Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eight Sites in Chaicaoland Honoring Notable Women-- Part 2


The only woman to have a statue in Statuary Hall in the U.S. capitol =when it first opened.  Frances Willard spent most of her life in Evanston -- or at least recuperating there at her "rest cottage" after traveling all over for her causes.  Her life can be seen in what is considered the oldest house museum in the country (in operation since 1900 and the first museum dedicated to a woman).

It is owned by the Women's Christian Temperance Union, which she founded in 1883.

She was not the humorless ax-wielding Carrie Nation, but the woman often referred to as "the mother of grass-roots organizing."  She went through life tirelessly working for women's suffrage, labor reform and peace activism among other causes.

Here, you will also find "Gladys," the bicycle she learned to ride at age 53 and which led to her 1895 best-selling book "How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle."

Frances Willard House, 1730 Chicago Avenue, Evanston; 847-328-7500 or www.franceswillardhouse.com.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Historic Bar Bracket-- Part 4: Pinkie Master's

McGREEVEY'S BAR--  New York City
DRESDEN--  Los Angeles

PROST!--  Portland, Ore.

CHICKEN BOX--  Nantuckey, Mass
SALTY DAWG SALOON--  Homer, Alaska

THE GANGWAY--  San Francisco

This past Wednesday, March 25th, i wrote about Breitbach's in Balltown, Iowa, considered to be the state's oldest restaurant.  It also has a bar and when we arrived about 11 a.m., they had a full course of folks sitting at it and imbibing already.  Surely, another historic bar.

Looks Like I Have a New List to Check Out.  --RoadDog

Historic Bar Bracket-- Part 3: Holler House

THE MAI KAI--  Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
WARREN TAVERN--  Charlestown, Mass.
HANOVER TAVERN--  Hanover, Va.

*THE OLD TALBOTT TAVERN--  Bardstown, Ken.
OWL BAR--  Baltimore
BACKROOM BAR--  New York City
BOURBON & BRANCH--  San Francisco

MINT BAR--  Sheridan, Wyo.
CORNER CLUB--  Moscow, Idaho
HOLLER HOUSE--  Milwaukee, Wis.

Of course, we have a very appropriately named place called Sit 'N Bull Bar near us, just over the border in Wisconsin.  Imagine people sitting in a bar and shooting the bull.  I'm sure that NEVER happens.

Been to Old Talbott.  --RoadDog

Historic Bar Bracket-- Part 2: Safe House

Here is a complete list of participating bars.  Sadly, I have only been to three of them.  How about you?
(*)  Been To

WHITE HORSE-- New York City

CHEERS--  Boston
*SAFE HOUSE--  Milwaukee

BALI HAI--  San Diego
TONGA ROOM--  San Francisco

You can go to the Preservation Blog and read articles about each of these.

A Historic Drink By Any Other Name.  --RoadDog

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Historic Bar Bracket Time-- Part 1: Get Your Drinking Glasses Out

From the Preservation Nation Blog "The Big Tap: 2015 Historic Bars Tournament"

I just became aware of this today, unfortunately, but the Preservation Nation Blog is running their own brackets.  These are for previously reviewed historic blogs.

They are now down to the Final Four and you can get registered to vote.

The Final Four features Nashville's Tootsie's Orchid Lounge vs. Milwaukee's Holler House and Idaho's Corner Bar vs. Wyoming's Mint Bar.

I voted for Holler House, but doubt they have a chance against the Orchid Lounge, and The Corner Bar.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Jane Addams in Illinois

Following up from the previous post:


I-90 from Wisconsin border to Chicago is now named the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway.  It is 76 miles long and be prepared to pay lots and lots of coin/dollars.  Originally was the Northwest Tollway and opened in 1958, renamed in 2007.


Jane Addams was born in Cedarville, Illinois, (pop. 741) west of Rockford and off US-20 north of Freeport.  She grew up there until after college and is buried in the Cedarville Cemetery in her family's plot (marked by an obelisk).  Her birthplace home is still there.

There is the Cedarville Historical Museum at 450 W. 2nd Street and open weekends during  spring-fall.


In Rockford, Illinois.  This is where Jane Addams went for her higher education.  It was called the Rockford Female Seminary back then.


12.85 mile hiking/biking trail in Stephenson County, Illinois.

I have never visited any of these sites but sure will now.


Eight Sites in Chicagoland Honoring Great Women-- Part 1

From the Marcg 19, 2015, Chicago Tribune "March of history: 8 local sites honor great women" by Kenny Reid.

For the next time you visit Chicago.

Chicago has elected one woman mayor, the late Jane Byrne (and has named the Jane Byrne Interchange after her.  But this is just one place to honor great women in Chicago.


The first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize lived in several different sites.  Her home and office outside of Hull House today serves many different functions where you can learn about her life, work, and her peace  efforts during World War I.

There is also the Jane Addams memorial Park near Navy Pier.  The Louise Bourgeois sculpture honoring her (the first piece of public art to honor a woman in Chicago) was moved in 2011 to Chicago Women's Park in the Prairie Avenue Historic Park.

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

Jane Addams Memorial Park--  550 E. Grand Avenue

Chicago Women's Park--  1801 S. Indiana Avenue

Had An Impact.  --RoadDog

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Tropics Restaurant

From"Images of 66" by David Wickline.

The Tropics Restaurant (1942) at 1007 Hickox Rd.  It is located on the northwest corner of Route 10 and Business Loop 55 on the 1941-1977 alignment, Lincoln.

It has a great neon sign with a palm tree.  The Johnson family, Proprietors since 1955. (217-732-6710)

David has a picture of that great old sign.  The building itself was rather nondescript and thoroughly modernized.


What's With Lincoln, Illinois, and the Tropics Sign?

I was much upset yesterday to see a picture of the horrible state of the the sign of the Tropics which was recently taken down.  The city promised to take care of it until something could be done for it and they certainly haven't lived up to their word.

I saw pictures of it and was disgusted.  Lincoln is a city that acknowledges and takes care of its Route 66 heritage and are currently working on the Mill Restaurant to restore it and turn it into a museum.

The Tropics opened in Lincoln in around 1950 and served food up until the early 2000s.  We count ourselves fortunate to have eaten there and even once enjoyed a Chicago Bears football game in the bar with a whole bunch of Chicago fans.  However, the building has been closed for years, but the famous old sign remained.  It was always a joy to see it and get the feeling of a South Seas Isle with its palm tree.

We were hoping that perhaps it could be placed by the Logan County welcome center or by the Abraham Lincoln covered wagon.

I see that the Route 66 Association of Illinois is willing to pick up the Tropics sign and take it to the their museum in Pontiac and repair and restore it at that site.  Hopefully, Lincoln will accept their offer if they have no plans for it although I would prefer to see the sign stay in Lincoln.

Geoff Ladd Certainly Wouldn't Like This.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

2015 Bald Eagle Trip-- Part 6: Iowa's Oldest Restaurant, Breitbach's

JANUARY 22ND, 2015:  Now having at least seen some bald eagles (we hate to get shut out after driving so far), we left Dubuque and drove the 25 miles or so to Balltown, Iowa, to eat at Breitbach's, which bills itself as Iowa's oldest continually operating restaurant.

Back in 29014, I had seen an article in the Chicago Tribune Travel Section:  BREITBACH'S COUNTRY DINING, Balltown, Iowa.  Opened (2009).  Billed as Iowa's oldest place to eat and drink,  Breitbach's is in its sixth generation, having opened in 1862 on a bluff near the Mississippi River.

Fire destroyed the business twice (2007 and 2008) and the tiny community (population 68) twice urged rebuilding.  On the popular buffet are: Homemade corn relish, pickled beets, fried catfish and much more.  Secrets are revealed in Breitbach's cookbook.

563 Balltown Road; 563-552-2220, breitbachscountrydining.com.

So, this is not the original structure, but rebuilt to look old.

Glad They rebuilt It.  --RoadDog

St. Patrick's Day

MARCH 17TH, 2015:  I did buy a plate of CB&C at Val's in Fox Lake, but didn't eat it as I was hoping there would be leftovers at Donovan's Reef.

We drove to Donovan's in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and enjoyed half price drinks (because we had been to the big celebration on Saturday.  Sadly, no CB&C for me.  They had run out.

Barb said they rowdy folks had taken a break around 7, but had recovered and come back at around 9 to continue being green.

Then drove to A.J.'s Horsin' Around in Round Lake Park, Illinois, on Washington Street and watched Terry and Greg Spizziri play from 3 to 6 p.m..  Even with the name Spizziri, they are half Irish and Terry sings a great Irish selection.  He describes himself as "Half Celtic and Half Garlic."  His mother was Irish and his father was Italian.

We were joined by Kevin and Kelly, two very Irish folks and Frank.

We had almost nothing but Irish songs with plenty of clapping along to songs like "Whiskey in the Jar."  Great time.  They had to leave right away at 6 as they still had to go to the Irish Mill in Mundelein to play.  They had played nine times since Friday.

A Good Old Irish Time Had By All.  --RoadDog

Kissel Kar, I Get It

Kissel Motor Car Company evidently referred to their automobiles as "Kars" in a play on their name.

Takes awhile, but I sometimes catch on.

Like My Buddy Frank Likes to Say, Even the Blind Squirrel....  --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Kissel Motor Car Company-- Part 2

The company made 35,000 automobiles, of which only 150 are known to exist today.  The Wisconsin Automobile Museum of Hartford has several of them.

The most famous Kissel car was probably the one the company donated to Hollywood actress Anita King for her transcontinental journey in 1915 that marked the first-ever such trip by a single female driving alone.

The most popular Kissel model was the 1919 Speedster, nicknamed the Gold Bug.  One each of these were owned by Fatty Arbuckle and Amelia Earhart.

In 1927, the company began producing  the sporty White Eagle Speedster.

Kissel Motor Car Company used the Mercury as its logo.  In the late 1930s, Henry Ford requested use of it as the logo of his new car line.

In 1935, Kissel manufactured outboard motors and were a major supplier of Sears & Roebuck.

In 1942, Kissel was sold to the West Bend Aluminum Company.


The Kissel Motor Car Company-- Part 1


The Kissel Motor Car Company was founded June 5, 1906, in Hartford, Wisconsin.  They specialized in custom-built, high-quality automobiles, hearses, firetrucks, taxis and trucks.  Those trucks were rated at 3/4, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 tons.

They also had a sales office at 2515 Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois in 1913.

During World War I, they produced trucks for the military and the company prospered after the war.  But stiff competition, the Great depression, mounting losses and an attempted hostile takeover by New Era Motors forced Kissel to file for receivership protection in November 1930.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Monday, March 23, 2015

2015 Bald Eagle Update: March 23rd" Ozzy Hurt

Watching our fine-feathered friends by eagle cams.

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA:  Lots of stuff happening here.  The father, Ozzy (wife Harriett) was discovered near some railroad tracks, dazed and with a broken clavicle.  He was rescued just before a train hit him and is in the care of a group of raptor people..  They hope he will be able to return to the wild.

Harriett, in the meantime was very distraught to lose her mate.  She has also had to battle off a juvenile and a near-adult bald eagles who were interested in the nesting tree.  The eaglet, E-6 continues to grow and has been doing a lot of branching at higher and higher branches.  He/she is expected to fledge any day now.

After I wrote this, E-6 did fledge yesterday.

BERRY COLLEGE:  The two eaglets are fast approaching galoot stage and dealing with those huge talons which make movement difficult.

ALCOA:  Still on the one egg.

DECORAH:  Still on the three eggs.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Kissel Military Road Scout "Kar"-- Part 3

A committee of three San Francisco artists will do the camouflage of the Scout Kar.  Another source said the three were architect Arthur Brown, Jr. and artists Druce Nelson and A. Sheldon Pennoye.

Another article dated October 28, 1917, said it had been completed and was touring.  Various reports have the camouflaged "Kar" as being practically invisible at a short distance.

The Collectible Signs site has a whole lot of advertisements for Kissel Kars.


Friday, March 20, 2015

The Kissel Military Highway Scout "Kar"-- Part 2

The Kissel Motor Car Company of Hartford, Wisconsin was founded in 1906 by Louis Kissel and his sons.  He owned the firm until 1930.  In addition to motor cars, they also manufactured trucks, hearses, fire trucks, taxis and utility vehicles.

In a World War I news article in Motor West (Oct. 15, 1917) W.L. Hughson (President of the Pacific Kissel Kar branch) said that he had donated his famous Kissel Military Scout Car, recently used to blaze the "Three Nation Run" to the government department which deals with camouflage.

That Explains Some.  --RoadDog

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Kissel Military Highway Scout "Kar"-- Part 1

Back on March 4th, i wrote about the Shorpy picture "Meet Me At Multnomah: 1918 from Mar. 3, 2015.  I was wondering about a Kissel Military Highway in Oregon that perhaps went by the Multnomah Falls, and the date would make me think World War I, especially with the camouflage, so did some more research into the subject.

I found another picture of the car for auction on e-Bay.

From the Camoupedia: A Blog for Clarifying and Continuing the Findings That Were Published in Camoupedia: A Compendium of Research on Art, Architecture and Camouflage by Roy R. Behrens  Quite the name for a blog.

He had a newspaper advertisement in connection with the Shorpy photo.  It read: "The Hundred Point Six: The car of a Hundred Quality features''  Kissel-built from the ground up --  Distinctively individual in appearance and performance. --  Inspect it today.  --  DEALERS--  Unusual opportunities in unallotted territory.  Write or wire us today.  --  Kissel Motor Car Co.  --  Hartford, Wisconsin.

So, Kissel was the name of a car company.  Perhaps there wasn't a Kissel Military Highway in Oregon.

Fort Sheridan, Illinois-- Part 4: A Fort With No Soldiers

Continued from January 17, 2015.

This entry grew out of the importance of Civil War General Phil Sheridan in Chicago history and the naming of Sheridan Road.

During the Korean and Vietnam wars, Fort Sheridan was a reception and processing center for recruits.  It also provided logistical support for 33 Nike-Hercules missile sites..

By 1975, it had the largest-ever military-civilian contingent in the fort's history posted there with some 5,000.  By 1980 it was down to 1400.  By the late 1980s there were no military personnel.

It was among the first installations to be announced they would be closed in 1990, but it did provide aid during Desert Shield and desert Storm.

It was closed officially by the Army on May 28, 1993.

The Story of a Fort.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Doing Our Irish Thing This Past Weekend-- Part 2: Another Parade, More Bars

MARCH 15TH, SUNDAY:  After listening to Rock and Roll Roots, we drove to McHenry, Illinois, for the Rotary St. Patrick's Parade.  This was the 8th time it was run and the first time I knew about it.

We parked behind the Gambler and went inside and had a green beer in a very packed place with parade celebrants.  The bartender was pregnant and had a little Irish hat attached to her stomach.  The little lad or lass was having a St. Patrick's Day even before being born.  How Irish is that?

Another couple next to us gave their grandkids St. Patrick's light up beads and ordered the corned beef and cabbage dinner ($10.95).  When it came, I was amazed at how small the portions were until I found out they had split an order.

We went outside just as the parade started passing.  This was a big parade and there were lots of people watching and cheering.  Unlike yesterday's parade, they had had  a big bagpipe and drum band and two groups of Irish dancers.  A whole lot of hair bouncing up and down.

There were lots of floats and organizations marching in it.  Of course, it was politician paradise.

Vote for Me.  --RoadDog

The Name Game in Chicago-- Part 2; Palmolive Building and Weegham Park

And, then there is the Aon Center which i still thought until this article was the Standard Oil Building or "Big Stan" as it was also called.  And even then, there were two other names in between.

What was one time Chicago's tallest building, the Palmolive Building has also been the Playboy Building and just 919 N. Michigan Avenue.

And, speaking of Michigan Avenue, it was once Michigan Boulevard or Boul Mich.  The stretch north of the Chicago River now called the Magnificent Mile, or Mag Mile was Pine Street at one time.

Wabash Avenue, north of the river was once Cass Street before a bridge made it a continuous thoroughfare.  The descendants of the late General Lewis Cass, a failed presidential candidate couldn't have been too happy about that.

And, even that Cub paradise, Wrigley Field, was actually Weegham Park before the chewing gum folks bought it and attached their name.

Well, Everything Changes (But I Still Don't Like It).  --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Doing Our Irish Thing This Past Weekend-- Part 1: Parades, Bars and CB&C

SATURDAY, MARCH 14TH:  Saturday, i went to the Johnsburg, Illinois, Business Expo at the high school and then to the Lake Villa St. Patrick's parade where I used to deejay for many years before I retired.  Went to Galatti's which had replaced the olf George's Cedar Inn where I played.

Then to the VFW hall.  The parade was ok, but didn't have a bagpipe band or any Irish dancers.  Come on, you have to have those two things in a St. Patrick's parade.  They did have a guy in St. Patrick costume walking ahead of the parade, but I didn't know St. Patrick wore sunglasses.

Then, Liz and I went to Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, for corned beef and cabbage.  It was some of the best we ever had ($9.50 for a huge plate).  It was just 3 p.m., but that place was already getting loud and packed.

Then, we drove over to the Twisted Moose in McHenry to watch the Blackhawks game and sure had a great time watching them break a 2-2 tie to demolish the San Jose Sharks 6-2.

Last stop was at Sunnyside Tap in Johnsburg where we had great talks with the patrons.

The Name Game in Chicago-- Part 1: Do You Have to Call Them By the New Name?

From the March 8, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Willis, Sears and the name game over titles, time" by Phil Rosenthal.

Phil says his grade-school kid calls it the Willis Tower while he trips over the name.  Like me.  And, I won't even call it that W.... Name.  it will always be the Sears Tower.  Chicago's tallest (and one-time tallest in the world) building is now for sale.  And, it's on Route 66, right in between Adams and Jackson streets.  Wonder what they will call it next?

But, names of things in Chicago have changed over the years and that will continue on always.

I agree, however, that the first name to a new place tends to stick.  When the old Chicago Stadium was torn down and replaced by the United Center, I have no trouble calling it the U.C..  However, not so with Sox Stadium.  When the original Comiskey Park (and still my favorite) was torn down, I would have called its replacement Comiskey regardless.  And it was called Comiskey Park at first until the name was sold to U.S. Cellular and now called that other name, often shorted to just the "Cell."

Other "New Names."  --RoadDog

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dyeing the Chicago River Green-- Part 2

3.  AT 9:45 a.m., START:  The larger boat is responsible for dyeing the river, which begins when it arrives under the Michigan Avenue bridge near Wacker Drive.

4.  KITCHEN SECRET:  Three men use flour sifters to dump about 40 pounds of an environmentally friendly orange powder into the river.  The fourth drives the boat.  The formula of the powder is top secret and it turns bright green when it its the water.

5.  POWDER SPREAD:  The smaller boat  "chases" the larger boat and churns the water, which helps disperse the powder across the river.  Traveling the river between Wabash Avenue and Columbus Drive, the large boat snakes across the waterway dumping powder.

6.  GREEN SHEEN:  It takes about 45 minutes for the river to turn completely green.  depending upon which direction the wind is blowing, the water can stay green for up to a few days.

And then, More Green for the Irish.  --RoadDog

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dyeing the Chicago River Green-- Part 1

From the March 13, 2015, Chicago Tribune according to Tom Rowan, head of the crew that does it.

Earlier today, the Chicago River downtown turned into a shocking hue of green as part of a long-standing tradition.

The event dates back to 1962, when Mayor Richard J. Daley and Stephen Bailey, a boyhood friend and the St. Patrick's Day parade chairman, started the tradition.  At 9:15 a.m. Saturday, the river will become a bright green again.  Here's how the process works, and where to watch the dye job.

1.  PREP WORK:  Early in te morning, the crew arrives at a city boat slip on the North Branch of the Chicago River.  Everyone wears clothes and shoes they don't mind getting dirty and a white paper smock over their clothes.

2.  ON THE WATER:  The crew hops aboard two small motor boats donated by volunteers.  The larger boat, at approximately 18-feet, has a crew of four.  The smaller boat, a 12-footer, has two people.

Put Some Green in My River.  --RoadDog

Your Name Here on Famous Route 66 Building in Chicago

From the March 5, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Your name here?: $1B asked for iconic tower; title tied up for now" by Melissa Harris.

I have to admit that I don't refer to it by its new name and don't figure at any time in the future.  To me it will always be the Sears Tower, much the way that the White Sox still play in Comiskey Park as far as I'm concerned.

The folks who own the Sears Tower have had some financial difficulties in recent years and are looking to sell it for more than $1 billion.  That could get your name on it after the contract with London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings to put their name on it runs out.

It is now the ____ Tower.  They get naming rights as they continue to lease at least 103,716 feet of floor space in the tower.

Folks say they got a really great deal for the naming rights, paying only $1 million a year.  Market folks say naming rights should go anywhere from $2 to $4 million.

Recoup Some of Your $1 Billion.  --RoadDog

It's Irish Day 'Round Here

St. Patrick's Day is Tuesday, but will be celebrated around here mostly today.

Right now, I am listening to "The Unicorn" by the Irish Rovers.  This was a song that my friend Chris would request every time I played for the St. Patrick's Parade in downtown Lake Villa, Illinois, at George's Cedar Inn.  I did that for many years and, as a matter of fact, this was the very last place I ever deejayed about three, maybe four, years ago.  It is on one of my ten St. Patrick's cassettes I recorded for use there and elsewhere.

I had a deal worked out with it's owner, George, that I would play every year there for St.Patrick's even after I was retired, which I was a few years earlier.  That would be for as long as he owned the place and my equipment worked.  I did it for free in honor of out long-standing good times.

He was getting old and sold the bar and it is now a pizza place after a lot of much needed innovation.

I am going to that parade at noon and will have my cb&c pizza, a real taste trip.

They used to have a corned beef & cabbage (cb&c) dinner, all-you-can-eat) and it was the best cb&c ever.

Oh Well, Old Times Were Sure Good Times.  --RoadDog

2015 Bald Eagle Trip-- Part 6: We See Eagles!

JANUARY 22, 2015, Thursday

Now, we are approaching the Army Corps of Engineers Lock & Dam #11, north of Dubuque sure hoping we'll get a chance to see some bald eagles, but you never know.  You can get shut out as has happened to us before.  Usually, if they are not at the edge of the ice, you can see them perched in the trees going up to the cliff behind us.  There is Eagle Point Park located at the top of the cliff.

Today, despite careful looking, there are no bald eagles.  I even went up on the the two-story lookout tower for a better  look at the ice on the Mississippi River.  Not overly cold, but the stiff breeze did make it uncomfortable after a short while.

I inquired of a guy sitting in his car (there are usually 5-10 eagle watchers by the locks). he said that he had seen one earlier, but it had flown off and not been back.

So, it was a rare shutout in the eagle department.

We drove along the levee top to the south end where there is a park and here we finally saw a bald eagle across the river, so we weren't shut out!!  We also saw a second one.

De Eagle, De Eagle.  --RoadDog

Friday, March 13, 2015

2015 Bald Eagle Trip-- Part 6: Another NIU Alum

JANUARY 21, 2015, Wednesday.  I forgot to mention that when we checked into the Super 8, the desk clerk had graduated from Northern Illinois and had attended during the first three years of Joe Novak's football coaching.  he said he remembers how bad the Huskies were as they completed 1-11, 0-12 and 2-10 consecutive seasons.  That was a combined 3-33 records.

These were times that really tried Huskie fans, but it was the cleansing of bad football and the beginning of many great years after that.  The next two years the team hovered around the .500 mark and then took off with that great 10-2 season in 2003 when Northern defeated Iowa State, Maryland and Alabama.  The last two were also ranked in the Top Twenty at the time.

The patience shown by athletic director Carrie Groh sure paid off as, the years since have been a lot of fun.

Joe Novak stayed on as coach.  Before, as soon as anything got going and Northern had success, it was time to find a new coach.  Sadly, however, there was one stretch with Jerry Kill going to Minnesota and Dave Doeren going to North Carolina State, but at least Coach Carey seems to be here for a long time.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

2015 Bald Eagle Trip-- Part 5: Dubuque, Iowa

JANUARY 22ND, THURSDAY  (Day 2 of the trip)

Drove to the lock and dam north of Dubuque, Iowa.  Gas at all stations was $1.90 for regular.  Usually in Iowa, you have to aware of the fact that in recent years the top and lowest prices on the signs was for Mid-Level grade and regular was 10 cents more.  But for some reason that is no more, thankfully.

Passed the Hotel Julien, named for the first white settler in the area, Julien Dubuque.  This hotel has recently been completely restored and is quite the place.  It is expensive, though, but we'd like to stay there sometime in the future.

Drove by the Ice Harbor with all its interesting places, including the Mississippi Museum and also by the city hall with that beautiful gold dome on top., the tallest building in town.

I often hear Dubuque being put down as a nice place by people, but sure don't understand why.  This is a city I wouldn't mind calling home.


Route 66 February 2015

Again, these news items are taken from the Route 66 News blog.  For photos, video and much more information go there.

FEBRUARY 1ST:  Route 66 reopened from Ludlow, California and Amboy.  Closed in September because of flood damage.

FEBRUARY 4TH:  Restoration of Tulsa's Blue Dome.  An impressive building.

FEBRUARY 6TH:  Santa Monica Pier lays claim for Popeye's inspiration as being based on real-life sailor who hung around the pier.  Olaf Olson (photograph with article)  This guy sure looked like the Popeye we know.  He was described as a "local character."

Of course, Chester, Illinois, might have something to say about this.  After all, they have a Popeye statue and the pier doesn't.  Chester holds that Popeye was based on Frank "Rocky" Fiegel

Down That Old Road.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bald Eagle Update for March 11, 2015

March 11th, 2015:

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA:  E-6 has branched, something eaglets have to do before flying.  This is where they learn to perch on branches.  He is about as big as his parents now.

BERRY COLLEGE:  The two bandidos are growing quite fast now and are reaching the way too big talons stage where their bodies have not caught up with their feet.  Very little bonking for pecking order when it comes to eating.

ALCOA:  Still just one egg which hasn't hatched yet.

DECORAH:  Sad news this past week is that one of the three eaglets from last year was electrocuted.  D-19, a female had been caught and tagged with a radio transmitter shortly after fledging and well on her way to becoming an adult.  She was killed by high tension wires.

Her brother was also electrocuted shortly after leaving the nest last year.

A third one is now in a SOAR recovery unit and is not expected to ever fly because of injuries sustained when he left the nest.  But at least he is alive.

All three left the nest early as they were plagued by gnats.

There are another three eggs in the nest this year.  Hoping for more success, but that is life in the wild, even for the top of the food chain.


2015 Bald Eagle Trip-- Part 4: Dining and Hawks

JANUARY 21, 2015:  As is the case everywhere, it is getting mighty expensive to eat out these days.  But, the Log Cabin in Galena, Illinois, is worth it.  We kept our meals at under $20.

I had the Grecian chicken which I had always wanted to try (what with this being a Grecian restaurant all these years and it being listed as a specialty).  It was every bit as good as expected.  I had plenty left over for another meal.  Liz had the fish.  (I also like their catfish which is what I had way back in 1973 for our first meal since getting married.)

Very full so drove US-20 on to Dubuque, Iowa and got a room at the Super 8 and then drove next door to Champs at the Best Western.  They have a huge sports bar with lots of TVs and their main one had the Chicago Blackhawks playing so watched the entire game and the Hawks won!!

Great Meal, great Win.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Route 66 January 2015

JANUARY 22ND:Pacific, Missouri, gets a grant to help buy the Lookout on Jensen's Point.  We've driven by it several times and it sure looks impressive and there has to be a great view.  That is, if I can get up all those steps.  It would be great to have this open for the public again.

JANUARY 23RD:  Gary Turner, owner of Gay Parita Sinclair gas station, west of Halltown, Missouri, died.  A real Route 66ers who really loved his road.  He turned that place into a must-visit site.  Hope someone continues for him.

JANUARY 25TH:  Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub, of the Chicago Cubs died.  Broke the Cubs color barrier as first black to play for them.  Make sure to check out his Wrigley Field and statue outside of it.

JANUARY 27TH:   The city of museums gets yet another one.  Pontiac, Illinois,  will be getting the Illinois Basketball Museum set to open in the summer of 2016.  Pontiac sure has the museums.

JANUARY 29TH:  Rock Creek Bridge near Sapulpa, Oklahoma reopened for traffic.  IO sure love my Route 66 bridges and hate to lose one.  Well, we got this one back.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Route 66 January 2015

These events (and only some of them are listed) are taken from the Route 66 News blog which has photos and much  more information.

JANUARY 1ST:  Bill Shea's widow, Helen, died.  We met her several times at Bill's museum in Springfield, Illinois.  I'll never forget when I remarked to her that her husband sure had a lot of stuff.  She replied, "That old man, he never throws anything away.

JANUARY 11TH:  Co-owner of Becky's Barn south of Springfield, Illinois, died.   Becky Hargett.    She owned it with her husband and had really turned it into a must-stop place on the route.

JANUARY 12TH:  The old Bel-Air Motel in Springfield, Ill. is expected to be torn down completely by late summer or early fall.  I hated to see this happen, but the place was way too far gone to save.  I do hope the sign and that interesting globe thing are saved.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Another Way to Get through Winter: Business Expos and Chili Cookoffs

And we certainly had another crummy  winter.  February was the coldest since the 1870s and the second-snowiest month ever in Chicago.  There is still plenty of snow piled up as it never had much of a chance to melt.

However, in a few minutes, I am going to the Fox Lake Chamber of Commerce Business Expo at Grant High School.  Always like the freebies and this is a great one in that it also is a Taste of Fox Lake.  Local businesses offer their wares for $1 or $2 so you get a great selection.

I went to the Richmond-Spring Grove Expo last Saturday and will go to the Johnsburg one next Saturday.

Plus, another good way to get through the winter is the famed chili cookoffs we have around here.  I have been to several of them, most recently last Saturday.

Plus, our American Legion is having entertainment this afternoon.

next weekend starts the St. Patrick's Day celebrations around here with the parade in Lake Villa and lotsa, lotsa croned beef and cabbage.

Winter...Not So Bad.  --RoadDog

Route 66 News' Top Ten Rt. 66 Icons-- Part 4

16.  MUNGER-MOSS MOTEL. Lebanon, Missouri--  Our very-most favorite motel on Route 66.  Nothinhg like a stay with Ramona and Bob Lehman and a gab session.

17.  OLD CHAIN OF ROCKS BRIDGE,  St. Louis--  About the only way I can get Liz to go on a Missouri or Illinois motor tour is the chance to cross this old bridge.  What do you mean it takes 30 minutes to cross it?  Our very first time on Route 66 in 2002 as 66ers, I stopped at the Missouri Welcome Center and asked where it was.  The person just smiled and pointed behind me.  Duh!!

18.  TED DREWE'S FROZEN CUSTARD, St. Louis--  Almost didn't go here the first time by as there were huge lines, but they sure do move fast.  And, what about that brain freeze?

19.  BIG TEXAN STEAKHOUSE, Amarillo, Texas--  Go here or be square.  Didn't even try to eat that steak in that amount of time.  But, we did have steaks and sat in the big rocking chair.

20.  JACKRABBIT TRADING POST, Joseph City, Arizona--  A tourist trap is there ever was one.  And, we love those tourist traps and generally part with some money.  Love all the signs leading to up.  Reminds us of South of the Border on the SC/NC border.

Nice to Finally Start Getting East Route 66 places on the list.

Is It Spring Yet?   --RoadDog

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Route 66 News' Top Ten Route 66 Icons-- Part 3

I went on and did the top twenty icons anyway.  For the whole list, go to the January 1, 2015, entry on the site Route 66 News.

11.  OATMAN, ARIZONA--  Just the drive east of there is worth it.  But, what a town.  And those four-legged varmints all over the place.  A real unique place.

12.  METEOR CRATER, ARIZONA--  A big hole in the ground.  We got there just at closing time and they wanted full admission to see it for five minute.  Maybe some other time.

13.  MIDPOINT CAFE--  Adrian, Texas--  Great food.  Winder, however, if it 100% the half-way point?

14.  PETRIFIED FOREST--  Arizona--  Right by the Painted desert.  Looking forward to getting my National Park Golden Senior Pass.  What a deal, even though I will still make donations every time.  The national parks are well worth it.

15.  WIGWAM MOTEL--  San Bernardini, Cal.--  Looking better than it did brand-new when we drove by.  But sadly, like in Holbrook, we were too early to stop driving.  Maybe next time.

Getting me Fired Up for a 66 Trip.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Shorpy's Kissel Military Highway Scout Kar

From the March 3, 2015, Shorpy "Meet Me at Multnomah: 1918.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon, circa 1918 "Kissel Military Highway Scout Kar..  The camouflage-painted car.  Photo by Christopher Helin.  The beautiful waterfall is in the background, but the camouflaged car is parked in the foreground.  On the side of it is a circle with the words "Military Highway Scout Kar **  Service First."

This car raises all sorts of questions.  Was there a Kissell Military Highway out in Oregon?  Why is the car painted in camouflage?  The year 1918 was one in which the United States was fighting in World War I.  Did it have something to do with that?

I'll have to look into it.

And What Was It With the Word "Kar?"  --RoadDog

Route 66 News' Top Ten Route 66 Icons-- Part 2

6.  BLUE SWALLOW MOTEL, Tucumcari, New Mexico--  Glad we were able to stay there once.  Spent part of the night outside by the neon lights watching the Route 66 traffic go by.

7.  WIGWAM MOTEL, Holbrook, Arizona--  We were sorry to have gotten here way before we intended to stop for the night or we would have stayed here.  Maybe next time.  Bit I did stay in the Wigwam Motel at Cave City, Kentucky.

8.  CADILLAC RANCH, Amarillo, Texas--  Route 66 at its quirkiest.

9.  BLUE WHALE, Catoosa, Oklahoma--  Same as #8.

10.  SNOW CAP DRIVE-IN,  Seligman, Arizona--  Run by Juan Delgadillo.  Lots of kitsch and be careful what you order.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

2015 Bald Eagles-- Part 3: Galena

Once in Galena, first stop was at the VFW for cocktails after our arduous and scenic drive.  Always a favorite stop for us.  After two, we went to the Log Cabin steakhouse on main Street.  We have been going to this place since we were in Galena for our honeymoon in 1973 and the place hasn't changed at all, except, of course, the prices.  It would be hard to get a steak dinner for under $28.  They feature Chicago's Allen steaks.

They now have a separate dining area, but I suggest getting a table in the original dining room adjacent to the bar area and eat while being overlooked by John Wayne.  Our waiter knew a lot about NIU athletics even though he didn't go there (we were wearing our NIU coats).  The couple dining across the room by the wall told us they were NIU Class of 1971 graduates and had retired to Galena and love it.

We talked a lot about the turmoil we had on campus in the spring of 1970 after Kent State.  We had violence, injuries, arrest and vehicles blown up.  This is when I believed I was seeing the end of the United States. I'll never forget going to the original Pizza Villa in downtown DeKalb and walking around a corner right into a group of National Guardsmen or cops who had a tear gas gun.  That could ruin your appetite.

Kent State at NIU Was Frightening.  --RoadDog

Route 66 News' Top Ten Icons-- Part 1

The ultimate site for any of you 66ers out there, Ron Warnick's Route 66 News blog, ran a contest where folks voted for their favorite ten places on Route 66.

Not surprisingly, most were in the west (where those folks really voted).  When I voted, it was sites in the usually overlooked east, especially poor Illinois which is so-often forgotten.

Anyway, here are the Top Ten Icons:

1.  Standing On the Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona  (We were there for the Standing On the Corner Festival on our 2006 end-to-end Route 66 trip.  Nothing like hearing a band playing "Take It Easy" while standing on the corner.

2.  La Posada--  Winslow, Az.  Impressive place.

3.  Gay Parita Sinclair Station--  near Halltown, Mo.  So sorry to hear Gary Turner died.  He was the one that turned the place into such a destination.  At least we got to meet him.

4.  Angel Delgadillo's Barber Shop--  Seligman, Az.  A must-stop for any 66er.

5.  Santa Monica Pier--  Santa Monica, Ca.  A great way to end a Route 66 trip.  We were disappointed in 2006 to find here wasn't a Route 66 souvenir shop on the the pier, but I understand you can buy stuff there now.

All Neat Stuff to See.  --RoadDog

Plans Underway to Preserve the Historic High Desert Stretch of Route 66

From the Jan. 29, 2015, San Bernardino (Ca.) Sun News by Joe Nelson.

For nearly 25 years San Bernardino has had its annual Route 66 Rendezvous and now it plans to preserve and enhance the 150-mile stretch of two lane Route 66 from Needles to Barstow.

Included will be  roadside kiosks and mobile apps.

Well Worth Preserving.  --RoadDog

Americans Keeping Extra Gas Money in Pockets

From the Feb. 19, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP.

I'm loving the lowest gas prices in five years.  It even got down to below $2 here in super-expensive gas Illinois.  I bought it as low as $1.90 in McHenry thanks to a gas war started by the new Murphy USA gas station by Wal-Mart.

The lower gas prices is good for business as Americans have more money to spend on other stuff.

From Nov. to Jan. employers added over 1 million jobs and even pay was raised in December.But. Americans aren't spending the money at retail stores.  Evidently, drivers are using the extra money to reduce debt and build savings.

Gas in January was nearly $1.10 less than it was a year ago.

I know I am a bit more open to travel at these lower prices.  We definitely curtailed travel because of he high gas prices (even though we are retired and have the time.  And, it isn't the fact that we can't afford $4+ gas.  We can, but I hate to see the GRB getting richer.

Plus, there is plenty to do in the local area.

Gas is now up to $2.40 around here, but I expect it to be back up to $4 by the end of April, if not before.

Why?  because the GRBs Can.  --RoadDog

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bald Eagle Update, March 2, 2015

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA--  Two eggs were laid and hatched.  But E-5 died.  E-6 is in the Galoot Stage and spreading his wings.  He hasn't started branching yet and is nearly the side of the adults.

BERRY COLLEGE--  These two Bandido Stage eaglets are learning to get along when fed (eaglets tend to bonk each other for nest dominance during feeding.).  They also survived a lot of snow last week, much more than you'd think of for Georgia.

DECORAH, IOWA:  There are three eggs in the nest.  They had quite a bit of snow and cold temperatures last week.

BETTENDORF, IOWA--  The first egg laid was blown out of the nest.  A second has now been laid.