The Shamrock Court Motel in Sullivan, Missouri. It can be yours for $125,000. Lots of possibilities. Actually, now you're toolate. Missouri's Roamin' Rich bought it.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Back to Indy-- Part 8: Tony Stewart and A.J. Foyt

From the May 28, 2021, Indianapolis Star "Stewart marks 60 years  since Foyt's first Indy win" by Jenna Fryer.

Another article in the May 28, 2021, Indy Star was about NASCAR race car driver Tony Stewart and his favorite racer, A.J. Foyt.  This year marks the 60th anniversary of Foyt's first Indy win.  Stewart makes no bones about it, but he is a huge Foyt fan.  For the 2021 Indy 500, Stewart was to be sitting next to A,J.. 

A.J. Foyt won the Indy 500 four times: 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977.  

I didn't know it, but Tony Stewart grew up in nearby Columbus, Indiana, and always hoped that one day he would get a chance to race in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."  It turns out that he did run the Indy 500 five times, even starting at the pole position as a rookie in 1996, but never finished higher than fifth.


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Back to Indy-- Part 7: Those Little Moneymakers

Very few persons know how much the Indy Car racers make a year.  There are a lot of variables as to what they make.  An Indy 500 win will very likely get a bonus.  As a driver wins more races and gains more experience, they will earn a higher percentage of the purses.

One source says that the average purse  used to be about 40%, but has inched up to near 50%. 

There are also perks.  This could include a motorhome as well as its expenses.

So, who might be the Indy Car driver getting paid the most money?

Most people will answer Scott Dixon.  But, then again, his contract is not public, but sources speculate the six-time series champion makes between $3.5 million and $4.5 million.  This would make him the highest-paid driver in the series.

So, then, what is the lowest paid?   One source guessed $250,000 to $350,000.

What do the majority of the drivers make?  One source speculated that 14 to 16 drivers make $1 million or more.

So, How Much Money Did You Make This Year?  --RoadDog

Friday, June 18, 2021

Back to Indy-- Part 6: How Much Money Do IndyCar Drivers Earn?

Continued from June 8.

Another article in the Friday, May 28, 2021, Indy Star newspaper was titled "How much money do Indy Car drivers make?" by Jim Ayello.

You know how much athletes in other professional sports earn.  You know that baseball player earning $12 million a year with the Cubs and batting .186.  Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz signed a four-year, $128 million contract in June 2019.

But, how much do those IndyCar drivers we'll be watching Sunday earn?

The answer, like the answer to how many attend the Indy 500 race, is not known.  It is all top secret.

When a driver signs a new contract in North America's premier open-wheel series, the details seldom leak out.

One possible reason for that put forth in the article is that everyone operates on such a fine line.

Many are not paid a flat salary but things are dependent on a variety of factors.  One likely is the number of sponsorships they bring in.


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Along 66, May 2021: The Mill Museum, Arcadia and Carthage


The Mill Museum in Lincoln, Illinois, to reopen to the public on May 22 at 11 am..  It has been closed because of you-know-what.

It closed in 1994 and started deteriorating immensely, but was save from demolition.   Volunteers and Geoffrey Ladd stepped in in 2017 and saved it.  The museum reopened that year after years of fundraising and volunteer labor.

It is located at 738 S. Washington (Old Route 66).

MAY 10

There are new signage on Old Route 66 near Arcadia, Oklahoma, as it now has National Register designation.  This stretch shows two types of road construction and was bypassed in 1952.

MAY 13

COVID-19 causes permanent shutdown of the Powers Museum in Carthage, Missouri.  The place, however, had been struggling for a long time before the pandemic.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Along 66, May 2021: The Chicken Shack Goes to the Hillbillies and Illinois Endangered Green Book Sites


The Chicken Shack restaurant in Luther, Oklahoma, is moving to the old Hillbillees complex in Arcadia, Oklahoma (not too far away).

The Chicken Shack in Luther features rustic dining and, as I remember, that Hillbillies is the very epitome of rustic.  Kind of reminds me of  Missouri Hick BBQ in Cuba, Mo..  Of course, both are on Route 66.

Hopefully they will keep the neat buildings of Hillbillies.

Hillbillies was a sprawling complex including a full service restaurant and as wild west strip.  It opened in 1993 and closed in 2007.

I saw where the Chicken Shack was and I hope some other bbq or catfish place opens there.


Green Book sites make Illinois Most Endangered list compiled by the Landmarks Illinois organization.  This year they had nine sites endangered.

Efforts are underway by both Landmarks Illinois and the National Park Service to find and compile a list of those sites still remaining.

these were according to the Negro Motorist Green Book 1936-1967.  It told black motorists where  restaurants, gas stations and places to stay were in the Jim Crow era.  Sad that something like that book was necessary.


Along 66, May 2021: The Launching Pad Reopening and Death of Racing Legend Al Unser


The Launching Pad Drive-In in Wilmington, Illinois will reopen after a long closure due to COVID-19.  Its reopening is part of the Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival, which this year will be in the form of a 90-mile car cruise (because of the virus, you know).

Tully Garrett and Holly Barker are the owners of the Launching Pad, and of course their 28-foot Gemini Giant.  The place opened in 1960 as the Dairy Delite, but was renamed the Launching Pad after an expansion in 1965.  This had to do with the U.S. push into space at the time.


Albuquerque resident and racing legend Al Unser died at age 87.  He won 35 major races during his 30-year racing career, including the Indy 500 three times.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Going to Union-- Part 4: A Burger Surprise and Lots of History

Now, my absolute favorite burger is a Black and Bleu.  That would be a half pound of hamburger meat done rare with lots of bleu cheese on it. There is just something about how those two things go together.

And, Checkers II had a burger listed that also had grilled onions and peppers, melted bleu cheese and  sauteed portobello mushrooms.  Man, too good to be true.  But, I did remember the funny look on the waitress's face when I ordered mine done rare.

When it came, I bit into it, only to find what passed for the burger was actually a large slice of portobello mushroom taking the place of of the hamburger.  But, I can tell you I'm going to order it the next time I go there.  Boy, was that good.

Before I went to the meeting, I looked for the Harley Wayne mansion nearby, but couldn't find it.  Harley Wayne was a wealthy man who was a captain in 15th Illinois Infantry and killed at the Battle of Shiloh.  The GAR Post in nearby Marengo was named after him.

At the meeting, our the McHenry County Civil War Round Table gave a $1000 college scholarship to a McHenry County high school student who we judged to have the best of nine papers turned into us comparing Civil War medicine with the coronavirus pandemic.

Then, we heard an excellent talk on the good, the bad and the downright ugly among Civil War generals on both sides.

Good to be Back.  --RoadPortoBello

Friday, June 11, 2021

Going to Union-- Part 3: Fooled By a Burger at Checkers II

My trip to Union, Illinois, on Tuesday, June 8.

The last time I had been to Union, I ate at Checkers II  bar and restaurant.  I was there for a Civil War presentation at the McHenry County Historical Society Museum and was hungry so thought I'd check out a local establishment.

While there I met the people who take care of Northern Illinois University's husky mascot, Mission.  He replaced the much loved, but getting mighty old Diesel mascot who was getting too old to do his duties.  Only, NIU calls that breed of dog huskie.

The last time at Checkers II, I had a German meal.  They specialize in German food.

This time, we had advertised that the McHenry County Civil War Round Table would be getting together before the meeting for dinner at Checkers II.  Since it had been March 2020 since we last did this in Woodstock, we weren't sure how many would show up.  I got there first and told them I might be the only person, but there might be others.  We ended up with eight in attendance.

I decided to go with a Portabella Burger.  I ordered mine rare and the waitress looked at me kind of funny.  Oh well.  

Here's how the "burger" was described.  "Grilled portabella  mushroom topped with sauteed onions, peppers and melted bleu cheese served on a pretzel roll.   $11.  Man, everything I love on a sandwich.  How could this go wrong?

Bit into it after it arrived and ....

--Make Mine a Portablla.  --RoadDog

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Going to Union, Illinois-- Part 2: A Nursery and a Lot of History

This, as I said before, is my second longest trip from home since March 2020 because of you-know-what.   The only farther trip was to the Indy 500 over Memorial Day weekend a short time ago.

Once on Illinois Highway 176 and headed west to Union, I stopped at Kolze's nursery and found two hostas that I liked and bought the,.  Hostas have become my go to plant as they require very little effort to grow.  They just do their thing.

Drove around Union, Illinois, a thriving community of 576 according tom the 2020 census, but it has been there since the 1850s and is named for the United States.  It is an old village with a small downtown.  The McHenry County Civil War Round Table got its start there before meetings were moved to the more centrally located Woodstock.

In addition, the McHenry County Historical Society Museum is there and located in what used to be a school.  Also, the Illinois Railway Museum is there as is  Donley's Wild West Town amusement Park and the site of the oldest and largest antique Phonograph Show in the world.  So, as you can see, there sure is a lot of history in Union.


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

My Second-Longest Trip Since the Virus Hit: Going to Union for McHenry County CWRT-- Part 1

Yesterday, I went for my second longest trip from home to Union, Illinois, some 33 miles from home since March 2020 because of you-know-what.  I went there for the McHenry County Civil War Round Table's (MCCWRT) first in-person meeting since March of that year as well.  (I just got back my from my farthest trip from home, the Indy 500, on May 31st.)

Plus, did some of my favorite things along the way, stopping and looking at flowers and bushes at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Meijer and a Kolze's, private nursery, along the way and now have two unique hostas that I bought at the last place.

I am amazed at how few sales on plants are going on these days.

But what is worse, the gas prices.  Oh my goodness.  Big Oil has a full-on gas gouge going now.  I figured once it hit $3 here in northeastern Illinois, that it would drop.  Wrong.  Every station was between $3.40 and $3.50.

Thanks a lot guys.

I drove  Illinois Highways 31, 120, 47 and 176 to Union.

Good to Be on the Road Again, But Doggone Those Gas Prices.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Back to Indy-- Part 5: 135,000 Fans Can't Be Wrong

Back in the RV and we're off and hoping to make it to the Speedway American Legion Post 500 before 4 pm, EDST.  Now, if we don't get lost, we're there.

I crack open the Indy Star newspaper which has, obviously, quite a few articles on the upcoming race on Sunday.

One article said the Indy 500 was set to become the largest sporting event as far as fans are concerned since the pandemic hit back in March 2020.  There is a sell-out crown of 135,000 expected even though that is at reduced capacity.

The Speedway is the largest sporting facility in the world with more than 250,000 grandstand seats and the ability to host up to 400,000 through the whole property.  Not surprising in that the course is two and a half miles around.  

The 135,000 represents 40% capacity.

In addition, the track had lifted its local blackout ban so Central Indiana fans can watch it as it happens.  That is a rare thing.

Sadly, a lot of the other events that make the race so much fun were canceled.  We especially miss the Carb Day activities which take place on Friday.  We usually get to the Legion on Thursday so that we can have fun at Carb Day.


Monday, June 7, 2021

Back to Indy-- Part 4: Flying J Pumpout, the Time Confusion and Newspapers

Friday, May 28

Since Sue and Paul have been staying in the RV the past week, their black and gray tanks needed to be pumped and you don't want to have someone at the racetrack come by to pump it out as they charge $40 to $50 to do it.  They have found a Flying J truck stop in Lebanon, Indiana, just a short distance north of Indianapolis that will do it for $5 with a Flying J card.

Much better deal.

While there, I got a phone call from Liz saying that the American Legion Post 500 where we were going to stay had called wanting to know when we were going to arrive as they weren't allowing people to get their spots after 4 p.m.. At first we thought that was no problem as we all had the time at 2:30  pm,  But, WAIT, that was 2:30 Central Time.  So, it was actually 3:30 pm.

But a quick GPS check showed us as being about 20 minutes away from the Legion post, so we were able to make it.

While the pumping was going on, I went inside and bought an Indianapolis Star newspaper.  I love newspapers, but my purchasing them and having subscriptions is fast approaching an end.  I prefer newsprint to digital, though.

The price of my favorite paper, the Chicago Tribune is now $3 daily and $5.50 Sundays.  I know newspapers are in a bad way and that most likely their days are gone, but, man, that is too expensive of a habit.

A few years ago, the Indy Star as they call it was $1.  Now it is $2.50.

A Pumpout, A Nasty Job, But Somebody's Got to Do It.  --Roadpaper

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Back to Indy-- Part 3: A Place Too Far and the Boneshattering Bumps

Since the Pandemic had hit back in mid-March 2020, the farthest I had been from home was a couple trips down to Algonquin, Illinois, about 28 miles from home.  This trip was going to be a whole lot more.

We understand that only 135,000 tickets were to be sold.  That is a lot, but the motor speedway has fixed seats for 250,000 plus can be expanded to 400,000.  The number sold were consistent with pandemic guidelines.  Sue and Paul said that we still had our same seats up on the catwalk at the Southwest Vista section.

That means at the top of those stairs that kick my butt going up every year.  They have my number and require a couple stops when my knees give out temporarily.


Eventually we found the interstate and took to I-65 in Indiana and then on to Indianapolis.

Sue took over driving from Paul at a rest stop.  She always ends up with the stretch with most construction and bone shattering bumps.  Or, so it seems.  And, believe me, you feel each one very well in the RV.

Of course, we are now in the Eastern Daylight Saving Time zone, so we get to add an extra hour on to our watches.  I always hate when we have to do that.  But, we get it back on the return trip.

Just Along for the Ride.  --RoadDog

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Back to Indy-- Part 2: A Great Spot to Stay at the Track and Cicero/Chicago Neighborhoods

May 28, Friday

I managed to eat four Sliders despite efforts by two long-eared mutts intent on joining me.

We were not able to attend the Indy 500 last year because of you-know-what.  I had been to nine before that.  We were all looking forward to going back.

I doubt anyone can have a better place to stay for the race than us.  We have been at the Speedway American Legion Post 500 for the last six years.  How do you like their post number?  I've been told they had quite the time to get that number.  Works for me.

We are right across Georgetown Road from the Speedway.  You can't get much closer than that.

Plus, we have electricity, a big plus in an RV when you're "camping" as it were.

After picking up John at the motel near the airport, there was some discussion as to how to get back to the interstate.  This caused a rather long drive through busy streets with lots of stoplights.  And, then we ended up driving through quite a few neighborhoods, but I enjoyed looking at some beautiful landscaping in from of Chicago's famed bungalow.  Plus, there were blocks and blocks of square houses.

Just Along for the Ride.  --RoadDog

Friday, June 4, 2021

Back to Indy-- Part 1: Cold and a Case of Sliders and We're On Our Way

Last weekend, I went back to the Indy 500 race after a one-year period because of the you-know-what.

We left on Friday, May 28, 2021.  I went with the usual cast of characters.

MAY 28 2021

I got up early and managed to get blog entries into six of them before driving over to Ingleside, Illinois, with Liz and meeting Sue and Paul, whose RV I was riding there.  They moved from Long Lake, Illinois, a little over a year ago and now live by Santa Fe, New Mexico.  They are staying at a friend's house there.

I also got to meet my two new travel companions, Stella and Chico, a brother-sister pair of  King German shepherds.

And, it was C-O-L-D!!!  Way too cold for this time of year.  Sadly, it was also cold in Indianapolis.  Plus, we had sprinkles and light rain on top of it which stayed on and off the whole way to Indianapolis.

The owner of the house has done a great landscaping job and has a pool of giant koi and gold fish.

Once we left, we drove Rollins Road east to Grand Avenue where we stopped at the White Castle by Gurnee Mills for our annual Slider Fix, much to Sue's chagrin.  Now we had a 30 case with plenty of extra pickles and Dusseldorf mustard.  (To me, a proper Slider must be "fixed" with plenty of pickles and a slab of that mustard to be right.)

Of course, those Sliders drew the attention of Chico and Stella.

Breakfast of Champions as we got on the Tri-State to pick up Paul's brother John at a hotel near Midway Airport.  John is the fourth member of our contingent.