Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Downriver (By Car) on the Chain Crawl-- Part 5: Broken Oar and McHenry Dam

Saying goodbye at Hermann's we proceeded to the next place on the Chain Crawl for a passport, the Broken Oar.  This place has become of the hot spots for partying in the area, attracting huge crowds of boaters and motorcyclists on the weekends with outside entertainment.

I probably was the very first one to play outside there back in 1994 when I deejayed a Sunday afternoon in October the day before our Round Lake teachers went on a strike that lasted two months.  The place, however, has gotten to be quite expensive in drinks and food, plus the bikers get preferential treatment and parking, so we rarely go there anymore, and never on the weekends.

We had drinks outside right by the river.

The last Chain Crawl stop was at River's Edge, a short way north along the Fox River and deep in a subdivision, somewhat hard to find.  It was also closed on Mondays.

Decided to take a ride through the McHenry Dam State Park on the way back.  This is a really nice park with views of the Fox River and the dam, which has the water cascading over the top again. Two years ago we had a really bad drought and the dam was completely dry.  The locks are on the opposite shore.

Always a Great time on the Chain of Lakes/Fox River.  --RoadDog

Monday, September 29, 2014

Downriver (By Car) on the Chain Crawl-- Part 4: Hermann's Lowlife Bar's Hot Cop Porn

Fifty cents off drinks on every Bear game day, so it was 50 cents cheaper today because of the Monday Night Football game against the Jets.

We got our passport signed and then ordered some hot "Cop Porn."    This is a local favorite and just the thing to tide you over while waiting for your food.  Actually, what it is is pop corn.  Hermann's menu is on a board located behind where customers sit on one side of the bar and is made up of little press-in letters.

For $2, you can get an order of hot pop corn, but the letters were changed to "cop porn" so often, Wayne decided to just leave it that way.  Now, everyone talks about that "Hot Cop Porn."  Everyone gets a big laugh and every first-time visitor inquires about it.

We've heard that the burgers are great, but we always order the pizza when we go.  It is frozen pizza, but probably the best-ever frozen pizza you'll get to eat.  They get it weekly from two local pizza places and are always used up in that week.  We get the classic one which is a true garbage pizza with about seven items on it for $10.

Even better, pizzas are half price using the coupon in the Chain Crawl book.

Half the fun of being in the place is listening to conversations and being involved with them.  If there ever was a "Cheers" in the area, this would be it.

Well Worth a Stop If You're Ever in the Area, If for Nothing Else But That "Hot Cop Porn."   --RoadDog

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Taking a Road Trip With the Stroud Crowd-- Part 3

LODI--  Creedence Clearwater Revival  (Our old Delta Sigma Phi song, "The Buffalo Song" sung to this song back from 1970-1973 at NIU.)

VIVA LAS VEGAS--  Elvis Presley (Of course)
WICHITA LINEMAN--  Glen Campbell

DUBUQUE BLUES--  Aretha Franklin

AMERICA--  Simon & Garfunkel
SWEET HOME CHICAGO--  Blues Brothers  (I was wondering why Stroud didn't play this one first, but a great closing back home again.

Circle Up for the "Buffalo Song," Brothers.  --RoadDog

Taking a Road Trip With the Stroud Crowd-- Part 2

Get a U.S. map and plot these cities as Bob Stroud takes us on a musical road trip.

NASHVILLE CATS--  Lovin' Spoonful
NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS--  Ike and Tina Turner
MEMPHIS--  Faces

OH ATLANTA--  Little Feat
GOING BACK TO MIAMI--  Blues Brothers
NEW ORLEANS--  Gary "U.S." Bonds

CHINA GROVE--  Doobie Brothers (And, I didn't know it was a real place.)
TULSA TIME--  Eric Clapton

MONTERREY-- Eric Burdon & the Animals

Bringing in a Couple of What?  --RoadDog

Friday, September 26, 2014

Downriver (By Car) on the Chain Crawl-- Part 3: Hermann's Lowlife Bar and Grill

Continuing with our trip last Monday, September 16th.

We still had several places down the Fox River to get passport stamps for the Chain Crawl.  The bext place we were going to, Hermann's Lowlife Bar and Grill (also referred to as Hermann's Rest-A-While) was the one we most wanted to visit.  Port Edwards and Pier 99 are a bit too upscale for us.  Dead Inn in Fox River Grove is a great place, but making a turn across Northwest Highway (US-14) is every bit as bad as going across US-12 up by us.

We also weren't sure Hermann's would be open as it is sometimes closed on Mondays or opens around 4 p.m..  They were open at 2 p.m..  Made our day.

This is a small place, even smaller now with several video gambling games, which are about everywhere these days.  The bar itself seats about 12-14 if we squeeze.

As usual, Wayne, the owner, was at his customary seat.  Quite a few people came in while we were there and everyone was greeted by Wayne and the bartender by name.  We told Wayne that we had seen a guy wearing one of his tee shirts at Captain's Quarters a couple times and he named the guy.  Kind of like a Cheers, you know.

This is also not one of your cookie-cutter sports bar or TGIFs, either.  It's the real thing.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name.  --RoadDog

Taking a Road Trip With the Stroud Crowd-- Part 1

 From the August 14, 2011, Rock and Roll Roots show on WDRV, 97.1 FM in Chicago.  Bob Stroud's show every Sunday from 7 to 10 a.m..

This one was called :Annual Summer Vacation Road Trip" and every song had the name of a town or city in it.

Of course, Bob left Chicago, went east, went south, then west and back to Chicago.  You can get a map of the U.S. and map it out.

BORN IN CHICAGO--  Paul Butterfield Blues Band

ALLENTOWN--  Billy Joel

BARRYTOWN--  Steely Dan

Check the Tires.  --RoadDog

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The "Two Muffler Men" Near Crystal Lake, Illinois

From Roadside America.com.

A follow up on the previous two days' posts.

These two muffler men, a Bunyan and an Indian, are located at the Greenhouse of Crystal Lake, a mile north of Il-176 on Il-31, west side.Both once stood at the Ozzi Waterpark and Go Cart Park before it closed in 2007.

The BUNYAN statue has no feet and has painted on black suspenders and a Bunyan hybrid beard painted onto his jaw.  His hands are standard and has a pair of planters dangling from his wrists.

The INDIAN has no feet and a highly detailed "beefcake" rendering on his chest and pants.  His hands are in a "brave" salute.

It is not often (I've never seen one before) that you see two of the muffler men together like this.  I remember seeing the Indian at Ozzi Waterpark the many times I drove past it over the years, but not the other one.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Downriver (By Car) for the Chain Crawl-- Part 2: Two Bunyan Giants, One Place

I forgot to mention that while driving on Illinois Highway 31 going south from McHenry to Crystal Lake, we passed the always anticipated and enjoyed "Two Bunyan Giants" at the Greenhouse of Crystal Lake on the west side of the road about a mile north of the road construction mess at Illinois Highway 176 intersection.

Heading south, you have to look quick as the business is located in a heavily treed area and the statues are standing back a little ways.

The first time I saw them several years ago, I seemed to remember the one made up to be an Indian as standing at the old Ozzi Water Park on US-12 in Palatine.  We stopped and looked around and were told both were from that place.

Muffler Guys Right in the Neighborhood.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Downriver (By Car) for the Chain Crawl-- Part 1: Crystal Lake to Algonquin

Yesterday, after Liz's eye doctor appointment, we drove to Algonquin, Illinois, and then backtracked to Fox Lake.

First stop was in Crystal Lake on our way south, where we wanted to go to the Flag Store in its downtown.  Sadly it wasn't open, but maybe that's good as we saved money.  This is a type of store I really shouldn't visit.  Way too many temptations.  We were looking specifically for a Black Hawks pennant.

Then, on to Algonquin, as far south as you can boat on Illinois' Fox River because of the dam and no locks.  We almost ended up on what they call the New Illinois Highway 31, which now bypasses the town.  Our object was Port Edwards, a fancy restaurant by the dam (and a Chain Crawl participant), but they weren't open on Mondays.

We drove along River Road going north past some really beautiful scenery as it ran along the river for about five miles or more, before we got to Fox River Grove, where we did get to have our passport stamped at the Dead End Saloon.  This is what you could call a neat little hole-in-the-wall place, definitely not cookie-cutter.

Then, further upriver to Pier 99 in Port Barrington, but it was closed, so on to Hermann's Low Life Saloon in Barrington Shores.  This was the place we most wanted to go for the passport stamp and our favorite place downriver.  It is small and been there since the early 1920s and owned by Wayne's family since 1951.

All My Friends Are in Low Places, As Garth Said.  --RoadDog

Great Lakes Lighthouses

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association in Mackinaw City, Michigan, has information on more than 200 Great Lakes lighthouses attinyurl.com/m64s74r.


Lake Erie Lighthouses Shine On-- Part 6: Revolutionary War Vet First Keeper at Marblehead

The Marblehead Lighthouse is at the entrance to Sanduskey Bay in Ottawa County and began operations at Rocky Point (go there and you will see why they call it that) in 1822 and has had 16 keepers in the past, including two women.  In the early days, the light was lit with whale oil.

The state of Ohio took over ownership in 1972 and it became a state park in 1973.  So far, some $3 million has been spent to rehabilitate it and the keeper's house.  It also has the original Fresnel Lens.


The first keeper was a Revolutionary War veteran and an early Marblehead settler who received a $350 a year salary to nightly light the whale oil lamps.  Metal reflectors helped project the light out into the lake.

He built a limestone house 3 miles away and it is the oldest house in Ottawa County.  The Ottawa County Historical Society manages it.  Wolcott died of cholera in 1832, and his wife Rachel assumed the job.

They have a Lighthouse Festival on the second Saturday in October.

We'll Leace the Light On.  --RoadDog

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lake Erie Lighthouses Shine On-- Part 5: Marblehead Lighthouse State Park

This lighthouse ranks as Liz and my favorite one as it was the one that got us "hooked" on lighthouses.  Before going out to Put-in-Bay on our first trip, we decided to look around the mainland.  Actually, we couldn't get a room on the island until the next day, so had some time to kill.  We went, saw and got "hooked."  This is why we have a Marblehead Lighthouse lamp and at least paintings/photos of it.  Of course, not to mention the magnet somewhere on the refrigerator.

It is nearby to South Bass Island and the lighthouse there which i have written about in the last four posts.  Like the other one, this one is also open to visitors and on the northeast corner of the Marblehead Peninsula.  It is the oldest lighthouse in continuous use on the Great Lakes.  "It is 182 years old and is a Lake Erie icon."

Originally standing 50 feet, it was raised to 67 feet and is 25 feet in diameter at its base with 5 foot thick walls, narrowing to 12 feet at the top (if you walk up the 77 steps.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Road Work Ahead, Summer 2014 N.C. Trip-- Part 23: Kure Beach

We then drove the short distance to Kure Beach, past Big Daddy's Seafood Restaurant which has been there since at least the 1950s and home of some great seafood.  They have a marker in front of it by US-421 saying it was the site where Union forces came ashore for the attack on Fort Fisher a few miles southward.

Kure Beach has a really small "downtown" area and a pier.  We took a ride along their road going north from the downtown (one way heading north) and saw the cottage that looks like my grandparents' cottage that was destroyed by Hurricane Hazel.  We have often considered renting it to see of the inside is somewhat like the one we lost.  Of course, in the ensuing 60 years, there would have been a lot of renovation.

On to the Fort!  --RoadDog

Lake Erie Lighthouses Shine On-- Part 4: Ghosts?

Just in time for the Halloween Season (the stores have had their stuff up since the beginning of the month), there are reports of ghosts at the light station and house.

One likely candidate might be Harry Riley, the first lighthouse keeper, who went insane and died in s state hospital in 1899.

Another possibility was Harry Anderson, a visitor to South Bass Island, who was quarantined because of a smallpox outbreak and committed suicide by jumping from a dock into Lake Erie in 1898.

The South Bass Lighthouse is one of only three Lake Erie ones open to visitors of the 19 along the Ohio coast.  It's 42 steps to the top and will cost adults$3. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays June to August and you can arrange a tour from April to November.


Lake Erie Lighthouses Shine On-- Part 3: OSU Owns It

The South Bass Light station was acquired by Ohio State University in 1967 and is now listed on the NRHP.  The university uses it, along with nearly 900 feet of shoreline for academic programs.  (I don't know, what with college students and the major-party atmosphere of Put-in-Bay.)

The light station is attached to a 2 1/2 story Queen Anne-style house with red bricks.

Lake Erie is slowly eroding the bluff it all sits on so something will eventually have to be done about it.

Partyin' at the Lighthouse?  --RoadDog

Friday, September 19, 2014

Country Music's Dallas Frazier on the Jukebox at the Silver Dollar at Carolina Beach

A couple days ago, I wrote about listening to Dallas Frazier singing "North Carolina" and John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" at the Silver Dollar Saloon on Carolina Beach's boardwalk.  This was on a family vacation and we were there with my brother Bob, his wife, Liz and my sister Julie and staying at Aunt Anna Mae's cottage.

Of course, we knew John Denver's song and I put "North Carolina" on since we were in the state and all born there, well my brother, sister and I.  We liked it so much, I decided to try "Elvira" since it was also sung by Dallas Frazier.

We like to wore that jukebox out.  I hadn't thought about those songs for years, and then, they just popped into my head.  I went to You Tube and listened to "North Carolina" many times.  And, that brought back the memory that we also listened to Dallas Frazier's "Elvira."  Yep, the same "Elvira" that the Oak Ridge Boys had such a big hit with back in the 80s.

These were on 45s and I am fairly sure that both "North Carolina" and "Elvira" were on the flipsides of the same single, but maybe not.

Either way, it was a great time for us.

We knew Elvira before most anyone else did.

I will write about Dallas Frazier in my Down da Road I Go blog tomorrow.

"My Heart's On Fire for ____."  --RoadDog

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Road Work Ahead, 2014 Summer N.C. Trip-- Part 23: Carolina Beach Southern Extension and the Beauregard

Left the Carolina Beach boardwalk area and drove to the Southern Extension area which has a one-way street running along the ocean-side with cottages and condos on both sides of it.  This is where my grandparents on my mother's side had their cottage right on the ocean during the 1940s until 1954.

I evidently spent a lot of every summer (well, first three years of my life) at this cottage and it is where I learned how to walk.  The wreck of the blockade-runner Beauregard was right in front of it and you could see it at low tide.  Perhaps one of the reasons I got so interested in the Civil War, well, that and Fort Fisher about five miles down the road.

Unfortunately, the cottage was completely erased by Hurricane Hazel in 1954.  No trace of it was left.  For years, the lot set empty until my grandparents sold it in the 70s and now the large cottage named the Sema is on it.

My great aunt, Anna Mae, had a cottage directly across the street and we used to go there a lot during the rest of the 50s and 60s and even as late as the 80s.  The new owners have done so many renovations that you can no longer recognize her place.

Spent Many Weeks Here.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lake Erie Lighthouses Shine On-- Part 2

We had been out to the island many times before we found out there was a lighthouse on it.We found it one long summer weekend when we had won an extra two day stay at a hotel on Put-in-Bay and found that as much fun as the place is on the weekends, it gets a bit boring during the week.  I mean, there are only so many places you can go on  a small island like this.  We must have driven on every road several times.

Five days was too much, but we even saw Pat Dailey talking with some friends at one point.

This is when we found the lighthouse.

It is a red brick lighthouse with a 60-foot tower that operated  from 1897 to 1962 at Parker's point off Langram Road on South Bass Island.  Its light shone from early March through late December, the Lake Erie shipping season.

Its lens produced a fixed red signal visible for up to 13 miles from its bluff-top location and it never had a foghorn.

It helped guide boats on the southern passage through the Lake Erie Islands between Sanduskey and port Clinton, Ohio.


Road Work Ahead, N.C. Summer trip 2014-- Part 22: Silver Dollar Saloon, Dallas Frazier's "North Carolina"

Walking around the boardwalk, which is actually two north-south paved pedestrian streets and several east-west short ones, I say several of those old honky-tonk bars that I remember, including Surfside.

But the one I really was looking for was the Silver Dollar Saloon.  It was still there, I am happy to report.  It opened for business back in the 1940s and hasn't changed a whole lot since then (though I didn't go inside this time.)  It has gone through several owners of late.

We have spent many an evening in this place, including back in 1976 when we played "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" over and over so many times that folks asked us not to play it for awhile.  There was also another song we played a lot called "North Carolina" I believe, by Dallas Frazier.

Glad It's Still There.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Road Work Ahead, Summer 2014 N.C. Trip-- Part 21: Honky Tonkin' at Carolina Beach

Well, not this time, but plenty of times in the past.  Maybe next time.

One thing about Carolina Beach, it has been able to maintain its old-time honky tonk place, kind of a Redneck Riviera if you will.  Lots of little souvenir shops (and at one time, no WINGS!!!).  Little grub houses and more than a few bars.  And, there was nothing at all elegant about them like you might expect to find at Myrtle Beach.

These were true dive bars, a little bit ragged as well in some cases.  Sand on te floor and not on purpose, folks tracked it in from the beach.  Now long-gone, at the north end of the boardwalk was an upstairs ballroom which used to keep cool with ocean breezes so the windows were always open.

You could hear the bands and watch folks dancing (mostly the Shag, of course as this is Beach Music Country).  I always wanted to go there, but was too young and by the time I got old enough, it was closed.

I'm thinking it might have been called the Atlantic Ballroom.  Maybe.

Beach Music City.  --RoadDog

Lake Erie Lighthouses Shine On-- Part 1: Put-in-Bay

From the May 25, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Bob Downing of the Akron Beacon Journal.

There are several more lighthouses along Ohio's Lake Erie coast, also called the country's North Shore, and we have seen both he wrote about on our trips to Put-in-Bay, Ohio.


"Most visitors to part-happy Put-in-Bay don't notice the old lighthouse on the island, the one with its own ghosts.  The South Bass Light Station (Put-in-Bay is located on South Bass Island and can only be reached by water or air) is tucked on the island';s southwest corner.

"It's not far from the Miller Boat Line ferry dock.  But most ferry passengers head the other way, into town for the fun at one of Ohio's top travel destinations."

Guilty.  We can't wait to check into our room and start hitting the "fun" places like the Round House, Boardwalk and Beer Barrel, especially when Mike "Mad Dog" Adams or Pat Dailey are playing.  There is entertainment starting at noon every weekend day.

Too Much Fun.  --RoadDog

Monday, September 15, 2014

Road Work Ahead, Summer 2014 N.C. Trip-- Part 20: Carolina Beach, It's a Boardwalk Thing

I was very happy to see that the amusement rides are back at the boardwalk area where they were in my younger days.  At one point, all of them were moved out to Jubilee Park off US-421 as you come into town.  That just wasn't the same as the boardwalk.  A good beach boardwalk needs to have rides.

And, speaking of boardwalk, Carolina Beach's boardwalk is actually made of concrete.  There are no timbers whatsoever.  And, in my much younger days, you could see the ocean as it rolled in a short distance away.  But, not anymore.  Now there is a huge berm running the length of the boardwalk.  Sorry to miss the view, but this was very necessary for the hurricanes which hit here fairly regularly.

It is probably twenty-feet high and maybe a third of a football field wide.  There are steps and walkways to the top and you can see the ocean from there.

Under the Boardwalk?  --RoadDog

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Special Eats at Chicago's Comiskey Park-- Part 2

Some other goodies found by Kevin Pang:

***  Bobak's, the sausage-maker, is offering a grilled mango chicken sausage sandwich.  "It's not too heavy on the mango, the interior is moist and springy, but my favorite part is the satisfying snap of the casing."

***  Chicken sausage sandwich for $6.50.

The Comiskey offerings sounded good, but paled beside those wonder dogs at Wrigley.


Special Eats at Chicago's Comiskey Park-- Part 1

From the May 15, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Sox fans, eat this!" by Kevin Pang.

I don't call this baseball park by the new other name, it remains Comiskey to me.  Same with the Sears Tower.

"CHICKEN AND WAFFLES:  Usually ballpark food happens like this: Wieners are heated up in water, pretzels are heated up in a carousel, 'BBQ pulled pork' is heated up inside the Cryovac plastic bag it came in.  Imagine my delight when I came across this new-for-2014 dish at (the other name): the Southern staple of fried chicken plus waffles, freshly fried on a cart behind section 143!

"For $8, this is the real deal.  Two crisp waffles sandwiching a crunchy, well-seasoned chicken breast.  It's topped with whipped butter and powdered sugar, and comes with a container of maple syrup.

"This is the apogee of every food (at a baseball stadium, anyway) that's ever straddled the sweet-savory divide."

Someone evidently was quite impressed and it would be something I'd sure be temped to try is we went to Chicago.  I see there is a double-header today (last night was rained and colded out).  Featured the two last place AL Central teams, the Sox and Twins battling it out for last bragging rights.  I imagine a lot of these fried chicken and waffles will be sold.

Syrup on Chicken?  --RoadDog

Storied Past: Structures Still Standing from 1963-- Part 3

Using the pictures, I was able to guess the first six.

1.  Alcatraz, San Francisco
2.  Space Needle, Seattle
3.  Guggenheim Museum, New York City
4.  Cadet Cathedral, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado

5.  Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania
6.  Parthenon, Nashville, Tennessee
7.  Long Island Duck, New York
8.  Corn Palace, Mitchell, S.D.

My Aching Head.  --RoadDog

Storied Past: Structures Still Standing from 1963-- Part 2

3.  This circular modern art museum stands out against Fifth Avenue's stately, right-angled structures and attracts about a million people a year.

4.  This marvel of modern architecture, designed by Walter A. Netsch and completed in 1963, features six separate spaces for worshipers of all faiths.

5.  Frank Lloyd Wright began this rural masterpiece at age 69.  the vacation home for department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann Jr. was built over a 30-foot waterfall.

6.  The full-scale replica of its Greek namesake was the centerpiece of the state's 1897 Centennial Exposition.  It also boasts what's missing from the original: a 42-foot statue of the goddess Athena.

7.  A poultry farmer built this beaut, complete with Model T.tail lights for eyes, to hawk his Pekin ducks.

8.  The prairie-meets-Arabia building hosted harvest festivals.  Now it's more likely to accommodate a high school basketball game or an Oak Ridge Boys concert.

I've been to #4 and 6.                                                                                                                                

Answers in Part 3.  --RoadDog

Storied Pasts: Structures from 1963 That Are Still Standing-- Part 1

From the March 2013 AARP Bulletin "Storied Pasts" by Betsy Towner.

"In March 1963 the federal prison at far left (picture 1) closed its doors.  The seven other buildings pictured here--known for their history, grandeur or whimsy-- were part of the American landscape 50 years ago, and all still stand.  Can you identify them?"

Then there were pictures of the eight structures and a brief description.  I correctly guessed the first five, but not the last three.  Of course, I had pictures as well a descriptions.  See how well you do.

If you search AARP Bulletin Storied Past Betsy Towner, you can pull up the page.  Great photos.

1.  Despite popular lore, there were no man-eating sharks in the water to attack escapees.  The water was probably too cold, anyway.)

2.  Centerpiece of the 1962 World's Fair.  Original plans called for a stork's nest atop the 605-foot tower.  Glitch: Storks don't live in this city-- it's too cold.

Answers in Part 3.

I Was At #2 and Saw #1 Off in the Distance.  --RoadDog

Friday, September 12, 2014

Special Eats at Chicago's Wrigley Field-- Part 3: Buffalo, Classic and Reuben Dogs

1960s HOT DOG:  The Buffalo-Wing dog, which tops the hot dog with pulled chicken in Buffalo-style sauce and topped with blue cheese cole slaw.  Phil Vettel says, "The flavors on this creation are so strong that Levy might just as well have omitted the wiener."  This dog would have to be a jolt to the senses.

1920s HOT DOG:  A straight-up classic Chicago dog, sport peppers and all.  Of course, i'd have to take those peppers off.  And, don't even THINK about putting ketchup on it!!

1910S HOT DOG:  The Reuben hot dog (one claim has the Reuben sandwich being created around 1914).  The hot dog here is topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and shredded Swiss cheese.

Phil says he's not crazy about corned beef, but does love sauerkraut on his hot dogs.  Me, too!!

Well, I Sure Would Have Liked to have Partaken One of These.  Wonder If They Deliver?  --RoadDog

Special Eats at Chicago's Wrigley Field-- Part 2: Mighty Fine Looking Dawgs

I have to quit staring at the photo.  For some reason I am salivating like a good Pavlov's dog.

The article goes on to say that these four hot dogs are available all season long and cost $7 each.  Now, I have to come out and say that $7 is an awful lot of money to pay for a hot dog, but I am sure I'd part with the dough were I to go to Wrigley, although that is not likely.  We just don't go to Chicago much anymore since the city has gotten way too ripoff in all its prices.

Here are the dogs:

1970s: a pulled-pork dog, with the shredded pork doused in Uncle Dougie's barbecue sauce (a Chicago treat), and topped with cole slaw and fried onions.  (Just imagine if the puled pork had been eastern Carolina-style bbq sauce!!)  This one would definitely have been my first hot dog.

But Wait Until the Others.  --RoadDog

Special Eats at Chicago's Wrigley Field-- Part 1: Decade Dogs

From the May 15, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Cubs fans, eat this" by Phil Vettel.

As we suffer through yet another one of those special Cubs seasons, at least it sounds like the denizens of Wrigley Field have some good stuff to eat, thanks to the ballpark's 100th anniversary, which is being pushed to the extreme as it is the history, not how well the Cubbies are playing, you know.

As part of the 100th anniversary celebration, Levi Restaurants (which handles the Wrigley concessions) is getting creative, linking specialty hot dogs to specific decades.

And then, the mean old Trib boys were nice (or mean) enough to include pictures of the dogs.  Other than the one with the sport pepper, I would like to try each and everyone of them (and the sports peppers could easily be taken off, making for a goon one as well).  

I mean, these could make Hot Doug's in Chicago or the Epic, Deli in Johnsburg, Illinois, sit up and take notice.

They Shouldn't Had Oughta Had That Picture.  Now, I'm "Hongry Agin'"  --RoadDog

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Visiting the 9/11 Sites

From the September 7, 2014, Parade Magazine "Picks: How to Visit the 9/11 Sites" edited by Vi-An Nguyen.

On this 13th anniversary of that tragic day back in 2001.  All seven of my blogs will be about this event.

FLIGHT 93 NATIONAL MEMORIAL:  Construction continues on this monument in the field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, but a wall inscribed with the names of Flight 93's 40 passengers and crew and a long paved walkway providing a view of the crash point are open to visitors.

THE NATIONAL 9/11 PENTAGON MEMORIAL:  Each of the 184 people who died at the pentagon is honored with a bench engraved with his or her name and an individual lighted pool of water at this expansive memorial site in Washington, D.C..

THE NATIONAL SEPTEMBER 11 MEMORIAL:  Where Manhattan's twin towers once stood there are two reflecting pools-- each an acre in size (marking the tower footprints) and bordered by 30-foot waterfalls.  Bronze panels surrounding the water list the 2,983 names of those who lost their lives in both the 1993 and 2001 attacks.

Places to Visit and Reflect.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ford Mustang Turns 50-- Part 4: His Mom Turns Into a Co-ed

***  The first Mustang that Ford built was not sold in the U.S..  It was sold in Newfoundland, Canada.  Stanley Tucker bought the only Mustang at his local dealer.  It actually was a pre-production model, not supposed to be sold.

***  The first known retail sale of a production Mustang was to Gail Wise of Park Ridge, Illinois, who still owns it.  She was 22 at the time and bought her baby blue 1964 1/2 convertible on April 15th, two days before Lee Iacocca introduced it.

***  Kids whose fathers bought one were really lucky.  Not only did their family have the "hot car." but also it had an impact on their moms.  John Hitchcock, whose father bought a dark-green Mustang convertible remembers, "It turned mom from a 33-year-old mother into a free-spirited co-ed."

***  Many Mustangs from that first crop were kept by their owners and then their owners' children as family heirlooms.

***  President Bill Clinton kept his stepfather's 1967 Mustang convertible that was bought in 1972.

"All She Wants to Do Is...."  --RoadDog

Ford Mustang Turns 50-- Part 3: "A Piece of Machinery About As Exciting as A Dish of baby Food"

This comes from "Engines of Change," a 2012 book by Paul Ingrassia.

***  On the night of April 16, 1964, Ford blitzed the airwaves by buying the 9:30 to 10 p.m. slot )Eastern time zone) on all three TV networks. (I must not have been watching TV that night.  I don't remember it.)

***  They also bought ads in 2,600 newspapers.

***  The official introduction of the Mustang was April 17th, at the New York World's Fair.

*** Many media outlets liked it.  But some, like Car and Driver, described it as a "piece of machinery about as exciting as a dish of baby food."

***  One dealer in Texas had 15 buyers for his only Mustang.  He auctioned it to the highest bidder, who spent the night sleeping in the car to make sure no one else got it.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Road Work Ahead, 2014 Summer Trip to N.C.-- Part 19: Carolina Beach

After wolfing down my two Britt's doughnuts and drinking the paltry Diet Coke ($1.25 for maybe six ounces and ice) , I took a walk around the boardwalk area which consists of two long pedestrian streets, the one that Britt's is on and a closer to the ocean one to the east.

I first went into the building that used to house the bumper cars for as long as I can remember.  It is now a souvenir place, but still had that burnt electric smell from all those years folks used to bang into each other.  My brother and sister used to go on it every visit and it was literally "kill your sibling" time.  The harder you crashed into them, the better.  I would usually win unless they "ganged up" on me.  Then it wasn't so pleasant. (My worst-ever bumper car experience was at Great America, outside of Chicago, when I made the mistake of going on them with my students during a field trip.  To say I was "battered" would be putting it mildly.)

I miss the bumper cars, but still got that old-time smell, though.

I am happy to see that most store fronts have businesses in them.  For awhile in the past there was one empty building after another.  The city of Carolina Beach realizes the importance of a real boardwalk, sort of even honky tonk area as a beach experience of the past and really pushes it.  Once a week during the summer, they have bands and fireworks at a pavilion by the boardwalk.

Remembering the Old Times at C.B..  --RoadDog

Ford Mustang Turns 50-- Part 2

Mustangs became popular not just in the U.S., but across the world.  To mark the 50th, Ford Motor Company has decided to sell the 2015 Mustang globally for the first time.

On April 17th, the Mustang Club of America organized a 5-day celebration at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Ford Mustang Turns 50-- Part 1

From the April 20, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Paul Ingrassia.

No Hint of Midlife Crisis Evident As Iconic Car Hits Milestone.

The Ford Mustang turned 50 the previous week evoking " a long-ago day when new cars could generate as much excitement, at least in America, as new iPads" even though it wasn't a technological marvel.

What it was "was a smartly styled body mounted atop the underpinnings of a pedestrian compact car, the Ford falcon.  One Ford executive termed it "like turning a librarian into a sexpot."

And, it could seat four and was practical.  And, its "styling captured the exuberant youth culture of America in the 1960s.  Even better, its $2,368 price tag made it affordable for the twenty-somethings and baby boomers.

That price gave you a six-cylinder engine, but you could pay extra for options like automatic transmission, air conditioning, convertible top and a 289-cubic-inch V-8 engine.

I liked the look of them, but didn't really want one, but was only 13 at the time.  Now, when GM came out with the Firebirds and Camaros in 1967, that was something majorly different, even if I was having trouble learning how to drive.

Where's Sally?  --RoadDog

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Air Rage, And It's Getting Worse: 7 Ways Airlines Are Getting Out Goat

From the Sept. 7, 2014, Yahoo! News "Air Rage Isn't Out Fault: 7 Ways Airlines Are Pitting us Against Each Other" by William J. McGee.

We all heard a lot this past week about the great knee controversy aboard that plane, but sadly, incidents between passengers are on the rise thanks to airline policies enforced to make the most money they can.

Here are seven things they are doing to make our travel by air a worsening experience:

1.  Reducing legroom
2.  Reducing seat width
3.  Boarding drama, especially with checked baggage fees

4.  BAGGAGE FEES  (and they STILL mangae to lose it!!
5.  Eliminating in-flight meals (Then the guy beside you eats those sardines.)
6.  Inconsistent policies regarding personal electronic devices
7.  Overboarding cabins.  Cramming more and more of us on board.

McGee has a lot more remarks on each one of these.  Give it a look.


Road Work Ahead, Summer 2014 N.C. Trip-- Part 18; The Blockade-Runner Museum and Britt's

July 28, Monday

We're across Snow's Cut Bridge now and coming into Carolina Beach on US-421, the road to the beach.  Once, there wasn't much between the town and bridge, but now it is built up extensively.  Passed the Carolina Beach municipal building which used to be the old Blockade-Runner Museum, one of the best private museums around and with an big collection, including scale model of Fort Fisher and downtown Wilmington during the war.

I went here often and at one time was invited to be assistant manager in 1983, but turned it down which was a good thing because it was out of business a short time later.

One thing nice about Carolina Beach, it has free parking, if you can find it.  We did and walked over to Britt's for those delicious doughnuts.  Quite a crowd there even though it wasn't lunch time.  Always time for dessert, you know.  Donuts were 95 cents, or six for $5.95, but best deal was a dozen for $7.95.

You could have been in Britt's on July 28, 1954, before Hurricane Hazel, which wrecked Carolina Beach, and everything would have been just the same.  Garage door entrance, two counters, visible kitchen, no air conditioning and crowds.  The only thing different would have been the prices and every one of the employees would grab their cell phones every chance they got and thumbs would fly.

Next, a Walk on the Boardwalk.  --RoadDog

Friday, September 5, 2014

Road Work Ahead-- N.C. Summer 2014 Trip-- Part 17: Horrible Wilmington Traffic and Carolina Beach


Supposed to be really hot today, so decided this would be a good time to take a ride to Carolina Beach, cross the Cape Fear River on a ferry, and check out Southport and beaches to the southward (to S.C. state line).

Filled up with gas in Hampstead and drove to Wilmington.  I love Wilmington, but abhor its traffic.  This has to be one of the worst cities in the U.S. to try to drive through.  Nothing but traffic.  We got to it at noon and everyone in town must have been on lunch break and weren't brown-bagging it either.

And, we lost count of the stoplights which weren't set together in timing.  At least in this part of town, the lights weren't photo-enforced like closer to the downtown area..

Passed the beautiful UNC-Wilmington campus, a place I would have very-much liked to have taught.

We had heavy traffic (along with commercial places) a lot of the way to Carolina Beach.

Tote-Em In Zoo is still in business.  For many years there was an old elephant chained up by its entrance, something that us kids always looked forward to seeing.

Then, we came to the bridge over Snow's Cut.  This man-made channel made Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher into an island and was made for the Intercoastal Waterway to connect the Cape Fear River with the sounds to the north.  This is a high bridge and from the top, you can look to the left (east) and see the ocean.  As much as that elephant (as well as a stop at Paul's Famous Hot Dogs in Rocky Point) meant that we were getting near the beach, this view meant "we had arrived!!!"  It is still a great memory jerker.

--Do I Smell Britt's?  --RoadDog

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Seven Interesting Conventions and Gatherings-- Part 2: UFOs, Blobs, Toilet Summit and Impersonators

4.  INTERNATIONAL UFO CONGRESS:  Earthlings from dozens of countries descend on Phoenix, Arizona for this extraterrestrial -themed conference and film festival.

5.  BLOBFEST: Celebrated every summer in the small town of Pheonixville, Pa., where the classic B-horror movie "The Blob" was filmed in 1958, starring Steve McQueen.  It is held at the Colonial theatre, which was featured in the film.  There is a parade and it was held July 12th.

6.  WORLD TOILET SUMMIT & EXPO:  This one is real.  Aimed at bringing sanitation and clean water to impoverished countries around the world.  Each year it is held in a different country.  But, it is not without its quirks like in 2011 when a $200,000 gold-plated toilet was showcased.  No privvy jokes, please.

7.  CELEBRITY IMPERSONATORS CONVENTION:  Of course, held in Las Vegas and brings impersonators from all over the world.  Featuring the best of the fake with plenty of Oprahs, Chers, Obamas and Stallones.  Maybe even an Elvis or two-three.

Flushing That Blob Away.  --RoadDog

Seven Interesting Conventions and Gatherings-- Part 1: Furries, Lebowskis and Redheads

From the July 25, 2014, Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News "The List:  7 of the craziest pop culture and industry conventions" by Hunter Ingram.

This was the weekend of the big Comic-Con International in San Diego "A mecca of proud geeks the world over." 1.  ANTHROCON:  Held in Pittsburgh, Pa., this convention is a leading destination for anthropomorphics or "furries," a term used to describe people who like to dress up like animals.  Strange.

2.  LEBOWSKI FEST:  Celebrating Joel and Ethan Cohen's cult classic "The Big Lebowski," this festival was set to be held August 22-23 in New York.  Its fans wear film-inspired costumes while attending the yearly bowling party and fan screenings.  Well, you missed it.

3.  REDHEAD DAYS:  Redheads from all over the world gather in Breda, Netherlands, for this weekend festival, starting this year on September 5th with more than fifty events celebrating the history of roodharigendag (Dutch for redhead).  Last year the festival broke the world record for most redheads in one place, with more than 5,000 from 80 countries.  You've got one day to book flight and get there.

Hmmn, Furries?  --RoadDog

Labor Day Weekend-- Part 5: Two More Bands, Four Bars


The band, Next 2 the Tracks, came back out after a short break and started playing, and they were very good, playing covers and original material.  The drummer had a bongo and snare drum, so quite a different sound.  We were joined by Kelly and Cathy just as they finished (they have good band timing as well, but Cathy had an excuse as she had just gotten off work).

We then went over to Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake and saw the Eddie Butts Band out of Milwaukee, always a big draw on the Chain, so the place was crowded.

Next, we went to Nauti-Knots on Lake Bluff and sat out by the tiki bar.  Last stop was at Cuda's on Grasslake Road, then home.


Take it easy day with all sorts of dire storm warnings.  Kelly made up some of his famous ribs and came over for dinner.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor Day Weekend-- Part 4: Summer '74, Brat Fry, Bands, Bars and Car Show

SUNDAY, AUGUST 31ST:  The end of another really fast-moving month.

Recorded Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots Salute to the Summer of 1974, Part 4 on WDRV, 97.1 FM.  Always great to pop these cassettes into the car player and cruise down the road.

Sat out at the gazebo for awhile, then we drove to Twin Lakes for the Wilmot High School Brat Fry fundraiser and stopped in to talk with friends at Donovan's Reef.

I have never seen so many cars as the weather Friday and yesterday was extremely stormy.  Not today, and everyone, including us, was out and about.  The Wilmot Road/Il.-173 intersection was especially bad.

Stopped at Never-Sink-Inn here in Spring Grove which was having a classic car show (a lot of Camaros) and a band, but decided to go over to hear the band at Route 12 Bar (and come back later).

The group at Route 12 Bar was the Next 2 the Tracks Band.and, of course, we got there right as they finished a song and took a break.  The band at Never-Sink-Inn was on break.

We just have this uncanny ability to catch bands just as they go on break or are on break.  The worst-ever band break episode was in New Orleans on Bourbon Street our first night there, when we went into a bar with a promising-sounding band, got a table, ordered drinks and then they went on break.  Bad as that was, it didn't compare top the $5 apiece for a can of beer (back in 1995).  A lot of money and no band.  After we nursed those beers for 45 minutes, we left and the band had still not returned.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Labor Day Weekend-- Part 3


Recorded Wendy Rice's Saturday Morning Flashback on Chicago's WXRT, 93.1 FM.  Today, she went back to 1967, one of my favorite years ever (when I met Liz) and then there was that mid-life crisis '67 Firebird convertible.

I even had to cut the grass for the second time in four days.  All this rain we've been getting is sure making the grass grow a lot.  Usually during this part of summer I can go a week and a half or more before cutting and even then that is mostly to cut the weeds back (which grow well in any weather).

I also spent a lot of time planting the perennials I bought yesterday.

We then drove over to Route 12 Bar on US-12 and enjoyed talking with some boaters out at the outdoor beer garden.  Then went to the Legion.  Last stops were at the Tommy's for their famous beer nuggets and then Antonio's.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Weekend-- Part 2: Boating and High School Football

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29TH:  People often ask me why we don't go to other places all the time.  The main reason is that there is so much to do around here.

And, of course, most summer and fall days, I have breakfast out on the front porch or the Flats, the patio on the east side of the house.  When I'm out there, I'd just as soon be there as anywhere else.

I drove over to McHenry and did some shopping and then went boating for awhile.

Then, it was time for high school football.  If the weather is decent, most Fridays during September and October, you'll find me out at local high school football games.  I go to see the Richmond-Burton Rockets (our town's high school, to which I give lots and lots and lots of property tax money.  I also see the Johnsburg Seahawks, Grant Bulldogs, Round Lake Panthers (where we lived for 17 years and Palatine Pirates (where we went to high school).

Richmond-Burton opened their season playing Roosevelt High School Rough Riders from Chicago.  It wasn't much of a game as the Rockets led 35-0 at the end of the first quarter and won 42-6, playing second and third strings.  I would have thought a school from Chicago would do better.

Plenty of Entertainment for Your Buck at High School Games.  --RoadDog

Labor Day Weekend Here in McHenry County, Illinois-- Part 1: Don N' Suds, Huskie Football and Sad Sack Bears

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28TH:  I was introduced to Max, the new son of the neighbors across the street, born just this past Saturday.  I don't know how young couples can afford to live out here with all the property taxes.

Liz and I had intended to go out boating, but stopped at Dog 'N Suds in Ingleside for their Thursday special, 99 cent Charcoburgers.  They are one of my favorites.  Of course, washed 'em down with a mug of that great root beer.  We are lucky to have three of the last 7-8 Dog N' Suds right in the area: Richmond, Ingleside and Grayslake.

Unfortunately, while we were there, some mighty mean-looking cluds came up and we decided against boating.  Went to Menard's and bought some flowers and a new gazing ball to replace the one I broke yesterday.

Once home, went out to the gazebo and listened to the Voice of the Huskies, Bill Baker, call the NIU-Presbyterian game for the first half, but stopped when Northern was blowing them out (Final Score 55-3).  Went over to Tommy's and watched part of the Sad-Sack Bears stink up another game.  But, they finally did put NIU favorite Jordan Lynch in the last offensive drive.  They hardly used him this preseason so I doubt they will keep him.

Football and Charcoburgers.  Yes!!  --RoadDog

Britt's Donuts, Carolina Beach-- Part 5

During the height of the summer season, you can often find a long line of folks waiting for their sugar blast at 8:30 a.m. when the garage doors open.  (Remember, I told you, the doughnuts are not that good the next day unless you know about the microwave).  And, throughout the day, there is a steady stream of customers.  There were 10-12 in there when we went in July 8th at 12;30 p.m..

On the busiest days, Britt's will have three of four guys back in the kitchen cooking batch after batch.  Then there will be at least two girls to work the counter.  Business is so brisk on the 4th of July weekend, that Maxine Nivens cooks meals at home so the employees can eat on site.

Summer season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, is when Britt's does the most business.  These are seven days a week during this time.  The shop is also open weekends-only from the end of March to Memorial Day and after Labor Day until the beginning of October.

I know for a fact that I have occasionally been greatly disappointed to go there and find the place closed.

--Man, I'm Getting a Sugar Rush Just Sittin' Here and Typin' About It.  --RoadDog

Britt's Donuts, Carolina Beach-- Part 4: Britt's Recipe

The Nivenses don't know where the recipe originated, just that H.L. Britt bought it from someone in the 1930s.  They bought the recipe from Mr. Britt and they keep it a close secret.  Just the two of them know it, not even their daughters.  They note that the recipe is tucked away in a safe.

Whatever it is, there are no preservatives in those doughnuts.  I remember one summer when I came up with the brilliant idea of ordering a dozen the night before, intending to have them for breakfast.  They were not good at all.  You have to eat them as soon as possible to get all the goodness.

We have found that a few drops of water and a 7-8 second stint in a microwave does bring back some of the sugary sweetness the next morning.  But, don't wait two days to eat 'em.

This past July when we went, the three of us ordered a dozen of them and ate six.  We bought the last six back to the Topsail Beach place and when cousin Vicki found out we'd gone to Britt's earlier in the day, her first words were, "Did you bring any back?"  That took care of two of them.

So, You CAN Have Your Britt's and Eat 'Em the Next Day.  --Roaddog

Monday, September 1, 2014

Britt's Donuts, Carolina Beach, N.C.-- Part 3: A History

H.L. Britt opened the shop in 1939 just across the boardwalk from its present-day (since 1969) location.  Current owner Bobby Nivens worked for Mr. Britt (from Goldsboro, N.C.) during the summers of '54-'56.  In 1974, Bobby and his wife Maxine purchased the place.

At the time, he thought maybe there'd be a Britt's in every town in the country.  But working seven days a week from Memorial to Labor Day soon changed his mind.

They have 12 employees, many of whom have been with them many years.  All of them, when we were there in July were, at one time or another, deep into cell-phone gazing.

Kevin Lawrie has been with them for 23 years.    The  Nivens'  daughters are also working at the place.

And, they run the place pretty much like Britt did and continue to use almost all of the original equipment.  Says Bobby, "I try not to change anything that I don't have to."  That especially applies to H.L. Britt's doughnut recipe.  Britt bought it from somebody back in the 1930s and it is, of course, a closely guarded secret.  Only Maxine and Booby know it.

 Three Donuts for Me.  --RoadDog

Britt's Donut Shop, Carolina Beach, N.C.-- Part 2

And, if you're looking for dining in fine surroundings, it's not going to happen here.  The place is essentially just two garage doors that are open when the shop is open.  If they're down, it's closed.  Then there is that blue and white awning over them (the sight of which means, "You're here."

No table dining, just two long counters running the length of the building.  The main counter has large windows that give you a look at the kitchen where the delights are being made.

There are no conveyor belts, just one somewhat small fryer capable of making 36 doughnuts at a time.

And, of course, with the open garage doors like they have, no air conditioning.  There might be a fan or two, I don't remember.  And, it can get warm  inside between the people, outside air and frying doughnuts.

They use long sticks to grab the doughnuts through the hole and lift them out of the fryers.

And, Oh So Good.  --RoadDog