Friday, December 29, 2017

Along 66, November 2017: Missouri and Illinois

NOVEMBER 27--  Marshfield, Missouri, to add signs to the old alignment of Route 66, the 1929 alignment.  They could use more.  Back in October on our 66 On 66 Cruise, we got fairly lost there.

NOVEMBER 29--  Midewin National Tall Grass Prairie, near Wilmington, Illinois is removing one history in favor of another.

They are removing old ammunition bunkers.  It is on the grounds of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant.  They are removing them in order to restore the natural prairie which once covered so much of Illinois.

I am hoping, however, that they let at least a couple of the bunkers remain


Thursday, December 28, 2017

About Those Kringles-- Part 3: All Sorts of Fillings

O&H is the biggest kringle-maker in town..  It takes them three days to make a kringle.  On day one they fold and layer it with lots of butter.  Their kringles get folded into 36 layers.

Throughout the year they have flavors of the month for their kringles including key lime pie and rhubarb.  Other flavors this year have included churro, peach cobbler, pink lemonade, root beer float and summer shandy.

For Christmas, they are featuring a kringle with chocolate cake filling laced with peppermint.  Bits of red velvet cake top the creamy icing.

I Want One of Those!!  --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Along 66, November 2017: Dave Clark Conducting a Chicagoland Tour

NOVEMBER 21--  In-Sites is offering special tours in Chicagoland on Thanksgiving and during the holiday season.

InSites and David "Windy City Road Warrior" Clark.

On Thanksgiving Day Dave will conduct a tour between Wilmington and Chicago on Route 66 in a tour called "Drumsticks and Other All-American Kicks on Route 66."  There will be a buffet at Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket.  The tour covers fifty miles and will leave the Art Institute in Chicago and end there.

Other stops will be at the Midewin National Tall Grass Prairie, Castle Eden, the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Union Station and the Gemini Giant.

That Dave Clark Sure Knows His Chicagoland Route 66 Stuff.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Bridge By Sycamore and Removing Hitching Posts in DeKalb

From the April 12, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The highway commission of Mayfield will hold an election for the purpose of borrowing money to defray one-half the cost of The Mayfield Bridge, one and one-half miles west of Sycamore on the state road."

"The residents of North Second Street in DeKalb can heave a sigh of relief, inasmuch as steps have been taken to remove the hitching posts which have been a menace to health in the neighborhood since being put in last summer."


Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Round Here: Decorations, Eating, Trains and Drinking

Yesterday, Liz and I went on our annual Christmas tour to get that ol' Christmas Spirit.

We drove into McHenry, Illinois, and had lunch at the Windhill Pancake Parlor on Il-120, right by the Fox River bridge.  This place takes Christmas decorating to a whole new level.  Wherever you look, there is something Christmas.  Even the railroad tracks (you can have your food delivered to your seat at the bar by model train) was decorated.

Then, there is their excellent food.  I had a reuben sandwich and Liz an amazing looking egg salad sandwich.

Then, it was to the McHenry Savings Bank on Il-31, south of town.  They go way out of their way with over-the-top Christmas decorations which would be reason enough to visit.  But what I, and Liz, really like is the huge model train board.  The local railroad club puts this up every year this time.  They have trains all the way back to the 1920s and 1930s.  And a lot of them run on tracks.  Even better, you can operate some of the trains.

There are always a lot of kids (boys mostly) and older kids like me looking at and running those trains.

Then, we went to Bulldog Ale House on 31 where the Thursday special is anyone of their 40-50 draft beers for $2 a draft.  That includes imports and craft beers.  I had a Heinekin and Stella Artois for two bucks apiece.  Now, that is sure drinking cheap in the old neighborhood.

Last stop was back in Johnsburg at Sunnyside.

All Christmas Now.  --RoadDog

About Those Kringles-- Part 2: Racine Is the "U.S. Kringle Capital"

Racine, Wisconsin,  has the title of  U.S. Kringle Capital.  They have four local bakeries who make kringles.  At both Bendtsen's and Larsen's, pecan is the most popular flavor.  Every fall, O&H brigs out their pumpkin caramel kringle.  At Lehmann's, customers can special order one stuffed with peanut butter and jelly.

Bendtsen's opened in 1934 and can make up to 2,000 kringles a day.  Back when they opened, Laurits Bendtsen baked just two every morning.  A $9 to $11 kringle will serve 10-12 people.

At Larsen's, up the block, pecan, cherry and raspberry are probably the top flavors, followed by almond and apple.  They even have a bourbon and pecan kringle laced with Maker's Mark straight out of the bottle.  They bake batches for the Kentucky Derby each year.  Their peanut butter and jelly kringle weighs in at nearly four pounds, nearly twice the normal weight of a kringle.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

About Those Kringles-- Part 1: From Denmark

From the December 10, 2017, Chicago Tribune "Kringle-makers sweeten holiday season in Racine" by Jay Jones.

"4 bakeries in Wisconsin city meet soaring demand in December for flaky, buttery pastry with fillings."

In America's Dairyland (sorry California), state legislators have declared milk, not beer, as the official state beverage, it's only right that the official pastry, kringle, contains lots of butter.  And, it does.

In case you don'y know what a kringle is, it consists of dozens of layers of incredibly thin pastry infused with a huge array of fillings.  These were originally made in Denmark in the mid-19th century.  Danish immigrants brought it along as they came t this southeastern Wisconsin City which they called Little Copenhagen.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holiday Sweets Across the USA-- Part 4: Moravian Christmas Cookies & Pralines


Pennsylvania and North Carolina

Made with warm spices and molasses, these crisp wafers were originally brought to America by Moravian immigrants from Central Europe, who settled in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
They're still a perennial holiday favorite made by Winkler Bakery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.



These New Orleans-style confections, made with brown sugar, cream and local pecans, are a Christmastime must in Louisiana.

Now That I Am GOOD and Hungry.  --RoodKringle

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Holiday Sweets Across the USA-- Part 3: Gingersnaps, Hermit Bars & Kringles



These classic cookies, spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, are a Christmastime standby in Minnesota.


New England

Spiced with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, these molasses-and-brown-sugar treats are popular in New England.


Wisconsin   (Especially in Racine).

For generations of Wisconsinites, the season isn't complete without these flaky Danish-style pastries that are an institution at Bendtsen's and O&H Danish Bakery in Racine.

I always pick one up when our local grocery store, Angelo's in Johnsburg, Illinois, receives a supply.  Something you need to try at least once.

Try It, You'll Like It.  --RoadDog

Monday, December 18, 2017

Holiday Sweets Across the USA-- Part 2: Divinity, Fruitcake & Lebkuchen


This sweet confection, made with egg whites, corn syrup and sugar, is like a Southern version of nougat and a must-have in many family Christmas baking lineups.

FRUITCAKE--  Everywhere, but especially Texas.

We can't claim to have invented the fruitcake (variations of it date back to the ancient Rome), but American cooks, especially those in the South, have a particular love for this rich, candied-fruit-and-but-studded, often boozy holiday standby.

Some cooks prefer fruitcake cookies --known as "Texas Lizzies" or "Christmas Lizzies," depending on the location.  One of my favorites, despite the bad opinion most I know have of it.  Few things better than a bog ol' slice of fruitcake with whip cream on top of it.

LEBKUCHEN--  Midwest

German settlers brought this traditional warm-spiced and ice cookie recipe with them to the Midwest.

Yum, Good!!  I Like Fruitcakes and Don't Care Who Knows.  --RoadDog

Holiday Sweets Across the USA-- Part 1: Biscochitos, Black Walnut Cake & Bourbon Balls

From the December 10, 2017, Parade Magazine.

Some of those goodies found around the the country.


State cookie and also a Christmastime favorite.  Originally brought to area by Spanish settlers, the crisp cookie is prized for its distinct anise flavor.


Black walnuts are harvested in Missouri in the fall, which means they turn up in all manner of holiday treats, from cakes to fudge and brownies.


These boozy, no-bake confections are a Kentuckian riff on chocolate truffles.  Bourbon, Kentucky, go figure.

Honest,  I Only Had Two-Three Bourbon Balls.   --RoadDog

Friday, December 15, 2017

Illinois Highway 23, Sycamore to DeKalb

There was a lot of excitement back in 1917 when the entire stretch between the two cities became a two-lane cement road.  They referred to it as the "cement road."

Then 25 years later, in 1942, it became a four lane paved road, quite a big thing back in those days.

I have had many entries about these two roads in those two years.

Today, there are few undeveloped parcels along the road and just about all of the big chain stores are along it.  It is a real horror to drive because there seems to be a stoplight every few blocks and they are long lights.  It has become a road that I would rather not drive if possible.

Good Ol' Ill-23--  RoadDog

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Need for Protective Signage in Sycamore in 1942

From the April 12, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"There is need of a warning sign adorned with reflector buttons on the old piece of road that ends up just east of Electric Park.

"The road now turns into the new four lane highway.  At night there is nothing to indicate to a stranger that the cement ends there.  Recently several cars have run off the end of the cement and bogged down in the mud."


A "Slight" Auto Accident in 1917

From the October 18, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"A slight auto accident occurred this morning at the corner of First and Locust street (DeKalb) when a steering gear broke, and the driver of the car made circle around a tree.

"The car was not damaged to any great extent and after about an hour's work was on its way again."


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The New Cement Road Closed By the State in 1917

From the November 29, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The stretch of cement road from Electric Park to Sycamore was closed yesterday by officials from the state, and the joy of going from Sycamore to DeKalb on a cement road will not be possible for a few days.

"The idea of closing the road was the fact that it had not been officially accepted and also that the grading at the side of the road was not satisfactory and many cars had become stalled in the mud."

That would be today's Illinois Highway 23.


The Cement Road Between DeKalb and Sycamore Nearly Completed in 1917

From the October 11, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The cement road between DeKalb and Sycamore which has been in progress the past two weeks is rapidly nearing completion and another week or ten days of this kind of weather will see the construction work completed.

"As soon as the cement is laid and has set, dirt is thrown over over it as a means of protection and the road has been completed nearly two-thirds of the distance and the big cement machine works steadily every day."

Pulling Illinois Out of the Mud.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Along 66, November 2017: Doings in Laclede County and Shea's Up for Sale Again

NOVEMBER 8--  The Underpass Cafe exterior near Phillipsburg, Missouri, is to be restored by the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society.  One of my favorite counties on Route 66.

NOVEMBER 12--  The site of Bill Shea's Route 66 gas station is back  up for sale.

Too bad, I sure would like to see it reopened again, even as an auto repair place.

Sure Miss Bill Shea.  --RoadDog

Monday, December 11, 2017

Along 66, November 2017: Lexington Shows Off New Businesses

NOVEMBER 2--  Lexington, Illinois, is hosting a tour of three businesses Saturday.  All or or near the intersection of Main Street and Historic Route 66.

They are Thrift Avenue, Kelly's on 66 and Castle Gardens.  Thrift Avenue has the new Route 66 mural near it.  Castle Gardens is in an 1898 Queen Anne-style home and has 40 acres of gardens.  Of course, great food at the newly opened Kelly's on 66.  We ate there this past October on our 66 on 66 Cruise.

NOVEMBER 6--  Oklahoma now has Route 66 motorcycle plates.


Along 66, October 2017: Baseball and a Canyon

OCTOBER 21--  The baseball stadium in Joliet, Illinois, is to be renamed the Joliet Route 66 Stadium.  The name change may nor occur right away because of costs.  It is now called Silver cross Field and is home to the Joliet Slammers, an independent baseball team.

Maybe change the name of the team to the Joliet 66ers?

OCTOBER  26--  Fees could rise sharply at popular National Parks, including the Grand Canyon.  The Grand Canyon is the second most popular national park with about six million visitors a year.  The Great Smoky Mountains is the most popular with 11 million people visiting, but it is free.  Grand Canyon charges admission.

The Petrified Forest National Park had 600,000 visitors in 2016.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Horse Rustling in DeKalb in 1917

From the October18, 2017, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"Mark Campbell reported to the police station last night that someone had stolen his horse from the hitch rail yard on Second street.

"The owner did not leave his address, merely said the horse was a sorrel and then started out of the station on the run, in an effort to locate the animal."

Not too many horses stolen in downtown DeKalb any more.  You know what they do to horse thieves around these parts.

Sounds A Bit Horsey to Me.  --RoadHorse

Work On That Garage at First and Lincoln Highway in DeKalb Progressing Rapidly

From the December 6, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The new garage building at the corner of First and Lincoln Highway seems to be moving by bounds and jumps and each day sees its walls climbing higher.  The large steel beams are being placed and the front of the building is perhaps moving more rapidly than any other.

"There are several men at work on the job and with such ideal weather as the present the contractors are exerting every effort to get as much done as possible before the colder season takes hold."

They Are Sure Watching That Garage.  --RoadDog

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bombs Fell, Torpedoes Ran, A Pearl Harbor Timeline-- Part 6: It's Finally Over

All times a.m..

9:30:  A series of bombs ignite powder magazines and blow the bow off the destroyer USS Shaw, moored in a floating drydock.

9:30:  The USS St. Louis leaves the harbor and later sinks a Japanese midget submarine that fired two torpedoes at her.

9:45:  The last Japanese attackers withdraw.  A third wave of attacks is considered but rejected.

The whole attack lasted just under two hours.

All Over.  --RoadDog

Bombs Fell, Torpedoes Ran: A Pearl Harbor Timeline-- Part 5: USS Nevada Makes a Run For It

Continued from my  Running the Blockade blog.  All blogs today deal with Pearl Harbor lest we forget.

All times a.m..

9:07:  The USS Nevada, hit by a torpedo in the first wave, prepares to leave the harbor when it is peppered by bombs.  The crew runs it aground near the harbor entrance to prevent it from sinking in deeper water and prevent it from sinking in the entrance and closing the harbor.

9:10:    Defenders are told to cease firing on B-17s trying to land at Hickam Field.  The planes, nearly out of fuel from the flight in from California, have nowhere else to go.

9:20:  The USS Honolulu is damaged by a bomb that crashes through a nearby dock and explodes underwater.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fords Selling Well in DeKalb County, Illinois, in 1917

From the October 11, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The firm of Dooley & Burchfield of Clare has not been exclaiming their business success of late, but let it be said that this firm has been most active.  They drove back their 50th Ford to be delivered there and at the same time it might be well to say something of their tractor sales.

"The firm has sold 22 ton to 20 horsepower tractors, three 8 to 16 and one larger tractor, 15 to 30 horsepower to the J.A. Countryman farm.  These tractors have all been equipped with three bottom plows and disc harrows.

Not sure about all the farm technology, but the business is doing well.

Everyone's Getting Mechanized.  --RoadDog

That Garage In DeKalb Is Progressing Well in 1917

From the October 11, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"James Coyne, who has had the excavation work in charge of the new garage at the corner of First and Lincoln Highway (DeKalb), hopes to have the work completed this week if the weather man does not interfere.

"It is the biggest job of excavating he has ever had, there being 3,500 yards of dirt removed.  He has nine teams at work about all the time, and is now on the last stretch of work where it is necessary to shovel the dirt to the bank and then load it into wagons."


Work Coming Along On New DeKalb Garage in 1917: Corner of 4th and Lincoln Highway

From the November 29, 2017, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back.

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The large 'I' beams for the new Ellwood-Fisk garage are being placed this week and the excavation is beginning to take on the aspect of construction operations each day.

"There are several large beams weighing several tons.  The masons have also begun work and most of the base of the building, which is of stone, has been placed and the work is more than being pushed."

After All, Winter Is Right Around the Corner.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Construction On the Fisk-Ellwood Garage Making Progress

From the Nov. 15, 2017,  MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The cement foundation of the new Fisk-Ellwood garage (on Lincoln Highway) has been completed and workmen are busy filling in around the ten foot walls and removing the framework.

"It is probable that masons will start working on the building in a short time."

This garage is on the Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, Illinois.

Build That Garage.  --RoadDog

Monday, December 4, 2017

"Pull Illinois Out of the Mud" in 1917

From the November 17, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"S.E. Bradt, H.G. Wright, J.H. Jarboe and Frank Fuller returned from the sixth annual meeting of the Illinois Highway Improvement Association held in Bloomington and reported it the most enthusiastic meeting imaginable.

"The slogan is "Pull Illinois Out of the Mud," and from the great interest that is being taken in the great project, the $60,000,000 bond issue, Illinois will be out of the mud in a few years."

Mud's a big thing back in 1917.
Mudding Up the Place.  --RoadDog

Stuck In the Mud Again in 1917

From the November 15, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"The rainy weather of the last few days has caused no end of trouble to motorists, and some of the cars are yet hub deep in the mud between here and other cities in the vicinity.

"One big car became stalled last night and there did not seem to be a car available that could pull it out and it was necessary for the occupants to send for a taxi to bring them back to town, leaving the car in the mud for a threshing machine or some other powerful means to pull it out."

Good Thing They Were Starting to Work on Pulling Illinois Out of the Mud.  --RoadDog

A New Garage in DeKalb, Illinois, in 1917

From November 8, 2017, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"Several loads of window and door casings arrived at the corner of First and Lincoln Highway for the new Ellwood-Fisk garage.

"The foundation work is nearing completion and the brick layers will soon be ready for their share of the new building."

The Increase in Automobiles Led To the Increase of Garages.  --RoadDog

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Getting One Last Cruise on the Cement Road Before Winter in DeKalb County in 1917

From the Nov. 22, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1917, 100 Years Ago.

"Yesterday was an ideal day for motoring and many cars that had been put up on blocks for the winter were taken out for one last ride before the snow flies.

"The new cement road between DeKalb and Sycamore, being completed and open for traffic was the mecca of tourists as one can go from DeKalb to the county seat [Sycamore] without getting the car in the mud, regardless of the condition of the ordinary roads.  The grading of the sides of the cement road is yet soft and one or two machines encountered some little difficulty in getting back on the ribbon of cement, but no accidents were reported."

This would be Illinois Highway 23 today, Sycamore Road.


Drunk Driver Outside of Sycamore in 1942?

From the March 29, 2017, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1942, 75 Years Ago.

"It is fortunate that some person who was winding all over west Route 64 late Sunday afternoon that he never arrived in Sycamore.  Police had formed a welcoming committee for him at the gateway to this community.

"Someone telephoned the police that an auto was weaving over the highway and that the actions indicated the driver was ill or drunk.  Whoever the erratic driver was he never arrived in Sycamore."

Drunk Driving Even Back Then?  Probably the Police Wanted to See If He Had His Seatbelt On.  --RoadDog

Friday, December 1, 2017

Along 66, October 2017: Missouri Neon Comes Home

Oct. 21--  The Friends of the Mother Road donated the neon signs from the Stanley Cour-Tel and Lin-Air motels in St. Louis to the future Route 66 Neon Park in St. Roberts, Missouri.  These two motels had been razed for the expansion of the St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

The friends had relocated the signs to Henry's Rabbit Ranch in Staunton, Illinois in 2004  Rich Henry says that storms had blown them down, but now the signs are indoors.

The Stanley Cour-Tel had housed the Apollo 1 astronauts while they trained for the first manned space mission of that phase of our space program.

The Route 66 Neon Park will be located at the George M. Reed Roadside Park (where the tank is located) in St. Roberts (Fort Leonard Wood)  Eligible signs for the park have to be from the original Route 66 from 1926 to 1985 and abandoned or without a home.

And, we know those Missouri folks know their neon.

They had just taken the neon signs a short time before we passed through there on our 66 on 66 Cruise.

Thanks for Holding On to Them Rich Henry.  --RoadNeon

Along 66, October 2017: Gasconade Bridge and Butch Breger (Over the Hill Gang)

OCTOBER 19--  Group to begin fundraising to restore the Gasconade River Bridge near Hazelgreen, Missouri.  Iowa-based North Skunk River Greenbeltt Association (AKA Workin' Bridges) in Grinnell, Iowa, hope to raise $3.5 million by December 31, 2018.

The Gasconade Bridge was closed in 2014.  MODOT plans to build a new bridge next to it.

At least we got to drive over it several times and were at the big bridge rally last year.

They can have some fundraisers at the Munger-Moss Motel in nearby Lebanon.

OCTOBER 20--  Butch Breger, longtime caretaker of the Round Barn in Arcadia died at age 74.  he was part of the Over the Hill Gang who lovingly restored it.  He died October 17, 2017, in OKC.  We were there at the Round Barn (for the first time ever) on October 17 on our 66 on 66 Cruise and there was a man there running the place, but we didn't talk to him.  Wonder of he was Butch.


Along 66, October 2017: New Mural and New Owners in Illinois

OCTOBER 18--  New Route 66 mural in Lexington, Illinois.   By the Thrift Avenue store on Main Street.  Walldogs wouldn't do it, but a high school student at University High School in Normal, Ana Cappis made it her summer project.

We saw it on our 66 on 66 Cruise.  Nice job.  Close to the new Kelly's on 66 in Lexington.

OCTOBER 18--  Miles of Possibility conference attendees met the new owners of Wilmington, Illinois' Launching Pad Restaurant, Tully Garrett and Holly Barker.  Holly has worked in North Carolina bbq restaurants and is from there.  We drove by it and it such good news that the place is opening again.  Sure glad nothing happened to the 'naut while the place was closed.

Here's really hoping that they start serving Carolina 'Cue.

Try It, You'll Like It.  --RoadDog