Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Phil Vettell Knows Where to Eat on 66-- Part 5

ERATO ON MAIN-- 126 N. Main Street, Edwardsville

The last place he went was one I've never heard of. He regarded it as "a nice reward at the end of a long journey." It is about a half hour from downtown St. Louis and three doors off 66 (probably why I hadn't seen it).

The owner gets his vegetables from local farmers and breads and coffee from 222 Artisan Bakery a short distance away. The foods he ate, however sounded expensive, so I don't know about me visiting since I won't be on an expense account. Plus, the picture accompanying the article looked a bit upscale for me.

However, this is the kind of reporting we need for the road so I'm glad to see it. Thanks, Phil.

Plus, I could definitely recommend a lot of other good places to eat. Just in Springfield, Saputo's, Cozy Dog, Made-Rite, D'Arcy's Pint, and the Alamo have outstanding food.

Route 66, a Good Place to Eat. --RoadDog

Red's Hamburg, Springfield, Mo.

The Route 66 Yahoo E-Mail group had a site for a video featuring a band called the Morells playing a song called "Red's" recorded back around 1982. Must have watched it six times.

All I can say is that I really missed out in not being able to visit and eat at that place since it no longer exists.

Great song as well and you can tell the group members were big fans of the place. I'd have to call it "Cheeseburger in Paradise" meets Route 66. Even the owner, Red, was really getting into it. I also need to find out some more about the Morells. They look like the kind of band I can really enjoy.

On the recent Missouri Route 66 Motor Tour, we visited an RV park/motel that is big into Route 66 and they're intending to resurrect Red's out by I-44 in a vacant restaurant next door. But, the economy has forced them to put it on hold. They have the rights to the name and sign.

Check it out yourself at

Sure Enjoyed It. --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Phil Vettel Knows Where to Eat on 66-- Part 4

Phil Vettel's "Get Your Dining Fix on Route 66" article took up almost a whole page in the Travel Section of the September 20th Chicago Tribune and featured some striking color photography including one of the Historic Route signs (Illinois has the best signage for not only Route 66, but the National Road and Lincoln Highway).

Other photos:

Night time view of the Dell Rhea's Chicken basket neon sign in Willowbrook;
Exterior view of the Palms Cafe in Atlanta;
Betty Boop at That 50's Place in Dwight;
222 Artisan Bakery exterior in Edwardsville;
sign and Quonset hut view of Charlie Parker's in Springfield;
interior view Erato on Main in Edwardsville.

Perhaps we can get some business from non-66ers from this article. Thanks, Phil. However, there are a lot more neat places to eat along Route 66. I mean, a R-E-A-L lot!!

Definitely Enough to Get Your Attention. --RoadDog

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Phil Vettel Knows Where to Eat on 66-- Part 3

Someone else becoming aware of the joys of driving the old road in Illinois.

CHARLIE PARKERS'S-- 700 North Street, Springfield-- out-of-the way Quonset hut, about five blocks off 66 (turn west at the sad old Bel-Air Motel). Features two things: horseshoes and pizza-size pancakes. Horseshoes: white toast topped with your choice of meat, pile of fries (or for breakfast hash browns) and covered with cheese "enough to sate an ox." This for $6.95 (the pony shoe) to $7.95.

The single pancake, served on a 16-inch pizza pan, is $3.95. Eat the four-stack, $8.95, and its free if you can eat it all. (Liz and I once ordered one and couldn't finish it. It is quite thick in the middle.) A manager said only one guy has ever done it and most people don't get past the first one.

This is always a stop when Liz and I stay in Springfield. We usually get the chicken-fried steak and eggs breakfast special for $5.95.

Great decor as well. Very 50-ish diner.

We saw a kid try the four-stack, while his mom had a paperback to read. She said he'd always talked about trying it, and now was the time to put his mouth where his words were. He didn't finish the first one.

What About the Cozy Dog? --RoadDog

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oktoberfest Time Again

One of my favorite times of the year. Between the music, food, and drinking, I'm in one of those special places.

Listening to Oktoberfest music right now on my five-CD player: German Beer Garden Favorites, Oktoberfest Music, All the Best from the German Beer Garden, German Beer Drinking Songs, and Oktoberfest in Chicago by Die Musikmeisters. Now, that's some German drinking music.

Next Saturday, Fox Lake, Illinois, is having their Oktoberfest and the following saturday, it's Antioch's turn. I plan on making both of them.

Also hoping After the Fox has their Foxtoberfest like last year when they had Die Musikmeisters and great German food platters as well as engraved steins to drink your beer. Unfortunately, they ran out of the Warsteiner too early so had to make do with American stuff.

The German-American club is having their Oktoberfest the next two Saturdays over in Lake Villa.

Of course, lots of Germans settled in this part of Illinois.

Ein Prosit!! --RoadDog

Phil Vettel Knows Where to Eat on 66-- Part 2

THAT 50'S PLACE-- DWIGHT-- 600 W. Mazon Avenue

The billboards on I-55 alerted him. In a 27-year old truck stop and originally called Harvest Table. Lots of 50s decor. "The decor is pure '50s diner, and the menu is full of "Happy Days" references, including the Ralph Malph mac and cheese."

I haven't eaten here, but once stopped to use the truck stop bathroom which was nasty and I'm not easily offended. Hope they cleaned it up since then. The restaurant looks like a neat place.

THE PALMS GRILL-- ATLANTA-- 110 SW Arch Street--

Dates to 1934 and named for the trees the owner used as decorations. Closed many years ago (see blog entries earlier this week), but reopened in April. Phil was impressed at how closely the new one matched the former. Fried bologna sandwiches and a blue-plate special daily. "Central Illinois visitors often hunt for a superior pork-tenderloin sandwich; I nominate this one." He also raves on the pies.

That pork-tenderloin gets my nomination as well. It's really a two-meal effort. A "Don't Miss" classification.

Still Eating. --RoadDog

2nd Annual Iowa Lincoln Hwy Assoc. Motor Tour-- Part 1

We had taken US-20 from Galena, Illinois to Sioux City, Iowa, and then south on I-29 to Onawa on August 26th. Word to the wise, there are no motels along I-29 between Sioux City to Missouri Valley once you you leave Sioux City, except for the one in Onawa, around 80 miles.

On Thursday, the 27th, we drove from Onawa to Missouri Valley and to the Iowa Welcome Center--Misoouri Valley, where we met with Jeff LaFollette and around 15 others for the pre-tour.

The Welcome Center dates back to the days when US-30 was the main thoroughfare through these parts. Lots of Iowa souvenirs and a nice selection of Lincoln Highway stuff as well. I got a really nice sandstone coaster with logo.

Nice museum and an original Boy Scout LH concrete marker as well. Definitely not your standard interstate welcome center.

Drove over to Desoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge. At one time, a part of the Missouri River went through here so you can say that Lewis and Clark passed through here on their famous trip back in 1804.

Going Back to Desoto Again. --RoadDog

Friday, September 25, 2009

Phil Vettel Knows Where to Eat on 66-- Part 1

Reporter Phil Vettel had an interesting article in the in the September 20th Chicago Tribune about eating along the fabled Route 66 in Illinois "Get Your Dining Fix on Route 66." Nice play on words, just Get Your Kicks.

He said that even though 66 no longer exists, you can find out a lot about it at Over three days, mostly spent on the super slab, Phil found six good places to eat.

Of course, us 66ers know there are a lot more great eats than just the six mentioned in the article:

DELL RHEA'S CHICKEN BASKET, 654 Joliet Road, Willowbrook

Route 66 no longer goes past this eatery, which stays in business thanks to their great chicken. It has been owned by the Rhea family since 1963.

A four piece chicken dinner with rolls, vegetables, soup, and salad bar goes for $14.95, a bit too expensive for me, but a good eat nonetheless.

More Good Eatin' to Come. --RoadDog

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Atlanta's Palms Grill-- Part 4-- A 66 Story

Our waitress had an interesting accent. Having been to Cajun Country in Louisiana, and having two really good friends from there, we were sure she had a Cajun accent and were quite surprised when she said she was from Albania.

We had asked her if she was from Louisiana and she said no. Kind of strange that her accent would be the same as Cajun and Gayle's.

She had an arranged marriage and had not even met her husband before hand. They operated a restaurant in Atlanta out by I-55 and she was asked to take over duties running the Palms and has been here since the opening.

Just Another One of Those Interesting Characters You meet All the Time on 66, or Any Old Road for That matter. --RoadDog

Atlanta's Palms Grill-- Part 30-- Mighty Good Eatin'

Because of our leaving home so late on our first day's travel, September 9th, we got to Atlanta at 4:45 PM, and were glad we weren't much later as they close the place at 5 during the week. Sure would have hated to come that far and not get a chance to check the place out.

Like I said before, you go through the door and you're immediately transported back to the 1930s. Even the music is of the Big Band variety.

Even though they only had 15 minutes left to be open, we were treated like royalty. We've been places where you became persona non grata come closing time. We saw signs promoting their pork tenderloin sandwiches so ordered them (one of our favorite road foods anyway).

For $6.20, you also get soup and fresh cut fries. Soup was good, but then that massive sandwich came, and I do mean massive pork tenderloin. It was huge!!! I cut my slab into pieces and put two on the bottom half of the bun, ate that, and then two more pieces on the top, and ate that. And, there was still half left over for later that night.

My suggestion is not to go there unless you're really, really hungry, and I do mean h-o-n-g-r-y!!!

Ya Gotta Believe. --RoadDog

Atlanta's Palms Grill-- Part 2-- Max Baer's Visit

An Interesting Story

Max Baer, the newly-crowned world heavy weight boxer (and father of Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies) came through town August 12, 1934, and the other people in his car went inside the Palms and ordered breakfast. Baer remained sleeping in the car.

The others returned with a bottle of milk and awakened Mr. Baer, who went inside jusrt as Mrs. Tina Shifflet, the cook, had taken several pies out of the oven. Baer ordered a piece of coconut pie. After enjoying it, Baer walked back to the kitchen and tipped each person a dollar, saying to Mrs. Shifflet, "My gosh, woman, that's the best pie I ever ate," then left. (From the Atlanta Argus)

Kind of made their day I would suppose.

The Palms was also the designated Greyhound stop in January 1940. On the bottom of the neon sign was a small light that was turned on if there was someone wanting to board.

The Grill continued as a popular place in the 40s and 50s. It closed in the late 60s and was empty for nearly 20 years. In 2002, the family of the owner donated it to the Atlanta Public Library and Museum. In 2003, a restoration project was begun and it is open again through lots of effort.

Definitely a repeat visit for Liz and myself from now on. Great food, and talk about a trip back to the 30s and 40s. Pictures of the place from back then and now reveals a near identical restaurant, down to the tables, silverware and floors.

Thank you for this great story Mr. Thomas.

Check out for more information.

Now, If They Could Just Do Something With That Silly Water Tower!! --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Atlanta's Palms Grill-- Part 1-- A History

The Spring 2009 66 News, publication of the Route 66 Association of Illinois had an excellent article by Bill Thomas about the Palms Grill in Atlanta, Illinois. After reading it and because of other stuff we'd heard about it. it became a must-stop on our trip out to the MoMo 66 Tour.

According to Mr. Thomas, the Palms opened in August 1934, and became a major "social gathering spot, a place of employment...and a Greyhound Bus Stop...and advertised dancing and BINGO on selected evenings." The dances and bingo were held in a room at the back.

The Palms was opened by Robert Adams of Atlanta. After World War I,he moved to Los Angeles. He did extensive traveling back and forth and the Palms Grill got its name from his time in California.

A Real Credit to Route 66. --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

DeWitt, Iowa-- Lincoln Highway-- Part 2

DeWitt is the second largest city in Clinton County. The first settlers came to the area in 1836 and the county was formed in 1837. The cities of DeWitt and Clinton as well as Clinton County all were named after New York governor DeWitt Clinton, a major proponent of the Erie Canal, which opened the Great Lakes and Midwest to settlement.

Originally DeWitt was called Vandenburg after the daughter of a German mayor. In 1842 it was renamed DeWitt. The earliest DeWitt settler was James D. Bourne, who built a frame home in 1842 which still stands although it has been modernized so much that it is unrecognizable.

The coming of the Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska Railroad in 1856 helped the young town grow. Today, the line is called the Union Pacific Railroad. DeWitt was incorporated January 14, 1850.

Besides two major motel chains, Super 8 and Quality Inn, there are two mom and pop motels, the Westwind Motel and Winsther Motel with 13 and 14 rooms respectively.

From the DeWitt Chamber of Commerce brochure.

Small Town USA. --RoadDog

Monday, September 21, 2009

DeWitt, Iowa-- Lincoln Highway-- Part 1

The next-to-last stop on the recent Iowa Lincoln Highway Tour was in the town of DeWitt. We stopped at Lincoln Park and were treated to water and sweets and were able to tour the hausbarn which was recently constructed, a gift from the town's sister city in Germany. A haubarn is a structure in which the family lives in half and the other part is for livestock.

Many original timbers from an original 1800s hausbarn in Germany were disassembled and made the journey to the US. The roof is thatched. The livable space has been converted into offices.

Total cost of the project is $220,000. Close to the park is a plaque marking the intersection of the Lincoln Highway and US-61, called the Blues Highway because of its connection with that form of music in the south.

From Iowa Lincoln Highway Association Motor Tour Driving Guide and Passport Book.

More on DeWitt to Come. --RoadDog

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Down Da 66: Castle Car Wash-- Amarillo Tourism-- Turning 50

Down Da 66-- News of the Mother Road

1. CASTLE CAR WASH CHICAGO-- The Route 66 News reports that the Castle Car Wash in Chicago is being restored and will be converted into a Greek restaurant. It was built around 1925 and originally was a gas station.

2. AMARILLO TOURISM-- News 10 reports that Route 66 merchants in the Texas town report steady business even during the recession. However, crime has been rising along 6th Avenue, old n66, and police presence has been beefed up.

3. TURNING 50-- The 66 Bowl at 3810 NW 39 Oklahoma City, Ok, has turned 50. Jim Haynes, 77, bought it in 1978. It opened March 28, 1959.

Down That Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lincoln Logs: Iowa Motor Tour-- Iowa Arts Festival-- Too Bad for Dekalb's Cornfest

Some New News About an Old Road.

1. IOWA MOTOR TOUR-- From the August 25 Denison Bulletin Review. There were quite a few articles on the recent motor tour which Liz and I were lucky enough to be able to attend. The Denison paper reported that the tour would stop between 10 and 11 AM and tour the Donna Reed Theater and visit Remey's Soda Fountain. The vehicles, many of them of the classic variety would park in the Hy-Vee parking lot.

Highway 30 merchants held Highway 30 Days in conjunction with the visit.

2. IOWA ARTS FESTIVAL-- 30 local and regional artists will be holding a show in Mt. Vernon next weekend on September 26th along Main Street, the Lincoln Highway from 9 to 4. Mt. Vernon is one of those classic American small towns located just east of Cedar Rapids.

3. TOO BAD FOR DEKALB'S CORNFEST-- Two years ago, Cornfest in this Illinois town was moved to the local airport because of road construction on the Lincoln Highway. Before it was always held downtown. It was once again held at the airport and its my guess it will continue to be so in the future.

Too bad, having it downtown with all those historic buildings was wonderful, but, alas, no more.

Iowa is Really Playing a Big Role on the Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

Friday, September 18, 2009

Where Were You September 6, 1969-- Part 1

Bob Stroud went back 40 years this past Sunday June 6th, to 1969.

I was either already at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb or getting ready to start. I was on the third floor of I think wing C. Last room at the end by the stairs. My roommate was Chuck Hartseil from Canton, Illinois. We had never met before.

I left my Beatle albums at home for fear they would get messed up. But, my brother Bob managed to wreck them at home, anyway.

As always, Stroud's comments, then mine in parentheses.

"The fourth and final instalment of our Time Warp to the Summer of 1968. The records in your collection, the songs on your radio 40 years ago this weekend." (Of course, here in Chicago, all us teen folk listened to both WLS and WCFL. I was a bit more of an LS fan.)

Well, actually, this should be in my Down da Road I Go Blog, so I will continue there. Hate when I do this goofing 'o the blogs.

My Dumb Move. --RoadDog

Iowa Lincoln Highway

Looks like the Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway is keeping things hopping in the western part of the state. According to the September 15th Dennison newspaper, three events are planned.

One will be a free lecture at the Santa Maria Winery in Carroll. Associate Professor Heidi Hohman will talk about the highway's past and how it can benefit the various communities along its path. The winery is in a former auto dealership right on the LH. They have really turned this into a first-class place to stop for a meal and do some wine tasting. The canopies of the former dealership are quite wonderful. (We stopped in Carroll for lunch and wine tasting on the Iowa Lincoln Highway Motor Tour several weeks ago.)

Also, there will be two bus tours, one from Carroll to Grand Junction and the other from Jefferson to Westside. Each costs $5. Historical and tourist sites will be visited along the way.

Search Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway for more information.

Having Our Fun on the Highway of Lincoln. --RoadDog

Now the Belgians Are Coming, and It's Not Even Swa

Wednesday, while at the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Hall of Fame and Museum, the head of Pontiac's tourism bureau said she was waiting for a couple from Australia so she could take them on a tour of those fantastic murals. We told her we'd just talked to them as they were polishing off pork tenderloins at Atlanta's Palms Grill so they would be awhile.

Just then, three people came in, all wearing the same tee shirt. Found out they were from Belgium and had just started their trip earlier that morning in Chicago. They were going the whole distance to Santa Monica, then heading up to San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway.

They had used Swa Franzen's Historic 66 site extensively and were aware he is from Belgium.

They're Every Where, They're Everywhere!! --RoadDog

Even More Foreigners on Route 66


Monday night a large group of motorcyclists checked into the Route 66 Hotel in Springfield, Illinois, where we spent three nights (and drank across the street at the Curve Inn and ate twice at the Cozy Dog). Several had what I had thought a few days ago were Danish flags but now know to be Norway's.

The desk clerk told me they were from a Norwegian company that gives Route 66 tours and that this particular group was made up of tour guides. I guess the company must be planning on really expanding their tours along the road.


Met up again with the Kathryn and Darren, the couple from Australia that make Liz and I look like we don't really much care about Route 66, Tuesday. Talk about your GUNG HO!!! Met them at the Cozy Dog talking with none other than the Official Artist of 66, Bob Waldemire.

Talked with them awhile, but they were anxious to get back to the Route 66 Hotel as they had been upgraded to a suite for free. We've stayed there about 15 times over the years and NEVER been upgraded. They got a late start the next day and followed several hours behind us the whole way to Pontiac.

I'm looking forward to meeting up with them the next time they're over here. Maybe even meet them "Down Under. Who knows?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back Home Again

As much fun as we have on the road, it's always good to get back home where we arrived about 10 PM yesterday after putting a bit over 1,500 miles on the cruise of Route 66 through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas (all 14 or so miles of it), and part of Oklahoma.

We've got a trip to Dog 'N Suds in Ingleside for their 99 cent Charcoburger Thursday special, boating, and visits to two lakeside bars: Southern Star and Steitz's up on Bluff Lake planned for today.

Already cut the grass today and even raked some leaves from the one crabapple tree in the front yard. We usually don't get enough leaves for a fire, one of my favorite things in fall. I've even been known to go over to other people's houses to rake just so I could have that great smell, the smell of fall.

Yesterday, we sort of paved the way for our Australian friends, the Sloans, who left behind us from the Route 66 Hotel in Springfield, Illinois.

Good to Be Home. --RoadDog

Back to the Land of 'Spensive Gas

We got back to the Chicagoland area last night after an eight day cruise along Route 66 through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and a part of Oklahoma (as far as Afton).

Gas was between $2.54 and $2.70 (as in $2.69.9) a gallon on the Chicagoland area with Elburn as usual being the highest (we take Il. Highway 47 to Dwight). Gas in Pontiac was $2.46. In Missouri, around Pacific and Eureka (outside of St. Louis) it was $2.22!!!

It got as high as $2.40 in Lebanon, Missouri, and was $2.23 in Joplin.

Yesterday, it was $2.33 in Springfield, Illinois, but had climbed back to $2.56 to $2.70 as we continued northward.

We sure get ripped off on our gas here in the Chicagoland area.

DADBURN Big Oil. --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Doing a Route 66 Thing Here in Springfield

Or Lincoln's Home Town as they are apt to cal it around here.

Yesterday, we sat out by the pool at the Route 66 Hotel and then had lunch at Cozy Dog. You'll never guess what we had? Four of them and a large order of fries for $8.99 and two large drinks. As usual, we went over to the magazine reading library and pulled out ones from the 66 Federation, Route 66 Magazine, and several state 66 organizations.

Interesting article by the couple from Australia that we met on the MoMo Tour in one of them.

Still don't know if I like the fries or Cozy Dogs better. Strictly a toss up.

Drove over to the new and huge Wal Mart right down the road and off 66. They had columns outside with quotes from Lincoln, something you don't see every day. Bought CDs by Huey Lewis & the News, Bob Marley and Kenny Chesney.

Back to the pool for some more baking (sunny and 89 degrees.


Drove downtown and went to the new Bennigan's in the Hilton. If you liked their food before most closed, it is the same. And they still have what I consider to be the BEST Monte Cristo sandwiches anywhere. We split one and had plenty enough to eat. Also played NTN. They actually recently added the game.

Next stop was Capital City Bar and Grill on the southeast side of town for some more NTN and Liz had a #4 and I a #14. This place is on Dirksen parkway, the old Route 66 bypass.

Last stop at the Curve Inn, on the original 66. If you'reooking for a "real" 66 roadhouse, this be the place. Good times since the early 1930s and so-named for the curve that 66 took by the place.

Routen 66, I Think I'll Keep It. --RoadDog

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Europeans Are Coming


Yesterday, we ran into two large groups of motorcyclists on the last day of the Missouri Motor Tour.

The first group was at the Elbow Inn. We saw them arriving while leaving it and again while stopped at Hooker Cut as they drove by heading east. Two of the motorcycles had Danish flags flying from the back of them. (OK, I Looked up the flag and it's Norwegian, not Danish.)

We later saw the same group cruising up I-55 a little ways south of Springfield.

While at the Missouri Route 66 State Park, there was another large group of bikers causing a long wait at the purchase counter. Judging from their accents, I'd have to say they were from England or Australia. They were heading west.


Thursday, at Gay Parita, we ran into two smaller groups of people on motorcycles. One from France and the other from Germany. The Germans also had a convertible with them. When asked why, they said for luggage. One woman said that seeing Route 66 every European motorcyclist's dream.

While driving the Ribbon Road in Oklahoma, we came across two bicyclists. Driving alongside, we talked with them and found out they were from Spain and had left Chicago with the intentions of driving the whole route.


We also had a couple along with us on the motor tour that I took to be from Australia. Saturday night, out by the bonfire, there was intercultural action when they cracked open the Vegemite and let folks try this Australian delicacy. Like they said, it is an "acquired taste."

Now, If We Could Just Make More Americans Aware of the Road. --RoadDog

Missouri 66 Motor Tour's Over

Finished up with the tour yesterday with a picnic of participants at the railroad depot park in Pacific, Missouri.

As usual, we were about an hour late, but this time not Liz's fault. We were too late to sign up for the picnic and had eaten at Cookin' from Scratch in Doolittle. Great pan-fried chicken and pies.

Definitely recommend this tour. After 20 years, they know how to run one.

Bought the book "Route 66 in the Ozarks" from Jim Sonderman and had him sign it.

After leaving the group, we stopped at the Missouri Route 66 State Park and Ted Drewe's and drove on to Springfield, where we spent the night at the Route 66 Hotel.

Nothing Like the 66. --RoadDog

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sitting Out by the Munger Moss Pool

Made it to Lebanon, Missouri, and sitting out by the pool right now at 6:55 PM CDST, watching the traffic go by on Route 66. All by our lonesomes as everyone else has left for a picnic. We were too late to get reservations for the food, but could have brought our own in had we wanted to, but finished off the massive left-overs from Lambert's Cafe and we are not hungry. Too bad, as I was seriously considering eating at Dowd's Catfish and BBQ. Now that's some great fooooddd.

Just got attacked by the gate to the pool and have the scratches to show for it. That thing sure closes fast.

We're having beers and waiting for Ramona and Bob to turn on that great sign. Absolutely perfect weather for mid-September, the forecast rain never materialized. And yes, Lulu, I am typing with two fingers.

Sure had an enjoyable drive on 66 today, even though we were about two hours behind every one at the start. Another case of CGLG.

Caught up with the tail end of the Missouri cruisers at Gay Parita and the majority at the passport stop in Springfield. Then, we went ahead of them to Stafford where the town was celebrating its Route 66 heritage with a festival.

Earlier, talked with Jerry from Wood River, Illinois, who said there was a good bar in Avilla, Mo., and that the post office was a bank at one time that had been robbed by Bonnie and Clyde. Didn't know that.

Must Drink More Beer. --RoadDog

By the Numbers: Cruising Route 66

Here are some numbers for our current cruise.

1-- classic motel (Rail Haven in Springfield, Mo.)

1-- winery (Fanning Outpost, Missouri)

4-- new Route 66 places (Palms Grill, Fanning Outpost, Gay Parita, 4 Women on the Road)

4-- groups of Europeans (France, Germany, Ireland, Spain)

4-- states (Il, Mo, Ks, Ok)

6-- new NTN sites-- (Springfield, Mo; Ketchum, Ok; and Joplin, Mo.

7-- really fine places to eat (Palms Grill, Lambert's, Waylan's Ku Ku Burgers

9-- 9-9-09, 9-11

103-- miles from home to Route 66 in Dwight, Illinois.

It's great to Be On the Road. --RoadDog

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Good Night on the Route

We super slabbed Will Rogers Turnpike (I-44) back to Joplin, Missouri, from Afton, Oklahoma ($1.25) registered for the Missouri Route 66 Associations Motor Tour at the Holiday Inn, and drove over to Sportsmans (on 7th Street, the old Route 66) to play NTN. I got a lousy #21 individual score on one game. I might as well not have played with a #21. No one outside of the bar knew.

Checked into the Days Inn and walked across the street to Jukebox Saturday Night. There was a $4 cover charge for entertainment, but if you were staying at a local motel (there are about six within walking distance) you get in for free. Just as good, domestic bottles were $2.50 (as was Land Shark) and a band was playing.

They mostly played newer stuff and Liz didn't much like them, but hey, a live band, no cover, and $2.50 beers!! Not bad.

I should also mention that this was outside on the deck. However, at one point three cops came in due to a noise complaint from one of the local motels. The band was not too pleased with that an urged the crowd to show their "love"a a particular hand signal.

A Great Way to Start the Motor Tour. --RoadDog

Road Tunes-- Part 2

The USA Today (guess what newspaper was complimentary at the Rail Haven?) also had a list of top five road songs as chosen by 20,000 consumers who voted recently at Choice Hotels' Econo Lodge "Travelin' Tunes" sweepstakes.

The top five:

5. TAKE IT EASY- EAGLES 9% Hey, I just bought this one!!! "Standing on the corner of ...."
4. TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS-- JOHN DENVER 12% My Marine Corps basic training song, "Get me out of here!!"
3. BORN TO BE WILD-- STEPPENWOLF-- 13% (from movie "Easy Rider"
2. ON THE ROAD AGAIN-- WILLIE NELSON-- 18% (from a movie, possibly "Honeysuckle Rose Rose")
1. LIFE IS A HIGHWAY-- RASCAL FLATS-- 22% (from movie "Cars." I think Tom Cochran originally did it.

How about "Get Your Kicks on Route You-Know-What." --RoadDog

Backyard Bowl in Tulsa-- Good Old 66 Squabble

Not going that far today, but we won't be too far away, but the USA Today had a story about two high school football teams by Tulsa, Oklahoma (on Route 66) having a pretty big game tonight. Jenks and Union (Tulsa) are playing, but it is more than just a little rivalry.

These two schools have combine to win the last 13 Oklahoma Class 6A championships since 1996. Jenks has won nine (Union 4 in case you're counting). These two schools are eight miles apart and are playing at the University of Tuylsa stadium with 30,000 expected to attend.

Union is ranked number one in the state, and #15 nationwide by USA Today. Jenks is #2 in the state.

That Should Be One Heck of a Game and hey, it's in a Route 66 town.

Wonder Who I'm Going to Pull For. Probably Union Since 66 Goes Through Tulsa. --RoadDog

Road Tunes

On the trip so far, we've been listening to the new CDs by Trace Adkins "X" and John Fogerty "Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again." Both are good, but I'd have to rank JF's effort as a "Great Road Album," right up there with anything by Buck Owens, Asleep at the Wheel, or Bob Wills.

For some reason, I was thinking east instead of west, and got back on I-44 in Lebanon, Missouri, and ended up at the middle exit by the Wal Mart. We had been discussing the need for an extension cord (as most motels don't have enough outlets in these days of laptops and necessary battery recharging) and plastic baggies for left overs (like the two huge chunks of pork tenderloin we had left over after visiting the Palms Grill in Atlanta, Illinois, the day before).

A Wal-Mart beckoned, so there we were. I always check out the CDs as they are not long for this world in today's download society (which is way too bad because downloading will never compare with physically flipping through the old albums and CDs).

I broke down and bought the Eagles first album (I think) simple called the Eagles. It has that great road song and Route 66 song something about standing on a corner somewhere. You know, "Take It Easy." I always said I wouldn't buy CDs of what I already had on an album, but we all have our week moments.

I forgot how much good stuff was on it.

Also, last night, we made a wrong turn and ended up in a Target parking lot. While there, I decided to check out the new Beatle CDs. I couldn't find them so had to ask an employee who showed me. Of 400 Beatle CDs, there were only five left from 9-9-09. "Number Nine, Number Nine."

I did get the "For Sale" album.

Can't Do the Road Without My Tunes. --RoadDog

Good News on the Car Front

Yesterday morning, we got towed to Performance Auto south of Pacific. From Six Flags, we were on old Route 66. We've driven this stretch many times. Sad to see that the Red Cedar Inn was still closed, but the driver had eaten there many times. He had also been up to the top of that overlook in Pacific, something I would really like to do. Maybe that will be part of the Motor Tour.

We drove through downtown Pacific, something we had never done before. Definitely worth a stop soon, and, if I recall, it's the final stop on the motor tour.

We proceeded several miles south of town to where they worked on the car. Not much success in the early going, but they finally got it running, saying it was something to do with a passive ant-theft device that wouldn't allow our keys to turn the ignition on. Only charged us $35, something I could live with. You never know what will take place when you need auto work on the road.

Couldn't help but thing about the Griswald family getting their car worked on out in the desert, AND, these guys kind of reminded us of them.

We were only there for about an hour and used the time to fill out a questionnaire in the latest Route 66 Pulse.

Good Guys, Though. If your car knocks off around Pacific and Eureka, Missouri, give Performance Automotive a call.

Good to Be Back On the Road, And Not Broke. --RoadDog

They're Going to Flagstaff This Weekend

Yesterday morning, at the Super 8 breakfast, I met the two guys who took a look at the car last night when we couldn't get it started.

They are from Pittsburgh and on a road trip to the Grand Canyon, via interstate the whole way. Of course, I put in a word for good old Route 66, but doubt they will get on it.

However, they are staying in Flagstaff, Arizona, this weekend. I told them about the Route 66 festival going on there. One of the guys is into old cars. I think that between the old cars that are bound to be there, the road folk, and festival, we might get three converts.

I just about had the wife of one of them talked into stopping at the Lambert's south of Springfield and into getting off the interstate and driving 66 for stretches.

They might not have 66, but they sure do have the Lincoln Highway.

The More the Merrier. --RoadDog

Day Three Route 66 Trip

At the Rail Haven Best Western in Springfield, Missouri, this morning. Great continental breakfast with biscuits and sausage, Jimmy Dean sausage, egg, and cheese croissants and biscuits as well as the usual stuff. Even have that fancy coffee with all the flavors.

Looks like a beautiful day to continue our trip. Today, we hope to make it as far as Afton and Miami, Oklahoma. Looking forward to the Ribbon Road and Afton Station. Lunch at Waylan's Ku-Ku in Miami.

Lulu and Barb caught up with us last night at the Rail Haven. Poor Barb was beat, after having been on the road from the Chicago area since 6 AM. Even so, we sat out by the pool listening to traffic on old Route 66 until midnight and talking lots of roadie talk.

On That Good Old Road Again and Lovin' It. --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Route 66 Through Illinois-- Part 2

It is exactly 103 miles from our house to Dwight, where we usually pick up Route 66 so as to avoid the Chicago hassle.

Gas was anywhere from $2.50 to a high of $2.70 (at Stark's Corner (47 and US-20) and the usual highest price BP station at Il-38 and 47. Gas at Dwight was $2.50 and we filled up in Pontiac for $2.46. Gas along I-44 in Missouri is $2.20. I can live with that.

In Dwight, that unique narrow building that opened a few years ago with the Route 66 mural on the side, Java Stop is closed and for sale. Sadly, Smaterjax is still closed as well.

Saw a huge new wind farm across from my favorite old farm ruins between Dwight and Odell. We saw a couple trucks carrying those huge propeller blades for the windmills parked across the road from Pete's Restaurant in Dwight. They are huge when they're up on the pole, but sometrhing else again when you see them at ground level. We saw several wind farms a couple weeks ago when we were cruising across Iowa on US-20 and the Lincoln Highway.

As always, we stopped at the Standard station in Odell, something we do if it's open. Signed the guest book and got one of those great Route 66 Root Beers. The woman working there has a daughter who ran Fedderson's for ten years before selling it to the people who opened Smaterjax. By far the worst thing these last owners did was to sell all those great automotive related items to a private collector. Most sad of all was the loss of the straight run of Illinois license plates from the 1920s to the 1980s. Even more remarkable was the fact that they were all the same number.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Route 66 Through Illinois

Finally managed to leave the house at noon and took Il-47 to Route 66 in Dwight as usual. Stayed on 66 to Springfield, then superslabbed I-55 to St. Louis and I-44 out to Eureka where we got a room at a motel and then found that the car wouldn't start. Oh joy!!

The auto club will tow us tomorrow and hopefully get the car going again.

I can think of many worse places for your car not to start in. One fun thing though, the motel told us we couldn't leave the car parked out front, so Liz and I had to push it up a slight incline. When the engine's not running, there goes your power steering. Sure would have helped to have had some more hands pushing.

Fun and Fames on the Road. --RoadDog

Monday, September 7, 2009

Our Connection with the Lincoln Highway-- Part 2

Attending Northern Illinois, we knew about the Lincoln Highway, but nothing about its significance. To us it was just another road and a main street at that.

My favorite place to go freshman year was a pizza/sandwich place called Rick's which was out by the Lincoln Highway. It was a very popular place for students too young to go to the bars.

The Lincoln also went by the campus lagoon area where I spent a lot of time. This was the kingdom of Gus the Goose as I called him, but I have since heard most people called him William Goose. He was quite a character and loved to "goose" the girls when he wasn't being cantankerous.

Walked downtown many times right along the Lincoln, Illinois Highway 38.

This is also where most of the bars were located. After I got old enough, I'd participate in what was called the Lincoln Crawl.

So, That's What the Lincoln Highway's Al About. --RoadDog

Down Da 66: Illinois-- Missouri-- Kansas-- Riviera

Some New News About an Old Road.

1. ILLINOIS-- Wednesday we are heading to Missouri via the Illinois stretch of Route66. Planning on stopping at the new Palms Grill in Atlanta if I can stand that hideous water tower. Hope to make mit to St. Louis and have a concrete at Ted Drewe's and play some NTN.

2. MISSOURI-- Thursday, we drive Route 66 through Missouri and spend the night at the Rail Haven in Springfield. Dinner plans call for "throwed rolls" at Lambert's south of town. Hopefully some more NTN if we have time.

3. KANSAS-- Friday, we drive to Kansas and take that short stretch of 66. Hope to stop at the Four Women on the Road place. We might even go to Miami, Oklahoma. I could use a KuKu Burger. Then, it's back to Joplin for early registration for the Missouri Motor Tour.

4. RIVIERA-- In the Route 66 e-mail group, I was happy to hear that the Riviera in Gardne, Illinois, is now open again. A man named Bob bought it and is now open. He plans to keep every thing as it was (good idea) but has updated to code.

Former owners Bob and Peggy Kraft have moved to Manteno, but are always welcome to visit. Maybe we can get him behind the bar again to tell some of those great stories.

It'll Be Good to Get Back on Route 66. --RoadDog

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Our Connection with the Lincoln Highway-- Part 1

We both went to college on the Lincoln Highway at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb. I, from 1969 to 1971 (freshman and sophomore years) and from 1972-1973 ( senior year. I went to the University of Georgia for junior year. Liz went to Northern from 1971 to 1973.

We both graduated from there and in August of 1973, were married at the Newman Center on campus and had our reception at the Holiday Inn (now Best Western) on Lincoln Highway.

We have been back many times for games (especially Homecoming) both football and basketball and saw the first act at the new Convocation Center, Bill Cosby. I also saw the first basketball game versus DePaul. We also go there for any old reason.

Had we been able to find teaching jobs in the area when we graduated, no doubt we would have remained in the Dekalb area.

Sadly, until 2002, we knew the Lincoln Highway ran south of campus and through the downtown, but to us it was just another road.

Now We Know Better. --RoadDog

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Log Cabin in Galena, Illinois

By far our favorite place to eat in Galena, and one we've been going to for the last 36 years. This is where we ate the day after the wedding, August 26, 1973.

They still have one of those great old neon signs that hangs out over the sidewalk. When you see one of those signs, chances are very good that there will also be some outstanding food.

A Greek family bought it a year or so after we first went there and have owned it ever since. They haven't changed much, if any (well, prices of course).. Hey, why mess with something that works.

They always have a crowd when we visit as well, and, no wonder. The food is outstanding. I usually order the t-bone or catfish, but this last time I tried the Greek chicken. Good eating.

Meals come with soup or salad, rolls, a vegetable tray and potatoes. Get their hash browns for a real treat.

On the weekends, they have a person playing the piano.

I particularly like the old menu from 1936. Sure wish we could get food at those prices.

Look for the Sign. You Can't Miss It. --RoadDog

Friday, September 4, 2009

Goldilocks and the Phone Bill

Two humorous things from August 25th in Galena.

We talked with a couple from nearby Scales Mound, one of the highest elevations in the state. He said he works for AT&T which has been laying off lots of workers. His name is Bill and is known in the area as either Phone Bill or Telephone Bill. Quite a character. Enjoyed talking with him.

Another couple at the VFW had just motorcycled in from Indiana and weren't too happy with the rain that was beginning to fall.

After eating at the Log Cabin, we drove back to the motel. The beds had a total of six pillows on them. I had to chuckle listening to Liz sort through them. "This one's too hard." Then, "This one's too soft." Finally, she found one she liked and said, you guessed it, "This one's just right."

She had no idea what she was saying, but it sure struck me. Someone who shall go nameless, didn't think it was all that funny, but I sure did.

Perhaps we Have the Making of a New Story Here. Wonder What Publisher I Could Interest In It. --RoadDog

US-20 in Illinois-- Part 3-- Galena

Before getting to downtown Galena, we took a look at the Grant Hills Motel, a classic mom and pop place on the outskirts of town. It looks well-kept up from the outside, and we'll probably stay there next time through, but since this was an anniversary, we drove on westward on US-20 to the Ramada, which is built on the site of the old Palace Motel, where we stayed on the honeymoon. It is next to a 19th-century mansion that is a B&B, and the Palace Campgrounds.

After checking into the room, we went across the street to the Keg and Casket and bought a little Blue Nun, as in the wine, our traditional wine. This bottle actually will be for next year, as we already had one along with us.

Drove to downtown Galena and park on that historic main street and went to some stores looking for possible souvenirs. Most were closed since it was after 5 PM by then.

However, I did find a neat anniversary card at one, featuring an older couple standing outside their 60s car. She is looking puzzled at a map while he has his head in his hands and looking lost. Inside it says, very true for us, "Still Lost in Love." Thought this to be very appropriate.

Stopped at our favorite Galena watering hole, the VFW, and had some drinks. The bartender and another customer bought us one apiece when they heard it was our anniversary and we had spent it in Galena. Those two buck bottles of beer, regular price, are a hard deal to beat.

Eating at the Log Cabin Next. --RoadDog

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cole Hall-- Northern Illinois University, Dekalb

Not only is there plans for a memorial Garden, but a lot of attention has been given as to what should be done with Cole Hall, where the Feb. 14, 2008, shootings took place. Immediately after the event, there were calls to tear it down. I was glad to hear that it will remain.

However, the designated usage will change. The west auditorium will continue to be used for classes, but will be change from stadium-style seating to allow for table and chair seating and will have state of the art multi-media options.

The eastern auditorium will no longer be used for classes. No definite plans are made yet, but it might become a museum or activity room.

On July 14th, Governor Pat Quinn signed a capital bill into law that has $8 million set aside for Cole Hall renovation.

From the August 27 and 28 Northern Star.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A New Site on the Lincoln Highway Progressing Along

We stopped in Dekalb, Illinois, to drive around the campus of Northern Illinois University Monday. School is now back in session and did those students ever look young. I imagine we looked kind of old to them. We both graduated fro NIU in 1973.

We picked up a copy of the August 26th Northern Star, the student newspaper, and found an article by Matt Liparota "Memorial project honoring students moves forward."

A Memorial Garden is being built to honor the five students murdered on February 14, 2008.
It is located just east of Cole Hall where the killings took place, and already five granite slabs, each bearing the name of a slain student, are already in place. They feature the theme "Forward, Together Forward' that was used to help the community cope with the grief.

A sculpture is planned for the center of the memorial as well as benches and landscaping. Over 200 submissions and suggestions for its design were received.

The cost of the Memorial Gardens is $150,000 and it is funded entirely by private funds.

It is not known yet when completion will be, but there will definitely be a dedication.

Cole Hall and the memorial Garden are about a quarter of a mile from Il-38, the Lincoln Highway.

A Sad Time. --RoadDog

2009 Anniversary/Lincoln Highway Trip Stats

DATES: August 25 to August 31st

MAIN ROADS DRIVEN: US-20 westward from Marengo, Illinois, to Sioux City, Iowa.

Lincoln Highway and US-30 eastward from Missouri Valley, Iowa, to Dekalb, Illinois.


GAS PRICES: $2.50 Waterloo, Ia; $2.42 Sioux City, Ia; $2.46 Dow, Ia; $2.57 Cedar Rapids, Ia; $2.43 Clinton, Ia; and $2.60 Fox Lake, Il.


MOTELS: 6, PRICES $60 to $85 including tax.

REALLY FINE EATING: Log Cabin-- Galena, Il, Taylor's Made Rite-- Marshalltown, iowa

NEAT PLACES: Way Too Many to List.

We'd never been on US-20 west of Dyersville, Iowa (Field of Dreams). We'd already driven the Lincoln Highway across Iowa (I've been on it as far east as Canton, Ohio, and west to Omaha, Nebraska), but saw lots more than I knew existed. A big thanks to Jeff LaFollette. This was definitely a well-planned trip.

Good to Be Home, Though. However, We're Getting ready for a Route 66 Motor Tour Across Missouri in About Ten Days. --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cruising the Lincoln Highway in Illinois-- Part 1

Yesterday, August 31st, we left Clinton heading homeward and took the Lincoln Highway. Like Route 66, the Lincoln Highway in Illinois is well signed. You can drive it without a map or book. Unfortunately, Iowa has a way to go, but Jeff is working on getting it By-Way Status which will improve the situation greatly.

Fortunately on the cruise, he had good instructions in the manual we were using, so we didn't get lost at all. Probably the most confusing signage is in Dixon where you have to take a turn to go under the famous arch. There is a sign, but it is unclear.

Crossed the Mississippi on the US-30 bridge and turned northward to take a look at the Pine Motel in Fulton. I'd heard about it and wanted to see it as it is a classic mom and pop place. They have nine rooms and a cottage. They had an advertisement in the Fulton brochure.


We saw a woman by the place and inquired. She turned out to be the daughter of the man who built the place in 1953. She was born there and worked as a youth. She said the owners were always working hard to keep the place up and going.

The wife was cleaning out a room and came over and talked to us. She said they had rooms, but noticing Liz smoking, said they are smokeless.

Definitely a place to stay the next time we're through/

Got to Support Those Mom and Pops. --RoadDog