We visited the Riviera in Gardner, Illinois, on our first trip on the Mother Road back in 2002. It was Sunday night and when we went in, we told Peggy Kraft that we were first-timers on the road and in her place and she insisted on going upstairs and waking Bob up and having him come down to say hi to us.
The poor guy had evidently just come off his "shift" working behind the bar and wasn't too with it, but he was as friendly as could be. The next time we saw him, holding "court" as it were behind the bar, we realized this was the real Bob, not the groggy one we met that first night. And, was he ever one of those colorful Route 66 characters that make the road so much fun. he ranked right up there with Ernie Edwards for stories as well as Bill Shea for charisma.
Loved the bar and the stalactites hanging down making you feel like you were in a cave. Then, there was the dumb waiter they used to send food down (supposedly with a World War I or II shell for a counter-weight) and the clothespin line running from the basement upstairs to the kitchen for food orders.
And, then, there were those "thrones" in the bathroom which I will talk about tomorrow.
A Real Route 66 Character. --RoadDog
University of Maryland Baltimore County
1 day ago