photos and 3 million books tells the story of baseball's greatest players and teams.  Opened in 1939 by Stephen C. Clark, the museum is a timeline from the beginning of the sport back in the 1840s to the present.

There are also special exhibits on the Negro Leagues, women and Latin American players.

Some items to see are Babe Ruth's bat from his record-setting home run in 1927 and Hank Aaron's uniform from his 715th home run.  Plus, be sure to see the gallery of hall-of-famers honoring the top players, managers, umpires, executives and broadcasters.

This is one museum I'd really like to visit.

Getting the Road and getting History.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bras Pose Problem at Holler House in Milwaukee

From the June 11, 2013, USA Today.

And this story made the State-By-State News page for Wisconsin!

I wrote a couple entries about this great spot in Milwaukee, one that I'd never heard of before and one that I definitely need to visit, if not for the bras, but for that historic bowling alley in the basement and its standing as a neighborhood bar/pub.

Here's the article:

"Milwaukee: The historic bowling alley and bar that had to take dozens of bras down from a ceiling is holding a party to rehang them.  A city inspector originally ordered Holler House (what a great name for a bar) owner Marcy Skowronski in April to take the bras down, saying they were a fire hazard.

After the 87-year-old great-grandmother contacted the media and the alderman last month, the city backed down."

Yep, and you never know when one of those contraptions might put somebody's eye out.

The great bra battle.  They have bras hanging from the ceiling at Blarney Island near us here in the Cahin of Lakes.  You have to take a boat to get there.  Do they have to worry?

The Great Bra War.

You Can Never Be Too Careful.  --RoadDog

Monday, June 10, 2013

Roadtripping to National Museums-- Part 1

From the April 7-13 American Profile Magazine "National Museums: Chronicling the American Experience" by Marti Attoun.

Perhaps a good list of places to check out on your travels (well, if you can affort our super-expensive gasoline here in the Midwest.

"Thousands of museums dot the United States-- chronicling, conserving and commemorating the nation's artistic, cultural, historical and scientific legacy.  Here are 10 museums that provide a glimpse into the American experience."

Looking at the list, I haven't been to ANY of them.  I must be Un-American.


Such items as a walking plow used by President Harry S. Truman, the first Future Farmers of America uniform and a 1919 Waterloo Boy N, considered the original two-cylinder John Deere tractor. (I have a John Deere yard tractor for my agricultural, well, grass cutting needs.)

The 150-acre complex also has the National Poultry Museum, a blacksmit shop, general store and restored farmhouse.  It's all about the story of America's farming heritage.

Must get On the Road If the GRBs AllowMe to Keep Any Money.  --RoadDog

Just Hanging Around Town, Clinton That Is-- Part 1


We had a whoe day to kill and Clinton, Iowa, is just the place to do it.

I drove over to Wal-Mart and bought the new George Strait album, "Love Is Everything" and the NOW "Country Party" album, kicking off with "Red Solo Cup" and going from there.  This is an album, well CD, that you want for any and all parties.  Great fun music.

When I got back, the guy on the Goldwing Motorcycle with the little mini trailer was out by it so I talked to him, thinking he might be taking a trip on the Old Lincoln Highway.  He wasn't. He lived in a small town about 12 miles from Tupelo, Mississippi, (Elvis' home) and was here to see a friend participate in a drag race in Illinois.

We had a gas gouge and the price in Iowa jumped from $3.80 to $3.92, the GRBs!!! 

Drove over to J&D Steakhouse just north of downtown.  One thing I don't like about Clinton is it takes a real long time to drive north-south.  You just drive and drive and drive.

The owner was there as usual and cooking up food.  When we told him that we were in Clinton because of the Lincoln Highway, he told us the story of some customers who came in a few months earlier based on a recommendation in the Lincoln Highway Companion book by Brian Butko.  I told him that I was the one who had written the recommendation and review.  (Still didn't get anything free, though, but a hearty thanks.)

Good Eatin' Coming Up.  --RoadDog

Saturday, June 8, 2013

North Carolina's Scenic Byways

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina "Highways."

Having as many varied landscapes as the state has, it should be no surprise that there are also a lot of scenic byways.

Probably the best-known is the Blue Ridge Parkway, and one I am anxiously anticipating one of these days.  It runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountain Chain.  It was begun in 1935 and completed near Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, with the construction of the Linn Cove Viaduct, a miracle of moder engineering in itself.

The Cherohala Skyway passes through the Cherokee and Nantahala national forests.  It is regarded as the state's most expensive highway at just 36 miles, built at a cost of $100 million.  Construction began in 1959 after hundreds of riders and a covered wagon train traversed it.  This has become an annual tradition ever since.  (I'd never heard of it.)

Other scenic routes (there are 40 of them), include the Alligator River Route (through swamps and wetlands near the Atlantic Coast; the Blue-Gray Scenic Byway (of Civil War sites); the Outer Banks Scenic Byway along those barrier islands and the Millbridge  Scenic Byway through rural, small town North Carolina.

And, There Are More.  --RoadDog

North Carolina's Highways-- Part 6: The Interstates

In 1956, Congress authorized the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (I didn't know they were also called Defense Highways).  Using tax revenues from gasoline, tires and other sources, it was to provide a nationwide system of 41,000 miles of interconnected "super highways" or "Super Slabs" as the Route 66 folk like to call them.

Each state was to receive 90% in federal aid with the government in D.C. determining which ones to build.  North Carolina was slated for 769 miles: I-85 running 233 miles from Virginia to South Carolina; I-40 219 miles from Greensboro to Canton; I-95 , 182 miles from Weldon to Lumberton; I-77, 96 miles from Virginia to Charlotte; and I-26, 40 miles from Asheville to South Carolina.

I-40 has since been extended from Canton to the Tennessee border going west and to Wilmington on the east.  Its 22-mile stretch near Asheville through Pigeon River Gorge was particularly difficult to build.

For the most part, the interstates replaced the federal highways.  However, lengthy sections of US Highways 1, 29, 64, 70, 74 and 421 have been rebult as limited-access, interstate-style roads.

Those Super Slabs.  --RoadDog

Friday, June 7, 2013

North Carolina's Highways-- Part 5: Historical Highways

The state's historical highways

Many of North Carolina's federal highways were formerly roads of historic nature.  US-17 follows the same track as the old Post Road and King's Highway from Boston to Charleston (very important during the American Revolution).

Part of US-311 is near the old Fayetteville-to-Bethania Plank Road which follows an old Indian trail.

The Estatoe Path, a Cherokee trail is located along the US-64 that runs through the Blue Ridge.

Portions of US-301 from Wilson north were used by British commander Lord Charles Cornwallis in his march from Wilmington in 1781.  From the Smithfield area to the Cape Fear Valley, the same US-301 runs a route similar to "Green's Path" which also dates from the Colonial Era.


North Carolina's Highways-- Part 4: The Coming of the Federal Highway System

Establishment of Federal Highways

In 1925, the Federal Highway System was created to codify the numerous highways that had been built and were in the process of being built across the country.  Funds were given to states to build, improve and maintain roads.  In addition, national uniform engineering standards were established and uniform route numbers and signage came into use.

Routes running east and west were assigned even numbers, with the nine most important coast-to-coast routes given numbers ending in zero.  North-South routes were given odd numbers with most important ones ending in five.  East-West numbers started in the north with US-2 and went south.  North-South roads were numbered from the east with US-1.

In North Carolina, the primary U.S. highways are numbers 1, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 25, 29, 52, 64, 70 and 74.  The -01 and -21 series were designed to be feeders or alternates of US-1 and US-21. 

For more than 30 years, US-421 (the road I have driven from end-to-end, passed diagonally through the state was the main road connecting North Carolina's most populous cities: Boone, North Wilkesboro, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Sanford, Dunn and Wilmington.

When It's Really Odd.  --RoadDog

Thursday, June 6, 2013

North Carolina's Highways-- Part 3: Into the Auto Age

In 1921, the General Assembly passed a $50 million bond issue to be paid for by increased license fees and a one-cent-per-gallon tax on gas.  As a result, engineers were able to lay out and finance 5,500 miles of roads connecting county seats.  Many driving hazards were eliminated as well as concrete bridges over rivers.  For example, a bridge over the Roanoke River decreased the distance betweenWindsor and Williamston from 140 to 17 miles.

North Carolina's successful highway program of the 1920s was so successful that in 1929, Louisiana's Governor Huey "Kingfish" Long hired chief engineer Leslie R. Ames and 21 staff members away to his state.

The State Highway Act of 1921 the state became responsible for the maintenance of North Carolina highways.

In the early 1920s, the principal through highways were NC-10, NC-15 (now US-21 intertwined with I-77), NC-20 (the old Wilmington-Charlotte-Asheville Highway, now US-74) and NC-75 (today parts of US-15 and US-64).

Also crossing the state were the Capitol-to-Capitol Highway (now US-1 from Maine to Washington, DC to Key West).  In addition, there was the unfinished Bankhead Highway, starting in Washington, DC, and marked with yellow-and-white-striped telephone poles, the South's answer to the Lincoln Highway.  I typed in a label and have evidently written about the Bankhead Highway before.

Bankhead Highway.  That's a New One to Me.  Not Really.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

North Carolina's Highways-- Part 2: Central Highway to US-70

North Carolina's Highway System Takes Shape
In the early 20th century, a dual vision of state-supported education and infrastructure to get the state out of its chronic poverty was proposed.  At first, railroads were envisioned to connect ports with inland markets, but as the automobile age arrived, it turned to highways.

The corridor from Morehead City on the coast to Asheville in the mountains became the path of the first unified "motor-road" in the state.  It was connected and improved under the administration of Governor Locke Craig (1913-1917). 

It was first called the "Central Highway" and sometimes the "Main Street of North Carolina."  Later, it became "N.C. 10" or just "Old No. 10."  With the advent of the Federal Highway System, it then became US-70.

So, That 70.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

North Carolina's Highways-- Part 1

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

The state has around 78,000 miles of paved roads, one of the highest in the United States.  They were initially the product of the Good Roads movement of the early 20th century.

Roads across the state had improved little since colonial days and the state's were among the worst with steep grades, blind curves and river crossings.  Seasonably, they were either bottomless quagmires of mud or dust.  In the red clay country, wagon wheels turned ruts into small ponds.

Building and maintaining roads were up to "road tax" as it was called, where land-owners were required to work on the roads for a certain number of days a year.  With the lack of machinery and knowledge, it was no surprise they were bad.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Good Ol' Minor League Baseball in Clinton, Iowa

I couldn't help to notice that there were very few blacks playing on either team and many of those had Spanish names.  Of course, there were a lot of Hispanics on both teams.  I'd heard that every year there are fewer blacks playing in the majors.  I imagine Jackie Robinson must be turning over in his grave.

They made a lot of announcements regarding Midwest League games being played.  I found it of interest that the Kane County Cubs were playing the Peoria Cardinals in a double-header.  These would be the two Class A teams of two noted rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.  They ended up splitting.

Between many innings, they had interesting competitions.  I especially liked the flying chicken one where contestants shot a rubber chicken at containers.  There was also one where people had a beach ball race where they used blowers.

There were several outstanding defensive plays made by Clinton in the 8th inning.  Beloit scored one run in the 9th on two doubles, but lost 6-1.

This was the first Clinton win that we had been at in quite a long time.  They usually use, but like Harry C. used to say, "You can't beat fun at the old ballpark."

Go LumberKings.  --RoadDog