Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Construction of US Highway 421 and World War II Helped Destroy Much of Fort Fisher

Earlier this month I was writing about my trip to North Carolina and the drive to Fort Fisher and the southern terminus of US-421.

Most of Fort Fisher is now underwater, swept away.  Beach erosion along the coats on the barrier islands is a regular occurrence, but when the offshore coquina beds were dug up and used as roadbed for the highway in the 1930s, the Atlantic Ocean really came inland.  It was much cheaper to use this available and near source than it would be to truck in rocks and gravel.

A huge number of granite stones had to be brought in to shore up the beach and withstand the pounding from the surf.

The Northeast Bastion was lost this way as well as the Mound Battery as well as the seaface of the fort.

Also, a lot of the land face mounds were also leveled when the U.S. Army built a landing strip during World War II when the fort and surrounding area were used for anti-aircraft training.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Oyster Shell Roads?

From the September 27, 2015, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Looking Back" by Scott Nunn.

From September 12, 1965, paper.

There was an advertisement for oyster shell paving by the L&W Terminal Construction Company on North Herr Avenue suggesting driveway, parking lot and subdivison paving by use of this.

Oyster shell roads were quite common in the Wilmington area at one time.  In 1875, a road was extended from Wilmington to Wrightsville Sound using oyster shell paving.

Oyster shells are also good because they allow water to pass through whereas solid asphalt or concrete do not.  I see that in nearby Topsail Beach and Surf City, new homes have to use crushed stone for driveways to avoid flooding.


Monday, September 28, 2015

News From the Lincoln Highway: Ohio L-H License Plates

From the August 3, 2015, Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal "Lincoln Highway to receive special license plate."

The special license plates will feature the Lincoln Highway logo and have been awarded to the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway program.  They cost $35 each, with $25 of that going back to the Ohio Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.  That $35 is in addition to the cost of regular license renewal.

They will be sold once 150 orders are received.

OK, Denny, Time to Order.  --RoadDog

Saturday, September 26, 2015

We're Losing Two of Our Area Places

We found out in the last two days that two of our regular hangouts are closing in the next several days.

One is Twisted Moose in McHenry, Illinois, which closes this weekend.  This was a favorite Blackhawk hangout as they played "Chelsea Dagger" whenever the Hawks scored as well as the air horn and flashing red lights.  They also had a fun Bears watch party.

The other place is Nauti-Knots on Bluff Lake in Antioch.  We really enjoyed the tiki bar.  We went there today and surely enjoyed the $1 drafts and 25% off food on an absolutely perfect day.  Lots of interesting people and fun there.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Goodbye to Bill Shea's in Springfield

I was greatly saddened this morning to read in the Route 66 Yahoo group that there will be an auction of Bill Shea's stuff October 10, 2015, at his museum in Springfield, Illinois.  I was hoping that his son would keep the place going as he was almost always there.

Unfortunately, this did not turn out to be the case.

Now, unless some group or person comes forward and buys the whole lot, these items will be gone forever.

Route 66's Loss.  --RoadDog

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Impact of the Lincoln Highway on DeKalb, Illinois, in 1915

From the MidWeek (Sycamiore, Ill.) "Looking back: September 16, 2015.

1915:  "In order to learn just what the Lincoln Highway meant to the garages of DeKalb, G.H. Dean & Co., have kept a record of the number of cars which have spent the night at their garage during the last week.  there were a total of 29 cars which stayed in DeKalb overnight during the past five nights.

"Each car on the average carried four people, making a total of 116 people that were in this city 12 hours, and this is only the record of one garage."

Not only good for garage business, but also restaurants and hotels.

The Lincoln Highway, Good For Business.  --RoadDog

N.C. Summer Trip 2015-- Part 18: US-421 and Big Daddy's

After visiting "The Rocks" and Battery Buchanan, Mom and I got back on US-421.  "The Rocks" and battery mark the southern terminus of US-421 and there is a sign saying this is the beginning of 421.  I wish every terminus of every road would have one of these.  The other side of the sign says end of US-421.

I have driven this road all the way from its northern terminus in Michigan City, Indiana, at US-20 to "The Rocks."  It is especially pretty from Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio River to Richmond, Kentucky.  Then you get all the mountain driving you could ever want.

We drove back to Kure Beach and stopped at Big Daddy's Seafood Restaurant, which has a marker saying it was the landing site for the first attack on Fort Fisher.  The place has been there at least since the 1940s.  They had a fish and shrimp lunch special dinners for $12 each.  Not only was it good, but plentiful as we had enough left over for a great lunch the next day..

Driving and Feasting.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lincoln Highway in DeKalb County, Illinois, to Be Beautified in 1915

From the July 22, 2015, Sycamore (Ill.) Midweek, Looking Back.

On this date back in 1915:  A 'beauty squad" consisting of landscape architects connected with the Lincoln Highway visited the county last Saturday on a tour of inspection by automobile along the Lincoln Highway and to assist various communities in their efforts to make the great highway attractive.

Effort will be made to impress upon the people that the time has passed in the development of the county where our efforts should be devoted exclusively to acquiring wealth, and that the wealth that we have acquired can be devoted to great advantage and increase the value of property and add to the happiness of people by beautifying by intelligent and united effort the private grounds, the farms and the roadside.

The party then drove to the mile of concrete road which has been constructed west of Malta village.  Effort will be made to beautify the sides of this road.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

N.C. Summer Trip 2015-- Part 17: "The Rocks"

Battery Buchanan is situated at the very southern end of what is called Federal Point, the culmination of the peninsula formed by the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean south of Wilmington.  At one time the favored Civil War blockade-running to Wilmington was here at what was called New Inlet.

However, after the war, it was decided that New Inlet was silting the main channel of the Cape Fear River and in the 1870s, a dam, referred to now as "The Rocks" was built across it, damming up the inlet.  It still stands, but there is talk of tearing it down  (see my posts in my Naval History Blog, Running the Blockade).

It was engineered by the father of the man who built the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., who used some of his father's technique in the construction of the memorial since it was built on previously swampy land.

I've walked parts of "The Rocks" many times, but never all the way across it.


Monday, September 21, 2015

N.C. Summer Trip 2015-- Part 16: Battery Buchanan

We left Fort Fisher and drove US-421 south to its southern terminus, about a mile and a half where it ends at "The Rocks."  There is also an outlying Confederate battery where the remnants of the Fort Fisher garrison surrendered to Union forces on the night of January 15, 1865.  This still stands and is called Battery Buchanan, named after Confederate admiral Franklin Buchanan who commanded the CSS Virginia in the famous battle with the USS Monitor. Franklin Buchanan also commanded the CSS Tennessee at the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.

Now it appears to be more of a sand dune, but it wasn't looking like that back during the war.  There are markers and you can even walk on this one.  Walking on the remaining mounds of Fort Fisher is forbidden now, but i remember walking ion them nay times in the 1960s and 1970s.

It was built to command the entrance of New Inlet, which goes to the Cape Fear River which goes to Wilmington, North Carolina.  Blockading Wilmington was particularly difficult during the Civil War as it had two entrances, the original Old Inlet and New Inlet separated by Frying Pan Shoals extending some 40 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean.

.  New Inlet was by far the more popular entrance for the sleek, shallow-draft blockade-runners.  Fort Fisher was built to keep the blockaders at bay so the runners could come in or go out.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

N.C. Summer Trip 2015-- Part 15: Fort Fisher Souvenirs and the Armstrong Gun

I took a walk through the store where I found them selling the Confederate Flags.  I also bought several 150th anniversary items, including a short pamphlet on the anniversary commemoration and I was surprised to find my name listed as one of the benefactors.  I bought a book "Fort Fisher to Elmira" about the fates of the Confederates captured at Fort Fisher and many of them died in a few short months because of the horrible conditions at the Elmira, New York, prison camp.

I walked outside to view something I've been wanting to see for awhile, the 150-pounder Armstrong Gun replica.  This was a project of the friends of Fort Fisher, to which I belong, to show the fort's premier gun. probably the highest-tech cannon used during the war.  It was captured also and taken to West Point where it is a highlight of their trophy guns to this day.

This is an impressive piece of armament.

Call Me Benefactor.  --RoadDog

Friday, September 18, 2015

N.C. Trip Summer 2015-- Part 14: Fort Fisher, Selling and Flying the Flag

The speaker made many good points about Braxton Bragg.  he had good reasons for defending the much-hated general.  One thing he said was that Fort Fisher was a no-win situation.  Bragg was going to lose regardless of what he did in the defense of the fort.  I took notes and will eventually get around to writing about his talk in my Civil War Navy Blog, Running the Blockade.

Afterwards, I walked around the museum and saw quite a few new exhibits which I will also write about in the Navy Blog.  I am glad to see that Fort Fisher State Historic Site has not fallen to the current politically-correct vendetta against any and all things Confederate, especially dealing with the Confederate Flag.

The Confederate Flag still flew outside the museum, although at half mast for the U.S. service men murdered in Tennessee.  It was also up inside the museum and the store had Confederate Flags for sale.  I did notice that they were out of the so-called battle flag (actually the Navy Jack).  They did have the three National Flags.

There were several black families inside and outside and they didn't seem upset or offended by the flag.


News From Along Route 66: A Sad Day

June 28, 1985, was a sad day for Route 66ers as it was the day there would be no more kicks on our road as the last stretch near Williams, Arizona, was decertified and removed from road maps.

But, as we know, it did not die.


News From Along Route 66-- August 2015

From the August 7, 2015, Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader "Route 66 Rail haven installs replica of historic sign" by Valerie Mosley.

The Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel in Springfield, Missouri once had a sign that stood there for years, but came down when the motel was rebranded as a Best Western Motel in 1994.  Owner Gordon Elliott hated to see that.

He said that he wanted visitors to see some things as they were during the hey-day of Route 66.  As such, he had a new, though smaller, neon sign built and installed.  It features flashing yellow lights and is placed lower for photo ops.

This was in conjunction and before the 5th Annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival to be held August 14-16.  One of the highlights of this festival was the concert by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Pure prairie League, two of my favorite groups.

We've stayed at the Rail Haven on several occasions.  There is nothing like sitting out by the pool in the evening and listening to the cars go by on the old Route 66.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

N.C. Trip Summer 2015-- Part 13: Fort Fisher: Huge Impact On My Life

July 25, 2015

Fully filled with those tasty objects, we drove the several miles to my all-time favorite historical place, Fort Fisher.  It was this fort that got me interested in the Civil War and then history in general.  It certainly had an impact on my life starting when I was seven years old.

We were going there because the Friends of Fort Fisher were having a speaker come in and the topic was Confederate General Braxton Bragg.  This man is now much-liked for some some reason.  Many regard him as a  royal loser who had a horrible way of dealing with people.

I talked to the speaker before the presentation and told him it was too bad that Whiting had died from during his time as a prisoner.  had he survived, there might have been even a duel between Whiting and Bragg.  Whiting absolutely hated Bragg.  The presenter told me he was going to present information that might change my mind on Bragg and even get me to question Whiting's abilities.

I admire Gen. W.H.C. Whiting, but already knew he had his own faults.


News From Along Route 66-- August 2015: Springfield Featured

AUGUST 6--   Springfield, Illinois, mayor ends up with the Bel-Aire Motel's seal.  He paid $2,500 for the 8,000 pound statue of a seal which once stood near the motel's pool.  He is not sure what he will do with it, though.  A photo of the motel in better days accompanies the article.

AUGUST 7--  A Tree Grows in Galena, Kansas.  Pieter Hoff hopes to get trees to grow in Galena.  lead mining has seriously tainted the soil.  Galena could sure use some trees.

AUGUST 9--  Discover America touts Springfield, Illinois.  You can upload several nicely-done videos about Route 66 in Springfield.  They feature the Route 66 International Mother Road Festival which has been held since 2002 and will happen again September 25-27... The Cozy Dog, Chili Parlor and the Lincoln Museum.  Wonder if there will be anything about the famous horseshoe sandwiches.

Liz and I really like Springfield and we ever have to move from here because of property taxes. that's a good possibility for a move.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

N.C. Trip Summer 2015-- Part 12: Britt's Donuts Nirvana at Carolina Beach

July 25, 2015

This was the day of the big trip where we drove over to Carolina Beach, Fort Fisher and Kure Beach.  This is around 50 miles from Topsail Beach, about 20 as the crow-flies, but extra because of a long way just to get to the mainland and back south.  And then, there is that horrible Wilmington, N.C., traffic to deal with. I think every person who has a car in that town feels obligated to drive them at all hours.

But, sure was glad we weren't coming onto Topsail Island as the cars doing that were backed up for a long way west of the famous swing bridge.  Plenty of folks day tripping and coming to their cottages plus the folks who had weekly rentals as this is check-in day.

But, all that traffic was in the past when we got to Britt's Donuts on the Carolina Beach boardwalk, well, concrete walk.  Some things don't change and this is one of them.  The smells are the same that I enjoyed as a mere youth back in the 50s.  The place has recently celebrated 75 years.  All they serve are glazed donuts.  No big choice here.

And those donuts just melt in your mouth.  They are always made fresh and the same way they have always been made.  Always a crowd there as well, anytime of the day, but especially in the morning as folks get them to take back to their cottages.

Best deal is to buy a dozen.  Before microwaves I wouldn't suggest doing this is you weren't going to eat them all at once.  They are not good the next day.  I mean, not good at all.  But, pop one in the microwave for about 8-9 seconds and it is almost as good as they tasted at the place.


N.C. Trip Summer 2015-- Part 11

July 22-30.

We stayed a day in Goldsboro on the 22nd and I was able to get to Target and K-Mart, neither store is anywhere near us in northeast Illinois now.  I also had my other places to stop as well as a meal at McCall's out on the US-70 bypass for their bbq and Calabash shrimp buffet.

Mom and I went out to the townhouse in Topsail Beach on Thursday, July 23 and came back on Tuesday the 28th.  A very relaxing time spent on the deck and out at the beach.  Most mornings I would drive to the Jolly Roger Pier and buy the Wilmington Star-News, one of my favorite newspapers.

A Beach Lad, Well, Old Beach Lad.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Trip to Milwaukee-- Part 10: The Brewer Game and Rain

The Brewers were playing the Miami Marlins, another last place team.  Like I said, the Marlins scored 3 runs in teh first, then added another 4 in the third to take a 7-0 lead.  The Brewers finally came back in the 4th to score four runs, to bring some life to the crowd.

I took a walk around the park during the fifth when the Marlins score two more and led by a comfortable 9-4.  I looked outside and it was pouring.  Sure glad we had the roof, but if it didn't stop before we left, it was going to be a mighty wet ride home as the bus was parked at a distance.

Looked at the souvenir stores, but everything was overpriced.  I had been thinking about one of the 1980s Brewers hats with what appeared to be a fielder's mitt, but was actually the letters "M" and "B", but didn't want to pay $25 for one.   

I also had a yearning for a brat.  Miller field is known for their brats.  It cost $5.25, but you could top it with mustard along with all the onions and sauerkraut you wanted.  You couldn't see the brat.  It was good, but nowhere near as good as a Johnsonville brat.  They use Klement's brats at the ball park.

It was getting to be 9 p.m. and we still weren't in the 7th so it was decided that we'd leave after the sausage race and the singing of "Take me Out to the Ballgame."  That was alright with me.

It was nice that the rain had turned into a slight drizzle so we reached the bus fairly dry.

It seemed that the ride back took forever and we had tornado warnings along the way.

We heard that the Brewers scored two runs in the 9th and lost 9-6.  Marlin right fielder Ichirio Suzuki had four hits.  I had 1 brat.

A Long Day.  --RoadDog

Monday, September 14, 2015

Honoring Fallen Lt. Joe Gliniewicz Here in Northeast Illinois

We are still in shock around here after Fox Lake, Illinois, police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz was killed while in pursuit of three suspects on September 1st.  This started a huge local manhunt in the area that, unfortunately, as of today, has not resulted in their capture.

Everywhere you look, you see flags at half mast and lots of blue and black ribbons as well as handmade signs.  Blue Lives Matter.  The local stores have had a run on blue lights as people are putting them into outdoor lights, including us.

On labor Day, September 7th, we went to the American Legion (where he once was a member) and watched his funeral in nearby Antioch and then went out to US-12 (Rand Road) where we watched some 1,500 police vehicles and motorcycles pass by in a procession that took nearly two hours.  We saw the hearse near the end.  There were cops from all over Illinois and many from faraway cities like Los Angeles, New York City and Los Angeles.  Very impressive and solemn and lots of thanks both from the procession and the people on the sides of the road.  No sirens, just flashing lights.

This past Saturday, we had a benefit for him at the Fox lake American Legion and raised several thousand dollars for his family.  Many local places are also having benefits in the coming months.

A Village and Area Mourn the death of One of Our Blue Men.

A Trip to Milwaukee-- Part 9: Sad Brewers, Real Expensive Beer

We were now settled into our seats and with the roof closed and ready for the game to begin.  It did and it wasn't too long before the Brewers were down 3-0 in the first.  Miami added four more in the third and now the Brewers faced a 7-0 deficit.  Just mighty poor playing in all aspects by Milwaukee.

I saw a beer vendor and saw what appeared to be $9 on a button he was wearing.  Nine Dollars for a beer! Even if it is a 16 ouncer.   I don't think so.  I just don't drink at those prices are actually anything much over $3.  I can remember writing in my journal back in 1961 after attending an April Cubs game that I couldn't drink at Wrigley Field anymore because they had raised the price of beer to $1.50.

And, then it got hot and muggy in the park.  The roof was closed and it seemed that the air conditioner only worked once in awhile   A nice blast of cool air would blow by.  Making it also uncomfortable was the fact our area was packed elbow to elbow.  Too bad they don't have personal fans.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

U.S. Highway 16

From Wikipedia.

Last month, I wrote about the World War II LST ship, LST-393, that was renamed the Highway 16 when it served as a part of the highway in my World War II blog, Tattooed On Your Soul.

It carried vehicles across Lake Michigan between Muskegon, Michigan, to Wisconsin.

Prior to the coming of U.S. Highways in 1926, the road was known as M-16 and went from Detroit to Muskegon in the state.  US-16 originally ran from Detroit, Michigan to Yellowstone National Park with a ferry link between Michigan and  Wisconsin.  Today it just runs from Rapid City, South Dakota to the eastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

The original  US-16 has been replaced by interstates.

In 1938 reflectorized discs were placed every 100 feet from Detroit to Lansing to cut down on night time accidents.


A Trip to Milwaukee-- Part 8: Miller Field

The roof of Miller Field was open when we took our seats which e\were good ones, just past third base and about 20 rows back.  Right in line for hard hit foul balls.    At game time I looked up and saw that they were starting to close the roof.  rain had been forecast for tonight so I figured some must be on its way.  That is the way to play baseball.  Outside in nice weather and under a roof for rain or cold.

The Brewers are having another of their many bad years.  That is too bad as they are my third favorite MLB team, behind the Sox #1 and Cubs #2.    They've dropped a long way from the great early 1980s teams when they were in the American League and the True Blue Brew Crew.  Loved it when they had Molitor, Yount, Cooper and Gantner.

Right now, the Brewers are in last place and surely playing like a last place team.  I thought there was going to be a really small crowd, but by game time the place was about 3/4 full of fans.  Fans tend to wear more of the old 1980s logos and jerseys than the new ones.


United Airlines Flight 93

All 40 aboard the plane were killed, including the four who must not be named.  It was a daily flight between the airports in Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California.  Those who must not be named took control of the plane 47 minutes into the flight.

Several of the passengers and flight attendants were able to make contact with the outside via their cell phones and found out about the other three crashes.  They decided that since they were doomed to crash, they would make an attempt to seize control of the plane back.

Flight 93 was the only one not to reach its target which most figured to be either the White House or the Capitol since the plane was flying towards Washington, D.c. at the time.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11: Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor's Center

You can watch it's five-year construction in two minutes.

From the Sept. 10, 2015, Yahoo! News by Billie Cohen.

This opened September 10, 2015, yesterday, one day ahead of its 14th anniversary.  

It overlooks the crash site of United Flight 93 where the passengers stormed the cockpit and caused the terrorists to be unable to finish their mission which was most likely to crash into the White House or Capitol.

It crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and everyone on board died.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Trip to Milwaukee-- Part 7: The Racing Sausages

The famous Milwaukee Racing sausages have their own site on the Milwaukee Brewer site.  I was trying to remember the other sausages so looked them up.

There are five:  Brat sausage, Polish sausage, Italian Sausage, Hot Dog and Chorizo.  The first three listed were the original three and the other two have since been added.  Of course, Klement Sausages was only too happy to get involved with it.

Of course, Milwaukee is famous for its German influence (think beer) and of course, that also has to so with sausages.

The Racing Sausages started as a cartoon in the 90s and the first time they were actual people inside costumes was on the final day of the old County Stadium.  They have since become a much-anticipated crowd-pleaser.  I especially like them.

And, you can book them if you like.

Sausages In the House. What Would Liz Think?  --RoadDog

A Trip to Milwaukee-- Part 6: Miller Field and the Sausages

Next, we went to nearny Miller field which has replaced the old County Stadium.  I always liked the old County Stadium and saw many games there when the Milwaukee Brewers were in the American League,  Their 1982 team is still one of my all-time favorites with Molitor, Yount, Cooper, Gantner and Thomas and all the rest.  I still believe they would have beaten the Cardinals in the World Series that year had Rollie Fingers not been injured. All of their losses came after the other Brewer relievers would allow the Cards to come back.

After rthe bus parked, we walked over to the stadium.  Others of our group had brought along tailgating items and stayed out in the parking lot.  We passed by those great Klement Sausage guys who were out on the main walkway greeting game-goers and having photo opportunity.  I love it when they have their "race" around from the left to the right field lines.  Kip took a picture of me with the bratwurst guy and took one of Kip and Susie by him as well.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

News From Along Route 66-- August: Negro Motorist Green Book

These are taken from the Route 66 Blog site which has a lot more information and pictures.  I just write about stories of particular interest to me.

AUGUST 2--  The Milk Bottle Building in OKC has reopened as the Prairie Gothic Boutique.  I am always for finding new uses for old building, especially when they are of architectural interest such as this one.

AUGUST 4--  The full inventory of Negro Motorist Green Book sites has been released by the Route 66 Corridor Presentation Program.  It contains a complete listing of every place appearing in it from 1936 to 1964.

You can view it yourself

there were not a lot of Illinois sites.  Joliet and Bloomington each had one place listed.  Springfield had 22, with three of them being hotels:

Homestead/Dudley Hotel at 130 S. 11th Street from 1930-1959-- demolished.
Hotel Williams at 124 S, 11th Street in 1930-- since demolished.
Hotel Ferguson at 1007 E. Washington Street in 1949-- since demolished.

East St. Louis had 23 places listed.

The Green Book also listed Sundown Cities.  These were towns that blacks had best be out of when the sun went down.  Several were in Central Illinois as were others in the Missouri Ozarks as well as areas of Oklahoma and Texas.

It was sad and unfair that black motorists had to deal with this.

An Often Overlooked Aspect of Route 66 That Deserves More Information.  --RoadDog

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Trip to Milwaukee-- Part 5: Eating and Gambling

August 18, 2015

We were getting hungry and thought about going to the buffet, but nixed that idea when we saw how long the line was.  We understood they had a snack area somewhere and went looking for it.  We figured we'd come upon it at some point.  But, as I mentioned in the last post, the place is huge.

We finally had to ask someone working there and were directed to it upstairs.  Another long walk and we got to it.

I can remember the times when eating in Las Vegas was fairly cheap (but understand such is not the case anymore).  Well, it certainly is not cheap here in Milwaukee.  No $1 quarter pound hot dogs or 99-cent shrimp cocktail.

I did get a three piece dark meat chicken basket for $4.

My friend Kip then went to a blackjack table and plunked down $100 and was down to about $30 when he split a pair of Aces and pulled face cards.  He left after that.

Next Up, Miller Field.  --RoadDog

A Trip to Milwaukee-- Part 4: Potawatomi Casino

From the Miller Brewery, our next stop was the Potawatomi Casino nearby.  I have heard of this place many times, but never been there.  It is a main site for gamblers from our part of Illinois.

We were let off by the door and I have to say this is by far the biggest casino I've ever been in before in my life.  It just went on and on for what seemed forever.  It is owned by the Potawatomi Indians who once lived in the area.  Many folks I know are mad at how much money the Indians are making in their casinos, but my own belief is that nothing we could ever do makes up for what we did to them back in the early days of our country.  We took away their land and forced them to move to parts of the country we didn't think could be used.

I had thought about gambling at the blackjack tables, but that thought soon ended when I saw the $5 minimums.  I might venture $1 or $2, but never $5.  I lose far too often to budget that amount.  And besides, I hate losing money too much.  I have been known to lose twenty straight blackjack hands out in Vegas, despite people saying that can't be done.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

News From Along Route 66-- July 2015: Big Texan Considering Moving

JULY 27--  The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas is considering moving to another in-town site.  The reason is because they are bursting at the seams with customers.  It has been at its present location for over 40 years.

If they do move it will be a half mile west to I-40.  They acquired the land years ago.

Some interesting facts:

**  Serve 500,000 meals a year and more than 2,000 on a busy night.

**  Amarillo draws more than 300 bus tours a year and more than half come to the Big Texan.

**  They sell 80 gallons of hand-crafted beer a day and the Big Texan is by far the biggest server of alcoholic beverages in Amarillo and probably the whole Texas Panhandle.

A Really Unique Place, Both Inside and Out, Not to Mention the Eating.  --RoadDog

News From Along Route 66-- July 2015: Most Endangered

JULY 26-  The Gasconade  River Bridge has been placed on Missouri's Most Endangered List.  The bridge near Hazelgreen is presently closed.  The Old Phillipsburg General Store is also on the list.

JULY 26--  Kingman, Arizona, is building a "Welcome Arch" downtown.  It will be joining several other towns on Route 66 that have them, like Williams, Arizona, Miami, Oklahoma and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Welsome arches were a big thing in U.S. towns back in the early 1900s.

I am a big fan of welcome arches.  I particularly like the Ohio one on I-70 and the one in Dixon, Illinois, on the Lincoln Highway.

JULY 28--  The AMF Circle Lanes Bowling Center in Bloomington, Illinois, will be closing after 55 years in business.  I have heard bowling across the country is losing its following.


News From Along Route 66-- July 2015: Goodbye Bel-Aire Motel

JULY 22--  The sign from Springfield, Illinois' Bel-Aire Motel was acquired by two Springfield residents to restore and possibly sell it.  The more famous Sputnik has already been acquired by a local sign company for inclusion in their museum.

It sure is going to be strange not to see the Bel-Aire Motel on that corner the next time we visit.  Although, its increasingly blight made it necessary to tear it down.

JULY 23--  A Joplin, Missouri, barbershop is likely to become a gallery.  This pretty well stops the idea that it would become a visitors center.  Dole's Ole 66 Barbershop is located in an iold service station.


Friday, September 4, 2015

A Trip to Milwaukee-- Part 3: Redd's Dark Cherry Is Mighty Good

Then, the fun part where we got the opportunity to sample some beer.  They were really talking this aspect up.  But, you only get three drinks and none more than I figure 7-8 ounces.  It would be hard to get drunk on that.

We first went to an old-timey saloon and had the chance to drink a new offering they have called Redd's Dark Cherry.  This was one of the best beers I've ever had, especially that first sip which really awakens your taste buds.  I am sure going to buy some when it hits the stores.

Then we went across the street to an open garden bar and had two more drinks.  Some folks got their usual Miller product, but I used it to try Batch 19 (didn't care for it, too IPAish) and Redd's Apple Ale which was good.

And, if you're thinking of sneaking more than your allotted three drinks, that would be fairly difficult as they are kind of strict and watchful about it.  You get a band and they mark how many you've had.


A Trip to Milwaukee-- Part 2: From the Frying Pan to the Cool Cave

Continued from August 28th.

We had some time to kill so looked around the Miller store and am glad to report that I bought NOTHING.

We first went to the place where they put the beer into bottles and cans.  The assembly lines move by so fast it is dizzying.  They can, bottle and keg a real, real lot of beer and then stack them in huge piles.  They said they get the beer out very fast, usually within 24-48 hours.

Then, we went to the top of where they were mixing the brew.  We were warned ahead of time of around 60 steps we'd have to c,limb and then that it would be significantly hot.  they weren't lying.  We huffed our way up and then sweated through an explanation of what was happening and then way too many questions from our group.  At least going down was a bit easier.

Next stop was the caves where Miller kept their beer in the days before refrigeration.  These were very cool.  I'm not sure that going from the really hot to the really cool is a good thing.  But I never got sick.

Ready for Some Beer.  --RoadDog

Thursday, September 3, 2015

News From Along Route 66-- July 2015: 2015 Cost Share Grants on Route 66

JULY 13--  Alternate lender helps Sunset Motel in Moriarity, New Mexico.  Mike and Debbie Pogue got a $508,000 loan to renovate the motel and may be able to repay the loan in four years.  The motel opened in 1954 on Route 66 and was added onto several times until 1969.  It was owned by Bill and Elaine Pogue until their son Mike took over in the 70s.

Always great to see an old motel renovated.

JULY 17--  Restoration of Totem Pole Park in Oklahoma begins.

JULY 21--  The 2015 Cost Share Grants for Route 66 announced.  The Route 66 Preservation Program announced four cost-share grants for $97,000 for 2015.

BOOTS COURT--  Carthage, Missouri.  $20,000.  The streamline Modern motel was built in 1939.

LAKE SHORE MOTEL--  Carthage, Missouri  $30,000 for structural rehabilitation.  Built in 1950, the motel has a view of Lake Kellogg.

NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.  $22,500 for rehabilitation.  Built in 1948.

WOMEN ON THE MOTHER ROAD--  $25,000 grant for research that will focus on women on Route 66, especially those in the military, blacks, Hispanic and Indians

Since 2001, this has helped fund 122 projects for $1.8 million.


News From Along Route 66-- July 2015: Pontiac and Lebanon

Taken from Route 66 News blog which has much more information and pictures.

JULY 11TH--  Pontiac, Illinois, to get a 79 room Hampton Inn partly because of the surge in Route 66 tourism.    Besides that great court house, there are all those museums and murals.

JULY 12TH--  Lebanon, Missouri, has proposed a $500,000 Route 66 Park to be located at the southwest corner of the park bordered by Elm Street (Route 66).  It will feature a Route 66-themed shelter and a recreation of the Dream Village fountain.  There will also be three Route 66 murals.

Nelson Dream Village was built in 1931 on Route 66 with its large and striking fountain along with 12 cabins.  It closed not long after the completion of the I-44 bypass.  However, it is thought that the park board will reject it.

I hope not as I really would like to see that fountain.


The Most Beautiful and Charming Towns in Illinois-- Part 2

6.  NAUVOO--  Mormons

7.  SYCAMORE--  Quaint downtown and courthouse plus 200 homes of architectural interest and the huge annual Pumpkin Festival.  The town next to DeKalb, home of NIU.

8.  WOODSTOCK--  The Square and filming site of "Groundhog Day."

9.  LEBANON--  Historical downtown.

10.  ELSAH--  A river town that looks like it did back then.  (I am not familiar with these last two towns.)


The Most Beautiful and Charming Towns in Illinois-- Part 1

From the Only in Your State site "Here Are the Most Beautiful, Charming Small Towns in Illinois" by Laura Meli.  More information and pictures accompany her article.

1.  GALENA--"The Town That History Forgot."  Liz and I had our honeymoon there back in August '73.  A perfect choice for #1.

2.  MOUNT CARROLL--  "The New England of the Midwest"

3.  FULTON--  Dutch roots.  Windmill on the levee.  Lincoln Highway and Mississippi River.

4.  MORRIS--  Illinois River, the I&M Canal,  Illinois Highway 47.  This is our preferred road to avoid the Chicago hassle so we go through town often.

5.  GREENVILLE--  One of the state's oldest communities.  On the National Road.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

National Road Kiosk Project Completed in Illinois

From the August 27, 2015, Effingham (Ill.) News-Leader by Greg Sapp.

The National Road Association of Illinois announced the completion of the project to put information kiosks in towns along the state's 164 miles of the National Road (US-40).

There are 21 of them along the way including Marshall, Casey, Greenup, Effingham, Vandalia,.Greenville and cahokia Mounds State Park.

Always a good thing to get the name and information out there.


Route 66's Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Getting 30-35 Bison-- Part 4

Midewin archaeologist Joe Wheeler said Midewin was a thriving prairie 6,200 years ago and bison arrived about 2,000 years later.  Bison bones dating to the 1600s were discovered in Midewin in 2007 and evidence of a Native American village has also been found.

Forest Service officials hope the bison will thrive there as well as improve the prairie's diversity of plants and animals.  It is also hoped that Midewin will become a major tourist attraction.  The bison will surely be a draw.

The herd is expected in October, but the public won't be allowed to visit until next spring to give the bison a chance to get used to their new surroundings.

Their pastures will be accessible from the Iron Bridge Trailhead in Midewin, off Illinois 53  (Route 66).  The staff hopes later to have a viewing platform, but binoculars will be recommended because of the vastness of the area.

Looking Forward to Seeing Where the Buffalo Roam.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Route 66's Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Getting 30-35 Bison-- Part 3

For years bison have been crossbred with cattle, but the ones coming to Midewin will be genetically pure with a good mix of males and females.  they will be lured to the corral area for yearly checkups by a 1,500 gallon watering system, part of a 3,000-gallon system that resembles a scaled-down version of the ammunition bunkers elsewhere on Midewin which used to be part of the huge Army Joliet Arsenal.

Midewin engineer Bob Hommes, who oversaw construction of the infrastructure has ties to Midewin.  His mother worked at the Joliet Arsenal during World War II and the Korean War.  her friends at work introduced her to his father.