Saturday, December 31, 2011

Road Trips Planned for 2012

Hopefully, we'll get to go on the Illinois Route 66 Association Motor Tour and the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association one as well.

I'd like to go out to the Doolittle's Raiders Reunion in Dayton, Ohio, in April and the 2012 Lincoln Highway Conference in Canton, Ohio.

We're also going to Mobile, Alabama, and Panama City Beach over the winter and several trips to visit family in North Carolina.

We still are thinking about a Route 66 end-to-end trip to see how things have changed since the last one in 2006.

On the Road Again, Hope I Can Afford the Gas Money to Get On the Road Again.  --RoadDog

In North Carolina, It's a 'Cue War-- Part 2

At Bridges Barbecue Lodge, Kevin Pang had a bbq side in the state described as "de riguer," and that would be sweet tea, which he described as being "one notch over sweet, but the melted ice corrects the pitchers to just perfect."

Sorry, my own idea of sweet tea is that it is sickenly sweet.  I always order unsweetened and sweeten to my taste, but occasionally accidentally get sweet tea and that, along with my sweetener, why, it will knock you out of your seat.

Then he had a hush puppy, another Carolina de rigueur with 'cue, which he said resemble tamarind (whatever that is) and is  "long pods of dense and crispy fried cornmeal batter, a touch sweet and addictive."

And absolutely at their best just out of the fryer.  Get 'em hot.

You eat them with your bbq, or, at Wilber's, as you wait for your order.  Only problem is that you might fill up on the puppies before the meal comes.  Pace yourself.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Friday, December 30, 2011

It's Bill Shea Day in Springfield, Illinois

Today, December 30th, has been officially declared Bill Shea Day in Springfield, Illinois, in honor of his long-time connection with Route 66 in that city.  Not only is it his 90th birthday, but this year also marks his 66th operating a business along the road on the north side of town, a little south of the State Fair grounds.

No trip through town for us is complete if we do not stop and pay a visit with him (also necessary is a Cozy Dog fix).

Mr. Shea is one of the great ambassadors of the Mother Road and I am sure glad we had the opportunity to meet him on many occasions.  And he is one of the originals, those persons who were working on 66 when it was an actual commissioned road.  Earlier this year, another Route 66 original, Ernie Edwards, celebrated his 94th in Lincoln, Illinois.  Both men are great story-tellers.

I hold Bill Shea as part of the reason Liz and I got so hooked on Route 66.  Our first trip on the road was 2002.  First, we met Rich Henry in Staunton and then encountered both Bill Shea and Tom Teague at Shea's place in Springfield.  We didn't have a chance.

With so many of the originals of 66 now gone, we hold meeting these icons dear.

Happy Birthday Mr. Shea.  And Congrats to Mrs. Shea Who Has Put Up With Him All These Years.  --RoadDog

Thursday, December 29, 2011

In North Carolina It's a 'Cue War-- Part 1

From the July 3, 2011, Chicago Tribune "The war between the tastes in BBQ" by Kevin Pang.

I wrote about the background of "The War Between the Tastes" in today's Cooter's History Thing Blog since it definitely is history in North Carolina, the war between those who prefer eastern and those for western-styles in the Tarheel state.

Primarily, eastern (where I'm from)  is a vinegar/pepper base made from the whole hog and western also has ketchup and sugar added for a sweet/sour taste and made from the pig shoulder.

Kevin Pang refers to western-style as Piedmont-style.  He visited three BBQ places, all in the state's Piedmont, so his article is a good overview of ta'other side's stuff. 

If it is a "real" 'cue place, nothing fancy and a bit rustic, that only makes the food taste all that much better.

He first drove to Shelby, a 45-minute drive from Charlotte and went to Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, which has been cooking 60 years.

Rule of thumb for picking out a good 'cue place, "If you don't see a pile of wood in the back, turn around."

Good Eatin' Here We Come.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Route 66 in the Land of Lincoln-- Part 4

** Happy Birthday You Old Coot-- The 94th birthday, August 5th, of Ernie Edwards had a party at St. Clara's Manor in Lincoln, Illinois, surrounded by friends and family. Ernie used to own the famous Pig Hip Restaurant in nearby Broadwell.

Definitely a favorite Old Coot of ours. A short visit always ended up longer with all those stories, and Ernie Sure Liked to Tell His Stories.

**An article about the Chain of Rocks Bridge Festival and trip to it. Met friends at the Missouri 66 table and later ate at Ted Drewe's.

** Comedian Billy Connolly Update. He had an accident, but is ok and will continue his ride on the Mother Road.

** Death of James H. Allen (1943-2011) Former owner of Scotty's in Hamel, Illinois. Sold the place and retired a few years ago. The place now called Weezy's.

That Wraps Up Illinois for Fall. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Route 66 in the Land of Lincoln-- Part 3

From the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Fall "The 66 News."

** Josh, Wendy and Charlie Friedrich's Weekend on Route 66 by Josh Friedrich. he has a personal goal of acquiring a postmark from each of the remaining 66 communities in Illinois. hear that Landrunner?

** Some 66ers took in a ballgame at the Joliet Slammers minor league game.

** Work is progressing on the Hall of Fame Streetcar Diner in Gardner, which for many years was behind the famed Riviera.

** The first-ever dairy Queen was located on Route 66 in Joliet at 501 N. Chicago Street. The 1890s building still stands and currently is a storefront church. Dairy Queen moved out some time in the 1950s.

The Joliet Historic Preservation Commission has given the site Landmark status.

Executives from Dairy Queen were at the ceremony.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, December 26, 2011

Route 66's Twelve Days of Christmas-- Part 3

ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: THE SOURCE OF ROUTE 66-- That would be Ron Warnick's Route 66 News. Definitely agree. I especially love the music videos.

ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: PARTY OF THE YEAR-- The International Route 66 festival in Amarillo, Texas. We didn't go to it, but did do the Missouri Motor Tour.

ON THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: NEW FRIENDS-- Ed mentioned some new friends of his in Arizona where he now lives. Every time we go on the Mother Road, we meet new people and have a great time. Like that as well as seeing the sights.

ON THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: "THE SAVIORS OF THE MOTHER ROAD-- That would be the state Route 66 associations. We belong to the Illinois and Missouri ones.

ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: "THE SHOCK OF THE MOTHER ROAD"-- The Joplin, Missouri, tornado. I wasn't sure about this one, but then Ed said it was people coming together to help. We drove through the wrecked area in September and it was still sad.


Sure glad we got involved with the old road.

Another great job, Ed Klein. Check out his website at Route66World.

Time to Get Started on Next Year's List. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Route 66's Twelve Days of Christmas-- Part 2

From the Route 66 World website. Thanks Ed Klein. I enjoyed last year's recap of Route 66 and this is another fine one.

THIRD DAY-- GLOBETROTTER LODGE in Holbrook, Arizona. I haven't been there, but sounds like a great mom and pop place to stay if not at the Wigwam. Thanks for the tip.

FOURTH DAY-- ADDITION TO PONTIAC, ILLINOIS 66 MUSEUM-- That would be the Bob Waldmire bus and van. I never saw the bus when he was alive, but many times saw that van. Sure glad we got a chance to meet this person, the spirit of 66.

I've been accused, rightfully so (too much 66 stuff you know), of cluttering, but my hat's off to Bob who took it to a whole new level.

FIFTH DAY-- BIRTHDAY OF THE WAGON WHEEL MOTEL in Cuba, Missouri. That would be the 75th anniversary. We got to stay there when the old owners had it. That was quite an experience.

Even better, the renaissance of the place with the new owners.

SIXTH DAY-- BIRTH OF ROUTE 66 TV-- Jim Conkle's project. I haven't seen it, but anything that gets publicity for our old road is a great thing.

And, a Merry Christmas to You All As Well. --RoadDog

Friday, December 23, 2011

Route 66 in the Land of Lincoln-- Part 2


Montana the rabbit reigned at Henry's Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, Illinois for over seven years. Unfortunately, she died before running for president in the last election.

Big Red has succeeded her and enjoys lying on the counter, sitting up and yawning as well as being petted. Stop in and see him.

I liked the old Montana and pet her on several occasions.


It's a one and a half mile section of brick Route 66 south of Springfield. It was Route 66 from 1926 to 1930 when 66 was moved east to the current I-55.

In the 1930s, as part of the WPA project to get people working during the Great Depression, workers laid bricks over the original Portland cement section and widened. It wasn't really needed, but got people to work.

The section was placed on the NRHP in 1998. The state announced it was going to build a truck bypass around Springfield which would involve destroying half of the brick road. That was averted.

However, the bricks were getting into bad shape and new bricks were made to resemble the original and laid down this summer.

We had stopped to eat at a place south of the brick stretch returning from the Mo. Motor Tour and the waitress told us they were destroying the brick section as we sat. We hurried over only to see she was wrong and that they were repairing the road.

Thought We Had Lost Another Part of 66 Heritage for a Moment. --RoadDog

Route 66 in the Land of Lincoln-- Part 1

From the Fall 2011 Route 66 Assoc. of Illinois 66 News.

ALL ABOARD! by Ike Widner

Fifteen members took the train to Chicago for lunch at the Berghoff Cafe on Adams Street (Route 66 westbound) in 1898 even before the fabled road opened. Then they walked to Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center, in the old city library.

I'm still mad at the Berghoff for their big closing hoopla several years ago which amounted to nothing.

NEW ATTRACTION IN PONTIAC-- Two original telegraph poles originally from Odell have been installed across the street from the Route 66 Museum.

Early Route 66 often followed telegraph and railroads.


There were four Flame restaurants, but now just one in Countryside at 803 Joliet Road (66). Still owned by the same family and daring to the 1950s.

I've never been to it, but probably will as I make it my practice to eat at as many Route 66 places as I can, even if I can't afford a steak dinner anymore. Maybe chopped steak.

For Those of You Who Aren't Illinois Members. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Route 66's Twelve Days of Christmas-- Part 1

He did it last year and again this year, Ed Klein in his excellent Route 66 World blog at has done his Route 66 Twelve Days of Christmas. Go to the site and click on Daily Page to see them.

Here are his first six days listed and my comments. To see photos and get the info, go to his site.


FIRST DAY: The Boots Motel in Carthage, Mo., is back. I agree. This is the Biggest Thing on the road this year as far as I am concerned. We got to go to it on the Missouri Motor Tour in September. We've been wanting to do this ever since we first went to it in 2003. Liz especially because of its Clark gable connection.

We did drive around it one year, but the folks living there didn't seem to much like us doing it.

The ladies who bought it are great and to be greatly thanked.

SECOND DAY: THE NEW OWNERS OF THE BLUE SWALLOW MOTEL IN TUCUMCARI. I haven't met them, but we did stay there one night in 2003. Sitting out by old 66, watching that bird fly and looking at the neon of the Tepee Souvenir shop with cars driving by is something all 66ers should do.

Oh yes, have a beer in toasting as well. Maybe two-three or more.

I suppose you could sing it to the original tune by inserting extra words.

Check It Out. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some More Information on Rand Road, US-12, in Chicago's Northwest Suburbs

From the July 18, 1997 Chicago Tribune "Rand Road Smorgasboard: nature, Sprawl and All" by Jean Latz Griffin.

Rand Road is named after Socrates Rand, who came from Massachusetts in 1835 and settled in Des Plaines. Much of all the early history of the Northwest Suburbs revolved around Socrates, who lived to be 97. Des Plaines was actually called Rand from 1857 to 1869.

He was the area's first justice of the peace and performed the first marriage in 1836, started one of the area's first schools in his living room in 1838 and was the first chairman of Maine Township.

The name Rand Road is associated with US-12 clear out to Volo. Somewhere between Volo and the Wisconsin state line, it loses the name. South of Lake Zurich and south of Wauconda, there are signs on the four-lane US-12 for Old Rand Road. US-12 used to go through the downtowns of both communities until the bypass was built.

Randhurst opened in 1962, one of the first indoor shopping centers in the United States.

That Road Is Really Involved in My Life. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Took a Northwest Suburb Trip Yesterday-- Part 4: High School Days on Rand Road

Rand Road, another name for US Highway 12, has played quite a big part in my life. It goes through the village I spent my junior high, high school and early college years in. As such, I drove it many times.

In high school, I often went to Honey Hill Beach on Wauconda on summer days. Plus, back then, if you took pictures on your Instamatic, you took them over to Skrudland's Photo on Rand to be developed. Plus, two of our favorite eating spots were on Rand and Dundee roads, St. George & the Dragon and Village Inn Pizza.

Plus, this was the road we took from Palatine to Randhurst Mall, a BIG local high school hangout for all of the Northwest Suburban high school kids. You saw lettermam's jackets all over the place. More than one girl got her boyfriend's ID bracelet from jewelry shops located there.

I remember driving US-12 to lake Geneva and going through Spring Grove and thinking to myself that, "Man, this place is WAY out in the boonies." Now, we have lived in Spring Grove for 19 years. I always remember being impressed by the entrance to Sherwood Forest Subdivision with its mock castle gate and drawbridge, which is still there.

Liz and I liked to eat at Mr. Sitka's in Richmond at the intersection of 12 and Il-31. It is still there, but called Dilar's. Of course, there was a lot of things to do at Lake Geneva, including going to the Playboy Club when I was older (now Grand Geneva and with a great Christmas display).

A Lot of Memories on That Road. --RoadDog

More Wackiest Theme Hotels

From Yahoo! Travel

THE SHADY DELL VINTAGE TRAILER COURT in Brisbane, Arizona. Restored mid-20th century trailers, each fitted out with 50s artifacts and vintage Life Magazines. Dot's Diner is adjacent, a prefab burger joint.

McMENAMINS KENNEDY SCHOOL in Portland, Oregon-- spend a night in a classroom at at 1915 elementary school. Hey, maybe even get sent to the principals' office and get spanked.

I'd like to add two more.

THE DON Q in Dodgeville, Wisconsin-- regular rooms and theme rooms. Big C-9 plane parked out dront with bicycle tire art piece. Old barber chairs in lobby around huge round fireplace.

CABOOSE MOTEL in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin-- I'm not sure that you can rent a room here anymore, but each one is an old caboose.

Sleep in a Tepee Tonight. --RoadDog

Monday, December 19, 2011

Took a Northwest Suburb Trip Yesterday-- Part 3: Save-A-Pet and Da Cops

I should say that these are the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, where I spent a lot of my youth.

We stopped at Save-A-Pet a little south of Round Lake and made a good-sized donation. A couple years ago, they were in danger of going out of business, but the community rallied and saved it. About three times a year, there is an animal shelter contest where you vote on the internet for your favorite one and we do it every day.

We saw that there is now an overpass across Fairfield at Gilmer Road, which can really get backed up during rush hour. While looking for information on the road, I also came across plans for a new traffic arrangement at Fairfield and Illinois Highway 176, east of Wauconda. A roundabout is one of the suggestions. I hope it doesn't come to pass as I hate those frightening things.

Fairfield's southern terminus is at Old McHenry Road, where there are two turn lanes to go east. Old McHenry is now four lanes through here. (Again, all tis new construction done since we used to drive it.) Took it a short distance to Quentin Road and that through the land of the Really Rich (watch your speed big-time as they have a very overzealous police force, especially Hawthorne Woods) to US Highway 12, or Rand Road as it is called in the Northwest Suburbs.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Seven Longest Roads in the World

From the Dec. 28th Interbent site.

1. I-80-- 2.090 miles, much of it along the Lincoln Highway.

2. I-90-- 3,111 miles

3. Trans-Continental Highway-- 5,000 miles

4. Trans-Siberian Highway-- 6,835 miles

5. Australian Highway 1-- 9,000 miles

6. Pan-American Highway-- 27,197 miles

7. Tarim Desert Highway-- 843 miles It is so little because it is built across uninhabitable desert in Central Asia. Perhaps it is the world's "Most Lonely Highway" like US-50 in the US.

How Long theRoad? --RoadDog

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Took a Northwest Suburb Trip Yesterday-- Part 2: Fairfield Road

We took US-12 to Il-134, then east to Fairfield Road. Back when we used to live in Round Lake Beach, 17 years, we used to drive this road often when visiting Liz's parents in Palatine and her mother in Arlington Hts. after her dad died. Our house was just a couple short blocks off it.

I thought then and still think this is fine country driving, even as Chicagoland keeps growing outwards. Fairfield Road runs from its northern terminus at Deep Lake Road west of Lake Villa, southward about 25 miles to Old McHenry Road, east of Lake Zurich. You can see several small lakes along the way as well.

It is still mostly open land with farms and a lot of forest preserve lands, especially the large one east of Wauconda, Lakewood, where the Lake County Discovery Museum is located.

There are quite a few more subdivisions along the road since we used to drive it back in the 70s and 80s.

I was unable to find out how it got its name, but did read that it used to be an Indian trail and there were some native trail trees along it. These would be the ones that Indians bent when they were saplings to show the way. I've never seen any on Fairfield, though.

More to Come. --RoadDog

A Real Lincoln Highway High School

From the New Lenox Area Historical Society in Illinois.

The Lincoln Highway, the Road, and the School

The Lincoln Highway running through New Lenox Township follows an old Indian trail which later became a stage coach road also traveled by horse-drawn wagons.

When the high school district for Frankfort, Manhattan and New Lenox counties was formed in the 1950s, a contest was held to come up with a name for the new school to be built on the old Lincoln Highway, now US-30.

The name Lincoln-Way was chosen and Lincoln-Way Community High School opened in 1954.

Today, this school is called Lincoln-Way Central. Increased population in the area has led to the construction of three new high schools, all called Lincoln-Way. Only these constitute East, West and North.

An Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition interpretive gazebo now stands on the campus of Lincoln-Way Central.

It's All About the Road, You Know. --RoadDog

Top Places to See the Christmas Lights

From the National Geographic Magazine. They have photos and information about each one. I'm just listing 'em.

Brussels, Belgium
Callaway Gardens, Georgia
Medellin, Colombia
Gothenburg, Sweden
Hong Long, China

Madrid, Spain
Kobe, Japan
St. Augustine, Florida
Vienna, Austria
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

See the Pretty Lights. --RoadDog

Friday, December 16, 2011

Took a Northwest Suburb Trip Yesterday-- Part 1: 44th Anniversary

In honor of Liz and my 44th anniversary of "Going Steady" yesterday, we embarked on a short jaunt to our old stomping grounds in Palatine, Illinois. On Dec. 15, 1967, I gave Liz my ID bracelet (juniors at Palatine High School did not get class rings until spring) at the laundromat at Palatine Highway on Northwest Highway (US-14). How's that for being romantic.

She was doing laundry for her family. I figured she wouldn't suspect I was going to that there.

The laundromat is long-gone, but as near as we can figure, the former site is now occupied by a Dairy Queen.

By the way, I sure didn't have that class ring long when we finally got them.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Another Illinois Lincoln Highway Mural-- Part 2

Another mural will be soon going up on the Riegel Farm barn in University Park.

The Coalition is nearing approval for one in Sauk Village and hoping for others in Chicago Heights, Matteson, Mokena, New Lenox and Park Forest.

When completed, the Illinois Lincoln Highway murals will be the largest public art project in the country.

The murals along with the interpretive gazebos bring the highway's history to the people.

The Coalition Is To Be Commended for Their Effort. --RoadDog


The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor in Pennsylvania is having a grand opening for their gift shop at 3435 Route 30east in Latrobe today at 3 pm. Somewhere else to stop and spend your money for those neat Lincoln Highway items.

The More Lincoln Highway, the Better. --RoadDog

Another Illinois Lincoln Highway Mural-- Part 1

From Dec. 15th Southtown Star "Franklin mural latest salute to Lincoln Highway history" by Susan DeMar Lafferty.

The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition just dedicated its 23rd mural in a series projected to have over 30 when completed, this time in the town of Frankfort at the township building at 11008 W. Lincoln Highway.

This one shows Eagle Scouts and their Scoutmasters who journeyed across the Lincoln Highway back in 1928 to give safety demonstrations, publicize scouting and in conjunction with the Boy Scouts famous Lincoln Highway concrete markers along the whole road.

One of those Eagle Scouts is still alive and I had the honor of meeting him at the 2010 LH Association conference in Dixon, Illinois. I can't remember his name, though.

More to Come. --RoadDog

As a local aspect, the 1920s Folker's Hotel is shown in the background.

Each mural is valued at $10,000, with this one (and I believe most) done by Jay Allen of Shawcraft Signs.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Driving Illinois' US-136-- Part 2: Macomb

We drove through little Ipava. Kind of wonder how you pronounce it. Saw a woman at a gas station who had driven her lawn tractor up to a pump and was filling it. Sure beats lugging those gas cans around.

Then arrived in Macomb, home of Western Illinois University. Neither of us had ever been there, even though three of our Usual Suspects group graduated from it. I once had a chance to go while in college, when my fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi at Northern Illinois, took a road trip to visit their Delta Sig chapter, but I couldn't get out of my job at Lincoln Hall Food Service that weekend and had to remain.

I wasn't happy about it, and even more so one the brothers returned with tales of Lakers and other parties. I hate it when work gets in the way of good times.

We drove around looking for a motel near the Buffalo Wild Wings (where we wanted to play some NTN), but there were none in our price category (cheap). Drove all over town and the ones more affordable weren't by any bar we could walk to.

We were impressed with the WIU campus and the Macomb downtown has not one, but two squares, something you don't often see.

Finally settled on the Macomb Inn, a Best Western Hotel, fairly close to the BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings as us oldsters call the places). Played NTN for several hours, of course.

On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Anniversary of the First Motel

From the Dec. 12th MSNBC Overhead Bin "First Motel Opened 86 Years Ago Today" by Harriet Baskas.

The anniversary was on December 12th.

Today, we take motels for granted. There almost always is one when you need it. But that was not always the case.

On December 12, 1925, architect Arthur Heineman opened the country's first roadside motor hotel, the Milestone Motel, later renamed the Motel Inn on US Highway 101, just north of San Luis Obispo, California, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Rooms let for $2.50 a night.

The Spanish-style motel is no longer open with just its facade remaining along with its distinctive bell tower and original sign.

Sure Hope Someone Comes Up With a Way to Save This Piece of Americana. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Driving Illinois' US-136: Macomb, Here We Come

September 6th. On our way to Miami, Oklahoma, for the Route 66 Association of Missouri's Motor Tour.

We got on US-136 at the Dixie Truckers Home in McLean, Illinois after a ride along Route 66 from Dwight.

When we got to El Paso, Il., a cop came up behind me unobserved and gave us a scare as I was driving a few miles over the speed limit. You never know in a small town. WE drove around downtown and when back on 136, saw that he had someone pulled over.

Havana has a historic water tower and some old brick streets. This is an old Illinois River town. The bridge over the river was impressive.

Up to now, the land had been fairly flat, but there was a drop as we approached the river and then it was considerably hillier west of town.

On the Road Again. --RoadDog

Back Then: US-421 Widened By Wilmington, NC: Monkey Junction?

From the Wilmington (NC) Star-News.

AUGUST 25, 1961-- The North Carolina State Highway Commission announced that they were letting out bids for widening US-421 from Myrtle Grove Junction to Carolina Beach, where a new bridge was being built over Snow's Cut. Soon, there was to be other bids to widen 421 from Myrtle Grove Junction to Shipyard Boulevard.

The newspaper called it Myrtle Grove Junction instead of the more commonly used name, Monkey Junction. In the late 1950s, New Hanover County had changed the official name of the junction to Myrtle Grove Junction, but later reversed it to its original because of public outcry.

Wilmington officials seemed to be very concerned about the region's image 50 years ago and apparently felt "Monkey Junction" gave a wrong impression.

Luckily, today, the name "Monkey Junction" lives on.

The stretch of 421 from Monkey Junction to Carolina Beach always got me thinking beach when we drove it. You could smell that salt air. And then, there was the first view of the Atlantic Ocean from the top of Snow's Cut Bridge.

You can find out more about how Monkey Junction got its name on my Down Da Road I Go Blog. Check out the labels.

Why Would There Be Monkeys in North Carolina? --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Down Da 66: Litchfield Museum-- Historic Route 66 Bell Rings Again

Down Da 66 is about two Illinois-related items this time.

1. LITCHFIELD MUSEUM-- From the Dec. 1st Springfield (Il) State Journal-Register. Dave Jackson collected a huge array of local items during his long tenure at the Litchfield News-Herald and after his death, his wife didn't want to break it up.

An association was formed to find a place to house it and they have selected the site of the former Vic Suhling gas station near the Ariston Restaurant on old Route 66. They will keep the old "Vic Shuling Gas for Less" sign and restore the neon.

An anonymous person purchased the lot and will donate it. Now, the group has to raise $500,000 to build the sleek, art deco-inspired Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center building.

A new museum, always great news.

2. HISTORIC ROUTE 66 BELL RINGS AGAIN-- From Nov. 24th AP. The 1905 bell in the Logan County Courthouse in Lincoln has been silent for 40 years, but thanks to a $16,000 grant from Landmarks Illinois, was fixed and will again ring on the hour, even at night.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last month.

Back in the 1970s, officials determined the bell was too unsafe to ring anymore. It had been installed at the same time as the courthouse's huge clocks on the dome.

A Ringing in My Ears. --RoadDog

West Michigan Pike-- Part 4: Going Back to Paw Paw Lake

I was wondering whether Paw Paw Lake was still there and did some more research on it. According to the Lakelubbers site, Paw Paw Lake is an 891-acre lake, about two hours from Chicago with a resort history dating back to the late 1800s along its nine-mile shoreline.

Within a ten-year stretch, 50 hotels and ten dance pavilions were built. Double-decked excursion boats plied the lake. Train records indicate that one summer back then, some 40,000 visitors came to the lake.

The Crystal Palace Ballroom, built in 1925 and continuing operations into the 1950s, reportedly could accommodate 2,500.

The lake is still a resort area today, but on a much diminished level.

A Place to Visit Near the Old WMP. --RoadDog

Monday, December 12, 2011

Airplaning It Home-- Part 5: Fun and Games at Hartsfield

I had to deplane and get on another one at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport. I got off at gate B22 and looked on the board and saw I had thirty minutes to get to Gate A33. For some reason, I read that as Gate B33 and thought, "Well, that's not too far."

I got to that gate and realized where I needed to go was in a different terminal. Of course, Gate B33 was all the way at the end of Terminal B. (I don't know what I'd do if I ever got a gate that WASN'T at the end of a terminal.)

Fortunately, Terminal B's exit is half way between B34 and B1, so that wasn't too bad. I was following the gates sign when all of a sudden it started saying Concourse. I figured that must be referring to gates, but now, with the little side trip, I didn't have much time so had to ask another passenger who said they were the same thing.

I took a train to terminal A and then had a long walk out to the end of A to Gate A33. There were some interesting places to eat, including a Nathan's Hot Dogs.

That sure was a lot of traveling from one "concourse to another.

I Was One of the Last Ones to Board, But At Least I Was Able to Procure a Bin Right By My Seat. --RoadDog

West Michigan Pike-- Part 3: Paw Paw Lake "The Newport of the West"

One of the pamphlet's ads was for Paw Paw Lakw, described as "The Newport of the West" featuring "More than Five Hundred Hotels, Boarding Homes and Cottages, Surrounding a Beautiful Lake. One of the Largest and Most Accessible Resorts in Western Michigan."

The lake, however, was not on the Western Michigan Pike, but close to the east.

Also featured were Two Dance Pavilions, Beautiful Bathing Beaches, Fishing, Boating and Other Sports. The Best Place to Spend Your Vacation.

Hotel Rates: $3 to $18 per week
Cottages $7 to $15 per week and $60 to $150 for the season.

Pavilions were quite popular back then. I sure could afford to stay at these rates.

Getting My Paw Law On. --RoadDog

The West Michigan Pike-- Part 2

At one time, the West Michigan Pike was the northern extension of the Dixie Highway.

A 1915 Pamphlet was printed called "Maps, Routes and Tourist Directions of the West Michigan Pike: Lake Shore All the Way." The President of the association was Mr. Wm. H. Loutie of Grand Haven. The pamphlet is reprinted in its entirety at

I could not find any more information on William H. Loutie.

Lots of detailed driving instructions in that era before standardized signage. Interesting ads as well.

Well Worth Checking Out. --RoadDog

Friday, December 9, 2011

Airplaning It Home-- Part 4: North Carolina Invaded by Badgers

I should mention that I saw a whole lot of folks in the Raleigh-Durham terminal wearing the red of the University of Wisconsin Badgers. I would expect to see lots of Carolina blue, but not so much from Wisconsin.

Then, it hit me. Last night, UW's basketball team faced off against North Carolina in the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. I had watched the first half, but gone to sleep then because of the late hour it was getting to be, 11:00 pm. Figured I needed my beauty sleep for today's trip.

The first half had been pretty close and I had the opportunity to find out the final score. I would have asked one of the Badger fans, but they were all too immersed on the cell phones, laptops and other technological marvels.

The USA Today didn't have the final score either.

I am a big Tarheel fan, but as the years go by, I am becoming more of a Big Ten guy, so was kind of pulling for Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I found out they Badgers lost.

But, the good news, The Big Ten won the Challenge 8-4!! There was a time when the ACC easily won every year, to the point I wanted the Challenge dropped.

But, Not No More. --RoadDog

The West Michigan Pike-- Part 1

There are quite a few sites about this road that I was previously unfamiliar with.

The only one I've gone into a lot so far is Beach Towns at

These are nine towns located along the southern stretch of Lake Michigan in Michigan, going north-south:

Silver Lake Sand Dunes/Hart
Grand Haven
South Haven
Saint Joseph
Harbor Country

They also have a great little catchy song, ala "Get Your Kicks" called "When You Drive the West Michigan Pike, it's a Lovely Day."

I Think These Folks Are Serious. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here's a New/Old Road to Cruise in Michigan: The West Michigan Pike

From Dec. 8th Holland (Mi) Sentinel "Get your kicks...on the West Michigan Pike" by Stephen Kloosterman.

The beach resort towns of Holland and Saugatuck along Michigan's west Lake Michigan shoreline are preparing to market the old West Michigan Pike which originally opened in 1914 as the first paved road from Chicago to Mackinaw. This pike was credited with opening tourism for Michigan.

The bringing back of the pike has already been several years in the making. This coming June, a press tour for travel writers is being planned in advance of a big marketing push for the July 12th 100th anniversary of the West Michigan Pike.

The desire is to have the old road designated a national heritage route in the near future and work has been done toward that end.

An extensive catalog of historic sites along the route has already been prepared, using $230,000 in grant money.

And, I never heard of it before.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Illinois Tourism Fast Facts-- Part 2

Again, all statistics from 2009.

** Illinois had 82.14 million visitors, 80.46 million domestic. Of domestic, 63.25 million were leisure visitors and 17.21 million were business.

** The top five states providing visitors were Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Missouri. (I have to wonder what state ranks #1 for Wisconsin travel?) Top five international: Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany and Japan.

** Illinois ranks 10th in US in share of domestic visitors and sixth in traveler spending (especially in Chicago where every thing's so doggone expensive). Illinois ranks sixth in overseas visitors.

** The average age of Illinois domestic leisure travelers is 46, the majority married with average household income of $83,386. (I wonder if good old Route 66 brings that up or down?)

** Primary activities for leisure travelers: shopping, dining, entertainment, sightseeing, sports and museums. (I wonder how many drive Route 66 or the Lincoln Highway?)

** On average, leisure domestic travelers spent $106 per person per day.

** Illinois hotel-motel tax revenues for FY 10 were $170.4 million.

** Consumer inquiries for FY 10 were nearly 1.8 million.

Love Those Tourists. Bring That Money. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Trip to Pearl Harbor

Several years back, my mother was nice enough to take my sister, brother and wife, his son and wife and myself to Hawaii. I had never planned on going there.

But, I always knew, that if I did, the one place I absolutely had to visit was Pearl Harbor.

We went out to the place one day. First, we found a really long line waiting outside to get into the museum and get tickets to go out to the USS Arizona Memorial. I hate lines and avoid them, but this is one I would wait in.

Interesting museum, but I was raring to go out to the the memorial. there were a lot of Japanese tourists and I cannot help but wonder what they were thinking as we went on our way and once there. They did not say anything.

It is quiet at the memorial, despite all the people. Any talking is done very quietly. The list of names of Arizona sailors still aboard the ship is akin to the feeling at the Vietnam Wall.

Then, there are the parts of the ship that are still above the water or just below it. The flagpole rests on the ship.

But what really got me was the oil that bubbled up every twenty-thirty seconds from deep inside the ship. Now, that really connected me to the Arizona. The bubbles would pop to the surface, then slowly drift away.

Something I Will Never Forget.

This Date, Seventy Years Ago: Pearl Harbor

I went out and froze putting up my US flags in memory of all those military personnel who lost their lives at that Pacific Naval Base all those years ago. This event plunged America into the war that had already been going on for two years.

However, the US had been obviously preparing for hostilities for many years beforehand.

Pearl Harbor and the Alamo are two battles of great interest to me. I have around eight books on Pearl Harbor. While teaching, my students had a lesson on the event even though I never taught that part of US history.

I was surprised that only two stations have anything on tonight dealing with the it. Turner Classic Movies is showing "From Here to Eternity" and The History Channel has a special "Pearl Harbor: The Next 24 Hours." That should be very interesting as a lot happened the following day. Most accounts just cover December 7, 1941.

Not Forgetting.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Illinois Tourism Fast Facts-- Part 1

From the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

All figures are for 2009.

** Domestic travelers spent $25 billion in Illinois. International ones added another $2 billion.

** Expenditures for food service accounted for the largest single category with over $6.7 billion.

** Twenty of Illinois' 102 counties received over $100 million in domestic traveler revenue.

** Traveler expenditure directly generated 288,700 jobs. One in ten jobs in the state is directly or indirectly supported by travel expenditure.

** Travel expenditures in Illinois generated nearly $5.1 billion for federal, state and local governments. These additional taxes save the average Illinois household $1,000 a year.

Keep Those Tourists Coming. --RoadDog

Airplaning It back Home: Part 3: Too Little ECU

Almost forgot to mention the sports at Raleigh-Durham Airport.

With the time I had to kill, I took a walk-around the concourse and checked out the places selling athletic stuff. Of course, Raleigh-Durham is the center for many in the college universe, what with NC State being in Raleigh, Duke being in Durham and Carolina at nearby Chapel Hill.

You gave to expect those schools to be well-represented, and, to a lesser extent, Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. But what I really had my eye out for was any East Carolina University apparel.

One indication of a college's spot in the local pecking order can be found at a local airport judging by how much apparel is offered.

Poor ECU would like to join the ranks of the others, but it is a long hard climb. Those other three just don't want to share.

The first place I went to had absolutely no Pirate stuff. The second place had and ECU hat. I hit the motherlode in the third which has an ECU hat and even a tee shirt.

Well, that's not much, but better than nothing.

And, they didn't EVEN HAVE ANY Northern Illinois stuff. That's ok, though, neither does O'Hare.

East Carolina Has a Long Way to Go. --RoadDog

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lincoln Highway Wins Over Route 66

The results are in for the outcome of the 2011 Illinois State Football Playoffs and Lincoln Highway ended up beat Route 66 3-2.


2A Morrison won 23-14
3A Aurora Christian won 34-7
5A Joliet Catholic won 49-7 (also counted for Route 66)


5A Joliet Catholic won 49-7
8A Bolingbrook won 27-17

Congratulations Lincoln Highway.

Here's Looking Forward to the 2012 Lincoln Highway-Route 66 Playoffs. --RoadDog

Seeing Those White Lines, Thanks Mr. Hines

From the Michigan Observer & Eccentric "It was a long cooperative road to getting around" by Ruth Moehlman.

Edward Hines, a Wayne County commissioner is given credit for his 1911 invention of what is considered by many to be one of the most important developments in automobile safety, the white line in the center of the road.

He claims that an accident between an automobile and a horse-drawn wagon carrying milk inspired his idea when the milk leaked out on the road.

In other road history, in 1909, the Wayne County Road Commissioners oversaw the construction of the first concrete road, one mile long between Six Mile and Seven Mile roads on Woodward Avenue.

Mr. Hines died in 1938 and today's Edward Hines Park and Edward Hines Drive are named after him.

So, That's the Reason. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Airplaning It Home-- Part 2: The Problem With Carry-ons

Raliegh-Durham Airport, December 1st.

After the terrorist scare, I went to the gate and read some before the plane left. Be still my beating heart.

The last several planes I'd been on, oversize carry-ons were collected at the plane door and put in the hold. That's what I figured would happen now, but no. This was a bigger plane and people stowed their own carry on. There was room, but a definite problem when the plane had a full passenger department and I was one of the last ones on board.

I had checked a bag on the way down for that lousy $25 extra charge airlines have these days. On the way back, I moved my clothes into a carry on piece to save the money.

There was no room in the overhead compartments except for the one at the very back of the plane.

When we arrived at the gate at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, everyone immediately stood up to get their stuff. There was no way I could get to the back of the plane so I ended up waiting until EVERYONE was off before I could get to the back to get my luggage.

And, As It Turned Out, the Fun Was Just Getting Ready to Start. --RoadDog

Five Undefeated Eating Challenges-- Part 3

Bu Paul Toscano.

THE J&J'S KITCHEN SINK CHALLENGE AT J&J'S PIZZA SHACK-- Five locations in northern Indiana.

This one is a 16-inch round deep-dish pizza with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, green olives, black olives, ham, Canadian bacon, bacon bits and mozzarella cheese.

That SIX POUNDS of PIZZA!! And you have to eat it in one hour.

So far, there have been at least 100 attempts. The best effort to date was a 12-year-old girl who ate 16 of the 20 pieces.

It's free if you finish, otherwise $27.55.

I love a good garbage pizza.

THE HAIL MARY CHALLENGE at STADIUM GRILL in Columbia, Missouri (home of the University of Missouri).

This one involves finishing off their infamous "Unnecessary Roughness" burger with its 5+ pounds of meat., including grilled burgers, bacon, pulled pork, 3 cheeses, onion rings and fried eggs stacked between two buns. We're talking about eight inches high here. Oh, yes, and then there's that pesky pound of fries and you have 60 minutes to do it in.

No one has yet, but if you do, you get the $50 meal free along with a $50 coupon good for food and drink every month for a year. Also, the first person to eat it all gets to have a burger named after them.

Gettin' Hungry Just Typing Tis. --RoadDog

Road Trips on a Tank of Gas or Less-- Part 2


Here's where you get those neat tidal pools, but do not step on the sea urchins. Seriously. Beautiful South Coast Botanic Gardens and 12,000 acre Palos Verdes Nature Preserve and Banning Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright designed Wayfarers Chapel and Point Vicente Lighthouse.


Ogden's a town for all seasons. Two rivers meet here. Lots of indoor fun at the Salomon Center.

5. DENVER TO MOUNT EVANS, COLORADO-- (60 MILES) The first one I've been to so far.

Go to the top on America's highest paved road (14,130 feet at top). Pass through several climate zones (including the ear popping one). Photo ops, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. OK, we didn't go all the way to the top, but the part we saw was mighty pretty.

Keep the Money from Big Oil. --RoadDog

Friday, December 2, 2011

Road Trips on a Tank of Gas (or Less)-- Part 1

What with our good friends of Big Oil and their cronies keeping gas above $3 so they can afford that second gated-community home (maybe third with those profits, or another $300,000+ vehicle (what with all those HUGE profits), time has come to stay close to home.

The June 26th Parade magazine had some selected short trips for different parts of the country that you can drive on a tank of gas, or less.


The island is part pastoral with wineries and artists' studios and military with a Naval Air Station and Fort Casey. At Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve there are 17 working pioneer farms and over 400 historical structures.


Ancient volcanic eruptions formed a rugged landscape of caves, craters and cones. There are two dozen lava-tube caves to explore and a must-see Petroglyph Point, one of the largest Native American rock art as well as Captain Jack's Stronghold where the Modoc Indians held off the US Army 1872 to 1873.

Thirteen More to Go. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Airplaning It Back Home-- Part 1: BBQ and Terrorists?

Earlier today, I was driven to Raleigh-Durham Airport by my brother and sister-in-law. I was very early before the flight so walked around and found a place offering Carolina-style pulled pork bbq at Brookwood Farms.

For $9.99, I got a big helping of bbq, hushpuppies and two sides (both of mine were cole slaw) and it was good stuff. I think every airport should have one place offering a local food like the Cincinnati chili at their airport where I got some on my way to North Carolina. That way, folks on layovers can get some local delicacies.


While eating, I saw a mother and young daughter eating by the window. They got up to go somewhere and left their travel items by the table (one thing looked like a purse). I got up and walked over until I saw a man sitting at their table.

No problem.

But then, he got up and left the table as well. All their carry on stuff was still there. Very peculiar goings on, indeed.

They didn't come back. I'm starting to think to myself, what if they were terrorists who had somehow gotten a bomb or explosive devise past the security check point. If so, me sitting about 20 feet away was not a good thing. Maybe I should start thinking about moving much farther away, even if I'm not finished with my 'cue.

I went so far as to get up and look out in the concourse to see if there were any police. None to be found.

I was sure happy to see the mother and daughter coming back. And a minute later, there came the man. OK, not terrorists, but anymore you can't be too careful.

Dadburn Terrorists, But the 'Cue Was Good. --RoadDog