Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Songs for Cruising Down the Road-- Part 2

Hour 2 Rock and Roll Roots Used Car Lot from May 30th.

HITCHIN' A RIDE-- Vanity Fare

TAKE THE HIGHWAY-- Marshall Tucker Band
CHEVY VAN-- Sammy Johns
VEHICLE-- Ides of March
MUSTANG SALLY-- Wilson Pickett

A Cruisin' I Do Go-- RoadDog

Monday, June 28, 2010

Songs for Cruising Down the Road-- Part 1

Bob Stroud of Chicago's WDRV FM, 97.1 and 96.9, does a weekly Rock and Roll Roots show from 7 to 10 am on Sunday. These songs are from the 60s, 70s and now 80s (I'm still not sure about the inclusion of the last decade, but will see.

This show streams live at www.wdrv.com and is three hours well-spent. He is a walking encyclopedia.

His May 30th show was Rock and Roll Roots Used Car Lot, featuring songs about cars. You just can't do much old road cruising without some sort of a vehicle. This would be a good group of tracks to hit the pavement with.

RADAR LOVE-- Golden Earring
SHUT DOWN-- Beach Boys
MERCEDES BENZ-- Janis Joplin
SS 396-- Paul Revere & the Raiders (a song you could only get from your local Chevy dealer for some reason.)

ROAD RUNNER-- Jr. Walker & the All Stars
ROUTE 66-- Rolling Stones (where else ya' gonna get yer kicks?)
MERCURY BLUES-- Steve Miller band

LAKE SHORE DRIVE-- Aliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah

And this was just the first hour. He also gives comments about each as well.

All this occurs on the corner of Spark and Plug. Of course, he also played the old commercial "See the USA in Your _____." Let's see how many oldsters we have.

His comments and mine are at my other blog: http://roaddogsroadlog.blogspot.com.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 Lincoln Highway Association Conference-- Day 1-- Part 4


I should mention Bernie Queneau and Esther's marriage was a Lincoln Highway Affair of sorts. All these years, he didn't really think all that much of his cross country trip as anything too extraordinary until the LHA contacted him several years back and invited him to a conference.

Esther was more or less put in charge of taking care of him (as he was quite old even then and looking after his wife who was dying at the time). He was invited back a while later and his wife had died and love blossomed so this is a real Lincoln Highway thing. What a story.

We didn't ask, but Bernie has to be at least in his nineties and getting around great and sharp as a tack. Esther is about 12 years younger. This is quite a couple!!


A young boy by the name of Brian Cassler came over and talked to Bernie. Brian has just gotten his Boy Scout Eagle ranking, the highest you can get in the organization.

That would be a great pairing just at that, but, on top it, Brian's project to get the Eagle Scout was to clean, stack and arrange for several thousand bricks from the original Lincoln Highway in Canton, Ohio, to Kearney, Nebraska, where it will be placed in a recreation of the Lincoln Highway at the Great Platte River Road Arch over I-80. Hopefully they will be in place for the 2013 Lincoln Highway Association's National Conference which will be the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Highway which was started in 1913.

Brian is probably 15 or 16, and for him to do what he did is amazing, even if he has been a part of the Lincoln Highway his whole life as his father Jim runs the Lincoln Highway Trading Post. And, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts.

And, the Story's Not Over. I Got Some Interesting Information from Bernie. --RoadDog

Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 Lincoln Highway Conference-- Day 1-- Part 3

Back to the Super 8 and switched to the Dakota and drove the short distance on Galena Avenue (part of which is the LH) and under the famous arch, to the Loveland Community Center on Second Avenue. It is an old structure itself, having been built in the 1930s. There is a beautiful old stone railroad overpass a block down the street (one of two in town).


I generally take notes to battle my CRS (Can't Remember Stuff, Right). I can't blame it on age, as I've always had it. One of the reasons I keep a journal as well. I took notes of the welcome banquet, but somehow, back at the motel later, they fell onto the ground by the truck and we had a torrential downpour early on the 23rd and they got quite wet. Unfortunately, the ink kind of bled straight through so I am doing the best I can drawing on the old severely limited memory and carefully deciphering what I can with the notebook. Oh, yes, in addition, my handwriting is often sort of undecipherable as well.


Denny and I got a table near the front (I'm not at school any more so can sit near the front) and were joined by Bernie Queneau and his lovely wife. Back in 1928, he was one of four Boy Scouts to tour the Lincoln Highway in the summer before all the markers were erected by the Scouts. His wife, Esther, was the former president of the Lincoln Highway Association.

As if that was not enough, then none other than author and primo Lincoln Highway Guy Brian Butko joined us. I tell you, I am simply not worthy to be among such folks. "Wayne's World, Wayne's World."

Closing Out Now. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 24, 2010

2010 Lincoln Highway Association Conference-- Day 1-- Part 2


I almost had a really big problem when I left the room. I have both an outdoor and indoor opening door. We left from the outdoor one which I was sure I had shut. Once in Denny's Corvette, he couldn't find his flash drive and looked all over. He had come into my room to throw some stuff away from the car and remembered having it in his hand. I suggested perhaps he had accidentally thrown it out with the other stuff, so went back and checked. The door wasn't closed (it sticks so you have to pull extra hard). Good thing Denny had "lost" that flash drive. And, the drive was in the garbage.


Actually, the conference materials called for a visit to the Manahan House in Sterling (where Abraham Lincoln once spent a night in 1856), but we weren't paying much attention and ended up at the Dillon House which was built in 1858 and at one time owned by Washington Dillon, co-owner of the Northwestern Barb Wire Company which eventually became the city's biggest employer, the Northwestern Steel & Wire Company.

After some difficulty parking, we walked through the grounds which have a huge old steam locomotive No. 73, one of the last of its kind.

The house is on five landscaped acres and is of the Italianate architecture which was so popular throughout the country back in that era. It costs $2.50 for a one hour tour, but we were able to hold onto our money as the last tour had already been given (even though the docent would have given us a tour. Like old Arnold likes to say, I'll be back).


Drove back east along the old Lincoln Highway to the new BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings) and went in to play good 'ol NTN. All BW3s have the game. I have never seen so many people working there. We were at shift change and in addition, they had "seasoned" employees from other BW3s showing the ropes. Our bartender was a girl from Macomb, Illinois (probably a hundred miles away and home of Western Illinois University).

Played a couple games and then had to get back for the banquet and opening events of the conference.

Never Seen That Many BW3 Workers. --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

2010 Lincoln Highway Conference-- Day 1

Took the usual Il-47, but turned on Il-176 and went to Marengo and then south on Il-23 to Il-72 and then on to Genoa and Kingston. That Genoa downtown is right out of the picture books although road construction is making it too pleasant at this time.

Continued on Il-72 through Stillman Valley where I saw the Blackhawk War monument. At Byron, I continued straight where 72 turned off and saw some great scenes as I drove along the bank of the Rock River. I'm not sure of the name of this road, but in Oregon, got on Il-2 and took that to Dixon where the conference is taking place.

Listened to the Fratellis and Chesterfield Kings the whole way.

Liz and I will have to do this drive later this summer. Some mighty beautiful countryside.

Checked into the Super 8, registered next door at the Comfort Inn, and got together with Denny G, or Genry as listed on his id badge. we drove to Sterling, about ten miles away and walked around the grounds of the Dillon House and played NTN at a new BW3 that just opened Sunday.

Pretty Tired from Today's Bus Tour and Storms So Will Continue Tomorrow. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting My Cruisin' Tunes Ready

I listened to these three CDs on the Route 66 trip two weeks ago, but am bringing them along to "really" hear them (aka cranked) on the Dakota's stereo system. It's a great truck, but that stereo is the best motorized one I've ever had. It has the POWER!!!

I bought all three of these on the trip.

THE MINDBENDING SOUNDS OF THE CHESTERFIELD KINGS-- I've already bought one CD, now a second. If you like 1960s garage rock and psychedelia, this is the one for you. And, who says rock is dead. The cover looks like 60s flower power with the Shadows of Knight and Byrds.

UP ON THE RIDGE-- DIERKS BENTLEY-- Old timey country music with Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson sitting in for two songs.

COSTELLO MUSIC-- FRATELLIS-- a newer group, but as good of pop as you can get. Of course, we bought it for the song "Chelsea Dagger" which was so closely associated with the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks, but the rest of the songs are good as well, especially "Henrietta," "Flathead," "The Gutterati" and "For the Girl."

And, speaking of cruising and car music, May 31st, Bob Stroud did his annual Used Car Lot Rock and Roll Roots show about our car culture. I have been listing the songs, his comments and my own at my Down Da Road I Go Blog for June.


Good Stuff Maynard. --RoadDog

Monday, June 21, 2010

No Seneca LST Days for Me

I was a bit disappointed Saturday when I wasn't able to get to go to Seneca, Illinois, a little over two hours from here along the Illinois River. They were having their annual LST (Landing Ship Tank) Festival. I'd never heard of it before until I read about it in the Chicago Tribune Travel Section three weeks ago.

I have recently gotten interested in LSTs since visiting the one in Evansville, Indiana, in March. These were the ships you often see in WW II clips and movies, up on the beach with bows open and tanks and other vehicle rolling out. Definitely a backbone of our war effort.

For some reason, these ships were never given names, just called by their numbers which ran according to their overall launch.

During World War II, the Seneca Shipyard launched 157 LSTs from 1941-1945. The first one was LST-197, completed December 13, 1942 and last LST-1152 June 18, 1945. LSTs were made at several shipyards across the United States, including one at Evansville (but the one there now wasn't).

Later this summer, we will take a mini-cruise for several days to include Seneca where I will find whatever information I can about LST construction there. They have a LST Park.

We will also do a drive along the Illinois River and IM Canal.

Getting My LST Going. --RoadDog

Getting Ready for the Lincoln Highway

Tomorrow, I leave for Dixon, Illinois, for the annual Lincoln Highway Association National Conference running from Tuesday to Saturday an am also signed up for the post-conference tour of the Route 66/Dixie Highway/Lincoln Highway leaving from Joliet.

We just got back from the Route 66 Association of Illinois Annual Motor Tour June 13th and had considered going to the Route 66 Tri-State Festival this past weekend.

This will take me through my "Road Fix" for awhile.

Wednesday and Thursday will be mostly taken up with bus trips east and west along the Lincoln Highway from Dixon. Friday there are symposiums and talks and then the general meeting on Saturday before leaving in the afternoon.

I also plan on going to three more NTN Buzztime sites, one each in Sycamore, Sterling and Mt. Morris.

On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Bus Trip to Chicago's Wrigley Field-- Part 7

Back to Tax Day, April 15th, and our bus trip from Sequoit Lodge in Antioch, Illinois, to the world famous home of the Chicago Losers--err, Cubs.

They now have cupholders to place your overpriced drinks in. In the past, I have many times forgotten and kicked over a perfectly good beer or pop.

The rooftops out right field way were quite full compared to the ones on our side. Only three left field rooftops had people (and not many) with several completely empty and apparently closed.

Waveland Avenue by the ballpark was closed off for buses.

Two guys were playing catch and keeping an eye out during batting practice. They would switch over to the right field side when a left-hander came up.

There were lots and lots of school-age kids at the ballpark, both with parents and groups. Must be a nice way to spend a day at school. We would have gotten in trouble back when we were at school.

Still Not Finished, But Hopefully Some Day. --RoadDog

Friday, June 18, 2010

NTN Buzztime Cruisin'-- Part 4

We went to our last two trip NTN sites on June 11th after driving Route 66 from Lebanon to Pacific, Missouri. After registering and getting our material packets, we drove on to our Super 8 in Fenton, checked in and drove north to the Brunswick Zone, a bowling alley in Valley Park, a suburb north of I-44.


It is a huge bowling alley with at least 24 lanes. The game was not on when we entered, but the bartender was happy to put it on for us. Obviously, we were the only ones playing. They have just gotten the game.


Then we drove back the 4 miles and another 4 miles south of I-44 to the BW3, Buffalo Wild Wings, in Fenton, located in a big shopping area atop a bluff and with an interesting waterfall.

There were a couple other players, but as usual in a BW3, no one talked to us.

So, this gave us 8 new NTN sites for the trip.

We could have played at the new Hooters in Springfield, Illinois, but we were on the Route 66 Motor Tour and just had time enough to slide by an old bar that has just reopened as Scooters.

Spending WAY TOO Much Time Playing This Dumb Game. --RoadDog

Sad Scenes from the Riviera-- Part 3

This morning, I read in the Yahoo Route 66 e-mail group that it is believed that the Riviera letters have been removed from the one part of the building that was saved.

That is just one final slap-in-the-face for us 66ers if that is true. I was definitely hoping the letters would end up in some place, preferably the Museum and Hall of Fame in Pontiac, so that we would have our memories.

The person who reported it had heard it was gone, but had not confirmed it. So, let's hope he heard wrong.

If they are indeed gone, perhaps some other part of the historic place might be saved like the clothesline used to send orders up to the kitchen or dumb-waiter that brought them down (supposedly weighed down by a World War II shell). And, at least one of the two "thrones" must have survived.

We Need Something to Remember Her By. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sad Scenes from the Riviera-- Part 2

Saying goodbye, sadly, to a great Route 66 site.

Here's hoping that at least the letters, or even better, the whole section that remains standing of the old Riviera will be saved. A great place for it would be at the Route 66 Museum and Hall of Fame in Pontiac.

We need to preserve at least some part of it, both for those of us who were there and those 66ers who will never have the opportunity.


On an unrelated incident, I read that Pop's in Arcadia, Oklahoma, temporarily became an island thanks to all the massive rain that has hit the state of late. Perhaps they will secede and form their own country. "I pledge allegiance to the pop for which I drink. And should I have to swin for it, so be it."

Sounds Like a Good a Good Job for the Illinois Preservation Committee, Right, John W.. --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sad Scenes from the Riviera

I had heard the Riviera in Gardner was was a complete loss. Liz and I had seriously considered going by the ruins Sunday to look at them and film, but it was a bit out of the way, so took our leave of Route 66 in Dwight going up Illinois Highway 47.

I'm glad we didn't go by the Riviera. Ron Warnick, in his Route 66 News Blog, had a video taken by a couple, and the devastation is complete. After a fire, there is always the hope that the damage can be repaired and the place rebuilt, but obviously that is not going to happen after viewing the video.

We'll just have our memories now.

However, I was glad to see the old streetcar diner in the back of the place looks unscathed and the president of the Route 66 Association of Illinois said it will be moved to a place in Gardner so we can look forward to that.

I have not heard anything about the Riviera's most recent owner. I did hear that he might have left after the fire, but that was just hearsay.

Another reason to see them while you can. You never know when they'll be gone.

A Sad Time at the Old Riviera. Route 66 Lost a Great Place. --RoadDog

NTN Buzztime Cruising-- Part 3

Once we had arrived in the Lake of the Ozarks area and gotten a room at the Shawnee Bluff Motel (after we had stopped at a nearby bar to make sure they could get the Blackhawks Stanley Cup game since we weren't in the Chicago area), we went looking for the two new NTN sites (actually the only two) in the area.


Liz had miscalculated the distance to the first one, Chicago Brothers, and what we thought was four miles ended up over nine. Once there, we recognized it as a former Risky's which used to be a chain of pizza places in the area that all had NTN.

Big surprise, we were the only ones playing. Wednesdays they have 35 cent wings and $5 Coors Light pitchers. Mondays they have a trivia contest with prizes. There are nearby motels within walking distance. With a name like Chicago Brothers, they had several folks in the place with Blackhawk jerseys. Not many players with 8,099 as top score in Countdown for month. Not a good sign.


Drove the nine miles back to the motel, then another two to the second place, JJ Twiggs. This is a special place to us as Twiggs got its start near us in the villages of Wauconda and Lake Zurich. As a matter of fact, it also used to be a Risky's and we had played NTN there several years back. We went in and were surprised to see the peanut buckets had JJ Twiggs Wauconda, Illinois, on one side.

They were originally in the bar across from our motel now called Road Boaters but had moved closer to the Bagnall Dam and built a Northwoods-style Lodge that is very popular with locals and tourists.

They have two bars with NTN at the larger one, AND, THEY ACTUALLY HAD PLAYERS!!! They have just gotten NTN in (at one time their place in Wauconda also had the game). Buckets of peanuts were sitting out on the bar and tables.

We stopped playing when they wouldn't turn the sound up on the Blackhawks game at the big bar and we moved to the small one where it was on all TVs and with sound and some fans cheering, always more fun. Watched the first two periods.

More details on our Blackhawks efforts in my Down Da Road Blog http://downdaroadigo.blogspot.com under the 7 entries "Not Jumping on the Bandwagon, But..."

Cruisin' and Playin' NTN

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NTN Buzztime Cruising-- Part 2-- Missouri

May 9th, we went to four NTN Buzztime places.


First stop was the TGIF in Columbia. It is right by US-63 and I-70 north of the city which is home to the University of Missouri Tigers. As usual, we were the only ones playing. We used to go to these places a lot, but not since most dropped NTN. We were shocked at how expensive they have gotten. Plus, with tax, two ice teas came to $5.50. With $9.95 burgers, I'm glad they dropped NTN.

Good place to play as there are lots of motels nearby. Quite a few players with a million+ points.

BW3-- Jefferson City

The only place in Missouri's capital that has the game and off US-50. It being new, we didn't have it on GPS so got off US-54 and did some backtracking to the site after we got directions.

It is in a huge shopping center area and they couldn't have made it much harder to get to. We saw it, "but you can't get there from here" was the order of the day.

Of course, no players but us. Three of the top ten players were called Dookie, Wookie and Mookie. Kind of liked that, especially since I sometimes play Whodah, Doodah and Boodah. Perhaps a Brother from another Mother?

Two More to Go today. --RoadDog

Monday, June 14, 2010

NTN Buzztime Cruisin'

We ended up stopping at eight new sites offering this game that we spend too much time playing.

There were two in Iowa at Ottumwa and six in Missouri. That puts us at a total of 51 sites in the Hawkeye State and 71 in the Show-Mes. In addition, these eight made it 35 for the year and an overall total of 893 all across the US.

Even though most often we just have pop, these days that is usually $2 to $2.50 and with tax just shy of $3. So, for two drinks and tip, that is usually around $7 a trip.


Both were in Ottumwa, Radar O'Riley's supposed hometown in MASH. And, both about as far apart as you can get in the "Bridge City.

RECOVERY ROOM-- on the far west side, about three and a half miles from our motel. As usual, we were the only ones playing. We were still full from the gyros in Illinois, but the food looked really good.

They have a big fish tank behind the bar with three iridescent sharks, one of whom was an albino. They follow the bartender all around begging for food. They got them about four inches long, but the two regulars are about a foot long.

BENCHWARMERS-- the perfect way to play NTN-Buzztime on the road as there is a motel right next to it called the Stardust and you can get a room for around $50. AND, THEY HAD PLAYERS in there when we were there. Although, they sat in a corner away from the bar and never said anything to us (probably because we were sort of dominating the boards). They did not appear to be playing team.

We had some really good homemade salsa and chips. ROADOG #16 LIZARD #20 one game. Then we had a site ranking of #20 and even a #10.

NTN Cruising Down the Road. --RoadDog

A Bus Trip to Chicago's Wrigley Field-- Part 6

Since this was back on April 15th, I should really get around to finishing it.

From my lofty seat I could see several Wrigleyville sites like Moran's. Bernie's and Rockstop. There is also a McDonald's with a very full parking lot thanks to selling parking.

I was sitting by "Beyond the Ivy" rooftop business, and they were the next seats after mine. Another one is Wrigley View and there is a Skybox on Sheffield. Like I said, every rooftop, but three had some sort of bleacher set up. Of the two that don't, two have huge signs.

There is also a fire station by the corner. Buses pull up and disembark on the street by the left field bleachers and grandstand.

Wrigley Field's famous ivy was just starting to bloom out. The grounds crew was wetting down the infield from a spigot in a hole behind the pitcher's mound.

There were several groups of Brewer fans sitting around us.

Liz came back from a walk around the park and said the new Captain Morgan's Pub outside WF had Goose Island 312 for $3. Guess I should have had a few there before coming into the park. I sure was going to drink any at $6.75 (isn't that minimum wage?).

And the Game "Ain't" Even Started Yet. --RoadDog

Wrapping Up the Trip

Back home again. I like the road a whole lot, BUT REALLY LOVE being home. This is one reason trips over two weeks are somewhat rare. This was a six-day cruise through the Midwest capped with a three-day drive on Route 66 in Missouri and Illinois.

We drove 1,224.9 miles driveway-to-driveway, put in 44 gallons of gas and spent $112.42 on it, while averaging 27.5 miles per gallon.

Gas Prices

Dekalb, Il. $2.73
Ottumwa, Iowa $2.54
Lake Ozark, Mo. $2.40
Eureka, Mo. $2.50
Pontiac, Il. $2.64

Gas is always more expensive in Illinois, especially the closer you get to Rip-Off City. For some reason, regular gas in Iowa is more expensive (by 10 cents) than regular plus. Never have figured that out. What gives?

Good to Get Home. --RoadDog

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Quick Run-Down of the Trip So Far

I'll go into greater detail when I have more time.

JUNE 8th-- Drove to Ottumwa, Iowa, in the rain. Ate at Tom and Jerry's (famous gyros) in Dekalb, Illinois.

JUNE 9th-- Drove to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. Watched the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.

JUNE 10th-- Drove to Lebanon, Missouri. Stayed at the Munger-Moss. Had drinks and later came back to the new Britt's Route 66 Cafe in the old Wrink's store. Great food, reasonable prices and friendly folk.

JUNE 11th-- Drove Route 66 from Lebanon to St. Louis in the rain and signed in for the Motor Tour. Liz and I joined the Route 66 Association of Missouri. HAD to stop in Sullivan for tacos at Jack in the Box.

Along the way, we also played NTN at eight new places, bringing us to 35 for 2010 and 893 all-time.

Great Time So Far. Now, Hoping to Catch Up with the Rest of the Folks on the Motor Tour. Liz is Still Sleeping. --RoadDog

Lots of Talk About the Riviera

Yesterday, we heard a lot of talk about the sad state affairs at the Riviera in Gardner. Some of it will make your hair stand on end. Of course, we're with a bunch of gung-ho folks, most of whom make us look like amateurs. These people take their 66 stuff seriously, and if you mess with something, they're likely to take offense.

Yesterday morning, while checking out of the Munger-Moss Motel in Lebanon, Missouri, and, of course, talking with Ramona, a guy came in from Portland, Oregon, who was driving the entire length of Route 66. I asked if he had heard about the Riviera and he said not only had he heard about it, but had taken pictures of the ruins Wednesday morning. He showed them to us. Very sad.

Plus reading various accounts and talking with 66 folk at the sign in yesterday, it seems that most believe the fire was no accident. Most point the finger at the former owner, and, at least on the surface, it would seem that he is the culprit. I even heard that he is missing. I'll keep you updated.

A Sad State of Affairs. --RoadDog

Wrigley Gets an Eyesore

Chicago's Wrigley Field got the much-debated Toyota sign Friday in time for the Crosstown series with the Sox. By the way, this series is now called the BP (as in British Petro;eum) Crosstown Cup. The final say, "Don't like it!!"

The city council okayed it Wednesday and it was up Friday. One might think they were ready to go ahead at a moment's notice.

Chicago Tribune architectural critic Blair Kamin had this to say about it yesterday:

"uglier than expected"

"another bow to the almighty dollar"

"Leave it to the Cubs to associate themselves with sponsors-- one reviled for its reviled for its recalled cars, the other for its oil spill, who reinforce the team's reputation as perennial losers."

By the way, also not saying who won yesterday and by what score, but I'm sure Coz will tell you.

I'm Sure at Least ONE Rooftop Owner "Ain't" Too Happy. --RoadDog

Getting Ready for the Illinois Route 66 Motor Tour

Sitting here in the Super 8 in Fenton, Missouri, getting ready to leave for the tour whenever and if-ever Liz gets up.

As usual, we will be running behind time. The rest of the group are back at the Route 66 Park and getting ready to leave for the downtown St. Louis bridges. I hope to join them at the Chain of Rocks Bridge. Few things finer than getting one of the rare chances to drive across it. The owners now charge $5, but it is well worth it. In the past, it has usually average 20-30 minutes to drive the mile-long span.

Other stops in Illinois today:

COLLINSVILLE-- the giant catsup bottle
EDWARDSVILLE-- Route 66 Mother Road Festival
HAMEL-- Weezy's Bar and Grill (old Scotties/Earnie's)

MOUNT OLIVE-- Crossroads Cafe
CARLINVILLE-- Hall of Fame Banquet

Hope we Get Caught Up with the Rest of Them. Come On, Wake Up Liz. --RoadDog

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sorry Hawks Fans, Not Many Fans Down Here

I know you Blackhawk fans, and I think I might have become one as well, are all out celebrating and getting ready for today's parade in Chicago, but we have found that at least here in Missouri, most just don't give a care.

Many people we've talked to didn't even know the Stanley Cup championship was being played or who was in it. The bartender at Road Boaters in Lake Ozark had to see if they could even get NBC. And, we didn't find many Hawk fans in Chicago Brothers or JJ Twiggs, both places with Chicago roots. There was no one pulling for the Blackhawks at Road Boaters, but we made up for it.

May be it's a big thing to us, but not so with everybody.

Actually, they are like we used to be and would have been had the Hawks not been in it.

They Can Just Go and "Chelsea Dagger." --RoadDog

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sad News About the Riviera in Gardner, Illinois

We've been on the road since Tuesday and staying in places without internet access so just learned about the loss of this great Route 66 institution today while sitting out at the pool of another great Route 66 institution, the Munger-Moss Motel in Lebanon, Missouri.

I was just thinking how great it was to be reading the May-June issue of the Route 66 Pulse which we had just picked up in the lobby, when Liz gave me the news via the Illinois 66 Association's Facebook page. Then friend Lulu sent a more detailed account.

How little did we know May 2nd when we stopped by after the Red Carpet Corridor Festival and found it closed that this would be the last time we ever saw it. I definitely would have taken pictures of it.

However, we do have some great memories of it along with the folks who gave the place its charm. the people who worked there, and, of course, Bob "The Luckiest Man Alive" and Peggy "I Have to Put Up With Bob" Kraft.

Sure Gonna Miss the Place. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Barhopping on the Chain of Lakes

Yesterday, we got the boat in the water, FINALLY!! We were ready to go since Friday, but the weather just wouldn't cooperate.

We went to three bars yesterday by water: Baja Benny's, Electric Harbor and Captain's Quarters. Four actually if you count the American Legion where we launched the boat yesterday, but we didn't get there by boat, so it doesn't count.

Sadly, every year there are fewer and fewer bars on the Chain. I would have to say that at least sixty have gone off into history since we started boating in 1985. I think there will come a day when there will be NO MO BARS, which will be sad.

There is nothing finer than having a drink or meal and looking out at one of the many lakes that make up our Chain of Lakes, one of the busiest waterways anywhere in the US. I've heard it is the second heaviest used after the Inland Waterway, but don't know if that is true.

Of course, we use the Chain Monday to Friday when it is considerably less busy. It is "Our Chain" then.

This year, I am going to start writing about the remaining bars and restaurants on the water before they're gone. I'll describe the buildings, locate the place, give the specials or what they're noted for and a brief history of each one.

Out on the Chain and Feeling No Pain!! --RoadDog

Monday, June 7, 2010

Good Times in the Area-- Part 2

This past weekend:

FRIDAY JUNE 4th-- Kevin and Kelly's End-of-the Year Party on Fox Lake (Illinois).

An annual tradition stemming from our end-of-the-year parties and a worthy successor. Weather was iffy, but it never rained as we were outside by the lake. For the first time ever, the keg was finished off. It has never happened before. No Day-After parties for us this year. We'd come over and continue drinking and eating for as many as three times before this sad date.

Come on guys, lay off the beer!!

SUNDAY JUNE 6th-- Drove back to Captain's Quarters where we had a party with a band called R-Gang, 4 blacks and 2 whites, who played 60s and 70s soul music. With two lead singers, they could do it all. Mighty good time.

Then, it was a Blackhawk victory down in the basement Margaritaville Bar.

Still Growing Older, But Not Up. --RoadDog

Good Time in the Area-- Part 1

Never let it be said that there is nothing going on in and around northeast Illinois and southeast Wisconsin.

The past two weekends:

MAY 30th-- Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake. Your ultimate water party-type band, The Sodas (mostly former members of The Only Sons) put on a show and a half. Besides the excellent musicianship and vocals, all age groups had to like their music.

Beer was #3.25, Bloody Marys $3 and a great $3.75 Johnsonville brat and fries.

MAY 31st-- MEMORIAL DAY-- Went to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, about ten miles away, and enjoyed drinks at Main Street Tap and watched the parade with two marching bands.

Then went to Donovan's Reef, played some NTN and had a great Sal lunch.

Growing Older, But Not Up. --RoadDog

The Not Really Top Ten Reasons for Visiting Springfield, Illinois

Of course, the main reason would be Old Abe. But folks write the reason for being in Springfield on the visitors log at the Union tation Welcome Center.

These are an unscientific sampling of the reasons most written down for visiting Springfield.

10. Trains and train stations
9. Medical School (SIU School of Medicine
8. Snowbirds passing through
7. Rails for Trails bike program
6. Saw Springfield on the Food Channel
5. Visiting someone in hospital
4. Route 66 (Oh Yeah!!)
3. Illinois State Fairgrounds event
2. Military reunion (I know that until this past year the Sons of Confederate Veterans Illinois Division have held their annual conference there. The Sons of Union Veterans also hold yearly events.

1. Meetings, family weddings, graduations.

So, Now You Know Why Folks Come to S. I. --RoadDog

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More to Illinois' Springfield Than Lincoln

From the May 27th Springfield (Il) Journal-Register "More than Lincoln draws tourists to Springfield" by Tim Landis.

Marge Heissinger has been involved with Springfield tourism for thirty years. You can find her most days at the welcome desk of the Illinois Visitors Center at Union Station, across from the Lincoln Museum and Library. It is one of fifteen located around the state and one of only two not along interstates.

I highly recommend a stop at the newly restored Union Station, not only for the information, but also for the unique building, landscaped grounds and that wonderful clock tower. I must have spoken with her as the person there could not have been more friendly.

Of course, Lincoln is the biggest draw, but folks are also doing Route 66, visiting the Old State Capitol and some are even in town to visit places spotlighted on the Food and Travel channels (like Cozy Dog).

Next, the Not Really Top Ten Reasons for Visiting Springfield. --RoadDog

A Bus Trip to Chicago's Wrigley Field-- Part 5

Since I was WAY UP in the Bob Uecker nosebleed seats, I took advantage to view the environs. Like I said yesterday, there is rooftop business in a huge way now. Back before the Cubbies got Yuppies, about all you used to see on top of the buildings were maybe a few folks in folding lawn chairs and quite often there would be one or two people looking out the windows of the building with the WGN sign on the mini turret.


Every building but three had major bleacher setups. And the three that didn't had signs. Everyone's getting into the money grab. Some of the buildings had rather neat names like "Beyond the Ivy" with a 460 feet sign. You can go to www.beyondtheivy.com. to check it out.

I really don't like these money-grabbers as I hold them responsible for causing the city parking sticker ordinance for all on street parking anywhere you want to go in Chicago. The Money-Grubbing GRBs!!

One of the signs read "Hit Me! 1 Fan. $1 Million!"

A Miller Lite sign said "Nice of Milwaukee to bring the opener." Very appropriate since this was the season opening series.

And the Game Hasn't Even Started. --RoadDog

Nine Most-Endangered New Orleans Sites

This being the time of the Endangered lists, the May 27th New Orleans Times Picayune reports that the Louisiana Landmark Society has released its annual New Orleans Nine. That would be nine sites that are in danger of being no more for one reason or another.

They base it on the annual list of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Professor Longhair's dwelling, 1880s-- A New Orleans musical legend.
Abandoned churches throughout the city
Bracketed house, 1889-- an example of a New Orleans distinct shotgun house

Former police station 2552 St. Philip Street, 1902-- Queen Anne architecture
Lafayette Cemetery #1 in the Garden District-- featured in many movies
General Laundry, Cleaners and Dyers Building, 1939, art deco

Mid City Historic District-- 1850s to 1950s homes
Dew Drop Inn, 1939-- legendary black night club
Audubon Park Tennis Courts
You can see pictures and read more at www.pilothouse.org.

And, Then There are the Levees. --RoadDog

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Bus Trip to Chicago's Wrigley Field-- Part 4

How's this for a way to get out of school and not be ditching? All along the way to the field, we saw lots of high school boys walking along the sidewalks wearing identical tee shirts which said "St. Patrick's High School 25th Annual Walk to Wrigley." Cruz would be so proud of his old school.

Reading and writing and baseball. I bet no one cut "classes" today at St. Pat's.

Walked and walked and walked and finally got to our seats, which turned out to be Bob Uecker seats. Definitely not your "front row." Actually, I could almost reach over and shake hands with the good folks up on the rooftops across the street. Well, not actually.

My seat was Row 8 Seat 109 upper deck left field. The very farthest out seat was Row 9 Seat 112. I figured why almost be in the worst seat when you can actually be in the worst seat so went to No. 112 for awhile.

The famous "El" ran by every so often dropping fans off and heading to and from the Loop. We used to take it it a lot back in the 70s and 80s.

Quite a few people were out on Waveland Avenue catching balls. I don't even remember the last time we were at Wrigley, but there definitely weren't all the rooftop businesses like there is today.

Finally Back at Wrigley. --RoadDog

The Man of Many Tattoos

Route 66 tattoos that is.

From June 3rd Flash News which boasts what they call as offbeat news.

"Route 66 Fanatic Gets 84 Tattoos"

Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones gets his kicks by covering his body with tattoos featuring places along the Mother Road and in the process no doubt keeps various tattoo artists in and around his home of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in money.

He gets new ink every several months and recently got what he calls his most painful one of recently deceased artist Bob Waldmire's yellow VW van. It took three sessions to complete.

He is thinking of more in July but admits he is running out of places to put the tats. Also, Ron somehow has one tattoo that has nothing to do with Route 66. How'd that get on his body?

We know Ron quite well and have met him several times. Once at the Alamo in Springfield, Illinois, he wasn't able to show up because he was elsewhere getting a you-know-what.

And some people think I am too much of a Route 66 NUT!!

A Man and His Tattoos. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Just What Kind of Route 66 Nut Are You?-- Part 5

Liz and I definitely have nailed the last level of 66'dom. We have driven all the way from Chicago to Santa Monica. We did this after I retired in 2006 and this had been on the docket ever since we first found out about Route 66 in 2002.

We plan on doing a repeat this fall, leaving from the 66 festival in Springfield, Illinois near the end of September. there are places we haven't seen that have been there and others that are new.

In 2004, we went to the Tulsa festival and then drove out to Tucumcari which had been the farthest west we'd been before retirement. We'll be on the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Motor Tour next week.

So, I guess we could definitely be ranked as Road Warriors in the fullest extent.

This thread started back on May 15th.

Cruisin' Down That two lane Highway, Nothing Finer. --RoadDog

Down Da 66: Litchfield, Illinois-- No More Dream Car Museum

Some new news about an old road.

1. LITCHFIELD, ILLINOIS-- I came across a picture of the Manske-Nieman Farm in the April 20th Springfield Journal-Register. The farm has been placed on the list of most endangered sites in Illinois. Ophelia Nieman is maintaining the farm and keeping it in shape. "The buildings are all still the same as they were when the farm was first established. Nothing new has been added and nothing old has been destroyed.

Of course, she is getting up in years and it is becoming harder to keep the place up which is why it is on the list. She is probably eighty or older and has no other family to help her. I also read that it is on Route 66.

2. NO MORE DREAM CAR MUSEUM-- I read that this museum in Williamsville, Illinois is up for auction, including its 36 autos, 13 motorcycles and several tractors. Too bad, one less thing to see along the route.

Someone Get Me One of Those Cars!! --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Kind of Vehicle Would You Like to Cruise Route 66 In?

In May, quite a bit of discussion arose in the Route 66 Yahoo e-mail group about a poll asking what kind of a vehicle would you like to cruise the Mother Road in? Most of it revolved around the choices you had to vote for.

Early voting, however, was as follows:

#6 Mustang 5%

Four-way tie for second, all with 11%

55-56-57 Chevy
Ford GT
VW Bus

#1 What do you think? See below.

I, of course, being a Pontiac Guy, would have to wonder why there were no GTOs, or even better, Firebirds, especially '67s.

The Number One choice in early voting was the Corvette.

Kind of figured that.

Beep, Beep!! --RoadDog

Lincoln Logs: Murals-- Iowa Trial

Some New News About an Old Road.

1. MURALS-- The April 19th Batavia (Il) Republican reports that a 200 square foot Lincoln Highway Mural will be placed on the side of a building at 10 South Second Street in Geneva. The $10,000 mural is a gift from the Lincoln Highway Coalition which has done so much to increase the public's awareness of the nation's oldest transcontinental highway, dating to 1913.

It will be at the Geneva Masonic Temple and is facing away from the sun to minimize damage. It is expected to last 15 years. Geneva is paying $600 for the installation and plaque. As of yet, there is no decision as to what will be on the mural.

2. IOWA TRIAL-- The April 27th Eastern Iowa News Now reports that Jessica Dayton, 20, of Belle Plaine has been found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for the beating death of Curtis Bailey, 30 on July 18, 2009.

There was a four and a half day trial and jurors deliberated for eight and a half hours before reaching the verdict.

Both worked at the popular Lincoln Cafe in Belle Plaine which has been closed since then. Let's hope someone gets it and reopens.

It's a Lincoln Thing. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Any Old Excuse to Drive the Lincoln Highway

From the May 31st Peoria (Il) Journal Star "Toulon mayor and brother retrace route of the Lincoln Highway" by Gary L. Smith.

Toulon Mayor Richard Collins, 63, a former airline pilot is retired but has a new hobby of "collecting highways." His latest addition is the Lincoln Highway from San Francisco to New York City using road atlases and a laptop with route overlays so he can drive every possible mile, even on gravel and dirt.

He and his wife Barb drove Route 66 in a 1966 Chrysler Imperial a while back.

This trip is partly due to his brother William, 69, a semi-retired archaeologists who continues to teach a semester class at California State University in Chico. He lives the rest of the time in Massachusetts. Richard used his free stand-by mileage to fly to California and join his brother in his trek back home along the Lincoln.

The Lincoln Highway came into being in 1913 and two-thirds of it lies along present-day US-30.

Leaving two weeks ago, they stopped in Toulon for a few days and Barb joined them for the rest of the trip to New York City.

They shoot for 10-12 hours a day on the road, but that usually works out to just 8-10 because of back tracking and when they get lost.

My wife and I drove Route 66 end-to-end back in 2006 when I retired. I still would like to do all of the Lincoln Highway, but that is even longer. Actually, I hav driven all of it from Canton, Ohio to west of Omaha.

Toulon is a town near Peoria.

Just a Bit Envious. --RoadDog

A Bus Trip to Chicago's Wrigley Field-- Part 3

Kind of got tied up with the Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival and am now getting back to the trip to the Cubs game on Tax Day, April 15th. The last post was April 27th.

We were at Sequoit Lodge in Antioch, Illinois, early and had a couple drinks before we left. The bus driver caused a momentary gasp when he announced over the PA that Illinois no longer allows drinking on buses. Nice guy. See how that affects your tip.

We had plenty to drink and eat on the way in as I doubted there would be much drinking or eating at the ballpark because of excessive prices. I went right in to watch batting practice and to enjoy the Wrigley experience.

Current Prices:

cheeseburger $6.25
popcorn $4
Cracker Jacks $3.50
peanuts $3.75
draft beer $6.75
Soda $3.75 and $4.75
brat $4.75
hot dog $4.25
Chicago Dog $5.25

So, if you do as the songs says and buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack it will set you back $7.25.

And they wonder why I don't go anymore.

Ridiculous Prices!! --RoadDog

Blocking Out a Trip

We'll be on the road next week, ending with the Route 66 Association of Illinois' annual motor tour from west of St. Louis into Illinois.

That part is planned out already. However, getting there is open, so I usually try to plan routes and towns that we haven't been to as of yet. Along with that, I look for NTN sites as we really like Cruising and NTNing. So far this year we've been to 27 new sites for the year:

Iowa 1
Illinois 9
Tennessee 4
Alabama 9
Florida 3
Virginia 1

Cruising Those Old Roads and Playing NTN, Not Bad. --RoadDog