Friday, March 30, 2012

K.C. A-to-Z-- Part 1

From 2011 Visit KC Official Guide.

26 Things Every Visitor Should Know About KC.

I'll just be doing those of interest to me.

A is for AMERICAN ROYAL BARBECUE-- Thousands of amateur chefs bring out there best. Also a rodeo.

B is for BARBECUE-- One of my favorite things in the whole world. The KC area has more than 80 establishments serving up the stuff.

C is for COUNTRY CLUB PLAZA-- A14-block outdoor shopping and entertainment district.

E is for EARHART-- American-legend Amelia Earhart from nearby Atchison, Kansas. Others from KC area: Paul Rudd, Thomas Hart Benton, Walter Cronkite and Tom Watson.

F is for FIRSTS-- The American Jazz Museum was the first in the country devoted solely to the music. National World War I Museum, first American and only national museum dedicated to the Great War. (There should also be one on the National Mall in DC>)

H is for HALLMARK-- Joyce C. Hall arrived in KC in 1910 with two shoe boxes full of postcards and a dream. Today, his company produces over 2 billion cards a year.

Obviously, More to Come. --RoadDog

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Flying Home Again: A Big Surprise

Enjoyed looking a the coastline on the way from Raleigh-Durham to Newark. The last 30 minutes was some of the roughest I'd ever been in due to high winds. The pilot sure earned his money today.

Landed in Newark and emerged from the walkway into a huge mass of humanity. I've never seen that many folks in a terminal before. They have a circular area with about seven-eight gates and evidently, some flights were getting delayed because of the wind.

I saw that I had come out of Gate 23A. I looked on m boarding pass and saw my plane was to leave from Gate 23A. I was expecting another substantial walk to my gate, but this is as close as you can possibly get to it.

I saw that the gate had been moved to 26A, very close by so could sure live with that. Now, that just doesn't happen. I ALWAYS am as far away from a connecting gate as you can get, but not this time.

Now Wait, This Could Be a Mirage. --RoadDog

Midwest Tidbits: A Woman Goes to the Civil War

From the American Profile Magazine.

MICHIGAN-- In 1861, Anna Etheridge of Detroit enlisted as a nurse with the 2nd Michigan. Riding a horse and packing pistols, she tended wounded soldiers on the battlefield.

At the Second Battle of Bull Run, Gen. Philip Kearny said he'd promote her to sergeant, but she never got the promotion because the general was killed at the battle. She did get the Kearny cross for bravery.

NEBRASKA-- The youngest presidential candidate for a major party was former Nebraska Congressman William Jennings Bryan, who was 36 when he ran as a Democratic candidate in 1896, where he lost to William McKinley.

NORTH DAKOTA-- The oil boom is getting folks in this state richer. In 2009, 384 claimed income of more than $1 million. In 2010, the number was 532.

At Least Someone Is getting Rich Off This Gas Gouge. It Sure Isn't Me. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Back in the Air I Go

Drove to Raleigh-Durham Airport Monday and dropped off the rental car at Thrifty. It is nice that there is now a gas station at the airport entrance when you have to top off the car to avoid those huge costs if it is not.

Bussed to the United check in, but didn't have to with the boarding pass. I imagine airline check-ins will be gone before long with fewer people with luggage to check in and these electronic check ins.

Just a couple minute wait at security and then a long wait at the gate (which was one of the closest ones). I passed the time reading the Raleigh News and Observer and USA Today. Believe it or not, there are still a very few folk not electronically hooked up like myself. (Well, I did call Mom and Liz to let them know I was there.) I would estimate about 10% of people were reading hard copy. A whole lot of thumbs whirling away and finger flicking.

Took a walk through the airport. The place selling Carolina-style bbq was still there. I would recommend anyone coming through RDU who has never had it and has the time to try some. I like it when an airport features regional food (like Cincinnati with it's chili).

We were twenty minutes sitting out on the runways before taking off to Newark, New Jersey, where I had a connection, but I had a two hour wait there anyway so no problem.

Maybe I'll get Home Today. --RoadDog

Tidbits: The Midwest-- Too Much Teaching

Perhaps some people and places to check out on your travels. From American Profile magazine.

MISSOURI-- Marjorie Allen turned 94 in September of this year. She began teaching kindergarten in 1939 in Normandy (pop. 5,008) and CONTINUES to serve as a substitute teacher. The Normandy School District honored her as Citizen of the Month in September for 72 YEARS in the classroom.

That more than doubles my 33 years in the classroom. She must be a glutton for punishment. Actually, I thought about subbing, but it would get in the way of being retired.

NEBRASKA-- It was founded in 1879 as a ROTC unit, the Marching Band at the University of Nebraska is one of the oldest marching bands in the country. The Marching Huskers?

I'd Go For That. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tidbits: Midwestern States

From the American Profile Magazine.

Things to see on your ride around he Midwest.

ILLINOIS-- Ottawa (pop. 18,768) erected a statue in September to the "radium Girls" women who worked at the now defunct Radium Dial and Luminous Processes during the 1920s and 1930s. Many of the women who painted the glow-in-the-dark watch dials with radium-laced paint died of radium poisoning. I told you this job would kill me.

INDIANA-- Pioneer boot maker Herman Joseph Justin was born in 1859 in Lafayette (pop.67,140) and moved to Texas in the 1870s where he repaired and made cowboy boots. In 1910, his company, H.J. Justin & Sons boots was in Nacona, Texas and selling boots in 26 states and three other countries for $11 a pair. Boot-Scootin' Boogie.

IOWA-- Kinnick Stadium at the University of Iowa in Iowa City (pop. 67,862) is named after 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, who died at age 24 during a flight training mission as a reservist with the Naval Air Corps Reserve.. During his collegiate career, Kinnick had 1,674 yards rushing, 18 interceptions and an average of 39,9 yards per punt.

His likeness is on the coin that is tossed at the start of every Big Ten football game. An all-around sort of guy.

Something to See. --RoadDog

Fun and Games on US-17 and I-40: Smithfield's Chicken 'N BBQ

Left Topsail Beach Sunday. The whole morning and afternoon, there were really mean-looking black clouds and thunder west of the beach,and that was the way we had to drive to get back to Goldsboro.

No rain until we got to US-17 and headed south to I-40. Then, it would take turns raining, then no rain, then drizzle, then nothing. We would hit patches where no rain at all fell. This continued on I-40 heading west until about the time we got to Wallace when the heavens opened up and really pummeled us.

I'm thinking this is mighty hard rain and many vehicles were pulled over and the rest of us going about 20 mph for a while. When the rain stopped, we saw piles of hail on the sides of the road.

Stopped at Smithfield's Chicken and Barbecue in Warsaw, North Carolina to get something to eat. They have great barbecue and chicken. The place was full of high school age boys intently watching the UNC-Kansas regional championship game. We didn't arrive until the last eight minutes and these guys were fairly quiet, even quieter as the Tarheels went into that no scoring run at the end.

Sure would have been a lot more fun had Carolina won. As it was, however, I was fairly amazed not to hear one swear word like you normally hear today whenever kids gather. Plus, they cleaned up when they left. Quite a group of gentlemen.

We did not have any more rain the rest of the way to Goldsboro.

I'd Had Enough Anyway. --RoadDog

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Walk on the Beach

I just got back from a nice walk on the the beach. Today is definitely a better one than yesterday.

One thing nice about the Topsail Beach, North Carolina, is the numerous public access sites, each with parking and a walkway over the dunes (which are illegal to walk on). The one by Mom's place now has a small sitting area, which makes it even nicer, especially for people who can't go out on the beach.

Each public access also has a doggie station where owners can pick up little plastic blue bags for dog waste. And that is a real good thing because a real lot of people walk their dogs on the beach. And, these dogs sure enjoy that!! Lots and lots of stuff to investigate and smell, as well as people to pet them and other dogs to sniff.

Today, there were quite a few dead jellyfish washed up in the sand, probably from that horrendous storm we had last night. I also actually found some of Dad's "lima beans." We call them that because that is what they look like. These are metamorphic, quartz-rich rock that washed out to sea from the Piedmont Plain in the Pre-Cambrian Era and are over 3 billion years old. The last several times here, I didn't find any.

Remember What They Say About a Day at the Beach. --RoadDog

An Airporting I Go: More Fun and Games

From O'Hare, I was in a much bigger plane, one I could put the carry-on in the overhead bin. Unfortunately, I ended up in the middle of three seats, definitely not my most favorite situation. But, I guess I can't complain as the whole flight down and back just cost $17. Beggars can't be choosy.

Last year, they asked for volunteers in Cleveland to get bumped. When they hit $300, a motel room and meals, I was a bought man. I got to Milwaukee the following morning. Not a bad night's work.

No problems on to Raleigh-Durham and no wait to get my carry-on.

Rented the car at Thrifty. I found out yesterday that it is a flex-fuel one so will have to figure that one out. I've never had one before. The main question is whether or not I can use regular unleaded in it as I don't know where any E-85 stations are.

Always Fun, Always Games. --RoadDog

Saturday, March 24, 2012

And, An Airporting I Go: Some Trials and Tribulations This Past Tuesday

OK, checking in was no problem, but then came the security check point. The last several times I've flown, this was too bad, but that streak ran out this time. I waited about 25 minutes, made worse when personnel opened another line where people rushed ahead of us to where the two lines joined. I really wasn't too happy about this.

The actual security check was fast, but putting all that stuff back on and in pockets always takes awhile.

I had a row to myself on the flight to Chicago, always nice.


Landed after that short flight at O'Hare. I only had a real short time to get to the next gate as it was and the plane from Milwaukee was fifteen minutes late leaving. The regional planes are too small to put carry-ons in the overhead bins, so they had to be checked at the plane door. And, of course, those carry-ons were the last things off.

Not only was the gate I needed to go a far way from where I got off, but IT WAS IN A WHOLE DIFFERENT TERMINAL and then at the about the farthest gate.

I got there just in time to board.

Fun and Games at the Old Airport. --RoadDog

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Small Town Mighty Proud of Their Team

It was a real David vs. Goliath story back in 1952. A small high school in northern Illinois, Alden-Hebron, with a total of 98 students, was playing some good basketball. The town, Hebron, was solidly behind the team, featuring the play of the Judson brothers.

This was back when all high schools participated in the same tournament, not separate groupings like today.

Yesterday marked the 60th anniversary of their 64-59 victory over Quincy to clinch it.

The town is still proud of that team. The water tower is done up like a giant basketball with their feat on it. There are basketball backboards with the feat on it around town. My favorite restaurant in town, Kaitie's, has pictures of the team and reunions along the wall. (I keep our boat out at a farm just west of town.)

So, Congratulations to The Alden-Hebron Giants and the Town of Hebron!! --RoadDog

Thursday, March 22, 2012

And, An Airporting I Go: Some Trials and Tribulations on Tuesday-- Part 1


Liz and I drove to Milwaukee, making our usual stop at the White Castle in Kenosha on Wi-50 and I-94 to take care of our slider crave. We usually get the 4.99 4 sliders, fries and drink special and use that wonderful senior discount. Of course, I then have to customize the burgers to my criteria.

Gas was $4.16 to $4.20 everywhere in Wisconsin. On the 11th, it was $4. Sure is an early summer driving excuse this year from the money grubbers.

I had already gotten my boarding pass at home and only had my carry on, so no wait at the counter. I always make sure I get to go to that great Renaissance Books in the terminal. This is one of the best used book stores you will find anywhere and who would have thought you'd find it in an airport terminal. Even if you're not flying somewhere, they will validate your parking for an hour if you buy something.

I found a book on Fort Fisher, "Hurricane of Fire: The Union Assault on Fort Fisher" by Charles M. Robinson. Of course, Fort Fisher is the battle that got me interested in history and particularly that of the Civil War back 53 years ago. And, even better, this is a book I didn't have. So, bought it for $25.

A Great Experience So Far, But Wait. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Heading for North Carolina

Going south to spend a week with family and eat some of that good old Carolina-style pulled pork barbecue.

Normally, this gets me a break from the cold weather that we normally have in March around northeast Illinois, but certainly not the way it is this March.

Temps for the last two weeks have been in the 60s and 70s. Definitely not what we usually get.

Hope to get over to Topsail Beach for a day or two.

Flying out of Milwaukee to Chicago and then to Raleigh-Durham.

A Southward I Do Go. --RoadDog

Monday, March 19, 2012

Now That Spring's Here Tomorrow, Here Are Some Ranked Winter Towns

National Geographic Top ten Winter Towns according to readers. No particular order:

New York City
Minneapolis-St. Paul
Lake Placid, NY
Green Bay, Wis.
Granada, Spain

Dortmund, Germany
West Yellowstone, Montana
Boulder, Colorado
Washington, DC

Sorry, Always Good to See Winter Go. --RoadDog

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dog 'N Suds is Back!! Opening Day 2012

An old friend is back in the area. Miller's Dog 'N Suds Drive-In opened in Ingleside for their 45th season this past Tuesday. And, there aren't too many of these places left, but we are lucky here in Lake and McHenry counties in northeast Illinois to have three of them (the others are in Grayslake and Richmond).

This is your real-deal drive-in, always having carhops and in-the-car eating (although there is a nice picnic area).

If you're looking for some extra dough to pay for gas, they are taking applications for all positions.

Shake of the month for March is mint.

They still have two specials that I particularly like: 99 cent hotdogs on Tuesdays and 99 cent charcoburgers (my favorite other than coney dogs) on Thursdays.

Bands and entertainment on Saturdays as well as a classic car cruise-in.
I Gotta Get Over Der. --RoadDog

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mar's Cheese Castle

We've driven by the "new" Mar's Cheese Castle several times since its remodel (and had been once to the old place) and had remarked that we should stop by, but hadn't.

It is located by Kenosha, about 40 miles south of Milwaukee (not too far north of the Brat Stop). Of course, its biggest draw is that huge and striking Mar's Cheese Castle sign, harkening back to the golden age of signs. No doubt the sign alone draws many folks to the place.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't like changes to anything. And, they sure did change the Cheese Castle building. AND, THEY CHANGED IT FOR THE BETTER. Before, the building was essentially nondescript, large, but nothing to write home about.

Now, that structure indeed looks like a castle, complete with turrets. All that is missing is a drawbridge and dragons.

Now, They Have An Impressive Building to Go With That Impressive Sign. --RoadDog

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Heading Home South of Milwaukee


No ticket or towed car this morning thanks to my midnight sojourn out to the parking lot and another $5 to make us legal. Definitely wasn't to happy to go out this morning.

Got back on the interstate and took I-94 south, passing Layton Road (might not have been an interchange but who knows with all that construction. Had to backtrack to the first place we planned on stopping to play NTN, EA Sports in Cudahey. Unfortunately, it was not open.

Then, on to South Milwaukee and Johnny Mo's. This is your classic Wisconsin small town bar (even as a suburb of Milwaukee) and located on a corner. They were open, but had dropped NTN, even though still listed on the site finder.

We were hungry, so ordered their 50 cent wings which they claim are huge. They weren't kidding. Biggest wings we've ever seen. Six apiece filled us up. Try doing that at BW3.

Definitely a place to visit again. Liked their posters for St. Patrick's Day with St. Patrick himself holding a basketball with a sign saying "Irishmen ignore anything they can't drink or pinch."

Last stop before getting back on I-94 was BW3, Buffalo Wild Wings. Liz and I had three Top 5s individually on the lunch game, including one game when we both had a perfect 7,000 score and were #1.

Heading to Mar's Next. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Painted the Town Green-- Part 3: Irish Culture and Miller Time

Great parade. Checked into the Hilton, got together with our friends, then caught a bus over to the Irish Cultural Center, a little west of Marquette University in an old church.

Cost $2 to get in. More bouncy hair on the main stage. Much louder when they're stomping on that wooden floor.

Then, upstairs for a duo doing Irish songs, corned beef sandwiches, some Irish pastries and lots of pitchers of barley pop.

Downstairs for a four piece band playing Irish instruments, including that little drum thing. This group was considerably wilder and had the crowd going.

Back to the Hilton and drinks at the Miller Time Pub downstairs.

Got Our Irish On. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Painted the Town Green-- Part 2: A Parade for the Saint

The parking lot is right by where the parade organizes itself, so walked three blocks and found the rest of out crowd and joined them.

Fairly warm for a March 10th, but quite windy, especially if you were standing at an intersection. Every so often we'd see hair from one group blowing straight in front of them and anything not bolted down flying off to parts unknown. Unfortunately, one of the vendors was selling those horns that make so much noise. You'd have thought those folks would get winded with all the blowing (which after awhile gets very annoying), but they didn't.

We were standing by the entrance to the downtown Hampton Inn, not in direct line of wind, but unfortunately not in the sun which would have made it better.

The parade kicked off at noon as scheduled. There came St. Patrick at the front and then we had lots of kilted bagpipe bands, floats and more bouncing hair than I thought I'd ever see in my life. One black band came by and I have never seen such moves. They sure had the soul going on and were the best band of the day.

We really enjoyed the leprechaun on the big wheel. It should be illegal to have as much fun as he was having.

A Good Parade. --RoadDog

Monday, March 12, 2012

Painted the Town Green-- Part 1

This past Saturday, we drove to Milwaukee for their 47th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

That I-94 gets mighty confusing around where the bypass splits off due to some major road construction, and we ended up on the bypass for a ways before we found a detour to get back to downtown.

Always love that big clock tower on the southern approach to the city. They're still using that modified smiley face for the Summerfest grounds. We used to go to that every year, but have since stopped as the prices of everything are approaching the Chicago heights and, then the bands are all trying to play loud enough to drown out the ones playing at other venues. But, at one time we used to go at least once, if not twice a year.

We eventually got to the parking lot next to the Hilton where we were staying. Kelly had gotten a $45 rate for the night!! You can't even get a Motel 6 that cheap in most places anymore.

The parking lot is not covered, but cheap. It costs $20 a day to park in the Hilton lot. However, be careful. The lot is $5 a day, but your time expires at midnight the same day you pay. Good if you're leaving after the parade. Not so good if you are spending the night. technically, at midnight, you are parking illegally and you don't want to offend the parking gods in a big city. You get towed, then it will be your first-born.

What To Do, What To Do? --RoadDog

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Milwaukee Here We Come

Heading north to Milwaukee for their annual St. Patrick's Day parade and celebration in an hour.

Corned beef and cabbage, green beer and Jamison's beware.

Getting My British Irish On. --RoadDog

Friday, March 9, 2012

Off to See the Eagles Fly-- Day 2: Part 1: And, We Saw Eagles!!

February 28th

We crossed the bridge into Dubuque, Iowa, not-knowing whether we would be skunked today or perhaps get lucky and see a few eagles. Regardless, we have places to go and it is a beautiful drive along Iowa's Mississippi River shore.

We always make the locks and dams as this is a place the bald eagles tend to congregate. First stop was the Dubuque Lock and Dam north of town. Bam!! We saw seven eagles!! Between there and the south end of the river drove along the levee.

We weren't going to be skunked after all.

Next was the drive on US-52 to Bellevue. On our very first eagle trip, this is where we had seen a baldie up close and personal in a tree by the main street and the park by the lock and dam. We had seen them for the next several trips, but hadn't seen any since then.

But today, paydirt. There was one in that tree so got some great shots. There were several others south of town.

Love Them Baldies. --RoadDog

NTN Cruising This Past January-- Part 3: Happy Harbor and Applebee's Beaches

January 9th.

The Monday after the great NIU Go-Daddy Bowl win over Arkansas State, to cap arguably the best (or second-best-ever Northern football season in my memory), we left Mobile and drove east on I-10 to Alabama Hwy 59 ans south to Foley to Lambert's where we got "throwed at" and enjoyed that great food and atmosphere.

Fully loaded, we drove a short distance to Gulf Breeze and then several miles west to HAPPY HARBOR, a new place with NTN. Very friendly staff and $2 domestic bottles. Definitely a place we'll visit again. Near a little marina.

January 10th

Liz's 61st birthday. Drove over to Wal Mart and bought a king cake for Liz's birthday and then stopped at a new NTN site, Applebee's Beaches there on Back Bay Road. Pretty much a standard Applebees, but some real good drink specials. The bartender was related to the family at the Drift Wood Lodge where we are staying.

January 11th

Kind of a cold day at Panama City Beach, Florida, so drove into Panama City and played NTN at Joe's Corner Pub, a short distance from the bridge. Always a fun place with the crowd. We even had folks playing as well, a rare thing in our travels. Then, there are those great wings that they specialize in.

Two new sites.

NTNin' and Grinnin'. --RoadDog

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Off to See the Eagles: Bay 1-- Part 3: The Grand, Paul's and Swiss

First stop in Dubuque, Iowa, was at the Grand Tap, right next to the country court house. Back in its day, it was a gas station. A real locals kind of place, not your BW3 at all.

Watched the beginning of the Daytona 500 since it was on. I'm more than a bit angry about NASCAR abandoning its Southern roots, most recently seen in their not allowing the General Lee car from the "Dukes of Hazzard" at one of the races because of the Confederate flag.

My excuse was that it was the only thing on TV.

Next stop was Paul's Tavern, a bit closer to the bridge. This place dates back to the 1940s and is noted for the Big Game animals lining the walls. The former owner was an avid hunter. The place is also noted as having the best burgers in Dubuque and judging by all the folks coming in and ordering them, I'd have to say this true. The thing they cook them in is 70 years old and the word id that this is why the burgers taste like they do. We'll have to try one, but not this time as we had just eaten at the Log Cabin in Galena.

Last stop was back at the Swiss Inn Motel on a really dead night. But we enjoyed talking with the bartender who was a grandson of the owners, a real family operation. Mondays, all draft is $1.25.

Of course, the Daytona 500 was on. I'm not a big fan of NASCAR anyway (and, believe it or not, I'm from North Carolina) regardless of their stand on the Confederacy, but it was on so watched the race to the bitter end. I thought it was never going to end.

Enough for One Day. --RoadDog

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Off to See the Eagles-- Day 1, Part 3: 'Buque here We Come

Drove that great stretch of US-20 from Galena to the Swiss Inn in East Dubuque, Illinois, and checked in at the Swiss Inn, our usual motel when we're in the area. Nothing fancy, but clean and around $50.

Drove on west past that great Timmerman's Steakhouse sign on the bluff. That is one really pretty sign. The food up on the bluff is good and there is quite a nice view during daylight hours.

Then past Van's Liquor Store we go. That is one big and well-stocked reasonably-stocked place.

Across the Mississippi River and Dubuque is a real pretty town during the day when crossing the bridge, but even prettier at night with all those lights. On past the old and newly renovated Julien Hotel and then to the Grand Tap next to the courthouse.

One thing, though, about driving around Dubuque, Iowa. Watch out for those one way streets. At one intersection, I was in the far left lane waiting to turn left when I found I wasn't on a one way street. And, of course, along came a guy wanting to turn into the lane I was sitting in. Quick scramble over to the right.

Fun and Games Driving Through Dubuque. --RoadDog

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oh! Those Texas History on a Sticks-- Part 3: The Marker Process

In case you're living in Texas and thinking about how to go about getting one of these markers.

The applicant researches, writes the history, gathers maps and photos with 5 to 50 pages of documentation. This will be submitted to a county historical commission for review and approval. from there it goes to the Texas Historical Commission for review.

If they approve it, the applicant pays $1000 for the marker and the commission boils it down to a short inscription.

All 254 Texas counties (I didn't know they had that many, big state I reckon) have markers.

Travis County has the most with 470. Little Loving County has a dozen, or roughly one for every 69 residents.

Wonder What the Procedure Is Here in Illinois? --RoadDog

Oh! Those Texas History on a Sticks-- Part 2

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Texas historical markers.

And then there are massacre markers.

1838 KILLOUGH MASSACRE-- in East Texas. Eighteen settlers killed or carried away by Mexicans and Indians.

1840 COMANCHE VILLAGE MASSACRE-- 128 Indians killed by 90 citizen volunteers.

1839 WEBSTER MASSACRE-- Near Leander, where Comanches wiped out 30 settlers.

Other markers commemorate outlaws, hellraisers and lawmen.

Of the markers, there are 2,139 for churches and 2,174 at cemeteries. These are the two largest groups of markers.

What's That Up Ahead. --RoadDog

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oh, Those Texas History on a Sticks-- Part 1

From the Feb. 24th Fort Worth (Tx) Star-Telegram "Historical markers tell tale of Texas" by Steve Campbell.

Dan Frazier remembers his father stopping for historical markers when the family was driving along Texas roads. This year, these markers are eligible for their own marker. This year marks the 50th that the Texas Historical Commission has been placing the markers out there on the roads. Right now, there are 15,740 out there and counting.

Back when the program started in 1962, there were only a few thousand markers, mostly in cemeteries.

Right now, Texas has more markers than any other state. Each one gives a history in three hundred words or less. Of course, the big stuff gets a marker, but, not always.

For example, there is one for Baby Head Cemetery along Texas Highway 16, north of Llano. It was named by locals back in the 1850s after a small child was killed by Indians and its remains left on a mountain.

Then there are several markers devoted to local hanging trees.

More to Come. --RoadDog

A History of the Log Cabin Steakhouse in Galena

As they say, "We Serve Opaaaaa!"

Foti (Frank) Rigopoulas was born in Greece and immigrated to America at age 17, entering at Ellis Island after a three-week boat ride in 1954.

He first got a job working as a dishwasher in his uncle's restaurant in Chicago where he eventually earned enough money to send to Greece and have the rest of his family come over as well.

He opened the Sea Breeze Restaurant in Dekalb, Illinois, (I don't remember it) and purchased the Log Cabin in 1975.

A Real American Success Story. --RoadDog

Friday, March 2, 2012

Eatin' At the Log Cabin Steakhouse

It is always a pleasure to walk through those doors and past the bar to the dining room and sitting down at a booth. The main dining room has not changed at all since our first visit, August 26, 1973, a big reason we like it so much. We generally get back at least once or twice a year these days.

Meals are about the cost you'd expect in a steak house, although they call themselves a Greek Steakhouse, roughly $16 to $30, including a veggie tray and cheese, salad, potato and entree.

I got the prime rib special at $17 and Liz ordered fish for the same price. As usual, great and friendly service. We always let our person know this is where we ate on our honeymoon. We also hear a lot of other people saying this marks their 20th-30th anniversary or time they'd been there. While we were eating, a couple came in and said this was their 13th anniversary.

I suggest getting their Greek salad dressing. My prime was so tender I almost didn't need a knife.

Always a big joke when they ask if we want dessert. Hey, we always have to take food to go.

Always a Pleasure. --RoadDog

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Off to See the Eagles-- Day 1 Part 2: Grant's Town, A Vet and a Log

On the way into Galena on US-20, at one point there are two old 1800s homes on the side of the road. I've always thought that one was so close it seemed that the occupants could just reach right off the porch and shake hands with passers-by. Unfortunately, the other house is now torn down.

At least Galena, Illinois, isn't very crowded in February so had no problem at all finding a place to park on the street. Walked up and down the main street and went into a couple stores. One was very interesting and called something like the Galena Canning Store, featuring all sorts of hot sauces, many with hilarious names. We figured buddies Rick and Jeff would go bonkers in there. Next time, I will have to remember to write down some of the names. They had many samples, but considering how hot most of the stuff was, I elected not to try any.

Stopped at the VFW downtown for a coupla two-three beers. Always a friendly crowd inside. Got into a talk with a woman who was the antithesis of Frank, very liberal and obviously a listener of many liberal type shows. You really can't discuss/argue with folks who watch those sort of shows as they have too many "facts."

Last stop was that grand old Log Cabin Restaurant, in business since 1938 and with that striking old over-the sidewalk neon sign. Impressive during the day and even more so at night.

One Fine Meal Coming Up. --RoadDog