Wednesday, July 29, 2015

North Carolina's Sea Turtle Hospital

From the July 23. 2015, Pender-Topsail Post & Voice "Sea Turtle Hospital News" by Karen Sota.

Your chance to see recovering and injured sea turtles.  It used to be located in a small building in Topsail Beach, but has since moved to the other side of the sound and the Intercoastal Waterway in Surf City (before the Swing bridge).  From N.C.210/50, turn onto Charlie  Medlin Drive by Shipwreck point mini Golf.

They are open everyday except Wednesdays and Sundays from  noon to 4 p.m..  Admission is $5 for adults 13 and up and $4 for seniors 65 and older and active military personnel.

They go out mornings on beach patrol to search for nest sites, but rely on people to help with sightings.

There is a whole set of rules for what you can do and not do when encountering nesting turtles.

--RoadDog

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Keep the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher Funded

From the July 23, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News by the Star'News Editorial Board.

{People know that the aquarium is a great place to visit.  Users of Trip Advisor recently ranked it as the nation's 16th best aquarium.  Star-News readers ranked it as the region's top family attraction in last year's Shore Picks rankings.

This spring they brought in colorful parrots from Australia called lorikeets which will be there until October.  Last year they had a butterfly exhibit.  In 2009, they bought Luna an albino alligator.

The centerpiece of the place is the 235,000-gallon Cape Fear Shoals exhibit, often called the "Shark Tank," but also including moray eels, grouper, stingrays and others species of aquatic life.

In addition, it is located near the popular Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and the Southport-Fort Fisher ferry.

There is a North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory proposal to move management of the three N.C. aquariums, along with state parks and recreation areas from the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources to the Cultural Resources Department and this has aquarium as they believe they are not just in the business of pleasing visitors as they work to preserve wildlife.

State funding for the aquariums dropped from $10.5 million in 2007 to $7 million in 2014.  Ticket prices have been raised.

We went to it a few years ago and it is definitely worth the admission price.

--RoadDog

Monday, July 27, 2015

North Carolina Rich in Outdoor Theater-- Part 2

Other outdoor theater:

ASHEVILLE--Five to six Shakespearean plays by the Montford Park Players.  Both indoors and outdoors at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre.

CHEROKEE--  "Unto These Hills":  Long-running drama about the Cherokee people.

HALIFAX--  "First for Freedom":  The adoption of the Halifax Resolves, the first official declaration of independence from England just celebrated its 40th year.

SNOW CAMP--  "American Patriots" and "Pathway to Freedom":The former is a tribute to the Quakers during the American Revolution.  The latter is an account of the Underground Railroad.

VALDESE--  "From This Day Forward":  Tells the story of the founders of the town of Valdese, who hailed from the Alps in Northern Italy.  This year is its 48th consecutive season.

WILKESBORO--  "Tom Dooley: A Wilkes County Legend":  Dramatization of the well-known love triangle of the popular song.

WILMINGTON--  Cape fear Shakespeare On the Green held each June at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater.  Two different productions, one by children and one by adults.

But Wear Your Skeeter Repellent.  --RoadDog


Friday, July 24, 2015

North Carolina Rich in Outdoor Dramas-- Part 1

From the July 23, 2015, Wilmington *NC) Star-News "Take it outside."

This was in connection with the outdoor play "The Hermit of Fort Fisher."  I wrote about it in my Running the Blockade blog.

One of the best-known outdoor dramas is "The Horn in the Wesr" in Boone which has been performed since 1952 in the Daniel Boone theater.  It tells the story of Daniel Boone.

The other one is "The Lost Colony" which plays in Manteo, perhaps the best known of all outdoor  dramas.  It is the story of the famed but doomed English settlement on the Outer Banks and has featured such players as the late Andy Griffith.

But, There Are Others.  --RoadDog

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The State of Roads in DeKalb County 100 Years Ago

From the July 25, 2015, MidWeek (DeKalb, Il.) "Looking Back.  News from 100 years ago.

July 1915.

The poorest main-traveled road reaching Sycamore is the road known as the State road which crosses Mayfield near the center and South Grove Township through the northern portion.  That portion of this road for about three miles from Sycamore to Five Points has been macadamized and is in fine condition, but the remainder, which reaches a territory with which Sycamore has much business, needs prompt attention.

I believe this road is today's Il-23 and the area Sycamore did much business with was probably DeKalb.

--RoadDog

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Opossums in the House

I spent my first day in North Carolina helping my brother move two opossums from his basement out to a wooded area for release.  He has a cat door and evidently the two opossums entered through it.  A few days ago, he was startled by what he thought at first was a snake hanging down from the overhead, but turned out to be an opossum.

He went to the city and they gave him a trap to catch it which he installed in his basement yesterday and caught one.  Later that night, he heard a rustling in his garbage can, looked in and there was another one.  He cornered it and put in in his dog kennel.

We took the two out to a wooded area.

My brother decided to set the trap again in his basement and just an hour ago, he called to say he had caught another one.

Here a Possum, There a Possum.  --RoadDog

Monday, July 20, 2015

Indy 500-- Part 17: The Race

On lap 45, Dixon in lead, Pagenaud #2..  Lap 60-- same.  Lap 63, a crash by Claussen   Dixon led 52 of first 64 laps.  I see last year's winner Ryan Hunter-Reay is number 28.  What's up with that?

Lap #84, Tony Kanaan #1, Sue, Paul and John are happy.  Pagenaud #2, Dixon #3 and Powers #4.

The top seven drivers are pulling away from the rest of the pack.

What I want to know is where is "Pinkie?"  One of the two female drivers in a pink car.

Lap 103 (of 200) Pagenaud #1.

Lap 105-- crash  Lap 112, two car crash.

--RoadDog

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Annual Downriver Trip-- Part 4: Gin House, Riverside and Sunnyside

At the Gin House, we got a Chain Crawl passport stamp (it is several blocks off the Fox River) and the bartender asked what we thought about Stormy Monday which used to be her bar when it was Baja Benny's.  We told her about the death of Frank Costello, who owned it when it was Costello'.

We had hoped to stop at Broken Oar, but that place was so packed, we proceeded on to Riverside by Burton's Bridge.  This place also had a big crowd, but we got our stamp and even tried their 1/2 pound burger and fries for $4.

Decided to make a stop at Cabanas on Pistakee Lake to see Jim Seig play his music, but he wasn't there.

We ended the trip at Sunnyside Tavern in Johnsburg.

Lots of Fun Today, Even With the Rain.  --RoadDog

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Annual Downriver Trip-- Part 3: From a Dead End to a Low Life

July 16, 2015:  We left Port Edwards and drove a good distance along the east bank of the Fox River with great views and eventually ended up at Dead End Saloon in Fox River Grove.  It is on the river and by the US-14 bridge.  We had a drink there, got our stamp and braved the huge amount of traffic to turn left.

This is the section of the trip where we usually get lost and that happened again.  One of these days we will remember to bring along Nancy, our GPS gal.  But we sure see some pretty homes, great landscaping and scenic drives, even though by now we had a light rain falling.  As usual, we ended up by the Nordic Hills Ski Jump way up there in the sky.

Next stop was Herman's Low Life in Barrington Hills (I think).  This is a favorite place of ours and one we'd never have known about except for the Chain Crawl.  So, we went from a Dead End to a Low Life place.  This place was packed.  Of course, it is a small place so it doesn't take that many people to fill it up.  Met a couple there who have a trailer up at Captain's Quarters and we see them most Sundays.

We were so full still from the shrimp, we did not have the Hot Cop Porn.

Going to the Gin House.  --RoadDog

Annual Downriver Trip-- Part 2: Going Nautical at Port Edwards

July 16, 2015:  We drove to Algonquin and stopped at Port Edwards, right by the Algonquin Dam and the Algonquin Road Bridge.  This is the farthest south of our passport stamps for the Chain Crawl and probably the most nautical-themed place on the Chain Crawl.  The only other place I can think of in the area with this much nautical theme would be Popeye's in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

We had drinks and used our coupon to get $10 off an appetizer, so ordered the pound of steamed shrimp.  They were big and filled us both up.

Port Edwards tends to be on the expensive side, but is quite the experience, so worth it.

The place has so much stuff, they have a Nautical Walking Tour pamphlet.  Just outside the place in the parking lot and by the entrance, they have these items:

RIVERSIDE LIGHTHOUSE--  Retrieved from the Milk Pail Amusement Park in Dundee, Illinois.  It has been refurbished and designated Fox River MM 88.

ALASKAN ICE BREAK DOUBLE SHIP'S WHEEL--  Circa 1935.

SPANISH SHIP'S CANNON--  Salvaged from the Bahamas.  Circa 1780.

FIVE FOOT LOBSTER--  Their commissioned commemorative 40th anniversary lobster.  Subject of many photos and with signs asking patrons not to climb on it.

And There Are Plenty Other Items Inside.  --RoadDog

INDY 500-- Part 16: Pace Car Leads in Early Part of Race

Then came the words, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Start your engines."  The first four laps are practice.  For this race, since Hinchecliffe wasn't in it, I was pulling for Scott Dixon.  John, Paul and Sue always pull for Tony Kanaan.

I see the Pagoda and Gasoline Alley to my left.  The sun is shining and there is a nice breeze keeping us cool.  What a great day for a race, and, as they say, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Out there on the track, we have 11 American drivers and five former Indy 500 winners.  There are now eleven rows of three cars as they get into position for the green flag and go.  This is its 99th Running as they refer to it.  Next year's 100th should be something else.

They start and there is an accident right away on Turn One.  Lots of debris and we saw it all taking place right by us.  This led to a 10 lap precaution where there is no passing.  At this point, the Pace Car had led for most of the race.  Not exactly what we hoping for.

These cars always sound like a lot of angry bees to me as they by.

The early laps were a battle between Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan.

And, They're Off.  --RoadDog

Friday, July 17, 2015

Taking Our Annual Downriver Trip-- Part 1: By Car, Not Boat and The Flag Store

Yesterday, July 16th, we went to Crystal lake, Illinois, to have our emissions test.  While down that far south, we like to go to some of the places on the Chain Crawl.  In the past we used to do it by boat, but lately it is by car.  And it was a good thing because part way through our visits, it started raining and was poring by the time we got home.  Being on a boat in the rain is not much fun, especially in an open bow one.  You get wet even with a Bimini top.

We passed the emissions test and are good to go for two more years on that count.  We then went to downtown Crystal lake to one of our favorite places, The Flag Store.  This is one of those places I should try to avoid as it is pretty-well guaranteed this is going to cost me some money.  It did.

They have all the great stuff I'd like to put on my basement walls (but sadly i am pretty well out of space now.  I did buy one of those heritage banners featuring four different logos of the Blackhawks since their inception to now.  We believe the Hawks have the best looking logo in any sport.  i also got a White Sox yard flag and a pair of Blackhawk earrings for Liz.

Fifty-five bucks later, we were on our way to Port Edwards in Algonquin, the farthest place on the Chain Crawl.

--RoadDog

Indy 500-- Part 15: "Back Home Again in Indiana"

The track broadcast went to the Space Station and we saw them on the giant TVs, but didn't get sound.    I believe I heard that Jordan Sparks sang the Star-Spangled Banner.  A giant U.S. flag was unfolded on the infield near us during its singing.

There was a flyover by the Indiana National Guard and then those great words, "Drivers to your cars."

Then we had the Indy 500 tradition, the singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana" which they have been doing since 1946.  The last however so many years by Gomer (Jim Nabors).  This year it was done by Indiana's Straight, No Chaser.  Jim was watching it from his home in Hawaii.

I always enjoy the release of the thousands of red, white and blue balloons.  I wonder how far they get.

James Hinchecliffe, my favorite driver, had won a position but had been seriously injured in a pre-race accident and there is some talk that his racing career might be over.

We sit on what is called the catwalk (way high up with those man-beating stairs) half way between the first and second turns so have a great view of anything happening in that area and can see almost to the third turn.  Great seats (and expensive at $185).  For that price, I ought to get an elevator and nearby bathrooms.  You can see downtown Indianapolis out to the southeast and that huge Lucas Oil Stadium.

--RoadDog

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Indy 500-- Part 14: Race Preliminaries

We hung out under the bleachers for awhile before commencing that real long and hard walk up the stairs.  That walk really wears me out.  I thought I was going to get sick as we neared the top.  To avoid unnecessary trips up and down the stairs, I don't have my first beer until there are only about 70-80 laps left.

I heard that David Letterman, a native of Indiana, was there.  We then were welcomed to the race, which they loudly proclaimed to be "The 99th Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Colletti was a rookie and there were two women drivers, neither one was Danica Patrick.  Scott Dixon won the pole position in the qualifying races.

And, this being Memorial Day Weekend, it was announced the race was to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and our dwindling number of World War II veterans.

Danielle Cranberry sand "America the Beautiful."  Then we had a Spirit of '45 where those veterans from 70 years ago turned over the "Spirit" to veterans of more recent wars.

Parachuters then dropped down from the sky.  Florence Henderson sand "God Bless America."

News From Along Route 66: June 2015 Jensen's Point Is Back

JUNE 6TH--  Pacific, Missouri announced that Jensen's Point will reopen as a city park in February after improvements are made.  The city bought it with a $350,000 grant from the St. Louis County Parks.  The city has another $85,000 available for improvements.

It was built by the CCC in the 1930s and opened in 1941.  named after Lars Peter Jensen, the first manager of Shaw's Garden which became the Missouri Botanic Garden.

Jensen's Point remained under private ownership into the 1990s.

I have often wanted to go to the top.  Looks like I will now have the opportunity.  Thanks Pacific.  I just hope I can make the climb.

JUNE 10TH--  A Route 66 Association was formed in Japan.  Always like to see that.

JUNE 10TH--  The final cruise and closing of Jobe's Drive-In in El Reno, Oklahoma.  It is being sold by the owner who has had it since 1969.  It opened  in 1958.

One Less Place to Eat.--RoadDog

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

News From Along Route 66: Bloomington, Il. and Arizona

The June 7th Bloomington Pantagraph said that more than 300 antique cars were on display at the Route 66 Cruise-In in downtown Bloomington, Illinois.  Could it be that Bloomington and Normal are at long last finally realizing that they have a Route 66 heritage and it is definitely good for business?


The June 2, 2015, Las Vegas Review-Journal listed 9 sights you've got to see on Route 66 in Arizona:

OATMAN--  Of course, those wild animals.

KINGMAN--  Historic Route 66 Museum in the Power House Visitors Center.

HACKBERRY--  Hackberry General Store and Visitor Center. Wasn't that Bob's old place?

VALENTINE--  Old schoolhouse for Hualapal Indian boys.

WINSLOW--  Standing On the Corner

ROCK ART CANYON RANCH--  Extensive petroglyphs

CHEVELON CANYON BRIDGE--  Near the previous place.  One of Arizona's oldest bridges and you can now drive across it.

HOLBROOK--  Petrified Forest National Park  Agate House, Wigwam Motel.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Indy 500-- Part 13: Race Day, Birthday

MAY 24, 2015

OK, so today is when, as the Beatles said "When I'm Sixty-Four."  Sue had a small sign made up and took a picture of me sitting outside the RV for her FaceBook page.

No Legion buffet for me because of the long line out the door.  And, I also know there to be another long line inside.  I opted to save the $8 and went over to the Food Shack and had a couple really good$1 sausage and cheese biscuits.

I heard that they were down to their last few bags of ice, so bought a couple bags.

We walked over to the track and almost got there when I remembered that we hadn't stopped at the radio place for Sue, Paul and John to get the new stuff to listen to the race (drivers and teams talking).  So had to go over to one of the many trailers selling and renting the radios.

Big crowds, but they have come up with a plan to check what people are bringing in much more effectively than two years ago when a whole lot of people got in just as the race began because of the huge lines at the security points.

The Indy 500 sells expensive beer and drinks like you'd expect at most stadiums, but, they also allow you to bring your own beer and drinks in.  That is pretty amazing in this "Give me your dough" times.

"Will You Still Love Me?"  --RoadDog

Reflections On a Stop Sign

From the Jan. 22, 2014, Shorpy "Reflections on a Stop Sign: 1936.

March 1936, no caption on photo, but of an early reflective stop sign.

We take reflective stops signs for granted today, but at one time they were not necessarily reflective.

Comment from rvdroz saying the sign was probably yellow.  The octagon shape was adopted fairly early.  making it red was optional since there was no durable inexpensive red paint.

The need to reflect headlights at night led to extensive use of small, round "button" reflectors inside the text (as shown in the photo).  This sign may have been testing letter coloring and reflectivity.

The Development of Driving in the Early Days.  --RoadDog

50 Great American Places-- Part 7: Boozy Bluegrass in Virginia

TENNESSEE--  The South's New Adventure Mecca in Chattanooga.  Go climbing, kayaking and mountain bike trails.

TEXAS--  Swim Big Bend in West Texas.

UTAH--  Take a summer bobsled. in Utah Olympic Park in Park City.  It will be on wheels, though.

VERMONT--  Bike the Northeast Kingdom in the northeast corner of the state.

VIRGINIA--  Boozy Bluegrass in Southwest Virginia.  Floyd Country Store's Friday Night Jamboree and clogging too in Floyd, Virginia.

WEST VIRGINIA--  Climb a Bridge at New River Gorge, some 876 feet high.

WASHINGTON--  Mount Solitude's Desolation Peak.

WASHINGTON, D.C.--  America's New Food Capital.

WYOMING--  Surf the Snake at Jackson Hole.

WISCONSIN--  Find a Midwest Supper Club pretty much everywhere.

Too Much Fun.  --RoadDog

Monday, July 13, 2015

50 Great American Places-- Part 6: Sleep in a Treehouse

OKLAHOMA--  Beef Mecca, OKC, Best steak & burger joint, Cattleman's Steakhouse, 109 years old.

NEW JERSEY--  A European Holiday just off the interstate.  Ironbound neighborhood of Newark.  Italian, Polish, Spanish and Portuguese.

OREGON--  The People's Beach.  The state's entire 363 coastal miles are open to the public  Its 100th anniversary.

PENNSYLVANIA--  The East Coast's darkest skies at Cherry Spring State Park.  It is very, very dark.

SOUTH CAROLINA--  Sleep in a Treehouse.  Carolina Outfitters Tree House near Canady..  Must canoe to it.

SOUTH DAKOTA--  An Underground maze--  Jewel Cane Monument, a 166-mile labyrinth near Rapid City.

--RoadDog

Saturday, July 11, 2015

50 Great American Places-- Part 5: Burning Man for Gearheads

NEW YORK--  Walk Manhattan, other than Times square.

NEVADA--  Burning Man for Gearheads.  In may there is the Nevada Open Road Challenge. and September the Silver State Classic Challenge.  You can legally drive a straight 90-mile stretch of Route 318 as fast as you want.  Ely.

NORTH DAKOTA--  Biking the Badlands.

NEW HAMPSHIRE--  Bode Miller's Secret Swimming Hole.  Upper Ammonousuc Falls near Bratton Wood.

NEW MEXICO--  Ride the Lightning.  In 1977 sculptor Walter DeMarin planted 400 standing-steel lightning rods on a remote desert.  You see quite a show during storms..  Quemado.

OHIO--  Tony Stewart's Dirt Track.  In 2004 he bought Eldora Speedway near Rossburg.

--RoadDog

50 Great American Places-- Part 4: Freeway of Fish

MINNESOTA--  1,200 Miles of Quiet.  Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

MISSOURI--  Cigarette Boat Shoot Out in August in the Lake of the Ozarks.

MICHIGAN--  Island of Wolves at Isle Royale,  Gray wolves.

NEBRASKA--  Flex Your Muscle Car--  June 30, Kearney.

NORTH CAROLINA--  Hunt With a Hawk, near Fayetteville by the King Fisher Society.

MONTANA--  The Freeway of Fish, Twin Bridges where three rivers converge.  Thousands of trout.

--RoadDog

Friday, July 10, 2015

Indy 500-- Part 12: Sittin', Watchin' and Yappin'

May 23, 2015

One thing great about RVing is that folks tend to sit outside a lot and there is plenty of time to talk.

While we were outside watching the hockey game during the intermissions, which are twenty minutes long, we would get to talking.  John and Paul are brothers and started talking about their father who is in his 90s, a World War II veteran and still living in his own house with their mother in Skokie.

He sometimes drives them nuts, but both Sue and I told them that they should count themselves lucky as they still have him.  We have both lost our fathers and would love to still have them around.

Sue's father was also a World War II veteran.  Mine graduated high school in 1946 so was too young top go to war.  Her father, Joseph served four years as a gunner on the LST 465.  I told her about the LST-325 docked in Evansville, Indiana.

We also got to talking about buying records.  Sue said her first 45 was "Downtown" by Petula Clark.  She was embarrassed by it, but I told her that was one great pop song.

Her first album was Woodstock and her father sure gave her grief about the Country Joe & the Fish "F chant.

My first single was either "Any Way You Want It" by the Dave Clark Five or "Look Through Any Window" by the Hollies.  My first album was a tossup between "Rubber Soul" by the Beatles and "Greatest Hits" by Herman's Hermits.  I went with the greatest hits as moere bang for your buck.

Do You remember Your Firsts?  --RoadDog


50 Great American Places-- Part 3: Houseboating the Mississippi

ILLINOIS--  After Hors, Chicago

IDAHO--  Your own private ranch house at the Shepp Ranch built in 1909 in Riggins.

INDIANA--  Houseboat on the Mississippi, McGregor.

KANSAS--  Walk With the Buffalo:  Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve iby Strong City.

MARYLAND--  Sail like a Lobbyist.  Saint Michaels might be the East Coast's top sailing town.

KENTUCKY--  Bourbon Country.  Louisville.  The Brown Hotel and its Hot Brown sandwich.  Also the Museum Hotel.

MAINE--  Hike the Knife Edge where the Appalachian Trail ends and a path up Maine's tallest mountain begins.

--RoadDog

50 Great American Places-- Part 2: Florida's Forgotten Coast

I believe this list was from 2014, so some of the places and things may not be there anymore.

CONNECTICUT, RHODE ISLAND, MASSACHUSETTS--  The Car-Free Ferry trip.  Go from New London, Ct to Block island, RI, to Newport, Massachusetts--Nantucket.

DELAWARE--  Hidden Beach In-Between.  A beach between Lewes and Dewey Beach.

FLORIDA--  A Gulf Oasis.  St. Joseph Peninsula and Apalachicola.  (Florida's Forgotten Coast."

GEORGIA--  Jeckyll Island for golf.  Jeckyll Island Club Hotel built in the 1880s.

HAWAII--  Hike a volcano at sunrise on Maui.

--RoadDog

Thursday, July 9, 2015

50 Great American Places to Visit This Summer-- Part 1: U.S.-90 Along the Gulf

From the Men's Journal.

ARIZONA--
  The Grand Canyon's Backdoor--  Tuweep, North River.

ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA--  The Gulf Coast Road Trip, US-90, the 1920s era routing.  the best drive is the 150-mile stretch between Mobile and New Orleans.

ARKANSAS--  Buffalo River

ALASKA--  The Marine Highway.   The 3,500 mile stretch between Bellingham, Washington and Dutch harbor in the Aleutian Islands.

CALIFORNIA--  San Francisco--  America's Cup racing, 55 days of racing.

COLORADO--  America's Greatest Bike Ride!  san Juan Hut System.  215 miles with a 3,500-foot ascent.

Hit the Road.  --RoadDog

Thomas MacDonald "Forgotten" Road Man-- Part 5

Continued from March 12, 2014.

Thomas MacDonald was appointed Assistant in Charge of Good Roads Investigation for the Iowa State Highway Commission, overseeing a budget of $5,000 a year.  He soon moved and became president of the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) at age 38 in 1919.

he then became the Chief of the Bureau of Public Roads and quickly put together a coalition including Portland Cement Association, the American Automobile Association, the Rubber Association of America and several other groups.

he was so powerful that when visiting towns he was given rooms in the finest hotels, free food and drink and guided tours of local roads.

In general, he argued that roads wouldn't take away from the railroads, they could complement each other.

--RoadDog

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Indy 500-- Part 11: Da Band and Da Hawks

MAY 23RD, SATURDAY--  Next, I went over to the Legion (about 200 feet away from us, and saw an excellent country rock band called the Night Critters who played a lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival songs as well as Hank Williams, Jr..  I would have stayed for their whole show, but then we had the Blackhawks playing the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Championship series.

Walked back to the RV and joined the others who were watching it on the outside TV.  The last time I saw a Hawks game outside at their RV was earlier this month down in Panama City Beach, Florida.  Now we had another foe in another round.

Not bad to be sitting outside on an absolutely wonderful night with the Speedway looming over us and the lights and flags on the Pagoda.  Between periods I would go out to Georgetown Avenue (which was closed to traffic) and watch all the crazies walking up and down it, an Indy tradition.

And, we were really enjoying the game.  The Hawks went up 1-0 in the first period and eventually had it to 3-1 and we were feeling quite confident.  But then, it came.  The Ducks scored three times in 37 seconds leading to a lot of head-shaking and "Oh Nos!" from those assembled.  We had the next-door neighbors and a few passers-by watching.

We cheered loudly when the Hawks tied it up and went into overtime.  But, I was tired by then as the game had not started until 9 our time and now it was a little after midnight.  I went inside and watched the first overtime which was scoreless.  I then fell asleep until Sue awakened me with the good news that the Hawks had won!!!

A Hawks Cheering.  --RoadDog

News From Along Route 66--June 2015: Negro Motorist Green Book and Mojave Desert Bridges

JUNE 4--  There is a video out about the Negro Motorist Green Book.  Using it promised, "Now you can travel without embarrassment" during Jim Crow America.  It recommended generally avoiding smaller towns and go the larger cities.

This is a much overlooked aspect of traveling in the United States before the 1970s.  Blacks were not welcome in most places.  That one scene in "Driving Miss Daisy" struck it home when Hoke had relieve himself behind the tree because he would not be allowed to use gas station restrooms.

JUNE 5--  San Bernardino County is applying for grants to rebuild bridges in the Mojave Desert and to resurface Route 66.  Hope they get them.  This was an interesting and bleak part of our 2006 drive.

--RoadDog

News From Along Route 66-- June 2015: Joe Becker Stadium and William Shatner

JUNE 2ND--  Joplin, Missouri's Joe Becker Stadium had its baseball Joplin Blasters home opener in the $4.7 million renovation of a century-old ballpark.  It is where MLB Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Whitey Herzog began their professional careers.  The Blasters are in the American Association of the Independent Professional Baseball League.

It was built in 1913 and burned down twice, once in 1936 and again in 1971.  Mickey Mantle, from nearby Commerce, Oklahoma, played here in 1950.  Seating is 4,500 with 2,500 fixed seats.  The renovation was done in order to lure the Blasters from El Paso, Texas.

Nothing like a good old minor league ballpark.

JUNE 2ND--  William Shatner, Captain Kirk of you-know=-what, is expected to arrive in OKC on June 25th in his really interesting, sort-of, motorcycle.  there was a picture of it on JUNE 3rd.

Beam me across, Scotty.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

News From Along Route 66-- June 2015: Petrified Forest and Totem Pole Park

Taken from Route 66 News site which has photos, videos and much more information on all these stories as well as many other articles.  These are just the ones of particular interest to me.

JUNE 1ST--  Petrified Forest pilfering tale is fiction.  The Petrified National Forest in eastern Arizona has reported for years that it is losing 12 tons of fossils a year to souvenir hunters.  No one knows for sure how much is taken, but it certainly is not a ton a month.  We visited there back on our end-to-end Route 66trip back in 2006, but took nothing, though sorely tempted.

JUNE 2ND--  Ed Gallowy's Totem Pole Park near Foyil, Oklahoma, has launched a campaign for its restoration on the Kickstart Campaign site.  It aims to restore the top part of the main 90-foot tall totem pole which is starting to chip.  If enough money is raised, top quality paint will be used. which will last 40-45 years.

It was bult by Ed Galloway between 1939-1948 and his park fell into disrepair after his demise in 1961 until the Rogers County Historical Society acquired it in 1989.  It is now on the NRHP, but not on Route 66, but a common sidetrip.

--RoadDog

Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy Crowds Mark Chicago's 606 Debut

From the June 7, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Greg Trotter.

There were people walking, biking, skateboarding and at least one on a giant tricycle rigged with sails.

What once was an overgrown raised railroad track littered with urban debris, the 2.7 mile Bloomingdale Trail was a thing of beauty and smiles on June 6th, its opening day as a new use.

It is now called the 606, and is Chicago's newest elevated trail and park system.  It is not yet complete, though.  There is still $20 million to be raised for the $95 million project.  About $50 million is being paid through federal funds.

Something Else to See in the Windy City.  --RoadDog

Chicago's Bubbly Creek Still Mired in the Muck

From the June 26, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Bubbly Creek too mired in the muck" by Ted Gregory.

It is still there, that creek of infamy which flowed from the Chicago Stockyards of yore and was extremely smelly and notorious.  I personally thought it had been covered up.

Plans for a $15.4 million restoration of the notorious waterway have stalled while the Environmental Protection Agency determines the extent of water and sediment contamination.

But contaminants have been found in the sediment.

Bubbly Creek is a 1.25-mile long backwater of the South Branch of the Chicago River that runs primarily through Bridgeport.  The bubbles of its name refer to gas escaping from animal carcasses and other mateerial dumped into the creek over the decades from the nearby Union Stockyards., which opened in 1865 and closed in 1971.

The creek achieved fame, well infamy, in Upton Sinclair's novel, "The Jungle."  There it was described as an "open sewer" where bubbles of gas made rings of up to three feet wide.

Not a Good Swimming Hole.  --RoadDog

Saturday, July 4, 2015

And a Big Happy Birthday

To the United States of America.  I have my flags and banners up as of yesterday.

It was 239 years ago that the delegates, meeting in Philadelphia, signed the Declaration of Independence, breaking our bonds with England, something that took quite a few years to achieve militarily.

Happy Birthday.  --RoadDog

The Lincoln Highway's Herd of Wild Bison Grows-- Part 2

Bison disappeared from Illinois and much of the land east of the Mississippi in the 1830s, victims of hunting and mass slaughter which nearly wiped out the entire population of them throughout the United States.  U.S. conservation efforts began about 1900 and is now estimated to be 450,000.

The Nachusa bison have not been interbred with cattle and are genetically diverse and direct descendants of the original ones.  They are touched by human hands only once a year for a veterinary checkup.

Nachusa's visitors have increased tenfold and they often get requests as to where the buffalo are.  The 500 acres they usually roam is closed to the public, but they sometimes go to other sites in the grasslands.

A Great Story.  --RoadDog

The Lincoln Highway's Herd of Wild Bison Grows-- Part 1: 14 Calves Born

From the July 3, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Illinois Bison Busy As Rabbits" by Ted Gregory.

A while back I wrote about the first bison calf being born in the wild in Illinois in the last two centuries, but since then, another 13 have been born in this past spring at the Nachusa Grasslands, a prairie restoration project about 95 miles west of Chicago.  The most recent calf was born Wednesday.  Nachusa is located off Lincoln Highway near Franklin Grove.

This is promising, but even more so is that smaller mammals, including mice and voles are building nests of bison hair.  An ecological balance will be reestablished.

Since the wild bison arrived at the 3,500 acre grasslands owned by The Nature Conservancy and the firt calf's birth, donations have increased 50%. They began acquiring land in the area in 1986.  It is a national organization which has undertaken some 105 prairie restorations and gathered thousands of pounds of prairie plant seed which grows better with the presence of bison.

--RoadDog

Memphis' Pyramid Being Used Again

From the April 30, 2015, Panama City (Fl) News-Herald "Pyramid seeks old glory with new Bass Pro Shops" AP.

The Memphis wonder on the banks of the Mississippi River is shaped like a pyramid and referred to as that.  It stopped hosting basketball games and concerts in 2004 and has sat mostly empty since then. "a fate of obsolete architectural curiosities like Houston's Astrodome--cool-looking buildings with no real purpose."

It opened on April 29th and has all the stuff you'd normally expect from one of these stores, plus a 105-room hotel built like a hunting lodge overlooking a cypress swamp.  there is an observatory on topof the 32-story structure with remarkable views of Memphis and officials expect it to draw 2 million visitors a year.

That would place it alongside such Memphis attractions as Graceland, Stax Records, Sun Studio and the National Civil Rights Museum, mud Island and Beale Street.  And don't forget the blues and BBQ.

The Pyramid opened in 1991, but started going downhill when the NBA Memphis Grizzlies and University of Memphis Tigers basketball teams left for the new FedEx Forum on Beale Street.

It's All Egyptian to Me.  --RoadDog

Friday, July 3, 2015

Indy 500-- Part 10: Making Friends With the Neighbors

After eating, we talked with the group of RVers next to us.  They are mostly from California, but there are some from other places and three generations of men.  A real great excuse for a family reunion.  They said their RV broke down in Oklahoma City and some young (in their early 20s) helped them.  In appreciation, they offered them tickets to the Indy 500 and those people are now with them.  One good turn deserves another.

They bought ribs from a local place and shared some with us.  As good of ribs as I've ever had.  We'll get them to get some for us next year.  Also, one of them had brought along some Campground Whiskey from Park City, Colorado which is a blend of Scotch, Whiskey and Bourbon.  Some of the best drinking I've ever had.  Sue and Paul go out to Park City every year to ski and said they'd bring a bottle back for me.

Ribs and Drinks.  --RoadDog

Best Beach Destinations in the Florida Keys-- Part 2

4.  SMATHERS BEACH, KEY WEST--  Best for People Watching  A manmade beach brought in by sand from the Bahamas in 1911.  A rare stretch of white sand for the keys.

5.  KEY COLONY BEACH--  Best for fishing.

6.  CURRY HAMMOCK STATE PARK, MARATHON--  Best for kayaking.

7.  BAHIA HONDO STATE PARK, BIG PINE KEY--  2.5 miles of white sand.

8.  LONG KEY STATE PARK, LONG KEY--  Best for camping

--While Going to the U.S. Tropical Isles.  --RoadDog

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Best Beach Destinations in the Florida Keys-- Part 1

From the Dec. 21, 2013 Smarter Travel "best Beach Destinations in the Florida Keys" by Julianne Lowell.

1.  JOHN PENNECAMP CORAL REEF STATE PARK--  Key Largo.  Best for diving.  SS Benwood, World War II wreck.  Christ of the Abyss Statue, 25 feet deep.

2. FORT ZACHARY TAYLOR HISTORIC STATE PARK--  Key West.  Best beach for snorkeling.  Where the Gulf meets the Atlantic.

3.  CALUSA BEACH, Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key, Gulf side.  Best for family fun.

--RoadDog

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Indy 500-- Part 9: Six and Four Makes...

MAY 23, SATURDAY

When we got back to the Pagoda area, there were long lines waiting for driver autographs.  Thank goodness I'm not into autographs.  I don't think my tired feet could have taken more abuse by waiting in one.  But, it didn't stop me from going into a gift shop and buying more 5-24-15 souvenirs.

Sue, Paul and John wanted to stay, but I went back to the RV with intentions of resting the dogs.

When they returned, Sue gave me a poster "signed" by the pile-setter, Scott Dixon, wishing me a "Happy 64th birthday."  Then, it instructed me to look at the pictures of Sterno Coletti and Junior Hildebrandt and figure out what they had in common.  Well, I looked and looked, but nothing occurred to me.  Sue said to look at their numbers.  The first was "6" and the second was "4."  Oh. 64, I get it.

We had cocktails and eats outside  Just an absolute perfect day sitting under the trees and enjoying the weather and good friends, food and drinks.

Feers Don't Fail me Now.  --RoadDog


Ten Places to Visit Before They Disappear-- Part 2

6.  TAJ MAHAL--  pollution

7.  ANTARCTICA--  Global Blah-Blah-Blah

8.  THE DEAD SEA--  Famous for salinity and dropping more than three feet a year because water is being taken from the Jordan River.

9.  THE ALPS--  Glaciers retreating.  You know why.

10.  SEYCHELLES--  Tropical island paradise in the Indian Ocean.  Threatened by rising seas.

--RoadDog

Ten Places to Visit Before They Disappear-- Part 1

From the June 6, 2015, Yahoo! Travel/The Active Times by Diana Gerstacker.

1.  GLACIER NATIONAL PARK--  10th most-visited U.S. national Park with 2.3 million visitors yearly.  Globall Blah-Blah-Blah.

2.  THE GREAT BARRIER REEF--  133,000 square miles and the only living thing that can be seen from Outer Space.  Even bigger than D.T.'s hair.

3.  THE MALDIVES--  Noted for its exceptional beaches and diving, but 80% of land is less than 3.3 feet above sea level.

4.  MADAGASCAR--  Huge biodiversity with lots of animals and plants that can just be found here and nowhere else.

5.  VENICE--  sinking

See It before It's Gone.  --RoadDog