Thursday, October 31, 2013

US-14 Vs. US-12 IHSA Football Showdown

I started this little showdown between high schools in my part of the state, the northest, last year. Same rules as the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 apply. It's is essentially last-man standing wins.

Going into week one of the playoffs, there are 7 teams for US-14 (called Northwest Highway around here) and US-12 (called Rand Road) has 4.


8A: Palatine-- Fremd and Barrington

7A: Arlington Heights-- Hersey

6A Crystal Lake --Prairie Ridge and Crystal Lake Central

5A Woodstock

4A Harvard.


8A Palatine-- Fremd

7A Lake Zurich and Arlington Heights-- Hersey

4A: Richmond-Burton (our hometeam).


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lincoln-66 IHSA Football Showdown 2013: Lincoln Highway Teams

There are a total of 17 Lincoln Highway teams against 19 for Route 66. Here are the Lincoln's pride and joy:
8A: St. Charles, Plainfield South and Aurora-- Waubonsee Valley

7A: Geneva, Plainfield East and Frankfort-- Lincoln Way East

6A: New Lenox-- Providence, Aurora-- Marmion Academy, Batavia, Dekalb and Frankfort-- Lincoln Way North

5A: Joliet Catholic, Maple Park-Kaneland and New Lenox-- Lincoln Way West

4A: Aurora Central Catholic, Rochelle, Aurora Catholic.

Plainfield South, Plainfield East and Joliet Catholic represent both the Lincoln Highway and Route 66.

Good Luck to Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lincoln-66 IHSA Football Showdown- 2013: Route 66 Teams

Welcome to the 4th annual contest between these two venerable roads we have here in Illinois. The winner is the road with the most teams at the end.

This year, Route 66 has 19 teams from class 8A to Class 1A (smallest schools). They are:

8A: Plainfield South

7A: Edwardsville and Plainfield East

6A Normal Community West, East St. Louis, Bloomington and Normal Community

5A: Joliet Catholic, Chatham--Glenwood, Springfield- Sacred Heart-Griffin and Normal University

4A: Belleville-- Althoff Catholic and Pontiac

3A: Bloomington Central Catholic, Wilmington and Williamsville

2A: Carlinville and Staunton

1A: Mt. Olive.

No Chicago teams are included.

Best of Luck to Route 66. --RoadDog

Monday, October 28, 2013

NIU Homecoming 2013-- Part 1: Raining On Our Coming Home


Left home with lots of clouds and 80% chance of rain. We were playing a WDRV Ten at Ten cassette for the year 1969 and the very first song to come on when leaving the driveway was that great old "Two Hangmen" by a favorite group of ours from college days, Mason Proffitt, out of Indiana. They played at Northern Illinois a whole lot of times back when we were going there.

Great way to start the drive which is about 65 miles to DeKalb. Brought back memories.

It took us forever to get through Huntley, town of many, many, many stoplights now (not to mention road construction. At one time it was just two stoplights, but even then, almost impossible to get through the light at Main Street.

We had rain off and on, but no real hard stuff until reaching Sycamore, about ten miles from DeKalb, when it really began pouring. I could hardly see the road and this on a day we would be spending a lot of time outside.

However, by the time we got to DeKalb, it stopped and began to clear. Turning on Lincoln Highway, the 90-minute tape came back around to "Two Hangmen." Was that a good sign?

Back Home Again to Home Sweet College. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Barhopping On the Drive Home: Sit'N'Bull, Main Street and Donovan's

After leaving Lake Geneva, we took the US-12 ecpressway to Pell Lake Road and got off heading east. 

Took a ride around Powers Lake and stopped in a place we haven't been in at least ten years, the venerable Sit-N-Bull Inn. If there was ever a better name for a bar, I sure don't know what it would be. Just a bunch of guys doing just that. Saw pictures of an old bar called The Red Onion, that looks to have dated back to the 20s-30s that has since burned down and used to be located right by Sit -N- Bull. Some of the guys remembered it.

Then to a favorite place on Sundays, Main Street Tap in Twin Lakes. The place was packed and enjoyed complimentary meatballs and chips.

Last stop at Donovan's Reef before going home.


Still No Major Color Around Wisconsin's Geneva Lake

Yesterday, we took another drive around Geneva Lake (most folk refer to it as Lake Geneva, but the real name is Geneva Lake). We did a reverse drive, north side first and then south. Sadly, there were spots of color, but no major jaw-dropping ones, just like when we did it two weeks ago before the NIU Homecoming game. Always a pretty drive, though.

Drove around the residential area just west of downtown Lake Geneva (this is the correct name of the town and what gets folks confused about the lake name) and then, of course, that Wisconsin Rustic Road to beat all Rustic Roads, Snake Road. I don't know how you get a prettier three mile stretch of driving than this.

Then through lakeside areas of Williams Bay and into Delavan where we stopped at the Abbey Resort for a walk-around. Then, it was the North Lake Shore Drive back to Lake Geneva.

Like I said, there were a few spots of color, but not much.

Gas in Lake Geneva was $3.26 and $3.20 in Delavan.

Maybe Next Week? --RoadDog

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 6: Union Oyster House


Housed in a 1716 brick building, the place has served oysters, clam chowder (of course) and seafood since 1826. Statesman Daniel Webster regularly bellied up to the U-shaped mahogony bar for platters of raw oysters consumed with tumblers of brandy and water.

Another regular was one John F. Kennedy who has a wooden booth named in his honor.

This place is steeped in history including a claim that the first toothpick used in the United States was used here. It is listed as a National Historic Landmark. Along with seafood, it also serves traditional New England fare like Boston baked beans and Indian pudding.

It's A Toothy Situation.  --RoadDog

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Small World: Another TNT's-- Part 2

Bob said that the food was great, the place crowded and you got to see your food prepared right in front of you. The clientelle is always friendly as are the owners and workers. The name TNT, however, still hadn't made an impression on me.

We took seats at the counter and ordered. I had a hankering for the corned beef hash and eggs for $5.99 and Bob got a humongous omelet for $6.99.

That corned beef hash was the best I've ever eaten along with the sourdough toast to sop up my overeasy eggs.

All of a sudden, the name TNT's hit me. I asked the waitress what it stood for and she said, "Tina and Tasso's." It all came back to me then.

I said, "There used to be one in Antioch that my wife and I really enjoyed."

She replied that they were one and the same and that she used to work there. Usually, the owners come in by now, but had not arrived by the time we left as I sure would have liked to have said hi.

As the saying goes, "I'll Be Back." --RoadDog

Small World: Another TNT's-- Part 1

Back a lot of years ago, one of our favorite places to eat in the Lake/McHenry counties area was a place on Il. Highway 173 west of Antioch, Illinois, called TNT's (for owners Tina and Tasso). Great food, especially their Greek chicken which was out of this world, specials and drinks. Plus, really friendly owners and wait staff.

Unfortunately, the place closed and became California Coal House and eventually Dublin O'Shea's before suspiciously burning down. Today, the site is fenced off and all that remains is the foundation. Always saddens us to drive by it.

This past Saturday, while on the way to the Northwestern-Minnesota game in Evanston, my buddy Bob mentioned a place named TNTs in Arlington Heights, Illinois, as a possible stop for breakfast on our way. We stopped in at its location at 1705 West Campbell Street between Wilke Road and Reuter Avenue.

The Name Connection Still Didn't Dawn On Me, However. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 5: Old Talbott Tavern


Opened its doors in 1779 as a stagecoach stop and for years has been offering food, drink and a shelter in its noted Flemish stonework. Famous guests have included Daniel Boone and steamboat inventor John Fitch.
The most-requested menu item is the Hot Brown sandwich, made of bread topped with sliced ham and turkey, Mornay sauce and garnished with tomato and bacon.

A chef who worked at Louisville's Brown Hotel during the 1920s when the sandwich was invented, brought the creation to the Old Talbott. Fried chicken, steaks and seafood also are offered.

The most popular beverage is, unsurprisingly, Kentucky bourbon, served at the world's oldest bourbon bar.

I was fortunate to eat at this place thanks to an American Road Magazine tour put together by Denny Gibson and the Road Maven. That sandwich WAS EVERY BIT AS GOOD as it sounds. I'm hoping to get back there sometime.

Good Eating With Just a "Bit" of History. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 4: The Pirates' House


A 1734 brick gardener's house, built shortly after the first English colonists, led by James Oglethorpe arrived, serves as two of the restaurant's 15 dining rooms in the restaurant located one block from the Savannah River.

In the 1750s, the gardener's house became a tavern and inn frequented by seafarers and pirates. Today, you can see wooden-pegged, rough-hewn ceiling beams and rare editions of the book Treasure Island, which contain references to the inn.

Popular menu items are southern food and, of course, seafood.

My sister lives by Savannah, so next time there I'll have to visit.

A Little Bit of the South in Your Mouth. --RoadDog

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 3: King George III Inn


In 1681, Samuel Clift bgan ferrying wagons across the Delaware River between Bristol and Burlington, N.J., and opened the Ferry Inn where travelers ate and spent the night. Many of these early inns were combination eating, drinking and lodging.

In 1735, a grander King George II Inn was built on the site and famous guests have eaten there since then, including James Madison and wife Dolley.

Today, the inn has five dining rooms with a varied menu. Inside and outdoor dining offers a river view.


10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 2

Here is a list of the other nine places:

King George II Inn, The Pirates' House, Old Talbott Inn, The Golden Lamb, The Log Inn, Union Oyster House, Antoine's Restaurant, Tadich Grill and Hays House.

I'll be writing about all of them.

I have eaten at two of the places thanks to buddy Denny.

Thinking About Getting to 'Em All. History and Food, Good Combo. --RoadDog

Monday, October 21, 2013

10 of America's Oldest Eateries-- Part 1: "Old '76 House

From the American Profile Magazine by Marti Attoun.

So, get a great meal in some mighty old surroundings. Hey, that's a win-win situation. Here is a list of ten places that are all over 150 years old:

#1. OLD '76 HOUSE, TAPPAN, NY. Owner Robert Nordon calls it "the oldest dining room in America." The Dutch tavern, built in 1686, is still serving good food like crab cakes, roast duckling and Yankee pot roast.

Originally known as Mabie's Tavern, this is where colonists gathered on July 4, 1774, to adopt the Orangetown Resolutions protesting British taxation and the occupation of Boston. Later, Continental Army commander George Washington met here and in 1780, it served as a jail for British Army Maj. John Andre after he was caught conspiring with U.S. General Benedict Arnold.

George Washington Ate Here (Maybe Slept). --RoadDog

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Route 66's a Trip-- Part 4: It's Habit-Forming

Country and Western singer Jess McEntire said in an interview that he is on a mission to reintroduce to America the magic of Route 66 as he promised his parents he would do.

"In your backyard, there is a treasure, Route 66. Discover the Route and its treasures and rediscover yourself. You will be glad you did."

But like I said, beware as Route 66 is goll-durned habit forming. Even just one little trip can get you hooked. I know it has for us, ever since our first "on purpose" trip on it back in 2002.

We had been on it back in the 60s, but back then it was just another road. Now, it is something else. I like to say it is America as it was back in the day. A slice of small-town America which is still out there. Some of the friendliest folks you'll ever meet.

Do You Say "Root" or "R-out-e" 66? --RoadDog

Friday, October 18, 2013

Route 66's a Trip-- Part 3: Too Easy To Get "Hooked" on Route 66

In Braidwood, Illinois, the radio travelers met two young girls coming off shift at the Polka Dot In who shared their experiences working there. That is a great old-timey place.

In Lincoln, Illinois, they met an elderly woman named Joy who shared how Route 66 became interwoven in her life. "I could share a lot more but the point is clear. For all of us on the tour, it provided a reawakening of small town values and downhome genuineness where everyone looks out for everyone."

And, Pontiac, Braidwood and Dwight are just an hour from Chicago. I could have told Paul Lepek and the others to be careful as that road is highly addictive.

One Little Drive, and You're Hooked. --RoadDog

Lane Lindstrom's Radio Station WJEZ, 98.9 FM

Last entry, I mentioned Paul Lepek going to Lane Lindstrom's radio station in Pontiac, Illinois, but there was no mention of whether the station broadcasts over the air. It does.

He is at WJEZ 98.9 FM and plays a classic hits format. He deejays and has three others on staff, so it is not canned music like so many small stations play. You get a real live deejay.

Actually, I came across this station the last time I drove by Pontiac. It happens to be near the numbers of the WWHP in Farmer City, Illinois, WBRF in Galax, Virginia, with all that great classic country. When I travel, the tunes are on all the time; either CDs, cassette tapes (if I'm in the '85 Firebird or '03 Malibu) or radio.

I'm listening to WJEZ right now.

Last song played was "There's a Kind of a Hush" by Herman's Hermits. Now, "Save the Country" by Laura Nyro and "Arizona" by Mark Lindsay.

Route 66 Radio. --RoadDog

Route 66's a Trip-- Part 2: Doing That Old Thing

Once the radio guys got to Joliet, however, they found Route 66 signage in abundance and also encountered many people and tourists who stopped by and shared stories. They also traveled to Pontiac, Atlanta, Lincoln and Springfield, all towns that revel in their Route 66 heritage (not like Bloomington-Normal, Illinois).

In Pontiac, they met Lane Lindstrom who runs an old-time radio station with old-time radio machinery that still works. This brought back memories of Lepek's early Elgin radio days. (I wonder if Lindstrom broadcasts?)

In Atlanta, Illinois, they met Bill and Rhonda from that great Palms Grill Cafe downtown. This is a restaurant that looks to be right out of the 1940s from food to decor. Great food and at reasonable prices.

Nothing Like a Trip On Old 66 Across Illinois. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Route 66's a Trip-- Part 1: Deejays Take A Trip

From the June 27-July 3, 2013, Lake County (Il) Journal. "Route 66 a trip" by Paul Lepek.

I wish I had come across knowledge of this trip ahead of time as I sure would have liked to accompany them as a guide as I know quite a lot about the stretch here in my home state of Illinois.

"We have one of life's great treasures right in our backyard: .....ROUTE 66. As the broadcast host from WRLR, along with my counterparts from FOREST 92.3 near London in the UK, Paul Peters and Geoff Kemp, we set up a series of broadcasts to rediscover this awesome part of small town Americana."

They started in downtown Chicago at Lou Mitchell's on Jackson Street (66's east-bound lanes) in the Loop (and a proper way to kick off any 66 drive). The place was bustling as usual.

Next stop was at Harrah's Casino in Joliet. He mentions that it is hard to find a Route 66 sign in Chicago, but no longer the case when you get to Joliet. (Indeed, from Chicago's Loop to Joliet, it is my belief that the Mother Road has essentially been obliterated.)

Sure Wish I'd Known. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Attention All You Old Music Lovers: Beach Music Top Ten 1956

Not exactly from the road, but many road warriors are "old" (well, tend to be "older" and here is some music that might be just right. I don't remember anything from then as I was just five-years-old, but I am an fan of real-old rock songs and, of course, Beach Music.

This is from Fessa John Hook's Beach Music Countdown, Classroom Reunion #1 for 1956 which you can hear on his site. But, you'd better hurry up and give it a listen as he changes the year sometime this week.

#10. I'M IN LOVE-- Fats Domino
#9. RUBY BABY-- Drifters

H.M. IVORY TOWER-- Otis Williams & Charms
#8. IN PARADISE-- Otis Williams & Charms
#7. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL-- Shirley and Lee

#6. WITCHCRAFT-- Spiders
H.M. TELL ME BABY-- Hurricanes
#5. ALL AROUND THE WORLD-- Little Willie John

#4. HONKY TONK-PT. 2-- Bill Doggett

#3. GOOD ROCKIN' DADDY-- Etta James & the Dreamers
#2. NIP SIP-- Clovers
#1. JUST A GIGOLO/ I AIN'T GOT NOBODY-- Louis Prima and Keely Smith.

The Good Stuff.  --RoadDog

Burnsville, NC a Treat-- Part 2: Mountains, Quilts, Sculptures and Murals

Burnsville likes to tout the stuff they already have. Of course, there are the mountains and a great view of NC's Mount Mitchell and there are 17 peaks in Yancey County that are more than 6,000 feet tall.

There are also the squares, quilts from 4-foot wide to 8 feet all over downtown. The one at Heritage Lumber resembles a circular saw. Burnsville Hosiery's are socks arranged in a star and many regard the one at the Yamcey Common Times Journal as the best as it tells time (accurate to within six seconds). There are more than 200 of them in Yancey and Mitchell counties, each one different. You can get a map of Quilt Trails in western NC for $5.

There are also murals and sculptures in Burnsville. More than 500 artists live in Yancey County, one of the highest concentrations in the United States.

The Nu-Wray Inn sits on the square in Burnsville and has been there since 1833, but is no longer lodging. The town is pretty-much closed down by 10 PM (I can tell you Mt. Airy, NC's downtown, Andy Griffith's hometown, closes by 6 PM on Saturday night). And, you can get a drink in the county now as it was one of the last dry NC counties until 2010.

Sounds Like a Destination. I Imagine There Is Good Eating As Well. --RoadDog

Burnsville, North Carolina a Treat-- Part 1: Named For A War of 1812 Privateer

From the July 2013 Our State Magazine (NC) "Burnsville" by Jeremy Markovich.

I'd never heard of this town until I wrote about Otway Burns in my War of 1812 blog, Never Forgotten. He was a famous privateer from North Carolina in that war with a very interesting story.    There is a statue of him in the town square, even though he never lived there. The town was named after him.

Strangely, you'd expect a town named after a seagoing man to be near or at the coast, but Burnsville is up in the Appalachian Mountains, near Asheville.

Burnsville is small town America, perhaps even another Mayberry with its 1700 people located in Yancey County which only tallies just 17,000 people.

Residents want a slice of the tourism business and a big subject of conversation is "The Road." That would be U.S. Highway 19 East which will become a four-lane road that will connect with I-26 and then make Asheville just 40 minutes away.

Perhaps a Stop in Order the Next Time Through Western North Carolina. --RoadDog

Monday, October 14, 2013

How About That

Last week, the cost of a barrel of oil dropped $2. At the same time, gas prices around here jumped 16 cents a gallon.

Go Figure. --RoadDog

Henry Ford Made America Smaller-- Part 3: Ford the Bill Gates of His Time

Henry Ford's true genius lay in his vision of low cost transportation for the common man. (I've head it said that he put the people of the United States on wheels.) Until Ford came along, only the rich could afford automobiles. It was Ford's idea to sell low-cost, no-frills, dependable cars.

Today, more than 240 million vehicles are registered in the U.S.. (Sometimes, when I'm out driving, I think they are all in front of me or coming toward me when I want to make a left turn. We personally have four of those horseless carriages.)


Bill Gates' innovations conquered communication in the late 20th century. Henry Ford conquered transportation in the early part of the century. "Both men took an arcane device and made it indispensable in everyday life. Plus, these men brought about "countless spin-off businesses, social genres and enterprises both criminal and benevolent."


Saturday, October 12, 2013

NC Bound Fall 2013-- Part 5: Route 66 Fix in Dwight, Illinois

Once past Morris, Illinois, Il-47 opens up and is a fast drive to Dwight, right by I-55. Always like the sign on the barn reading "Repent Ye Must Be Born Again.

Of course, I have to get my Route 66 fix and that road passes through Dwight. Stopped at the old 1930s Ambler-Becker gas station that now houses the Dwight Welcome Center which is open during the summer.

I always enjoy talking Route 66 with the knowledgeable folk manning it and looking at the guest book to see where people are from.

As usual, there are a lot of European and other foreign visitors. So far today, there had been 18 visitors from out of the country: Australia, UK and Panama. Also new is the original Dwight fire truck which was reconditioned by Kenny Howard. It still runs.

I also like looking at the maps with stick pins showing from where visitors come. There is a world on, a U.S. one and a new one of Europe.

Worth a Stop. --RoadDog

Friday, October 11, 2013

Henry Ford Made America Smaller-- Part 2: The Model T

Henry Ford's Model T first hit America's roads in 1908. At the time, the country was primarily a rural society powered by horses and steam. In 1914 he built the first continuously moving automobile assembly line and now a Model T rolled off the line every 24 seconds. More than 15 million had been built when the last one came off in 1927.

His business methds and techniques still form the basis for many indistries to this day. In the 1930s, Kiichiro Toyoda came to the U.S. to study Ford's factories and processes. Of course, his company became Toyota.

Thanks a Lot, Henry. --RoadDog

NC Bound Fall 2013-- Part 5: Johnson Mound Forest Preserve

I mentioned this place earlier on my trip to North Carolina for the fall. I've used Illinois Highway 47 many times and driven by the sign for this place everytime, but never stopped to see it or even look it up like I have now done.

It is in Kane County, Illinois, and the mound in this case was not an Indian burial mound, although I did read that Indian treaties were signed on it as it rises about 200 feet above the surrounding prairie.

It actually is a karne, a glacial deposit and is the highest point in Kane County. There was something about a prominent FBI tower either in the forest preserve or near it. I'm not sure exactly what this is about.

The Shabbona Elm Tree, hundreds of years old, once stood on the mound. It was named for Chief Shabbona, of the Pottawatomie Indians. Sadly, the tree died of Dutch Elm disease in 1972. The forest preserve was acquired in 1927 and was originally 97 acres, but is now 743 acres. There is a stone picnic pavilion on the summit.

Thinking about checking it out on our way to NIU's Homecming tomorrow. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 10, 2013

NC Bound Fall 2013-- Part 4: Creed Bratton

Driving south on Il-47, I heard a commercial for a guy named Creed Bratton who was going to be at one of the local gambling casinos in the area. But what really got my attention was that he was on the sitcom TV show "The Office" and had played in one of my favorite 60s bands, the Grass Roots. That would have to be a great show.

I'd never heard of him before and the only Grass Roots person I had ever heard heard of was singer Rob Grill. Well, I just had to look him up in Wikipedia.

Creed Bratton was born William Schneider in 1943 and while a teenager decided he wanted to be in music. He helped form a band called 13th Floor which got Rob Grill in it and changed their name to the Grass Roots. They immediately had a Top Ten song with "Let's Live for Today." Then came a series of big hits including "Midnight Confessions" among others. He stayed with the band for their first four albums before leaving over a disagreement with the band's producers over songwriting.

He most recently was a member of The Office" cast where he played himself. He is the white-haired older guy.

Wonder if he told jokes, played music, or perhaps a combination of both?

So, That's Creed Bratton. --RoadDog

Henry Ford Made America Smaller, More Congested-- Part 1

From the July 30, 2013, USA Today by Paul Labadie.

Paul Labadie has given tours as a Model T driver at the Henry Ford Museum for ten years. He'd like folks to know that Ford did not invent the automobile nor did he invent the assembly line (Ransom Olds did). Actually, what Henry Ford can take credit for, really, is the traffic jam. Think about that the next time you're sitting there.

July 30th marked the 150th anniversary of Ford's birth. "Starting out as a simple farm boy's dream, Ford's Model T would clog our streets, create cities and suburbs, employ thousands and put America on a never-ending road trip."

More to Come. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Taking Advantage of Indian Summer: Andy Gump Would Be So Proud

After a really crummy four days of rain and wind from Thursday to Sunday, the good weather has returned in what we call Indian Summer, one last romp in the sun.

We've been boating the last two days and are heading out again in a few minutes.

The trees have started to change big-time in our subdivision in Spring Grove so yesterday after we got off the boat, we took a ride up to Wisconsin and drove around that beautiful Geneva Lake, but it is at least a week away from prime fall color. A few trees had changed, but most hadn't. We'll go again next week.

We did eat lunch out at Flatiron Park in Lake Geneva at the east end of the lake near the Riviera Docks and had a great view. The park features the statue of Andy Gump. He was the first daily cartoon carried in the Chicago Tribune back in the early 1900s. His creator lived in Lake Geneva.

"No Chin" Andy. --RoadDog

Monday, October 7, 2013

The End of the Boating Season Saturday and Oktoberfest

Well, Saturday was the end of the 2013 Chain Crawl here on the Chain of Lakes in northeast Illinois. Celebrated with a big party and lots of free stuff at Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake. Some die-hards came by boat and got drenched in the downpour. Fortunately, we were sitting under a big tent on the patio with friends Don and Pat and Glenn and Barb.

Usually, Liz and I win absolutely nothing, but today was our day. We won several hats, a six pack of pumpkin ale and three bottles of booze. Oh, did I mention we also won $100. Makes up for all those dry runs.

Afterwards, we stayed for the first set of the Average Joe Band.

We then went over to the Fox Lake Lakefront Park for Oktoberfest and enjoyed the Alpiners playing oom-pah music for a set as well as German food and drink.

Though the Chain Crawl is over, we still need five more boating outings to make our goal of 40 times. We would have had it today, but have not gone out the last four days because of rain and threat of rain.

Good Times in the Area. --RoadDog

NC Bound Fall 2013-- Part 3: That's Boz To You


Continued south on Illinois Highway 47, my preferred way of avoiding the Chicago Hassle. Passed a park sign for Johnson Mound Forest Preserve. Was that a hill or perhaps an Indian mound? Land is fairly flat through here. Gas in Yorkville was $3.77 and $3.66 in Morris.

Just after crossing the interstate I-80 north of Morris, there is a hot dog stand I've been wanting to check out for a long time and this was the day to do it. Besides that, I was getting hungry. It is on the west side of the road and called either Boz or Bozo Hot Dogs. There is a round something or another after the letter "Z" on the sign.

Turns out it was just something round as inside on the wall menu, it said you could order a Boz Dog for $2.25, which is what I did. The meat was so-so, but the toppings made this a good one with a whole bunch of stuff including big chunks of tomato and celery salt if desired. I desired. Celery salt is very important for it to be a Chicago dog. You could get a jumbo dog for $3.25 and I overheard the order-taker saying this was much better meat so will try that the next time.

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

Long Strange Trip Ending for Volkswagen's Hippie Vans

From the Sept. 23, 2013, Yahoo! News by Stan Lehman and Bradley Brooks.

They carried hippies to their be-ins and whatever in the 1960s and serves as a workhorse across the developing world, simply called "Bus" by its fans.

Brazil is the last country making the Volkswagen vans, but that ceases December 31st. Production is stopping because of new laws for air bags and anti-locking brake systems for 2014. The company making them says they can't meet the standards.

In Brazil, they are called Kombi, an abbreviation of the German word kombinationsfahrzeug which means cargo passenger van.

Production in Germany stopped in 1979 because the vans could no longer meet European safety requirements. Production in Mexico stopped in 1995, leaving them being made just in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

You Mean Those Things Weren't Safe? --RoadDog

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fox Lake's Annual Oktoberfest Tonight

Always a good time and right now planning on going over to Lakefront Park off US-12 after the Chain Crawl party at Captain's Quarters. Besides German food platters, the Alpiners Band will be playing oom-pah music from 7 to 11. I really love oom-pah music.

Sadly, though, Fox Lake's Oktoberfest is getting the reputation like the Round Lake spring carnival. Having it sure brings on the really nasty weather. Last year, my cousin Joe and I like to froze at Oktoberfest. Today, it's a 90% chance of rain and temperatures dropping down to the lower 60s tomorrow.

Well, I Might Go to Oktoberfest. --RoadDog

Chain Crawl 2013 Ends Today

As the 2013 Chain of Lakes boating season rapidly draws to a close, the Chain Crawl is having their final party this afternoon at Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake in Antioch. We will be there for the many prizes, fully expecting to win what we usually do...nothing.

But, it's fun and, after all, a whole bunch of boat nuts. Some of them are even going to flotilla it to several places before arriving, despite the forecast calling for 90% chance of rain and storms.

After the prizes are awarded (to other folks) the Average Joe band takes the stage from 7 to 11.

Great Times on the Chain. --SeaDog

Fratello's: One Great Dog Here in NE Illinois-- Part 4

I went to their site and found out the Carvelli brothers began Fratello's in 1975 and are also famous for Italian beef (big surprise there). Why the place is not called Carvelli's? Because fratello means brothers in Italian. They have also been inducted into the Vienna Beef Hall of Fame.

What is a perfect Chicago hot dog? Well, Lou Carvelli will be quick to tell you it's a Fratello's hot dog, but: it's served on "a perfectly steamed poppy seed bun, with the all beef Vienna dog in natural casing which has a snap/bite to it, dressed with yellow mustard, relish, onions, tomato, pickle and sports peppers, dusted with celery salt." Well, all but the sport peppers for me. I hate when someone "slips" one of those little surprise hot things in my dog.

Fratello's hot dog was inspired by Tony's on Polk Street and Gene & Jude's in Chicago where Lou lived when he was younger. Monday, I will add some other Lake County spots.

Hot Dog Here I Come. --RoadDog

Around Here, Home Depot Gets the Hot Dog "Smell" Award

The Home Depot store in Gurnee, Illinois, ranked fifth in the Lake County Journal's best hot dog contest with its hot dog stand at the entrance. I've never been to that one, but have smelled the one at the Volo Home Depot many times, but never stopped to have one.

I doubt that there has ever been a hot dog smell better than the one that comes from that small stand at one of the entance/exits. And, you probably wouldn't expect to find a hot dog stand in a big-box hardware store.  

I wonder if all Home Depots have hot dog stands? As a matter of fact, I'm planning on eating lunch there in a few hours.

Happy Hot Dog Time. ---RoadDog

Fratello's: One Great Dog Here in NE Illinois-- Part 2

Fratello's, winner of the Lake County Journal's best hot dog contest this past summer (in an unscientific survey" as they called it), began in a double-wide trailer owned by two Italian brothers, Larry and Lou Carvelli.

It's original location on US-12 in Volo was so popular, they added ones in Rolling Meadows, Lake Zurich and Palatine, Illinois. When Larry retired, Lou sold the other three places to concentrate on the original.

Lou still works there every day. He says he and his brother decided to sell hot dogs because, "It was the Chicago-style sandwich. In the depression years , hot dogs kept people eating. It became a Chicago tradition and we wanted to bring it to Lake County and Chain O' Lakes area.

We felt like pioneers of the Chicago Style hot dog to bring it here." Too bad the article didn't mention when they originally opened.

A Chicago and Chain of Lakes Tradition. --RoadDog

Fratello's: One Great Dog Here in NE Illinois-- Part 1

From the July 25th-Juky 31st, 2013 Lake County (Ill) Journal.

Earlier this summer, I wrote about one of my favorite things to dogs, here in Lake County, Illinois. (Well, actually I live right next door in McHenry County, but close enough.)

After writing about the winners (number one was Fratello's on US-12 in Volo, just south of Fox Lake, I had to go to Fratello's and bite a dog again as I hadn't been there for many years.

It was as good as I remembered them.

The newsaper also had an individual write-up on the place "Fratellos' 'pioneers Chicago-style dog' by Jesse Carpender.

The place is just around the corner from the famous Volo Auto Museum, a trip in itself. A favorite stop-off for visitors going to the auto museum as well as on their way for boating and fun on the Chain of Lakes and, of course, heading for Cheesehead land--Wisconsin.

Expect long lines most of the time, the place is that popular.

Good Dog, Good Dog. --RoadDog

Friday, October 4, 2013

NC Bound Fall 2013-- Part 2: Getting Gassed

I ran into the first of a whole lot of road construction both coming and going starting at Huntley, Illinois, where Il-47 goes over the tollway. Gas was $3.70 in Woodstock and even up to $3.80 at Starks Corner (always one of the more expensive spots.

Hit that nasty old stoplight where Il-47 passes by Plank Road. I think in all the multitude of times I have been driving on 47, I must have caught that light red every time but twice. AND, it is a L-O-N-G one.

Gas in Elburn (always very expensive) was $3.78 at the BP and, gulp, $3.90 at the Mobil station near where the original Lincoln Highway crosses Il-47 south of town.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

NC Bound Fall 2013-- Part 1: Driving There

I left home in Spring grove, Illinois, at 9:30 AM September 6th with the mpg reading 26.9 and set the trip odometer to zero. Drove 120 to 47 and then way south to I-74 near Champagne.

Of course, my tunes were on and was listening to Luke Bryan's new CD Crash My Party until Bob Stroud came on with his Ten at Ten on WDRV, 97.1 FM. Today was music from 1967, a personal favorite year for me:

NOBODY BUT ME-- Human Beinz (as fine a garage rock, frat rock song as was ever performed)

LIVE FOR TODAY-- Grass Roots
GIVE ME GOOD LOVIN'-- Spencer Davis Group
I DIG ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC-- Peter Paul and Mary

HEY JOE-- Jimi Hendrix
MR. SOUL-- Buffalo Springfield

I listened to it on 96.9 FM until I had to switch over to 97.1 FM as got farther south.  These two stations are WDRV and simulcast.  96.9 is stronger in the northern Chicago area and 97.1 in the southern part.

On the Road Again.  --RoadDog

Her Name's Too Long for Her Driver's License

From the Sept. 16, 2013, Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele doesn't fit on license."

A Hawaiian woman's name is too long to fit on her driver's license. So, her real name wouldn't fit. Janice "Lokelani" has that above name, I'm not going to try to type it again, is in the midst of a fight to get here true name on the license.

However, the license only has room for 35 letters. Her name is 35 letters plus a mark space used in the Hawaiian alphabet called an okina.

Hawaii County issued her a license without her first name and with the last letter in her last name chopped off.

Wonder If Five-O Has This Problem. --RoadDog

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Chicago's Brennan Way: It's a Fact Jack

I doubt that any Chicagoan aware of the "Brennan Way" has ever gotten lost. Have you ever noticed that anytime two ex-Chicagoans get together, they immediately start talking streets and addresses to find out where the other lived (and almost always seem to have lived near each other).

It is a really big city.  Not everyone can live near each other.

Then, the talk goes to schools. And almost always they know exactly where each others' schools were and knew somebody who went there.

Of course, to suburbanites like me, it's all Greek.

Huh? --RoadDog

Chicago's Old-School MapQuest-- Part 5

Some more items in Brennan's plan:

***Abolishing duplicate names.

***Giving broken-link streets a single name.

***Using street names beginning with the same letter to designate north-south streets within the same mile as an indication of how far west of State Street they are. (Not quite sure what this means.)

After years of debate, the Council finally approved Brennan's plan in 1908 and it was put into effect in 1909, everywhere except in the Loop which also "came over," five years later.

In 1947, five years after his death, the City Council named a two-block street in a new subdivision Brennan Avenue. "It's easy to find. It's between 96th and 98th streets at 2300 east."

Regardless, I Still Get Lost Those Rare Times I Go Into Chicago. --RoadDog

Chicago's Old-School MapQuest-- Part 4: All Street Numbers Centered Ar State and Madison

Edward Brennan was no expert on streets, but knew something had to be done about the mess. He drafted his plan and submitted it to the City Council.

The plan called for:

***Centering all street numbers on the intersection of State and Madison streets.

***Giving 1,000 numbers for each mile (but before adoption, that was changed to 800 numbers).

***Giving odd numbers to the east side of north-south streets and to the south side of east-west streets. Even numbers to the opposite street sides.

Some Good Thinking. --RoadDog