Friday, December 31, 2010

Going for an NTN Cruise-- Part 1-- Beers Around the World and Sliders

Yesterday, the Kellehers, Liz and I drove up to Cheesehead Land (Wisconsin) to play some NTN at some new-to-us places: Uncle Mike's Highway Pub and the Brat Stop, both in Kenosha off I-94 by Wis-50. We finished our tour at home base, Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes.

Always enjoy playing with them as together we make a really good team. We had four top twenties.

Even better, there are four NTN sites within a mile of each other and all are fairly close to motels. One, Rush Street, is as close as you can get, in the Best Western. The other one is the BW-3, er, Buffalo Wild Wings. And, there is a White Castle close by for those Slider attacks.

A perfect place to get your NTN fix.

It is always a good idea to visit new sites as soon as you can since most will probably drop NTN by the end of a year. The wonderful folks at hq just don't have a clue as how to keep sites. They could ask me. I've sure been to a lot of sites and know. But, they ask not.

From what I saw, neither place will have it for long. And both are popular places, especially the Brat Stop which is known for having the best, although expensive, of that sort of food.

These two new places put us at 52 new sites for the year and 910 overall.

Uncle Mike's Tomorrow. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gas Prices Gouging Me!!

We seem to have a new "Evil Axis" consisting of Big Oil, investors and no doubt the good folks out in the Middle East. Someone, somewhere, is driving up the price at the pump tremendously in the last month.

Prices around here (northeast Illinois) range from $3.22 to $3.26, the highest since the frenzy back in 2008. That's up from $2.90 a month ago.

Do they remember what happened to the economy the last time they did it? Or, perhaps the family suffering that came with it? Or the fact their greed served as a launching pad for the economic problems that cropped up and still exist?

What really gets my goat is that the federal government doesn't do anything to stop it.

Anyway, These Prices Are Really Going to Have an Effect on Road-Trippin' This Year. --RoadDog

The National Road's Impact on West Virginia-- Part 1

From the September 3rd West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Today, the historic National Road is a second choice of those whizzing by on I-70, but, in the early years of the 19th century it was referred to as "The Road That Built a Nation," the first federally-funded effort of the young nation. (The second federally funded road was between Detroit and Chicago now known as US-12.)

The National Road's roots go back to the 18th century with Braddock's Road and the General Forbes Road.

It was part of an overall transportation plan for the United States, including an extensive canal system and work on it was commenced in 1811 at Cumberland, Maryland. The road is also referred to as the Cumberland Road as a result. By 1818, it was completed to what eventually became West Virginia, but was a part of Virginia at the time.

It eventually was completed all the way to Illinois.

That is slow construction by today's standards, but you have to consider the primitive road-building tools they had at the time.

I have never been on the really short stretch of the National through West Virginia (kind of like Kansas on Route 66), but plan to do that some day.

More Coming. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

While on the Subject of Dana, Indiana-- Bert Shepard

This little town is also the birthplace of another notable son, Bert Shepard.

I'd never heard of him, but saw that he had a short career in MLB, so did some research.

It turns out that he was a pitcher with the Washington Senators in the 1940s after losing a leg in World War II, the only major player ever to do so with an artificial limb.

He had pitched in the minor leagues before the war, but Bert joined the Army Air Corps as a pilot of a P-38. After 33 missions, he was shot down over Germany and lost a leg. He taught himself to walk and pitch.

When he returned to baseball, he was signed by the Senators and, on August 4, 1945, with Washington trailing the Red Sox by a lot, he went in for relief and pitched five and a half innings, giving up one run on three hits in a 15-4 loss.

Later, he was a player-manager in the minors until 1954.

Two other items of interest from that game in 1845:

Shepherd came in for JOE CLEARLY, the last Irish-born player in the majors. Also, Boston's TOM McBRIDE tied a major league record with 6 rbis in the 4th inning.

I Didn't Know That. --RoadDog

Dana, Indiana, to Keep Ernie Pyle Museum-- Part 2

The state was planning to move the contents to the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, but the residents of Dana would have nothing to do with it. After all, Ernie Pyle was born in Dana, not Indianapolis.

Ernie Pyle did not write about the generals and commanders in the war, but rather about the regular-Joe soldiers, the rank and file. He was killed by a Japanese machine gunner April 18, 1945. None other than the president broke the news to the country.

The museum is housed in the white frame tenant farmer house in which Ernie was born and contains many of his and family's personal items. It became a state historic site in 1976 and the local American Legion raised $100,000 to have the home moved from the outskirts of town to the center.

This is not the first time Indiana has walked away from one of its historic sites. In the 1980s, they did the same with the Wilbur Wright Memorial Birthplace in Millville. A private group took it over and it has worked out well. Last year, they recorded a record 9,000 visitors thanks to billboards along I-70 (which don't mention the long distance once you get off).

Dana is 25 miles north of Terre Haute and I-70. It is at the intersection of US-36 and Indiana 71. US-36 is called the Ernie Pyle Memorial Highway.

Here's Hoping for the Best. --RoadDog

Confederateland and South of the Border

The recent rediscovery of the wreck of the Confederate gunboat CSS Peedee (I've also seen it as Pee Dee) has gotten a lot of press. I came across an article that linked the gunboat's remains with two roadside attractions, one still exists, so will write about it here.

From the Dec. 28th Columbia (SC) Free Times.

The Peedee was destroyed by Confederates to prevent its being captured by Union forces. (If you'd like to read more, go to my Civil War blog

The wreck would occasionally come to view during periods of low water in the Peedee River.

In 1954, a group of local businessmen destroyed most of what was left of the ship after spotting it when they brought in a bulldozer and made a roadway to the riverside and then attempted to drag it ashore for display at their planned roadside attraction to be called Confederateland near Marion, SC.

The Peedee broke into pieces with the effort and they grabbed whatever they could. A thirty-foot long piece of the stern was recovered along with the boiler, two engines and the propeller shafts.

They opened Confederateland and charged folks 25 cents to see the artifacts. No conservation was done and most of the items disintegrated over time. Obviously, Confederateland then closed.

The boiler somehow ended up on display at South of the Border, a really huge roadside attraction/tourist trap at I-95 on the NC/SC border. It eventually disappeared, most likely sold for salvage.

So Much for That. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End of the Line for Wilmington's World's Largest Christmas Tree?-- Part 2

City officials are now thinking that maybe it is time for the tradition to end. At least for the tree's sake. Some say it should be cut down, others that it might be saved, but it definitely can no longer be used as a Christmas display.

This year, the lighting ceremony was eliminated.

During one World War II year, it wasn't lit for fear of aiding the enemy. However, after that, it was lit as a symbol of hope and a return to normalcy.

Lighting the tree was the brainchild of Wilmington Town Commissioner J.E.L. "Hi Buddy" Wade, who was later mayor. In the first year, 450 electric lights were placed on it. In 1999, the number was up to 7,000 and last year down to 4,000 on two miles of 12-gauge wire.

In 1986, some city officials suggested the tree to be cut down, but it was saved by a massive petition campaign.

If you're in the area, this may be your last few days to see it. Lights are on from 5 to 10 pm until December 31st. It's at Hilton Park at 401 Hilton Street.

Hope They Can Save It, Even If It's Not a Christmas Destination Anymore. --RoadDog

End of the Line for Wilmington's World's Largest Living Christmas Tree?-- Part 1

From the Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

This could very likely be the last Christmas lighting for the live oak tree, estimated to be over 400 years old, after an 82-year-lighting display. It's not that the city doesn't want to spend the money and effort, but the poor old tree is showing its age.

The Oak, located in Hilton Park, was first lit in 1928, and after all these years has become a tradition for many local families and even visitors who go out to look at its Christmas finery.

It once stood 70 to 95 feet tall, it is now down to just 50 feet. It's branches still cover 110 feet, though. But, now, the lights are suspended from a utility pole instead of its branches, to take the weight off. They have been weakened from 400+ years of hurricanes and ice storms.

Save That Old Tree Which was Standing There During Both Battles of Fort Fisher and Wilmington's Occupation During the Civil War. --RoadDog

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dana, Indiana to Keep Ernie Pyle Museum-- Part 1

From the Dec. 25th Indianapolis Star "Dana works to raise $1M to maintain Ernie Pyle's beginning" by Will Higgins.

The little town of Dana, Indiana, near the Illinois border a short distance from Terre Haute, is dying. The population, now 658, continues to drop and business after business have ended. There isn't even a gas station or grocery in town anymore.

Then, the state of Indiana recently pulled the plug on one thing that the locals could not abide, and that was the shut down and proposed moving of the contents of a small museum honoring favorite son Ernie Pyle, the famed World War II journalist.

Locals rallied and it has been announced that the state will be turning the Ernie Pyle State Historic Site to the Friends of Ernie Pyle organization. Its thirteen members are setting out to raise a $1 million endowment fund to sustain operations indefinitely.

Last year, just 1,579 people visited the site, the least of any state historic site.

A Worthy Project. --RoadDog

Down Da Road: Largest Cross-- New Lincoln Highway Mural

Some New News About Old Roads.

1. LARGEST CROSS-- CBS 10 from Terre Haute, Indiana ran a bit on what they call the World's largest Cross located in Effingham, Illinois, by the intersection of I-70 and I-57. They said it ranks right up there with Texas' Cadillac Ranch in Route 66 and Ohio's Butter Jesus (I must admit that I've never heard of this one) as strange roadside attractions.

It stands 198 feet and was erected in 2001 as a symbol of hope. At the base there evidently is a place for people to leave testimony.

I f I recall, there is also one of these giant crosses in Texas along 66 as well.

2. NEW LINCOLN HIGHWAY MURAL-- The Dec, 25th Kane County (Il) Chronicle ran an article about the newest mural put up by the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition along the 179-mile corridor the country's oldest cross country highway cits across the state.

It is located on the Geneva, Il. Masonic Lodge at 10 S. Street and is the latest in the ILHC's goal of establishing murals in all 24 communities along the corridor.

This one features a motorcycle policeman and one of the first traffic lights showing the impact of the growing popularity of the automobile.

Each mural, and there are a lot already in place, is unique and hand-painted and valued at around $10,000.

The organization is to be commending for bring "Road History" to the masses.

At Least Until We Can No Longer Afford to Drive Because of the GRBs at Big Oil. Who'd Have Figured We'd Be Paying $3.16 a Gallon This deep Into December. Bit, I'm Sure It Won't Be Long Before We Perceive $3.16 as CHEAP, Figuring Prices Get to Where the GRBs and Our Enemies Want Them. --RoadDog

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas on Route 66-- Part 2

Taken from Ed Klein's Route 66 World Blog at Go to daily page.

On the SEVENTH DAY of Christmas, Route 66 Gave to Me-- Memories of 66-- Ed spotlighted Earl and Cheryl Cory. I know we have met some really interesting people on our 66 travels, some of whom are no longer with us like Tom Teague, Bob Waldmire and Dot (the Texas mini museum.)

EIGHTH DAY-- All the associations. Liz and I belong to the associations of Illinois and Missouri.

NINTH DAY-- New businesses of 66. Ed spotlighted David Schwartz's Pics on Rt. 66 website.

TENTH DAY-- New businesses of 66-- Part 2-- Becky's Barn in Auburn, Illinois. We stopped there on the Illinois Motor Tour last year. Friendliest folks you'll ever meet.

ELEVENTH DAY-- Road Tours and Festivals. We've been to a bunch of 'em and will be to more.

TWELFTH DAY-- The Responsibility to Keep Route 66 Alive which Ed said is a fitting way to end the Twelve Days of Christmas. This would include supporting the associations and businesses.

Great Job Ed Klein. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 23, 2010

T-Giving NC- 2010-- Ohio Travelin'

November 21st, hit the road at 8:50 and by 8:52, was driving under that great "Welcome to Ohio Arch over I-70.

Saw a sign for Skyline Chili at Exit 29 and also another one at Exit 36. So, if you're a-longing for some of that really great Cincinnati 3-Way to 5-Way chili, this is where to get off if it is after 10 am. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't. Oh well.

Just west of Exit 41 is a barn with the Ohio Bicentennial logo painted on it along the north side of I-70. I understand there were quite a few such barns at the time. (There is also one on I-77 south of Cambridge.)

I saw a sign for Tim Horton's restaurant but know nothing about it.

Some interesting names at exits: Mud Creek at 41, Mad River at 43. Exit 44 is Wright Air Force Base and Museum as well as Wright Brothers site.

I like the Ohio state highway signage which incorporates the outline of the state. I sure wish Illinois would do that like it once did. The rectangle in use now is very generic.

Still on the Road, Day 2. --RoadDog

The Twelve Days of Christmas on Route 66-- Part 1

I came across a blog with a different take on that old holiday song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." This was "The Twelve Days of Christmas on Route 66."

It was on the Route 66 World blog at I will just list the things they were thankful for and some of my own comments.

For photos and more information, go to the site. They are up to the eleventh day right now.

ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS ROUTE 66 GAVE TO ME-- Sprague's Super Station in Normal, Illinois. Finally something for Route 66 from the two cities which seem to have turned their backs on the Mother Road. At least, with the new owners, it won't get torn down, but not much has been done because of financial reasons since they got it.

SECOND DAY-- The Route 66 Association of Illinois. They belong as do Liz and I. We joined in 2002 after meeting founder Tom Teague at Bill Shea's in Springfield.

THIRD DAY-- The People of Route 66-- Part 1-- Ken "Landrunner" Turmel. We've met him several times and have his wonderful Route 66 postal cancellation stamp lithograph.

FOURTH DAY-- The Places of Route 66-- Part 1-- Motel Safari in Tucumcari, New Mexico. We've seen it. but not stayed. It is a hard choice between the Blue Swallow and here. Sounds like it is another trip back to the day, so possibly the next trip.

Also downtown Tucumcari which is being revitalized.

FIFTH DAY-- The Events on Route 66-- The Mother Road Rally every June from Chicago to Santa Monica. It's a motorcycle thing, the ultimate way to enjoy the road if I wasn't so afraid of them.

SIXTH DAY-- The People and Places on Route 66-- Part 2-- Rich Henry and Henry's Rabbit Ranch. If there is a better ambassador for 66, I'd like to know who they are. He was the first 66er we met on our first trip on 66 back in 2002. He sure hooked and reeled us in.

Last Six Days Tomorrow. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Route 66: An All-American Road-- Part 4

Other things that appeal to international travelers along the route are the towns and people, something you don't get to experience on the interstates. They drive across 8 states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas(a real little bit), Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

There are three time zones.

You get to see all sorts of topography: forests, prairies, desert, mountains and rivers (along with a big lake and an ocean).

Talking to locals is also fun (and a big reason it takes us so long to drive on any part of the road). Then, there are all the quirky things to see and do like the Blue Whale in Oklahoma and Cadillac Ranch in Texas.

My own thought on the subject is that you get to see the "Real America." That means the good along with the bad.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Route 66: An All-American Road-- Part 3

Continuing with the story by Jim Winnerman in the Christian Science Monitor.

Route 66 first aroused international interest because of John Steinbeck's 1939 book "Grapes of Wrath" where he referred to it as the "Mother Road, a path of opportunity for people seeking a new life in the American West as they fled the Dust Bowl during the Depression."

In 1946, there was the popular song "get Your Kicks on Route 66" sung by Nat King Cole. Since then, it has been recorded by more than 200 artists in several languages.

Then, in the early sixties, there was the TV series "Route 66" featuring two men going across the US in a Corvette. This was very popular overseas.

Since then, there have been the 1969 movie "Easy Rider" and then in 2006, the animated feature "Cars."

Take My Way. --RoadDog

Monday, December 20, 2010

T-Giving NC--2010-- NTNin' at Buffalo Wings and Rings-- Richmond, Indiana

It is quite easy to get Buffalo Wings and Rings confused with the much-larger chain called Buffalo Wild Wings. Not all BWRs have NTN, but all BWWs (I still call them BW3s) do.

We'd played at the Buffalo Wings and Rings on a previous trip when we stopped for the night in Richmond. At the time, we weren't expecting to stop there so had not done any researching NTN sites ahead of time.

Our motel was close to the restaurant and we were very happy to find they had the game so played awhile.

The first motel I tried to stop at, the Motel 6, had an even better price, but way too many people waiting to check in, so I ended up at the Days Inn across the street.

I had their signature gyro sandwich which was very good.

Sadly, as far as NTN, this place was all too typical. No one was playing and the game wasn't even on any TVs, despite a good-sized crowd in the place. When the game is not even on, this is never a good sign.

They also have just five boards. The bartender put the game on for me. The Buzztime scores were from 6,200 to 7.900, low for this time of the month.

I played a couple games and did have a national #11 with 9829 on Buzztime for RoadDog. I also played part of the hour-long music game and was happy they had so many old country song questions.

It will be too bad to lose this as an NTN site, expecially with all the nearby motels within walking distance.

There is a Biffalo Wild Wings about a mile down the road, though.

Definitely a Long First Day. --RoadDog

Route 66: An All-American Road-- Part 2

The international interest in Route 66 is remarkable. Personally, I believe more Europeans know about the road and want to drive it than Americans. There are Route 66 clubs in Romania and the Czech Republic, two places you wouldn't expect to find ones.

A man from Belgium, Swa Frantzen, created the Historic Route 66 website, one of the first internet sources for the road.

Route 66 is what you'd have to call a cult status, which is why you find such interest in Soulsby's Shell Station. The station's owner, Mike Dragovich, says the station "is better known overseas than it is in this country." Americans tend to whiz by on nearby I-55.

Sweden's Linda Persson and a fried drove 66 in 2007 in a 1975 Pontiac they purchased especially for the trip. According to her, "Route 66 is just something everyone has heard about."

Swa Frantzen who has made the trip twice with his wife, said, "Route 66 is seen everywhere as a symbol for adventure, freedom, being a rebel, being on the road, even rock 'n' roll."

Not to mention a trip back into another time as well as living proof that, "Gettin' there is Just as Important as being There.".

More to Come. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mister Boffo Tells It like It Is

I couldn't help but have a chuckle over a comic strip in Mr. Boffo back in Jan. 17, 2010.

In these days where anything you know how to use today is gone by tomorrow and you have to learn some different technology this hits home. I don't care if the new technology is better and faster, I just don't like learning new stuff, especially when in a few months it will be obsolete.

Plus, as far as environmentalists and all the Green Folk, what happens to all the "new" technology when it is discarded?

Anyway, the strip reads:

"They Can't Take That Away from Me."

Then, it continued, "Another example of an old, no longer viable song lyric that hasn't stood the test of time."

Oh, Yes!! I am always wondering what "they" will take away from me next.

Never Used an ATM and STILL Uses Audio Cassettes. At Least for Now. --RoadDog

Route 66: An All-American Road-- Part 1

From Jan. 18, 2009 Your Time "Route 66: Historic road west still drives interest" by Jim Winnerman in Christian Science Monitor.

Of course, this kind of an article will always attract my interest for some reason.

Mr. Winnerman started off talking about Soulsby's Shell station in Mt. Olive, Illinois and called it an unlikely attraction for international tourists. The place opened in 1926 and closed since 1991, but, it's being on the historic Route 66 draws the tourists in.

From 1927 to 1985, Route 66 stretched 2,448 miles (much more when you add in different alignments) from Chicago to Los Angeles when it was a major thoroughfare for travelers going west.

A John Steinbeck novel, hit song, TV show and several movies transformed the stretch of asphalt into an international symbol of American wonderlust.

Today's motorists do the road on motorcycles (the best way to do it, but I'm afraid of them), RVs, tour buses and cars, both current and vintage (of course, a Corvette is the best way by auto).

Michael French and wife Vanessa of southern England rented Harley's in 2008 and made the end-to-end trip with another British couple: "For the four of us it was the desire to see the 'real' America and experience for ourselves the amazing spirit Americans had and to try to appreciate the trials endured on their search for a better life out West."

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, December 17, 2010

Orton Plantation in North Carolina is Bought

From the December 1st Wilmington Star-News.

Big house, tourist spot with lots of grounds bought for $45 million.

That would be Orton Plantation, near Wilmington which was bought by billionaire hedge-fund trader Louis Moore Bacon who has not told his plans for it. He currently lives in London, but was born in Raleigh and has family in the Wilmington.

He is also a direct descendant of Roger Moore who built Orton in 1725.

The property was bought from the family of Laurence Sprunt who have owned it since 1884. The Sprunt family is also a notable group who have had ties with the Wilmington area for two centuries.

The property includes 8,300 acres along with the plantation house.

The popular tourist site, especially its magnificent gardens, has been closed for renovation since June.

Bacon is listed by Forbes as the 238th-richest man in America with $1.7 billion and has a history of buying natural lands and preserving them.

Let's hope he continues this mode with Orton. It would be a shame if people couldn't visit the place anymore.

Hoping for the Best. --RoadDog

Hey Architecture Fans...Wright Mansion for Sale

From the Oct. 24th Chicago Tribune Elite Street column by Bob Goldsborough.

And for a cool $2.89 million, it can be yours!!

Riverside's Avery Coonley Mansion, built from 1908-1912 has just come on the market. For that price, you get five bedrooms, 6,000 square feet Prairie Style home that makes up two-thirds of the former estate. Frank Lloyd Wright even went so far as to describe it as his best house.

In 1950, it was split into two houses that now sit on two adjacent lots and have separate owners. What you would be buying is the part that housed public rooms and the servants' quarters.

Owner dean Eastman bought the 12-room mansion in 2000 for $975,000 and then spent large amounts to restore it.

It also includes five baths, three fire places, a wine room, a back deck, a reflecting pool, a summer house and a sunken garden.

On 2005, Eastman bought a decrepit Wright-designed coach house that was part of the original mansion for $350,000 and allowed the long-time resident to live there until until she died. He later restored it and the grounds and listed it for $1.6 million twice before taking it off the market.

There are lots of articles about this historic house.

Looks Like There is Some Money in Those Wright Houses. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas on the Border

The last two weeks, I've been listening to a Christmas CD while driving the Dakota that I bought about six years ago, but never listened to it until now. I sure wish I had, as I put it right there next to my favorite Christmas albums.

It is subtitles: A Spicy Holiday recipe of Texas Blues, Hot Country and Mexican Salsa. It's mighty good stuff.

I don't know if it was performed by a group brought together for that purpose or if it is a regular group, but either way, it is one fine group of musicians and vocalists.

It was produced by John Darnall and features Johnny Neel, Fats Kaplan, Gary Smith, Martin Stoek, John Darnall, Tom Roady (how's that for a road name?), Dennis Solee, Chris Harris, Mike Black and Guy Penrod.

There are all sorts of musical influences in the songs, from Zydeco, Cajun, Mexican and Caribbean.

I think I got it for $3-$5.

Well Worth a Listen. --RoadDog

Some more Information on the Four Seasons' Christmas Album

I've seen that it was released in both 1962 and 1966, but is described as a best-selling Christmas classic with the great rocker "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

The only new song that I can figure is "Christmas Tears" written by Bob Crewe (who else) and Sid Bass.

Amazon has four new ones from $46 and 16 used from $7. I don't know if these would be CDs or albums.

CD Universe says it came out in 1962 and describe it as "as one of the best-ever pop-rock Christmas albums' right up there with Phil Spector's and the Beach Boys. But, it is "a bit more traditional and only rocks sporadically."

That was what I didn't like at first, but, it really grows on you.

Sherry My Rag Doll. --RoadDog

Christmas Cruisin' CDs-- 4 Seasons Christmas Album

Definitely getting into the Christmas mode these days.

While in North Carolina, I bought a Cd at Sears (bet you didn't know they still sold Cds, well, on a very limited basis and probably just at Christmas). I had always wondered if the Four Seasons had put out a Christmas collection. I figured they had, but never had come across one.

My mom was ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at Berkely Mall and I was wandering around to kill time. I saw Christmas CDs at Sears and started flipping through them AND THERE IT WAS!!

The 4 Seasons Christmas Album.

And, even better, it was just $5!!! I would have quickly given $10 for it. After what seemed to be twenty minutes, I finally was able to pay for it. Slowest cashiers I have ever seen.

I played it off and on all the way back to Illinois. At first, i was a bit disappointed as I was hoping for more songs like their version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" which is vintage 4 Seasons. But the more I heard, the more I liked.

So, it will join my collection of top Christmas albums along with Jimmy Buffett, Beach Boys and the Tractors.

And a Bog Ho-Ho-Ho to You. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

T-Giving NC--2010-- CDs-- Part 2

I had already had the new one by the ZAK BROWN BAND: YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE in the truck when I left. I listened to it some more. Another great effort by the band. No sophomore jinx here. Well worth a listen, especially "Knee deep' with Jimmy Buffett.

The other two-CD set by a country star I had with me was HITS ALIVE by BRAD PAISLEY. This is his first greatest hits collection to my knowledge and contains 14 studio hits as well as 11 he does live.

Some of the tunes: Mud on the Tires,Ticks (who'd have figured anyone would have ever done a song with this title), Little Moments, Celebrity, Alcohol and Online.

Live, he does more greatest hits like Water, American Saturday Night and I'm Gonna Miss her.

This guy can sing 'em, play 'em and is a world-class practical joker by all accounts. Probably my favorite country performer right now.

But, I Look So Much Better on the Internet. --RoadDog

T-Giving 2010: CDs-- Part 1

Before I left, I went into my collection of CDs and picked out five I had not yet listened to to take along with me on the trip. Nothing like cruising down the road and listening to tunes.

Every so often, however, I start doing a seek on local stations as well. All sorts of really good stuff out there as well.

I had along with me two-double CD collections featuring country stars. One of them was TILL THE LAST SHOT'S FIRED: THE DEFINITIVE GREATEST HITS OF TRACE ADKINS--

One of my current favorites with that country voice of his. This one has 28 of really fine tunes including all of his "Kickin' Tunes like "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," "Rough & Ready,"Chrome," "Hot Mama," "Marry for Money" and Ladies Love Country Boys."

Also more reflective ones like "You're Gonna Miss This" and "Then They Do."

Of course, there is also that song that always "gets me" when I hear it, "Til the Last Shot's Fired."

You Want to get Some Real Fine Country, here It Is. --RoadDog

T-Giving NC-- 2010-- The Road Home

Time to Head for Home.


The Road Home
Missed It
No Golden Grazin' for Me
Get My Golden Grazin'
Mountain Passin'


Dogs Take My Wallet?
No Chocolate Uglys
Sliders for Breakfast-- More Healthy Eatin'
Unexpected Bowling
More Healthy Eatin' in Indiana-- McRibs Again
Gas Gouge
47 Home
Home Sweet Home

Love Road Trippin' Bur ALWAYS Good to Get Home. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eisler Brothers Store

Here's what David Wickline had to say about the Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store in his "Images of 66" book.

"Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store (1925) at 7109 SE Highway 66, Riverton. Ot was originally a Standard Oil Station and Cafe named the Williams Y-NOT-EAT Bar-B-Q. In the 1940s the name changed to the Williams AG Food Market until 1973. Eisler Brothers Store is home to the Kansas Historic Route 66 Association.

Eisler's has a superb deli featuring hand-crafted sandwiches. The gift shop is packed with a great selection of Route 66 memorabilia. Check out the original stamped tin ceiling. Behind the store is a vintage outhouse (David didn't say if it was still operational or not.)

Scott Nelson, Proprietor. (620) 848-3330."

"Images of 66." Don't Leave Home Without It. --RoadDog

Eisler Brothers Closes

What little of Route 66 that Kansas has in its 13-mile stretch got a little bit less recently. According to Ron Warnick in his Route 66 News blog, the Eisler Brothers store in Riverton, Kansas, closed. The owners are now having a family squabble for ownership which hopefully will soon be settled.

Liz and I have stopped here every time we've ever driven through the state. Great food, lots of Route 66 stuff and characters as well. This is where I first met Dean Walker and his feet. I wasn't ready for the demonstration either. That will sure take your voice away.

Here's Hoping It Won't be Closed Long. --RoadDog

T-Giving NC-- 2010-- Goldsboro

A Quick and Silly Look at My Trip to North Carolina for Family Thanksgiving.


Ring Mom's Bell
No Bell Here
A Cafeteria Experience
Sam's Place
Cook My 'Cue


A Very, Very Christmas Tree Day
A Central Lunch
More Trees
A Historical Town

On My Way Home Next. --RoadDog

Monday, December 13, 2010

T-Giving NC-- 2010-- Goldsboro

A Quick Look at the Trip.


Black Friday
A Brotherly Trip
Lost Again in Green Town
'Cue and Calabash Shrimp


Antiquin' With Bob and Judy
Front Porch Decoratin'
It's a Vampire Thing, You Wouldn't Understand


A Religious Experience
Eatin' With the Ladies
Bears Beat Vick

Not Through Yet. --RoadDog

Florida Scenic Highways-- Part 4

Explaining some of the last post.

GREEN MOUNTAINS-- this road runs down the center of the state and consisted of a lot of rolling hills. I guess in Florida you can make a mountain out of a mole hill.

COURTNEY CAMPBELL-- A 4-mile causeway and bridge on the northern part of Old Tampa Bay. It got its name from Courtney Campbell, a US representative and road person who was instrumental in the beautification of it.

Now, You Know. --RoadDog

Florida Scenic Highways-- Part 3

From Saturday.


River of Lakes Heritage Corridor
Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway
The Ridge
Florida Black Bear
Green Mountain (Mountain in Florida?)**
Sun Coast Scenic Parkway
Courtney Campbell**
Palma Sola
Bradenton Beach


Tamiami Trail-- Windows on the Gulf
Indian River Lagoon-- Treasure Gulf
Lemon Bay/Myakka Trail
Broward County A1A
Florida Keys

** On next blog entry.

I have driven the Florida Keys many times and it is the longest 100 or so miles I've ever driven. There is so much to see and so much to watch out for, i am always ready for a nap when we get to Key West.

Definitely a site to check out.

Driving Down Those Really Flat Roads (Green Mountain?) --RoadDog

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Florida Scenic Highways-- Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about a site that I found on the scenic roads in the state of Florida.

Here is a breakdown of the roads by region. You can view a map of the road and information as well as links at the site:


Pensacola Scenic Bluffs
Scenic Highway 30a
Big Bend


A1A Scenic & Historical Coastal Byway
William Bartram*
J.C. Penney Memorial**
Old Florida Heritage Highway
Heritage Crossroads: Miles of History

*William Bartram (1739-1829) was a noted American naturalist famous for his botanic and bird drawings who explored the St. John's River in 1774, where the scenic byway is loacted.

**Yep, that J.C. Penney. Remember to use your Penney Charge Card.

Taking a Tan Break. --RoadDog

Friday, December 10, 2010

T-Giving NC 2010-- Northwestern vs. Illinois

While still on Il-47, I went through the town of Forrest which has an old mom and pop motel called the Midwest Motel and one of those little family restaurants called the Eagle's Nest and the junction with US-24.

I picked up a Chicago AM station with the Wildcat-Illini game which was being played at Wrigley Field, the first football game there since the Bears left in 1970.

Gibson City had the cheapest gas I'd seen so far, $2.72 along with a double-screen Harvest Moon Drive-In.

I popped my Kinda Kinks CD in which had a lot of greatest hits tracks as a bonus to the original ones.

That would have been fun to be at Wrigley, but would have cost more than I would care to pay. The running back we had such a problem with when Northern played Illinois, Mike Leshoure, also ran over the Wildcats in the Illini first possession. Three plays and Illinois had a TD.

The game was referred to as the All-State Wrigleyville Classic (sponsored by All-State Insurance).

Entered Indiana by Danville and stopped at my usual Pilot Station in Crawfordsville and found gas the cheapest yet, $2.60. I'd been on I-74 since Mohomet (west of Champaign).

I saw that there was a White Castle at Exit 66. All that horrendous construction was still going on along I-465 in Indianapolis.

It was getting late. I would have the Illinois-Northwestern game off and on throughout Indiana. Illinois quickly went up 14-0 before the Wildcats figured out where they were. Lost the game most of the way on I-70 east of Indy. I finally picked it up by Richmond and heard the end of the game. Unfortunately, Northwestern lost.

I got Room 110 at the Days Inn for $51.50, tax included.

Played NTN at the Buffalo Wings and Rings a short distance away. I had a #12 nationally, but was the only one usual.

Enough for a First Day. --RoadDog

Florida Scenic Highways

Florida's not just Orlando and beaches. You can drive down some pretty good roads as well.

Today, I came across of very good site for us roadies to take a look at before our next trip to F-L-A.

Liz and I have gone to the Florida Panhandle the last three years and will no doubt go again thanks to what has all the appearances of a fourth straight cold and snowy winter coming our way.

You can find the site at

The state is divided into four areas and 23 highways. Each one has a in depth look at it. An extensive list of links also accompanies each highway.

Well Worth Checking Out. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Travelin' 'Spenses for North Carolina Trip 2010-- Part 2

I have been these routes back and forth to North Carolina a lot of times so have a pretty good idea of where the cheapest gas is along the way.

Again, you will find West Virginia as the most expensive, followed closely by Illinois. The gas at Crawfordsville is generally the cheapest in Indiana. Ohio is usually the third most expensive.

The interstate stations around Burlington and Mebane, North Carolina are usually the cheapest as well.

Asheville, NC, is normally the most expensive gas along I-40 in that state. If you fill up at Mebane, you can make it through to Dandridge, Tennessee, where the Pilot station has cheap gas.

Generally, anywhere you find a Pilot station, that will be your cheapest gas and they are nice enough to post their prices on signs by the interstate. Where you find a Pilot, other stations in the area usually will match the price as well.

On I-65, my nephew Andy told me that gas at the Tennessee-Kentucky stateline is usually the cheapest, and they were.

More Gas Coming. --RoadDog

T-Giving NC-- 2010-- Goldsboro


Mom's Entourage
Bringing Christmas Downstairs
The Evil Christmas Tree
Way Too Young


Taken at the Retro
Andy & the Gang
A Holly 'Cue Time at Wilber's
Folks Coming Home
Getting My Veggies
Cat dares
"I Got No Place Else to Go!"


Commiseratin' With Family Over Turkey

Still There. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

T-Giving NC 2010-- The Road There

A Quick Look at the Trip.

NOVEMBER 20TH-- Saturday

Road Preppin'
McRib Nirvana
Huskies on the Road
Fall Classic at Wrigley
The Other Richmond

NOVEMBER 21st-- Sunday

Another McRib Nirvana
The National
More Hot Air
Takin' Me Home, Country Roads With Big Tolls
carry Me Back to Old Virginy

NOVEMBER 22nd-- Monday

Going Down the Mountain When She Comes
Andy's Home Time
Snappy Chop
Gosbore here I Am

Finally here, or is It There? --RoadDog

Travelin' 'Spences NC Thanksgiving Trip 2010-- Part 1

I drove 1077 miles to Goldsboro, North Carolina and 1,197 coming back for a total of 2,274 miles. In addition, I put on another 102 miles going to Greenville, NC, for the ECU game.

I spent $349.87 in gas. These higher prices Big Oil is keeping this year sure cost me.

Gas prices:

11-20 Morris, Il. $2.87
11-20 Crawfordsville, In. $2.60
11-21 Hebron, Ohio $2.70
11-21 Wytheville, Va. $2.68
11-22 Mebane, NC $2.70
12-1 Goldsboro, NC $2.74
12-1 Hickory, NC $2.76
12-1 Dandridge, Tn $2.58
12-2 Franklin, Ky $2.70
12-2 Crawfordsville, In. $2.86
12-2 Saunemin, Il. $2.80

On Illinois Highway 47, Morris is usually at least 10 cents cheaper than anywhere to the north.

Crawfordsville, Indiana, is always the cheapest between Illinois and Indianapolis.

Get your gas before West Virginia as that is always the most expensive. That is why I filled up in Hebron, Ohio (although Cambridge, Oh is better as far as amount of gas to get across W.V.).

More Gas Coming Up. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Iron Brigade Memorial Highway

Today, I posted about US Highway 12, which is also now called the Iron Brigade Memorial Highway in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. This unit was one of the Union's best fighting organizations during the war; one that Confederates hated to face.

Three of the regiments were from Wisconsin and one each from Indiana and Michigan.

The Illinois signage is especially striking and we have an example near where I live in Spring Grove at US-12 and State Park Road.

You can view the entry at my Civil War blog,

I Always Like it When a Road Goes Memorial. --RoadDog

The Bottom of It All

Before today, the last day I posted was Friday. Saturday I spent the day cleaning and preparing for our Bears game party on Sunday. Sunday was the party, then yesterday, our internet and cable system was down all day.

One really nice thing about having parties is that it gives me the incentive to clean the basement and especially my computer area. This is something I rarely do.

I have always wondered how some people (like my wife) can keep their desks so free of clutter. While teaching, we had a lot of women and even men who could do the same. Invariably, my reviews included something about a messy desk. But, hey, I knew where everything mostly was!!

Not me, give me a flat surface and I can clutter it up in no time. And, I'm talking about minutes, not hours.

I can actually see the desk top for a little while. I'd heard rumors it was there, but now we have proof.

But what do I do with that pile of stuff I moved off the desk?

Oh well, I saw pictures of Einstein and Edison's desks and there is a definite similarity.

So, You Might Say I Finally Got to the Bottom of It. --RoadDog

Saluting Our Valiant Heroes at Pearl Harbor

Although this is not related to roads, although part of I-65 in Kentucky is dedicated to Pearl Harbor and I'm sure other roads in other states are as well, every year this time, I take time to honor our fallen military personnel and survivors of that sneak attack that finally got us into World War II.

Our entrance was inevitable by that time, but it was amazing that we could have been caught that unprepared.

Anyway, I put up US flags in both the front and back of the house despite today's extreme cold.

It's sad to see that the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association is meeting out in Hawaii to determine whether or not to end its organization. Age is now doing what Japanese bombs and torpedoes couldn't do 69 years ago today. All survivors are in their upper 80s, lower 90s.

While I was teaching, my students certainly heard about Pearl Harbor, especially when I began teaching US history. What began as a one-day study, eventually became three days.

A little later I'll posting several Pearl Harbor entries on my history blog, Cooter's History Thing at If you go to the labels I have a large number of posts dealing with the event.

I'll Never Forget. --RoadDog

What US Highway Were You Born Closest To?

The Yahoo e-mail group for US-50 posed this question of interest so I am am repeating it here.

What US highway were you born closest to?

I'd have to say US-70 and US-117 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. One of them went directly by the old Wayne Memorial Hospital on Ash Street near Herman Park and today is classified as a business route.

Of interest, my grandparents on my mother's side lived about two blocks away on Jackson Street. My mom was born in that house.

How About You? --RoadDog

Friday, December 3, 2010

Here's Some Road Music For Ya'

From Dave Hoekstra in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Paul McCartney wrote "Helen Wheels" to be a British version of Route 66 and we all know he drove Route 66 during his 66th birthday. The tune is nothing like "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" but does mention places in England like our song does.

Hoekstra's picks for road songs, especially those dealing with Route 66.

ROUTE 66-- Nat King Cole (Hey, I like Asleep at the Wheel's version the best).
66 HIGHWAY BLUES-- Steven James
OUT ON THE ROAD-- Jimmy Radeo (Chicago)
PROMISED LAND-- Chuck Berry (St. Louis)
LONG WAY FROM ST. LOUIS-- June Christy (Springfield, Il)
BIG TOWN-- Ronnie Self (Springfield, Mo.)
HOPPIN' IN JOPLIN-- Mary Anne Price
CRAZY MAMA-- J.J. Cale (Tulsa)
BALLAD OF HOLLIS BROWN-- Leon Russel (Tulsa)
NEVER BEEN TO SPAIN-- Three Dog Night (Oklahoma)
ONE O'CLOCK JUMP-- Count Basie (OKC)
SO LET'S ROCK-- Bob Wills & Texas Playboys
BLUE YODEL NO. 1 (T FOR TEXAS)-- Jimmie Rodgers
BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX-- Glen Campbell (Albuquerque)
IT WAS I-- Skip & Flip (Southern Arizona)

Name That Tune. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 2, 2010

T-Giving NC--2010-- Back Home Again

Arrived home several hours ago and won't be up too much longer as I am real "tarred." I put another 560 miles on the car today, leaving White House Tennessee a little before 8 am this morning and superslabbin' it on I-65 to I-465 around Indianapolis to I-74, then Il-47 most of the rest of the way home.

I was going to watch for the oval barns in Illinois along 47, but it was dark by the time I got to Dwight, so I didn't see the other five or so remaining along the stretch.

I had snow flurries across most of Illinois, but nothing stuck. More proof that winter is here, or at least, almost here.

I was on the road for thirteen days (five of which were driving).

I will definitely need to get a vehicle that gets better gas mileage than the Dodge Dakota as I spent way too much at the gas pumps and found that we had a gas gouge at some point recently. Gas at the Pilot station in Crawfordsville, Indiana, was $2.60 on November 20th and $2.86 today!! OUCH!!!

THE GRBs Are At It Again. --RoadDog