Thursday, December 31, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 13: "There's a Tear In My Beer"

Leaving Mt. Airy, WBRF Classic Country in Galax, Virginia, was playing one of my favorite songs, the Hank Williams and Hank Williams, Jr. song "There's a Tear in My Beer."  It doesn't get much better country than this song.

Passed over the Eng and Chang Bridge, named after the famous pre-Civil War Siamese twins featured by P.T. Barnum, who retired and raised families in Mt. Airy and whose sons fought for the Confederacy.

Shortly after getting onto I-77, a big red pickup truck passed me like I was standing still.  I had a big smile on my face a short while later to see him pulled over by a state trooper.

Kind of strange, but there were nothing but trucks going up the long grade into Virginia.  Usually there are at least some cars among them.

Listening to the Jason Blevins show on WBRF.  Stopped for gas at Wytheville and it had gone up 3 cents to $1.89 since I last went through there eight days earlier.

--RoadDog


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 12: Going Home, But My Snappy Lunch Fix

I left Goldsboro, N.C.,  on December 3 with the odometer on the '11 Malibu reading 40,640.

I was hoping the miss that Raleigh hassle I encountered on my way in.  A ways out of Raleigh, while searching on the radio, i came across a really good oldies station at 850 AM/104.7 FM WPTK simulcasting  They call themselves Just Right Radio and played the occasional Christmas song.  I'll keep it in mind for my next trip.

I did see a backup heading east on I-40 between Exits 298-303 because of construction.  Fortunately, westward moved along well.

No problems through the Raleigh-Durham strangler and easy cruise.  Much less traffic than the day before Thanksgiving on I-40.  Picked up  Classic Country 98.1 out of Galax, Virginia in Greensboro and listened to it until in West Virginia.

Stopped at good old Snappy Lunch in Mt. Airy, N.C., for their stupendous pork chop sandwich.  Cost $4.20 and a meal in itself.  Probably not very healthy for you, but you'll die with a smile on your face.  A definite for-sure stop for me.  The N.C. "Our State" magazine claims this to be "The State Sandwich."

On the way out of town, i passed the Andy Griffith Playhouse (in an old school) and the statue of Andy and Opie heading down to the fishin' hole both had Christmas stockings on their heads.

--RoadDog

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

News From Along Route 66-- November 2015: Shea's Mahan Gas Station Stays in Springfield

NOVEMBER 26--  There is a Cozy Dog commercial you need to check out at Route 66 News.com.

NOVEMBER  27--  Edwardsville, Illinois, admits they are missing Route 66 opportunities.  But, if Bloomington-Normal can figure that out, anything is possible.

NOVEMBER 29--  Local businessman buys Shea's Mahan gas Station in Springfield, Illinois.  Jeff Fulgenzi, owner of Fulgenzi's Pizza & Pasta bought it and will move it to a site east of his restaurant at 1168 Sangamon Avenue.  The station dates back to the 1920s and was originally in Middletown, Illinois.

Looks like I will have somewhere to check out the next time I'm in town.  They are across from the Illinois State Fairgrounds and boast the World's Greatest Hamburger.

--RoadDog

Monday, December 28, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 11: Just Hanging Around

November 26-December 3, 2015

The drive to Goldsboro, N.C. from Illinois took me 1030.2 miles.

The rest of the time there was spent with family.  My sister Julie had her 59th birthday (NOT HER 60th as she was quick to point out) on Thanksgiving day.  It was nice to get together with my nephew Alex and family from South Carolina and nephew Andy and family from Tennessee.  My brother Bob lives next door to Mom.

Our family is certainly spread all over with members also living in Georgia and Illinois.

I also was able to do some shopping in Goldsboro, including at two stores which are no longer very close to us, Target and K-Mart.  I always enjoy going to Berekely Mall and seeing the bear orchestra and singers doing their Christmas thing.  But, I sure miss the old Record Rack in downtown  where I used to spend a lot of time and money on Beach Music.

I also helped put up Mom's Christmas decorations on the front porch and put up Christmas flowes on family graves at Willowdale Cemetery.

And, of course, there was the buffet at McCall's with that great Eastern Carolina 'cue and Calabash shrimp.

--RoadDog

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Death of Towanda, Illinois' Bonnie Lou (Mary Kath): One of First Female Rock and Rollers

Earlier this month, Mary Kath, 91, died on December 8th.

She was born in Towanda, Illinois, (on Route 66 north of Bloomington-Normal)on October 27, 1924.  She had one hit song on the pop charts with "Daddy-O" (#14-1955) and several country hits.

She was one of the first female rock and rollers and one of the the first country stars to cross over to rock.  In addition, she was on radio in Cincinnati and Kansas City for many years.

I wrote about her in greater detail in my Down Da Road I Go blog today.

I'd never heard of her before

Interurban Railways in 1915

From the Sept. 15, 2015 DeKalb County/Sycamore, Illinois, MidWeek "Looking Back."

September 1915.

"Although the word Woodstock is a part of the name of that railroad, Woodstock-Sycamore Interurban Railway, it does not extend to Woodstock (in McHenry County) according to a statement of T.E. Ryan, the manager, who recently interviewed the citizens of Woodstock, the line is not likely to extend to that city--at least for some time, and instead effort will be made to extend it to Harvard."


Evidently the people of Woodstock didn't want it.  Interurbans were another way to get around back then, especially while automobiles were in their infancy and roads generally atrocious between towns.

Harvard is another town in McHenry County.

--RoadDog

Friday, December 25, 2015

America's Ten Best Christmas Light Shows: Three in Tennessee

From America's Best & Top ten site.

And, they have information and pictures.

1.  Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland in West Knoxville and Bristol, Tennessee.  Waterparks.

2.  Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri  (Nov.1-Dec. 20)

3.  Oglebay Festival of Lights in Wheeling, West Virginia  (Nov. 4-Jan. 5)

4.  Smoky Mountain Winterfest in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

5.  Trail of Lights in Austin, Texas  (Dec. 14-23)

6.  Magical Night of Lights in Lake Lanier, Georgia (Nov. 22-Dec.30)

7.  Holiday festival of Lights in Charleston, South Carolina  (Nov. 14-Jan. 14)

8.  Enchanted Garden of Lights in Chattanooga, Tennessee  (Nov. 21-Jan. 3)

9.  Louisville MEGA Cavern in Louisville, Kentucky.

10.  Southern Lights in Lexington, Kentucky  (Nov. 22-Dec. 30)

--RoadLight

Thursday, December 24, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 10: Fun and Games in Raleigh

November 25, 2015

As I said before, traffic on I-40 heading east from Winston-Salem, N.C., was heavy, but moving along.  I even got past the usual traffic jam by the RDU Airport and into  the Raleigh area.

Maybe this highway travel the day before Thanksgiving isn't as bad as I thought.

But then I started seeing flashing signs saying to expect delays from Exits 290 to 309.  I saw that several times and sure enough when I got to Exit 290, traffic stopped.  We'd stop, go a few feet and stop again.  This was due to road construction and other highways dropping their traffic onto I-40.

I'm figuring it took almost an hour and a half to go eight or so miles.

I decided to get off at the Clayton Exit and finally was able to get rolling along for several miles until we hit the first traffic light and then there had to be at least a mile long back up.  But once through there, I was able to catch almost every one of their many stoplights on green so was able to get to US-70 and take it to Goldsboro.

Next year, I am going to avoid traveling the day before Thanksgiving.

Lesson learned.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

San Francisco's Cliff House in 1955

From the January 18, 2014, Shorpy "Cliff House: 1955.

In san Francisco.  There have been five incarnations in its history.

1855:  Built from lumber salvaged from shipwrecks.

1863:  Second Cliff House

1895:  The new one.  Survived the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

1907:  Burned, Rebuilt 1909.

2003:  restored to its 1909 appearance

It is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

--RoadDog

A New Highway System in 1925

From the Washington Post editorial dated April 25, 1925.

"The conference representing the highway commissioners of several States, who met in this city during the present week under the auspices of the Joint Board of State and Federal Highways, reached a wise decision when they agreed to create a group of interstate roads to be known as United States Highways...."

And, So it began.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 9: "Ain't Even There Yet..." Winston-Salem and I-40

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25TH.

As I mentioned,  as I approached Winston-Salem on US-52, traffic steadily increased until the time I could see the downtown buildings, we were creeping along.  I generally like to get off on US-421 and head eastward toward Greensboro and then get on I-40.

I got off on 421 and it was at a complete standstill.  Move forward a few feet and then wait before repeating the process.  And, I could see 421  was backed up way off in the distance so decided to get back on US-52 when I got up to the entrance ramp, but had to go back north for a ways before I got off and back on heading south to I-40.

At this point, I could only imagine how bad traffic on the always busy I-40 would be.  It is always busy, but I was beginning to see why they say not to travel on the interstates the day before Thanksgiving.  I hadn't thought of that.

Surprisingly, however, I-40 was busy, but traffic went right along mostly over the speed limit.  And, I kept right up with them out of fear of getting run over otherwise.

--RoadDog

10 Safest and Most Peaceful Places in Wisconsin

From the August 5, 2015, Only In Your State "Here Are the 10 Safest and Most peaceful Places to Live in Wisconsin" by Laura Meli.

Taking a look north of the border from here.  And, she had reasons.

1.  Whitefish Bay
2.  Oconomowoc
3.  Port Washington
4.  Grafton
5.  Cedarburg

6.  Muskego
7.  Waunakee
8.  Mukwonago
9.  Lake Mills
10.  Menominee Falls

Here ye, here Ye, Calling All Cheeseheads!  --RoadDog

Monday, December 21, 2015

News From Along Route 66-- November 2015: World's Largest Catsup Bottle

NOVEMBER 20--  The World's Largest Catsup bottle has been sold in Colinsville, Illinois.  The 170-foot-tall water tower was part of the former Brooks Catsup factory and built in 1949.  It holds 100,000 gallons of water.  Brooks moved to Indiana.  It was listed on the NRHP in 2007.

NOVEMBER 20--  Jensen's Point in pacific, Missouri, was spruced up by volunteers.  Looking forward to its opening.  It sure looks neat from the ground.

NOVEMBER 21--  Part of Route 66 reopened in the Mojave Desert.  Twenty-one miles had been closed since flash flooding in September 2014.

Or Do You Say Ketchup?  --RoadDog

News From Along Route 66-- November 2015: Bloomington, Illinois and Springfield, Missouri

NOVEMBER 11--  Online auction for Shea's Museum items in Springfield, Illinois, began today.  A sad day for Route 66.

NOVEMBER 12--  Bloomington, Illinois, received $250,000 spread over five years   "Officials in the Bloomington-Normal area acknowledged they were slow to embrace Route 66 tourism."  An understatement, but at least now they are doing things. for a Route 66 Museum

NOVEMBER 16--  Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Illinois, is still on the market with asking price of $1.2 million, now dropped to $925,000.  It has been for sale since 2014 and the place won't close in the meantime.  Always try to eat in the main room.

NOVEMBER 18--  Gillioz Theatre in Springfield, Missouri, celebrates its 90th year with a New Year's Eve concert by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

--RoadDog

Saturday, December 19, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 8: Traffic, Traffic and More Traffic

November 25, 2015, Wednesday.

Traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike got heavier the further south I went, but at least there wasn't a backup at the last two toll areas ($2 each).  Upon entering Virginia, I made my usual stop at the Virginia Welcome Center for my Virginia peanut fix.  They have small samples of the best peanuts I've ever tasted.  The people there said the company does sell the peanuts at a couple places along I-77, but they don't at the welcome center.  They really should sell the peanuts at the center.

Traffic got heavier through the Virginia stretch.  Stopped at Wytheville, always the cheapest gas on the trip to North Carolina.  However, this time it was $1.86 and I had bought gas in Indiana for $1.66 yesterday.  But, of course, this was before the gouge this morning.  Still, I'm not complaining.  Gas below $2 is sure nice these days.

Of course, I tuned in to WBRF, Classic Country at 98.1 FM in Galax, Virginia, as soon as I got into range.  They play oldies country music and is a favorite station of mine.  I kept it on from about twenty miles in West Virginia to about Greensboro, N.C..

I usually stop for a bite to eat in Mt. Airy, N.C., but not this time.  I was now off I-77 and on US-52 heading to Winston-Salem.  Passed by the unique Pilot Mountain  (fictional town of Mount Pilot in the Andy Griffith Show).  I did notice that traffic continued to get heavier the closer I got to Winston-Salem (home of Wake Forest University).

--RoadDog

Friday, December 18, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 7: Don't Travel the Day Before Thanksgiving

November 25, 2015, Wednesday

Decided to take my chances and drive straight through Columbus on I-70, despite it being morning rush hour.  Good decision, after the bad one on gas last night, as I went right through with no backups.  Got off at Exit 110 east of the city and took the road to US-33, about several miles.

US-33 was easy driving and got gas at Rockbridge, Ohio,  as planned and it was $1.85.  Drove past Athens, Ohio, the home of Ohio University and the team that trounced us so badly last night.  I was pleasant about it, though.

Picked up a station playing Country Legends at 101.5 FM somewhere between Ohio and West Virginia. Enjoyed it.  Oldies country, but not as old as the ones WBRF plays in Galax, Virginia.  They call themselves the Tri-State Station Big Buck Country.

Easy cruise through Charleston, West Virginia and onto the turnpike. I listened to Charleston's 107.3 FM, Tailgate Radio, a unique station that plays music that would be perfect for a football tailgate party, all upbeat songs from a variety of music types and a few oldies sprinkled in.

 I started seeing flashing signs for having my toll ready at the first tollbooth area.  I had never seen that before and soon found out.  It was a Chicago-style back up, stretching at least a quarter mile, but I lucked out into a lane that was moving along fast.  This was my first indication that perhaps the day before Thanksgiving was not a great day to be out on the interstates.

Gas along the West Virginia Turnpike was $2.23, the lowest I've ever seen it.  It was still higher than anywhere else on the trip.

The other two tollbooth areas ($2 each) were no problem, although I was sure expecting it by now.

--RoadDog

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 6: "Shoulda Filled Up Last Night"

November 24, 2015, Tuesday.

 Gas most of the way today had been in the $1.66 to $1.90 range, so much better than years past.  I could get used to living with it.  Along the way, somewhere in Ohio or Indiana, the odometer on the '11 Malibu passed 40,000, almost all highway miles, mostly to North Carolina and back.

I should mention that last night, I was thinking of filling the tank which was getting low.  Gas on my side of I-70 was $1.66.  Driving to the other side, I saw that it was $1.90.  For some reason it didn't dawn on me that there might be a gas gouge on.  Usually I figure that out right away, but not this time.  "I'll just fill up tomorrow in the daylight," I thought to myself.

November 25, 2015, Wednesday

Bright and early November 25th, I hit the road and now gas on my side of I-70 was also $1.90.  I coulda, shoulda I thought, so drove on to Dogwood Crossing in Rockridge, Ohio, between Logan and Lancaster,  on US-33, where I often fill up.

--RoadDog


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Iowa's Prairie School Trove-- Part 3: Seven Homes

While Wright was working on the hotel and bank project, a local physician asked him to design a home.  The Stockman House, completed in 1908, is Iowa's only Wright-designed Prairie Style home and open to the public on tours.  The house is Wright's take on middle class housing in "A Fireproof House for $5,000."

It is now on the National register of Historic Places, but it too was almost lost as plans were to tear it down for a church parking lot.  The city acquired it and moved it to its present location.

Another seven homes were designed by three other Wright protegees.  All are part of the Rock Crest-Rock Glen National Historic District.  All homes are private but you can do a walking tour of their exteriors.

--RoadDog

Iowa's Prairie School Trove-- Part 2: Historic Park Inn

Mason City, Iowa, got its Frank Lloyd Wright connection when its leaders decided they wanted a hotel.  Attorney James Markley's daughters attended boarding school in Spring Green, Wisconsin, which had been designed by Wright.  he was so impressed that he recommended him for the project.

The combination City National Bank, Park Inn Hotel and law offices, done in Wright's classic Prairie School style opened in 1910.  It is the only remaining of the six hotels he designed and was the prototype of one of his most famous works, the long-gone Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

However, the bank fell on hard times in the 1920s, went out of business and became retail space.  The hotel struggled along until 1972 when it was divided into apartments.  It fell into such disrepair that it was put on a list of top ten most endangered properties in Iowa.

The nonprofit Wright on the Park Inc. took ownership and, after an $18.5 million renovation,reopened the whole thing in 2011.  There were detractors, but its reopening has led to a renaissance of downtown Mason City.

Hotel e\reservations are at a high level and you can take a walking tour of it.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Iowa's Prairie School Trove-- Part 1: A Frank Lloyd Wright Connection in Mason City

From the March 29, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Katherine Rodeghier.

Before he was banished, Frank Lloyd Wright left his mark on Mason City.

Frank Lloyd Wright was asked never to return to Mason City, Iowa.  He had displeased the peole of this city by abandoning his wife and six children in a scandal around 1900.

But, before he left, he designed a hotel and a modest Prairie School home.  Now, Mason City has the only Wright-designed hotel in the world which is also quite a tourist attraction

Mason City is also the "River City" in "The Music Man", written by native Meredith Wilson.

--RoadDog


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 5: Huber Heights, Ohio

November 24, 2015, Tuesday.

Checked into the Days Inn in Huber heights and got the room for $52 including tax.  A good price these days for a clean and comfortable room.

I had seen a sign for a Skyline Chili as I got off I-70 and found the place in a shopping center right across from the hotel.  I got my Skyline Cincinnati chili fix.

I then went to the BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings) and had to ask for the University of Ohio-Northern Illinois game to be put on.  I was a bit surprised as Huber heights is in Ohio.  But, Ohio is mostly an Ohio State (or perhaps University of Cincinnati) kind of a state.  I had had the same thing a couple years ago when NIU played Bowling Green (also an Ohio school) in the MAC Championship game.

Played some NTN while watching the game, but had to leave by half time as Northern was really playing horribly.  Back to the room and found out later that Ohio had beaten Northern.  had we won, we would have had a spot to play Bowling Green in the MAC Championship game.

--RoadDog

Monday, December 14, 2015

Five Offbeat Realty Reality Checks-- Part 2: Floating Homes, Micro Apartments and American Versailles

FLOATING HOMES

Scattered around the Western U.S. in places like Seattle and Portland, Oregon are communities where the homes float on the water.  And these aren't houseboats which can move under their own power.  They are built to be moored and often can plug into the grid for electricity.

Home prices range from a few hundred thousand to millions.

Seattle has had floating homes at least since the 1930s.  At one point, there were an estimated several thousand floating homes there, but now that number is down to about 500.

MICRO APARTMENTS

Tiny apartments are not strange in big urban areas  where space is at a premium, but now in NYC there is a new trend to micro apartments.  In 2013, the city approved "My Micro NY," a 55-unit building with studios ranging from 250-square feet to the more roomy 370 square feet.

The building is under construction so no word on prices.

AMERICAN VERSAILLES

The french palace at Versailles is noted for its opulence, but Florida billionaire David Siegel and his wife Jackie will complete construction in 2015 pn the largest home in America, a 90,000-square-foot mega mansion which will be modeled on the French palace.

It has been under construction for 11 years, has 30 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms

Oh Well.  --RoadDog


Five Offbeat Realty Reality Checks-- Part 1: Millionaire Mouse and the $1 Million Parking Space

From the Jan. 4, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Michael Estrin.

MILLIONAIRE MOUSE

  Mansions in the Golden Oak gated community in Lake Vista, Florida, start at $1.8 million and sell for as much as $7 million.  But, for that, you get perks such as door-to-door transportation to Disney World, extended park hours and, of course, park passes.

An even bigger feature is "Hidden Mickey" where you can incorporate Mickey into your house design and even shape your backyard pool into Mickey.

$1 MILLION PARKING SPOT

  In New York, even tiny studio apartments can rent for thousands of dollars and one bedroom apartments can easily go for seven figures.  Now, you can get a million dollar parking space.

They are about 200 square feet and comes with added features of some storage and an electric charging stations.and are part of a new 10-unit luxury development in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood.  These condos range from $8.7 million to $10.45 million.

The average parking spot in a New York garage is about $430 a month.

Mickey My Parking Spot.  --RoadDog

--


Saturday, December 12, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 4: To Huber Heights, Ohio

I found a good station playing Blues Music by Champaign, WFT, a public radio station.

Stopped in Crawfordsville (as usual) for gas at the Pilot station.  It was the cheapest I got on the whole trip, $1.66 ($1.65.9).  Less and less snow until there was none at all the other side of Indianapolis.  No problem driving through Indy, but a whole lot of trucks east of it on I-70

Stopped at the Ohio Welcome Center east of Richmond, to pock up hotel books to use those good coupons.

Clear sailing until I got near Englewood, Ohio and encountered a huge traffic jam.  Got off at Exit 29, to get my usual Skyline Chili fix, but it was wall-to-wall so got back on I-70.

Picked up my first Christmas Music stations out of Dayton, 106.5 FM which bills itself as Dayton's Christmas Station.  I must admit that I do like my Christmas music this time of the year.  I always look for these stations.

I got off at Exit 36 where I got a room at the Days Inn and paid just $52, including tax.  Good price these days and a nice room.

--RoadDog


Sweet St. Louis Beckoning-- Part 5: Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate

Dan Abel worked with master candy-makers across the United States before opening his first Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate store in St. Louis in 1981.  Now, it is under second-generation owners and has two stores in St. Louis and seven more elsewhere in Missouri and Illinois.  It also franchises its concept.

Each store has its own kitchen and make their own chocolate with out artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or hydrogenated  oils.

Web site at chocolatechocolate.com  6740 Chippewa St.  (very near Ted Drewes).

--RoadDog

Sweet St. Louis is Beckoning-- Part 4: Kakao Chocolate

"There is no Lucille Ball machines here," says Brian Pelletier, owner of Kakao Chocolate.  That was one really funny episode where Lucy and Ethel try to keep up with that chocolate candy conveyor belt.  Choclate-makers here take their time and turn out delicious chocolate by hand.  And, they don't add artificial flavors, preservatives, coloring or sweeteners.

Pelletier came into the chocolate-making business in a round-about way.  After spending twenty years in corporate America he had had enough.  A friend had some chocolate-making equipment she wanted to get rid of, so he took it in 2008.  Now, he has a store in St. Louis and two more inthe suburbs.  He says Sea Salt Caramels are his best-sellers

Kakao Chocolate at kakaochocolate.cpm with main store at 2301 S. Jefferson Ave. and also in Maplewood and Clayton.

--RoadDog

Friday, December 11, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving-- Part 3: Tuning Into the Radio and Some Dangerous Christmas Presents

NOVEMBER 24, TUESDAY

North of Morris, Illinois, I encountered some really heavy fog, so bad visibility was down to a matter of 10-20 feet.  It felt like I was in a strange planet, made even worse by the road construction.  At one point, I came across a red light that I didn't see until I was going through the intersection.  Sure glad there wasn't another car crossing at the time.

I was listening to 87.7 MeTV Radio at first.  No Ten at Ten on WDRV as they were doing  their semi-annual Classic Rock from A to Z.  Listened to Classic Rock WJEZ 98.9 FM from Morris to Dwight.  In between times, I was listening to a stowaway CD, Blake Shelton's Greatest Hits.  It had been in the CD player when I left.

The farther south I went, the less snow I encountered on the sides of the road and out in the fields.  The past Friday and into Saturday morning we had received the most November snow I had ever seen up by us along the Wisconsin line, 14.5 inches.  By the time I got to Gibson City it was largely gone.  They really lucked out.

At Gibson City, I passed their annual huge Christmas tree sitting out in the middle of their main street.  They have big blocks of concrete painted like presents to protect it from errant vehicles, so my recommendation is not to run into it.

A bit north of Gibson City, I changed over from CD to WGCY, 106.3, which plays Beautiful Music.  Had you told me I would ever enjoy listening to a Beautiful Music station when I was in my twenties and thirties I'd have told you that you were completely nuts.

But I Sure Enjoy Listening to This Station.  --RoadDog


Sweet St. Louis Is Beckoning-- Part 3: Ted Drewes, of Course

Ted Drewes Sr, opened his first store in Florida in 1929 and a year later came to St. Louis, selling his cold treats through the Depression.  he has had many offers to franchise his stands, but he and now his son, Ted Jr. refuse to in order to insure the quality of their product.

Ted Drewes didn't invent frozen custard; it began as a carnival treat at New York's Coney Island nearly 100 years ago.  Unlike ice cream, it contains eggs and has less air so it stays smooth and doesn't crystallize.  But, Ted Drewes uses a particular kind of honey, which they go through great lengths to keep under wraps.  They even go so far as to have their supplier remove the labels before shipping so that others can't find out what it is.

The main stand on Chippewa Street on Route 66 closes January 1 and reopens on Valentine's Day.  The stand sells balsam fir trees at Christmas time.  A second stand on Grand Boulevard is open summers only.

teddrewes.com  At 6726 Chippewa Street.

--RoadDog

Sweet St. Louis is Beckoning-- Part 2: Frozen Custard (And We All Know Where That Is)

Hotel concierges in St. Louis often get the question, "Where is Ted Drewes?"  The frozen custard stand on historic Route 66 draws long lines of customers ordering cold treats and especially their signature concretes, so named for their thickness.  They like to demonstrate it by holding  a tub of the stuff upside down.  Not a drop plops out.  Chocolate is the most popular flavor, but there are many, many others.

Don't worry about those long lines as they move fast.  At peak times Ted Drewes had 37 employees working away  They often sell as many as 1,400 items in a night.  You can even have it shipped to you on dry ice.

--RoadDog

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sweet St. Louis Is Beckoning-- Part 1 Gooey Butter Cake

From the Jan. 4, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Katherine Rodeghier.

St. Louis is more than beer and baseball.  You know, Anheuser-Busch and Cardinals.

The city has a sugary side as well.

GOOEY BUTTER CAKE

St. Louis's signature dessert that was created by accident.  One version of the story is that in the early 1940s, baker Johnny Hoffman set out to make a cake with a firm consistency like a pound cake, but also had other ingredients.  he was experimenting and came across it.

The dessert usually has a yellow cake base topped with a layer made of eggs, cream cheese and flavorings which is then dusted with confectioners sugar.  Gooeys are usually about an inch high and cut into squares and served at room temperature or warm

Ann & Allen Baking Company makes 76 varieties of the cake and sells them online  They also serve a selection of them at their Park Avenue Coffee shops in various locations around St. Louis.  Top sellers are Mom's Traditional, triple chocolate, turtle, red velvet and pumpkin.

I'd never heard of these before.  Maybe next time through town.

--RoadDog

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 2: First Day: Illinois Highway 47

NOVEMBER 24TH

Took my usual route to North Carolina, starting with Illinois Highway 47 in Woodstock and taking it all the way to near its southern terminus in Mahomet, Illinois.  I was surprised to make it through Huntley's Main Street Strangler, that horrible wait forever stoplight.

But, more than made up for that at a huge traffic jam and long wait south of Huntley at the 47-72 intersection south of Stark's Corner.

I was shocked to see gas at the Elburn BP station, usually the most expensive along Il-47, at $1,87.  Then, I had a long wait for a freight train in downtown Elburn, something that happens often.  Those trains that go through DeKalb, also go through here.

I am glad to report that the road construction headache through Yorkville is now completed and it's a fine and easy drive through there now.

--RoadDog

Detroit's Majestic Building

From Buildings of Detroit.com.

It was located at 1011 Woodward Avenue and designed by famous architect Daniel H. Burnham.  The Beaux Arts style building opened in 1896 and helped usher in Detroit's Skyscraper Age as the second one built.  The first one was 1890's Hammond Building.

It remained the most imposing structure until Burnham's 18-story Ford Building in 1909.

The Majestic Building stood 222-feet and was 14 stories high, the city's tallest until the Ford Building.  It was entirely faced with terra cotta and considered fireproof.

It was destroyed in 1962.  The 1001 Woodward Building, built in 1965, is ar its site now.

--RoadDog

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 1

I got back home in Spring Grove this past Friday after driving 2,073 miles from November 24 to December 4.

Gas:

11-24  $1.66 in Crawfodsville, Indiana
11-25  $85 in Rockridge, Ohio
11-25  $1.86 in Wytheville, Virginia (the first time ever it wasn't the cheapest on the trip)
12-2  Goldsbori, N.C.  $$1.89
12-3  Wytheville, Va. $1.89
12-3  Rockridge, Ohio  $1.95
12-4  Mahomet, Illinois  $1.90
12-4  Dwight, Illinois  $1.85

As you can see, gas prices jumped considerably the second day of the trip, but I am not complaining.  This is the cheapest trip for gas in a long time.

--RoadDog

News From Along Route 66-- November 2015

Again, all of these articles are taken from THE source for any and everything Route 66, Route 66 News.  See that site for pictures and more information.  I just write about the items I find of special interest.

NOVEMBER  8--  How to Make Your Community a Route 66 Destination Hot Spot was a talk given by Emily Priddy who pointed out the towns of Pontiac and Atlanta in Illinois, and Shamrock in Texas as ones that have done just that.

I agree with her.  Why not make some money off of being located on America's Road.  I doubt that any own has done more than the two Illinois ones (and now even Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, seem to have awakened from their long sleep in regards to Route 66).

NOVEMBER 10--  12 useful tips for traveling Route 66.  these were of interest to me:

**  Don't rush it.  Give it as much time as possible.  If necessary, even break it up into chunks and travel it a little bit at a time.  Those who do it in a matter of 4-5 days are missing a lot.

**  Try not to get advance reservations at hotels.  This is especially important because you never know what you will find that might detain you longer than you had planned.

**  Avoid chains of all sorts.  Check out the mom and pop motels and restaurants.

**  Keep a journal and take lots of pictures.  I highly recommend Dave Wickline's "Images of 66, Vol. 1" which has the pictures and information about each one.

--RoadDog

News From Along Route 66-- November 2015: Miniatures

NOVEMBER 6--  There are more Route 66 miniatures from Willem Bor.

They include:

Mr. D'z Restaurant in Kingman, Az.
Texaco station in Glenrio, Texas
TeePee Curios in Tucumcari, N.N.

He hopes to sell his miniatures only to a Route 66 museum and would charge just the cost of materials and postage.

Other miniatures he has made:

Lucille's Service Station in Hydro, Oklahoma
Rich & Creamy in Joliet, Ill.

The Mill in Lincoln, Ill.
Cool Springs Camp in Oatman, Az.
Dairy King in Commerce, Ok.
Super Service Station in Alanreed, Texas
Diner in Twin Arrows near Winona, Az.
Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, Az.

--RoadDog



Monday, December 7, 2015

The Attack That Launched the U.S. Into World War II-- Part 2: Michigan Men at Pearl Harbor

ANDREW H. PALOVICH--  Norton Shores, died Jan. 14, 2007.

GRANT PLAYTER--  Hesperia, US Army Air Corps, stationed at Wheeler Field, died April 1979.

JOHN R. REBERG--  Muskegon, US Army Air Corps, Private 1st Class, died Oct. 22, 1998.

DADE SARTWELL--   Hesperia, US Army Air Corps, died Jan. 9, 1972.

The Attack That Launched the U.S. Into World War II-- Part 1: Michigan Men at Pearl Harbor

Every Dec. 7th, I devote all seven of my blogs to commemorating the events of that day.  See My Blog List.

From the Dec. 3, 2012 M Live site.

These men from Western Michigan were at Pearl Harbor that fateful day.

RAYMOND E. LUNDE--  Luddington, died 1987.

JOHN B. MINES--  Whitehall, died 1993.

ERNEST B. MORAN--  Luddington, US Navy, died Feb. 23, 1979.

WILLIAM A. OSBORNE--  Egelston Township, US Army, died June 18, 1997.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

News From Along Route 66-- November 2015: Route 66 in Illinois

Continued from previous post.

**  They suggest definitely trying the spam sandwich at the Palms Grill Cafe in Atlanta.  (So do Monty Python)

**  The Mill restaurant building in Lincoln contains a sign from the long-gone Pig-Hip restaurant in Broadwell.

**  The Mill will likely open in May 2016.

**  The Williamsville Historical Box car museum may be moving to an actual building.  I am hoping they keep the box car.

**  An early version of the Cozy Dog drive-In in Springfield was a Dairy Queen franchise.

--RoadDog

News From Along Route 66-- November 2015: Pops and Illinois

NOVEMBER 4--  The new Pops store opened in Nichols Hills, Oklahoma.  It is a 5,000 square foot restaurant/store north of OKC at 6447 Avondale Drive.  They sell 600 varieties of cold soda pop.  The other one is in Acadia.

The first one opened after we were last in Oklahoma and we look for ward to visiting either one in the coming years.

NOVEMBER 4--  There is now a Route 66 bicycle tourism packet available.  This is an excellent way to use those sections of the road which are no longer in use.

NOVEMBER 5--  There was a Route 66 in Illinois presentation at the recent meeting in Edwardsville, Illinois by Joe Sonderman and Cheryl Jett.  the two of them co-wrote a book.

Some of the things they had to say:

**  A 1942 explosion at the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant near Elwood killed 48 people.  Most of it is now part of the Midewin Tall Grass prairie and the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

**  Many people confuse the Joliet Correctional Center on Joliet with Statesville Prison.  The one in Joliet was used in the opening part of the movie "Blues Brothers."

**Sonderman originally thought Route 66 in Illinois was a boring stretch, but no longer.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Friday, December 4, 2015

Congratulations to the IHSA Illinois Winners in the 2015 Playoffs

These teams won the football championship games in their respective divisions last weekend in DeKalb at Huskie Stadium:

8A--  Loyola Academy--  Wilmette

7A--  Glenbard West--  Glen Ellyn

6A--  Montini--  Lombard

5A--  Nazareth Academy--  LaGrange

4A--  Phillips--  Chicago

3A--  McNamara--  Kankakee

2A--  Tri-Valley--  Downs

1A--  Arcola

Well Done!  --RoadDog

US-12 Manages to Pull Out a Tie With US-14 in the Illinois State Football Playoffs

I had mentioned back on November 21st that the three US-14 (Northwest Highway) teams had advanced to the Championship games in their respective divisions: Palatine in 8A, Cary-Grove in 7A and Crystal Lake South in 6A.  Palatine was also a US-12 (Rand Road) team as well since both highways go through that town.

However, all three teams lost their semi final games, making the outcome a tie between the tow roads since they all lost in the same round.

I was especially hoping for Palatine to go to the championship game and win it as I graduated from there.

Maybe next year.

--RoadDog

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Lincoln Highway-- Part 3: 1915 Motor Tour

The convoy went through Gettysburg, Greensburg, Lima, Ligonier, Clinton, Kearney, Salt Lake City and onto Sacramento as well as the cities and hamlets in between.  They filmed the whole way.

Arrival at its destination, San Francisco took place on August 25, and a couple cars were driven into the Pacific surf on Ocean Beach to mark the end of it.  (Photos of the beginning and end accompany the article.)  The hard drive had taken 102 days and generated around 10,000 feet of film.

What made the Lincoln Highway special was the extraordinary promotional flair of its backers.  The film was just one more aspect of that.

San Francisco was hosting a world's fair: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition that year.  The LHA film was shown from early September to the end of the fair on December 4.  They then took it on the road in reverse, playing to big crowds in the cities they had passed through going westward.

--RoadDog

The Lincoln Highway-- Part 2: "Highway More in Aspiration Than In Reality"

The Lincoln Highway was formerly opened in a series of events along its path on October 31, 1913.  "...it was a highway more in aspiration than in reality."  It was essentially still the same in two years later when this convoy left New York.

Henry C. Ostermann was at the head of the convoy in a new Stutz touring car.  This man was into cross-country travel by auto and this was at least his sixth time to do so.  He brought along a motion picture camera.

In addition, he was vice president and field secretary of the Lincoln Highway Association (LHA), the organization that raised funds for the road's construction, chose the route and promoted its use.

Osterman and the LHA team were filming the trip from start to end as a publicity tool.  Advance notice was given to towns along the way which supplied money for the trip and crowds.  A big one was at the Lincoln memorial at Gettysburg National Cemetery and parades like the big one in South Bend, Indiana.

--RoadDog