Saturday, August 30, 2014

Britt's Donut Shop, Carolina Beach, N.C.-- Part 1

From the July 2009 Our State Magazine "Sugar Rush" by Kathy Grant Westbrook.

Britt's Donuts is a must-try food spot in the Old North State

"Variety may be the spice of life, but at Britt's Donut Shop in Carolina Beach, they don't like things spicy; they like them sweet.  So forget about the variety.  Britt's sells glazed doughnuts.  And drinks, of course--milk, coffee and soft drinks (in N.C., they call pop soft drinks).  That's the menu-- period.  No chocolate-iced doughnuts.  Or lemon-filled.  Or cream-filled.  Just glazed."

Like they say, you can have anything you want to eat as long as its glazed.  And, who would want to order anything else.  It's like going to Springfield's Cozy Dog and ordering a hot dog or hamburger.

Owner Bobby Nivens says they have no problem with the lack of variety.  People know what to expect when they come into the non-air conditioned shop with its garage doors open.

Britt's doughnuts are always fresh and warm "and no matter how gingerly you hold it, it is impossible not to compress it between your fingers and thumb."  Even worse, a few flecks of that glaze is gonna fall onto the counter or your lap.

And, due to their lightness, like Jay's Potato Chips around Illinois say:  "You can't eat just one."

And, it is right on Carolina Beach's famous boardwalk.  But not the boardwalk along the ocean, but one "street" in, across from what use to be the bumper cars.

MMMMMNNNN.  --RoadDog


Friday, August 29, 2014

Got My Sugar Rush at Britt's Donut Shop at Carolina Beach, N.C.

On July 28th, Mom, Bob and I took a trip to Carolina Beach and points south, but the big reason for going to Carolina Beach was to stop at Britt's Donuts for some of those melt-in-your-mouth donuts.

We were hoping they would be open since this is the summer high tourist season, and they were.  The place was crowded as usual with a big turnover.  And, they were celebrating their 75th year in business.  I doubt that anything in the place has changed in that time either, other than, of course, the price of those sugar delights.

They now cost 95 cents.  A half dozen goes for $5.95 and best deal is a dozen for $7.99.  I happily forked over the money for the dozen, figuring two apiece would leave us with six for tomorrow.  Drinks of fountain Coke were $1.25 in a very, very small Styrofoam cup.  Kind of a rip-off, but then, there were those donuts.

You get them within minutes of making them in the fryer, sometimes right out of it.  Be careful of burned tongues and lips.

Tastes today, just like it did when I first went back in the 50s.

What You Can call a Well-Balanced Lunch.  --RoadDog

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Take US-45 between Milwaukee and the Illinois Line: A Drive in the Country

Returning from the Indy Fest in Milwaukee, well, West Allis, a suburb of Brew Town, we decided against taking I-94.  It wasn't much fun driving north on it and, with the traffic jams we saw going south on it, I-94 just wasn't an option.  Plus, all that traffic from Flatlanders (Illinois residents) returning home from Chessehead Land (Wisconsin) on Sundays.

Let's find an alternative and US-45 it was.  US-45 goes from Mobile, Alabama all the way to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and we have drive all of it from Mobile to Champaign, Illinois, and from the Chicago suburbs to Appleton, Wisconsin.

We picked up US-45 by Hale's Corner.  Once past Muskego, it was essentially that beautiful southern Wisconsin hilly and farm driving.  And, not very much traffic.  The biggest town was Union Grove, a very pretty one.

Like driving Route 66 through Missouri, only closer to home.

--RoadDog

Milwaukee Indy Fest-- Part 6: Jokers at the Gates

We stayed around and talked with Bob, Paul and Terri after the race, since we were finally able to hear one another.  Always great to talk with old comrades on the front lines in teaching.  I taught with all of these people for at least 20 years each.  Like in the rest of the business world today, people don't stay at one teaching job for their whole careers anymore.  Either by choice or districts looking for newer, less expensive teachers.

Paul got to the race just a short time before us and had to park as far away as you can, so we all walked and walked and walked to the other side of the fairgrounds.  Surprisingly, there were still lines of cars waiting to get out, even though there couldn't have been more than 500 people around for the winners circle ceremony.

There was a long line of cars waiting to get out to the east and we saw a short line waiting to leave to the west so drove over to it, but just as we got to it, the workers closed the gate with big smiles on their faces and very rudely told us we couldn't get out that way.  And, with big smiles on their faces.  Obviously, no tips for these jokers.  And using the word workers is using the term very loosely.

We decided to not take I-94 back as on two occasions we saw huge backups in the southbound lanes, so drove around Milwaukee as we were finally able to get away from the fest traffic several miles to the east.  We finally got out west of the bypass and on 100th Street, with its mile after mile of shopping and traffic.  Took it out to US-45.

RoadDog

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Racing at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds

There was no racing at the fairground track between 1942 and 1945 because of World War II.  The last winner before the war, in 1941, was Rex Mays who also was the next one to win in 1946.

It became known as the Rex May Classic between 1956 and 1979.  he didn't race, but he had a team which won many times.

Indy cars first raced at the track in 1980.  It sounds as if there almost wasn't a race this year, but someone must have stepped up and caused it to happen.

--RoadDog

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

About This Past Sunday

SUNDAY, AUGUST 24TH, 2014:

Thanks to Saturday's Northwest Herald's McHenry County (Ill.) Community Calendar page, I became aware of two activities that we went to: The Pancake Breakfast fundraiser at the McHenry Moose Lodge on Il-31, a benefit to support the Alzheimer's Association.  We did that at 11:30 and got in on some raffles.

Next stop was the second annual Patriots in the Park at McHenry's Veterans Memorial Park downtown.  This was hosted by Joe's Wish, a McHenry-based organization to raise money to meet the needs of local military personnel and their families.

There were lots of vendors selling their wares and we bought an NIU Huskies dish and a 50-caliber bullet fired in Iraq that had been turned into a bottle opener.  Enjoyed talking with friends from the PLAV (Polish Legion of American veterans) who are trying to raise money to rebuild their building which was badly damaged in a Mother's Day fire.

Talked with Jerry (the former mayor of Tom's Cafe) and Jim.  Enjoyed listening to Frank Band and the Secret Stash band play.

Next stop was Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake for our favorite local band, Soda, and then we went to Never Sink Inn and Antonio's in Spring Grove.

A Fine Day Was Had By All.  --RoadDog


Milwaukee Indy Fest 2014-- Part 5

Winner of the race was Will Power who had finished #8 at the Indy 500 in May.  he led for 229 of the 250 laps, including the last 59, although much of it I was unaware of because of the usual race confusion (for me).  He only gave up the lead during pit stops.

He finished the race in 1 hour, 44 minutes and 49 seconds with an average speed of 145.243, the fastest-ever race time on this track.  At the end, he was challenged by Tony Kanaan and Juan Pablo Montoya.

After the race, and with the stands essentially empty, Will Power of Australia, who leads the Indy Car overall race, received customary champagne and Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puffs, the latter mostly in the face.

Tradition, You Know.  --RoadDog

Milwaukee Indy Fest 2014-- Part 4

We tried as we could with the ear plugs, but I was somewhat unsuccessful as the buzzing bees (what the Indy cars sound like) were still too loud.  It was joy when the race finally ended.  Pull those ineffective plugs out and talk with those friends.

Try as I do, I just don't think I'm ever going to be much of an Indy car fan, or any sort of auto racing for that matter.  I have too hard of a time knowing who is in first, second, etc.  Perhaps if they come up with lights atop the cars showing first, second, etc..

Also, perhaps having everyone pull into the pits at the same time and leave in order.  Possibly, once a car gets lapped, it's out of the race.

Anything, Something.  --RoadDog

Monday, August 25, 2014

Five Things We Love About State Fairs-- Part 5: The Giant Cabbage

GIANT CABBAGE CONTEST:  Alaska State Fair in Palmer, August 21-September 1.

Blame it on summertime's 24 hours of daylight.  Alaska, the nation's largest state, boasts fertile ground and grows some seriously oversized produce. The Giant Cabbage Contest was introduced at the fair in 1941.

The manager of the Alaska Railroad sponsored the first contest and awarded Max Sherrod a $25 prize for his 23-pounder.  Scott Robb won it in 2012 and got $2,000 prize for his Guinness World record whopping nearly 138-pounder.

They have a picture and, man, that is one really, really big cabbage.

Corned beef and Cabbage Anybody.  --RoadDog

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Five Things We Love About State Fairs-- Part 4: Pronto Pups

PRINTO PUPS--  Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, August 21-Sept 1.

Pronto Pups are plump hot dogs dressed in crispy cornmeal-fried batter and have been been eaten since 1947.  They were the first hot food eaten from a stick says franchise-owner Gregg Karnis, 60, of Becker, Minnesota.  His late father, Jack, first introduced the tasty treat.

Each year, they go through nearly 110 tons of batter and 22 tons of hot dogs while making tens of thousands of Pronto Pups.

I can't help but think this sounds a whole lot like Springfield's Cozy Dogs.  Perhaps there is some coincidence here.  I'll have to check into it.

Cozy Dog/Pronto Pup?  --RoadDog

Five Things We Love About State Fairs-- Part 3: Taking the "I Do" Plunge on a Coaster

CLASSIC COASTER--  Washington State Fair in Puyallup, Sept. 5-21.

Since 1935, the Classic Coaster-- the only remaining wooden fairground coaster in the U.S.-- has been thrilling fairgoers with its steel-railed dips and turns.  Rising 55 feet above ground in the midway, it was originally built of Douglas fir beams carried to the grounds by horse-drawn wagons and bolted into place with a Model A Ford (not exactly sure what this means).

Of interest: Dozens of couples entering a local radio station's annual wedding contest have said "I do" while taking the plunge.

Sounds like a roller coaster I could actually go on.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Five Things We Love About State Fairs-- Part 2: Big Ol' Butter Cow

BUTTER COW,  Iowa State Fair: Des Moines, Aug. 7-17.

It's like butter, only a whole lot of it.  For over a century, 600 pounds of butter has been transformed into a perfectly sculpted cow by way of tools mostly found in your kitchen.  It has served as the symbol of the Iowa State Fair

Of course, it is kept behind glass in a 40 degree refrigerated room so no sneak licks.

The first one was made by J.K. Daniels in 1911 and since then four other sculptors have made the cow.  It takes an average of five days to do build it, which includes a metal, wood and mesh wire frame before they layer it with butter.

So, It Is Hollow.  --RoadDog

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Five Things We Love About State Fairs-- Part 1: Big Tex

From the July 20-26, 2014, American Profile Magazine by Sarah Miller.


Rides on the mighty midway, animal-calling competitions, fireworks, funnel cake, kettle corn.  You'll find all these things and more at most every fairground."  But a few fairs went above and beyond in their creativity.  She picked five:

1.  BIG TEX-- State Fair of Texas (Dallas, Sept. 26-Oct. 19.  A 55-foot tall cowboy statue wearing a 75-gallon hat has been greeting folks since 1949, but as a Santa Claus statue commissioned by the local chamber of commerce to drum up the Christmas shopping season in Kerens, Texas.

In 1951, former fair president R.L. Thornton purchased the statue for $750 and hired a Dallas artist to transform the jolly guy into the giant cow-puncher.  Over the years, he has gotten a nose job and a mechanical arm that waves as well as remote speaker system lets him have a voice.

An electrical fire destroyed much of "Big tex" in 2012, but a taller, heavier and stronger "Big tex" returned last year.

Things Are Bigger in Texas.  --RoadDog

Indy Fest, Milwaukee 2014-- Part 3

After finally finding an open parking lot at the state fair grounds, as far away from our seats as you can get, we walked and walked and walked to our seats on the other side of the track.  There were a whole lot of people who wera also walking and walking to their seats.

The race started while we were walking.  Probably missed the first 4-5 laps.  It was loud on the other side of the stands but REALLY LOUD when we got to the seats about ten rows up.

Right away I noticed that you couldn't read anything trackside about who was in what place and what lap they were in at the time.  At Indy, we have plenty of information we have great information.  The announcers evidently were talking, but we didn't know it until there was a break in the race for either an accident or stalled car (we never knew).  But, in the lull, we could hear them and we were even able to talk to each other.

At least, this close to the track, I could see the numbers on the cars.  At Indy we are so high and far away that I can't see the numbers and have to rely on car colors to figure out who is where.

--RoadDog

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Taking an Oldies Music Break

Songs played on the Boomer Radio All Hit Oldies Station yesterday.

Yesterday while typing on these blogs, I tuned into this internet station and heard some nighty good stuff, though with the shortness of the songs, I had to stop really often to write their names down.  And a few I even had to look up to be sure who sang it.

WORDS--  Bee Gees
LITTLE BIT OF SOUL--  Music Explosion
SUGAR PIE HONEY BUNCH--  Four Tops
DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE--  Mamas and Papas

YOU CAN'T DO THAT--  Beatles
BAND OF GOLD--  Freda Payne
TRACY--  Cuff Links
TOO MANY FISH IN THE SEA--  Marvelettes

DRIFT AWAY--  Dobie Gray
LET ME BE--  Turtles
PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY--  Monkees
CRACKLIN' ROSIE--  Neil Diamond

1,2,3, REDLIGHT--  19010 Fruitgum Company
GREEN TAMBOURINE--  Lemon Pipers
TELL HER NO--  Zombies
SHAPES OF THINGS--  Yardbirds

GET READY--  temptations
CRIMSON & CLOVER--  Tommy James & Shondells
I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW--  Johnny Nash
TIGHTEN UP--  Archie bell & the Drells

DON'T GIVE IN TO HIM--  Gary Puckett & the Union Gap
WHAT KIND OF FOOL--  Bill deal & the Rhondells
THE LOVE YOU SAVE-  Jackson Five

Some Mighty Good Listenin' Music--  RoadDog-

Indy Fest at Milwaukee-- Part 2: Fun and Games on I-94 and Parking

We were sort of hoping that all the road construction on I-94 that started last year would be over...but it sure wasn't.  perhaps even worse.  First off, we had to take a confusing detour just to get on the interstate at Wis.-50.  Then. it was road construction off and on the rest f the way, of course with all those dire warnings about what will happen to you if you speed.  We never did see anyone working on it though, just lots of signs and barrels.

Always a problem on I-94 are the goody folks who go 20-30 miles over the speed limit in crowded conditions.  Traffic was heavy the whole way, but it would have been even worse going south as they had two major backups that went on for miles.  This convinced us that we didn't want to return that way.

Took the I-894 bypass out west and got off by the state fair park.  There were no parking lots open on the side we needed to park on for easy getting to out seats.  We kept driving north and finally found an open lot, paying $10 to park about as far away as you can get from our seats.

We then walked and walked to our seats at the south end.  While on foot, the race started.  And by the time we met up with the others, it was so loud with all those Indy cars going by, talking was an impossibility.  Fortunately, we had bought along some earplugs.  In the three times I've been to the Indy 500, I never needed them.  But believe me, we needed them here.

Vroom, Vroom Went the Cars Around the Track.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Indy Fest at Milwaukee-- Part 1

This past Sunday, we went to the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in West Allis, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee for the 2014 Indy Fest Race, featuring most of the drivers I's seen in may at the Indy 500.  We were all there as guests of Terri, a teacher I taught with for around 27 years in Round Lake, Illinois.  This is her last year as she is retiring after 35 years.

As such, she invited us and some of the other teachers I taught with, including Bob and Paul, so it was like old home week, even if we couldn't talk until after the race.  It is pretty impossible to talk and hear each other with those cars coming around that often (on the one-mile race track).  This was Liz's first car race and my fourth (3 Indys).

We had quite the drive getting there as we were stopped at Wilmot, Wisconsin for the Kenosha County fair.  Then, we had a slider attack at the Wis-50 entrance ramp to I-94.  It is essentially against the law to drive past a White Castle when we're hungry.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Monday, August 18, 2014

Good Times in the Area, August 16th: House, Boating, Lake, Snake in the Ointment, Steak Fry and Anniversary

Enjoyed the house, boating, a lake front park and a steak fry and one-year anniversary.

Started off with breakfast and coffee on the front porch in the morning.  The rest of the the morning enjoyed Wendy Rice's Saturday Morning Flashback on WXRT, 93.1 FM in Chicago.  She did the year 1974.  Hard to believe that year is already 40 YEARS AGO!!

Went boating on Fox Lake and did a boat float, read a magazine and listened to the music of 1974.

Afterwards, got a Polish sausage and drink at Thornton's on US-12 for $2.70 and enjoyed dining out at Fox Lake's Lakefront Park. Came home and read the newspaper out in the gazebo.  Sad to see that out property tax assessments will be published Wednesday.  We were at $9,500 last year, a really hurtful amount when you're retired.  If we ever move from here, it will be because of the horrible taxes. (Snake in the Ointment)

Came home and at 6:30, drove over to horse Fair Park in Spring Grove, Illinois (our village) and had the Firemen's Annual Fish Fry for $16 apiece.  They gave you a good-sized slab of steak, baked potato, corn on the cob, cole slaw and dessert.

Mitch Edwards and the Second Chapter Band played tunes while we were there.

Afterwards, we went to Never Sink In (a play on Nippersink Creek which runs through Spring Grove) and enjoyed their first anniversary party and grand opening of their beer garden.  A two-piece band was playing outside, so listened to them for awhile.  Liz didn't like them, but I did.

A Good Day Out on the Chain of Lakes.  Why Go Anywhere Else?  --Roaddog


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lots Going On Around Here Today

Earlier, I went out boating in Fox Lake and then had lunch at  Fox Lake's Lakefront Park.

In a few hours, we'll go to the Spring Grove Fireman's annual steak fry and listen to the band.

Also, Never-Sink-Inn in Spring Grove, Illinois, is having their one-year anniversary party in the downtown (what little there is of it).

Three other places in Fox Lake/Ingleside are also having parties.  J's in Ingleside celebrates its third anniversary with bands all day and Squaw Bar is having six bands for their volleyball fest.  Dog 'n Suds in Ingleside is having the Lakes Area Swing band, all 17 members, out in the parking lot along with a car show.

Why Go Anywhere Else?  --RoadDog

Update on the Great River Tug Fest: Illinois Wins!!

From WIBQ Newstalk Radio, 1230 and 1440 AM.

I had to look all over, but finally found that my state, Illinois, had won the 29th annual Tug fest!!  Even despite all of Iowa's preparations.

I'm thinking seriously of going there next year.

And' I'll view from the Illinois side.

Sounds Like a Hoot.  --RoadDog


The Great River Tug Fest-- Part 2

Viewing areas are set off on both sides of the river.

But, Tug Fest is more than just a tug, though.  It also has parades, a carnival, live entertainment, food and even mini tugs for kids.  This year's contest took place August 7-9th with spectators treated to a huge fireworks display from a barge in the middle of the river on August 8th.

You can get more information about next year's list of events at tugfest.org for Port Bryon and tugfest.com for LeClaire.

In case you're wondering, until last weekend, Illinois leads 16-11.  I don't know who won the latest effort.    But, Iowa is serious about catching up and start practicing as early as May and participants learn techniques, the key of which is the 45 degree angle of the body

The teams first run backward to take up slack in the rope, then they dig in and...

Pull, Pull, Pull for Iowa.  --RoadDog

The Great River Tug Fest: It's Illinois vs. Iowa in Annual Tug of War-- Part 1

From the July 20, 2014, Chicago Tribune by John Handley.

It ties up boat traffic for a short time, but every year for the last 27 years, that oldest of summer picnic competitions, an old-fashioned rope tug of war takes place.

A 2,700-foot rope is stretched across the the Mississippi River between Port Byron, Illinois, and LeClaire, Iowa in what is called the Great River Tug Fest and is the heart of a three-day celebration on both sides of the river and attracts a typical crowd of 30,000.

Each state fields ten teams of 20 men and one team of 25 women and all grab the rope for a three-minute exertion.  Sadly, judges stop the cation before anyone gets dragged into the river.

Winning state takes home the Alabaster Eagle in Flight as bragging rights for the year.

Pull, Pull, Pull for Illinois!!  --RoadDog

Friday, August 15, 2014

Road Work Ahead, N.C. Trip Summer 2014-- Part 16: Must Remember Flip Flops

From day one at Topsail Beach, I remembered the hard way that I must bring my flip-flops along with me.

I had to walk to the beach barefoot and that was severely painful across the small rocks at the end of the concrete at the condos as well as the regular gravel stones by the walkway to the beach.  It was a painful walk to the beach.

My brother Bob forgot his flip-flops as well, so when he arrived at Topsail Beach on Sunday, we went out in search for some of those foot-savers.  All the flip-flops we found at the Wings and other souvenir stores were $9-10.  A bit more than I cared to spend.

Drove across the swing bridge and found a Dollar General (or Family Dollar) and bought flip-flops for $6.  And, they had the thicker soles.  Ah, smooth striding to the beach again.

Be Fine My Poor Feet.  --RoadDog

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Road Work Ahead, N.C. Trip Summer 2014-- Part 16: Godwin's at Topsail Beach

July 26th, Saturday

I usually drive to either Godwin's store or the Jolly Roger Pier in Topsail Beach, N.C.,  every morning for my daily newspaper while here, the Wilmington Star-News.  The newspaper is still 50 cents except on Sundays when it is $1.50.  It is one of my favorite newspapers.

This time I bought the paper at the pier as Godwin's opens whenever the owners get around to opening it.  Godwin's has been in Topsail Beach since the beginning of it after the military left, shutting down their missile testing and used to have gas.  The same family still runs the place, although now it is the second generation who are also getting up in years.

If there is still such a thing as a 50s mom and pop general store, this be the place.  The door is always open and there is no air conditioning.  All items have price stickers.  You'd have to describe the place as "Real Retro."  None of this new stuff made to look retro here.

Talked with my cousin Vickie who has the next door unit in the complex.  Her husband Graham and she bought their place in the 1980s.  Smithfield's 'cue and slaw for lunch!!!

Spent the afternoon out at the beach, reading magazines and collecting shells and "lima beans."

--RoadDog


Road CDs: Rock 'n' Roll: The Early Years 2-- Part 1

Signature Records out of Britain.  Twenty track compilation of songs from probably late 40s to early 50s, showing what was to become Rock and Roll.

This features cuts by Louis Prima (4), Lionel Hampton (4), Will Bradley and Ray McKinley (2), Billy Penrose(4), Tommy Dorsey (4) and Sugar Chile Robinson (2).

Sadly, there were no liner notes which would have made the CD even better.

But, if you want to see some of the influences of Rock before it was Rock, this would be a good place to start.  I looked up Ray McKinley and Will Bradley, and they definitely had interesting stories which I will write about soon in my Down Da Road I Go Blog.

Going Even Farther Back Down the Rock Road.  --RoadDog

Road Work Ahead, N.C. Trip Summer 2014-- Part 15: To Da Beach

We went to the beach on July 15th, stopping to visit my Aunt Louise and cousin Joe at my grandparents' house in Mt. Olive and another stop at Smithfield's Chieken and Barbecue in Warsaw, N.C., just off I-40.  We had their pulled pork sandwiches and did they ever pile them high.  There are several Smithfield places along North Carolina interstates and well worth a trip.  Outstanding bbq and fried chicken and Brunswick stew that is out of this world.  In the past, I have often stopped at the one by Mebane, near Burlington (also off I-40).

Crossed over the famous swing bridge connecting the mainland to Surf City (and Topsail Beach to its south).  Mom says that there are plans to replace the swing bridge with a new one that doesn't have to be turned when intercoastal boats come through, causing huge back ups going on and off the island.  I have spent many a minute waiting for the bridge to open again.

Surf City, Topsail Beach and North Topsail Beach are all on Topsail Island which is a barrier island.  Once across the bridge, we turned south and drove to Topsail Beach, passing several of the old post World War II missile towers.  The U.S. developed part of its missile program on Topsail island.

Opened the place up in Topsail Beach.  I took the lower level instead of my usual main floor room as my brother Bob was coming in on Sunday and that is where he stays.

Went out to the beach and found lots of those great polished stones I call "Lima Beans" because of their appearance.  Sometimes, they are not to be found.  Lots of people out there as well since this is prime time summer beach time.

--RoadDog

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Road Work Ahead, N.C. Summer Trip 2014-- Part 14: Bentonville and Embers Washout

We were originally planning on going to Topsail Beach on the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, but on my way to Goldsboro, had heard that the Embers were going to be playing at the Goldsboro Center Street Jam on Thursday.  This band has been around since at least the 60s and is considered to be one of the best Beach Bands around.  I was more than happy to stay.

Ate at my first-ever Zaxby's on Wednesday and found the food to be excellent.  Went shopping to various places the next two days, including the local K-Mart since we don't have any of those near us anymore in Illinois.

My brother and I drove out to Bentonville Battlefield, about twenty miles from Goldsboro to see what was going on in the several years since we last went there.  This was on Thursday, a day when the skies let loose deluge after deluge of rain, making any battlefield drive too difficult.  We did tour the small museum and saw an excellent short film about the Civil War and Sherman's Carolina's Campaign which led to Johnston's surrender at Bennett Place, near Durham, North Carolina.

Sadly, the rain  caused the Embers show to be cancelled.

Oh Well, There's Always the Beach.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Road Work Ahead, N.C. Summer 2014 Trip-- Part 13; Arrive Goldsboro

July 22, 2014.

Left early and drove 645.1 miles today.   Sadly, too early for the 10 a.m. openings of the Skyline Chili places, but did have a delicious sausage sandwich at Dogwood Crossing in Rockbridge, Ohio, southeast of Columbus on US-33.

Outside of Athens, Ohio, I picked up a station playing some great music at 104.1, WNKU, a public radio station with a good reach as I was quite a distance away at the time.  I bet I can get it most of the way I take through Ohio on I-70 and US-33.  I'll keep this in mind next trip.

Got gas and found they had Uglys at the Hess station in Wytheville, Virginia.  Perhaps all Hess stations have Uglys.  I'll have to check.

Real big back up of traffic south of Wytheville.

Stopped at a Lexington (N.C.) barbecue place in Mt. Airy, N.C. as Snappy Lunch was already closed (at 1:45 p.m..  Good Western Carolina-style 'cue.

Enjoyed listening to the Seventies at Seven on Raleigh's 102.9 FM

No major traffic slow-downs or stops on I-40, even through the Durham/Raleigh I-40 horror.  I was a bit behind rush hour, though.  Arrived Goldsboro at 8:30.  Today, I drove 645.1 miles and the trip odometer showed 1038.8 miles.  MPG was 32.6.

--RoadDog

Dancing At the Munger-Moss on 66

Well, not actually, but "Dancing Songs" were playing.

This past June (June 11th), it was a rainy, drizzly day at the Munger-Moss Motel on Route 66 in Lebanon, Missouri.  I was catching up on my blogs and for the first time listened to one of Bob Stroud's Ten at Ten radio shows on WDRV, the Drive,  in Chicago, via the internet.

Usually the ten at ten shows feature ten songs from a particular year, but every couple weeks Stroud does his show on a theme.  Dancing at the MuMo:

DANCING IN THE STREETS--  Van Halen
DANCING IN THE DARK--  Bruce Springsteen
DANCING DAYS--  Led Zeppelin

DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT--  King Harvest
DANCING FOOL--  Frank Zappa
ALL SHE WANTS TO DO IS DANCE--  Don Henley
LET'S DANCE--  David Bowie

FOOTLOOSE--  Kenny Loggins
DANCE WITH ME--  Orleans
I CAN'T DANCE--  Genesis

And, Speaking of Dancing, Stroud Could Have Played "I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins And We All Could Have Dome the Groundhog Dance.  --RoadDog

Monday, August 11, 2014

Road Work Ahead, N.C. Summer Trip-- Part 12: Gettin' Gas

I always find it interesting to note gas prices in different places during my trips.  I round up, so $3.45.9 would be $3.46.  Here are the gas prices I paid:

July 21st: Crawfordsville, Ind. $3.46
July 22nd: Rockbridge, Ohio $3.50
July 22nd: Wytheville, Virginia $3.20

July 24th:  Goldsboro, N.C. $$3.40

July 31st:  Wytheville, Virginia $3.14
July 31st: Rockbridge, Ohio  $3.55
August 1st:  Crawfordsville, Indiana $3.44
August 1st:  Dwight, Illinois $$3.40

Of interest, Crawfordsville, Indiana, had dropped two cents.  Rockbridge, Ohio, had gotten five cents more expensive and Wytheville, Virginia, had dropped six cents.

Wytheville is always the cheapest gas on the trip and a definite stop (plus, now I know they have those Uglys!!).

Eating Uglys and Getting Gas.  --RoadDog


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Road Work Ahead, N.C. Summer Trip: Gas, Lew and Richmond

No further getting lost as i continued south on Illinois-47 to Mahomet where I got on I-74 past Champaign-Urbana, University of Illinois, and Danville and on into Indiana.  As usual, stopped at the Pilot station east of Crawfordsville and filled up with gas at $3.46 ($3.45.9).

I noticed a sign at the exit for it, 39, for the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum which is located somewhere in the area.  I believe this to be for the Civil War General Lew Wallace and since I have a big interest in this war, I'll have to find out about it.

Stopped at Exit 66 by Brownsburg, Indiana, outside of Indianapolis and had my Slider Attack at White Castle while waiting for the rush hour to die down.  Straight through cruise through Indianapolis to I-70 and then east to the Motel 6 in Richmond, Indiana, right on the Ohio border, where I spent the night.

Drove around and enjoyed talking with some folks at the Buffalo Wings and Rings.  There were even folks who knew what my "Fear the Feathers" tee shirt was all about.

My Motel 6 room, which cost $52, also included a jacuzzi.  Wow!!

I drove 393.7 miles today and my MPG now was at 30.0.

--RoadDog


Road CDs: "Bouncing Ball Boogie" and "Scrub Me Mama, With a Boogie Beat"

As I said, when I cruise down the road, I alternate between radio and CDs.  I like to bring several CDs along with me that I haven't listened to before to familiarize myself with them and, hopefully, imprint a tune or two as songs that remind me of the trip.  And there are several that qualify in that category for this past North Carolina trip.

Some of them are "Scrub Me Mama, With a Boogie Beat" by Will Bradley and Ray McKinley; "Boogie Woogie" by Tommy Dorsey; "Bouncing Ball Boogie" by Sugar Chile Robinson.

Elton John's "Madman Across the Water" gave me "Razor Face" and "Holiday Inn."

--RoadDog


Friday, August 8, 2014

Road Work Ahead, Summer N.C. Trip-- Part 10: On Route 66

Whenever at a Route 66 place, I sign the guestbook and then look at the countries from which others have signed it.  In the last several days (before July 21st) visitors from Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and Switzerland had signed it.  They also had 11 signatures from a group touring from Norway.

I usually get back on Ilinois-47 in Dwight, but decided to take a ride on Route 66 the ten miles to Odell to stop at the Odell Standard station.  Nothing like a drive, albeit short one, on Route 66.

Once at the station, I signed the guestbook and then asked the best way to get back to Il-47 from there.  I was given instructions and drove through town, out past the park and ball fields and then got on a road.  I've often seen a sign on Il-47 with an arrow showing to Odell and wanted to drive that road.

Somehow, I didn't make that road and ended up out on Illinoisl-116, which I knew went between Pontiac and Suaneman (and 47 passed by the west end of the latter, so went east and got myself back to Il-47 and proceeded on my way.

Gas in Sauneman was $3.56.

--RoadDog

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Road Work Ahead, N.C. Summer Trip-- Part 9: Getting a Little Route 66

Made my usual stop at the new Ambler-Becker station with the Route 66 Burger King in Dwight, to get a bite to eat and something to drink.  I don't think the Ambler-Becker folks own it anymore, but they do have a fair amount of Route 66 souvenirs.

Gas in Dwight was $3.34.

Often on my way to North Carolina, I stop at the old Ambler-Becker station which has been restored and now serves as a Dwight Route 66 Welcome Center.  I always enjoy looking at the many pins marking where people come from who visit on their world and U.S. maps.

The European countries are full of pins.

There is always a friendly person or two who are welcoming visitors and giving information.  The woman was originally from Bloomington-Normal and agrees with me that these towns do very little to promote their Route 66 heritage.  She remembers going to the original Steak 'N Shake and said she lived near the gas station someone is attempting to restore there.

Getting My Route 66 Fix.  ----RoadDog

Road Work Ahead, Summer N.C. Trip-- Part 8: Hardee's Coming to Northern Illinois

There is now a Hardee's open in Yorkville in that mecca of road mess they have going on this summer.  I also saw that one has opened in Round Lake Beach.  I saw another one at the Love's gas station at the Dwight, Illinoism exit on I-55.  They are obviously coming to the area now.

And, I am glad to hear that.  They sure have great breakfasts and I'm also fond of their Thickburgers and hot dogs.  And, on our way back from the drive south of the Cape Fear River near Shallotte, N.C., on July28th, we stopped to eat at a Hardee's and they had a gospel/country band playing inside.  Something you don't expect to get along with your burgers.

They had been in northern Illinois, but pulled out for some reason.

When we lived in Greenville, N.C. when I was a child, Dad knew the man who started the chain and had an opportunity to get in on the ground floor, but turned it down.  Had he taken the position, I probably would have remained in North Carolina and never moved north.

Had Dad become the owner of several Hardee's, I probably would have worked for him.

Funny How Things Sometimes Don't Work Out.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Road Work Ahead-- Part 7: Road Music

Besides the radio stations, I also brought along several CDs to listen to, especially in the mornings when so many stations do almost all yap.

TURN BLUE--  Black Keys
ROCK 'N' ROLL:  THE EARLY YEARS PART 2
KINDA KINKS--  Kinks
GOING HOME (LIVE)--  Blasters
UNORTHODOX JUKEBOX--  Bruno Mars

These were "hitchhiker" CDs that already were in the 2011 Malibu.

MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER--  Elton John
GREATEST HITS--  Joe Nichols

--RoadDog

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Road Work Ahead, NC Summer Trip-- Part 6: Gas and Radio

Left Spring Grove, Illinois, at 10 AM, July 21st with the odometer reading 28,405 miles and 28.5 miles per gallon.  Set trip odometers to zero.

Gas in Fox Lake, earlier in the morning was $3.56 and $3.72 in Woodstock.  I was shocked to see Starks Corner, at Il-47, Il-72 and US-20 at "just" $3.60.  It is usually one of the most expensive places on my drive along Il-47.

Yorkville gas was at $3.34!!  And I hate Big Oil for making me think that is "Cheap" gas.

All along the whole trip today, the roadsides were ablaze with lots of color from what most regard as weeds.  The whites were Queen Anne's lace and I'm not sure what the blues and yellows were.

Listened to Bob Stroud's Ten at Ten until nearly 11 AM (see my August 2nd entry for the songs) and then tunes into 103.1 FM, WJEZ, broadcasting classic oldies out of Pontiac, Illinois, right on Route 66.  However, it was talk radio now and had different call letters.  I started looking for another station and found WJEZ now broadcasting at 98.9 FM, so listened to it while in range.  What I like about them is that they have deejays and not just canned music like so many stations now have.

Give Me Those Oldies.  --RoadDog

Monday, August 4, 2014

Road Work Ahead: NC Summer trip-- Part 5: Stockpiling Goodies

When I visit North Carolina, I like to stock up on items that I can't get here in Illinois.

Of course, those great Ugly pastries are high on my list.  I now know two stations in Wytheville, Virginia, that sell them and one in Hillsborough, NC.  I bought eight of them of various flavors.

Of course, too, I had to get my two-liter bottles of Diet Cheerwine pop and I got three of them.

I was surprised to see that our local Jewel grocery store in Spring Grove sells the individual packets of grits, but just in the regular flavor.  I bought there boxes of them in various flavors.

Add to my list of booty, one jar of Paul's Famous hot dog sauce and there jars of Chow-Chow relish.

Lastly, I bought one bottle of Bulls-Eye Carolina bbq sauce, even though it is the South Carolina mustard based stuff; still good though.

It is no longer necessary to stock up on varieties of Mt. Olive pickles as they sell them all over the country now.

Stocking Up and Eating Right.  --RoadDog

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Take Your Trip Back to 1974

It will be a road trip of another sort.  Since we don't have time machines yet, you can go back 40 years to the summer of 1974 for those of us who remember it.  I was 23 at the time.

This Sunday, Bob Stroud will host part 3 of his annual trip back to summer 40 years ago on WDRV, 97.1 FM in Chicago from 7 to 10 AM CDST.  And, it streams.  Lots of songs, lots of memories.

He also has his Ten at Ten during the week at 10 AM and rebroadcast at 10 PM.  Great songs and events from those years.

MONDAY: 1979
TUESDAY:  1969
WEDNESDAY:  1982
THURSDAY: Cover Songs
FRIDAY:  1976

Taking Me Back.  --RoadDog

Road Work Ahead-- Part 4: NC Summer 2014 Trip: Ten at Ten 1974

I had gathered some CDs to listen to along the way, but, of course, there were my usual radio stations.

Even better, since I was leaving at 10 AM, WDRV had their Ten at Ten, so listened to that on their two stations: 96.9 WDDV in north Chicagoland and 97.1 FM toward the south.

Bob Stroud hosted it at the beginning of his shift, saying it "was a fascinating year musically and politically as well with the culmination of everything that was rolling in the nation with President Richard Nixon.  It seemed like the eyes and ears were pressed to the radio, TV and newspapers all year long.

Here are the ten songs:

PURE AND EASY--  Who  The group put out a long-player called Odds and Sods, comprised of songs never put on vinyl from their catalog.
RADAR LOVE--  Golden Earring  Dutch band who'd been around a number of years but we weren't hip to them until this song.
ANOTHER PARK, ANOTHER SUNDAY--  Doobie Brothers  From What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits.

IF YOU CAN'T ROCK ME--  Rolling Stones  From their new album, It's Only Rock and Roll.
SEASONS IN THE SUN--  Terry Jacks  Canadian who was once a member of the Poppy Family in the late 60s, early 70s who had a couple hits stateside.
BLOODY WELL RIGHT--  Supertramp  From their new release Crime of the Century.
SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL--  Grand Funk Railroad  Covering an old, kind of obscure R&B tune from their album All of the Girls in the World Beware.

CAN'T GET ENOUGH--  Bad Company  Their debut, self-titled album out in the summer.  (The group I always get confused with Foreigner.)
THE AIR THAT I BREATHE--  Hollies  Great delivery from Allen Clarke.
ALREADY GONE--  Eagles--  From their album #3, On the Border  (Until I got into Route 66, my favorite Eagles song.  Now, of course, it is "Take It Easy" for some reason.

Great Music to Start of Long Drive.  --RoadDog


Road Work Ahead-- Part 3: NC Trip Summer 2014

Took the same route back home the last two days.  And, surprisingly, all that road work was still there.  I was kind of hoping that they'd be finished.  

I'd estimate that a good 10-15 percent of all road mileage  were under construction.  Talked with others who agreed that there sure was a lot of roadwork out there.  One guy said he was sure all this work was out there so that Democrats would get the vote of road construction guys in the November elections.

From Goldsboro, I took US-70, I-40, US-52, I-77, US-33, I-270 around Columbus, Ohio, I-70, I-465 around Indianapolis, I-74, Il-47 and Il-120 to Spring Grove.

Drove 650 miles on Thursday and the last 400 yesterday.

All That Road Work.  --RoadDog

20 Roads You Should Drive-- Part 2

11.  Hana Highway--  Hawaii
12.  North Yungas Road--  Bolivia
13.  Col de I'lseran--  France
14.  Chapman's Peak Drive--  South Africa
15.  Rolitang Pass--  India

16.  Atlantic Road--  Norway
17.  Interstate 70--  Utah  (I'd also add western Colorado.  For those of you who have something against superslabs, drive this or the West Virginia Turnpike (I-77).)
18.  Karakorum Highway--  Connects Pakistan and China.
19.  Milford Road--  New Zealand
20.  Valley of Fire Road--  Nevada--  144 miles of red sandstone.

Driving 'Em?  --RoadDog