Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Day Off- True BBQ in Cross Plains, Tn.,

Took the day off and stayed with relatives in White House, Tn. As much as I like being on the road, I also like rests. Got to see my grand niece Aylin Pearl for the first time. And of course, there's Charlie, Mr. "Cars" , who is now four.

I'm a big bbq fan of all types. I especially like eastern Carolina pit-cooked, pulled pork barbeque. Both Andy and Andrea suggested a trip to True Barbeque in Cross Plains, about eight miles north of White House off I-65.

Exit at Tn. Highway 25 and go west. Right at the exit, there is an antique store featuring one of the mufflermen done up as an Indian and a large pink elephant with sunglasses. I just love roadside kitsch like this.

You go about four miles until you see a large pig statue and you're there. A plate of pulled pork bbq with two vegetables costs $4.75. I got the cole slaw and sweet corn nuggets which I highly recommend. You can season your bbq with hot or mild sauce

They also feature hoe cakes. A hoe cake, which I had never heard of before, is like a corn pancake. For dessert, I had a chess pie, also something I had never heard of before. This is an absolutely delicious egg custard pie. It is VERY filling.

I should have mentioned that earlier today, I had driven over to the BP mini mart west of the White House/ Tn-76 exit and bought some chocolate uglies for 79 cents apiece. This is one of the best pastries I've ever had and made by the Apple Bakery out of Salisbury, NC. They also have blueberry and apple uglies which are good, but I like the chocolate ugly the best. If you ever see one somewhere, give it a try.

BBQing Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Last Route 66 Entry-April 23, 2007 Litchfield, Staunton, Mt. Olive

LITCHFIELD- The drive in theater recently reopened ( closes for winter?) on a Friday-Sunday basis. It is a Route 66 original. Several years back they were showing older movies for a buck a person. I didn't see what the charge was this year. This year's opening flicks are "300" and "Wild Hogs." I know the critics panned "Wild Hogs" but I enjoyed it. It definitely got me into the mood for cruising those old two-laners.

Drove past Soulsby's Station in Mt. Olive, my third historic station on the Illinois stretch. Shortly after Rt 66 and Illinois Highway 4 (Rt. 66's original alignment through much of Illinois) rejoined each other there is an old roadhouse that, unfortunately, has been closed every time I've driven by.

All sorts of rabbits, both the live and automotive kind, by Rich Henry's place in Staunton. I understand he plans to put the Volkswagen Rabbits nose-down in the soil for our own Cadillac Ranch and Bug Ranch here in the Prairie State. We got lost looking for his place back on our first 66 trip back in 2002 and were told to look for the camels. I couldn't figure out what they meant by camels until we got there.  These were two trucks from the old Campbell's "Humpin' To Please" Company.

On our first end-to-end Route 66 trip this past fall, we missed the turn to the frontage road into Hamel, and ended up in Worden. I found out the reason, one of the few places in Illinois without signage. I mean, Illinois' Route 66 signage is the best we've found, although Missouri's is quickly getting there.

Went to Scotty's in Hamel. This is a classic roadhouse bar with great atmosphere and a friendly crowd. While there, I heard one patron say he was going to go into Worden and raise some hell because the police chief was at Scotty's. The man I guessed was the police chief (off duty of course), laughed and said he'd better be careful downtown because of the shape of the street pavement.

So concludes a one day cruise down part of the old road in Illinois.

Keep on Down That Two Lane Highway. RoadDog

Still on Route 66 in Illinois: Cozy Dog and Litchfield

Still the 23rd of April.

I should say at this time that there are many more things to see and do on the Illinois stretch of Route 66. I'm just writing about the places I went to and things that have changed recently.

Stopped at the COZY DOG in Springfield, even though I wasn't very hungry after the feast at Smaterjax. Just had to have my Cozy Dog. As much as I like these corndogs, I think I'm just as fond of their homemade French fries. I always enjoy reading the Route 66 magazines they have sitting out for your perusal. I just have to try to keep the mustard I liberally apply to the corndog off the magazine.

LITCHFIELD- unfortunately, the road work of last summer is over and all the US shield signs with 66 detour are no longer in place. That was neat to see actual Route 66 signage on the actual road. I had hoped they would have left them up.

The drive in is open again on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Right now they're featuring "300" and that great road movie "Wild Hogs." Well, I really enjoyed it, even if a lot of critics panned it. Watching this movie really gave me the hankering to hit the road. This theater is a Route 66 original.

SAD NEWS. A few years ago, I saw that the old Gardens Restaurand had been torn down. It is located on a CORNER. And you'll never guess what is being built there. You're right. A WALGREENS. Is no corner in America safe?

Keepin' on Down Route 66 before it's Route Walgreens. --RoadDog

A Visit with Ernie Edwards at the Pig Hip

Drove by the PIG HIP in Broadwell. I was very sad to find out that there had been a fire there in early March and this venerable Route 66 institution was destroyed. Owners Fran and Ernie Edwards fortunately were not there at the time.

I found the debris had been completely cleared off, just dirt where so many travelers had dined since the 30s. Ernie was out with a power drill and putting up small US flags along the split rail fence with little success on this very windy day. Several of the top rails had fallen off and 90-year-old Ernie was putting them back.  I quickly volunteered to help put them back and found that wasn't the easiest of tasks. They have to be balanced just so or down they go. After awhile, I got the hang of it. Ernie wasn't happy about the fact he had to pay $3 for the $1 flags because a local town had bought all the US flags they could find in the area for a celebration.

The STONES from the restaurant are piled haphazardly out by the fence and will be used in retaining walls for the resurrection of the place as a park. Ernie says he plans to purchase a historic plaque to install and put in landscaping as well as picnic tables.

They have received insurance money for the building and contents which will be used toward the park. I volunteered to bring lots of mum cuttings as well as daisies and other wildflowers.

A man has volunteered to work on the PIG HIP sign which is getting in bad shape after all these years.

I bought a PIG HIP book for $20. Fortunately, they were being stored in the house and were not destroyed.

They are looking forward to the Route 66 Association of Illinois' forthcoming motor tour in June which has the PIG HIP and Ernie's 91st birthday as a theme. He says they will have the famous PIG HIP sandwiches for the occasion. I'm not too happy about that as I have to work that weekend and it has been my great desire to get the chance of having one someday.

There is a new miniature car racing track behind the old motel and they will be having races for the tour.

Keep Eating those PIG HIPS on 66. --RoadDog

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Still On Da Road: Illinois Route 66

Next stop was at that great old station in Odell. When I told the man working there that I intended to see the white squirrels in Olney, he said he had lived all his life in Olney and at one time there had been some off-white squirrels as well as some with white tails. I didn't know that.

Also, several weeks ago, a woman from Toronto had a five hour layover at Chicago's O'Hare. She had heard about the station and rented a car and drove out to see it. That is quite a story!!!! A real fan!!!!

Gas prices ranged from $2.88 to $2.99 until I got to Pontiac, where it was $2.80. The $42 fillup was still hard to take. I am old enough to remember pulling out of a station when they wanted the exhorbitant price of 34 cents.

Drove by the old State Highway Patrol station south of Pontiac. The state is possibly going to give it to the city of Pontiac. I'd sure like to see it turned into a museum or park.

I still miss the old Ballard elevator located south of Chenoa. It wasn't much to look at, just there,
and a part of the Route 66 experience.

The Tropics Restaurant in Lincoln still sits there empty with that great old sign. I still worry about a Walgreen's grabbing the lot. The Abraham Lincoln sitting on the giant covered wagon that was formerly in Divernon now sits right across from the Tropics.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. RoadDog

On Da Road: Dwight, Illinois

Left home on the 23rd and drove Route 66 in Illinois from Dwight to Hamel. I like to take Illinois Highway 47 as a way to bypass the Chicago hassle.

Dwight- the new coffee business looks to be about 8 feet wide. The Ambler-Becker station is looking good and should be ready for its new use as a tourist center. The former owners now have a BP/Burger King business on Il-47 by I-55. There is a great Route 66 etched glass partition between the booths plus lots of 66 souvenirs.

Drove through the Old 66 Family Restaurant parking lot. The house next door to it has a couple signs saying that Pete's is better. Pete's is another restaurant in town. Wonder what that's all about?

The place to eat is Smaterjax, Home of the Big Mouth Sandwich, and one really great buffet. Monday's featured ham, fried chicken, sausage and potatoes Obryan, pizza, walleye, dessert, and drink for $8.45, tax included. I understand their Black Angus, hand-cut steaks are something else. Smaterjax's used to be Feddersen's for many years and was an auto dealership before that. A bottle of domestic beer is only $1.50 every day. Of course, when I'm driving, I'm not drinking.

The Route 66 shield on the pavement south of town could definitely use a touchup. You almost can't see it anymore.