Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cross Country Army Convoy-- 1919-- Part 2

An Army publicity officer preceded the convoy, lining up places to stop and publicizing the event.

Another goal of the convoy was to determine how well troops, artillery and supplies could be moved from coast to coast. For the first time, this group contained only vehicles and no horses.

His father often told stories of the trip. Bill Doran is one of only three living children of the twelve commissioned officers.

Craig Harmon, founder and director of the Lincoln Highway National Museum and Archives in Ohio organized the parade procession.

The original convoy consisted of 61 vehicles and 279 men as well as Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower. His experiences here and later during World War II led to his interstate system.

Pictures accompanied the article. One movie showed them moving along. Another showed an upside down vehicle. Others had lots of dust from the unpaved roads. There was also one of Lt. Doran.

Quite an Undertaking. --RoadDog

Cross Country Army Convoy-- 1919-- Part 1

From Jan. 17TH Indianapolis Star "He's a link to nation's history" by Betsy Reason.

Bill Doran was just five days old when his father went on the first motor convoy across the US and he received an invitation to attend Obama's inaugural parade, but hadn't decided whether he was going when the article was written. The new administration wanted representatives of the Motorcade in the festivities to mark the 90th anniversary of it.

His father was Army Lt. William B. Doran, and the convoy departed Washington, DC, July 7, 1919, in a new Packard car and spent the next 62 days on the Lincoln Highway. Average speed of the convoy was 15-20 mph and they only went 8 mph through the Rockies. Trucks often needed repairs and lots of vehicles had to be pulled out of the mud.

Lt. Doran was born in Iowa, joined the Navy in 1906 and retired as an Army Captain in 1935, dying at age 66 in 1955 in an auto accident.

The 1919 Army Motorcade was to showcase what the new Army vehicles could do. The auto and tire industries were put on view as well.

To Be Continued. --RoadDog

This effort also was to determine

Friday, October 30, 2009

Staten Island Tugboat Graveyard

Just in time for Halloween. I went to the Travel + Leisure site and they had an article on strange and scary sites, and this graveyard was mentioned. I had never heard of it so, it being nautical, I had to search it.

Not a lot of hard information on it, but quite a few pictures. Very interesting.

I did find out, it is also called the Staten Island Boat Graveyard and consists of decommissioned, scrapped and abandoned ships of all sorts from old ferries, tugboats, barges and skiffs and is located at the southernmost part of Staten Island in an area called Arthur Kill.

Worth a look. There are also a lot of old wrecks along the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, NC. I guess if you are a seafaring port, this is likely to happen.

Like, BOO!! --RoadDog

Chicago Rankings

Back to the Tribune Oct. 9th article by Phil Vettel.

Categories Chicago did well in (Out of 30 cities):

#1 skyline
#2 shopping
#4 food/dining
#5 nightlife

Not so well:

#30 weather
#27 peace and quiet
#24 airports
#20 hotels

Food/Dining Top Ten

1. New Orleans
2. San Francisco
3. Seattle
4. Chicago
5. New York
6. Providence
7. Portland, Oregon
8. Boston
9. Philadelphia
10. Minneapolis/St. Paul

I Wonder If They Had a Category for Cost of Parking. --RoadDog

Cities with the Best...

The October 9th Chicago Tribune had an article about Travel + Leisures annual poll in which readers rank 30 American cities on a variety of categories.

Chicago ranked #1 in skyline and views and dead last in weather (I'll believe that this fall).

Other Chicago rankings:

#2 big-name restaurants, luxury stores and theater
#3 ethnic food
#14 intelligence
#18 affordability
#19 friendliness
#20 attractiveness
#22 active/adventure
#23 relaxing resorts

Chicago was described as ugly, surly and not too bright!! What? We'll take you a little on the on for that one, HOSS!!

For complete lists, go to or check the November issue of Travel + Leisure.

What, No Ranking for Spring Grove? --RoadDog

Thursday, October 29, 2009

NTN Cruising: Mukwonago, Wisconsin-- Part 2

HALF TIME-- Our next stop was just a quarter mile away. Love it when they are so close, and, even better, found it right away. Another sports bar type place in a mini strip mall, but this bartender more than made up for the unfriendliness of the last one.

She is a college student and has a long drive to get there. Unfortunately, the place was quite dead as far as customers, not a good sign. Stayed here longer than we planned and played more games because of her, and she joined us. No national rankings because of the Seen Its (those who obviously must have already seen the games).

The place only opened since July 1st. $3.85 for two Diet Cokes. Great drink prices and half price 2-6 M-F. 35 cent boneless wings on Mondays and we had them. Highly suggested. 35 cent wings on Wednesday. Will go back here.

DOUBLE D's-- If you want to go to a real Wisconsin bar, not a cookie-cutter, this be the place. You can even boat up to it on a lake located right across the road. We spent awhile looking for it though as it is a little ways out of town and GPS doesn't have it in the right place, but worth looking for.

They're having a "Dead DJ" for their Halloween party. $3 for two Diet Cokes, but 10-6 M-F they have $1.25 pints and free pizza at 5 (at least on Mondays). Thursday they have wings 3 for $1.

Surprisingly, they had a good-sized collection of Brett Favre No. 4 Viking jerseys for sale, both home and away, for $50 a pop. Asked how they were selling and the bartender said very well.

Again, too many Seen Its playing for a national ranking.

The best of the three overall.

Nothing Like NTN with the Cheeseheads. --RoadDog

NTN Cruising: Mukwonago, Wisconsin-- Part 1

October 19th was one of the exceedingly rare days of decent fall weather so we went to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and drove around the lake looking for fall color and found we were about a week early for prime time.

We drove on up to Mukwonago to check out three NTN-Buzztime places we hadn't been to before.

BONEYARD PUB & GRILLE-- Great name for a bar. Just got NTN, but not on any TV, but the bartender quickly put it on (once we got his attention which took a long time). Overall, he was about as unfriendly as you can get. Right off I-43 in a small strip mall. No smoking (all Wisconsin goes non-smoking this coming July). $4.18 for two Diet Pepsis.

Evidently not on the national boards yet. A bit on the pricey side for drinks and food. They do have Team Trivia on Monday nights at 7:30. WTMJ radio station sports was setting up and had a live show at 5 PM. We probably won't go back.

Cheesehead Land. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This is Neat!!-- Lincoln Highway in Illinois

While doing research on Illinois Highway 2, I came across a neat site that took me for a ride across the Lincoln Highway in the whole state of Illinois using aerial photography the whole way. Well, that took a good hour, even though I stopped in Dekalb and did a close inspection of Northern Illinois University, where Liz and I went to college.

Not only can you do Lincoln Highway, but also:

The Great River Road
Meeting of the Great Rivers
Ohio River
National Road

If you've got some hours, they got the armchair trip.

No Wonder It Takes Me So Long To Do These Lousy Blogs. --RoadDog

Some More on Illinois State Route 2

The road runs from Rock island to the Wisconsin border, mostly along or close to the Rock River, so that makes for a scenic drive. From Dixon to Sterling, it is the original transcontinental Lincoln Highway.

Other towns it goes through: Sterling, Dixon, Oregon, Byron, Rockford, South Beloit.

It was deleted west of Sterling after I-88 built, so, officially now starts at Il-40 in Sterling.

During the 19th century, it was the primary trading route from Rockford to Rock Island along the Rock River. However, the river is only navigable from Rock Falls to Rock Island.

A Scenic Drive. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lovin' Those Old Roads: Il. Hwy 2

I was able to get a copy of the Summer 2009 Northwest Quarterly Magazine about the northwest part bf Illinois and southwest Wisconsin.

I was happy to see two pages dedicated to our old roads.

SCENIC Route 2, Illinois.

This one recommended "Explore the Beauty, Towns & Villages Along the Rock River on Scenic Route 2. This would be Illinois Highway 2.

There were advertisements for:

Oregon Soap Shoppe-- Oregon
Hailey's Winery & Vineyard-- Byron
Merlin's Greenhouse & "The Other Side"
Byron Museum of History-- Byron
Black Hawk Waterways of Northwest Illinois-- with exhibits of A. G. Spalding, the Underground Railroad, Model Railroad, Outhouse Treasures and Clamming on the Rock River.
Fifth Alarm Firehouse Pub--

I'd sure like to see these towns get together to start a byway for Illinois Highway 2. I've driven parts of it and it is quite a drive.

When in Illinois. --RoadDog

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chicago's Art Institute

May 3rd Chicago Tribune.

The Modern Wing of Chicago's Art Institute opened May 16th and features 20th and 21st century art in the 264,000 square -foot addition.

Of course, the Art Institute occupies a prominent spot by the eastern terminus of famed Route 66.


1879-- The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts is founded on the southwest corner of State and Monroe streets.

1882-- The name was changed to the Art Institute of Chicago.

1893-- The Art Institute opens Dec. 8th at its present site on land filled with rubble from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

1894-- The famous bronze lions take their spots by the front steps.

1901-- Ryerson Library is built.

1916-- Gunsaulus Hall built to span the Central Illinois tracks and allow expansion to the east.

1960-- The North Garden built.

1965-- The South Garden built. Lorado Taft's "Fountain of the Great Lakes," built from 1907-1913, is reinstalled.

1977-- Reconstruction of a portion of the original Chicago Stock Exchange Building from 1893 is completed in the East Wing.

Love Those Lions. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Cheesehead Land-- Part 3

Drove through some of the back streets of Williams Bay and past the Yerkes Observatory. This place was built in 1893, founded by George Ellery Hale and funded by Charles P. Yerkes. It calls itself the birthplace of modern astrophysics. Lots of yellows.

Drove along the south shore of Lake Como. Always a pretty drive, but not much color.

Coming off the lake drive, we drove Snake Road, one of Wisconsin's Rustic Roads. This is one of the best drives anywhere, cruising 2.7 miles on a winding country road through the woods, pastures, fences, and a fair amount of color. If you don't visit any other place in the Lake Geneva area, this would be the place. Absolutely gorgeous. This is off Wis. Hwy-50 west of Lake Geneva.

Lastly, we drove along the residential streets to the west of town. These older homes, most dating back to the late 1800s/early 1900s, are kept up and then there are the trees, which always provide some of the best color anywhere.

We then got on US-12 and took it to Elkhorn, where we caught I-43 toward Mukwonago.

Always a Great Drive, and, So Near. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Happened to Cadillac's Chair?-- Part 2

From the Buildings of Detroit website. This is a good one to find out any and every thing you ever wanted to know about the architecture of downtown Detroit.

To mark the bicentennial of the city's founding, July 24, 1701, it was decided to build some structure honoring Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. The first plan involved a 220-foot 24 foot wide marble column on Belle Island which was to be decorated with Detroit's icons with a natural gas light on the top.

The $1 million price tag was considered too much, so the city opted for a large red sandstone chair for $1300. It was erected July 24, 1901 at the west end of Cadillac square, east of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and on the site of the former City Hall 1835 to 1871.

By the 1930s, the limestone was starting to fall apart, and as earlier reported, undesirables started occupying it.

On November 1, 1941, city workers attacked it with sledge hammers and took it down. Whether word of the impending demise was let out is not known to me. As I said, the pieces supposedly went to the Detroit Institute of Arts, but no record of it exists.

Considered the method of demolition, it is very likely that the pieces were never intended for restoration.

There's an idea for a project. Bring back Cadillac's Chair.

We Will Stand to Bring Back That Chair!! --RoadDog

What Happened to Cadillac's Chair?-- Part 1

A modern mystery in Detroit, Michigan, What happened to Cadillac's Chair, formerly located in Cadillac Square. It was broken up in 1941, after sitting there for just 40 years. It cost $1300 instead of $1 million.

Supposedly, when it was broken up Nov. 1, 1941. the pieces were supposedly taken to the Detroit Institute of Arts, but no record of it going there exists.


This comes to light because of that Shorpy picture of Cadillac Square in 1916. Close to the Soldier and Sailors Monument, you can see a large, king-throne-like chair just sitting there.

One person noticed it (I didn't at first) and made a comment about it saying that it was a tribute to Detroit's founder Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (hey, there's a car named after him!!) and dismantled in the 1940s after becoming a home for "vagrants and drunks." Looks like a good place to rest after a lot of beverages, but probably not too comfortable.

It's Not in My Basement. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Detroit's Cadillac Square

I have an interest in this place because this is at the terminus of US-12, a road I'm very interested in.

The July 28th Shorpy old photo blog had a picture of Cadillac Square circa 1916 in Detroit, Michigan. It showed the Hotel Pontchartrain and the square as taken from City Hall. There was also pictures from 1907 and 1910 of the same area, so you could compare the photos. Also nice about Shorpy is that you can view the pictures in full size and get some amazing detail.

Between 1907 and 1910, the hotel has an added five stories and a mansard roof. The hotel has since been torn down to make way for a bank.

It was interest to see that there were no cars in 1907, a few in 1910 and a whole lot in 1916.

The Eastern Terminus of US-12. --RoadDog

In Cheesehead Land-- Part 2

We went to the park by the beach at Lake Geneva and saw a lot of color off to the west, and then there was the Riviera Docks with those classic old boats. The strong breeze had whipped up Geneva Lake quite a bit. A village worker said that they expected prime color to occur next week, so we'll have to go back.

Drove to the south side of the lake and got a great view of the Riviera, beach, and north shore with all the color. We were at where the walkway around Geneva Lake starts going through private property. You can walk entirely around the lake, about 18 miles, something mighty nice.

Not much color along the south shore, but always a pretty drive. Same with our favorite stretch west of Majestic Ski Hill.

Stopped at the Abbey in Delavan and walked the grounds. They always do a great job on their fall decorations and also feature lots of colorful mums. Beautiful resort.

Then drove the north side and saw some pretty trees in Williams Bay.

Back to Lake Geneva. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Roadlogging for Not screwing Up on the Highway

The October 19th List Universe had a list of ten tirings that can help you get where you're going safely. Always a good idea.

10. Drive defensively.
9. Use cruise control (always like to, but not in heavy traffic)

8. Be reasonable when merging (This makes me madder than anything else. I admit that I have gotten over into the merging lane to keep idgets from racing ahead to get in line. They're evidently TOO GOOD to wait like the other riff-raff)
7. Two second rule (between you and the car in front of you)

6. The other two second rule ( Being impaired by intoxication, or distraction is a serious problem)
5. Look ahead as far as you can

4. Glance before changing lanes (Amazingly, I have started to pull over and a sudden horn blast scared me. I swear I didn't see them.)
3. Stay to right, pass on the left

2. Drive the REAL speed limit
1. Don't tailgate unless you're in a parking lot (Amen to that)

I hate to admit it, but at times I've been very guilty of almost all of these.

And, Remember, Always Take Those Old Roads. --RoadDog

Like, BOO!! in Wilmington

The October 19th Wilmington (NC) Star-News had an article about spooky times in and around the city for the rest of October and several of them are definitely historical/

There will be haunting at Poplar Grove Plantation, built circa 18540.

USS North Carolina, battleship launched 1941.

Fort Fisher, site of two battles during the Civil War. Many deaths and lots of potential deaths.

I'm surprised that they are not having something at Willow Cemetery.

Like.........Boo!! --RoadDog

Monday, October 19, 2009

In Cheesehead Land

We finally had a decent day (a definite rarity this fall) so Liz and I took a ride into Wisconsin, taking Walworth County Highway H (the original US-12) from Genoa City on the Illinois-Wisconsin border to Lake Geneva. This is a beautiful drive through rolling hills, fields, and stands of woods. Objective of the trip was to view tree color, always an enjoyable trip.

Sorry to see the old In-Between Motel (half way between Genoa City and Lake Geneva) being torn down a ways north of Pell Lake. Not much tree color however.

Where Highway H turns right to go to US-12, continue straight as this is the original US-12 alignment. It becomes Wells Street which has some great early motel architecture (even a tourist court) and old signs. There are still about eight motels operating along this stretch as this used to be the gateway to Lake Geneva, a major getaway spot for Chicagoans for many years.

There are a few trees in full fall foliage, but not many.

Wisconsin-50 is Lake Geneva;s main street. Two restaurants have classic old signage.

We Find Color. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's Wacky and Useful

Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Museum in San Antonio, Texas, has been named by as the Wackiest Attraction in the United States. The place is located in his garage at 238 Abiso, Alamo Heights.

These are ones he has apparently made and not collected. He bills himself as a "Toilet Seat Artist." I looked at his website and they are unique to say the least.

You can view it at:

Have a Seat, No Waiting. --RoadDog

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's the Time of the Year for Fall Color

And there are some great-looking trees, but we are experiencing rainy, overcast days about all the time, so there have been no major outings to view them.

Wednesday, we were planning to go to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a favorite of ours. Lunch was planned at Popeye's with that great view of the Riviera Docks, the cruise boats, the lake and, of course, the hills covered with all that color this time of the year.

West of the downtown, the residential area is home to some of the deepest red and orange colors anywhere. Then, there are the striking yellows along the west side of Geneva lake.

We were even planning to take one of the boat cruises for the color.

Unfortunately, all day was cloudy and overcast.

We're hoping to Get There This Coming Week. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Going Back to Omaha

I was interested in some of the things I wrote about regarding Omaha, Nebraska, in the earlier "Ten Great Places to Stream Through Cities-- Part 3," so looked them up in good old Wiki.

BOB KERREY PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE-- is a 3000 foot cable-stayed bridge over the Missouri River connecting Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Omaha. It was opened in 2008 and quite impressive.

USS HAZARD-- AM-240, A World War II minesweeper commissioned in 1944 and took part in action. It was also fitted for anti-submarine warfare, patrol and escort duty. Its motto, "No Sweep, No Invasion." It is the only ship left of its 126 vessel Admirable-class. The only other one, the USS Inaugural was destroyed by the Great Flood of 1993 in St. Louis.

USS MARLIN-- a training submarine launched in 1953.

Just three more things to see the next time we're in Omaha which is one beautiful city with lots of things to see and do, along with the Lincoln Highway.

Freedom Park, a Destination. --RoadDog

Ten Great Places to Stream Through Cities-- Part 3

USA Today, August 28th.

CAPE FEAR RIVER-- WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA-- Since this is one of my favorite places in the world, I'll write the whole account.

"'There's something for everyone on this cruise. The Cape Fear River boat, a triple-decker dinner boat goes past historic Wilmington, under the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, to the state port." Kids enjoy the bustling container ships at the port, where the USS North Carolina, a World War II battleship, is on view. Portions of the appropriately named river are included in the Cape Fear Civil War Discontinuous District."

You can also take a trip on the Captain Maffitt, named for a Civil War blockade-runner captain. Fantastic riverwalk as well.

ST. JOHNS RIVER-- JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA-- an authentic paddleboat narrated ride. Also, a Riverwalk on both sides of the river.

MISSOURI RIVER-- OMAHA, NEBRASKA-- Goes under the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, a remarkable one-of-a-kind structure. Views of the Omaha skyline and Freedom Park, home of the minesweeper USS Hazard and training sub USS Marlin. On the bluff, there is the 100+ acre botanical Lauritzen Gardens.

Most Anything is Better by the Water. --RoadDog

Ten Great Places to Stream Through Cities-- Part 2

Again, these are cities with cruises of some sort.

4. MILWAUKEE RIVER-- MILWAUKEE-- many themed cruises. Even a beer one. After all, it was alcohol that made Milwaukee famous. We've walked along it in places. Los of bars.

5. RIDEAU CANAL-- ONTARIO, CANADA-- part of a network of lakes, rivers and canals between Kingston and Ottawa. Goes through a lock system built in 1832. Haven't been here.

6. JAMES RIVER/KANAWHA CANAL-- RICHMOND, VIRGINIA-- Tour through Richmond's past and present, from the Civil War to modern skyscrapers. Also one and a quarter canal walk. Haven't been here, either.

7. PROVIDENCE RIVER-- PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND-- gondola rides through old and new Providence. Next time out to New England.

Last Three Coming Up. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ten Great Places to Stream Through Cities-- Part 1

Cities throughout the United States located along rivers have become aware of the tourism and commercial possibilities of them.

The August 28th USA Today had a half page devoted to ten such places.

"Rivers and canals helped great cities grow--and many are spurring waterfront redevelopment with cruises and tours. Kit Kramer, president of the International Downtown Association gave her list of great places.

1. RIO SAN ANTONIO-- SAN ANTONIO-- Probably the best-known river walk. We went to this one, but couldn't find it at first until we realized it was below street level. Definitely will go back here.

2. HUDSON RIVER-- KINGSTON, NY-- Fall foliage is special and looks like it did when the Hudson River School of painting memorialized it.

3. BRICKTOWN CANAL--OKLAHOMA CITY-- And, this city is on Route 66. We haven't been here yet, though. Name for the old warehouse district.

And Chicago has been doing a lot with its riverfront these days.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Madison, Indiana-- "Prettiest Small Town in the Midwest"-- Part 2

Several Trails and routes pass through the Madison.

One is US Highway 421 which starts by Lake Erie in Michigan City, Indiana, runs through the center of the state, then through Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and ends up at the Atlantic Ocean near Wilmington, North Carolina, a total of 940 miles.


INDIANA WINE TRAIL-- 6 wineries in southeast Indiana.

UNDERGROUND DRIVING TOUR-- Being on the Ohio River, a lot of the Underground Railroad went through Madison.

JOHN HUNT MORGAN HERITAGE TRAIL-- the 185 mile trail follows the path taken by Confederate raider John Hunt Morgan's 2000 men.

OHIO RIVER SCENIC ROUTE-- Beautiful river scenery, especially at the riverfront park and the US-421 bridge.

Lots More to Do in Madison. --RoadDog

Local Illinois Roads Way Back When--- Part 2-- 1921

By 1921, the whole stretch from Chicago to Belvidere was called the Grant Highway with colors top to bottom yellow, black, yellow on signage. The route from Belvidere to Dubuque was also called the Dubuque-Chicago Trail and signage was a "C" over red and white stripes.

In 1921 from Garden Prairie to west of Rockford was hard or oiled and mostly dirt west from Freeport to Dubuque.

The Il-120 stretch was oiled or hard surface from Waukegan to Volo. Small stretches were oiled or hard around McHenry, and a short stretch east and west of Woodstock.

I sure love old road maps to see how our highways came to be. Thanks to the state of Illinois for making these available.

Very Interesting. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Local Illinois Roads Way Back When-- Part 1-- 1917

The Route 66 Association of Illinois has an excellent spot on their website where you can go back inti state road maps of the state back to 1917 as shown on the Illinois Digital Archives. Look for historical maps in upper right corner and click on it.

The 1917 was a map showing marked roads, not necessarily (and most likely not) paved ones.

There was one going from Waukegan through to Warrenton (no longer a town in Lake County, but probably where Gurnee is today), Hainesville, Volo, McHenry, Woodstock, Marengo, Garden Prairie, Belvidere, Cherry Valley, Rockford.

After Rockford, it had the name Grant Highway. Then, on to Freeport, Pearl City, Kent, Stockton, Woodbine, Elizabeth, Galena, East Dubuque and then Dubuque, Iowa.

The stretch between Waukegan and Woodstock is today Illinois Highway 120. From Marengo to Dubuque, the road is today US-20 and within the last several years has had US Grant Highway signage installed.

I also looked at the road going from Marengo to Chicago through Hampshire, Pingree Cove, Elgin, Ontarioville (no longer exists), Bloomingdale, Addison, and Maywood. It corresponds with US-20 today.

Of course, back in 1917, this was before the roads were numbered.

Something Worth Checking Out If You're Into Old Roads. --RoadDog

Madison, Indiana, "The Prettiest Small Town in the Midwest"-- Part 1

That is the title given the town by Ladies Home Journal and I would tend to agree with them. This was a pleasure to find as I drove the whole length of US Highway 421 several years back. "Clinching" the road as they call it when you drive from one end of a road to the other.

This information is from the Madison Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Madison was settled in 1809 and became a major steamboat trading city. However, with the arrival of trains, a decline set in, and what ended was a town set in history, much like Illinois' Galena.


AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH-- 1850--Madison was very important in the Underground Railroad.

DR. WILLIAM HUTCHING'S OFFICE % HOSPITAL-- takes you back to the days of horse and buggy doctors.

HISTORIC ELEUTHERIAN COLLEGE-- Pre-Civil War college that educated all sexes and races established by abolitionists.

JEREMIAH SULLIVAN HOUSE-- 1818, considered city's first mansion

LANIER MANSION STATE HISTORIC SITE-- 1844-- National Historic Landmark


SCHROEDER SADDLETREE FACTORY MUSEUM-- America's only restored 19th century. Making saddles.

And, That's Just Some of the Stuff to See and Do. --RoadDog

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Lincoln Highway Gazebo in Dixon, Illinois

The state along the old Lincoln Highway that has the best signage, Illinois, now has another gazebo interpretive center, this one in Dixon. It is one of 16 planned or already built along the state's stretch.

These gazebos are designed for tourism. Visitors can read about the Lincoln Highway and obtain information.

A Federal Highway Administration grant covers 80% of each one, while the city picks up the remaining part.

Dixon's is located at the corner of Galena Avenue and River Street.

Nearby Steling has a gazebo at Lincoln Park on 4th Street, but the interpretive panels have yet to be installed. The project is expected to be finished sometime next week.

One More Reason to Like the Lincoln. --RoadDog

Chicago Route 66's Lincoln Connection

Mr. Chicago Route 66, David Clark, had an article in the Spring Illinois 66 News about "The Lincoln's in Chicago."

This, of course, in honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth.

After Lincoln's death, Mary Todd Lincoln and her sons Robert and Tad moved to Chicago and lived in several different places. Mary traveled after Tad's death of pleurisy in 1871, but returned to Chicago in 1875. She didn't get along with Robert's wife, so she took a room at the Grand Pacific Hotel on Jackson Blvd between LaSalle and Clark streets. This site eventually became part of Route 66.

Robert became concerned about his mother's mental health and a trial led to a verdict of her insanity and she was to be committed to a sanitorium. The evening after the trial, Mary went to the druggist at the Grand Pacific and asked for a mixture of laudanum and camphor to ease the pain in her arm. The druggist knew of the trial and gave her caramelized sugar and water instead. Mary drank the entire bottle in what probably was a suicide attempt as the stuff she requested would have killed her. The next morning, Robert took her to Bellevue Place Sanitarium in Batavia, Illinois (on what later became the Lincoln Highway).

In 1893, Robert Lincoln became the general counsel of the Pullman Palace Car Company and then president when George Pullman died in 1897. His office was at the Pullman Building at the southwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street. In 1953, Adams became the westbound lanes of Route 66.

Pictures of the two buildings accompanied the article.

I understand from a trip through the Lincoln Home in Springfield, that many of the household items from there were lost in the Great Chicago Fire.

It's a Lincoln Thing. --RoadDog

World's Greatest Roads

The July 2009 National Geographic Traveler listed the Drives of a Lifetime: World's Greatest Scenic Routes.

The three ones elsewhere in the world that I've been on are:

AMALFI COAST-- Italy. Anytime you see a European highway skirting the coast with lots of twists and turns and towns build on the mountainside, this is it.


NORTH ISLAND-- New Zealand

I have to thank my mom for taking the family to these great places, otherwise, I never would have seen them.

US ROADS (These are the ones I've been on parts are the complete route.)

BLUES HIGHWAY-- US-61, Mississippi







OLYMPIC PENINSULA-- Washington state



There were a lot of other roads as well, about 70 altogether. Each one had a good write-up of things to do, see, and places to stay. Well worth a perusal on a rainy, down-day to get the old juices flowing.

Nothing Like a Road Cruise. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 10, 2009

That Neat Roadside Architecture-- Part 2

Some more from the World of Mystery Blog of September 22nd.

If you're into ice cream, the TWISTEE TREAT stands are for you. I've seen one in East Peoria, Illinois and another is now at the Pink Elephant Antique Store on Route 66 near St. Louis. The first one opened in Fort Meyers, Florida in 1983 and the entire chain went out of business in 2000, but there are some still around.


ORANGE WORLD-- Kissamee, Fl.
PEACHOID-- Gaffney, SC
RANDY'S DONUTS-- Inglewood, Ca.

There are quite a few others so check it out.

Nothing Says Ice Cream Better Than Eating It at a Place That Looks Like an Ice Cream Cone. --RoadDog

Friday, October 9, 2009

That Neat Roadside Architecture-- Part 1

The September 22nd World of Mysteries Blog was devoted to Appetizing Architecture, meaning structures build along the roadsides to give customers an idea of what might be obtained inside.

Nice color photographs and a summary on each one, and there were quite a few.

COFFEE POT in Bedford, Pa, one of the Lincoln Highway's finest. Built in 1927 as a lunch spot next to a gas station. By 1937, it was a bar with a hotel beside it before being abandoned and falling into disrepair.

In 2003, the Bedford County Fair Association bought it for $1 and spent $80,000 to move it to the county fairgrounds where it was restored to its former glory.

Search "World of Mystery Blog September 22nd" to see the full list. Very interesting stuff that makes cruising the roads so much fun.

A Cup 'O Joe or Bevo, Please!! --RoadDog

Lafayette, Colorado's Circle Motel

The October 4th Daily Camera reports that there is a growing controversy in the Denver suburb of Lafayette as to whether the Circle Motel should be razed or renovated as a landmark to tourist travel from the 1920s to 1960s.

Right now it is more of a transient place where rooms are let for a week or longer at a time. Two deaths have occurred there in the last several years, but no major crimes.

The Lafayette Historical Preservation Board believes it should be saved because of its connection to highway travel dating back to the 1920s when it was a "Cabin Camp" where people driving Model Ts could camp. The owner later added wooden floor, walls, and a tarp roof for a simple cabin.

Before I-25, the road through Lafayette was the main route going north of Denver. The Colorado loop of the Lincoln Highway also went through the town. That's a lot of road history. However, I'm not sure whether the Circle Motel was actually on the Lincoln Highway.

It became a motel in the early 60s.

However, lots of repairs are needed.

It is located at 200 West Baseline Road. According to, there is another "mom-pop motel by it called the Baseline Motel.

Not Sure Where I Stand On This One. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 8, 2009

2nd Annual Iowa Lincoln Hwy. Assoc. Motor Tour-- Part 5

The official tour started today at 8 AM at the Iowa Welcome Center in Missouri Valley. We caught up with them 2 hours later in Denison, just another case of CGLG (Can't get Liz Going in the morning).

While waiting for Liz to get ready, I went over to the Burger King across from the motel and tried their much ballyhooed double cheeseburgers that they say are so much better than McDonald's. They are. That was one tasty burger.

I noticed that someone had knocked down the height bar by the drive up and inquired and was told that someone had an RV and swore they'd had no problems at other BKs and planned to sue if they didn't reimburse for damage. The restaurant does not plan to do so.

Stopped at the Welcome Center to get a passport stamp, but it had been taken along with the rest of the group.


Love that stretch of brick street coming into town.

There also were no motor folk at this place, but we were able to get a stamp and had some great pastries and coffee and a long talk with the woman there. Her sister and husband run the place and she was filling in while they taught school. They've done a great job rehabbing the place.

Denison Next. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Running the Blockade: Return Flag-- Steamboat Captain-- Mathias Point

Some New News About an Old War.

1. RETURN FLAG-- The North Carolina Museum of History returned a captured Union flag to the Rhode Island National Guard. The silk, v-shaped flag belonged to Co. L, 1st Rhode Island Cavalry and was captured by the 5th NC June 1963 and donated to the museum in the early 1900s.

It is hoped that Rhode Island will return a North Carolina flag captured by Rhode Island soldiers at New Bern March 1862.

2. STEAMBOAT CAPTAIN-- Historical Marker database spotlighted a marker in Owen County, Kentucky, for Samuel Sanders, a steamboat captain before, during and after the war. He sailed on the Kentucky River on occasion under sniper fire from Confederates bringing supplies from Louisville to Monterrey.

3. JAMES H. WARD-- Another HMdb spotlight on US Navy Cmdr. James. H. Ward, the first naval officer killed in action during the war.

In May 1861, Confederates under General Daniel Ruggles and Major Robert Mayo began constructing gun emplacements at Mathias Point, Virginia, about two and a half miles northwest on the Potomac River. This greatly interfered with Union ships carrying supplies.

On June 27, 1861, the gunboat Thomas Freeborn, commanded by Ward shelled the batteries. While sighting the bow gun, he was mortally wounded.

And the Story Goes On. --Old B-R

This one actually should have been posted on my Civil War Blog

More US Tidbits

IOWA-- If you're into birds, you want to visit the town of Audubon (pop. 2,382) and see tile mosaic Audubon bird replicas are inlaid in the sidewalks. This is to honor the naturalist for whom the city and county are named.

The whole town's gone to the birds.

KANSAS-- Truckhenge-- Topeka-- created by artist Ron Lessman on his farm. Antique trucks and a bus are placed with either hoods or bumpers pointing skyward in an automotive version of England's Stonehenge.

We have Cadillac Ranch, Bug Ranch and Rabbit Ranch along Route 66 with these cars planted in rows. I guess we should have known it was bound to happen.

MICHIGAN-- Beulah (pop. 363)-- The Cherry Hut has been serving great cherry pie since 1922.

WISCONSIN-- Chili John's Restaurant has been serving legendary chili since 1913 in Green Bay. Just the thing to eat before a Packer game.

Interesting stuff from American Profiles Magazine which spotlights my favorite small-town America. Thanks Folks.

Let's Put These Places Under Must-Visit. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

US Tidbits

This week's American Profile Magazine, in its "Tidbits: Did You Know... section had several interesting bits.

ILLINOIS-- "Built in 1932 along US Route 66, the Standard Oil Station in Odell (pop. 1,014) has been fully restored. It doesn't serve gas, but serves as a visitors center and a reminder of the many gas stations that once flourished along the famous highway."

Made my day to see this, as it is one of my favorites and a real credit to John and Lenore Weiss' efforts to restore things along the Mother Road. Great place to start or end a 66 trip.

Most every year, the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Preservation Committee meets there to work on the place for food. "We work for food" as they say.

There is also a neat old travel trailer on the grounds.

North of this, there is the Ambler-Beckler station in Dwight, and south of Odell is the Meramec Caverns sign painted on the side of a barn, one of the few remaining along 66 and I-55. This also is maintained by the Preservation Committee. Then there is that great town of Pontiac with all its Route 66-related things.

It's a Red Carpet Thing, You Know. --RoadDog

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Riviera-- Gardner, Il.-- Part 3

** Bob and Peggy Kraft bought the Riviera in 1972.

** The restaurant and bar were downstairs with the kitchen upstairs.

** A dumbwaiter delivered meals downstairs. It was counter balanced with a WW I artillery shell. A pulley system with food orders attached by clothespins was used to get the orders to the kitchen.

** Bob started to collect battery operated toys and had quite a collection of them. I especially liked Hank Williams, Jr., singing the Monday Night Football song.

** Bob never had a drivers license and liked to say, "Drinking and driving don't mix. So I would rather drink."

** Another famous feature of the bar were the mile high toilets downstairs. Definitely a challenge to use them. I think they had something to do with pressure or the proximity of the river.

** Peggy was one fantastic cook. We were fortunate to get to try her famous spaghetti sauce, cheese spread, and salad dressings. Plus, you never went away hungry.

** Once word of the closing got out, , the place was filled with well-wishers and folks wanting to have the experience one more time.

We're sure going to miss the Krafts, but at least the new owner intends to keep things as they were, if he is able to work out problems with the town of Gardner.

One Great Place to Visit. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lincoln Highway's Mt. Vernon, Iowa, One of America's Coolest Small Towns

Yahoo Travel had a list of America's Coolest Small Towns and Mt. Vernon, in Iowa was on it. We just drove through it in late August on the Second Annual Iowa Lincoln Highway Motor Tour and were impressed with the place. It is your perfect small town America, and, even better, the Lincoln Highway goes through it.

We were a bit disappointed, however, at the Lincoln Highway kiosk by the old brick section of the road. It listed colleges along the Lincoln Highway and DIDN'T LIST Northern, Illinois University (our Alma mater) in Dekalb.

Anyway, the article about the town said that there is a lot of art in it, including a huge Grant Wood "American Gothic" on the side of a barn. In May there is a sidewalk-chalk festival where people put their marks on 4,000 square feet of the main drag (Lincoln Highway?). It is called Chalk the Walk.

Just this past weekend, there was an art festival as well.

And I found this of real interest, the Lincoln Cafe has a North Carolina chef who serves a variety of fresh, locally-grown foods, and even better, has Carolina-style bbq pork sandwiches!! Being a Carolina bbq fan, I sure wish I'd known this when we went through.

Next Time. --RoadDog

2nd Annual Iowa Lincoln Hwy. Assoc. Motor Tour-- Part 4

We drove back to Missouri Valley and got a room at the Super 8 out by the interstate and then went downtown to check out the nightlife, well, early evening life.

We went to a local bar called Duffy's. Since mostly locals frequent the place, they figured we were traveling through and the bartender and one customer immediately asked why we were in their fair burg. They said we had just missed some more Lincoln Highway folk.

The customer brought us the first round. NOW, that's some kind of friendly small-town America. We enjoyed the patter back and forth between the barkeep and customer, who was claiming she was keeping him there by buying him drinks.

More people came in. If you're looking for a nice friendly Cheers kind of place, this be the place.

We had seen a bar by the motel called the Edge, so went there. The less driving I have to do after a few drinks, the better, especially in a different town that I'm not familiar with.

Much bigger place and more people. Again, very friendly bartender.

Missouri Valley, Party Town? --RoadDog

Friday, October 2, 2009

2nd Annual Iowa Lincoln Hwy. Assoc. Motor Tour-- Part 3

After doing all that great wine tasting at Loess Hills Winery, it was on down the Lincoln Highway a short distance to Don Willard's Lincoln Highway Garage & Classic Cars. This should be a definite stop on anybody's trip along the Lincoln.

Talking to Mr. Willard is like talking to Bob Kraft, Bill Shea, or Ernie Edwards along Route 66. He has more interesting stories to tell than you can imagine. Plus, there are all those Ford Model As and old jeeps.

When he found out we had been wine tasting, he had his own little wine tasting party with some vintage Boone's Farm which several of our group partook.

We left the group here and continued on to the Buffalo Wild Wings in Council Bluffs to play NTN. Whenever we travel, we try to stop at all places with this game.

Then, it was the interstate back to Missouri Valley to find a place to spend the night and to check out some local night spots.

Always a Good Time Out on the Road. --RoadDog

The Riviera-- Gardner, Illinois-- Part 2

John and Lenore Weiss, Mr. and Mrs. Route 66 in Illinois, had an article on the Riviera in the Spring issue of the Route 66 Association of Illinois' 66 News.

There were quite a few pictures, including ones of the place in the past, one of the Krafts shortly after they took over in 1973 and a recent one from December 2008.

Some interesting facts about the Riviera from their article:

** Opened by Jim and Rose Girot to service the needs of people traveling the new hard road called Route 66 in 1928.

** The building originally was made of a Methodist church and school from Braidwood and the other a payroll mining office from South Wilmington.

** Named Riviera by Rose because of its location on the Mazon River.

** Gasoline pumps were once located on the property.

** During Prohibition, a speakeasy located in the basement. Al Capone and his brother Ralph were often seen at the place. (Of course, it seems any place standing back in the 20s were visited by Al Capone.)

** The basement tap room built to resemble a cool cave, even to false stalactites hanging from the ceiling. This being before air conditioning, the coolness of the basement was a welcome respite to hot travelers on 66.

More to Come. --RoadDog

The Riviera-- Gardner, Illinois-- Part 1

One of the must-stops for anyone driving Route 66 in Illinois before 1972, and especially since that year because of the food served by Peggy Kraft and the antics and jokes of her husband Bob behind the bar. You had to hear him tell you why he was the luckiest man in the world.

The first time we went to the Riviera back in 2002, Peggy went upstairs and woke Bob up and had him come down and talk to us. That was just the kind of people they were.

We'd visited several times and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves when Bob was behind the bar, but the last several times, we were told he was resting, so think that age was catching up with him.

Age caught up with them and we were very sad to find out last fall that they were closing down the place since they couldn't find a buyer. We found out that New Year's Day was going to be the last business day, so decided to pay one last visit to wish them luck.

It turned out that the two of us and over a hundred other friends and well-wishers had the same idea. Our first clue to the crowd were all the cars parked out on 66. Hard to find a place to park, even harder to get in the door, and forget ordering a meal or finding a place to sit.

They were well-liked and rightly so.

A Proper Send-Off to Two True Ambassadors of the Mother Road. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 1, 2009

2nd Annual Iowa Lincoln Hwy Assoc. Motor Tour-- Part 3

The center has an extensive viewing area for the cargo of the Bertrand.

We saw lots of turtles sunning themselves on logs around the river.

Well worth a stop if you're in the area.


When everyone was out of the center, we caravaned to Loess Hills Winery for the first of what was to be a tasting trip across Iowa. The state is not known for wine or grapes, but we went to three wineries right on the old Lincoln Highway during the next several days.

The winery is in Crescent, Iowa, and started in 1998. It costs $5 to taste the wines, but that includes a pretty classy glass. The group REALLY enjoyed themselves and lots of wine was consumed. We bought two bottles ourselves, but we are very fond of local wineries and seek them out whenever on the road.

Loess Hills is part of the Western Iowa Wine Trail which has seven wineries.

More to Come. --RoadDog

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

Desoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge costs $5 a car load to enter and is housed in an impressive welcome center that overlooks a bend in the Missouri River. It was established in 1981 and has an average of 250,000 visitors a year.

We saw a short film on the steamboat Bertrand which sank in the Missouri River in 1865 on its way to the gold fields in Montana. Today, the bend is an isolated lake, It was found in the 1968.

I had never heard of this vessel before. The Bertrand was built in Wheeling West Virginia in 1864. It sank April 1, 1865. The mercury it was carrying was salvaged, but much of the rest of the cargo remained underwater and in remarkably good shape.

It was rediscovered in 1968 on dry land as the river has shifted many times. Upon excavation, the hole immediately began filling up with water. Pumps were used and by 1968 the hull was uncovered and the remaining cargo removed. The pumps were shut down and the hole filled up again.

Once again, you can no longer see the hull, but you can drive out to the site and see a good-sized pond.

More to Come. --RoadDog