Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Eat Your Way Across America: 50 states, 50 Festivals-- Part 6: Out West

Definiely some interesting eating choices, including some things I have never heard of.

19. STEINLEY CUP OFFICIAL STATE MICROBREWERY COMPETITION-- SARATOGA, WYO., AUGUST 20TH-- I am a big fan of microbrews, just don't like their expense. Like they say, Sip your way through. Kids can vote on fave root beer. (I like the play on the hockey cup name.) saratogachamber.info.

20. WORLD'S LARGEST CALF FRY FESTIVAL & COOK-OFF-- VINITA, OK, AUG. 27TH-- Calf Fries, aka Rocky Mountain Oysters, are actually fried calf testicles. Around 2,000 pounds are dished out each year, but lots of other things to eat for you faint-of-heart.

I had calf fries once when we went through Vinita. Tastes like chicken. Liz wouldn't touch it. AND...Vinita is on good ol' Route 66!!!

Poor little calf. vinita.com

21. BEST IN THE WEST NUGGET RIB COOK-OFF-- SPARKS, NEV., AUG. 31-SEPT. 5TH-- Half a million 'cue-lovers attend America's biggest rib cook-off each year. Some 100 tons sold. They have a contest where "athletes" have 12 minutes to eat ribs. The record is 9.8 pounds. (I wonder if that includes the weight of the bone.) nuggetribcookoff.com.

22. GOLDEN ONION DAYS-- PAYSON, UTAH, SEPT. 1ST-5TH-- Lots of onion-stuff here. Winning chefs get cash and mouthwash. paysonutah.org.

Here Little Calfie, Here Little Calfie. I Have a Surprise for You. --RoadDog

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thanking Our Veterans

Today, May 30, 2011, is Memorial Day, a day in which we honor veterans who fought in all of America's wars dating back to the Revolution. This honor to those who served, suffered and died started after the Civil War.

I already went outside this morning and put up my US flags in four places: the big one on the deck, a smaller one on the mailbox, and two others in the front porch flower bed.

Later, we will be on our way up for the annual Memorial Day parade in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. We've been doing this for longer than I remember. I'll be getting out my USA shirt and hat before we go.

My American Legion Post in Fox Lake, Illinois, is having a ceremony at the train station as well.

Thank You Veterans. --RoadDog

Eat Your Way Across America: 50 Festivals, 50 States-- Part 5: Out West

From the May 22nd Parade Magazine.

13. LEBANON STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL-- LEBANON, ORE., JUNE 2-5-- Began 1909 when strawberries cost two to four cents a pound. They make a giant shortcake that feeds 15,000 using 1,000 pounds of the stuff. lebanonstrawberryfestival.com.

14. CZECH DAYS-- TABOR, SD, JUNE 16-18-- Founded by Czech residents who began coming here in 1869. Signature sweet is the kolache, a fruit-filled pastry. You can burn off those calories in the polka dance-off. taborczechdays.com.

15. NORTHWEST RASPBERRY FESTIVAL-- LYNDEN, WASH, JULY 15-16-- Two-thirds of US grown raspberries come from Whatcom County, home to Lynden. Pies, sundaes and wine. bellingham.com

16. GILROY GARLIC FESTIVAL-- GILROY, CA, JULY 29-31-- Garlic bread, garlic fries, froglegs, WATERMELON? and free garlic ice cream. I don't know about those last two. gilroygarlicfestival.com.

17. OLATHE SWEET CORN FESTIVAL-- OLATHE, COLO., AUG 5-6-- Hot days, cool nights and glacier-fed fields said to produce some of America's sweetest sweet corn. For the price of admission, eat all the cobs you want. olathesweetcornfest.com.

18. HUCKLEBERRY FESTIVAL-- TROUT CREEK, MONTANA, AUG 12-14-- They call huckleberries the "blueberry with attitude." You can get it in shakes, ice cream, cheesecake, chocolates and pancakes. Then listen to contenders in the elk bugling contest. Last year, kids blowing through the hose of a vacuum cleaner won. huckleberryfestival.com.

Wonderin' What They'll Blow Next. --RoadDog

Give It a Listen: The Drive's History of Rock and Roll All Day Today

It just started at 7 am Central Time on the Drive, WDRV 97.1 FM in Chicago. If you ever wanted to know about the history of "our" music, this is the place to be if you're by a 'pute , one of those phone things, or living in the Chicagoland area where you can simply listen to it on the old-fashioned r-a-d-i-o.

Chapter 1: The Birth of Rock, is on right now. Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes is playing. They don't only play the music, they give a concise of history of it.

It's streaming live at www. wdrv.com.

This is an encore presentation.

Enjoy the Music and Learn Something Too. "Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire." --RoadDog

Saturday, May 28, 2011

On Slugburgers and Blueberry Buckles

OK, I had to find out some more about these two items which I've never heard of before.

I mostly came across recipes for blueberry buckles, but it can best be described as a blueberry coffee cake.

There is lots of information about the slugburger, however, even a Wikipedia article.

The slugburger is a big thing in northeast Mississippi, especially around Corinth (where the Slugburger Festival is held) and Iuka. It started when John Weeks came from Chicago in 1917 and had a hamburger with meat, extended by potato flakes and flour. This really caught on during the Great depression when people were trying to extend their food dollar as much as possible.

Sometime before 1950, these extenders were replaced by soy grits.

At one time it was called the Weeksburger, but the name slugburger became attached to it. In that part of Mississippi, a slug was slang for a nickel, which I imagine is what it cost.

In Tupelo, Mississippi, there was a drive-in called Johnny's, which served slugburgers. As a youth, Elvis ate there.

There is also a Weeks Diner in Booneville, Mississippi.

Next Time Through, I'm Gonna Have to Get Me a Slugburger! --RoadDog

Eat Your Way Across America: 50 States, 50 Festivals-- Part 4: The South

These are all from the May 22nd Parade Magazine.

6. HOPE WATERMELON FESTIVAL, HOPE, ARK AUG. 11-13-- Watermelon eating and seed-spitting contests as well as Watermelon Olympics. hopemelonfest.com

7. KENTUCKY BOURBON FESTIVAL, BARDSTOWN, KY SEPT. 13-18-- Bourbon, made here since 1776 is main lure but also horse pitching and barrel racing. (I've got a serious taste for bourbon thanks to Denny. Thanks, Denny. Of course, my favorite is Rebel Yell. I might have been to this one, but don't remember.) kybourbonfestival.com

8. WEST VIRGINIA ROADKILL COOK-OFF AND AUTUMN HARVEST FESTIVAL, MARLINTON W. VA. SEPT. 24-- Well, not really roadkill, but crazy collisions of weird meats. Past delicacies: armadillo and roadrunner tacos and hog with groundhog gravy. (This one sounds REAL interesting.) pccocwv.com/festival.htm.

9. SUFFOLK PEANUT FESTIVAL, SUFFOLK, VA. OCT. 6-9-- World's only peanut butter sculpture contest. (And, I LOVE my PEANUTS, any way, shape or form!) suffolkfest.org.

10. SOUTH CAROLINA SWEET POTATO FESTIVAL, DARLINGTON, SC OCT. 8-- The average American eats 5.2 pounds of sweet potatoes a year. And, they're healthy as well. (Sweet potato fries, pancakes and baked. Love 'em all.) visitdarlingtoncounty.org.

11. ANNUAL NATIONAL SHRIMP FESTIVAL, GILF SHORES, ALA OCT 13-16-- In 2010, more than 250,000 came to feast on blackened, steamed, rolled-in-coconut, dressed in cocktail sauce and most any other way you can think. Try a Cajun Pistol: bread rolls stuffed with seafood and then deep-fried. (Sounds like a winner to me. And, Lambert's Cafe is just up the road in Foley.) nationalshrimpfestival.com.

12. BOGGY BOTTOM MULLET FESTIVAL, NICEVILLE, FL. OCT 21-23-- Up to four tons of this fish will be consumed. Also, lots of music. Rascal Flats and the Dixie Chicks have performed in the past. (They say mullet is garbage fish, but if you eat it right away, it's good. I can attest to that.) cityofniceville.org.

I'd have to go to this last festival for no other reason than the name. That is SOME name.

I'll Have a Mullet with a Side of Roadkill. --RoadDog

Eat Your Way Across America: 50 Staes, 50 Festivals-- Part 3: The South

Going to the Southlands Now.

1. JAMBALAYA FESTIVAL, GONZALEZ, LA. MAY 26-29-- Dozens of varieties of this Cajun-Creole dish. Also, Po' Boys and crawfish bread. jambalayafestival.org

2. INTERNATIONAL BISCUIT FESTIVAL, KNOXVILLE, TN MAY 27-28-- See which baker "will rise to the occasion." Grand Champion last year was the Fat Elvis, a peanut butter, banana and bacon creation. biscuitfest.com

3. GEORGIA PEACH FESTIVAL, FORT VALLEY, GA. JUNE 3-11-- Mix 150 pounds flour, 75 pounds butter, 150 pounds sugar, 32 gallons milk and 75 pounds peaches and what do you get? At 5X11 feet, the world's largest peach cobbler! gapeachfestival.com

4. NORTH CAROLINA BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL, BURGAW, NC JUNE 18-- Pies, buckles(?) and breads ina picture-perfect town. ncblueberryfestival.com.

5. SLUGBURGER FESTIVAL, CORINTH, MS. JULY 7-9-- Definitely an unappetizing name as I have to fight them over my hostas and other flowers every year. But, a slugburger is actually a deep-fried beef and soy-meal patty served on a bun. slugburgerfestival.com

I'll Have a Slug and Cobb. --RoadDog

About Time!! I'm Back!!!!

This morning, I again tried to get to Blogspot via my regular page and again could just get my other two blogs. Starting Wednesday, I could not get these two blogs, this one and my Civil War one, to log on.

Today, while voting for Save-a-Pet animal shelter in Lake County, I still wasn't able to get in. I switched over to the Guest Account, and was able to actually get to the Blogspot site, typed my account and password in, and now here I am.

If you can't get in the front way, try the back, I reckon.

Good to be back.

The Car Was Getting a Bit Antsy!!! --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On Reaching 60

Today, I reached my sixties. I called Mom, who is on a tour group in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and thanked her for having me sixty years ago, and then for putting up with me for all the time after that. I told her it was hard to believe I was that old. She said, if I thought I was old at 60, what about her?

No big deals planned this time around for either Liz (who also hit 60 Jan. 10th this year) or myself. We had real big parties at 30, 40 and 50.

Liz bought me several bricks of audio cassette and two Sony CD/cassette boomboxes. Have to stock up on that before they take it away from from because all of the downloaders.

I plan to do some yardwork then hit Hello Folks and Donovan's Reef for some liquid refreshment. We started celebrating yesterday with visits to the Snuggery and Vickie's on the Fox River in McHenry and then Mulligan's (soon to be the Twisted Moose) north of that town.

Enjoying the fifth year of my retirement. Sixth year doesn't begin until school starts this fall.

I have to make the choice soon of whether to keep the '85 Firebird (which we've had since it was new) or get a new Camaro or Mustang (Middle Age Crisis, you know). The Firebird needs a lot of work.

Still have to get the boat out of the barn out in Hebron.

Rock and Roll Never Dies--It Just Never Retires. Happy 70th Birthday to Bob Dylan Today. --RoadDog

Eat Your Way Across America: 50 States, 50 Festivals-- Part 2: Midwest

Still in the Midwest. Yesterday, I went to the website of the World's Largest Brat Festival in Madison, Wisconsin and am thinking of attending one of the days. Looks like a real good time, even beyond eating brats.

33. NATIONAL HAMBURGER FESTIVAL-- AKRON, OHIO-- AUG. 20-21-- Bob would be so proud. burgers, burgers and more burgers. For those of you unafraid to get a little messy, you can bob for your burger in a kiddie pool filled with ketchup (or is that catsup?). hamburgerfestival.com.

34. SPINACH FESTIVAL-- LENEXA, KANSAS-- SEPTEMBER 10-- The Spinach Capital of the World since the 1930s. World's largest spinach salad and even spinach desserts. lenexa.com/parks/festivals_spinach.html.

(I learned something today. I was spelling the word spinich. Hey, anybody have some Cutty Shark to wash it down with? I hear Cutty Shark and spinich is especially good in Niagra Falls.)

35. PERSIMMON FESTIVAL-- MITCHELL, INDIANA-- SEPT. 17-24-- Autumn fruit native to southern Indiana. All things persimmon (I think I've heard of them), including a persimmon pizza. persimmonfestival.org.

36. AMERICAN ROYAL BARBECUE-- KANSAS CITY, MO.-- SEPT. 29-OCT. 2-- The World Series of Barbecue. The Super Bowl of Swine. You can see the best of the best from across the US working their magic, if your idea of perfume is the smell coming from a grill. americanroyal.com.

37. WORLD FOOD FESTIVAL-- DES MOINES, IOWA-- OCT. 7-9-- For cheap folk like me. Tastes for $1 or plates for $5. Cooks from all over the world. This one all of a sudden is looking real good.

That's a Wrap on the Midwest. --RoadDog

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eat Your Way Across America: Fifty States, 50 Food Festivals-- Part 1: The Midwest

From the May 22nd Parade Magazine.

I'll start close to home in the Midwest.

28. WORLD'S LARGEST BRAT FEST-- Madison, Wisconsin May 27-30. In 2010 a record 209,376 bratwursts were eaten along with 172 gallons of relish, hopefully sauerkraut. bratfest.com. I might go to this one. Madison is about 70 miles away.

29. RHUBARB FESTIVAL-- Lanesboro, Minnesota June 4th. member of the buckwheat family and too much like strawberries if you ask me. rhubarbfestival.com.

30. TASTE OF CHICAGO-- Chicago, Illinois June 24-July 3rd. Said to be world's largest food festival. In 2010, 2.6 million attended. tasteofchicago.us.

31. NATIONAL CHERRY FESTIVAL-- Traverse City, Michigan July 2-9. All sorts of cherry...and, of course, cherry pie. cherryfestival.org.

32. WAYNE CHICKEN SHOW-- Wayne, Nebraska July 8-10-- Any and all things chicken. chickenshow.com.

The Way to My heart, Er...Stomach. --RoadDog

Escaping the Blizzard-- Part 14: Supportin' the Pack in the Land of Sunshine and Old Fogies


Another great Holiday Inn Express breakfast, today biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs. Overcast and a little rain in the morning.

We went over to Dave's for awhile then had lunch at a deli. Dave claimed they had some mighty good hot dogs and they sure did.


The general discussion was where to see the Packer-Steeler Super Bowl game. Perhaps one of the bars near the hotel to avoid DUIs.

The discussion was going on between Al, Frank and myself when Mark called to say he was over at a place called Harbour Cove and they had a big 30-foot screen set up outside and had a party planned, so we drove over to check it out.

Definitely a rich boys' haven over there. The price was right for the game party, but, unfortunately, all the seats were taken.

We were having a discussion when Dave called to say he was having a get-together over at his place. Why not, so we drove over.

Coming Up, the Owls and the Breaks. --RoadDog

Friday, May 20, 2011

Finding Rollins Road-- Part 4

Continued from Oct. 11, 2010.

Rollins Road is a major east-west road connecting eastern and western Lake County in Illinois (northeast corner of the state by Lake Michigan and bordering Wisconsin).

Today, it goes from Gurnee to Fox Lake. Until a few years ago, it ended at US-45 at its eastern terminus, but that was extended to Grand Avenue, Il-132, a few miles west of Gurnee Mills.

The western terminus is at Grand Avenue in Fox Lake by Millenium Park.

I have driven this road many times going to our boat, which is moored in Fox Lake. Plus, the majority of Round Lake Beach's SHS (Standard Homeginized Stuff) big box stores are along Rollins from Il-83 to Cedar Lake Road. Our house in Round Lake Beach was just a few blocks south of Rollins.

Driving from Spring Grove to the new middle school in Round Lake Heights for my last two years teaching 2004-2006, was entirely along Rollins from Fox Lake.

Besides the extension at the eastern end, I have seen a realignment from east of Wilson Road to Washington Street in Ingleside. There have been many realignments and extensions in the past.

At least now, after looking at the old Illinois road maps, I know the name came from a little village (no longer there) about where the present Rollins Road crosses Il-83. Of course, this village might have been named after a Rollins family.

It's a Rollins Thing, You Wouldn't Understand. --RoadDog

The National Road

The National Road originally connected the Potomac River at Cumberland' Maryland, and the Ohio Rover at Wheeling, Virginia, now West Virginia. It was later extended to Vandalia, Illinois, and on to St. Louis.

Cumberland was chosen for the starting point because of its proximity to the Potomac, Washington, DC, and the established transportation hub of canals (the article said railroads also, but I don't think they had them back in the first decade of the 1800s.

There was also a nearby road to the booming port of Baltimore.

Besides National Road, it was also called the Cumberland Road.

It has also been called the "Road That Built a Nation."

A ceremony was held a couple weekends ago at Riverside Park in Cumberland to mark the 200th anniversary of the start of the National Road. A 12-foot replica of an original National Road marker was dedicated at the time.

Another Road I Want to Eventually Drive the Length. --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Escaping the Blizzard: Cape Coral, Fl.--Part 13: Frank's Confusion, Packer Town USA

February 5th


Today, Frank had another one of those senior moments. A silver car was in the hotel parking lot and Franks says, "Hey, someone has the same little Daewoo (referring to our Aveo rental) and he tries to get into it. Only, it is a silver Chevy Cobalt. Thankfully, the owner wasn't around.


After returning to the hotel from Hooter's, I walked over to the Monkey Bar and was approached by a guy saying, "I've never seen a guy with a Sox shirt and a Packer hat." he knew the feelings between the Bears and Packers and figured that if I had a Sox shirt on, I must be a Bears fan.

Back at the hotel, I was on the computer downstairs catching up on e-mails and blog entries, a couple checked in wearing Packer hats and shirts. I overheard them asking where the Packer bars in the area were in Fort Myers Beach. I told him I had seen one advertising for the Green Bay crowd.

Later the desk clerk came over to me and had a print out he had gotten from PackerBars.com. There were two in Fort Myers and also Cape Coral Crab and Steakhouse was the good old green and gold.

By the way, I'm a Packer fan unless they play the Bears.

Have to Keep My Priorities Straight. --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Escaping the Blizzard: Cape Coral, Fl.-- Part 12: Boating, a '67, a Hoot and a Monkey

February 5th-- SATURDAY


Still cruising on the mighty Caloosahatchie River across central Florida. We went as far as the Franklin Lock and Dam, about 33 miles up the river (which is 67 miles long and drains the northern part of the Everglades.

We passed the U-75 bridge and the two US-41 bridges as well as the very first US-41 bridge.

Once we got past Fort Myers, where the river really widens, it got really rough because of the wind. I've been on rough water on the Chain of Lakes, but never anything like this. We were really taking a pounding.

Then, we were almost swamped by the wake of a very large private cruiser, the GRBs!!! Probably a hedge fund manager.

We went to the Cape Coral Beach pier where Tim pulled the boat out with major difficulty because of all the wind-driven waves.

A '67, A HOOT and a MONKEY

Went to Tim and Liz's and saw they had a '67 Camaro convertible!! Wow! Brought back memories of my old '67 Firebird convertible. After some slobbering on my part, everyone met up at the local Hooter's for some much needed food and drinks. This one is about the third-ever Hooter's built. The chain started in Clearwater, Florida, up the coast.

Satiated, we went out to take a look at what may become Uncle Al's new home. He'll put in a bid Monday when the bank opens.

Back to the motel and that was all for Frank who went to bed.

I walked across the street to the Monkey Bar and had some comments about my Green Bay Packer hat (hey, tomorrow was Super Bowl and you-know-who was playing).

Enjoyed the brews and one-man band.

A Good Day NOT to Be in the Frigid North. --RoadDog

A Feast Fit for an Almost-Sixty-Year-Old-- Part 3

Those Riviera Docks are worth the price of admission by themselves. Check out Yahoo images. Then, tied up to them are the Gage Lake Geneva Cruise Line fleet of ships, some dating back to 1900 and restored perfectly for a taste of when the best way to get from place to place around Geneva Lake was by boat, before US-12 was built.

You have a variety of tours you can take on these boats. Check out the www.cruiselakegeneva.com website.

Today, work was being done on the hull of one of the boats.


Fish fries are quite popular on Fridays around the Chicagoland area because of the large number of Catholics who did not eat meat on Fridays for many years until fairly recently.

There are many really good ones, but I'd vote the best as being here at Popeye's. It was $11.99, but has been raised to $12.50 and worth every cent, but even better at $6.25!!

You get your choice of fried or broiled or a combo, which is what we get. The boiled is good, but the fried is the best I've had. Cod and the outside is the perfect breading and inside moist.

Then, you have your choice of fries or potato pancakes. Not much of a question for us. We never turn down a chance for potato pancakes. You can get fries anywhere, but not tater 'cakes. What is the proper way to eat potato pancakes? You need to have apple sauce on every piece approaching the mouth.

And then there is apple sauce, homemade cole slaw and drawn butter for the boiled fish.

Then, they have the audacity to ask if you want dessert. Hey, I just had my dessert and only wish I had room for more.

Good Eatin' in the Neighborhood. --RoadDog

Monday, May 16, 2011

Getting Our Kicks on Fruit 66 (That's Right, Fruit!)

GET YOUR NUTRITIONAL KICKS as it says on the label.

May 2nd, we were in the Southside Pub (part of the TraveLodge Motel) in Springfield, Illinois, toasting the end of a horrible man and having a good time with various patrons, when I espied these funny-looking cans in a variety of colors behind the bar. They looked like these new energy drinks and each one sported a big 66 in a shield.

They turned out to be cans of Fruit 66 sparkling fruit juice. They were a bit on the pricey side at $2.75 for 8 ounces but we just had to try one. We got the orange tangerine flavor.

Very, very tasty and, as the label said, equivalent to one serving of fruit. Also, 100% pure juice + 2 oz of sparkling water. No added sugars, no artificial or colors, gluten free, caffeine free and no preservatives.

The people at the TraveLodge say they are always looking for things to show their Route 66 heritage.

You can get more information about the drink at www.fruit-66.com and is put out by 4U2U Brands LLC. out of Richmond, Virginia.

Now, You Can Have Your Kicks and Fruit, Too. --RoadDog

A Feast Fit for an Almost 60-Year-Old-- Part 2


The town is called Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, but the body of water is Geneva Lake. It has long been a resort for the rich folks from Chicago around the turn of last century. Today, you don't have to be a millionaire, but it "ain't" cheap.

Food at Popeye's is mostly in the $13 to $20 range.

But, it is really good and then there's that million dollar view of the docks and Geneva Lake.


After ordering our tea, I noticed that the table next to us had a telephone, flower vase, current newspaper, coffee cup and a picture of a guy.

I inquired of the waiter who said the owner of Popeye's, Nick Anagnos, used to sit at this very table every morning before they opened and drink his coffee, talk on the phone and read his paper.

He died this past March and "The Tradition Continues." They have a little blurb on the drink list, "Nick Anagnos 1935-2011, The Rotisserie King."

Of course, Popeye's is famous for its chicken rotisserie cooked up outside every day. Some of the best chicken you'll ever eat.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Great American Summer Road Trips-- Part 1

From mainstreet.com.

Great Road Trips if you can afford them with these ridiculous gas prices. Mileage and length of time from the site.

BOURBON TRAIL-- in Kentucky. I've been to one place of the six or seven. Designated driver strongly suggested.

GREAT RIVER ROAD-- 2,968 miles, 5 days, Lake Ithasca, Minnesota to Gulf of Mexico along the Mississippi River. I've driven parts of it.

BBQ TOUR-- 892 miles, 2 days, North Carolina. I've been to a whole bunch of them, but there is only so much bbq you can eat in two days. This one, like the Bourbon Trail, is one best done in segments. At least you can't get a DUI, maybe a POI, Piggin' Out Influence.

LONELIEST ROAD-- US-50 from San Francisco to Maryland. 5,902 miles, 9 days. The "Loneliest Road" part is mostly out west in Nevada.

On the Road Again, I Can't Afford to Be On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Feast Fit for an Almost-Sixty-Year Old-- Part 1

Yesterday, Liz and I drove to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to have the great fish fry at Popeye's (not the fried chicken chain) on the shore of Geneva Lake.

We drove US-12 through Richmond and entered Wisconsin at Genoa City where we took Walworth County Highway H to Lake Geneva. This is the original alignment of US-12 before the expressway was built.

This is a beautiful drive with considerably less traffic than the express way.

Coming into Lake Geneva, we took Wells Street, also the former 12 alignment. This goes by several old motels, including an old tourist court with individual cottages. These motels are vestiges of when the old US-12 was the gateway to Wisconsin and Lake Geneva.

Old US-12, then turned onto Wis. Hwy-50, Main Street, so took it to where we got off on the one way street where we parked (25 cents for 30 minutes) and went into Popeye's.


We are in a club where we get a 50% off coupon for our birthday month, so used that.

Popeye's has been open since the 1970s and the interior is all nautical with a ship-shaped bar. We were lucky enough to get a table along the windows which featured a great view of the lake as well as the Riviera Docks, built in 1932 and one impressive building.

Good Eatin' Coming Up. --RoadDog

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the '48 Tucker-- Part 2

6. The TUCKER ENGINE was a water-cooled adaptation of an air-cooled airplane engine.

7. The TUCKER ENGINE could be removed in 30 minutes by one man.

8. SEVEN TUCKERS were driven around the Indianapolis Speedway for two weeks at 90-95 mph average in 1948. One car blew a tire at 100 mph and rolled three times, but the driver walked away.

9. Despite charges of fraud, the company's BALANCE SHEET on Oct. 31, 1948, showed $16 million in assets and $2 million in liabilities.

10. US Attorney OTTO KERNER, Jr., who prosecuted the Tucker Corp., was later convicted on 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy and related charges for stock fraud in 1974. He was an Illinois governor from 1961-1968.

Good Old Illinois Again. --RoadDog

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the '48 Tucker-- Part 1

From the Jan. 30, 2011, Chicago Tribune article by Paul Duchene.

1. ALEX TREMULIS' original design had a center driving position with swivel seats on each side, but it was changed to left-hand drive.

2. The first 589-cubic-inch ENGINE was situated crossways and intended to drive the back wheels directly through hydraulic pimps.

3. When buyers order a Tucker, they received THEIR CHOICE of a Tucker radio, seat covers or fitted luggage and the number of their car so nobody could jump in line, hence No. 1010.

4. RUMORS had been spread that the Tucker COULD NOT REVERSE. So this was the first thing salesmen had to show that it could do.

5. Tucker had hoped to get COL. ROBERT McCORMICK, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, on his side, but when the 6'4" man sat in the car, his hat was pushed down by the top. McCormick was not impresses.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, May 13, 2011

Preston Tucker: The Man Behind the Car-- Part 2

He had his designer, now Tucker needed a place to build his vision. The 475-acre Dodge plant in Chicago which had built engines for B-29s during the war was available. Tucker approached the War Assets Administration and had the backing of Walter Reuther, head of the United Auto Workers union. He was sure he had the factory.

While waiting for an answer on the factory, Tucker proceeded to raise the needed capital to begin production. Twenty million dollars was the goal. He raised $6 million through dealer franchises.

Then, it was announced that the factory would go to Lustron Corporation and the franchise sales dried up. Offering stock seemed pointless without a place to build the car.

Tucker claimed backdoor Washington, DC, politics were to blame which angered some people in the government who then set out to get him. Broadcaster Drew Pearson accused Tucker of bribery.

In the end, Tucker kept his plant. But on May 28, 1948, the Securities and Exchange Commission held a secret investigation into whether Tucker was going to use the money he had collected to make his car or line his pockets. On June 10, 1949, as the first fifty cars were being built, Tucker was charged with fraud.

The plant closed and the trial dragged on for three months before Tucker was acquitted, but he had lost all his money and his dream. Tucker died of cancer in 1956.

Wondering If the Tucker Automobile Would Still Be Around. --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Preston Tucker: The Man Behind the Car-- Part 1

From the Jan. 30, 2011, Chicago Tribune by Paul Duchene.

"A Detroit policeman during Prohibition, a lifelong salesman and a motorhead since the first car he saw scared his grandfather's horse in 1906, Preston Tucker lived life at full speed."

One of his first jobs was as a delivery boy at Cadillac where he impresses his bosses by using roller skates to go faster. His heroes were race car drivers. In the 1930s, he sold every major brand of American car and lots of them.

Not only was he energetic, but a designer as well. With World War II looming, he built a machine shop behind his home and built a high speed armored car with a power-operated gun turret. The military bought the turret and fitted it onto PY-boats and aircraft.


Another Tucker goal was to build cars. In 1946, he hired Alex Tremulis to design his car. Before being drafted into the Army, Tremulis had designed the 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt. In the Army Air Force he designed a bomber and a vertical takeoff aircraft that would eventually become the space shuttle.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Unearthed Tucker

From the Jan. 30, 2011 Chicago Tribune.

Tucker automobile 1010 was dragged out of a garage in Auburn, Washington, where it had been parked for 54 years. It was complete, but not running. Jan. 22nd, it sold at auction for $797,500.

i don't think I can get that for my '85 Firebird.

The complete story was covered on my history blog http://cootershistorything.blogspot.com on April28, 2011 and May 10th.

Interesting Reading. --RoadDog

It's a Gas Here in Illinois

OK, the price of a barrel of oil dropped almost $10 on Thursday and went back up $3 on Friday. That with the 2% drop in gas use here in the US would make you thing that prices would go down.

However, during the weekend, the price remained the same as it was Thursday all over the area. Finally, Monday, I saw the price had dropped from $4.27 to $4.23 in Fox Lake. Today, gas was $4.20 in Johnsburg, down 10 cents from Thursday.

However, the Shell station at Chapel Hill and Illinois Hwy 120 was at $4.50 today!! The highest I've ever seen at a station.

Overall, the price of gas dropped a little...A VERY LITTLE!!! Other than the Shell station which was $4.40 two weeks ago. Perhaps the $4.50 was because they hadn't felt it necessary to lower their price.

Some are even predicting that gas will start dropping. That Big Oil has raised it to about as high as it can go.

I'm hoping their greed will get the better of them and they'll keep it going up. I'd like to see $6 to $7 a gallon. Then, perhaps, the government will actually take their playground privileges away. Or better yet, the price of oil will go into a spiral like it did before.

I will not be happy until gas is at $2.50 a gallon. Reasonable for us and a fair profit for Big Oil or whoever the part of the Axis of Evil who is doing this wants.

Still Not Funny. --RoadDog

Monday, May 9, 2011

Now, That's Expensive Gas

During our trip April 29th to May 4th,. I kept tally on gas prices along the way. All towns are in Illinois, ranging from the northeast corner down to Springfield and back again. All prices are rounded up the 9/10s cent.

April 29th

Dekalb $4.06, $4.10, $4.16
Ottawa-- $3.90
Streeter-- $4.10
Pontiac-- $4.10
Towanda-- $4.20
Atlanta-- $4.10
Lincoln-- $4.10
Springfield-- $3.96

May 2

Springfield-- $3.93

May 3rd Going north toward Chicago.


$4.20 at the Road Runner station at I-55 (27 cents increase from previous day!!)
Still $3.93 at Thornton's
$4.16 at Shell on 9th Street
$3.93 $3.40 for ethanol 85

Sherman-- $4.06, $4.20, $3.95
Williamsville-- $4.08
Lincoln-- $3.98, $4
Atlanta-- $4.20
Bloomington-- $4.18, $4.20, $4.04
Normal-- $4.20
Towanda-- $4
Lexington-- $4.20
Chenoa-- $4.30, $4.17
Pontiac-- $4.30, $4.06
Morris-- $4.30, $4.40 Shell
Sugar Grove-- $4.40 BP, $4.38 66
Dekalb-- $4.25
Woodstock-- $4.40, $4.38

Tuesday was the day of the REALLY BIG GAS GOUGE!!

And How Much Profit Will Big Oil Make from This? --RoadDog

Springfield's Norb Andy's Open Again-- Part 4: What to Eat

Since the folks who own Joe Roger's Chili Parlor also own Norb Andy's, they feature that chili.

You can order a bowl of it for $4.35 or a cup for $3.15. It us also on Norb'sChili Cheese Fries, Chili Dog $4.49, Chili Cheese Burger $5.45.


Norb's Chili Cheese Nachos with J.R. chili meat (mild, med-hot or hot)

THE HORSESHOE FEATURING "THE ORIGINAL LELAND HOTEL HORSESHOE SAUCE)-- Two beef patties served on top of white toast and smothered with our homemade cheese sauce, topped with a mound of crisp French fries (Also available with den burger, grilled or buffalo chicken) for $8.10. You can get a ponyshoe (smaller_ for $6.55.

The old Leland Hotel is right across the street and has been turned into apartments or condos.

CHILISHOE-- with what else, Joe Rogers Chili. $9.10, pony for $7.50.

Well Worth a Stop the Next time You're in Springfield. --RoadDog

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Today Marks the National Road's 200th Anniversary

From the May 6th Baltimore Sun.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that this weekend marks the 200th anniversary of The National Road from Cumberland, Maryland, to what is now Wheeling, West Virginia.

Its construction was authorized by Congress in 1806, but work did not start until May 8, 1811.

US Highway 40 currently runs along part of it.

In Cumberland yesterday, they had a parade and groundbreaking for the new National Road Monument which will also have a time capsule.

I just wanted to post on the actual day.

I have driven most of it through Ohio, part of it through Indiana and all of it through Illinois. A real trip back in time, especially east of Columbus, Ohio.

Happy Birthday National Road. --RoadDog

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Civil War in Springfield, Missouri

Yesterday, I posted twice about the Civil War in Springfield, Missouri, and cannons and schools named for people from that war. As all you 66ers know, Springfield is one of the two Springfield's we have on the Mother Road.

The Route 66 Association of Missouri's 2011 Motor Tour in September will be focused on that event.

You can find the blog entries at http://sawtheelephant.blogspot.com.

A war and a Road. --RoadDog

Eating Fine on Route 66

This past week, we took a trip along Route 66 from Pontiac, Illinois to Springfield. We ate at some old and some new places along the Mother Road.

Old Log Cabin

La Fiesta
Golden Corral
Cozy Dog
Capital City Bar and Grill
Joe Roger's Chili Parlor

Palm's Grill

Misty's Wishing Well

Always Like Those Route 66 Eating Joints. --RoadDog

Springfield's Norb Andy's is Open Again-- Part 3: History

In 1937, Norbert Anderson purchased the business and renamed it Norb Andy's Tabarin. (I imagine Andy was short for Anderson) It quickly became a spot where the political crowd and press gathered. Norb and his family ran the place for 42 years during which time the place became a Springfield Institution.

In the 1980s, the Hickox Building underwent renovation while the Scully family owned the business. It was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Later, Bob Rigdon, a long-time Norb Andy employee bought the place and continued the tradition until selling it to a group of local businessmen in the mid-1990s.

From that time on, a succession of owners have run the place and then it was completely closed down for several years until the Hamilton family purchased it December 2010.

They also own Springfield institution Joe Roger's Chili Parlor and have returned the Tabarin to its former casual drinking and dining establishment serving Joe Roger's world famous chili and the original Norb Andy horseshoe.

Sure Glad to Have it Back. --RoadDog

Springfield's Norb Andy's is Open Again-- Part 2: History

It's great to go to a place with a wonderful atmosphere and good food, but even better if it has a history. And, Norb Andy's has plenty of that.

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that the original structure was built in 1837 when Virgil Hickox (I wonder if he was any relation to Wild Bill Hickok/Hickock as I have also seen his name spelled that way?). His family remained on the site for decades. As his family grew, so did the building until we have what we have today, the Hickox Building.

The first non-residential use of the building was when it was called the Sangamo Club circa 1890-1895. After the club moved, several businesses located in the building, including the coroner's office and his funeral parlor.

During Prohibition, a speakeasy was located in the bottom floor, and ever after, there has been a long tradition of watering holes at the site. In 1932, one of Springfield's first liquor licenses was issued to "Hoot" Francis to open and operate a tavern.

This information comes from the Norb Andy's menu.

More History to Come. --RoadDog

Thursday, May 5, 2011

All-Time High for Gas!!!

Yesterday, our first day back in town, the price 0f gas in Spring Grove, Illinois, was $4.36.9!! That's $4.37. I heard that in nearby Fox Lake, it was $4.30 and it was $4.30 at Rock Corner.

This is an all-time high for gas, even beating out the short-lived $4.20 we had several years ago when BO last tried to make these obscene profits.

All this, even though US consumption of gas dropped 2% and is dropping more. There is no reason for gas to be this high other than the GRBs wanting to make some money, big time and right away.

It is unbelievable that Exxon, after posting a $13 billion profit the first three months of this year, would say that the price of oil had nothing to do with their profit.

I tell you, the government and other countries of the world have to step in and set the price of oil at $40 a barrel. The free market economy has to be dropped in this instance. Or, at least until the GRB BO folks learn to play well with everybody else.

Not Funny in the Least. --RoadDog

Springfield's Norb Andy's Is Open Again-- Part 1

Good news for Route 66ers and anyone who likes a truly unique experience. Norb Andy's got its start back in 1837 as the home of Virgil Hickox and his family, is back!!!

The place is on Capitol Drive, right down from the Illinois State Capitol building.

Dating back to 1837, is it possible that one Mr. A. Lincoln might have visited there at some point?

Back in 2002, on our first stay in Springfield during the Route 66 Association of Illinois' annual motor tour, we asked some folks where we could get one of these horseshoe sandwiches we had been hearing so much about and were directed to this place in the building's basement.

This is where we had our first bite of this Central Illinois tradition and we were immediately hooked after I inquired what a ponyshoe was. OK, that makes sense. It's the same as a horseshoe, only smaller.

The last time through Springfield back on the 2010 Motor Tour, we found it was open, but closed on Sundays. we definitely marked it for a visit. Monday, after leaving the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Liz and I visited.

Sure Nice Sitting at That Bar Again. --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Illinois Civil War Cruise-- Part 4: 66 Museum-- Funk's-- Dixie


Drove to the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Hall of Fame Museum in Pontiac. This is the first time we've seen the Bob Waldmire VW van since its move to the museum. It is inside. We'd seen it many times when he was still alive. Always wondered how he was able to get so much inside it.

A couple from the Netherlands were touring the museum while we were there.

We went outside and saw his school bus/home for the first time. That is some vehicle. It is parked behind the museum and I imagine they will at some time have to put it under a roof to prevent deterioration.

Across the street is the new Bob Waldmire mural.


Drove 66 to Towanda and drove by Schenk's Garage, always a stop on our trip. And I thought I had a lot of Route 66 stuff. Dawn is having a party there next Saturday during the Red Carpet Corridor Celebration with that fun Rockabilly band Hillbilly Jones who were there last year.

As usual,took the interstate around Bloomington-Normal, the town's that ignore their 66 heritage.

Got back on 66 south of town at "Please don't call me Shirley." Stopped at Funk's Grove for some of the new crop of "sirup." Got to talking with the owner about the place's Civil War history.

On the way out, two guys from New Jersey were coming in. They were driving the length of 66. We told them about the Cozy Dog, Curve Inn and Route 66 Hotel in Springfield, where they were spending the night.

Ran into them again at the Dixie Trucker's Home in McLean.

Almost There. --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Illinois Civil War Cruise 2011: Part 3-- 23 to 66 and a Log


I should mention that we had seen several scoutmasters and Webelo Scouts at the McDonald's in Genoa, Illinois, at 10:30 am. I was wondering why they were not in school. Found out later that they were probably on their way to Springfield for the big Boy Scout get-together this past weekend. (I wrote about it today on my Civil War blog at http://sawtheelephant.blogspot.com.

From Dekalb, we took Il-23 south, a drive we usually don't take. To get to Route 66, I wouldn't do this again as we figure we went a lot of miles out of our way. But, it is a nice drive through some pretty farmland.

We did have to go through Ottawa, a city with a lot of murals, and Streeter. Ottawa was also on the Illinois River.


We arrived at Pontiac and went north on old Route 66 to a favorite place of ours, the Old Log Cabin, north of town. We hadn't eaten there for quite some time. (We had wanted to eat at the Palms Cafe in Atlanta, but the length of the drive on 23 put a kabosh on that plan.

I ordered their steak dinner: a 10-oz top sirloin, sweet potato tater tots, salad and a roll for $9.99. Liz had a walleye dinner for $7.99. I highly recommend their home made ranch and thousand island dressings. Then, those sweet potato tater tots (try to say that ten times real fast) were something else. I'd never heard of them before. I thought I liked sweet potato fries a lot, but like these even better.

On the way out, I saw there was a concrete slab between the restaurant and the old gas station. I thought they might be planning an outside place to eat. Went back in and the owner said they had put it in because the back foundation of the place had rotted away and they had shored it up with the slab.

But, they might turn it into outside seating.

Feelin' Mighty Full. --RoadDog

Monday, May 2, 2011

At Last!!! Bin Laden Gets His Justice

Last night, we were at the Curve Inn on Route 66 here in Springfield, Illinois. The music was loud, beer cold (10 0z-mug for $1) and the usual cast of characters you'd find at a true roadhouse.

All the TVs were tuned into ball games. Some of the music on the jukebox was classic rock, but most newer and a lot of it better than we'd expect. One song was a country rap one that we liked, something about country by a guy named Cole Ford. May have to buy it. But some of the music was very offensive.

One guy put some music on and people were giving him a hard time, saying that he was going to be judged by what he played. He got us all by putting on Air Supply's "Nothing at All." He might as well have played "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" or "Feelings."

We were watching the Philadelphia Phillies-New York Mets game on one set along the wall, when it suddenly went to CNN and we saw that President Obama was going to have a news conference. With it being this late, about 9:15 pm CDST, it must be something pretty big.

No Closure, Just Justice. More to Come. --RoadDog

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Illinois Civil War Cruise 2011--Part 2: 176, 23, NIU and LH

April 29th: Left home at 9:30 and drove out to Woodstock, taking Il-47 south. Decided not to go through Huntley because of all the roadwork and took Il-176 to Marengo where we picked up Il-23 and took it all the way to its southern terminus in Pontiac, on Route 66. Next time, remind me to put up with the Huntley congestion as we ended up going about 40 miles farther, although it was a pretty drive and one we usually don't get to go.

Mileage on the car was 58 when we left and 305 when we got to Springfield. Saw a funny sign painted on a truck on Il-176, "Got Mulch?" Wonder what they were selling.

Gas in Woodstock, $4.20. From Marengo, the next big town is Sycamore with that really pretty downtown. I see they are doing work on the old court house.


We took a back way to Dekalb as 23 between Sycamore and that town is just one big commercial strip. This took us by the old Delta Sigma Phi house on Dresser Road, which must have just recently been torn down. Too bad. We called it the "Palace" because of how bad of a shape it was in.

We also went by the Delta Sig house I lived at sophomore year on Greenbrier. It stands and is now the AKL (Alpha Kappa Lambda) house. Looks to be in about as bad of a shape as it was when we were there 1970-1971.

We drove across Anne Glidden and saw the apartments where the NIU football player was shot a few weeks ago.


Drove by Lincoln Hall, where I lived freshman year and went to Village Commons Bookstore where I bought some NIU stuff. Then drove through campus and out to the Lincoln Highway (Il-38) and to the Lagoon. We regard this as the prettiest part of the campus, topped off by NIU's first building, Altgeld Hall sitting up on the hill. We'll be back through Dekalb on our way back home so we can put down more money on our education scholarship.

Gas in Dekalb was anywhere from $4.06 (all prices up the 9/10 cent) and from $4.10 to $4.16 on Lincoln Highway.

Heading Southward. --RoadDog

Illinois Civil War Cruise: 2011: A Funk and a Dixie

I made two blog entries today on some Civil War things I found in Illinois on our way to Springfield for the Illinois Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans 2011 Conference.

One has to do with Funk's Grove Maple Sirup and the other with the Dixie Trucker's Home.

See them at my Civil War blog http://sawtheelephant.blogspot.com.

On the Road Again, I Can't Afford to Be on the Road Again. --RoadDog