Wednesday, August 16, 2017

DeKalb Gets a New Standard Station in 1917

From the July 5, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago

"The Standard Oil Company's fueling station at the corner of First and Lincoln Highway is in the hands of the finishers at this time, and the building will probably be ready for occupancy in the course of the next ten days."

The Auto is Here.  --RoadDog

Charlie Daniels' "Road Dogs"-- Part 2: "We're Road Dogs, Road Dogs"

Sure enjoyed listening to this song on Galax, Virginia's WBRF, 98.1 FM, Home of Classic Country.  Sure like the internet for that.  Plus, that great You Tube where I listened to the song many times.  If I ever had a radio show, this would definitely be one that I play.  After all, it has my name.

Anyway, the song is a tale of all the things that can go wrong when giving concerts out on the road.

Some of the words:

Pulling out of Woodstock heading down to Little Rock


We're Road Dogs, Road Dogs
Burning up the interstate
Hot and Wild Southern Style
That crowd in Memphis just won't wait
From midnight till dawn
We're rolling down the highway
Heading for another town
Road Dogs, Road Dogs
We sure get around.

Road Dogs is also the name of the album it was on and Charlie Daniels wrote most of the songs, including this one.  It was released in 2000.

Thanks, Charlie.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Charlie Daniels' "Road Dogs"-- Part 1: That Great WBRF, 98.1 FM, Classic Country

I was listening to one of my favorite radio stations, WBRF 98.1 FM out of Galax, Virginia, which plays classic country.  I got into the station back when I was driving to North Carolina three times a year to visit my mom.  I'd pick it up a bit north of the Virginia line in West Virginia on I-77 and keep with it until through Virginia and into North Carolina, US-52 to Winston Salem and US-421/I-40 to Greensboro where I would lose it.

Absolutely great music, many of which I'd never heard before.

Now, I often listen to it while doing these blogs in the afternoon.  One really great thing about the internet.

Today, about 4:40 p.m., I heard this great song with my name in it called "Road Dogs."  i wasn't sure who sang it but it sounded like Charlie Daniels... and it was.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Why Go Anywhere Else?-- Part 2: Storms, Pints and Pitchers


We had rain off and on during the morning.  It was coming straight down and sure enjoyed sitting FP and that special smell rain brings.

In the afternoon, we got together with Kevin and Kelly at Bulldog Ale House in McHenry for their drink special of the day:  $2 for any draft pint that they have.  We had been there awhile back and when I heard the special, I ordered a Miller Lite and then learned that also applied to any craft or import beer.  

Well, sure wish I'd have known that before I got the Lite.  I love craft and import drafts, but not at $4-$6.  But, $2, now you're talking my price  We fully imbibed there.

I had wanted to go over to McHenry's Veteran Park for their Thursday night concert series, but just after we left, the rain came again, and this time as hard as I've ever seen it come down.  And, a favorite of mine, Mississippi Landslide was playing, but no concert for us.

We met Kevin and Kelly again at Sunnyside for some more drinks, and it was happy hour, so enjoyed the $5 draft pitchers.

Sure Like That Cheap Beer.  --RoadDog

Why Go Anywhere Else?-- Part 1: The Civil War and Enjoying the House and Yard

Again, I get asked often why we don't really go away much during June to August.  Why go anywhere else when summer vacation is right here.  Between boating, when it is not flooding and all the outdoor festivals going on, I'd just as soon stay right here.


I dug up hostas for Kelly as I am changing the flower beds around.  Drove to Woodstock, Illinois, and saw the movie "Dunkirk" for a second time (one of those you need to see on a really big screen) and then did some research in the Woodstock Library (I love to do research) and met some McHenry Civil War Round Table people at Three Brothers Restaurant for dinner and went to the Round Table Meeting and heard about a real big Union scoundrel by the name of Ruben Hatch who was responsible for the overloading of the SS Sultana which blew up and killed at least 1200 returning Union prisoners.


Enjoyed the FP (Front Porch) Flats (Side patio) and OD (deck at various times.Did some yard work (another thing I really like to do).

So sad to find out that Glen Campbell had died.  (See my RoadDog's RoadLog Blog from last week.)

Went to the Legion.


N.C. Jan. 2017-- Part 30: What About All Those People Visiting Fort Fisher?

There is no historical place in the world (and I REALLY like historical places) that I'd rather be at than Fort Fisher.  One of these winters I would like to come down and spent 1-2 weeks at Fort Fisher and Carolina Beach.

I have always wondered a bit about Fort Fisher's claim that they get 750,000 to 800,000 visitors a year (even with being closed on Mondays).  I thought that was a bit high for most any historical site (since most people do not get into history too much).  And, as much as I am into Fort Fisher's history, it definitely is not a Gettysburg-level engagement.

I was told that there is a counter up by the gate into the parking lot that counts vehicles.    They multiply each one by four, figuring there are that many people it..  But, very likely, a lot of them are coming to the Fort Fisher beach and looking for the site's bathrooms.


Friday, August 11, 2017

News From 66, July 2017: Skippy's, Classen Circle and Sprague's

JULY 11--  Skippy's Route 66 Restaurant in Leasburg, Missouri, reopens after a fire.  We met a lot of Missouri Route 66 Association folks there one time.  Glad to have it back.

JULY 13--  Plan would demolish Oklahoma City's Classen Circle so that a Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Store can be built there.  I don't remember seeing it, but a picture accompanying the article makes it look like a neat place.  Too bad.

JULY 15--  Sprague's Super Service station in Normal, Illinois, to reopen in August.  It was built in 1931 and is owned by the city.

I am so glad that Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, has finally figured out they need to push their Route 66 heritage.  Money to be made, you know.

For A Long Time They Didn't.  --RoadDog

Shipwreck Coast On Michigan's Upper Peninsula-- Part 4: About the Commode

The ships may be well preserved, but the cargoes are another story.  Crews of wrecked ships would salvage as much as they could.  Other cargo items were looted, many by divers over the last century.  It was not illegal then to bring back items that could be sold or used as souvenirs.  These were in the days before the modern divers credo "Take only pictures, leave only bubbles."

One funny story, though is the toilet and anchor from the barge Herman H. Hettler, which sank in 1926.  A local diver snatched these two items in the 1960s and proudly displayed them on his front yard until he retired to Texas 30 years later.

That's when Munising locals retrieved them (plucking flowers from the commode that the wife had planted) and re-sank them in the ship.  This explains why the toilet sits perfectly upright on the wreck.

Sounds Like An Interesting Place to Visit.  --RoadDog

Shipwreck Coast, Upper Peninsula, Michigan-- Part 3: The Tale of the Schooner Bermuda

One of the ships that sank on the Shipwreck  Coast was the 150-foot schooner Bermuda, which sank in 1870.  The ship had been docked safely in Marquette until its crew created too much drunken trouble and were promptly ordered by he sheriff to leave.

They dropped anchor by the Shipwreck Coast where their captain, Michael Finney went ashore to look for another saloon while the crew slept it off.  The ship filled with water, snapped its mooring lines and sank, drown three.

When Captain Finney came back, there were just two masts sticking up out of the water.

Mother Nature caused most of the shipwrecks here, but at the same time preserves the remains of its victims.  Lake Superior is cold most of the year which deters microbacteria that break down natural materials like white-oak hulls.  There is no salt either.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Shipwreck Coast, Michigan's Upper Peninsula-- Part 2: A Major Artery

As sad as the wrecks and deaths in this stretch of coast, one good thing is that many of the wrecks are very accessible.  Masts of some still protrude above the water a century after they sank.  The remains of others are even on shore and those fully sunk can be seen from a glass-bottom boat.

Plus, the surroundings include Michigan's magnificent Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.


This stretch of the Great Lakes was a major thoroughfare for cargo ships hauling iron ore from Michigan's Marquette mines to Cleveland, Chicago and beyond.  Other ships carried passengers and pine.  Then there were also fresh water buccaneers eager to take the cargoes of the other ships.


What Is the Difference Between a "Street" and an "Avenue"?

From the December 2014 Smithsonian  "Ask Smithsonian."

Seth R. Digel  of Smethport, Pennsylvania, asked the question.

ANSWER;  A street is  a basic paved traffic link within an urban area; an avenue was originally grander, wider and often lined with trees or other flora.

But the distinction has eroded over time, as when, for example, real estate developers indiscriminately call new roads "avenues" to make a more grandiose impression.

Nancy Post, curator of the National Postal Museum.

Now You Know.  --AvenueDog  (So Much More Grandiose, Don't You Know.)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

News From 66, July 2017: Fanning Outpost to Reopen, Front Street Bridge Reopens

JULY 8--  The Fanning 66 Outpost near Cuba, Missouri, soon will reopen later this summer.  Local businessman Ryan Thompson, owner of Route 66 Mercantile is buying it.

The Outpost opened in 2007 and closed just recently due to lack of business.  It was one of our favorite stops when we were in the area.

Mr. Thompson also plans on getting back the title of World's Largest Rocker after losing it to Casey, Illinois.

JULY 8--  The restoration of Front Street Bridge in Galena, Kansas is completed with a July 22 dedication planned.  That is a neat bridge.  We always know we're out west when we cross it going into Kansas.


Monday, August 7, 2017

N.C. Jan. 2017-- Part 29: Spending Time At What Is Left of the Fort

The markers along the fort walk have been repaired (they had gotten into bad shape) and new ones erected.  Many of these give the human side of the battle and life at the fort.

Today was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures so I took a nice, slow walk around the little that remains of the fort.  Most of it, including most all of the old seafront of the fort and much of the land face are under water as the Atlantic Ocean has come in a lot, especially after the coquina beds offshore were removed in the 1930s to construct US-421.  With that barrier gone, the ocean came in quickly.

And, part of the land face mounds and traverses was leveled both for US-421 and for a landing strip when Fort Fisher was used by soldiers from nearby Camp Davis during World War II for anti-aircraft training.  Planes, often flown by members of the WAC (Women's Army Corps), towed targets offshore.

Ahh.  Fort Fisher and I have All Day If I Want to Spend Here.  Normally I Am With People and Can't Stay As Long As I Like.  --RoadDog

Shipwreck Coast, Michigan Upper Peninsula-- Part 1:

From the July 30, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Sunken Treasures" by Chris McNamara.

Kind of sounds like a place you might find in a "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

Of course, shipwrecks were my second favorite thing when  I was growing up (after Fort Fisher and the Civil War).  I even thought about taking up diving and looking for shipwrecks (and especially sunken treasure).

This article immediately caught my eye.

The Shipwreck Coast is a stretch of shallow waters at the southern end of Lake Superior by Michigan's Upper Peninsula that is littered with the wrecks of hundreds of doomed vessels.  Sean Levy of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum estimates that out of 600 Lake Superior shipwrecks, a third are clustered here between Munsing and Paradise, Michigan, where the museum sits on Whitefish Point.

Wasn't this the area where the Edmund Fitzgerald sank?

Well, I might like to go shipwreck hunting here, but not really.  That water is way too cold.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

N.C. Jan. 2017-- Part 28: Fort Fisher Medals, the Colonel's Lady and the Mine

Fort Fisher has a temporary exhibit on the many Medals of Honor troops and sailors received at Fort Fisher.  There is  a permanent one on Colonel Lamb's "Cottage" located a mile north of the fort.  He lived here with his wife Daisy and family.  This exhibit includes two beautiful chairs taken from the stricken blockade runner Kate.

The museum also still has the the Confederate torpedo (mine) which washed up on the shore of the Cape Fear River back in the 1960s.  I remember this torpedo from the first Fort Fisher Museum which was located at Battle Acre in a 40 by 40-foot shed.

The man told me that they had some 100 descendants this past weekend at the friends of Fort Fisher annual meeting and descendants reunion this past Saturday at Carolina Beach Courtyard by Marriott.  This marked the 152nd anniversary of the Second Battle of Fort Fisher.

I really would have liked to have been there, especially since I was only about 50 miles away, but I had other things to do.

I am hoping to be able to attend the 153rd anniversary this coming January.


News From Along 66, July 2017: Rhea's, Red's and Russell

JULY 7--  The restored Rhea's Chicken basket neon sign is dedicated in Willowbrook, Illinois.  Always like to see restored neon.

JULY 5--  There is a film portrait of Harvey Russell of the Mediocre Music Makers of Erick, Oklahoma.  One of the characters who make Route 66 so much fun  A hum,an Tow tater?  The Wildest Guy on 66?

JULY 7--  A replica of Red's Giant Hamburg sign will soon break ground.  It will be at a new restaurant.  David Campbell, owner of Buckingham's regional bbq chain is opening the restaurant at 2301 Sunshine Street.  It is not in the original location site and larger than the original, which by all accounts was fairly small.

Red's closed in 1984.

What is he calling the new place.  Probably Buckingham's.  You've got to see that great video"Red's" by the Morrells.  Cheesy 70s at  its best.


Beyond Route 66: Ten More Road Trips-- Part 2: Coastlines, Castles and Mountains


Longest coastal route in the world.  Spans entire length of Ireland,  1553 miles  2-4 weeks.  Enormous cliffs, incredible beaches.


Hohe Tauren National Park.  Austria's highest mountain Grossglockner and its glacier, the Pasterze.

Thirty miles of high alpine road with 36 bends while climbing 2,504 metres.  Maybe one to avoid if you're scared of heights.

8.  ROMANTIC ROAD (GERMANY)  Like a fairy tale.  217 miles with some of the prettiest towns and castles in Germany.  Created after World War II to encourage tourism back to Bavaria.  Basically, it is a drive through a Disney movie.


186 miles in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  Three days.


Seattle to San Diego.  621 miles.  You know.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Beyond Route 66: Ten More Road Trips That Should Be On Your Bucket List-- Part 1

From the May 19, 2016 BT.  According to Conor Meary from Holiday Motors.

1.  LONDON TO EDINBURGH--  The English capital to Scotland:  Oxford, Cotswalds, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.  (400 miles)

2.  US ROUTE 61--  Minnesota to Louisiana.  Blues and Jazz.  (683 miles)

3.  HANA HIGHWAY (HAWAII)--  One day trip along the northern coast of the island.  59 bridges.

4.  CAUSEWAY COASTAL ROUTE (NORTHERN IRELAND)--  Great views, unforgettable scenery.  Should take 4-9 days:  Giant's Causeway, Dark Hedges, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

5.  ROUTE 1 (ICELAND)--  Ring Road around the island.  Glaciers, mountains glaciers and wild coasts:  Skogafoss Waterfall and Jokulsarlon Lagoon.  (ten days to two weeks)

For Those of Us Ready to Branch Out.  --RoadDog

Santa Rosa Creek Road Throws You Plenty of Curves

From the May 18, 2016, Tribune by Stephen H. Provost.

Working on a book due out next year, "A History of U.S. Highway 99 In California."

A picture of the old Grapevine Grade accompanied the article, a part of the oldest version of the road, the Old Ridge Road.


N.C. Jan. 2017-- Part 27: Hanging Out At the Fort and the Whitworth Gun


I had a nice talk with the person there about the restored Whitworth rifled cannon.  The last time I saw it a couple years ago it was in poor condition and didn't look much like a vaunted cannon because of its five-mile distance and accuracy.  You can now see the inscription on it which says that it was captured at Fort Fisher.

It was one of Colonel Lamb's "Pets," part of a battery that would go up and down the beach to force off blockaders getting in too close while pursuing blockade runners or after ones that had run aground.  They were very effective guns.

Getting this gun was a real great deal for Fort Fisher as it was a mighty good blockader deterrent. I think they got it on more or less permanent loan from the Washington Navy Yard.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

N.C. Jan. 2017-- Part 26: To Fort Fisher


I drove over to th Carolina Beach Hardees for their delicious porkchop and gravy biscuit combo.  Those are REALLY good.  Several years ago when I was there, I had to tell them that they had the North Carolina state flag flying upside down.  I received another compliment from the person at the front desk for the Packers upset of the Cowboys on Sunday.

I told the desk clerk that the heater in the room wasn't working and they had someone up to the room within 30 minutes to fix it.

Drove to Fort Fisher and was the only visitor there for awhile.  Pleasure Island, as they now call Federal Point Peninsula from Snow's Cut, where the Intercoastal Waterway crosses over from the Cape Fear River to Masonboro Sound, to the tip of it is now essentially an island, is not overly busy during the winter, unless, of course, they are having the anniversary of the Second Battle of Fort Fisher January 15.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

News From 66, July 2017: Bajada Hill, Tropics, Boots and David Kammer

JULY 1--  Conchiti Pueblo block access to Bajada Hill, Route 66's famous zig-zag road.  They are doing it to prevent further abuse from visitors.  A neat old postcard accompanied the entry.  Not sure if I support them or not.

JULY 1--  Restoration of the Tropics sign begins by the Ace Sign Company of Springfield, Illinois.  I look forward to seeing the sign up by where it used to be located in Lincoln, Illinois.

JULY 3--  New Mexico Route 66 historian David Kammer died.

JULY 3--  Restoration of the Boots Court architectural neon to begin soon.  I hope they have it finished by the time we make our Route 66 When We're 66 trip this September.


News From 66, June 2017: New Places on 66-- Part 2: Illinois and Missouri


Pontiac--  Oakland Museum
Normal--  Sprague's Super Service station  It is so great that Bloomington-Normalhave finally arrived at the decision that Route 66 heritage is good for business.
Bloomington--  Cruisin' With Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center
McLean--  McLean Depot Train Shop
Atlanta--  Palms Grill Cafe, Colaw Rooming House
Lincoln--  The Mill  Museum
Springfield--  Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Litchfield--  Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center


Pacific--  Jensen's Point
Cuba--  Wagon Wheel Motel, The Four Way
Carthage--  Boots Motel

A comment mentioned Wrink's in Lebanon.

And those are just some in the first two states the road crossed.


News From 66, June 2017: New Places on 66-- Part 1

These are based on entries in the Route 66 News blog.  I just pick the ones of special interest to me.  The site has many more articles on a daily basis along with photos and much more in depth coverage.  Well worth checking it out.


Route 66 has spawned many new places.  These are some of the ones that have opened in the post-"Cars" movie in 2006 and include built-from-scratch places like Pops in Arcadia, Oklahoma or revived places that had been closed or "moribund" like the Palms Grill in Atlanta, Illinois.

I will just do my two favorite states.