Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Down Da 66-- Joining Together-- Da Spindle-- Flooding in Missouri-- The Fleetwood

Some News on the Mother Road.

1. Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma to work together-- It would appear that these three states are going to work together to market their attractions and increase tourism. Miami, Ok. is pushing their 9 foot roadway and 1920s Marathon Gas Station, the only remaining station built by the Marathon Oil Company which is now a hair salon.

2. Berwyn's Spindle-- thre is even an article about it in Wikipedia.

3. Meremac River Flooding-- The Meremac River could be on the verge of setting new flood records. It has affected two Route 66 communities: Eureka and Pacific. I wonder how bad it is in Times Beach? It was a flood there that led to his abandonment.

Saw a picture of the Route 66 GasconadeRiver Bridge with water up to the bottom of it.

4. Springfield, Illinois' Fleetwood Truck Stop-- Don Schafer of the Route 66 E-Mail group wrote about Springfield's Fleetwood Truck Stop. It was on the Route 66 bypass, what is today called the Dirksen Parkway. The former restaurant has been converted into a tee shirt shop. The repair shop/terminal was converted to a used car lot ten years ago. A truck parking lot between the two buildings is still empty.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Monday, March 24, 2008

From the Gonzo--- NIU Needs Answers

I checked the Gonzo's blogspot to see if he made any new entries on interesting architectural sites in Illinois.

He hadn't.

Right now, he is working on a blog called NIU Needs Answers. Searching for truth in the wake of a tragedy. A citizen journalism project.

He has been working on it and says anyone can submit stories, photos, or videos to the site once they have created an account.

Here's hoping that Cole Hall is not torn down. Then, the killer wins. I'd even go so far as to continue holding classes in it, but would also settle for it being an administrative facility and perhaps change the name to something as a memorial.


My County Now Has Scenic Drives

We live in McHenry County, Illinois, and we now have a scenic drive program. We are on the fringe of the Chicagoland area, but fast filling up with folks as The Big City continues its inexorable march out to the corn fields.

Fortunately, we still have lots of area that is not subdivided and commercialized.

The Scenic Drive Program began in 2005.

One of the drives is River Road which is west of Woodstock. It is tree-lined, has rolling farmland, gentle hills (I'd sure hate to hit a rough one), unique barns, well-kept old homes, historic cemeteries, and three one room schoolhouses.

This is a project of the McHenry County Historic Preservation Commission. There are currently six roads so designated.

Seeing the County Before it Becomes Another Cook County. --RoadDog

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Windy City Road Warrior's Spring Newsletter

Dave Clark, the Windy City Road Warrior, has just released his 2008 Spring newsletter.

I'd like to congratulate Dave on his effort to get Frank T. Sheets inducted into the Illinois Route 66 Association's Hall of Fame. If anyone deserves to be among these people, it is Mr. Sheets. I had never heard of him before.

He was the head of the Illinois Division of Highways from 1920-1932 and led the state in its "coming out of the mud." The first state to be entirely paved along Route 66 was Illinois as the famous road took over SBI-4.

He was also president of AASHO and a member of the Committee of Five that created the original US Highway grid and numbering system still in use today.

In other news, Dave will make five presentations of his new book in April and May. I plan on attending the one at the Fremont Public Library in Mundelein, Illinois, on May 7th.

Keep up the Great Work Road Warrior. --RoadDog

Lincoln Highway Tourist Attractions in Iowa-- Part 2

Continuing with yesterday's account of LH sites between Mt. Vernon and Cedar Rapids, Iowa from Jan. 24 Mt. Vernon Sun.

3. Midway Inn or Sprincl's Midway Inn-- located at a bend of US-30 where 94 cut off to Marion. A little building with room for 2-3 people and a couple gas pumps. In 1922, Frank and Marie Rompott Sprincl purchased it, enlarged the restaurant, moved the pumps to the front of the mechanical garage and started serving good food. It soon became the "hot spot" for folks from Mt. Vernon and Cedar Rapids.

It had a counter with rotating stools and two or three wooden tables.

They sold beer, but after Prohibition, beer could only be sold in city limits and Princl's was sold. The reroutng of US-30 and Depression hurt business. Levi Nuenswander and his wife ran it.

Several times, trucks took the corner too fast and crashed into the building. It was finally destroyed when the exit onto Hwy 94, now Bloomington Rd., changed.

Old Places on the Lincoln in Iowa. --RoadDog

How Come Chicago Suburbs Have So Few National Landmarks?

Came across another old article in the Nov. 4, 2007 Chicago Daily Herald titled "Why are the suburbs short on national landmarks?" by Justin Kmitch.

Fort Sheridan is the ONLY national landmark in Chicago's suburbs. Of 83 National Historical Landmarks in Illinois, 51 are in Chicago city limits.

One reason is that there are not enough folks involved in preservation. In order to get landmark status the site must be deemed as a nationally significant place. Across the country, there are fewer than 2,500 at this level.

The job of nominating potential landmark candidates is up to the National Park Service. The process takes 2-5 years. The time and money necessary for this is enough to keep some weekend historians from making the attempt.

Adlai Stevenson Home

Lake County preservationists are pushing to have the home of the late Adlai Stevenson declared a national landmark. He was Illinois governor from 1949-1955, Democratic presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, US ambassador to the UN 1961-1965. The home is located in Mettawa along St. Mary's Road. Famous guest to the house included JFK and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Other Chicago Suburb Candidates

Great Lakes-- North Chicago
Octagon House--Barrington
Martin Mitchell Mansion-- Naperville
Viking Ship-- Geneva
Town Club-- McHenry--1839--scene of some of the western frontier's first court cases
McDonald's-- Des Plaines
Cuneo Museum and Gardens-- Vernon Hills
Arlington Park Race Track-- Arlington Heights
Wheaton College and North Central College-- Naperville

Come On Suburbs. Get on the Boat. --RoadDog

Jenny Rae's Restaurant Rolling Prairie, Indiana

Came across an old Nov. 5, 2007 article in the South Beand Tribune about the newly opened Jennie Rae's Restaurant which is operated by 30 year-old Jennifer Baltes.

It is on East US Highway 20 in Rolling Prairie and is already famous for its cherry jam and great food and opened in April 2007. She has worked in the restaurant from 1995 to 2003 when it was L & L's Restaurant. The address is 609 Tecumseh St, LaPorte, Indiana.

Before that, it was Bob's Bar-B-Q Roadhouse and Modern Motel Court located on the old Lincoln Highway. They have refurbished some of the old signs and photos they found in the basement.

Her father-in-law, Bernie Baltes has one of the old motor court cabins at his farm and is using it as a chicken coop.

Breakfast is served until 2 pm, seven days a week. One breakfast is the Up & At 'Em breakfast consisting of 3 eggs, potatoes, bacon, maple links or sausage patty with either toast or flaky bisquit.

They are also famous for omelets and both cream and fruit pies.

They have a famous fish fry on Fridays from 11 am to 8 pm with AUCE lake perch or Alaskan pollock for $9.95.

Sounds Like a Definite Place to Check Out. --RoadDog

Saturday, March 22, 2008

US-49 from Jackson, Mississippi to Gulfport

In our "Quest for the Warm" last month, we decided to take US-49 from Jackson to Gulfport along the Gulf Coast instead of I-55 to I-10 in Louisiana and over. Quite a savings of time and, especially these, GAS.

It is four lane all the way so you superslabbers don't have to worry about two lanes.

We left our motel at 10:30 and took I-55 to I-20 east for a mile before we picked up US-49. Like I said, it is a four-lane divided road the whole way with 65 mph speed limits between towns.

Country Fisherman-- Mendenhall, Mississippi

Saw lots of bbq and catfish joints along the way, About twenty miles out, I saw a sign for the Country Fisherman in Mendenhall featuring a southern buffet. That's for us. We had a great meal for $7.49. They could have used signs above some of the items that us "Yankees" wouldn't recognize. I don't usually like carrot salad, but tried it after Liz said it was good. Boy, was it ever great. Loaded up on some of the best catfish ever. The place was very crowded as you would expect at prices like that. The owner was at the cash register and said they'd been open eight years. Here's hoping for many more.

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

We did lose some time in Hattiesburg as there was a lot of traffic and we went right through downtown. This is the home of Southern Mississippi University, my dad's East Carolina nemesis for many years. ECU just can't beat those guys, much like my alma mater, Northern Illinois and Toledo. This is also the alma mater of Brett Favre, whoever he is.

On the Road Some More

Before Hattiesburg, we drove by Magee, Mississippi. Thought that was kind of neat because that was the same name as the Middle School I taught at for 31 years in Round Lake, Illinois.

The southbound lanes of US-49 were evidently built first as they really follow the contours of the land, going up and down the hills. The north lanes were quite a bit flatter. I learned something, I always thought Mississippi was fairly flat. It sure isn't. Also, there were stretches where a frontage road ran alongside. That must have been the very first US-49.

Once we got by I-10, there were lots of motels, stores, and restaurants. Took it into Gulfport past lots of SHS--Standard Homogenized Stuff as I call it. This would be your Kohls, Best Buys, Office Maxes, and TGIFs. Headed east on US-90 where US-49 ended by the water.

Keep on Down that Four Lane US Highway. --RoadDog

Lincoln Highway Tourist Attractions in Iowa

The Jan. 24th Mount Vernon, Iowa, Sun had an article about three tourist attractions on the Lincoln Highway between Mt. Vernon and Cedar Rapids.

1. Home Sweet Home Cabins-- A predecessor of the modern motel-- only the owner's home still standing. When US-30 moved to its current location, the cabins were moved to the eastern edge of Lisbon. Used until the 1990s and converted into apartments.

2. Happy Valley Filling Station-- at the eastern edge of the Seedling Mile. Built in 1928 by Harry and Neva Stoneking across the road from their farm. Had two fuel pumps out front and two large rooms, plus bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen for their use.

The front room had booths one one side and a counter with revolving stools. The backroom had two pool tables and card tables.

They sold a few grocery items along with candy, cigarettes, and ice cream. It was a big kids hangout.

The Depression caused the business to fail. The Stonekings moved back to their farm and rented it.

When US-30 rerouted in 1957, the business failed. The building was rented as a home then fell into disrepair and was partially torn down.

Ah, the era of mom and pop businesses. BCA--Before Corporate America.

I'll write about the Midway Inn tomorrow. --RoadDog

Down Da 66-- Da Spindle's Comin' Down-- Da Mill Gets Windows-- Plainfied ReRouting-- Joliet Gets Honors

News from along the Mother Road. Illinois Style

1. Berwyn's Spindle just a matter of time-- Sad news from Berwyn, where the popular tourist attraction at Cermack Plaza is slated to be taken down for a...Walgreens!!! Can you believe that? A Walgreens replacing something of architectural interest. Just corporate morals I guess. Whether it will be saved and moved to another site is still up in the air.

A valiant effort was mounted to save it, but alas, Walgreens money came out on top. From the sounds of it, the 50-year-old shopping center is in bad need of updating with lots of empty stores and graffiti.

Let's hope they move it to some other site. Best case scenario would be to move it to a spot on Route 66.

2. Lincoln's Mill to get new windows-- Great news here, Geoffrey Ladd announced that the 1929-era "Mill" will be getting $18,000 worth of new windows, something sorely needed. This popular Route 66 eating spot was saved from demolition by a community effort

The money comes from the Danner Trust and a big tip of the old cap to them.

Ladd also announced that volunteer work day on the mill will be May 10th. Let's all put on our grubs and do some work.

One big problem is that the Mill is on a corner, and we know who covets corners. See Berwyn.

3. Plainfield Rerouting US-30-- The Village of Plainfield, one of the two places the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 intersect, has moved US-30 from the main street, called Lockport Street. There are major plans for renovation to turn the main street area into a haven for shopping, dining, and historic preservation, ala Geneva, Illinois.

4. Joliet gets state honors for 66 work-- The Joliet Visitors Bureau did well in the Illinois Conference on Tourism, picking up three awards for its Route 66 campaign. This is one city that is really aware of and intent on pushing its Route 66 heritage. Hats off to them as well.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Friday, March 21, 2008

Down Da 66-- Making a Pitch-- Up the Down Staircase-- Route 66 News

Some news along the Mother Road.

1. Making a Pitch for the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum-- Durelle and Marilyn Pritchard attended the annual Museum Day in Springfield, Illinois, on March 13th. They spoke to State Senator Dan Rutherford of Chenoa. They are curators of the museum in Pontiac.

2. Up the Down Staircase-- the Elevator-- The Pontiac, Illinois City Council ok'd a bid for an elevator at the Livingston County War Museum and Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum.

The original bid was $259,000, but it was reduced $20,000. The Humison Trust donated $75,000 so the city's total $164,500. Work should be completed in three months.

This will open the upstairs area to the handicapped.

3. How to Read the Rote 66 News-- I've come up with a great way to read the excellent Route 66 News blog. Ron Warnick has been including lots of musical videos from You Tube. Turn on the video and song, watch it awhile, and then proceed to viewing the news items. Just gets your toes a'tappin' while you get a hankerin' for gettin' out on the Mother Road, or any old road for that matter.

Keep on Down That Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Lincoln Logs-- Well, We Got Da Bands-- Plainfield Reroutes US-30

Some news from along the Lincoln Highway.

1. Route 66 might have the Song, But We Got Da Bands-- I came across two bands called Lincoln Highway recently.

One is the Lincoln Highway Bluegrass Band which claim this is where the Bluegrass Hits the Road. They hail from Marshalltown, Iowa. Their photo pictures them in front of the famous Tama, Iowa LH bridge. www.lincolnhighwayband.com A Feb. 18th blog spoke well of them http://zaharaandrobkent.blogspot.com

Another is Utah Folk Band Lincoln Highway which appeared at the 6th annual Idaho Bluegrass Night.

There is also a Lincoln Highway Band that performs classic rock from the 60s to 90s at www.lincolnhwy.com .

2. Plainfield, Illinois Reroutes US-30-- The March 20th Herald News reports that the Village of Plainfield, Illinois has rerouted US-30 to get trucks off the main street, Lockport Street. I would imagine this is also a stretch of the original Lincoln Highway.

Their presence was making it impossible for business owners and village officials to turn the street into a haven for shopping, dining, and historic preservation. Sounds like a good idea to me.

The village is also planning on a $7.2 million project to reconstruct Lockport Street. The old water main will be replaced and the street will be made more pedestrian-friendly with wider sidewalks and more landscaping. Work on that will start Monday.

Apparently, Plainfield is taking a page from nearby Geneva, Illinois, which has done wonders with its old downtown.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

NTHP March Newsletter

The National Trust for Historic Preservation's March newsletter is out.

1. 2008 National Main Streets Conference-- Will be held in Philadelphia March 30 to April 2nd. There will be 60 educational sessions and 21 educational tours as well as a free, day-long Main Street Four-Point Approach, whatever that is? Hey, I always REALLY liked field trips when I was in school.

The Main Street Program has done a lot for bring decaying town main streets back to life and is a great program.

2. Historic Indiana Tour-- will be held May 5-11th, with most days doing things around Indianapolis, but May 7th a trip to Bloomington and French Lick, and May 8th, Columbus, before heading back to Indy.

3. See it for free or reduced price-- Membership has its rewards, or so the commercial says. Membership to the NTHP has a large group of places free or reduced admission for our members.

In Illinois that goes for the Hegeler Carus Mansion in LaSalle, Normal Theater Film Center in Normal, Tinker Swiss Cottage in Rockford, and the Unity Temple (Frank Lloyd Wright) in Oak Park.

Sure Glad o be a Member. Are You? --RoadDog

The Quest for Warmth

As I sit here typing away, the snows are sure coming down on this second day of Spring. Old Man Winter just doesn't want to let go this year. Thinking we must have gotten about six inches, but hard to say with the wind blowing as it is.

Thinking about the great time we had on the trip from February 24th to March 11th.

** Didn't "catch" my $2 lobster dinner at Flor-abama

** Had rolls "throwed" at us not once, but twice

** Here a mullet, there a mullet, ate a mullet, and I'm not talking Billy Ray's haircut

** Miserable at Morgan-- Way Too Many stairs at Barrancas

** Primitive eatin' at the Rib Shed

** Saw first US plane to fly across Atlantic...and it wasn't Lindberg's

** Did not go to ANY casinos

** Played lots of NTN-- 49 new places

** Katrina was Big, But God is Bigger

** Famous Dog at Dew Drop

** No Oysters at Wintzell's, but lots of inspiration

** Adequately burned

** Found a mom and pop motel on Destin, Florida's beach!!

** Here a condo, there a condo, everywhere a condo

** Battling the lousy fronts

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The People's Bridge-- Harrisburg, Pa.

This new from the Historical Marker Database folks.

Someone went out to the People's Bridge and photographed it and the the historical plaque at it.

The bridge was built before the automobile age and was a bit on the narrow side. By the mid-1950s, it had garnered the nickname of "Old Shakey" because of the vibrations made by vehicular traffic over the cast-iron superstructure.

By 1972, it was closed to all but pedestrian and bicyclists. It was weakened by the floods of Hurricane Agnes, and in 1996, the three western spans destroyed by ice floes.

The People's Bridge Coalition was formed and started a campaign to ensure the bridge's restoration and preservation. By 1998, the entire eastern section was entirely restored and plans are in effect to rebuild the western section.

The bridge is a key part to Harrisburg's Riverfront Park and City Island.

There are also eight other markers within walking distance.

Thanks a Lot to Those Intrepid HMDBers. --RoadDog

Down Da 66-- No More Airstream-- Drinkin' and Drivin'

Down Da 66-- news along the Mother Road'

1. No more Airstream Ranch-- I see in the Route 66 News blog that the Airstream Ranch in Florida has been ordered to be removed for violating zoning laws and other regulations.

Now, Airstream Ranch is nowhere near Route 66, but it is based on the famous Cadillac Ranch west of Amarillo, Texas.

Neighbors have been complaining about it as it has attracted lots of curious folks.

Personally, I really like any roadside oddities and this would definitely be one of those. Hopefully the owner can reach some sort of agreement with authorities and it will be able to remain.

It definitely is not the usual homogenized stuff we increasingly see along the roadside.

2. Don't Drink and Drive on Route 66-- Well, in Waynesville, Missouri, anyway. This past weekend, a roadblock was set up that operated from late Saturday night to early Sunday morning. Close to 400 vehicles were stopped and ten arrests were made.

Four were for DUI, one for revoked license, and another for an expired license.

Of course, drinking and watching the sites along Route 66 is never a good idea. You never know when you'll have to make a sudden stop or turn-around to go back to see something neat.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Got Mesker on the Lincoln Highway?

Illinois is compiling a list of structures in towns and cities across the state that have fronts that were made by the Mesker Company.

There are buildings along the Lincoln Highway in Dixon, Fulton, Geneva, and Plainfield. Each has one.

Dixon-- Galena Avenue (address unknown
Fulton- 1016 Fourth Street
Geneva-- 202-206 West State
Plainfield-- 506 West Lockport

For more information, see


Keep on Down that Two Lane Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Waymarkers Are Waymarking Roads Again

One of the latest postings on their site is of mile markers along the old National Road in Maryland.

Mountainjunkie posted a photograph of the MM 79 stone, which means 79 miles to Baltimore was shown and a short history of the road given. The National Road has now been replaced by US-40.

Quite a few of these markers still are around, but some are illegible. Some have been destroyed in vehicle accidents.

You can also see pictures of MM 82 to B, MM76 to B, and MM 75 to B under the US Historic Survey Stones and Monuments.


Sure Glad We Got the New SDignage in the 1920s. --RoadDog

New Lincoln Highway Book Getting Some Buzz

The March 17th Munster, Indiana, Times had an article on Cynthia L. Ogorek's new book, "The Lincoln Highway Around Chicago. She evidently gave a book promotion at a local place. She concentrated on the Schereville, Ind., to Geneva, Ill., stretch of the old road.

To put the book together, she visited between 18 and 20 local historical societies in Illinois and Indiana and combed through their records for photographs and information.

The 1.3 mile stretch of the Lincoln between Schereville and Dyer, Illinois, was to represent an ideal section of the road and had four lanes of traffic, drainage, and lighting. It was built between 1922 and 1923.

Cynthia grew up in Hammond, Indiana and is a member of the Illinois Lincoln Highway Association (as am I) The book is printed by Arcadia Publishing which specializes in local histories and always make for a good read.

The National Scenic Byways Program also had a short bit on the new book at http://www.byways.org/press/news/travel/.

I look forward to getting a copy, perhaps at the next meeting of the ILHA.

Keep on Down That Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

Watch Out Fer Dem Speed Traps

As a person who likes to hit the road (when I save up enough money for gas) , I like to take in the sights, but I also have to be aware of my speed. A friend sent me a Very interesting site regarding speed traps in all 50 states. I spent quite awhile looking at Illinois and will go back to check out some other states.

I know my hometown of Spring Grove, ,is quite a noted trap and very big on DUIs. Plus, we have the US-12 Speedway from south of town all the way to Lake Zurich. You can be doing 10 miles over the speed limit, and people will be blowing horns, flashing lights, and tailgating as you're still not going fast enough.

Then, there is the all-time Speedtrap City of Hainesville, Illinois. However, you don't have to worry about speeding through it during rush hours as you won't be moving anyway with all the traffic.

Round Lake Heights is another place to be careful when they drop the speed limit from 40 to 30.


They're Around. Watch Out. --RoadDog

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ogden, Iowa's Stretch of Lincoln Highway Hit Hard

This winter has been rough on all of us in the Midwest. It has also been rough on stretches on the old Lincoln Highway. We're thinking of renaming our area The Land of the Pothole.

The town of Ogden in Iowa has a historic four block stretch of the Lincoln Highway between First and Fifth streets, but the stretch between 2nd and 4th is in especially bad.

This stretch was paved in 1929 and because of its historical significance, is not on the usual rotation for resurfacing. Some of it has been repaved, except for a small patch where someone crossed it before the concrete had a chance to set. (Sort of like Route 66's infamous Turkey Tracks in Illinois.)

They are facing two options. 1. Grinding down the asphalt curb-to-curb and overlaying it with new asphalt, or 2. Digging out the old concrete and repaving.

Right now, they are looking into cost comparisons.

After reading the article in the Ogden Reporter, March 12th, I hope for the latter. It sounds like the pavement is too far gone to continue as the road for the heavy use on Main Street. Dig it up and put it down on a lesser used street or even a park.

Save that Old Pavement. --RoadDog

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lincoln Logs-- Road Trippin' in Iowa-- Alice Ramsey-- Comfort Dogs at NIU

Some news along the old Lincoln Highway.

1. Roadtrippin' in Iowa-- The Missouri Times News of Feb. 29 had an article "Lincoln Hwy Motor Tour Coming." The Iowa Lincoln Highway Association has announced a cruise August 8 to 10th this summer. It is called the "River to River Tour" going from the Mississippi to the Missouri rivers, a total of 330 miles.

Day One starts in Clinton with stops at DeWitt, Lowden, Clarence, Mt. Vernon, and Cedar Rapids where a night will be spent.

Day Two has stops at Youngville Cafe, Belle Plaine, Tama (guess what they'll see there), State Center (stop and smell the roses), Colo, Ames, and an overnight in Boone where a dinner will be held.

Day Three has stops at Jefferson, Carroll, Denison, Woodbine and concludes at the Hitchcock Nature Center at the infamous Honey Creek Cut. For more info, contact Jeff LaFollett at jefflaf@peoplepc.com or call 563-349-3047.

2. Alice Ramsay Documentary-- A documentary on Alice Ramsey, the first woman to drive across the US is being filmed. Go to http://www.aliceramsey.org/ for updates. An early bit of footage is available at You Tube or go to http://lincolnhighwayil.blogspot.com/.

3. Comfort Dogs at Northern Illinois University-- Today marks the one month anniversary of the horrible events that transpired at NIU. When the students returned to school, along with counselors, they also had about a dozen dogs on campus for a week. These dogs probably did more to ease the pain than anything else. Students have requested that they return today.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

RoadDog's Drive-- Oldest Service Area-- What Will it Be?-- Walgreens Does a Diner-- It Helps to Know a Lincoln-- Beer Geeks OnDaRoad

Just some road-related items.

1. Oldest Service Area-- Pennsylvania Turnpike-- Glenn Wells reports that what is considered to be the "oldest" plaza on a limited access highway which offered a restaurant along with a gas station is South Midway on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

New York's Taconic State Parkway has an older one, but it just offered gas.

Now, Briarcliff Wells was opened a decade before Taconic Parkway.

2. Walgreens Does Its Thang-- From Roadside Fans and article from the Phoenixville News 1-30-08, that the Vale Rio Diner will be closing because a Walgreens will be built on the site. It didn't say what state.

3. US-117/I-795-- In US Highways there was some discussion on US-117 which has been largely replaced by I-795 in part of North Carolina. It is thought that US-117 will revert back to its former alignment.

4. Lincoln Relatives Cemetery-- Kansas City-- An unknown cemetery with ties to Abraham Lincoln has been discovered at Glenn Herdren Drive. Plans to improve the intersection of I-35, US-69, and Mo-33 will be revised now that a cemetery that was not visibly marked and mapped has been found. Some of the occupants were cousins of Abraham Lincoln. I guess it pays to have important relatives.

5. Beer Geeks OnDaRoad-- Chris Nelson and Meridith Canham-Nelson of Carmel Valley, Ca., are planning to hit the road and do a beer thing in as many states as possible. They will spend a year doing this and chronicling it in a blog.

They plan on taking one beer trip a month. "While we do include visiting the sites and landmarks of places we visit, finding the next great beer experience is the real focus of our travels. Visiting pubs, breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs; this is the essence of being a beer traveler....We are not trying to tell you where to visit or what beers to drink; rather we hope to inspire you to look for your own beer adventures."

Jan. 18th-19th, they visited the Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival in Anchorage.


Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Some Info on US Highway 45

We've now driven the vast majority of the 1300 mile long US-45. In addition to what we drove earlier this week, we have also driven it from Des Plaines, Illinois, all the way north to Appleton, Wisconsin.

I looked up some information about it on wikipedia, http://www.us-highways.com/ and www.geocities.com/mapguy_denver/HwyEnds Lots of great ending pictures on the last site.

According to these sources, the northern terminus from 1926-1934 was in Des Plaines, Illinois, at today's Northwest highway, US-14. It was extended in 1934 to its present northern terminus in Ontonagon, Michigan, right on the shore of Lake Superior. This would be Michigan's Upper peninsula. There is a really neat sign showing the entire length of the road close by.

The southern terminus from 1926 to the 1950s was at Broad Street in Mobile, Alabama. From the 1950s to today, it is at St. Stevens Road at US-98, US-90. All that marks it is an "End" sign.

The road runs anywhere from 1297 to 1299, to 1300 miles depending upon who you check out.

It is a true border-to-border US highway.

Great Place to Eat in Mundelein, Illinois, called Bill's Pizza Pub. A Real Taste of the Northwoods and Peanuts on Your Table. --RoadDog

Down Da 66-- Good El Vado News-- D'Arcy's Pint-- Ugly!!!-- Picture This

Some News Along the Mother Road.

1. El Vado Motel--Albuquerque, NM-- Ron Warnick's Route 66 News reports that things are finally looking up for the famous El Vado Motel. The city has been given access to it by a judge. This is one beautiful motel that definitely needs to be saved.

2. D'Arcy's Pint-- Springfield, Il-- www.roadfood.com recently featured one of our favorite eatin' spots. If you want one of the best horseshoes available anywhere, this is where to go. The place is located about a half mile off Route 66.

3. Gettin' Ugly in Adrian, Texas-- The Midland Reporter-Telegram of Texas reports that lots of folks are stopping off at Adran's Midpoint Cafe to get a taste of Jo Ann Harwell's out-of-this world Ugly Crust Pies. When she started making them ten years ago, she thought it would be a temporary job, but now she makes 5-10 pies a day.

These pies have become synonymous with the restaurant. Liz and I split one the last time through back in the fall of 2006. Mighty good eatin' in the neighborhood. Coconut pie is the biggest-seller, but also chocolate, pecan, and lemon merengue do well.

Jo Ann is now known as the "Queen of Ugly" and "Pie Fairy."

4. Photos in Pontiac, Il-- Photographer Michael A. Campanelli took a trip across Route 66 in 2002 (the time of our first abbreviated trip through Illinois) and took over 1000 pictures. The Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum has acquired 166 of the pictures and will display them for at least a year. Definitely just something else to see in Illinois.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Mother Road. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Doing Some Road Cruisin'

Liz and I just got back from a 17-day, 3,046 mile road trip to the Gulf Coast where we went to Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. We also drove through Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas (a little), Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Sure glad we got back yesterday as the gas prices at two stations was at $3.50 for regular!! Talk about your gas gouge. I think Ieven saw regular gas at one truck stop in Effingham, Illinois posted at $4.06, but it was late at night so might have just imagined it.

As usual, we took Illinois Highway 47 from Woodstock to Dwight, and then Route 66 to Springfield, Illinois. From there, we superslabbed it on I-55 all the way to Jackson, Mississippi. We had never been on this road past St. Louis.

From Jackson, Ms, to Gulfport, we were on Mississippi Highway 49. We then did a lot of cruising on US-90, I-10, and US-98 along the coastal area. Also spent quite a bit of time on a short section of Alabama Hwy 59 between Foley and Gulf Shores.

Coming back, we took US-45 from its southern terminus at Mobile's Broad Street to Champagne, Illinois. US-45 goes by our house about 15 miles to the east.

We'd never been to Dauphine Island, Mobile, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach in Alabama, or Perdido Key, Pensacola, Navarre, Fort Walton Beach, or Destin in Florida.

More Later. --RoadDog