Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lincoln Highway (4-1) vs. Route 66 (5-3)-- Part 1

Only two states can have this competition, Illinois and California.

Earlier this week, I listed high school teams located on each old road and we're having the Route 66 vs. Lincoln Highway Playoffs.

Since there is quite a disparity between the number of teams in the IHSA playoffs (the Lincoln has ten and 66 has eighteen, now that East St. Louis has been reinstated by court order), the final winner will be last man standing. At least that's what I'm thinking about now. Ties will be decided by head-to-head.

The first games were played last night.



Plainfield South
Lincoln-Way North
Lincoln-Way West
Joliet Catholic





Plainfield South
Joliet Catholic


Normal Community

Plainfield South and Joliet Catholic are in both Lincoln Highway and Route 66, since both towns are on both roads.


The only Route 66-Lincoln Highway Match Up was where Lincoln-Way North defeated Normal Community 38-23.

First Round games continue today. I take tomorrow off, but will update on Monday.

Like I said, because of the number disparity, I'm pulling for Lincoln Highway, but like both. I've been to these towns many times.

Go You Lincoln Hwy!! --RoadDog

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Frightening Cape Fear-- Part 2

Talking about Wilmington, North Carolina and the Cape Fear River area.

Being such an old town, there are many old houses. And, old houses and buildings equal ghosts. And. that's not counting the old cemeteries. Even more ghosts.

One famous ghost is said to inhabit the Fort Fisher State Historic Site near the entrance of the Cape Fear Rover. During the Civil War, it guarded the entrance to the river for blockade-runners.

It fell in January 1865 after two Union attacks. Confederate General W.H.C. Whiting was wounded, taken prisoner and died in New York. His wife later had his body disinterred and buried in Wilmington. His ghost has been reportedly seen at the old fort.

For those wanting to get even more scared, there is a Ghost Walk of Wilmington tour owned by John and Kim Hirchak. One of their big stop is at Gallows Hill where criminals were executed. You can also take the Haunted Pub Crawl which promises "levitation and libation."

The article also goes on to talk about non-scary things you can do like take a ride on the ship Henrietta II along the river. The whole city and area has lots of great restaurants and unique stores. Many movies and TV shows have also been filmed in the area.

I Knew This Was a Great Place to Visit. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Frightening Cape Fear-- Part 1

From the October 27th Houston Chronicle "North Carolina Cape Fear Scares" by Kristin Finan.

Well, first of, even the name Cape Fear is a bit scary all by itself. And the cape in question did strike fear into the hearts of sailors as its treacherous shoals claimed many ships over the ages.

Then, there is the Cape Fear River leading to Wilmington, North Carolina, a very old city.

As Kristin says, "Stephen King could come here for inspiration."

Old cities have old homes and old cemeteries, prime real estate for ghostly sightings and apparitions.

Even the famous carnivorous plant, the Venus flytrap calls the area its home, the only place in the world.

Then there are plenty of venomous snakes in the wild as well as alligators in the rivers and swamps and sharks out in the ocean. Then, there are the numerous dangerous snakes at the Cape Fear Serpentarium. But these are caged and behind glass.

More to Come.

It's Enough to Really Scare You to Death. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Going on a Lincoln Highway Roadtrip for the Illinois IHSA Football Playoffs

While doing the Route 66 high schools, I decided to check out what schools from the Lincoln Highway made it.

8A-- None

7A Plainfield North 7-2 (also in Route 66)
Lincoln-Way East 8-1
Plainfield South 8-1 (also in Route 66)

6A Batavia 5-4
Geneva 7-2
Lincoln-Way North 7-2
Dekalb 5-4

5A Lincoln-Way West 7-2
Joliet Catholic 8-1 (also in Route 66)

2A Morrison 8-1

Ten teams for the Lincoln. We'll see which road does the best.

Since there are fewer Lincoln Highway schools, I'll pull for them. But those Lincoln-Way schools are usually pretty good as is Joliet Catholic.

Go Lincoln!! --RoadDog

Going on a Route 66 Illinois IHSA Playoff Roadtrip

This Friday, the Illinois High School Association's football playoffs begin. I took a quick look through the playoff pairings and found these teams along the Mother Road playing in it. By classes:

8A Bolingbrook 5-4

7A East St. Louis was in it at 9-0, but had an ineligible player and was dropped out.
Plainfield North 7-2 (also on Lincoln Highway)
Plainfield South 8-1 (also on Lincoln Highway)

6A Collinsville 5-4
Normal Community 7-2
Normal West 7-2

5A Joliet Catholic 8-1 (also on Lincoln Highway)
Springfield S.H.G. 8-1
Bloomington 6-3
Springfield 7-2

4A Pontiac 9-0
Bloomington Central Catholic 6-3

3A Wilmington 9-0

2A Staunton 8-1
Williamsville 8-1
Carlinville 8-1

1A Lexington 6-3

Here's Hoping for a Lot of 66 in the Finals. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homecoming 2010-- Part 4-- Room at the Inn


We then drove to Lincoln Highway with the idea of seeing if we could find a room for he night. I didn't really think we would, but you never know.

Travelodge, the old Motel 6 where we spent so many misguided homecomings in the past wasn't an option. It was bad as a Motel 6, but really bottomed out when Travelodge took it over. People who know me, know that a motel has to be ESPECIALLY BAD for me to refuse to stay. Plus, the sorry excuse who murdered the five students on St. Valentine's Day 2008, stayed here before his foul deed.

The parking lot of the Best Western (old Holiday Inn where we had our wedding reception back in August 1973). They even had an employee posted at the entrance.

We went to Magnuson Inn & Suites (the old Baymont Motel) and found the parking lot to have spaces so decided to try our luck. Liz went in and they did have rooms that people had canceled so we got one. But, we paid big-time for it. All Liz would say was that it was double what we usually try to pay (which is $60). She still won't tell me.

Anyway, it is next to Fatty's where we had plans of going anyway.

We always like it when we can get a room by some place we're going. Cuts down on the DUI factor.

Tailgating Next. --RoadDog

Down Da 66: Car Hits Cafe-- Betty Estes Honor

Down Da 66-- Some New News about an Old Road.

1. CAR HITS CAFE-- The Tulsa World reports that early this morning, a car crashed into the Corner Cafe, located at the corner of Peoria and 11th Street, Old Route 66, at 2:11 am this morning.

Then it backed out and left the scene. Fortunately the place was closed at the time. Police believe it was very likely a drunk driver as bars close at 2 am.

A classic case of eating on the run if you ask me. Or, oops, this is not my garage.

2. BETTY ESTES HONOR-- The October 26th Pontiac Community News reports that the Illinois Route 66 Heritage Project presented Betty Estes of Pontiac with an award for her many contributions to the creation and development of Route 66 as a tourist attraction in Illinois. They are also establishing a college scholarship in her name in the tourism field.

Betty was Pontiac's first tourism director. She and her late husband Bud are great people and completely devoted to Pontiac. He was a big reason for the War Museum next to the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum.

The plaque reads in part:

In Honor of Betty Estes
"The Mother of Our Road"

Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Person. --RoadDog

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pennsylvania's USCT Grand Review Commemoration

A year-long commemoration is being held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to honor the 145th anniversary of the November 14, 1865, Grand Review of United States Colored Troops who had not been allowed to participate in the Grand review held in Washington, DC May 23-24th, I865.

United States Colored Troops from 25 states participated in the original one. USCT re-enactors from all over will be participating in the new one.

When the women of Harrisburg found out the USCTs had not been allowed to participate in DC, they set about having their own review. On November 15, 1865, led by Grand Marshal Thomas Morris Chester, who had served as captain of a Harrisburg company raised in the black community there, marched to the home of Senator Simon Cameron.

The commemoration will take place in Harrisburg Nov. 4-7. Other events are planned, including cleaning up cemeteries where USCT are buried in the area.

You'd Have to Wonder Why These Brave Black Soldiers Were Not Allowed to Be in the DC Grand Review? --B-R'er

Down Da 66: VW-- Shoe Tree-- 66 Bowl

Down Da 66-- Some new news about an old road.

1. VW-- Bob Walmire's Volkswagen van and school bus have been relocated to the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac. Sure glad these two items were saved as it just won't be the old 66 without its artist and hippie spirit, Bob Waldmire.

2. SHOE TREE-- I see that the Shoe Tree in Oklahoma has fallen down. Too bad, but it was looking bad for some time now. I'm sure it won't take long for a replacement to be found and decorated.

3.. 66 BOWL-- The great 66 Bowl sign in Oklahoma City has been bought by the Junk Yard Daddies and can be seen at their junkyard where they are restoring it. They are located at 541 North Ann Arbor. Looks like a definite stop for us the next time we're in town.

Just Some Stuff. --RoadDog

NIU Homecoming 2010-- Part 3

After looking at the pooch statue, we drove on to Augusta and College avenues to look at the trees primarily. However, the Delta Sigma Phi house where I pledged was located here back in 1970. The duplex (the owners live in the other half) is still there, but not a fraternity anymore.

If a film company ever wants to have a perfect collegiate residential or 1930s neighborhood site, this would be it.

Unfortunately, the trees had mostly passed prime time. This season is not going to go down as the most colorful in northern Illinois.

We then went to the Village Commons Shopping Center on Lucinda across from the dorms. We always stop at the VC Bookstore to see what Huskie items they're selling. I bought an NIU Football Huskie hoodie for $17.

We also saw there is a new sports bar/restaurant there where Rick's used to be located. Rick's was a very popular place to meet and have a soda pop, pizza or sandwich back when we were in school. This was its second location, the first being out on Lincoln Highway near the McDonald's.

Back at the Old Alma mater. --RoadDog

Friday, October 22, 2010

Media Hound Back at Still Hall

From the October 16th Dekalb (Il) Daily Chronicle "Media Hound restored Friday in front of Still hall on campus" by Kate Schott.

Media Hound's back. He is one of about 50 fiberglass dogs that were part of a 2008 community art project called Huskies on Parade as a way to help the NIU/Dekalb/Sycamore communities recover from the St. valentine's Day murders that year. Northern's mascot is the huskie.

He was reported missing the weekend of July 17-18 by the staff of the media services Department at Northern Illinois University. This made national news. He was found July 21st in the 500 block of Normal Road and reported to NIU police. This past Friday, he was reinstalled on his cement slab in front of Still Hall.

he is named "Snappy" and is dressed as a 1940s-era reporter with a fedora on his head and camera around his neck.

It appeared that the perpetrator/s used a crowbar to pry Snappy off the cement and only a few toes from his right front paw remained. He is back in perfect shape, even with a few dings from the abduction fixed.

Snappy is now affixed to the cement with a different type of screw to make it more difficult to get him off, plus there are other security measures in place (just what they wouldn't say).

The Huskies on Parade project raised $40,000 for a scholarship fund established in the names of the five students killed.

So, we got to see him the second day he was back.

Good to have Snappy Back and a Must-See for Visitors to Dekalb. --RoadDog

Looking Back at the Lincoln Highway in Dekalb County, Illinois-- Part 3

From October 12, 1935:

"Dekalb, from the air, is a beautiful carpet of the leaves with the roof of occasional houses poking above the treetops to break the monotony of the green blanket.

There is a long ribbon cutting through the middle of the green with tiny black specks moving along, to be noted as the Lincoln Highway, and there is another and straighter line of four bright metal strips with a black something belching smoke rolling along to indicate the railroad.

Those are all spot impressions gained from floating over the city at an elevation of about 1,200 feet yesterday afternoon. On the first ride over Dekalb in the Goodyear lighter-than-air craft which was brought to this city in connection with the Harvest festival of the veterans of Foreign Wars, an idea of the layout was obtained that hours of study on a map of the similar territory would never give."

Even back then, the Lincoln was something to behold. And, the two sets of railroad tracks and trains described in the article? Who can imagine a DeKalb without lots and lots and lots of trains pulling through?

An Interesting Look Back. --RoadDog

Did You Know That Vancouver, Canada was Built in Less Than 24 Hours?

I came across this interesting tidbit in the Globus Tours site.

"Before a former riverboat captain named John Deighton came to town in 1867, Canadian mill workers had to hike ten miles through bear-infested forests to New Westminster if they wanted a drink." he realized the problem and offered them as many drinks from his barrel of whiskey as they wanted if they helped him build a saloon.

Amazingly, this bar was finished in less than 24-hours. Shows what men will do for a proper incentive.

It was named the Globe Saloon and the mill workers now had a place to drink and gather.

A community soon grew up around the saloon and was originally called Gastown and became incorporated as Vancouver on April 6, 1886.

Two months later, a fire roared through the town and all but two of the town's 400 structures were reduced to ashes.

The city was quickly rebuilt and prospered until the Great Depression. Today, it has fully recovered from that and is one of the cleanest cities I've ever been to.

Sort of Reminds Me of Chicago. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Looking Back at the Lincoln Highway in Dekalb County, Illinois-- Part 2

I still haven't figured out a definitive answer to what a "cigeroot" is.

With Halloween approaching, perhaps it was some ghostly apparition.

From the Looking Back section of the October 13th Dekalb Midweek paper.

There was a picture of a bond rally at the Dekalb Armory at 320 E. Locust St., on October 21, 1919, accompanying the article.

From OCTOBER 12, 1935:

"Police, at the suggestion of the city council, will make an effort tonight to stop double parking in the business district, on the Lincoln Highway, as a means of determining to what extent the ban on double parking can be enforced should the council take such action.

No arrests will be made tonight, it was stated, the police to confine themselves to warning motorists that it is against state law to double park on state highways."

That state highway would be Il-38, which replaced the Lincoln Highway through Dekalb. So, even back then, they had parking problems in Dekalb. They still exist today, especially around the NIU campus.

Hey, Buddy, You Blocked Me In!! --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blues Brothers at the Dixie Square Mall

In the last entry, I wrote about the forthcoming demise of the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois.

I looked the mall up in Wikipedia and found out this information about the filming of the "Blues Brothers" movie.

In January 1979, the interior of the mall closed and the city of Harvey gave the property that didn't still have stores in it to the Harvey-Dixmoor School District who used it as a temporary school while a new one was being built. The Turnstyle store's floor space was used as a gymnasium.

After the last store vacated the mall, Jewel, director John Landis rented the site for eight weeks in 1979 to film the famous car chase through the mall where Jake and Elwood Blues were chased by Illinois State Troopers.

Some former tenants refused to allow their storefronts to be used in the film so they were "dressed up." Walgreen's became Toys "R" Us and Penney's became a modern J.C. Penney with its interior becoming Jewel.

After film shooting, the interior was left in really bad shape (no big surprise after all that chase damage). As of the mid-1980s, the fake wall where the cars crashed through the Toys "R" Us store was still there.

The Harvey-Dixmoor school District sued Universal Studios for $87,000 in damages in 1981, but nothing came of it.

"We're on a Mission from Who?" --RoadDog

Harvey's Eyesore to Go, No More Blues Here

From the September 24th Chicago Tribune.

At one time it was teeming with stores and shoppers, then, it played a big role in one of the funniest movies of all-time. Other than that, it has sat vacant and become more of a blight than anything else.

For the last 30 years, it "has sat vacant and decaying--a symbol of despair and loss of jobs and retail in the south suburbs."Now, it is scheduled for demolition.

Get ready to say goodbye to the Dixie Square Mall (named for its location of the Dixie Highway).

On September 23rd, Governor Pat Quinn announced a $4 million federal grant for its razing.

Of course, the movie in question was 1980s "Blues Brothers" and that amazing chase through the mall.

Total cost is expected to be $5 million to demolish the 35,000-square-foot structure and remove asbestos.

The mall opened in 1966 and was a thriving shopping area.

Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg said, "This certainly is a miracle on the Dixie Highway."

Sad to See It Go, But Has to Be. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NIU Homecoming 2010-- Part 2

We drove Il-120 to Il-47 to Il-176 and then Il-23 to Dekalb.

We took a drive around Greek Row north of campus and saw that the AKLs now are in the old Delta Sig house on Greenbrier.

Then, it was on to Augusta and College avenues east of campus. During fall, these streets get a mighty dose of gold from the trees, but not this year. I saw that the house the Delta Sigs were in during my pledge period is still standing and used for student rentals.

Then, on to the prettiest part of campus, that part around the Lagoon and Altgeld Hall, the original NIU building.


We were glad to see that the Media Hound Huskie was back at his position by the media building east of Altgeld. He was one of the Huskies on Parade statues that helped heal the wounds of the campus murders that took place Valentine's Day 2008.

He is decked out complete with fedora and old flash camera and our favorite of the huskies that were made.

This past summer, he was stolen, but found a couple weeks later. We eventually found out that he had just been put back in place the day before we arrived.

Getting a Room and Tailgating Next. --RoadDog

Looking Back at the Lincoln Highway in Dekalb County, Illinois

From the October 13th Midweek Newspaper.

Evidently, they looked at some old newspapers for the stories.

Both 1935 articles are about the Lincoln Highway, or Illinois Highway 38 as it was called back then.

OCTOBER 11, 1890

Of course, this was from before the Lincoln Highway, but the article was interesting so I included it.

"The village authorities of Malta (where Illinois' seedling mile was built) have for some time been discussing the feasibility of putting in an electric light plant to illuminate the streets. The necessity for such an expense has been obviated by the appearance of a lot of beardless Dekalb (about six miles east) youths, who come up on every dark night, and as soon as they strike the corporation lights a "cigeroot."

They are so numerous that a better light is given than could be obtained from a score of arc lights at 300 candle power and it is as cheap as daylight."

Perhaps 110 years ago, folks knew exactly what this was all about, but not me. I'm of the opinion that this article was done more in jest than anything else.

I'm guessing that young male Dekalbites (since they did not have the beards popular with men at the time) were coming to Malta to smoke their cigarettes, cigars or small cigars.

Arc lights were being used at the time for street lighting.

What is a "cigeroot?" --RoadDog

Monday, October 18, 2010

NIU Homecoming 2010-- Part 1

This past Saturday, Liz and I decided on the spur of the moment to drive out to Dekalb, Illinois, about 65 miles away, so we could attend Northern Illinois' Homecoming game vs. Buffalo. We went to this about every year after we graduated in 1973, but hadn't been back in about ten years.

Some highlights:









A great time was had by all.

Go You NIU Huskies. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What I Look for in a Motel

Earlier this week, I wrote about a survey of people on motels/hotels and the biggest thing travelers wanted was free Wi-Fi.

As for me, number one is price. I like to find them for $40 to $60. So far this year, I've stayed in 40 motels, so, obviously I can't afford $100 a crack. The room doesn't have to be elegant, but clean and comfortable.

Since I don't travel by myself with a laptop, Wi-Fi isn't that important, but Liz always has one when she travels, so then it becomes important.

However, I do find that few rooms have an adequate number of outlets, especially in this age of battery=powered gadgets. We've even taken to bringing an extension cord and power strip when we travel.

I also like rooms on the ground floor. As I get older, stairs seem to be getting steeper and harder to negotiate. Stairs aren't so bad when I travel by myself, but when I'm with Liz that means much more luggage and several trips to unload or load.

Just Some Things That Come to Mind. --RoadDog

Friday, October 15, 2010

If This Don't Get You Into a Fall Mood, Nothing Will-- Part 1

Yesterday, on our way back from Crystal Lake, Illinois, Liz and I stopped at the Greenhouse, a great name for a nursery, and it was in full fall splendor. Besides being set in the woods, the place was literally overrun with mums of every hue, pumpkins with that vibrant orange and corn shocks.

We've driven by the place many times, but never stopped. Been meaning to, but just haven't. If for no other reason, they have two Muffler Men and you don't often get to see two of them in one place.

I walked around and took lots and lots of pictures. Just about everywhere I looked, there was a really fine frame for a great shot. And, they had a special on where any pumpkin cost $3.95 and they had some mighty big ones.

Well worth a stop if you're on Illinois Highway 31 between McHenry and Crystal Lake. For that matter, stop at your own local nursery.

It's a Fall Thing, You can Really Smell Those Burning Leaves If You're Lucky Enough to be in a Place Where You Can Still Burn 'Em. --RoadDog

July-August 2010 Preservation Magazine

If for no other reason than to get this wonderful magazine, a membership in the National Trust for Historic Preservation is worth it.

The July-August issue featured the Eleven Most Endangered Historical Sites which I wrote four entries about.

Other interesting articles were on:

Austin, Texas' SOUTH CONGRESS neighborhood which was in bad shape at one time, but is flourishing again with all sorts of quirky stuff.

Alabama's LOST CAPITALS about two long-abandoned towns, St. Stephens, which was capital of the territory of Alabama in 1817, and Old Cahawba, and was the new state's capital from 1820 to 1826.

Detroit's Michigan Central Station about a once-glorious structure that faces such an uncertain future. The Beaux-Arts landmark was built in 1913 and closed in 1988 and now stands in ruin. Eric Smith has done a striking photo essay that will take your breath away.

I've been watching the new series on "Detroit 1-8-7" and the first episode had a segment of a chase through the building which really struck home the building's plight.

Well Worth a Read, and Don't Forget to Join the NTHP. --RoadDog

America's Eleven Most Endangered Historical Sites-- Part 4

Being a Road Person, I Saved the Merritt Parkway for last. I'll copy what the Preservation Magazine had to say.


Since its completion in 1940, the Merritt Parkway has provided a pastoral setting--a dense canopy of green-- for a 37-mile drive through suburban Connecticut. In pleasing counterpoint to the landscape of indigenous trees and shrubs are bridges in various architectural styles--Art Deco, Gothic, French Renaissance, and Art Moderne. But times have changed since the 1940s, when much of Fairfield County was verdant farmland.

Now it's the most populous county in the state, and up to 80,000 vehicles travel the route each day. Because of safety concerns, the parkway has, over time, been "modernized," though some preservationists contend that certain state projects--such as road realignment and interchange redesign--have not followed established guidelines.

Furthermore, many of the bridges are in disrepair, with parapets crumbling, ironwork rusting, and pieces of concrete breaking off.

With millions of dollars coming in via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the state transportation department has embarked on a massive tree removal program that could undermine the aesthetic vision of the parkway's creators.

Local preservationists argue that safety concerns can be addressed without compromising the essence of the historic road.

The original article had no paragraphs.

The article in the Preservation Magazine had a night time picture of a bridge, probably Art Deco, that is lit up and quite impressive.

Save That Parkway. --RoadDog

America's Eleven Most Endangered Historical Sites-- Part 3

From the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

This annual list is always a great thing to get peoples' attention directed at some important places that may no longer be with us if things continue as they are.

HINCHLIFFE STADIUM-- PATTERSON, NEW JERSEY: It's glory days were when it was home to the New York Black Yankees of the Negro League. This was back when blacks were not allowed to play Major League Baseball even if they had all the abilities.

Constructed in 1932 and could seat up to 10,000 spectators.

It has become home to vagrants, gangs and drug users. Owned by the city schools, but they can't afford the maintenance. Last November, city voters approved an $11 million allocation to restore the stadium, but the city hasn't of yet released the funds.

PAGAT-- YIGO, GUAM: The remains of the island's indigenous people, the Chamarro, with over 50 mounds containing evidence of day-to-day life. Guam is a US territory.

The US military plans to relocated8,600 Marines and 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam which might cause damage to the site.

One More to Go, the Merritt Parkway. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lake and McHenry County Through Roads in the 1920s

Using state road maps from back then.

The 1917 map did not show roads in any but one way, so it would not be possible to tell if they were hard, oiled or dirt roads.

However, the next map I came across, 1921, did delineate between hard or oiled roads and dirt roads.

The Blazing Trail, along the Lake Michigan shore was all hard/oiled.

The east-west road from Waukegan to Volo was all hard/oiled.

From Volo to Woodstock, it was mostly dirt.

From just west of Woodstock to Garden Prairie it was mostly dirt.

From Garden Prairie to Rockford it was hard/oiled.

1922 MAP

All roads were shown the same way. Perhaps all were hard/oiled by then.

Until 1922, there were no new roads shown in Lake and McHenry counties.

The Growth of Roads. --RoadDog

What Hotel Guests Desire Most

From the September 19th Chicago Tribune.

Or should that be motel in honor of the motor car?

What is it that hotel/motel guests want? Of course, a "comfy mattress and hot breakfast" is still high on the list.

But according to 53,000 people asked in a survey by J.D. Power and Associates, FREE WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS is the "most desired amenity" in nearly every segment of the hotel industry.

It was found that the most expensive hotels are also the least likely to offer free Wi-Fi. Not one person staying at a luxury said they got it free. Guests at midscale hotels reported that 96% got the free stuff. Even 64% staying at budget hotels got it.

Hotels are more likely to feel pressure these days to offer that free Wi-Fi.

Luxury hotels do offer it, but often at added cost. The Ritz-Carlton in downtown LA offers Wi-Fi for an additional $12.99 a day. The one in downtown Chicago has free Wi-Fi, but it will cost $8.50 for high speed access. I guess they figure that if you can afford to stay in one of "those" places, an extra $8 to $13 would be of no concern.

Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman Vivian A. Deuschel, said, "We have no immediate plans to change the policy, but it's an ongoing subject of discussion."

Why Do the Most Expensive Have the Least in Some Cases? --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

North Carolina Bound: Summer 2010-- Part 14-- Perryville Battlefield

Maybe, I'll get through this past August 29th. Maybe not.

I saw a sign for Perryville, Kentucky, ahead on US-150. I got to thinking that I seem to remember a Civil War battle taking place at Perryville. Could this be one and the same?

Entering town, I saw a sign saying Perryville was the home of Eddie Gentry of the country group Montgomery Gentry, but then saw banners for the Civil War battlefield. It was.

I was thinking of driving on through because I was running a bit behind time to meet Denny Gibson in Mount Vernon. East of town it hit me, I really just couldn't pass up a battlefield I'd never been to before, so doubled back.

I didn't see any signs directing me to it so went down several roads. I was about to give up when I finally found a directional sign and had to drive several miles on a very narrow road before getting to it. (I later found that the sign to the battlefield on US-150 heading east was blocked by a tree. You can see it going west.

On the way into the state park, I saw an old Civil War relic store with a cannon over the front.

There is a nice museum and the battlefield is well-marked. I did walk around a walled-in cemetery and monument across from the museum. I didn't look further, but at least I can say I've been to it. But, as the gov says, "I'll be back."

Marking Perryville Off My List of Civil War Battlefields to Visit. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lake and McHenry Counties Through Roads 1917

Looking at the 1917 Illinois State Highway Map, there was just one through route shown in Lake County going east west and into McHenry County where it was joined by another road coming northwest from Chicago.

The east-west road in both counties had no name at the time, but started at Lake Michigan in Waukegan and went through Warrenton, Hainesville, Volo, McHenry, Woodstock and Marengo (where it joined the other road) and on to Belvidere and Rockford.

Today, this road is Il-120 to Woodstock. Then, I'm guessing it to be Il-47 to Il-176 to Il-23. Today, Il-120 from Waukegan west to Grayslake is also called Belvidere Road because of where this original road went although I'm surprised it is not Rockford Road because that town was definitely bigger. I had always wondered how it got the name Belvidere. There was even a Belvidere Mall in Waukegan.

There was also a north-south road running along the Lake Michigan shore from Highland Park in the south to Winthrop Harbor on the Wisconsin border. It was called the Blazing Trail and continued into Chicago where it ended.

In Marengo, it joined a road called the Grant Highway (shown on the map as a rectangle with yellow/black/yellow stripes). The Grant Highway came out of Chicago, Lombard, Addison, Bloomington, Addison, Elgin and Pingree Grove. I found out that the Grant Highway went from Chicago all the way out to Portland, Oregon.

Today, this route is US-20. And, US-20 also has the name U.S. Grant Memorial Highway clear through to Galena in the western part of the state.

So, That's How They Got Their Names. --RoadDog

Monday, October 11, 2010

Finding Rollins Road-- Part 3

Using the Illinois historic road map collection.

Continued from October 4th.


The first time I saw Rollins Road on a map. There were still lts of unpaved trails north of Long Lake (which it still goes by, although not in sight of it. I have heard from old-timers in the area that at one time Rollins Road actually ran beside the lake.

And, looking at a map of Round Lake Beach, lake Shore Drive does leave Rollins east of Long Lake and does a beeline straight into the stretch by the lake shore.

Today's Illinois Highway 120 was called Illinois Highway 20 and completely paved from Waukegan to Woodstock.


The town of Rollins shown on the map. Rollins Road shown as dirt. Well, actually, a road is shown. I don't know whether or not if the road is called Rollins Road. Illinois Highway 21 going through Lake Villa and Antioch. It was also called Illinois Highway 31.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Traveling in the Muslim World

OK, so it's not travel here in the good old US of A, but I came across and interesting review of Richard Poplak's book "The Sheikh's Batmobile: In Pursuit of American Pop Culture in the Muslim World" by June Sawyers.

Poplak drove through many Muslim countries looking to see what aspects of American culture existed, beginning with Kazakhstan, the "home" of the fictional Borat where the movie is regarded as a public relations disaster.

He heard Lionel Richie perform in the Libyan capital of Tripoli; found that 1970s and 1980s English and Australian pop stars are very popular in Dubai and discovered that the TV show "Ugly Betty" is still big in Egypt.

Here is a big surprise, hip-hop is "ubiquitous throughout the Muslim world. An eye-opening book on many levels."

And, I didn't think they much liked us.

A Horse of a Different Color, Indeed. --RoadDog

Friday, October 8, 2010

North Carolina Bound: Summer 2010-- Part 13-- So That's What It Is

The last post I mentioned the Mary Anderson memorial Highway, Buffalo Trace Park and Orange County, Indiana.

Love this internet as it sure makes looking stuff up easier than in the old days.

Here's what I found:

MARY ANDERSON MEMORIAL HIGHWAY-- Mary Anderson was a famous American stage actress born 1859 and died in 1940. She was a devout Catholic and donated land to the St. Francis Monastery which has a May Anderson artist colony. In 1989, a portion of US-150 adjoining the property was named for her.

BUFFALO TRACE PARK-- West of Palmyra, Indiana, in Harrison County. It is located on the edge of an old buffalo trace that went across Indiana and today is the path of US-150. In 1971, thirty acre Lake Coleman was added to the property.

ORANGE COUNTY, INDIANA-- The population is 19,306 and Paoli is the county seat. It was formed from surrounding counties in 1816 and first settled by Quakers fleeing from slavery in Orange County, North Carolina. They also brought free blacks along with them, many of whom received land in Indiana.

So That's the Story. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 7, 2010

North Carolina Bound: Summer 2010-- Part 12

Going back to catch up with some things I overlooked on August 29th.

PAOLI, INDIANA-- East of town there is a building with lots of old gas signs, There was also an old gas station further down the road.

I saw a "See Rock Falls" sign painted on the roof of an old barn.

You have to wonder why Paoli is in Orange County. This is not exactly orange growing country, so it must have to do with something else.

I picked up a good station, WKLO Real Country at 96.9 FM featuring oldies and new music.

East of Palmyra, I came across a Buffalo Trace Park. I had read that the whole route of US-150 follows an old buffalo trace across Indiana.

Today is the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Approaching Louisville, US-150 was called the Mary Anderson Memorial Highway.

I'll Get To NC One of These Days. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

America's Eleven Most Endangered Historical Sites-- Part 2

THREEFOOT BUILDING-- MERIDIAN, MISSISSIPPI--16 stories of art deco completed 1929. About 20 % has always been vacant and tower in disrepair, broken windows and facade terra cotta has fallen.

JUANA BRIONES HOUSE-- PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA-- A woman of many talents and a landowner back when women just didn't own land in the 1840s. Vacant and deteriorating. Owners have applied for demolition permit.

METROPOLITAN AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH-- WASHINGTON, DC-- From the 1880s, near the White House. In desperate need of repairs, stabilization and updating.

WILDERNESS BATTLEFIELD-- ORANGE AND SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTIES, VIRGINIA-- Wal Mart building a 140,000 square foot store on the edge of the battlefield. This has been quite a news story for the last two years.

Of course, as a Civil War buff, I'm "agin'" it.

Preserving the Old Stuff, One Thing at a Time. --RoadDog

America's Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places-- Part 1

From the July-August Preservation Magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Being a road-sort of a person, preservation is a major part of my agenda. The more we can keep the old roads old, the better.

They wrote more about them and you can find even more information at their website.

BLACK MOUNTAIN, LYNCH AND BENHAM, KENTUCKY-- Called "Bloody Harlan" in eastern Kentucky because of turbulent labor wars. Coal companies seeking permits to strip, auger and deep mine.

INDUSTRIAL ARTS BUILDING-- LINCOLN, NEBRASKA-- Opened 1913 at the Nebraska State Fair. suffering from years of neglect and deferred maintenance.

SAUGATUCK DUNES-- SAUGATUCK, MICHIGAN-- On Michigan's west coast. Really beautiful but in danger from development.

AMERICA'S STATE PARKS AND STATE-OWNED HISTORIC SITES-- With every state that I know of in fiscal straits, funding for these is drying up.

Old Roads and Preservation Just Go Together. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Does "Daydream Believer" Mean Anything to You?

This is from about two years ago, but I see I overlooked it so will include it here.


Died January 19, 2008.

Wrote "Daydeam Believer" for the Monkees, which as we all know became a REALLY BIG HIT. It is one of my wife Liz's two favorite songs of all time and she even had it on her ringtone. I always hate when she gets a call as then that song gets in my head and I can't stop humming it.

OK, so I'm humming it now.

The other song is "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues.

Anyway, before the song, he was a member of the Kingston Trio and later he wrote the song "Runaway Train" for country singer Roseanne Cash. During his career, he had over 40 solo albums. Quite a prolific singer and writer.

Some of the albums were "The Lonesome Picker Rides Again,""Airdream Believer," (I like that one. RATS AGAIN!! THAT SONG!!) and 1997's "Rough Sketches." This last one was a group of songs about Route 66, a road near and dear to me. Some of those songs include: "Neon Road," "Cadillac Ranch" (not Bruce's song), Dogs of San Jon" and "Angel Degadillo."

His fan site said he had been traveling Route 66 for several years and saw it as a metaphor for growth and change of the face of America.

I sure would like to get a copy of this album.

RATS!! There's That Song Again.

The Bankhead Highway

I came across an October 2nd articles on Texas' "The Bankhead Highway: Marking the Historical Spot."

I had heard of the highway before and even saw that I had a blog entry about it back on September 17, 2008, in regards to Zero Mile Markers in Washington, DC. It is at the same marker where the famous army convoy across the Lincoln Highway left in 1919.

It was an early east-west coastal road US Department of Defense initiative covering 3,000 miles from Washington, DC, to San Diego.

A Bankhead Highway Preservation forum was held. They are seeking state historical designation of portions of the road in Texas.

Back in May, Garland, Texas, dedicated a state historical marker for its portion.

Leaders of the group are trying to convince other towns of the economic possibilities of the road.

Could It become Another Route 66 or Lincoln Highway? --RoadDog

North Carolina Bound: Summer 2010-- Part 11-- Louisville and Kentucky

Anytime I'm in Kentucky, particularly around Louisville, I have a definite hankerin' for an area delicacy, a Hot Brown Sandwich. Now, that is some really good eating.

However, this time, I didn't get one and had to settle on good old Sliders from the Castle in one of the best-hidden places I've ever seen after I got off at the I-65-I-265 exit. How do you beat their special right now of three Sliders of your choice( I really like the A-1 Slides), fries and drink for $2.99.

Healthy eating on the road, you know.

I drove back toward Louisville and got off at I-264 and went east to US-150 which is aligned with US-31 from Louisville to Bardstown. The road is also called the Lincoln Heritage Highway because of Lincoln's Kentucky connection. I won't take this stretch again because of all the traffic and the most traffic lights I've about ever seen.

Driving through here, I got in touch with Denny Gibson who was wrapping up his Blue Ridge Parkway cruise. We made arrangements to meet several hours later at the eastern terminus of US-150 in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, by I-75.

In a Bluegrass State of Mind. --RoadDog

Monday, October 4, 2010

So That's Where Rollins Road Came From-- Part 2

Continued from October 1st.

Rollins Road is a drive I have often taken for shopping and the last two years I worked2004 to 2006, I had to drive all of it to get to my job at Round Lake Middle School in Round Lake Heights.

back then, I'd take US-12 to downtown Fox Lake, then Rollins Road into Round Lake.

I was able to get ahold of some old Illinois State Highway maps and started looking for the earliest mention of the road.

I also wondered where the name came from. I always figured it was most likely from a family name since so many local roads in the area are named for them.

I found that there was a town of Rollins, Illinois, located about where today's Il-83 and Rollins Road come together. It is no longer there, but if you search for it, you can still find it listed although I wasn't able to find anything except an arrow was it was. Possibly the town of Rollins was named aftera family named Rollins.

No businesses or homes are shown as having a Rollins address. I can't even find it in an Illinois gazetteer.

Most likely, there used to be a small settlement called Rollins which is now either a part of Round Lake Beach or Grayslake.

Where, O'Where Art Thou Rollins, Illinois. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What Route 66 Business Owners Had to Say

One last time with the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce survey.

These were the most common observations of business owners and their employees.

1. There are about as many travelers as last year but they are spending much less.

2. Foreign visitors are poor tippers.

3. Many stop to snap a photo then drive away without coming inside.

4. Overseas visitors know more about the history of Route 66 than Americans do.

5. There seem to be as many travelers heading east as are going west this year.

6. Except for the groups, I can't tell the Route 66 travelers from local area and interstate travelers.

7. The local Chamber of Commerce does not promote Route 66 as much as they should.

Support the Route 66 Businesses. --RoadDog

A Little-Known Civil War Battle-- The Battle of LaFayette, Georgia

From the September 30th Chattanooga Pulse.

Eighteen of 24 Confederate soldiers buried in LaFayette, Georgia's city cemetery have been identified through the efforts of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans camp.

They were killed in the 1864 Battle of LaFayette. The SCV camp is continuing research on the names of the final six. Nationally, some 300,000 soldiers from both sides remain unknown.

I had never heard of the Battle of LaFayette so went to dear old Wikipedia. It was a part of Sherman's Atlanta Campaign.

On June 18, 1864, a Union force of 450 men from the 4th, 6th and 7th Kentucky Cavalry regiments which had made its headquarters at the county court house in LaFayette. The rest of the men were scattered in housing about the square.

On June 24th, they were attacked by 1600 Confederate cavalrymen under the command of General Gideon Pillow. Pillow was moving along to destroy railroad bridges to disrupt Sherman's supply line.

The Kentuckians were surrounded and in bad shape before reinforcements arrived and drove the Confederates off.

US losses: 4 killed, 7 wounded, 53 captured.
CS losses: 24 killed, 53 wounded, 78 captured.

Travelers should also visit smaller battles as well as the big ones.

Didn't Know About It. --RoadDog

"Wish I Had More Time" on Route 66

I have had some entries on the non-scientific survey done by the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce at

They had some comments they found of interest.

1. "Wish I had done this when I was younger."

2. "I should have rented a car instead of using my own."

3. "This will cost me more than I expected."

4. "Gotta support the oil companies."

5. "I need a navigator who is not my wife."

6. "I expected more signs."

7. "Wish I had more time."


1. Definitely wish I had gotten into this much younger. I was 51 before I got into old roads. Before that, I was Mr. Superslab.

2. But if you rent a car, you can't put one of those nifty "This vehicle has been all 2,400 miles of Route 66." I know our 2003 Malibu sports two such signs proudly.

3. Always expect this to be so.

4. Don't get me started on this.

5. Completely false. Liz is a great navigator. I am a lousy navigator but an ok driver.

6. I'm taking they mean Route 66 signage. Kansas-east is good. Oklahoma-west it's bad.

7. Don't we all. Being retired definitely helps now.

Still Gettin' Our Kicks You Know Where. --RoadDog

Friday, October 1, 2010

So That's Where Rollins Road Came From

An important road in my neck of the woods, northern Lake County, Illinois, is called Rollins Road. It originally ran from US-45 on the east out to Round Lake and then was extended to Fox Lake. Now, it goes from US-45 to Grand Avenue, Illinois Highway 132. This was built to prevent the bottleneck at Il-83 and Il-132.

It was a two lane road back when we moved to Round Lake Beach in 1975 and had just one stop light at Cedar Lake Road. Now, it is four lanes with lots and lots of stoplights. Most of it from Il-83 to Fairfield Road is 40 mph with the exception of 30 mph through Round Lake Heights, which essentially is a speed trap, so definitely watch your speed through there.

Rollins Road is a major commercial district with a lot of the usual suspects along it: K-Mart, McDonald's, KFC, Taco Bell, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili and a host of other standard homogenized places.

I've often wondered where the name came from and figured it must be named after a person. I even contacted the Lake County department of Transportation and they didn't know where the name came from.

I believe I have found out why.

Rollins, Oh Rollins. What's in a Rollins. --RoadDog

What Do You Think About Route 66?-- Part 3

7. Tourists on 66 don't use the original alignments all the time for fear of getting lost, time delays, traffic, road conditions. Give yourself more time than you plan.

8. Travelers also use the interstate to avoid traffic, make up for lost time and avoid boring stretches of the road.

9. Asked to give one word to sum up their trip, travelers replied with hectic, challenging, hot, long, frustrating, fun and different.


7. More would use original alignments if there is good signage which is a big problem once you get west of Kansas. As far as traffic, most of my problems have been with farm machinery on the road, but they are easy to pass.

8. I use interstates from time to time. They are good to make up time. For some reason, whenever we're on 66, we lose gobs of time. I think it might be a watch thing. I also use the interstate instead of the frightening part of Chicago, and, of course, Bloomington-Normal, the towns that have forgotten about their Route 66 heritage. Very little to see. Too bad B-N can't be more like Lincoln to their north.

Boring stretches? Where? Well, maybe Illinois from Springfield to Litchfield.

9. Some of these bode well for 66, others not so good. I'd have a real big problem figuring out one word for the road. Perhaps more-fun-than-a-barrel-of-monkeys, wait, that's more than one word.

Gettin' My Kicks. --RoadDog